Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dutch National Bouldering Championship 2015 and Street Fitness


It's been a while since my last blog post. May 23th, the Dutch Bouldering Championship was held in Delfts Bleau. After three qualifying rounds, I placed myself 10th out of 12 for the championships. With mixed feelings I went to the competition. I was happy to be in, but my injured hand was still very weak and painful (injured in the last qualifying round). It didn't heal up as quick as I had hoped and therefore I barely climbed the month in advance.

Semifinal and final 

In isolation I couldn't hold on to crimps and I told myself just to enjoy the climbing. Of course I was hoping for big slopers and slabs. And yes, we started with a slab in the semi finals. I'm pretty good on slabs most of the times, so I knew I should make sure to climb this one quick. This would be my chance to score! Unfortunately I slipped a couple of times on a tiny foothold. Got the problem in my 6h go. I was pretty disappointed and I was convinced this was my only chance. The second problem: a big overhang with tiny crimps. I didn't have any expectations. Maybe the only expectation was not to get far on it. And what happened? I flashed it. Crazy. I could get so much weight on my feet with many good heel-hooks, that I almost didn't even feel my hand! The last move was pretty hard for me, I could feel I lost some power in my shoulders. But I stayed with it and topped. I was super happy with it. The third problem had big slopers and I though it wouldn't be too hard. But it definitely was! Too hard for me and all the others, except Nikki van Bergen. The last problem was super cool. A jump and some difficult slopers to the top. Unfortunately I couldn't stick the jump. I got closer and closer every time, but could't manage to make it.

I was really satisfied. It felt so good to be climbing again! And I qualified for finals 4th place. Of course I was hoping to get to finals, but I really didn't expect this at all. The finals problems were tricky and super hard! I did my best, tried hard and had fun. I ended up 5th place. Most of the people didn't seem really happy for me. They expected more I guess... But (for the first time) I was really happy with my result! I was pretty proud and happy.


Getting rid of injuries

Of course I would be even happier if I would be totally fit without any injuries. So I decided after nationals to quit climbing for a while and heal up properly. My hand is at this moment still not fully recovered. I figured that all the injuries I have had last year, are the result of climbing sessions whereby I was trying too hard while my body was too weak. Every time I got injured, I needed some time off. Directly after the weeks without climbing, I attended a competition in which I had to try hard. With of course more chance to injure myself, which happened. At first I was complaining why my body was letting me down every time. What was wrong with me? At the moment when it dawned to me that I just had to make sure my body got stronger in order to avoid injuries, I decided to sign up for a fitness gym. I'm trying my antagonist muscles and getting my climbing muscles stronger. I'm also working my core. The routine I'm doing now every other day is:

15 minutes running
3x max. pull ups
3x max. chin ups
3x 15 reps chest fly
3x 10 reps bench press
3x max push ups
3x max tuck knees front lever pull ups
3x 15 reps one-arm elevated rows
3x 15 reps one-arm lat push down
finishing up with an abs workout

Wannabe Street Fitness Girl 

And because I'm a wannabe street fitness girl, I sometimes do some of the exercises in my backyard :) Getting some nice fresh air and a place for Lizzie the Wizzie to hang out. To measure my progression, I made a video today! The pull ups are easier in the gym, because my knees are getting super low to the ground which make it harder to get my tension right. The other exercises I'm doing, should be the first steps towards a front lever. I find it very difficult to keep the right tension in my body with those exercises. I really feel it in my upper back! However, I made some progression already! Check it out.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Last qualification round for the Dutch Championships & the Pyrenees

Picture: Menno Haas
Two weeks ago I competed in the last qualification round in order to qualify for the Dutch Championships. It has been a very strange competition year for me. I competed in three out of four comps, placed every time really good for finals and dropped down in the ranking every single time. Last comp might be the worst out of three. I placed first for the finals and struggled in every final boulder problem. I was determined to try really hard, so I did. It had the opposite effect. I injured my hand really bad in boulder problem 3. The pain got worse and worse in isolation. I was considering to skip the last problem. After a chat with Nikki, I decided to give it at least a try. I tried the problem gently, but it felt too bad, so I stopped.


Picture: Menno Haas

Picture: Menno Haas

Picture: Menno Haas

Picture: Menno Haas
I cannot describe how I felt. I just recovered from my shoulder injury and now I injured my hand! One day before our holiday! Three weeks before the Dutch Championships. I spoke with a friend, who is a physiotherapist (thanks Rens!), and he noted that it probably would be a tear in my hand muscle. I should take a week off and then buddy tape it and carefully start climbing again. So I did. The pain was pretty severe the first couple of days. After that I started climbing some slabs. Later on, I tried other stuff, but every time a problem involved a harder move for my left hand, I was lost. I kept hoping for a quick recovery and back home after 11 days we went to the bouldering gym. My fitness is pretty bad and the hand still not fully recovered. It’s just too painful to hold on to some holds. I try to find some other beta and I am doing as much as possible to get fit. Still giving my hand rest and hoping for some more progression coming week. I doubted for a while if I should unsubscribe for the nationals, but I decided to give it a try! Fingers crossed and hopefully I can change the cycle of dropping down in the ranking. I hope I can qualify for the final round and then crush! Getting psyched already.


Besides not being able to really climb during our holiday, we had an amazing time in the Pyrenees with our little dog Lizzie the Wizzie. She climbed her first bulderproblem, 4a!!! Check out some pictures and the video we made. 








Monday, March 30, 2015

Boulder 3: lessons learned


Picture:Brigitte Wieles

Almost fully recovered from my right shoulder injury (partially torn AC ligament), I was happy to participate at the third qualification round for the Dutch Championships. The competition took place at a new boulder gym in Rotterdam called Bolder. My first impression: super impressive! One massive boulder block in the middle with some awesome holds (new to me) and I saw the qualification boulder problems with some pretty intimidating heights.

We arrived early, so I had some time to read the problems. I wasn't sure about some sequences, but fortunately the qualification round is flash. So I could watch some others, before giving it a try. All of the problems were pretty nice, except one (just my opinion ;)). The format is: 7 problems with a maximum of 5 tries each. I flashed my first one, a tricky climb with a reachy last move. A bunch of others started in an overhanging problem. It didn't look very hard, so after a quick warm up in an overhanging wall I gave it a try. It turned out that one move was harder than I thought. I fell after the bonus hold. Luckily I finished the boulder in my third go. I decided to climb the problem left of it, another overhang with some smaller crimps on it. Got some beta from others and flashed it. Nice, it was going pretty good. Better than expected. Next, a yellow problem with some nice rounded volumes. Flash. Then I jumped over to a long blue bolder problem with big holds. The holds felt a little greasy, but I managed to flash it as well. After that I tried a red, crimpy problem. It looked really easy and it didn't take me much effort getting to the second to last hold, but I missed that one. I saw many people fall at the last hold, so I decided to take a look at the other two problems. I saw someone climb the green problem in a corner. I looked awful. At first glance I already knew this wasn't a good problem for me, it had a really hard shoulder move for the right. However, I tried it to make sure if my judgement was right. It was. Just .. bleuch :D I definitely didn't want to waste my energy and shoulder on it. The last problem I had to climb was a purple, powerful problem. I tried it three times and got just one move away from the bonus. It was super rough on the fingers and I didn't really believe I could do it. I informed if my 5 tops with 4 flashed would be enough to make it to finals and others thought it would.

Picture:Brigitte Wieles

Changed expectations

And it sure was. I placed second for finals! Sweet! I had no expectations, my only goal was to get some points in order to get qualified for the Dutch Championships. In advance I didn't think I would make it to finals after 6 weeks of recovering. I knew I could use my shoulder, but I wasn't sure how heavy the moves could be yet. Climbing routes is going well again, but I hadn't been bouldering yet. The field was also pretty strong, so .. yeah I really didn't have much expectations. 

But now it turned out I qualified really well, I got determined to try hard. Last competition I placed 1st for finals end I ended up 6th! That was a bummer. This was going through my head while waiting in the isolation (ffrrreezin’ cold!).


Final: lessons learned

While reading the finals problems, I wasn't fully psyched and awake. I didn't see the sequences and thought, well… I hope I know what to do when I get on it. The first problem was a technical, volume problem. Walking up some volumes, costing no strength at all, getting into more powerful moves to the end. The move to the last hold was pretty hard on the right shoulder. I didn't go for it hard enough first try. Second try I did. It wasn't good for my shoulder, but it didn't hurt too much luckily. 


Picture: Syste van Slooten
The second boulder started with a crazy toe-hook. Every time I wanted to get up higher with my body, the toe-hook got loose. Pretty frustrating. It turned out to be a hard boulder. The only one who made it was Vera Zijlstra, with a different, very powerful beta. 


Picture: Syste van Slooten

The third problem started with a dyno. Took me a few tries to stick it. After that the holds got very difficult. I couldn't hold it and fell hard, dizzy. 

Picture: Syste van Slooten

Back in isolation I didn't know what my ranking would be at that point in competition. Vera knew that I would get second place if I would top the last problem. It all came down to that problem! It made me pretty psyched. I also knew I didn't have to flash it and it should be the easiest problem according to Vera. I only had to do it. Uhm, yeah… and I didn't! For some reason (foot placement I guess) I couldn't get in the right position to go with my left hand to the hold on a volume. I decided to go with right and climbed my way up until a point where I had a hand/footmatch. I had to get loose with my body, but I couldn't catch the weight in my right shoulder. I’m sure I could have make that move if my shoulder was a bit stronger. Anyhow, it wasn't the right sequence anyway. Instead of keeping my second place, I ended up 6th (again)!

I was pretty disappointed afterwards. Getting 6th after a good qualifying round and a pretty good final as well. I got pretty frustrated by myself that I messed up in the easier problem.
It’s kind of funny. At first my only goal was to get some points, not even believing I could make it to finals. Then I was just happy to be at finals. And afterwards I wasn't happy at all because it really felt as a big loss. Crazy how expectations can change in just a couple of hours.  

Now, one day later, I see it as a big learning thing. It’s more than clear that I have to work hard on my reading skills. So, I’ll definitely have to do more bouldering next to my climbing and make it every time a competition for myself. It’s funny, because the commentator, Joost Hofman, introduced me as the girl who ended up 5th in 2010, 4th in 2011, 3rd in 2013 and therefore I have to get 2nd place at this year championships. 

I will train my weaknesses hard coming two months and try to break the circle of my last two competitions (placing high, ending low)! And of course I will try to get that second place!!!


Watch me climbing the final problems


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sterker | competition time

Short story
Goal 30 boulders 
More than 115 people 
Started 30 minutes late
First 2 boulders flash 
Third boulder topped in 3th try + partially torn AC ligament right shoulder
Topped 16 boulders
Failed on 4 boulders 
Didn't even try 10 others 
Ended up 3rd 
Weeks of rest because of injury, probably more than 2

I was pretty proud sending the third problem in which I unfortunately also hurted my shoulder. I wasn't warmed up properly but tried really hard at a shouldery move. I've heard afterwards it was a 7b but it was written down as a 6c+. I hope it was 7b haha :) 

Results Sterker 

Problem #5 
Now its ranked as a 6c+ hmmmm hahaha 




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pull Ups: Still working hard to regain some fitness for climbing

Pull ups 10x10. After climbing we always do a series of pull ups to regain some fitness. 
Very boring to watch :D 


Sunday, January 25, 2015

So,did I get fit enough in 5 days?

Final problem in which I couldn't match the last hold
Picture by Sytse van Slooten

In my last blogpost I wrote about my motivation to get fit in 5 days for the first bouldering comp of the year. In the end I trained 3 days and definitely needed two restdays afterwards.
I made some quick progression, but the overall fitness wasn't back yet.

Pretty nervous I arrived at the qualifiers for Boulder 1. The qualifier round existed of 8 problems which you could try 5 times max. It was super crowded and we had to wait pretty long for every single try. In the end I didn't need much tries, because I flashed 4 problems and got 1 problem second go. One problem had a running start and I wasted my 5 tries in the beginning. Couldn't even get to the first hold :) One problem was just too hard, so I tried once and gave up. None of the girls did it, and it was a shared problem for men and women. Probably 7b+. The last problem was a nice one. My first try, I came to the finish hold but wasn't able to match it. Second and third try I failed in the beginning and the last two tries I got to the end hold but still wasn't able to match it. 

Totally unexpected I qualified as first for the final!! Crazy! So many pretty strong women were competing, so that gave me a really good feeling. 

In the final I lost my first place very quick, because I wasn't able to top any problem. Bummer! But I have to admit that the girl above me totally deserved it to win. In two of the problems I reached the last hold, but again, couldn't match it. I'm not sure if it was due to lack of endurance, fingerstrength, balance... Not sure. I even thought in a black problem that I got my second hand on it, but after watching the video footage I didn't even come close :D How strange! 

It was a good experience, nice to be back and very cool that so many people were supporting me. I haven't been climbing much last months, but I will be training a lot more coming months and I will see if I will get a better result next time.



Qualifier in which I couldn't match the last hold
Picture by Sytse van Slooten

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Motivation to get fit again!

How fit can I get in one week?

Last week I noticed that the first bouldering competition of this year will take place 23th of January in Sterk, a gym very close to where I live...

Because I haven't been climbing much for the past 3 months, I'm probably not fit enough to participate. But, I got psyched while thinking about the Dutch Championships end of this year. By then I can be fit. I only have to qualify, ehum... So, I just signed up for coming Saturday.

Time to get fit... 5 days left!!

Two years ago, last competition season.
Picture by Tim van der Linden