Saturday, 16 May 2009

Time to back off?

I love Siurana. There isn't much to do there but climb, but that doesn't matter. It feels comfortable and familiar now. I hope to go back, sooner rather than later, too, but for now I'm left wondering whether it's time to give climbing a break for a while. I've been to the wall only a couple of times since we came back, but haven't felt inspired to even try. I'm wondering what's wrong with me, wondering why something I have had such boundless enthusiasm for is now almost doing nothing for me. In the same millisecond, I think about how not climbing will leave me with no strength, back on the bottom rung of the ladder, out of the gang. I remember the frustration that causes, and how soul-destroying it is to be relegated to the second XI when all your mates are still in the first XI. Climbing at North Berwick a couple of weeks ago was fun, despite the post-wedding fatigue. Our trip to Helpburn last weekend was also fun, despite the coffee-shakes I had. I realised then that already I am out of practice. Tenacity seemed to take over, replacing all traces of technique and strength with lots of wild flailing and slapping. Training indoors just isn't happening. At all.

I keep thinking of those sunny days we had in Font on September 2007, and the routes we cruised in Orpierre and Siurana, even the warmth of Northumberland the other weekend, and I wonder whether it's about the weather. Maybe I'm just not into sports climbing for now? Maybe I just want to climb outside and the incentive to train indoors has gone? Maybe a trip to Font would sort me out? Then I wonder whether there's something else wrong that I haven't managed to identify yet? Do I need to change jobs? (yes) Do I need to move house? (no) Would retail therapy help?(no) Should I get my hair cut?(ummm) Do I need a holiday?(always, but who doesn't). Other Things seem to be taking over so much time at the moment, maybe I just don't have the energy to climb right now? So many ridiculous possibilities. I never ever thought I would be bored with climbing, never. Could I be? I don't want to be....

Is this normal?

7 comments:

georgef said...

i get this a lot too. haven't climbed properly since i got back from siurana in mid-April......maybe thats the common denominator??? haha.

the worst it's been was at uni where i got to the point of putting my gear up for sale on e-bay cos i just couldn't be arsed with not seeing any improvement, which i think is the de-motivator with me. if i don't see improvement after a while of doing something then i get disillusioned with it. the thing that made the difference was altering my objectives or trying something new and different within climbing to find improvements in that (which happened to benefit the part that i had plateaued at in the first place).........hope that ramble makes sense!

Pilot Custard said...

What you are suffering from is "Burnout".... you have been so focused on, climbing in this case, that you have overloaded.

No, don't get your hair cut: it's just a superficial change; an action to get a reaction... and makes no change to who you actually are.

No, don't move house... not unless you actively dislike the one you are in just now.

Other Things taking over.... oh, how I know that one!

If I can be hypocritical - take time out.... snuggle up on a sofa with a real fire, a good book, and a glass of warm red wine. Switch off the phone & unplug the door-bell.

Dave Redpath said...

I've always found my motivation sits between getting out and training enough to make the most of the things outside I want to do. Motivation is a fragile flower! Importantly, know what you get from climbing and concentrate on nurturing that.

Gaz Marshall said...

Hi Emma,
Been following your blog for a while and thought I'd comment on this post.
My tuppence worth is this: mix it up. Rather than concentrating on high intensity sport routes and bouldering (which require a fair bit to get anywhere on), why not head out to some beautiful places and climb some gentle trad routes as well? You're obviously into your foreign climbing, but why not head out and discover the amazing climbing that the Highlands have to offer?
A spot of 'climbing perspective' can do wonders and before you know it you'll be fully psyched once more.
Gaz

alpinedreamer said...

Thanks for all the comments. I think you are all right! It is a combination of reaching saturation point, not seeing any improvement, not knowing what I want from climbing any more, being distracted and having my energy sapped by other things going on.

Gaz, I think you are spot on with "mix it up" as a motto. I have been trying to do this (I just don't always write about everything I've been doing - I don't seem to have time any more, which is a shame. I like writing!) and it is helping. Almost every time I've been out I say to myself (and to Caroline! She probably has earplugs in by now) that I'm just going to do easy stuff, mileage, enjoy being outside. It does work and I do feel a bit better for it.

We've been exploring places in Northumberland recently, and I've a notion to head north over the summer. But I need to find someone who is prepared to put up with me on easy trad routes! Certainly, there will be no more foreign climbing hols for a while!

Over and above all that, I have a busted finger. This one isn't an excuse, either. The middle joint on my middle finger is very sore, which is very worrying. It doesn't feel like soft tissue damage.... I think crimping will be out for a while too.

Hope you enjoy the blog. You keep reading, I'll keep writing!

Emma

Dave MacLeod said...

I was just scrolling down to make a comment myself and saw Gaz said more or less what I was going to. I also feel the same if I've been just sport climbing/training or other stuff getting in the way. The solution that works every time for me for the last fifteen years was to go and do big adventurous trad in the mountains in places you've never been to before or places you were too scared to go.

examples - Lewis/Harris, Beinn Eighe, Etive Slabs, Ben Nevis, Loch Aa'n basin, Cir Mhor, Shiegra. Have you ever done Ardverikie Wall? Fionn Buttress, the nose on Sgurr a' Chaorachain?

If those places aren't motivation restorers (weather permitting I'll admit) I'll eat my rockshoes.

Dave MacLeod said...

I was just scrolling down to make a comment myself and saw Gaz said more or less what I was going to. I also feel the same if I've been just sport climbing/training or other stuff getting in the way. The solution that works every time for me for the last fifteen years was to go and do big adventurous trad in the mountains in places you've never been to before or places you were too scared to go.

examples - Lewis/Harris, Beinn Eighe, Etive Slabs, Ben Nevis, Loch Aa'n basin, Cir Mhor, Shiegra. Have you ever done Ardverikie Wall? Fionn Buttress, the nose on Sgurr a' Chaorachain?

If those places aren't motivation restorers (weather permitting I'll admit) I'll eat my rockshoes.