I don’t generally stick to anything. I can easily manage a couple of weeks of a training program, a week and a bit of a diet/drinking change, but in the end, something sets me off and it’s back to square one. Truthfully, making a lasting change is nearly impossible for me.
Lacking commitment? Yep, but I don’t think that’s the sole reason for my lack of finishing power. When climbing was my medicine I trained constantly, to the point even of over training. The climbing gym in Canmore, before being run out of business by the town itself, was my sanctuary. When I had my own business I would steal in there in the afternoon, the gym still showing your breath while the furnace fought the settled cold, maybe one or two other climbers dressed in chalk covered sweaters, hands in the warmth of their armpits. Or when I was gainfully employed and forced to climbing in the evenings, my blinders on, little more than a nod to familiar faces, settled under the boulder problem of the night or the campus board for serious angst and a “piss off” to the pedestrians crowding the gym.
For the most part, I had one or two people I trained with those days. There was a host of others I climbed with outside, but the gym was such a great place to shut all others out and practice in silence. Secretly though, I sat there by myself wishing people would talk to me, that maybe they would be so impressed by my prowess that they would ask me a training question, or that they had heard about what I did on the weekend and would be driven to ask me about it, just a hint of recognition. Ultimately, I was there in brooding silence, my unhealthy thirst for more strength and more technique there to keep me company. My commitment never wavered then. It was my only commitment, and it ended up costing me dearly.
My relationship with climbing isn’t entirely a healthy one. I suppose it started innocently enough, just a couple of misfit kids trying to find new ways of killing time. But it didn’t take long for my obsessive personality and my pathological romanticism to obscure what could have been a healthy undertaking into an addiction and a proving ground of my self worth. Within weeks of taking on the sport I knew that pictures of alpinists on horribly difficult mountain climbs, literally risking their lives in pursuit of their passions, typified the height of the sport, and I wanted nothing less. Clipping bolts, climbing waterfalls, all of that factored into the whole, but the whole without question, is climbing that draws upon all of those skills. All else, in my mind and to this day, is just practice.
So years later I found myself three thousand kilometers from my former home in the heart of Canada’s climbing culture. A small fish in a small but populated pond. I didn’t understand at the time the hold that climbing had over me, but my understanding was that to be involved in the sport as a sport was insulting and laughable, and only those so fully dedicated to the activity that they would sacrifice everything were really participating. That, in a nutshell, is climbing. You could climb 5.13 in a gym or a crag and I would still consider you a spectator, but climb 5.10 in the winter on some long, hellish mountain in the middle of nowhere and you were a god.
So ya, I’m no stranger to commitment. I might lack it these days, but I’m likely better off.