Prepping for Nationals (Cutting back on Cupcakes and Wine)

Trying to focus your training for a once or twice a year execution is kind of like trying to be the best little girl possible for when Santa visits. Now and then you get motivated to stay on the nice list by doing your chores when told, but by July you're fighting with your little brother, not doing dishes, and generally making bad choices because Christmas is just SO FAR AWAY and there's plenty of time to redeem yourself.

 'Oh HAI! I'm a serious competitor, mmkay?' Photo by Andrew Chao, Nationals 2015

'Oh HAI! I'm a serious competitor, mmkay?' Photo by Andrew Chao, Nationals 2015

That's training for comps for me. As a paraclimber, I'll only get the chance to do between one and three comps a year. I'll get psyched and hit the gym hard. I'll eat better. I'll do all of my at-home and shoulder health workouts. I'll drink kale derivatives. At some point though, I'll have a long week at work, have a friend in town visiting, or just want to hang out with my dogs so I'll take it easy...too easy, as by the end of a binge I find myself surrounded by empty Malbec bottles, the remains of chicken nugget happy meals, cupcake wrappers and a bruised spirit of motivation. "Oh no, not again!" I'll moan while picking french fries out of my seat cushions. But, I know I can ultimately recover if I just focus, recenter on whatever ultimate date the comp is, and move on. 

 Photo taken on a day of focus and clarity, closed by eating an entire pizza by myself.

Photo taken on a day of focus and clarity, closed by eating an entire pizza by myself.

Despite the dietary set backs and more time spent outside 'fun' climbing than training, I'm headed into this years nationals feeling pretty relaxed. I sent my hardest redpoint yet outside and my mental game feels strong. It helps that this is my third trip to Nationals - I know what to expect, I can picture what the routes will be like, and I'm confident that my main goal of making the team will be achievable.

 At my first 'abled' comp in a decade - at Earth Treks Golden, CO

At my first 'abled' comp in a decade - at Earth Treks Golden, CO

In the future, what I'd like to see happen are more paraclimbing comps, all over the country. In the nearer future, I'd like to see paraclimbing offered as a stand alone category at local gym comps - in addition to youth, open, advanced, etc. Now, what THAT means in turn is that myself and my other gimpy climber friends need to put ourselves out there in the world starting NOW. Start entering abled bodied comps. Train in the gym. Up the volume on your already badass self. I'll admit, it's hard to motivate (and pay for) a comp where your only goal is to not come in last, but DO IT. Challenge yourself and normalize the concept of adaptive climbing being no big deal.

I fly out for the 2016 Nationals tonight. As I sit here drinking my ginger and matcha cucumber smoothie (just kidding, it's a chocolate chip cookie and a Mountain Dew) I'm already getting psyched for competitions after Nationals - whatever, whoever, whatever they may be.