The trials of rushing

Rab heard the crack in my finger 4 clips below, standing on the ground.  He thought it was my nail.  I knew it was my finger joint, but I carried on, my ego not wanting to stop climbing and my sanity hoping above all that it was nothing.  That was last Monday at the Foundry when my finger got stuck in a pocket and bent the wrong way as I was reaching up.  Tuesday I found myself in Minor Injuries with a blue and swollen finger.  The x-ray said it was broken.

Out of pure frustration I found myself crying in front of Keith Sharples despairing at reason number 56 for me just not being able to get any rhythm back to being any kind of regular climber.  I could put it all down to bad luck, or in fact look at the pattern of silly mishaps that have gone on this year, which could be interpreted as a lesson I’m not quite learning.

Keith did ask me if I had been rushing about.  “Er yes... of course.”  I scoffed – as if I don’t have a choice in life. But of course we always do. I had noticed that to many of my recent climbing sessions being crammed into frantic odd hours here and there. It’s led me to think.  Earlier in 2017 Rebecca Williams, sports psychologist, took part in a facebook Q&A, which was part of the winter workshops I was running.  One of my clients has a really busy job with multi-tasking being a critical element.  My client has trouble concentrating and focussing when climbing, which can come out as being nervous on lead.  Rebecca made a good point: if you multi task and rush about in other areas of your life, it can become a learnt behaviour, which can drip into climbing.  She suggested periods of switching off your phone, wifi and focus on that report or piece of work, trying to bring your attention to one thing only.

There’s no doubt that I was rushing when I reached up for that hand hold (mentally at least as I was thinking of all the other routes I was going to do that session already, and probably too about how damn well I was doing slotting in this session before school pick up, and no doubt my subconscious was further drifting to how maybe finally I was making it back into regular climber status) so maybe Keith has a point. 

“You know what I’m going to say don’t you Katherine”.

I stopped him mid sentence

“No Keith, I’m not having it, it’s not my age”

He laughed.  This black and blue finger is not the result of me being 43.  However the rushing and complexity of my life may be.

I wonder if reason number 56 might be lesson number 56.  And it’s coming at a good time of year.  I always respond well to a ‘New Year’ in terms of trying to bring out a positive change in my life.  When it comes to climbing, the thing I’m going to do now is this: when I step through that climbing wall door or out of the car to the crag, no matter how rushed I felt up to that moment, I will take a deep breath.  The outside world can shut up for an hour or two. 


PS in case you’re wondering… the woman in the thumbnail - she used to sit in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and got moved to Canary Wharf, London in 2017. I often think of her sitting calmly amongst all those people rushing about to and from work.