Back On The Wall :)
I am so psyched to be back on the wall. After almost 10 weeks out I am now back climbing and it’s amazing. When I first got injured I was determine to come back stronger and fitter than I was before. I had a great fear of coming back to climbing feeling totally lost and weak and getting annoyed.
It has been quite surreal being back on the wall. I still have a long way to go before I can do what I love (that being working a really hard boulder and pushing myself) but moving on the wall again is bliss. I have noticed significant improvements in the few sessions I have done already which is making it really exciting! My very first session back was full of mixed emotions – I was really happy to be climbing but it felt so unusual to be on a rope and I became very protective of my right leg. My right leg is still significantly smaller than the other one and it does get noticeably tired. The physiotherapy is going to require some persistence to get it fully fixed up but I really want my leg back to normal as soon as possible! It’s so good to be back and I am looking forward to playing on a rope for the next few months as jumping off a bouldering wall is not an option for a while.
Coming back has been quite scary; I haven’t climbed on a rope since last year so it felt strange to be in a harness but there were so many things that felt unusual. My fingers felt super strong but my arms didn’t hold out long. It took me a while to realise but when I was tired and came to a move that required the use of legs it all became clear. I had basically been pulling myself up the wall. I had a massive fear of falling too, I guess from the worry of hurting my leg. I was so happy to climb again. However, I wanted to feel perfect on the wall but I guess my expectations were too high for my first session back. The second time I got on a rope everything felt so natural and I could move so freely. I felt like a different person. I managed to breeze some routes I had previously fought my way up and backed out on. I no longer felt like I was heaving myself up the wall. I am really pleased with the progress I have made in such a small amount of time and with a little bit of conscious effort I can now manoeuvre myself up a steep wall without practically campusing. I get so psyched by the small progressions!
I still find it hard to believe I actually broke my leg. This could be partly due to the fact I still have no idea how it happened and even now I find myself sat wondering why it snapped. The past weeks have all seemed like a bit of blur and when I think of how much has happened I find it hard to comprehend. Before I broke my leg I felt like I was living in a dream in some ways. I realised at young age that it was possible to compete internationally and climb for a living and since that point thats all I have ever wanted to do. It had all come about so quickly and to be honest I guess I was living my dream without really realising it. Everything went so much better than I could ever have expected and I am bewildered with what I have achieved. I kept expecting to get a reality check… well I guess I got one. This year took me to Texas & Colorado USA, Sweden, China, Slovenia, Austria, Italy, back to Austria, back to Colorado USA, a brief trip to Switzerland and then to Germany and France. Although there is never a good time to break your leg it definitely could have come at a worse time. If it had happened at the beginning of the year I think I would have been in a very different situation now. And right now I wouldn’t change my life at all. It was hard and unbelievably frustrating to miss two of the biggest events of the year and I can not begin to explain how it felt to sit and watch in Munich and Paris despite me trying many times. However, the experience has taught me a lot. I have gained a new perspective that I feel has given me a broader understanding of the competition climbing world I already felt so comfortable in. Sometimes it’s good to be able to stand back and observe. There are so many things I had failed to notice when wrapped up in my own bundle of focus, psyche and concentration. Not competing and realising how much I wanted to be has also made me incredibly psyched for next season. People keep telling me ‘all things happen for a reason’, usually because they feel the need to say something and don’t really know what, but I have decided to embrace this cliche and take all the positives available.
It’s definitely not been all positives and I do not intend to pretend that it was. The time that I have had to take out has been very channelling in many ways. Being injured is never fun and I am lucky that I wasn’t out for long and that I was able to train. Training whilst injured is much harder than I thought it would be though. I like to think I am quite a positive smiley person but at times demotivation crept in and it was hard to maintain psyche.
My life finally feels like its getting back to normal and shortly my travels will being again. This weekend just past, myself, Dave Barrans, Ned Feehally and Rob Napier set for The Climbing Hangars ‘Boulder Breaks’ event. It was my first time setting for a finals and it gave a new respect for all of the world cup route setters out there! Doing this made me more nervous but also more excited about setting for this years ‘La Sportiva Rock Legends’! My plans for the next few months keep changing but I will be sure to update you all along the way 🙂
A massive thank you for the support from all the people who sent me messages, emails, cards etc whilst I have been out and the people around me who have kept me sane and motivated! To all of you who shared your stories of broken bones and injuries I wish you a speedy recovery! 🙂