When 2021 started, I already had a goal in mind to achieve before my birthday. Why? It was my 2020 goal.🧗♂️ Something teeny tiny got in the way. 💁♂️ 🦠
I knew what I wanted to do, in 2020 that is, cleanly top-out a 5.12A, i.e. no falls.
Despite the reduced access to activities on the pitch, in the yoga studio, on the walls, and in the workout rooms, the return to semi-normalcy in the late summer of 2021 brought with it a certain feeling of hope and enthusiasm.
For individuals like me, the common term being extrovert – even though I don’t quite associate with our cultural definition of the term, the lack of in-person activities, support, and collaboration, left me feeling a little lost during lockdown. Sure, I was doing yoga, lifting weights, and for a spell, some HIIT, but it was all at home in the same place and that left me feeling drained from the monotony of working and working out in the exact same space.
I wasn’t going to reach the top of a wall at home. Thanks, Covid lockdown!
And then the state of Oregon started to open up and I could feel the goal getting closer and closer to being a reality despite climbing sessions lasting only ~1.5 hours split between two people at Planet Granite. Going regularly, pushing, scaling back, pushing, scaling back was working.
And soon enough, I cleared a 5.11C and couldn’t believe it. Then a 5.11D. What was happening?!
One night I got on a 5.12A because Helen nudged me, annnd — no. 🤣 My forearms were toast about 1/3 of the way through the climb. No worries. There was plenty of time.
It was late October and, heck yea, I had two months to rest and go! I was going to do it!
And then, Covid-19, or rather, the people in Oregon who gathered and traveled transmitted said virus, shut down access to public spaces, including gyms.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years weeks away, and two weeks of incubation, numbers were about to spike.
And spike they did for a long, long, long time.
I’ll save the rambling… I did it!
On April 14th, in ~2 minutes, thanks to some support from Del, I tried, and succeeded at climbing my first ever top rope 5.12A climb! 🎉 I was, and am, a lot excited!
Birthday Bonus Unlocked
Within the past month, I attempted an ungraded bouldering problem after watching a couple people navigate what looked like a fun stemmy (arms and legs pushing on holds that are typically far away) and compressed (hands and feet very close to each other) climb.
It looked… doable’ish.
And then I saw a younger kid do it after a guy my size attempted the climb. I was skeptical that I’d be able to get through the compressed portion of the climb because of my height.
Well, a few days later, I gave it a try and flashed it (reached the top)!
It felt great and I figured that it was probably a V4, the most difficult grade I had completed at PG. Yea, that felt right.
Nope. That was wrong!
I mentioned to a friend that I had flashed the climb and she texted back a day or so later saying…
And there it was. I had unknowingly gifted myself a V5 bday gift! 🥳
Wrap It Up
These new accomplishments were (are!) exciting!
And who knows, maybe they’ll be the highest grades I ever climb, and that’s okay because I did it. I freakin’ did it! 🤩
I hope to go clear a 12.B and maybe a V6 by my 47th otanjoubi. Or maybe I’ll clear a 12.A on lead?! I dunno. It’s all part of the exciting world of sports. We don’t know what is going to happen.
One thing is true, as long as I’m healthy and free of injuries, I’m going to keep trying!
Moving forward isn’t a straight line. And success isn’t one moment in time. It’s with each step we take that we get a little better, learn a little more, and that is itself a success!
So, if you find yourself getting frustrated, try to remember where you were yesterday, last week, or even years ago. Keep moving, keep trying, because you are doing awesome!