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Last year I was really motivated to climb harder. I was finally coming to believe that I could keep on evolving as a climber despite diabetes. Then, when I was working on a route that could become my first 5.12d, I had this really nasty fall and smashed my foot against the wall. My foot swelled and for almost a week I couldn’t even touch the floor without feeling huge pain; three ligaments were seriously injured. No one would tell me how long it would take to recover, but I somehow believed I would be back climbing soon.

Stuck at home, I decided to clean the dust off the fingerboard I had for 2 years and had barely used because I would always prefer to climb outside. I started training hard on it. I also started to do lots of exercises for the core and arms, looking on the internet for variations that I could do lying on a mat.

After a month of this, my body started to complain and I had to reduce my training load. I was still on crutches despite all the physiotherapy and was getting very desperate for not seeing an end to it. And now I couldn’t even train! I had a week off training and after that I somehow managed to keep on with it.

After two months and a half I finally went on a “girls boulder trip” organized by some friends. I was scared of hurting my foot again as it was still far from recovered, but my friends insisted that I could do just overhangs to avoid falling on my foot and assured me that they would be extra cautious with spotting me. I went. I spent the whole weekend with a huge smile on my face! I tried all the boulders I could safely try and was the last one to put down the climbing shoes. I was so happy to be climbing again, even if it was with some limitation…

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About 5 months after the accident I was finally climbing with no restrictions. I felt stronger and started to send hard boulder problems, including overhanging ones which I could not even hang to before. I was so happy to climb outside that I almost stopped training. But if there is something this injury taught me is that training can make a huge difference for breaking into new grades, especially for someone like me, to whom strength has always been the most limiting factor.

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Also, I’ve come to realized that training only has significant effects on my blood sugar if I’m pushing really hard. If I’m feeling tired and broken most of the days, my blood sugar starts looking like that of a non-diabetic, hardly rising over 120. Climbing outside a couple of days a week and soft “maintenance” training doesn’t have that effect.

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I spent 36 years without knowing what real work outs are and what they can do, and only learned this with the improbable combination of a serious injury and diabetes!
So, with the new year, I’ve set a new training plan. I want to finish the year climbing harder than ever and keep my AC1 lower than 6,3% for the whole year! My plan includes waking up earlier 4 days a week to do rowing or circuits (a sequence of exercises targeted for specific muscle groups with little rest between them); doing specific climbing training 3 evenings per week (either indoor climbing or fingerboard) and climbing outdoors during the weekends.

It’s demanding! It is really hard to keep with high training intensities for long periods: work gets in the way, laziness gets in the way… but as soon as I start to reduce it’s intensity, my BGs will be there showing very clearly that I’m not pushing hard enough!

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Team LivingVertical is taking the L.E.A.D. this summer to Go Beyond Diabetes in the vertical world
to gain support for Insulin For Life (501c3)!