FUCK ! I know this is probably not the way I should start a post, but that was the only word that popped into my mind while climbing the other day. It had been two months since the last time I had hit the gym and, oh boy, I could tell ! To give you a little background information, I am a single mother and a student and I am currently finding it difficult to juggle between my chores and climbing, consequently reducing my opportunities to hit the wall. Whenever I do have the chance to go to the rock climbing gym, I do so for my son. My three year old comes with me wherever I go and he has become my ultimate adventure partner. However, if I bring my son along, it’s for him to rock climb, because I clearly cannot leave him by himself while I figure out some beta.
The opportunities I’ve had to dedicate some time to climbing have been thanks to my family members who have volunteered to watch over my son for a couple of hours. I don’t like to bother or take time away from others, therefore I am not the one to ask for favors on a regular basis. This could be considered as both a positive and a negative thing, and I agree. The former because it is important to be respectful of others’ time and the latter because it is also important to be able to ask for help. Realizing that I had some work to do with the second aspect, I have allowed myself to ask for help every once in a while. Being thankful for my family’s support (and still a little ashamed because I asked for their assistance), I take into consideration ways to ease their responsibilities by coordinating playdates with my son’s little cousins or by going to the gym during his sleep time.
Two Saturdays ago I was able to put one of my previously mentioned strategies to work. My cousin’s soccer match was cancelled due to bad weather and, because my aunt and uncle were going to spend the day at home, they agreed to watch over my son for a couple of hours. My little one had a great day playing with his cousins and I had a great afternoon rediscovering myself as a climber. Spending two months without climbing really took a toll on me. I felt weak and I was not able to perform with the ease I used to during the summer. Finishing a 5.10 felt like carrying a rock up the wall, and not precisely like the one Carrot mentioned in his last post, because at that moment, I definitely could not see myself happy ! I must confess that I felt both frustrated and defeated; to think that not that long ago I was able to climb 5.11s crushed me a little. I was mesmerized at the effects of detraining, and at the same time, at how much I wanted to get back up after I had to ask for a take.
Sports like rock climbing have the ability to crush you and build you back up at the same time and maybe, because I am a person who has hit many walls in the last few years, I have learned to appreciate this feeling. During my trail running years I used to get the “crazy” label pretty often. Sadly, what those people didn’t understand -probably because they had never experienced it- is how gratifying it is when you are able to you prove yourself wrong. When you think you cannot run one more mile, when you are hundred percent sure you cannot grab one more hold… You are wrong. Even though your feet burn or your hands hurt, you always find a way to gain something from the experience. I am still struggling to find balance between my responsibilities and my urge to climb, but who doesn’t ? I am sure many of you have to do the impossible/possible to make it to the wall, trail, gym, dance class, library, etc.
I am beyond excited to embark this journey with my son. Every effort is worth it and I know that one day this will be an activity that we will be able to fully share. Every day is a trial and error for me, so I am opened for suggestions and I would LOVE to read your stories, I know that I am not alone in this world !