I’ve started reading a book on sport psychology. It’s kinda funny that it’s taken me this long to read one. For starters, I’ve always been enthralled by the mental side of climbing and for another, it would make a huge difference in reaching my goals if I can strengthen the mental side of my game.
Having only read a short way through it strikes me that, although I am aware of a lot of the psychology, I only practice bits that I have cherry picked along the way. And to delve deeper I need to start asking and answering a lot more questions.
This morning was one of those rare occasions where I wasn’t rushing off somewhere (or so I thought) so I sat down and wrote down my ultimate climbing goal. It quickly became a flow diagram of all the aspects that fed into it, the short and medium term goals that would lead up to it and all the things I needed to work on or factor in to reach those goals. Wow, it is not a simple process.
I then went for a run and had time to think. I realized that a lot of my non-climbing (but sporty) goals were set to provoke the journey it took to reach them rather than wanting the goal itself. Yet goals in my personal life had forgotten to enjoy the journey and only desired the end.
I thought about Mental Toughness (MT) which had been the previous chapter and asked myself many questions about different types of MT and how I handled them. Some I thought I was exceptionally good at and others I believe I am far below average at dealing with. I thought about my upcoming missions this year the preparation I would need for them and what I expected to get out of them.
I felt energized thinking about what I had accomplished, what I had planned and all the exciting things I had to look forward to. I’m glad I’m working through this book and getting my thoughts more focused, if nothing else.
Yesterday I found chestnuts at Food Lovers Market. I nearly did backflips in the fresh fruit section. It’s been 15 years since I last found chestnuts in the shop. And believe me, I looked. Especially 15 years ago when I had just gotten back from the UK.
Chewing the sweet, nutty flesh this morning brought on a flood of memories. At the expense of getting a little emotional over a chestnut, I let the memories come. It tasted like cold, dark mornings in a foreign country. My first time living overseas, fresh out of school. Adjusting to the big city, to the lack of friends and comfort zones. To taking a step straight out of home into fending for myself. And these warm brown parcels were somehow a roasted taste of comfort to fend against all the cold.
Fore warned is fore armed and I’m glad I had been told that the first 3 months would be the hardest. It was worth sticking out the home sickness and the adapting in exchange for the adventure, the life experiences and the memories.
Deeper into the pale brown chestnut, I remembered many evenings walking home in the dark from the underground. By the time you reached your front door your hands were too cold for the fine motor skills required to get the key in the lock. I remembered the freedom of booking tickets on a whim, and hopping on a plane to another country the following week with no greater plan but to find the nearest backpackers and get lost.
It’s been more than a decade since I could move that freely. I still have a bag and a half of chestnuts to go. My leave and my bank account might suffer the effects these tasty morsels are having on my wanderlust.
What do you do when you can’t sleep? Why, play silly buggers with your new gear of course.
“Luke! I am your father”
A pocket on the sleeve. This makes me giddy. I have a fetish for pockets in unorthodox places.
The easily-spotted urban ninja
When I heard about the Etip gloves I couldn’t stop the Mission Impossible theme tune from playing in my head. Come on people, they’re touch screen compatible! #missioncriticalequipment
Oh yeah! I’m so ready for winter in Spain this December. 🙂
So I’m not sure I’ve gotten to grips with this being an adult thing yet. I mean why follow societal rules, get a job and take on all sorts of responsibilities that take time away from climbing? And sometimes being an adult is even less fun than other times. But you’re lucky enough to escape for 10 days to one of your happy places. And you’re so hungry to be out there that your sole objective is to climb until you can’t anymore.
So every day you’re the first one at the crag and the last one to leave. For a brief breath of time I felt super human.
I can’t remember the last time I felt that fit and strong. And even though I tried to push myself to the limits each day, adding more climbs and more crags, I woke every morning feeling fresh, as if I hadn’t been climbing at all. I reveled in the movement, in the intoxicating rhythm of my own heart, beating steadily in my chest, driving me on. I rejoiced in my rest day runs, speeding over rocky terrain in a celebration of life.
It was difficult not to sink into post-trip depression when I got back. Going from feeling godly in the great outdoors to sitting at a desk, constrained once again by the city life all around me. So tonight, I once again rejoiced in movement as I went through my training routine. Grinning playfully as I enjoyed even the warm-up routes. After a long and arduous day at work at least I still had the thrill of feeling strong, even if I wasn’t soaring up the cliffs.