What I think about when I think about climbing

The Roaches, Peak District
The Roaches, Peak District

I’ve not been in the mood to write these past few days; I’ve got another injury which means that running is painful and I’ve not been able to go as far or fast as I’d like.

The positive side is that, in the absence of running, I’ve been focusing on my climbing. In fact, over the last few days, climbing has been my saviour: with work stresses and an overactive mind and without my usual cardio outlet, climbing has provided the meditative qualities of yoga but with the muscle workout of a weights set.

When I climb all I can think about is climbing. I think about my foot positioning and about having quiet, rather than scratchy, scrapy, footwork. I think about where my body needs to be in relation to the slant of the hold to maximise my grip, and about which arm to use and hence, which leg to flag out with to prevent me from swinging from the wall. I think about twisting into moves and about staying balanced and close to the wall. And when I’m thinking about all of these things there is no room for anything else; no worries or work stresses.

This week was the first time I’ve climbed three days in a row and rather than feeling fatigued, I’ve actually been feeling stronger and like I’m climbing better. I have been trying (and completing) harder routes and climbing a lot cleaner.

New shoes!
New shoes!

I’ve also inherited a new(ish) pair of climbing shoes as a very kind hand-me-down from a friend at the wall. They are replacing the slightly too big pair that I ‘borrowed’ from my sister almost a year ago and have yet to return. This week my new pair took me up my first two red (v3-v5) routes and allowed me to get some good heel hooks, which in the bigger pair I had struggled with.

All of this comes in the run up to our trip to Fontainebleau next weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, outdoor climbing was our ultimate target when we started out and now, with a couple of days of outdoors in the UK under our belts, we are going for 3 days at the climbing Mecca in France, for climbing, camping and campfires.

The Roaches, Peak District
The Roaches, Peak District

I’ve never been a big camper but I can honestly say I can’t wait! I’m excited about applying and developing what I’ve learned indoors and hopefully improving. But more than that I’m looking forward to three days away from everything, with good company and only climbing to think about. Next weekend can’t come soon enough but in the meantime it’s more indoor climbing and hoping my leg improves so I can get back to some proper running.

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