Gambling with Time: Working on my First 5.13

Gambling with Time: Working on my First 5.13

I have three sessions left to send my project before I leave Lander.

I am privileged to have the space, time and energy to care this much about a rock climb.

However, I think I like big climbing projects because they teach me about myself. These lessons are usually bigger and more important than climbing ever could be.

Today, I need to process some thoughts. Writing helps me do that. And you, reader, might as well benefit from it.

Maybe some day this will help you when you’re climbing a really hard rock climb.

The Big Question: Volume vs. a Big Project

When I got to Lander three weeks ago, I panicked.

My thoughts went something like this:

“Should I start a project and go all in? Or should I try to send something a little easier, build momentum, and then start working on my 5.13 goal?”

I decided to split the difference.

“I’ll start in on a project and spend half my days on that. Then the other days, I’ll climb different things and try to rack up more moderate sends.”

Well, it was a good idea in theory, but then reality set in.

Turns out, hard rock climbs are hard.

They’re hard on your skin and hard on your body.

And as much as I wanted to ignore the pain I started feeling in my left palm (and the persistent gaping hole on the tip of my left ring finger) I knew I was headed straight to injury land if I didn’t come up with a new plan to manage my climbing volume.

Alas, some of the “exploratory time” for second tier sending is getting sacrificed for the sake of sending “the proj” – and for the sake of my body not falling apart.

Gambling with Time

It’s this weird thing right now. Where I am really close to doing the thing. I have made steady progress over the last six sessions, but I still know it could go either way.

If I send, I’ll be stoked. My season will be going according to plan. My multi-year dream of cracking 5.13 will be a reality.

If I don’t, I might regret my decision. I could go home after six weeks empty handed.

I am presently preoccupied by the latter possibility.

Last night, I asked my other half, Michael if I was acting the same way I did before I sent my first 12d, Jesus Wept. He laughed and said:

“oh my god, Lauren. Yes. You’re doing the same thing as last time.”

My friends and Michael think I can do it. I feel like a lot of people believe in me more than I believe in myself.

It almost feels like I’m scared of looking like an idiot who worked on a rock climb for more than a month and still didn’t send.

Like I’d be guilty of “wasting time” that other people would kill for. I mean, before I left my job last year, the idea of being in Lander for a month seemed like an idea from another universe. And now I’m here. And I’m scared that I’m “squandering it” or not “doing it right” or something.

Oh yeah, and what kind of coach am I if “waste a whole climbing trip”?

A Rockstar of Self-Criticism

My therapist once asked me to write down a situation that I’m beating myself up about. Then I was supposed to imagine a dear friend is in the situation and asking for advice. After that, I was supposed to respond to my “friend” with my kindest, best advice.

I’m sure you can see where this is going.

We, as humans, beat ourselves up a lot. Things we say to ourselves aren’t very nice. The moral is: if we wouldn’t say it to a friend or a loved one, then why would we say it to ourselves?

Anyhow, I’m sure you can tell that I’m a rock star at self-criticism. Don’t worry, I’m working on it.

Is it really a waste?

The funny thing is, if one of my athletes tried to say they were “wasting” their climbing trip pushing themselves, leveraging projecting tactics, and trying really fucking hard on the most difficult climb they had ever attempted, I would heartily disagree.

I would probably tell them how proud I was that they kept showing up.

And that I was really happy that they were brave enough to step up to a climb that is a lot more difficult than anything they have ever tried.

And that they’re even doing really well with a bunch of people watching, which I know has been hard for them in the past.

And that they’re easily pulling moves that felt very, very hard two sessions ago.

I would remind them that it’s never a waste of time if you’re learning something.

But oh how funny, that I have a hard time being this kind to myself?

You don’t climb 5.13 unless you try to climb 5.13

Two years ago, I sent my 3rd ever 5.12a in Lander. And now, I’m making massive links on what could be my first 5.13. It’s really easy to beat ourselves up and forget to see how far we’ve come.

Also, despite the “gamble” I am taking, my decision to go in on a project was driven by what inspired me. Going in deep on a project is one of my favorite things about climbing.

I’ll never climb 5.13 unless I try to climb 5.13. Send or no send, I’ve already made big strides towards that goal.

Oh yeah, and here’s a video of my best link yet.

If I would have stuck that last move…. would have been a one hang.

Maybe next time.

Onward and upward.

Have you ever felt like you “wasted time” on a project? What was one positive thing you gained from the process, even if it wasn’t a send? Let me know in the comments!

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