I just finished my last workout before Nationals. Where has the time gone? Life got busy (or busier) after the Dark Horse Championships, and somehow it’s already time for another comp. Crazy how time works like that….
Training Blog 4: The Home Stretch - Angela Payne
My training has been pretty good over the last few weeks. I have stuck to my plan for the most part, and more importantly, I have managed to stay healthy. This week I have been winding down my training and decreasing the intensity of my climbing sessions. Yesterday I felt pretty bad when I climbed. I got incredibly pumped and couldn’t shake it. Luckily, that wasn’t my last session, and tonight I felt very good. I even managed to finish up a few of my long-standing personal projects at CATS. It is nice to end a training cycle on a high note like that. When I was young, my dad once told me that Michael Jordan never quit a practice with a missed shot. While Jordan and I really have nothing in common, I always liked something about that idea, and (cheesy as it may be) I try to stick to that “never quit on a miss” mantra during my last session before a comp. Even if I feel like absolute crap during my last day of climbing, there is something that feels good about completing one last boulder before resting for a comp.
Now, it’s more of a mental game than anything else. I wouldn’t say that I get particularly nervous as a comp gets closer, but I definitely start to over think things. Am I getting sick? Take Zicam, Emergen-C, Cold Snap. Water, water, water. Extra sleep. No, I’m not sick, I’m fine. Does my finger hurt more than normal? Ibuprofen, finger massager, tape, more Ibuprofen. No, my finger feels the same as it has for weeks now. Chill out, Ange! STOP OVER THINKING IT!
That is how it works when I place a great deal of importance on something and put a ton of energy into it—I care a lot about it, and if I’m not careful, I obsess. I like to think I have gotten pretty good at controlling my obsessive tendencies when it comes to climbing, and for the most part it is true that I have improved greatly in that respect. But this year, I don’t have school to consume excess mental energy, so training has become the thing that I pour myself into. That can be scary at times, to devote so much time to something and then put it all to the test in a competition and risk ‘failure’. It’s not unlike the way that I tend to devote my time to a single boulder problem outside and try it and try it and try it until I send. The difference, of course, is that a competition comes down to one or two days, whereas a project is more forgiving and can last months or years.
Those few days are fast approaching when I will see what comes of all of this training. On Thursday I head to Colorado Springs for the comp. I am getting quite excited, as I usually do. It is always fun to see everyone, and to climb on new creations and be forced to try hard in a high-energy setting. It feels good to be in the home stretch now. I feel prepared and strong and excited. I am ready to be tested, and no matter what the end result is, one thing is for sure—I will try hard and have a damn good time in the process.