Feb 26 2011

Trying Hard

It’s a finicky thing, trying hard. When I first started climbing, it was second nature; do whatever was in my power to get to the next hold. I think it’s one of the things that drew me to climbing in the first place, working so desperately hard to contort my body to reach the next hold. There were no guidelines, no correct form to a move, no time limits. Unfortunately for me, getting back into climbing after a couple years of injuries, trying my hardest has been an elusive thing.


I’m currently in Fontainebleau on my first climbing trip abroad in more than two years. Six of my closest friends were making the journey over here for a month and I couldn’t resist joining them. I had visited the land of slopers eight years ago on my way down to Ceuse and Spain, and got stuck here for half of my six week trip.


The past two years have been a huge learning experience. I’ve been amazed at how the body can heal, and at the same time frustrated with how fragile it can be. Having several bumps along the way, and re-injuring myself climbing at a beginners’ level has lead me to take an extremely cautionary path to recovery. “Easing back into it” seems like a nice way to put it, I’m more like “crawling at a snails pace back into it.” I was able to get into a safe, gentle rhythm back at home. Climbing in the low winter sun of Yosemite Valley, it almost held my hand while I tried to push myself. If over did it, I could always go to the safety of a gym or occupy my time at home. Stepping out of that comfort zone was enticing, but a bit frightening.


The first few days we were here, I climbed almost solely on the orange circuit problems. Yes, for those of you who know what those are, it’s basically the “Mountaineering Circuit” that people climbed in their steel toed boots. But, for me, it was like a little bubble where I didn’t have to try too hard and didn’t fear getting injured. I am so afraid of hurting myself that I feel like an old lady talking, looking up at a flight of stairs and thinking “oh brother, my knee could go out, my hip is going to hurt, and the handrails look at a bad angle for my wrist.”


My goal has been to take baby steps and attempt to retrain my brain to push myself. Each day I try a move, a problem, or a hold that I could fathomably get injured on. I gradually have worked up to the blue circuits, red circuits, some whites and some problems with names to them! It’s funny the little things that get you excited: a problem with a name.


Yesterday I was fortunate to climb with some friends from Tahoe, Noah and Siemey. Noah is perhaps one of the most exuberant people I know and can create a fun environment out of nothing. I actually have no idea what the name of the problem I did was called, but it required me to step out of my comfort zone and push my body. I shock loaded my shoulder, I pulled harder than I should have on my finger, and even let out a grunt as I topped out. All things that surely could lead to injury, what was I thinking?


“B, that’s the hardest I’ve seen you try in like two years!” My friend Justin said with a smile. When I digested his commented I grinned. Yes, in fact it was. It was scary, but felt so good.

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  • Can't wait to read more on ur trip Abroad!

    March 9, 2011 at 12:41 am