So it’s been 75 days since my ankle went snap, crackle, pop on an otherwise delightful winter afternoon at the crag. Since then I have been on a rather emotional roller coaster ride of thoughts, feelings, and mental processing. Thankfully for me however (as well as everyone who has to put up with me on a daily basis…), that roller coaster has slowed down substantially in the last few weeks as my life has slowly but surely crept back to “normal.” Looking back throughout the recovery process, Ive realized that this whole ordeal has been quite a learning experience for me, so I thought it might be worth a “cyber-reflection.”
1. It could always be worse. As annoying as the boot was, I was constantly thankful that I never had to use crutches. Even though it wasn’t graceful by any means, I still could keep up with Cragbaby. In the grand scheme of life, 6 weeks isn’t even a blip on the radar. Even thought it’s only been a month, the boot already seems ages ago. And I’m perfectly happy to let it fade away out of my mind to make room for more happy memories!
2. One leg is better than none. Though I will say my campus skills have greatly improved from 6 weeks of primarily hanging on my arms, I wouldn’t have lasted very long without having at least one leg to stand on, so to speak. Although it definitely got old by the end, boot-legging my way up the steeps provided a new challenge – again with something healthy to focus on.
3. It’s better to do something than nothing. I realized that I don’t do well as a spectator. Hitting the hangboard and the weight room with an intense fervor gave me something healthy and positive to focus my energies on rather than sitting around feeling sorry for myself (although I admit that I did my fair share of that as well…) It also felt really good to feel like I was doing something proactive in my recovery process. Evidently something worked because all of my shirts are now tighter across the back…
4. Training can make you strong. I’d always shied away from sport specific training in the past. Why? Part of it was due to fears of becoming obsessed with training to the point that climbing was no longer a fun and recreational activity for me – designing workout programs used to be my job, so it’s easy for me to get so regimented with exercising that it feels like work. Another reason was because it seemed like everyone I know who did it ended up hurt from overtraining. However one of my goals for 2012 had been to make my gym time more efficient by including some specific training exercises to strengthen my weaknesses. Little did I know at the time how well the boot would play into that goal…
5. A little discipline goes a long way. My experiment with training for climbing was a successful one. I realized that I’m not the same person I was back in those days where the line between business and pleasure was lost in a blur of spending 18 hours a day in the gym. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy exploring and discussing concepts of exercise physiology - a few times I definitely caught myself geeking out in training mode, just like my husband does with his
dorky intelligent and wise computer friends.
6. The rock will always be there. A lot of my initial fears revolved around a sinking feeling that everyone else was moving on with life and leaving me behind. This was not an unfamiliar place, as I remember having the same sort of feelings back in 2009 when I tore my rotator cuff. It sucked seeing everyone else outside enjoying an unheard of number of warm, sunny, winter days, and hearing about all the projects my friends were crushing left and right. But now I’m climbing again, and while I’m not functioning at full capacity quite yet, I’ve been able to jump right back into the groove again without skipping a beat. That’s the great thing about the rock – regardless of injuries, weather, schedules, etc, it’s always going to be there – completely unchanged, just like I remembered it.
7. Climbing is about community. Yeah I like to push myself and climb as hard as I can, but on my first trip back I realized pretty quickly that I had missed to friendship and comraderie at the crag just as much as the act of climbing. Not only am I blessed to be able to play with a bunch of like-minded people in the middle of a spectacular wilderness backdrop, but I also get to spend precious time with Cragbaby and the Crag-Daddoo – my 2 most favoritest people in the world!