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Back to beginner?

 With a third lockdown underway and not much uni work to do, I figured it was time for me to use my rest day to do something more productive that Netflix binging. I entered 2021 with a sense of optimism, hoping that this year would be somewhat more ordinary than the last and that I might finally be able to put my training gains to the test in competition. Less than a month into the year and the future still seems very uncertain, so to try and preserve my optimism I thought I’d reflect on the progress I am currently making on my competition style bouldering, in particular my dynamic movement and coordination, both of which are undoubtedly my greatest weaknesses. In September 2020, after months of climbing outside and training in and out of lockdowns, I finally had the opportunity to practice world cup style moves at the newly established, dedicated training space for GB athletes at Unit E in the Climbing Works, Sheffield. During my 2019 boulder season, I came to the terms with the fac
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Climbing in Croatia

After months spent training at home I finally had the opportunity to travel this summer! As someone who is very used to living out of a suitcase going between comps, the prospect of spending summer at home did not fill me with joy, so when some mates asked if I wanted to join them on a climbing and scuba diving trip to Croatia, I didn’t hesitate to book my ticket. Paklenica may not be as well known as some other European sport climbing destinations, but it certainly has a lot to offer. I have always focused primarily on indoor climbing, following a busy training schedule which over the years has given me little time to get outdoors. However, with the competition season as good as cancelled this year, I’ve spent lockdown transferring my skills to rock. Before going to Paklenica, all my trips have been performance focussed-not what you’d exactly call a ‘holiday’, but rather an opportunity to show how my training had paid off. For this trip I decided to adopt the mindset of wanting to c

Lessons from the Lock-Down

So as you all may have noticed, I haven’t written on this blog for a long time, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been focusing on my studies at uni. With the very weird situation going on, I’ve decided, as I’m sure many others have, to rekindle an old hobby-blog writing! As someone who is used to and enjoys a very regimented, busy training schedule (and life in general), I have struggled to adapt my lifestyle but I feel that in the days that have already passed I have learnt some lessons about myself and the way I live. My family home is in London, but I decided to stay in student halls in Leeds during this period as my family and I felt that travelling to the hub of the virus didn’t seem to make sense at this time and, being the outdoorsy person that I am, I felt it would be better for me psychologically and physically to be near larger green spaces for my single daily exercise. I miss my parents and sister, but I also appreciate the time I have spent getting to know myself! Below

My First Senior World Champs

I feel honoured to have competed alongside such a strong team of athletes  (photo by Band of Birds) Finally I have found time to sit down and write again! It’s been a very busy couple of months, with a Lead World Cup taking place on almost every weekend in July and the World Championships filling the majority of August. This has been the highlight of my year and what I have worked so hard to enjoy and while I am relieved to have some time at home with family, I have relished the chaos and commotion of my travels. I did not get the results I was hoping for at the Lead World Cups, feeling that I had only fought hard in Chamonix, while in Villars and Brian รง on I felt that my results did not reflect my ability. However, in hindsight, I realise that my preparation for these comps had been far from ideal and the process of competing and being out in Europe for a month was nonetheless a great learning experience. Being selected for the Senior Championships in Hachioji, Japan, was a

Competing and Training with an Injury

A close-up of my pre-injured hand (photo by Leo Cackett) With the Boulder World Cup season done and dusted it should be time to start getting ready for the lead season, my stronger discipline. However, sometimes things don’t go to plan and you can find yourself sat in bed, nursing an injured finger and wondering why such bad luck comes at the exact wrong time! I recently found myself in this situation (and am currently still recovering and unable to train at the level I would normally) after damaging a vein, whilst fingerboarding a couple of weeks ago. I’ve had my finger scanned and the injury could have been a lot worse-instead of spending months without climbing I am expecting for my finger to be healed within another week or so. The experience has given me a lot of time to reflect about the priorities in my life and the importance of climbing in it. My initial fears that I would be unable to compete in the Lead World Cups this year have now been consoled, as I know now that

Finding my feet on the World Cup Circuit

As many of you will know my schedule has been rather busy lately as I’ve been competing in my first ever Boulder World Cup season! As a result, this is m y first post in a while, but I’ll keep it short to give a quick insight into my experience so far. Last year I represented GB in a couple of Lead World Cups but as I was still a junior, my season was focussed on the junior comps. Now, having stepped up into the seniors, all my training is orientated towards those comps and I have had the chance to try my hand at the bouldering circuit. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, having watched many a live-stream where the athletes leap around in a more parkour style than what I thought of as ‘climbing’. This comp style has never been my forte; I’ve always been stronger at the basic, board-style problems. However, I have learnt so much already from this season that I’m psyched to work on my biggest weaknesses-dynamic movement and coordination. My first event was Moscow and I we

Finding the Balance: Life outside the gym

Up until now my blog has served to guide people through my climbing experiences; people know me as an athlete and that is all. However, for this post I want to write more about myself and how I strive to find balance in my life. For me, climbing is the most important aspect of my existence, but equally, it is for this reason that there have been times when I have felt on the verge of break down because all my self-value relied on climbing and my performance in the sport. I cared little about anything else-my social life, my studies, my other hobbies, even my family. In saying this I may sound like some cold-hearted climbing machine and in many ways that’s how I saw myself, but it is my belief that this mind-set is not uncommon among individuals who dedicate the majority of their life to achieving and mastering a single activity. I am by no means a changed person from the Jo who isolated herself from the rest of her life in the pursuit of being the best. I still struggle to find a bal