Sunday, October 24, 2010

Climbing pregnant, Week 24: Body harness

I fit in with the kids. That's really the first thing I noticed with the Petzl 8003 adult body harness. At first glance I thought it would be a puzzle to put on but it turned out to be way easier than any regular harness I've used. The "belay loop" as it were is in a very good place for a pregnant woman. It fits comfortably under my bra line and the rope or belay device connects the two sides of the harness. At first it felt really strange to tie in so high and I had to modify my belay technique just a hair to be able to belay comfortably. These are things any climber would easily figure out. The one conundrum is how to make the entire thing fit so it is snug but doesn't hinder my extension.

If I make the leg loops tight so they don't meander as I climb (which is really annoying and I end up fiddling with them throughout the route but hey it's good for endurance..) it shortens my reach. For example, if I have to walk my feet high to make a move that is at the extent of my entire 5'1" frame, the harness tightens in and I end up with a total length that is about 2 inches short of my norm...not that I need any more length cause I'm so tall. I've tried loosening the shoulder straps (dangerous), and the leg loops... not sure how to remedy this but if anyone technical has any suggestions let em rip!

Falling: I was belaying a much larger friend of mine the other night on top rope. And I have to preface that before him I had told my friends they weren't allowed to fall..I was scared, you understand. Anyway, he fell and I belayed him normally and the harness didn't pop my belly like a zit and everything was cool. It was actually more comfortable to catch his fall than it is to sit back at the top of a climb before being lowered. (It takes me a minute to situate.)

Overall this harness is exactly what I need to keep myself climbing.
I'm amazed that my stamina is progressing. It's very strange to feel more able yet weaker. Even though my endurance for routes is getting better, my ability to yard on small holds is diminishing! Here is my latest work-out:

2 times per week, two hour session:
1. Warm up easy, juggy 5.7/5.8
2. Then 5.8/5.9
3. 5.10 with crimps, slopers, one dynamic move
4. 5.10 with big holds on an overhang to induce some pump.
5. 5.11 project with small holds and no rest
6. repeat crimpy 5.10
7. 5.10 with sustained and dynamic moves (this is the only climb I feel I really use my abdominals)
8. 5.10 that makes you use your brain
9. and 10. cool down on two easy climbs

I've also come up with a stretching regimen that I'll video and post eventually.
I hope this helps, keep sending your comments and questions my way. This is fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Don't knock it till you try it. Seaweed is my new favorite snack! It is chock full of iron most importantly but it also has many fantastic vitamins. It's very hard to find a good, taste-bud tempting photo of seaweed. I guess it would be pretty hard to get creative photographically...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Climbing pregnant: Mind Trip

The past few weeks have been a mental transition more than a physical one. As my physical ability changes, so does the style of climbing I am attracted to. The vast majority of my friends are boulderers. Now that I can't top anything out without turning into a whale and flopping my way atop the boulder, climbing with my friends has become a new hurdle. They have all been so nice, spending extra time on the warm-ups, only making fun of me a little and in return accepting my sideways sarcasm with little rebuttle. I've now reached the point where I don't really WANT to go bouldering. I want to do routes! I am faced with the challenge of getting my boulder thirsty friends to put on a harness and lead (cause I can't).

I can't climb on the sharp end because that would put the baby in jeopardy. I'll allow my child to make that decision for himself someday. For now, I have borrowed a petzl body harness and I'm going to try it out tonight. I'll report back!

It makes perfect sense to me that I'm attracted to routes and the gym seems a very fitting place. I can climb more and longer than I could if I were outside. There seem to always be jugs around the hard holds so if I get too tired I don't have to back off the route, I can merely switch gears from 5.11 to 5.9 in a single move. It's brilliant. Here is my workout and I try to do it twice a week:

Warm-up on 5.8 and a 5.9.
Follow with 8 routes between the grades of 5.10 and 5.11.
Cool down on 5.8 slab

This is a goal right now more than a standard. It seems that my belly gets really tired on the 6th of the harder routes. I've thought to break it up a bit and do 4 hard routes then one really easy one, then 3 or 4 more hard ones. I'm hesitant to break it up like that because part of me believes that with the added blood volume, my endurance isn't quite what it used to be. So sticking with slowly increasing the amount of routes I do would hypothetically increase my endurance.
Through all this I have to remember that I am not training in the traditional sense of the word. So...Even though I have a goal, I'm not going to break myself trying to accomplish it. That would be counter productive.

I'll keep you updated with the status of workouts and stretches and whatnot...
Please feel free to post comments, questions, and suggestions straight to the blog so everyone can benefit. Thanks!!