Winter is upon us, let the wellies come out of the cupboard!

10th Dec 2015

Chorro El Chorro view2 Munchkin

I would say that winter is here, although I am happily enjoying the almost balmy weather we are having at the moment. It feels like the inevitable cold is just around the corner though, so the long johns are poised for warmth-giving.
Winter isn’t my favourite time of year if I’m honest, somehow my body shuts down a little and doing ‘stuff’ just feels a little harder. I’ll be sitting in my office working on the computer and after a couple of hours realise my hands are like ice blocks and my body has seized up. It helps to wear more layers but there are only so many clothes you can put on before the phrase ‘michelin woman’ starts to come to mind!

I was fortunate enough to have some coaching work in Spain recently. We went to El Chorro, which is somewhere I’d never actually been, so it was a double bonus to be able to check out a new place. We visited four different crags, of which Archidona was probably my favourite. The trip wasn’t about my climbing obviously but I did manage to squeeze in a flash ascent of a brilliant steep tufery f7c called “Danza Aggressiva”. (See image 1 left) We had absolutely glorious sunny weather for 3-4 days and it really did feel like we were on different planet; having come from a decidedly cold, dreary and wet sheffield, it was a lovely way to welcome in the winter.

(Image 2 left, the beautiful view from our apartment below the crag Desplominandia)

My power training kicked off well a few weeks ago. I mentioned previously that I am psyched to get more powerful as this is my major weakness in climbing and winter is a good time for hunkering down to some indoor training. So I was doing a mixture of bouldering, weights and some easy campussing to try and get my body conditioned for pulling harder. The plan was to have around four weeks of power conditioning then up the intensity once I felt ready.

Unfortunately, I’ve stumbled at the first hurdle. I was being foolhardy in that I started this training knowing that I had a problem with both my elbows, golfers to be specific. Although, if I’m honest there is a touch of tennis too. And having had this niggling problem all year, I thought I would try to do some rehab and train at the same time. Not a good idea! The elbows were just becoming more unhappy and it has now got to the point where I have had to say enough is enough and do the sensible thing and STOP. (Elbow exercises right)
I am now just trying to do some rehab myself and hopefully they will come good again. I knew they weren’t great but when you are keen for something you just wanna do it. Some people seem to be able to carry on with sore elbows but due to the fact power isn’t my strong point anyway and I would be asking a lot of my connective tissue, I just didn’t want to run the risk of doing irreversible or permanent damage.

But the other thing that has popped up recently is that I am booked in for an operation to remove some metal from my left leg on 18 December. So in a way it’s worked out ok. I won’t be able to climb for a few weeks anyway (and over xmas and new year is a good time to take a break and enjoy life), so the elbows will be rested and I can just focus on doing the right exercises for them. Already, I would say the elbows feel marginally better after what I’ve been doing and the seemingly innocuous action of washing my face doesn’t seem as painful!

(Image 3 left, how can something this small cause so much trouble?!)

I have something to look forward to though, some more TV work. C4 are filming a new health series with Davina McCall and one of the participants is having to do some climbing as part of a challenge. I will be filming at Stanage next week for a couple of days and some more in the New Year. Hopefully, the rain and wind will hold off and we’ll have a pleasant day up there. 

A double decker of cuteness and trouble, Theo (Tayo) and Buis on the bottom.


That’s it for now, more dog walking to be done. My two lovable badly behaved dogs are challenging but at times like this when climbing isn’t really happening, they are a welcome distraction. Even if going out for walks with them seems like all out warfare at times! It is official, I now have eyes in the back of my head...god forbid another dog should appear within 100 yards of us!! If only they could stay indoors all the time, life would be perfect, haha!