|jumping on a plane!|
Upon arriving in Montreal the email I had awaited for arrived. The CEC had decided to defer any decisions until nationals as there were a lot of female climbers pining for a spot on the team. Finally, as much as I questioned the sanity and financial irresponsibility of my decision, I had made the right call.
All I had to do now was compete. Avoiding the pressure to do well was ideal, yet exactly how to achieve that was uncertain. I put an immediate halt to my training program which was in the middle of a strength phase and detailed no prep for comp format. The last european session consisted of Alex shouting strange German words at me to try harder while I climbed to the ring of 5 on, 5 off.
One day later, I arrived, unpacked and packed again for the weekend trip to regionals. Although incredibly jet lagged, I didn't feel so much nervousness as I did excitement. Many an old friend was within reach not just emotionally as they have been before but now physically. This was something I had yearned for many a time while in Europe. Coming home aroused in me a reminder of where I was from and surprisingly, a yearning to want to come back sooner than thought. It had been so long that the paper bills of my country changed. When I asked a friend when this happened she replied two years ago. Again I asked, questioningly as if I had heard wrong. She smiled and repeated the same answer, 'yes, two years.'
Coming for Regionals proved a good warm up for nationals. I hadn't climbed on North American type problems for some time though the problems at nationals proved more along this line. Regionals qualifiers were surprisingly easy, making it a flash fest, quickly reminding me how the Tour de Bloc comps worked. I made it into finals which were more interesting and a bit tougher which reminded me of my mental weaknesses in competition.
For the first problem I underestimated the first long move and came up too short but pulled it off second go. Problem 2 had a long lock off to a crimp which I was within a cm to getting behind but not close enough. At problem 3 my head left me. This line had a long reach requiring balance, relaxation and a trust in ones abilities. I confused the beta on my first try, figured it for the second but continued to fall because of climbing in a less than ideal fashion: panicked and rushed. I continued with that neurotic behavior until my 5 minutes were up. My frustration with the problem and for not being able to keep my cool got to me. As much as I tried to let it go, I carried some of that frustration to the last problem which I arrived at in survival mode with a mouth drier than the Sierra desert. Half way up the problem my heel popped off as I had placed it too fast and clumsily. Second try I took more care but continued to over grip my way to the top. The results weren't horrible but that didn't matter. I was not content with my performance and knew I could do better. My insides wondered what happened to the words I had mentally rehearsed: relaxed, strong, confident? After the comp I returned to problem 3 and did it with ease. Unsure of whether this made me feel better as it felt the easiest overall, if anything, it showed me what kind of mental state I need to be in at these comps: calm, cool and collect.
With that I returned to Montreal to feast and train with long lost friends. With just three weeks till Nationals I vowed to work on my mental side, train a ton, practice my French and try a little diaper free with baby Izzy. The trip home had just started and Korean, Japanese and Thai were already on the menu. This will be over in a flash I told myself. Better suck it up!
part two coming soon. Thanks for reading.