Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Got It

So- all in all, the Horse Pens comp was a huge success. We all headed out to Alabama Friday afternoon and stayed with the Traylors. Annie had a great time running around their lakefront lawn and terrorizing their poor dog. Saturday morning started very early but Amie saw to it that our bellies were all filled with blueberry pancakes before sending us on our way to the boulderfield. Annie looked like the kid from the Christmas Story, wearing so many layers that locomotion was impossible. Luckily the day warmed up quickly and we were all able to shed some layers. It was great to greet the usual faces and introduce our daughter to this 'Triple Crown' community that we've been a part of for so long.

I was psyched to see Angie Payne and Kasia Pietras there: those two are always strong and inspiring so it was great to have some strong female energy around. Last year I went around the boulders with them during the comp, being entirely too pregnant to climb, to point out problems and beta. This year, I was back on the boulders. I started out strong- hoping to finish as many problems as I could before Annie's naptime. By my 7th completed problem, I took a break to feed Annie lunch and try and get her down for a nap. (This is when the day started getting a lot more difficult). Until that point, Annie (now 11 months) was having a great day playing with rocks, sticks, leaves and acorns and watching the crowds. Still, this was not the normal day at the crag and she would not take a nap for the life of me or my husband! She ended up taking a brief nap in the car but nothing substantial. As for me, the guns were empty and completing the final 3 problems was ROUGH. After spending some time in the prAna tent after the comp was over, we left before the awards ceremony with a very sleepy baby.

For having had very limited time to train and for it being my first competition back, I was proud of my performance (placing 2nd in women's open). The experience reaffirmed that I can be an athlete AND a mother- with balance, as with all things. Don't count me out yet, I believe I still have my best climbing days ahead of me! I don't have many photos from the comp, but Brett May was kind enough to send me these and video is coming- stay tuned ; )

Friday, November 4, 2011

Competition Comeback

So I'm staging a competition comeback. Who knows how far it will go, but I've got the bug again and I'll be going to Horse Pens 40 tomorrow to compete in the last leg of the Triple Crown. I route climbed throughout my pregnancy and started back not too long after delivery, but bouldering was something that was on pause for a LONG time. I started bouldering again a couple months ago and took Annie for her first bouldering trip the first cool day this fall. I really thought that after Annie competition climbing would be a thing of my past. I knew that finding the time to train would be difficult and when given the choice I will always choose playing and hanging out with the coolest little girl around over training. The crag, though, offers a perfect venue for both. Annie couldn't be any happier than she is when she’s outside. She’s earned the nickname ‘Acorn Annie’ for her affinity with anything that comes off a tree (leaves, sticks, and of course acorns).

Preparing for this competition has been a series of failures. For example, having the car packed & running warm ready to leave for a day of bouldering, only to realize when moving the sleeping baby from crib to carseat that she was coming down with croup. Or the many nights that I meant to go to the gym, but Kenneth had to work late or Annie wouldn’t go back to sleep for him. Or even the few times that I braved the climbing gym with Annie in tow who would have the time of her life tearing around the gym while little to no training was accomplished.

So this will certainly make things interesting tomorrow. I can honestly say I have no idea how I will climb. The last time I climbed at Horse Pens was two years ago and the last time I walked through the boulders was when I was 9 months pregnant with Annie. I do believe that 90% of climbing success is mental and I’m certainly going to rally some serious psych! Having a little lady along will certainly be inspiration and at least I know she’ll be happy that Horse Pens has plenty of acorns : )

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bonus Day

Last friday, I convinced Kenneth to take off work and steal away for a beautiful day in the canyon. High temps were in the mid 70s and we had a great day. After all the rain from the past week, Annie had her first opportunity to get covered in mud and thoroughly enjoyed playing with tiny rocks and trying to scale the talus piles. I sent 3 cave routes- repeating Hooligans which made me feel like my body is almost back to my pre-pregnancy strength. Here's some photos from our sweet family crag day:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Craggin' Baby

I haven’t blogged for quite some time, but I feel like things are coming back to a balance where there is more time for things like climbing. When Annie was about 6 months (right when she started crawling well), I started taking her with me to the gym once or twice a week. She thinks it’s great fun to crawl all over and chew on the ropes and hang from the holds. And for the first time since her delivery, I can say that my strength is returning. I started bouldering again for the first time in well over a year (only route climbing during my pregnancy). My body is starting to remember the faster, more powerful movement- and I notice big strides each week. While I spend the vast majority of my time at the crag/gym chasing Annie around, I am starting to send 13s again. Still a ways away from my pre-pregnancy level of performance, I feel healthy, strong, and psyched.

Annie is now 9 months old and makes me so fundamentally happy. I am in awe of her everyday as I watch her discover the world around her. I am so in love that I feel like my heart is going to explode any day now. Pure adoration. So many of my parenting worries have lulled and there are moments when I could not feel any more whole. I look forward to the evening hours every day when I read her bedtime stories, watch her eyes flutter as I nurse her to sleep, and then just rock for a while in the serenity of the moment. I feel incredibly connected to her and we have so much understanding between the two of us. There is nothing more magical.

And what I couldn’t be more happy about is how much Annie likes to be outside. It will be easier when she’s a little older and beyond the ‘I-must-shove-all-the-dirt/rocks/sticks-I-can-find-into-my-mouth-stage’, but it is still wonderful to see her hanging out at the crag as if nothing could be more normal. One of the key beta points I’ll offer to other parents trying to bring baby out to the crag is the hammock. Annie’s like most babies- when she’s tired, you have a short window to get her to sleep and beyond that it’s living with an over-tired baby (think honey badger). She’s never been one to nap easily (forget stroller, carseat, etc). Enter: hammock. I picked up one of those easily-packed, stuffs down to the size of a raincoat- hammocks at REI a couple of weeks ago and it is the ticket to napping outdoors. The downside/upside is that I have to nap with her. That’s a win-win if you ask me.

Here’s some photos of family craggin over the past couple months:

Just woke up from our nap

Cheering on Papa
Baby sign for 'Allez!'

River Ready
The best toys in life are free
We even travel with our own lifeguard

Saturday, April 9, 2011

First Canyon Day

Yesterday was quite possibly one of the happiest days of my life. Annie, now 4 months old, is in love with the outdoors. In the evenings when she gets fussy and preoccupied with teething at home, I have learned that taking her out for a walk or to watch the rain or even just looking at the growing garden soothes her like nothing else. Earlier in the week we decided that if the weather looked good that we would try and take her out to the canyon to see how she would do. Our expectations were that we probably would not get to climb and that she may only last a couple of hours, but it seemed like it was time to start normalizing the wilderness experience. All week I mulled over the details. . . ‘maybe we should buy a little kid tent so we could have a place if the bugs were bad? . . . ‘what if she won’t be able to nap- she has a really hard time sleeping anywhere except her room? . . . ‘will she be hot, bored,scared? Should we bring toys for her? . . . ‘maybe she’s too little- are we being crazy parents for taking a baby in the woods? ‘. I packed and repacked, watched the forecast, tried to plan our travel times with her naptimes, etc.

And so yesterday, exactly a year after we first heard our baby’s heartbeat, we packed up the car and strapped our little girl in her car seat canyon-bound. She tolerated the drive alright for someone who likes to sit still about as much as she likes her immunizations. I rode in the back with her and entertained her with songs and bubbles and books- with my husband more amused than her by my antics to keep her happy. As soon as we got her out of the car and into her carrier for the hike in, she started this sweet cooing/singing that she started doing this past week. She sang happily all the way to the crag and had her happiest day yet.

After hanging out- touching trees and leaves and the rock, she nursed and fell asleep for one of her best naps to the lull of the nearby waterfall. She woke up in time to watch her mommy climb a few pitches and then had her toes dipped in the cool water coming off the falls. It was pretty warm, but she gladly hung out in just a diaper and stayed in the well shaded parts of the crag. She watched the bugs buzzing around and the leaves blowing and wiggled her toes in the dirt. We left around 5 when we ran out of shade.

As I sat at the base of the cliff, I started to realize how my worries were unfounded. Where better to sleep soundly? Watching her find calm and peace in our canyon, hallowed grounds for my husband and I, was beyond words. There is nothing crazy about bringing baby outside. And I savored the canyon like I never had. A year ago I would’ve been frustrated by the conditions (too hot, too muggy, all the hard routes were wet), too concerned about the numbers/the upcoming comp/getting a workout in. I would have missed the new leaves rolling out of their buds and the smell of the cool breeze. I enjoyed my old warm-up routes like they were new. Having been away from climbing for the better part of 6 months, I’m having to rely on technique and experience over strength. Climbing feels so good- and it’s peaceful and calm. No projects, no agenda, no expectations. I know I will get back in shape and get to the point where I’m ready for projecting or comps or pushing my limit, but for now I’m just going to look forward all week to our quiet, laid-back Saturdays at the crag. There’s that familiar cliché that we learn more from our children than the other way around, but I’m actually starting to believe it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Sometimes the journey of a lifetime is not the exotic adventure that you once thought it might be, but rather a watching your daughter meet her great grandma whose mother is her namesake. . . .

Four Generations

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines!

Best Valentine's Day ever:

Friday, January 28, 2011

Annie's First Eight

In some ways, I cannot believe it’s already been eight weeks and in others, I feel like it has been a lifetime of emotion, growth, and introspection. For all of you that have been asking for more posts, I apologize. My hands and heart are fuller than I could have imagined. For my family and long-distance friends, I’m posting a video that I put together of Annie’s first eight weeks and some photos as well.

December was the best and the worst month of my life. Shortly after we got Annie home, I had to be re-hospitalized for a uterine infection. Laying in the ER that night, I hurt much worse than when I was in labor and felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest, having to leave my little girl at home where she was safe. That 48 hours without her was a dark time for me. I couldn’t make milk unless Kenneth brought clothes/blankets that smelled like her from home. This mother-daughter bond is so intense. The reunion with her despite the relatively short separation is something I will never forget.

Lately the crying has been very challenging: I am used to soothing babies as part of my work, so it’s hard to struggle at times with my own child. Annie is definitely her mother’s daughter (poor Kenneth). She has the hardest time being still and is often too busy to sleep so I’ve recruited one of my dear friends who is a professional baby whisperer, Kathi, to inspire some calm in the two of us.

I started climbing again last week and it feels so good. My level of strength is humbling, but it is starting to come back. The first time I went, my mind was full of Annie and worries of leaving her for a couple hours, but this past week, I was able to climb and use it to clear my mind and re-center. I am so relieved to know that climbing still works that way for me. I’ve always needed climbing or something physical (running, swimming) to cope with my stress, but I’m trying to learn new ways as well. Annie and I are doing some mommy-baby yoga & I’ve made a mommy-baby climbing workout that is downright hilarious (think pull-ups with baby in moby wrap, kissy push-ups, itsy-bitsy spider stretches . . .whatever works, right?).