I have pinballed my way through May, June, July, and I have not quit my year long journey training to climb 5.12. As a teacher, you would think that summer months would be my time to catch up with writing not to fall behind. However, in these last few months of my year long journey to climbing 5.12 there has been a comical amount of zigging and zagging. You have to laugh, because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. Read on! 🙂

With any long term plan, something is going to go sideways at some point in time. May, June, and July were that “point” for me. Three months is a rather lengthy “point in time,” but I know we have all experienced worse. Looking at you Covid-19!

The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry.


I want to make a little literary reference to Of Mice and Men here, about how the “best laid plan of mice and men go oft awry,” but at the end of that book Lennie dies and at the end of the poem the mouse will either be eaten by a predator or die of starvation/exposure as winter is imminent. Little dark. My plans went awry, but not that bad. lol.

This is Kitty. She is 14, one year shy of celebrating her Quinceanera, and she had a health scare in May. 4 days of not eating, 3 vet visits, 3 months of steroid pills, 1 expensive prescription cat food, and $1500 to learn that she now has a chicken allergy.

All Things Not Training to Climb 5.12

Anyway, what has been going on? Looking back over the last 3 months, in order of ridiculousness, I had 3 vet appointments after work because our cat (see above) is now allergic to chicken, had a minor knee injury to rehab, was out of town for 23 days, had whiplash for 3 days, had poison Ivy for 3 weeks simultaneously with an allergic rash from doxycycline for 2 weeks, was sea sick for 4 days, and had one 10 out of 10 heinous afternoon at the Gyno. So.

Aside from the above activities and misadventures, my training logs, at the bottom of this post, actually show that it wasn’t all that bad! Lets take a look at the journey.

Survival Lesson Take-Aways: Safely Training to Climb 5.12

When it rains, it pours. 30 of the last 90 days were totally kaput or had something relatively serious going on.

Upfront, unrelated to training for climbing, I learned 3 important survival lessons:

  • I am allergic to Poison Ivy after all.
  • I am allergic to Doxycycline, and its whole drug family.
  • Seasickness, like a concussion, is not a one day affair, and no amount of NSAID will fix it.

When Plateauing Is Hard

With training to climbing 5.12, the trick of the last three months was ensuring that my workouts consistent and rigorous enough to not loose progress. I wanted to plateau, not go downhill, because, May actually began and ended pretty strong for me. 🙂

May Achievements

All of these were great accomplishments that I was proud of!

  • Sent a 12+ on lead in two sessions
  • Got my pull ups to sets of 10, 9, 8
  • getting to the 15mm rung on the hangboard
  • Sent my first V5 at the NRG
  • My bench press was at 85lbs and my curl press was improving at 20lbs

What the Heck June?!

June was a bit of a gauntlet. It brought a Poison Ivy rash, a doxycycline rash, a knee overuse injury, whiplash, and a 10 day trip to see my mom and dad in Ohio. For 5 days of the month I was doping on steroids, (thank you Poison Ivy!) but for the other 25 days I had to keep it together without performance enhancing drugs.

  • Made it to the climbing gym only 4 times!
  • Lifted NINE times! (Hit the gym with my Dad in Ohio a lot.)
  • Went from 5 to 8 max pull ups on the bar while in Ohio
  • Took 6 walks
  • 2 hard days of mountain biking on my new bike (Thus, the knee problem!)
  • 2 days of Scuba class, which was totally a workout! 😀
Rob and me after our final dive. Who knew I would be seasick for the next 4 day!
Rob and me on the boat ready for our first two dive checks! We killed it.

I thought I was in the clear: July

I figured July would be awesome. My rashes were half-way healed and Rob and I enjoyed 5 days at Isla Morada in the Florida Keys with a couple of close friends for our scuba certification. We almost had a front row seat to Tropical Storm Elsa, which was kind of cool, but we ended up with fewer dives, a bit more time indoors than expected, and I ended up very seasick. I was seasick for 4 days. As far as training in July goes; I squoze it in, but only worked out 17 of the 31 days in July.

  • 3 days of lifting, at a lower capacity
  • Climbed 5 days at the gym: Flashed an 11+ and a 12- on lead at the gym
  • 3 days at the NRG: worked on Sacho Belige 11c and Cross Eyed and Blind 11a at the NRG
  • Back on the bike for 6 rides, total of 44.1 miles
My friend Michelle warming up for a day at Meadow Top at the NRG.
My friend Kristin and I out for a ride. This was my first ride on my new bike. IMO, mountain biking is an awesome sport that compliments training to climb!

May, June, July Training Log

I love keeping a training log. 🙂 It is the best way to maintain consistency. Often, when I feel like I haven’t been consistent with workouts, like the last 3 months, I look back at my log and realize that I am actually doing OK. It is nice to have a tangible record of hard work and progress or maintenance.

Where am I now? Last August vs. This August

It was this time last year that I got the idea, maybe I could send a 5.12 outside. I had sent a couple 12s in the gym, and people thought the grades were OK, so…? But, I didn’t send anything last fall. So, that makes me want to take a close look at where I was last August, and where I am this August.

August 2020August 2021
3 sets of 5 pull ups10, 9, 8 pull ups
Bench Press 75lbsBench Press 85lbs
12s sent on lead in the gym: 212s sent in the gym on lead: at least 3
August 2020 compared to August 2021

Training to Climb 5.12 August 2021 Goals and Intentions

  • Send the 12- and 12 Pink and Red Routes to the left of the arch at the gym
  • 85 lb BBBP and 20 lb curl-press
  • Add weights to core exercises
  • Get pull ups to 11, 10, 9
  • Complete a full set of eight reps: 6 seconds on 10 seconds off hangs on the 15mm rung
  • Fill in every square of my August training log

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