Nature's Bakery

The Road to Recovery

It’s the fourth training session of the week my arms are tiring and I can feel the build up of lactic weighing me down. After 14 year of climbing I feel like a total beginner again.

In March of last year I was training 5 to 7 days a week, twice a day, looking forward to a strong summer season. My energy levels were high which made me restless on my days off. So my rest days soon became my chilled out activity days.

Long boarding was my favorite way to burn of this excess energy, carving through the hills of Wales calmed my mind and gave me a break from sitting at home. Long boarding is however the reason I have been forced to take a trip back in time to my roots as a climber. An unusually sunny Bangor evening drew me out of the house and onto the hill. My usual confidence on the board was not with me though, three quarters of the way down the hill a small stone dislodged me from my board sending me wrist first through the air strait into the asphalt at 18 mph.

Six hours later I was discharged from A&E (Accident and emergency department) with nothing more than a sprain, a sprain that three weeks later became 3 fractures and a partly torn tendon.  Coming back to climbing wasn't something I wanted to do, it was something I needed. It was like a drug, having withdrawal from not being able to practice. I was an addict, addicted to climbing and I would do anything to get back onto the wall sooner. Being inpatient I got back on the wall 3 days after my accident but only one arm top roping on a vertical wall. Realizing this was not the best idea, I rested it for a few weeks, only watching climbing movies dreaming of climbing hard again. The hand surgeon told me my recovery time would be a minimum 20 of weeks from the bad bone bruising. The more I rested the lazier I felt, even though I knew I was getting better it all just takes time.

At the start of January, eight months later I was back in Wales, after my adventure in the States, I was back to training and I felt like a beginner.

Its not that I had lost my climbing brain far from it that was working in overdrive, I had lost the strength and I felt weak. So I have trained hard and for long periods of time knowing that the only way forward was to start from scratch. My 14 years of experience has been my most useful asset in aiding my recover, I know how hard to push myself and I know when need to take a rest. Now I am training 4 days a week and feeling stronger with each session.