Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mind Matters

Positioning 4th on the second qualifier. Ph Ian Dunn

I am on the train home from the 5th European Youth Cup, tired but satisfied from the weekend. I made it into my 3rd final this year qualifying in 9th and finishing in 7th. The greatest achievement for me was the mental preparation for the competition.  

I had super relaxed journey to Imst starting with a coach ride to London, a great afternoon and evening with Kitty. I set off from London at 5.45, changing in Paris, traveling to Zurich and on to Imst arriving 6 in the evening a long but relaxed Journey. This gave me plenty of time to read and talk to fellow travelers.

I would recommend to all of my readers, most definitely the athletes to read Dan Millmans Way of the Peaceful Warrior. It follows a student Gymnast training for the Olympics who is world champion and learns from an old man how to be truly happy. I will do a future post about how this book has affected my life. It is one of those books that I put down every few pages to reflect on what the Author is saying. Very relevant to Athletes!

I finished it on the train and over the weekend practiced meditating (easy in such beautiful surroundings, my focus was on the Mountains and the flowers), breathing and enjoying very simple foods.  I focused on every moment treating here and now as everything.

These exercises taken from The Way of the Peaceful Warrior helped me calm all my nerves as a tied on for the first qualifier, out in 10th. I climbed with the strength of the mountains and the dynamism of the flowers in the wind. I climbed well Jonny and myself in 9th position on the route. We had everything to play for.

On the second route I was not out till 22nd typically bad news for me as the pressure of qualifiers nearly always scuppers my attempt and the later the worse. However apart from a minor slip I climbed the route perfectly, the mountains and flowers in the back of my mind allowing my climbing to happen subconsciously. I found myself resting holding the last two holds! The finish was hidden out of view and had thrown all but 1 competitor. I built up and threw for the spot touching the edge of success before flying off ranking 4th on the route. This left me qualifying in 9th pretty close, close enough!
Funky moves checking the focus. Ph Ian Dunn

Just over 12 hours later I found myself in isolation with all the climbers I respect as being the best. All apart from Jonny who climbed with incredible strength through both routes only two moves separate from my own qualifying score and was frustratingly bumped out into 11th place.

The final was pumpy masterpiece, every move technically challenging and big enough to drain your energy. I fought through sections almost slipping early on but making up to the top roof. I came down slightly disappointed as always feeling that all the other wads in my group would sail through the climbing I had managed. As usual though I was surprised, improving two places on my qualifying score and was within a few moves of several of the other competitors.
Congratulating the finalists. Ph Alistair Martin 

After the comp Buster and myself mustered the energy to make the most of an open wall and try some of the competition routes. I saw the rest on the team off for their flights and sneaked a cheeky swim in their hotel pool. I spent the last night with my good friends the Firnenburg brothers (Who had two podium positions between the pair, a 1st and a 2nd!). The youth B boys did fantastic to get two into the finals and the overall performance of the team was good. It was nice to have my sister on her first international trip and it is inspiring to see her go from strength to strength. 

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