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Project Core

18 Dec 2014

I was going to write a third blog about mum psyche at the crag.  Back in September and October this seemed apt but now in the depths of winter stepping onto rock seems a million miles away so that will have to wait. 

Flying Buttress

I did this for the first time this year:  Flying Buttress E1, Stanage.  I spent September and October doing things I'd either avoided or previously fallen off. For some silly reason I had 'saved' this one for the onsight solo.  Glad I put a rope on, it was as amazing as it looks.

This year has challenged me once again with my identity as a climber through illness and injury however a light is glimmering and I’m looking forward to next year.  I have managed to cling onto whatever ‘being a climber’ to me is through various means (working in climbing only partly does it for me).  I really loved my rope burn back in October (from a brief but fun onsighting blitz - see above).  In the future I will write about this particular day out where I experienced a lot of air time at Curbar; where I felt alive; where my actions challenged normal acceptable mum behaviour and where I didn’t actually reach the top but the thrill of trying was almost as good as topping out.  My rope burn was good souvenir. 

Rope burn

It never looks that impressive does it?  Sure hurt

I’ve resurrected my memories of the classic ‘Foundry’ wave with weekly visits and I enjoy pulling hard again and hanging out with others who probably should also be at work.  Each week we chat about crimping hard, which smear to use and what all the training will apply to at some point.  It feels good.  

The steroid injection in my arthritic finger (which held me back all summer) is proving extremely effective and the loose bone fragments that a MRI scan picked up in my elbow seem to be giving me a bit of a break.  The routine of school is working well for all of us (Vanessa loves it and I am getting more of a regular climbing pattern).  So it’s full steam ahead.

In the recent two months it’s about working on the details:  nailing the vitamin C (multiple grams of this per day), vitamin D, not getting ill, preparing my body for training and project core.  I have succeeded on all accounts and things are looking up for a full winter of training.  I’ve been just ‘going climbing’ (indoors that is) and not thinking too much about performance or hard core training.  If I can survive Christmas without getting a chest infection, I will step it up in January.

Project core is in full swing and takes the form of pilates.  I’ve found a inspirational class at ‘Breathe Pilates’ in Sheffield.  It’s not full of slightly aging people who have clearly not done any sporting activity in over 20 years but people like me.  You may wonder what it is, so here is a video of ‘the man’.  His name I have no idea, but what he’s doing looks close to perfection to me.

Bluebird Pilates Munich

Most of the time we lie on our backs and concentrate on things like perfect form, engaging the powerhouse and breathing at the right time.  This kind of thing seems to suit me down to the ground.  I love the detail of climbing and so pilates works great for me.  I am trying to practise at least every other day:  my hips roll around too much and I’m not good at engaging powerhouse down and anything involving standing up I am terrible at but there is progress.  A whole new terminology to explore!

For any sceptics out there, pilates does not count as the ‘functional’ movement necessary for climbing since we use our arms in climbing, however my personal return journey from pregnancy and the birth has shown that I can only make so much progress via the ‘traditional’ climbing core exercises.  I need to work on the deeper, smaller, stabilising muscles and then bring them back together with exercises engaging the arms.  Climbers are obsessed with abs.  I’ve learnt these are not nearly as important in core strength as you might think (actually my abs are ok), rather the transversus abdominis reigns supreme.  Abs are just the ribbon round the present.  They look good, but what’s underneath matters more.

Paper snowflake

And so it’s very nearly Christmas.  Having a small child around adds a wonderful perspective and for the first time ever I’ve made some Christmas decorations (with Vanessa - see above). Whatever your big event and celebration, have a good one and see you next year!  I would also like to thank all my lovely clients, we always have interesting conversation as well as discussing the intricacies of climbing.  People have made big breakthroughs and it's really rewarding to see.  Have a good rest and I'm looking forward to more climbing next year!