With less than two weeks left on my first trip to Spain, I’m getting more and more glimmers of “real-me.” Every day yields progress forward in my recovery, which never ceases to amaze me. I really have no idea how I’d climb here if I had a fully functioning left hand, and I’m guessing I won’t have that truth revealed to me until next time around. As Kevin keeps telling me, “You’re INJURED, Alli, you need to give yourself some slack,” and he’s right – I’m still completely favoring my right hand and taking as little weight as possible with my left side, subconsciously. I want to believe my capabilities are back to normal, but they’re not, not yet. I noticed this in a more pronounced way yesterday, when I tried an 8a I hadn’t been on before – I have no time to try to sort out beta on the fly; when I grab a hold with my left, no matter how good it is, the signal feels weak, and I want off of it ASAP, back onto the secure and surer strength of righty.
Oh, well. It is what it is. And at least yesterday, I had one tremendous, terrific pitch of climbing during which I felt more like my “real self” than I have this entire trip – I wasn’t pumped; I felt rhythmic, solid, steady and controlled the whole way up this pumpy 8a I’ve been trying – right until I f’ed up a move by getting my hand stuck in a hold (and I have a lovely knuckle-bash to prove it). It was my fault, of course; I was focused ahead on the next move too much to pay proper attention to pulling my hand out of the hold correctly. In any case, I fell, got back on, and finished the route for a one-hang; it felt wicked, and I felt fit and strong – I even clipped normally with my left hand for the first time the whole trip, which Kevin pointed out to me after (I’ve devised a different, injured method for make left clips that isn’t my normal motion; apparently, I reverted back to normal clipping because I could, without even consciously noticing it!).
After that pitch, I felt drained on my next go – my right arm was desperately pumped again. I’m not used to being pumped in my forearms when I climb at all, and having one arm perma-pumped and one arm never pumped continues to feel exceptionally strange, even though it’s kind of status quo at this point on the trip. I think when I stop feeling this and all the numbness dissipates from my left hand entirely that I’ll know I’m back to my true ability level of climbing. But even so, I was again in tears as I picked my way down the treacherously steep and loose rocky trail from the crag at the end of the day, tears of total relief and release – I felt so terribly relieved to just feel that normal pacing and strength again on even one single pitch of climbing here; it gave me confidence that this WILL pass, that I CAN have a good 2012, and it unclenched my stomach knots a little bit more.
This has been such an emotional trip for me; having to realize how much my body means to me and how dependent I am on feeling good physically to feel good wholly still frightens me and makes me feel really vulnerable; I watch every step I take now because I don’t want to fall again and trigger another paralysis episode. Feeling my confidence and sureness inch back upward by the day as my hand improves is an amazing experience; I feel a little lost and uncertain still, though, as I really don’t know where my ability lies at the moment for climbing here or anywhere, and that’s something I won’t know until my hand is totally better. But I’m excited, and I’m loving my life and world right now, and that’s what’s most important to me. And I don’t feel ticked off when I fall, even for a stupid reason like yesterday’s snafu; who cares? I’m rock climbing, and I felt good and strong, and that’s all that really matters to me, in the end. Instead of feeling overly focused on my gimp hand and worried about making clips and such, I just felt good and confident and strong in my body and being and totally in the moment, just climbing. Awesome.