Many people view Valentines Day as a yearly ritual in consumerism, or as an excuse to revel in witty bitterness, and for some, it’s both. For a lot of us, the 14th of February is just another day of the year. The occasion has become of great importance for greeting card companies and chocolatiers who have a vested interest in promoting the day as a celebration of love. However, there are the hopeless romantics out there who really do care about Valentines Day and use it to remind their special someone just how much they care.
For me, there is only one true love in my life that I can always count on: climbing. Love doesn’t exist! I hear you say (Sam). Love could just be a euphemism for dependency or it could be a genuine mix of emotions for which there is no other, more definitive word. Whatever the true essence of love, I feel that I love climbing. For better or worse, climbing will always be with me.
In the past, my relationship with climbing has had its ups and downs but when times are good, I feel on top of the world; my heart rate speeds up and I’m filled with an intense feeling of excitement. Physical activity is known to increase levels of the pleasure hormone Dopamine but I know that there’s more to it that for most dedicated climbers. So many of us invest a huge part of ourselves in devotion to what is a totally hedonistic activity and I, for one, am pleased with what climbing has given back to me and with what it still holds for me.
Recently though, I’ve had to adopt a “tough love” approach to my climbing. Following a disastrous trip to Font (the only redeeming feature of the entire 16 days was bumping into the God of Bleausards, Jacky Godoffe), I injured the A2 pulley in my left ring finger and had to stop climbing completely. Although, 3 weeks is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, I was only just beginning to see the effects of systematic training and felt particularly frustrated at the prospect of going back to square 1. This was hard but I realized that, although it would be a mistake to carry on with my usual training routine, I could easily adapt my training to work around my injury, whilst focusing on any obvious weakness, e.g. core strength.
Well, I’ve just started climbing down the wall again and, I’m glad to say, things are looking up. Last night, I managed to hang the biggest small rung on the campus board (half crimp) without any pain. This morning, the area was slightly tender but nothing to worry about. With rehabilitation methods such as the Lewis Technique/Cold Water Treatment and some careful fingerboarding, I should be right as rain in no time.
This relationship is back on track, so I will celebrate the 14th of February. This year’s Valentines Day is dedicated to climbing, the love of my life.