Well this was most interesting. Unexpected and yet, surprisingly... a break through. Unexpected because the outcome wasn’t a worry in my head so the fear of it didn’t exist. And surprising, for a few reasons. Firstly, I’ll clarify, it isn’t surprising that I got last... Having been close enough to this border on numerous occasions, its occurrence is somewhat inevitable.
This competition however, amazed me in a few ways. Firstly, it was the first time I felt strong in warm up. Second, it was the first time I took enough rest before a comp, which probably makes sense of point one. Third, I had planned ahead and was not in the same predicament as I have been for every other comp, as in rushed, lost and late. There is one more point which I will bring up later…the breakthrough.
There was a very nice campground where we set up our haven. There were walking trails, a pool and even flushing toilets and hot showers. It was the epicenter of relaxation. The ideal state which I had imagined one would want to be in before an important event. I arrived at everything on time except isolation where I nearly met my fate. I was clever enough to check out the location the day before but not clever enough to realize I couldn’t return the same way. Round-a-bouts and one way streets left me confused, speeding and arriving in a tizzy. Once parked, I discovered Valerie of Israel wandering around the building looking as lost as I. Quickly gathering our belongings, we searched for the secret door to iso which seemed to play hide and seek. With minutes to spare, we finally discovered the hole in the ground hidden in the back of the building.
The registration meeting... french style
Each person had their own start time which staggered the crowd of some 42 competitors among the four large panels which were covered in holds of many sizes, shapes and colors. The walls remained fairly busy but a good warm up was totally possible. As I made up my own problems I spied on others, planning to try their problems once they moved onto another wall. Finally after a few hours, my turn came round. Walking through the hallway and up the stairs to the loud arena, I absorbed the scene around me. In scattered chairs sat competitors who waited for their turn. Some look bored, sleepy almost. Others paced back and forth, occasionally looking at the clock which ticked away what remained of the five minutes that they had left to wait until they returned to the wall.
My shoes lay in front of me waiting for their turn to go out which came soon enough. Problem one asked for balance combined with a tedious lock off. Climbing a bit too cautiously, it showed the lack of trust I had in my foot placement on the small slopey foothold. I fell a few times before finally latching the bonus and moving on to match the final hold. Unfortunately my foot unknowingly flagged past the black tape which seemed to plaque many of the competitors. With no time left to retry, I headed behind the walls with a score card that gave me only a bonus.
For the second problem I was unable to get past the first awkward move off bad slopers. I found myself stuck in a narrow tunnel of so badly wanting to do the problem, yet, forgetting to change my beta or resting long enough to let my hands cool down. It would have taken seconds yet the clock seemed to move faster than my heart and slowing down became a forgotten idea from a distant land.
The Canadians eating healthy pre-comp...
The next problem was an awkward line of small crimps and shallow pockets placed in a way that forced my body to twist and turn requiring not just finger strength but also a knowing how to climb. The last move was a jump to a sloper which I almost grabbed on a few occasions but was unable to stick. Despite this, I made the height for the jump so there was progress for me in the world of big moves… :) Yahoo!
For the fourth and fifth problems I walked away with a bonus and a huge pump in my forearms. They both involved long moves, with the last being a sideways dyno. I realized yet again the degree to which I must commit more of my training to the things I hate so that one day, they become my strengths. Knowing my placement wasn’t good, I refused to look at the results fearing I would burst into tears then and there. That said, three bonuses and a send, although it didn't count, was more than I ever had.
Finally the surprising breakthrough… After the comp, I cried in the secrecy of my own van while Cedar played with Jamie on her skateboard. But my tears felt different. The energy was not that of defeat or being stuck in a self-loathing pit of doom and disaster as I had felt for many a competition. The tears were simply of sadness and disappointment. And then…magically… they passed. Just like that. It surprised me. I found myself able to enjoy the rest of the day and into the next. Socializing was not impossible and I could do so without appearing lost in my thoughts of doom and gloom. Having sat out so many semi-finals and finishing so close to the end many a time, the feelings that this part of the competition was untouchable were strong. Yet, something different pulled at me while watching this round of semis. It was more a sense of excitement than loathing. Deep within, an old pattern was being replaced by something better. To be free of this heaviness that has plagued me since starting competing was just plain liberating. In its place it left openness for growth and energy to focus on the things that will propel me forward. There is a hella lot more training and work to do here in many aspects, but man… getting last never felt so good.