Waiting in Vain

So where does climbing come into all of this? It’s funny that 1.) climbing was a major inspiration for my starting this blog, and 2.) I chose to start this when climbing is not in my life.

In the Absence

For the past six years, I have been rock climbing an average of 9 or 10 hours a week. I got into climbing through a summer camp, and was immediately hooked. There was something about that movement that was so natural to me. I joined a youth club, then a youth competitive team, and now I’m one of the most senior members on a team where I train to build my own abilities but also get the chance to mentor and coach younger members.

Climbing, each subtle movement became an expression of my personal strength and love for the world.

I fell in love with competition climbing, especially bouldering (short, powerful sequence of moves low to the ground), and I’ve climbed in countless local, provincial and national events. But, aside from competing, it’s actually being on the wall that I’m still in love with. Knowing I’ll be at the gym training this evening, or tomorrow, has gotten me through pretty much everything.

With all this training, I’ve experienced many injuries-rotator cuff, back, ankle, wrist. I can proudly say that I have sprained my right ankle over 10 times now. Trying to train safely and effectively with these injuries has been a major concern on my mind for the past few years.

This year, I trained my butt off for nationals, juggling a wrist injury since November and my chronic ankle injury. I remain thrilled and grateful that I was able to compete at nationals but during, and after, I realized something. It hurt. All my painful training and injuries, and the frustration of being held back from reaching my peak. I hated it and I didn’t want to lose my love for the sport. I decided to stop climbing fully, for the first time in 7 years, and take as much time as necessary to heal up fully.

The Colour Picture Becomes a Negative

It’s been about two months now and I’m still waiting to be able to climb. Suddenly I am forced to notice the parts of my life that do not involve climbing-the photo in negative-and it’s a shockingly empty picture. Though it does highlight some great moments that I perhaps had not paid enough attention to. It’s been brutal to not have climbing to look forward to every day but I’ve come to a surprising peace with it. Cue Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” running through my head. It has a certain sense of joy and levity coupled with an understanding of heartbreak in waiting for love.

I’m not sure when I will be able to climb again but I am certain my future holds many adventures in climbing. Some things have shifted, having to take a step back, and I think I’ll move a little away from competition climbing and maybe towards coaching. One thing is certain- I’m absolutely psyched to get deeper into the realm of outdoor climbing.

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