I’m pregnant! Now I’m gonna set some serious training goals

Well, back in May, Brandon and I decided to add another member to our family. We immediately got pregnant, and here I am 7 pounds heavier and feeling sick and exhausted most of the time. BEST DECISION EVERūüė≥. But seriously, we are excited for our little nugget to join us in February.

So, let’s recap a bit. For anyone doing the math, yes, I was pregnant at the Vail World Cup. Was I affected by it? Yes, I was. I felt strong, but I got tired really fast and couldn’t recover! By the time I got to the 3rd problem I was fried. A superbly lovely Canadian competitor stood in ISO with me massaging the pump out of my arms. Her generosity nearly brought me to tears, but in hindsight it was probably the hormones.¬†Frankly, I stood there looking at the last problem and thought, “I wonder if anyone would notice if I just stood here the whole time not climbing?” I considered just fondling the start holds, but as it turns out, that is pretty much all I accomplished anyway. ¬†Oh well. If I hadn’t been pregnant, would have I won the VWC? Obviously not. Made it to finals. No. Made it to semis? Maybe. ¬†At any rate, I love being the “only” or the “most” or the “best” at something. I am sure I was the oldest female… in fact Alex ¬†Puccio pointed out that I was the oldest female competitor. Thanks girl ūüėú.¬†But that is a hat I wear a lot… because 32 is so old. Also, I’m typically the only mom, and I may have been at the WC. ¬†But I bet I was the ONLY pregnant competitor (there may be a rule against that?) and therefor I was clearly the best oldest and pregnant competitor! #winning

Well, let’s flash forward to now. My belly is protruding, and I suspect that people at the climbing gym are nudging each other and saying “man, she should lay off the beer and cookies”. Currently, I am rocking the classic party-girl bod: skinny all over save for the belly that pops out through my tight shirts.

What can I do?? Well, I can set a goal and proceed. So, I’m working with Kris Hampton at Power Company Climbing to design my “strong mama” program. The next post will detail what I’m up to complete with videos!! Follow along for some great info on training while pregnant or to simply watch my hormone ridden attempts at getting stronger. I plan to post regularly (despite the fact that Ive never been a regular blogger)

Should be entertaining!

In Summary

In summary, these last 15 days have been some of the most difficult, most profound, and most amazing days. They have stretched my emotional capabilities, my patience and my empathy. They have caused me to question my values, my practices as a teacher and re-evaluate how I interact with those around me.

Daily life was a challenge. In Tourirt, our rural placement in eastern Morocco, we felt the gender differences amplified. We were told we could not sit outside at a cafe, and we were chided for sitting on a park bench; all due to our gender. But, at the same time, I discovered the true beauty of the culture. Compassion, empathy and hospitality are likely the three words that best describe the families, the communities and the schools that I worked in. ¬†At school, students brought us gifts, served us food, sang us songs and created art-work. They openly invited us to have dinner in their homes. With each home we entered, we were served incredible meals, given gifts and were treated with the utmost care and love. Everyone would drop everything simply to spend time with us and host us. I made the mistake on multiple occasions to compliment someone on something. Once, I complimented a teacher on her dress. Another time, I complimented a host on her salt and pepper shakers. In both cases, I left with the item in which I complimented in my possession. ¬†I wonder what might have happened if I had complimented someone on their refrigerator?! But the point is, in the US we don’t share this value of hospitality and genuine care for one-another. Many would say that we cannot because we are too busy. But Moroccans are busy too! Everyone works, does sports, has homework, watches TV and have social media. But they make time. Why can’t we? Why is it that we can’t value each other more? Would it enhance our culture? Would it make a difference? Would it perhaps decrease the violence we see in our society?

And, at the end of it all, I have a message from Moroccan students to American Students. They want you to know that they are just like you. They enjoy music, sports, friends, fashion and food. They love their families, and they like to earn good grades. They have big dreams. Where they differ is that they won’t have the same global opportunities as you. For a Moroccan to travel to the US, they have to save an incredible amount of money. For example, a teacher in Morocco makes $500 (USD) monthly. A flight to the US is $1300. So, how can they travel? Visas are expensive, their bank-cards don’t work in other countries so everything has to be paid before-hand, and then when they get there, they will pay a ton of money on food and lodging. They want me to express to you that you need to take opportunities to travel. They are absolutely correct. I can write in my blog about how life-changing living another’s culture is, or how moving it is to be embraced by people across the world, but the truth is, you won’t know until you have the experience…authentically. So my message, and the message of my Moroccan students to you: take advantage of your privileges. You are American and therefore have the ability and means to travel, to explore and to expand your mind. Do it. See you on Thursday! I’ve missed you!!

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The Rodeo and the Paparazzi

I had a short week of “rest” between comps. This really entailed a visit from my parents, a full work week, and of course some precious toddler time. I try to make sure my kiddo gets some fun outings that don’t involve climbing, so I took him to a museum and the zoo. Onward to Hueco! I was pretty excited to get to Hueco this year. I was doing an Instragram takeover for Asana and running the Asana booth. Fortunately, my friend Joelle came along to help support me and run the booth. My climbing day was pretty solid. My score card included Speedbump V7, Shower Cap V9, Fern Roof V8, Daily Dick Dose V7 and Stegasaurus V7. This is certainly a good day, but I had some unfortunate falls on Baby Face and PFOS, so alas, I came in 2nd to the always strong Kyra Condie. We finished just 10 points apart, but those 2 non-sends kept me from the top of the podium. But truthfully, the purpose of this blog is to talk about the most interesting experience this year. ¬†Cameras. I have never really considered myself a proper “pro”, nor has anyone else, but I got the “pro treatment” over the weekend, and I discovered that is comes with a tremendous amount of pressure! If you haven’t experienced this before, imagine this: You are sitting at a boulder problem that is hard for you, but that you think you can do. There are 3-5 photographers all poised to catch that magical moment when you send. They are positioned in uncomfortable places and sweating in the heat. They have been holding up heavy cameras and lugging around gear all day! You step up, climb half-way, then fall. What do you do? Normally, you take a break. Eat a sandwich. Socialize. And then 10 minutes later you try again. But today, you have the pressure of the camera-men. They don’t say anything other than kind words of encouragement, but you can almost feel them silently pleading with you to send so then can relax their arms or step down from the balancing act they do with thousands of dollars on a precarious perch. ¬†So, what do you really do? You become a human machine gun. You fire the moves over and over again desperately hoping one of the attempts finally hits the mark. But we are all climbers here. Come on. You know what happens when these kind of attempts are made? You get sloppy. You get tired. Your skin wears thin. And. You. Don’t. Send.

Now, I am sure the real pros don’t sit there thinking about the well-being of the photographers. They probably don’t wonder if they need a bathroom break or a drink of water. They probably aren’t concerned that it is impolite to not send. Toward the end of my day, I was flailing around on something that probably wouldn’t be so hard in normal circumstances, but there I was. Machine gunning the thing. Finally, the photographers wandered off. Maybe they were taking a pee break? And what happened? I took a break, and then I sent. They walked back as I was packing up and realized they missed “the shot”. A look of frustration mixed with general exhaustion crossed their faces, and then we moved on. That was the last problem I sent for the day.

So, lesson learned? I don’t really know. Maybe it is that I like flying under the radar? Maybe it is that I need calm down¬†and simply learn how to be photographed? Maybe I just need a weekend of climbing with just my hubby. Or maybe I need to take a break from social media, #s and all things that seem to consume me and get back to the root of what I love. Trying hard on rock. I am not sure.

Dreamin’

Well, I am stoked. I sent Xiao Di Di a V11 at the Temple. This is really exciting for me because I feel that I have solidly broken into the double digits. My first double digit send was the Argument V12. This one seemed a bit odd to me because I went from V9 to V12!?!? I didn’t quite buy it. Sure, it might be V12 to some, but surely not me…musta suited me right? Well, a couple of weeks later, I sent Fei Gai V10. Whew! That made me feel a bit better, but then I went a couple of months without another double digit send. I decided a 3rd double digit send would solidify it, tadaaaa! I sent a V11.

I remember back when I set goals as a V5 climber. I said, “mylife goal is to send a double digit boulder problem and a 13a”. Well, I’ve done both, but now I want more…of course! When will I be satisfied? Never, I suppose. But, I guess that is appropriate. If one is ever “satisfied” with their current strength level, then they have become stagnant, and I would venture to guess that the end of their climbing days might be in sight? Of course, I know that as age closes in on me, I may hit a point where it is really difficult to get stronger, but then, I’ve always said that is what trad-climbing and peak bagging is for…ha. Well, now I need to set my sights on the next project. Hueco season is upon us. So is comp season. Thank goodness for Power Company Climbing! Otherwise I would never be able to figure out how to train for all of this!14280551_576291495887746_4870127442011881472_n

World Cup and Bend Summer Comp

This summer has been less than typical for me. Usually, my summer revolves around outdoor trips to iconic climbing destinations, but this year, I traveled to compete. First, I went to Vail to compete in my first ever world cup. I was fairly nervous as I had never competed at that level before. I felt a bit star struck as I warmed up along side the best climbers in the world. What the heck am I doing here? I wondered what possessed me to come to a venue like this and potentially embarrass myself. I’m also positive that I was the oldest competitor and the only female competing who is also a mom. I decided to just let go of my insecurities and look at it as an opportunity to climb some of the best set and most interesting problems that I have ever been on. As I turned to look at problem 1, I giggled. This problem was set with those cool looking orange rectangles that were used at ABS Nationals in finals. While sitting in the audience at Nationals Finals, I wanted desperately to touch those holds. Now, I was getting my chance! And they were tricky. The setters brilliantly designed a climb that consisted of clumps of these holds. The problem is, as you move from one cluster to the next, you find yourself touching each of the holds, fondling all surfaces available until you find the space that is remotely possible to hang on to. This was really hard! After multiple tries and miscalculations, I found myself in the last cluster. I was tired, and I couldn’t power through. But I got the bonus, which as it turns out was pretty decent compared to much of the competition. The next two problems were a blur of brutally hard moves off the ground. Indeed, I was feeling frustrated. I wasn’t alone. Going back into iso between problems I was met with drawn faces, teary eyes, and frustrated noises. My fellow competitors were definitely struggling as well. Michaela Kiersch, a seasoned competitor, tsked the downtrodden crew. We are only 1/2 way through….don’t get down on yourself! Personally, I wasn’t feeling too upset. I didn’t really have many expectations. I also realize now that being older is a real advantage. I have better emotional regularity. As a 31 year old, I can recognize in the moment that even if I do super horrible, life will go on. Honestly, it won’t change anything in my life.But, I remember my 17 year old self well. 17 year old Molly would have probably melted down at the point. So I moved on to problem 4. I was so happy to see my best friend in comps…mantle to slab! Yes! It took a little finagling and some finger nail pulling, but I got up problem 4. I couldn’t be happier. Problem 5 was a repeat of two and three (I need to work on power), but overall, not a bad day. I finished in 24th, just 2 attempts away from making semis! I was pleased. I finished 6th out of the US women (18 competed) so this made me pretty stoked.

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Two weeks later, I boarded a plane for Montana. The plan was to teach a week long horse camp (which by the way I also organized), then head to Bend OR for their Summer Comp. The drive to Bend is 9 hours, and I would have my mother and 2 year old son in tow. Allow me to lay this out. I taught in the hot sun for 8 hours daily, ran activities, dealt with issues that were rather stressful at camp, and then got in a car and drove 9 hours. This was on top of never getting more than 6 hours of sleep all week. I was also eating CRAP, and I didn’t touch a climbing wall for 7 days. So, I arrived to the qualifiers bleary eyed, under-nourished, and stressed. To add to everything else, I wasn’t going to this comp for funsies. I was going to win some money. My hubby and I have been living tight financially, so I wanted to win some $$ to help get some bills paid. This is a high paying comp. 1st wins $2500, 2nd $1500 and on down to 5th at $650. I knew that some strong ladies would be in attendance, but I was hopeful.

I had the WORST climbing day in qualifiers. I would feel really strong for 2 moves, then I would pump out. I could be on the largest jug, and my hands would simple peel open.What. The. Hell. Alright. I needed to pull it together. In the last few moments, I pulled out a climb that gave me the points necessary to squeak into 5th. Wow, that was close. I went back to the hotel, ate some veggies, and took a nap. I woke, ate some more good food, and napped again. I did this multiple times, and was feeling somewhat human by Saturday night which was finals.

Finals was awesome! It was set at a brewery and was outdoors on a wall that was built for the comp. The holds were all brand-new. The setting was great. In the end, I sent 3 of the 4 problems taking 2nd behind Alanna Yip. Not too shabby. The best part was, as soon as I finished my last problem, the comp organizer handed me a brew. Pretty sweet.  I deposited my $1500 and headed home. I will NEVER compete for the sake of money again. That was awful! The comp would have been so enjoyable if I had the mindset that I take to every other comp. This is a fun opportunity to climb well-set problems and climb with other like-minded climbing chickas. And, if I am lucky, I might get to help put on a good show in finals. This to me is the only mindset for competition.

 

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Mill Creek Report

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I was recently featured on Ken Turley’s blog, Mill Creek Report. In the article, he outlines my climbing career including the high points and the low points. It is a super flattering piece, and it also reminds me of how hard I have had to work! I have had 3 finger injuries, one of which landed me in surgery, I have had the birth of my son and the trials of balancing a career, a family and supporting a husband as he pursues a PHD. Also, I am old by competition climber standards. At ABS Nationals this year, my old age of 31 was mentioned multiple times… alas

I don’t live the life of a sponsored pro climber. That sounds pretty sweet, I admit. But instead, I work 40 hours per week, and I have a family! My husband and I sacrifice quite a lot to pursue our love for climbing, but ultimately, it is worth it. I have lofty goals, it is true, but I love working toward those goals, and I am so fortunate to have a supportive pit crew including my husband and son, my friends, and of course, my coach Kris Hampton of Power Company Climbing.

Mill Creek Blog Post

 

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