Getting people out of their environment and into their element is probably one of my favorite things. Like, it's one thing to shoot the shit with people in the climbing industry, but to watch them just do them, is another.
"Well, work and play are kind of the same thing," said Sweet Lou as he sat down, unstrapping his shoes, "We're kind of lucky that way."
But the rule was set, no work talk in the gym, it was a safe haven for all who suffered the mass over social stimulation of OR...and I am so glad that it was the sanctuary, because the soill crew are a pretty solid group of people. Ryan, aka the BearCat, just had this happy go lucky nature about literally everything-taking big falls, popping off holds, getting sick sends, it was all just a good time to be a big man with delicate hands. Not to mention, after all the craziness and just being able to wave at one another, to actually shake hands with Jess, the woman deserved some play time, she was constantly strategizing with a new company the entire event. I'm not sure if I ever saw her get a lunch break, truthfully. (see lesson #2) Despite the rule being to just have fun, I learned valuable lessons from the gang.
Lesson #1: Maintain a sense of Play
Because after spending some time with this group of people who are just super passionate about the climbs themselves, I got a better sense of my own sessions. (As well as where all the ideas for their products formulate.) But I was getting kind of hung up on understanding movement, just feeling left behind lately, and not really getting any stronger, and the fun part of climbing had become work. At first, I was extremely anxious when the, "have you tried a/b/c," began, because I was so nervous I couldn't keep up...
Lesson #2: Rest & Nutrition
Then, Louis laughed at me and told me to chill, that I needed to rest between sets, that I was just rapid fire on this one problem. It was true, I was so stuck on that it was, "just a pink, I should be able to do this problem tired or not," that I didn't realize my sense of time was seriously skewed. What felt like a pretty solid five minutes was maybe forty-five seconds, and I definitely was not recuperating properly. My hands had this weird little tweak, and when asked the last time I even had a sip of water was, I realized that in trying to survive the week, I'd literally only been pumped full of espresso. I couldn't even tell you the last time I had a real meal, just sneaking a bite here and there at the sample stations trying to run to the next meet up. I was literally at the end of my fuse for energy, mental, emotional, physical, but I was just wanted to have a little time to climb and do something for myself so badly.
Lesson #3: Stay Creative
The guys made jokes, talked in goofy accents, and we all tried multiple ways on different problems just to keep our brains going. It was really enlightening to me how fixated I'd become on understanding movement. I struggle hard with not getting caught up in grade pushing, because everyone wants to improve and I hate feeling like I'm holding anyone up, but I never would have thought that I was burning myself at both ends to just get "it." Genuinely, it was so nice to just get out of my head and play around at the gym, a little bit of time that training wasn't so focused and was just designated to enjoying what I do.
Yeah, so, after a crazy month and little to no time to myself, I learned how important it is to just stick to the basics and love what you do. In working on keeping things short and sweet;
- Don't get so hung up on shit, do it because you like it.
- Eat and sleep well, and take your time during the climb.
- Never stop exploring what you're capable of.
Next time you're frustrated at the gym, take a step back, don't be ashamed to walk away from a problem and hop on something else-whether it's a higher/lower grade or a completely different style. Take a break, eat a snack, have a laugh, I don't care what it is that keeps your MO up, just hang onto that. Because I promise you, nothing is better for your soul than good food, good people, and good times.