Swiss Bouldering Championships and Dealing with Disappointment

It has been quite some time since I wrote anything here on my blog. To be honest I knew I had to (or should) write something about the Swiss Championships in bouldering, but at first I wanted to wait to sort everything out in my head and then after that I just procrastinated a lot…Now I figure I really should write this because it has been two months since that competition, and I’m on a plane heading to South Africa to go bouldering in the Rocklands for a month.

The weeks surrounding the Swiss Cup and Swiss Championship bouldering competitions were a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. After one mildly disappointing competition, one extremely disappointing competition, and two great weeks bouldering in Fontainebleau I was left wondering what, if any, joy I get out of competing. Why should I compete when more often than not I am left feeling angry and upset at the end of it?

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U-Boat 6a, Magic Wood. I didn’t do anything hard this day, or even climb particularly well. But it was still a really great day!

(To be clear – this competition was not a disaster. I was able to overcome initial jitters in the qualifying round and finish 7/8 qualifying boulders. In finals, the problems were very hard and unfortunately I only made one bonus hold, ending up 6th.)

In the week following the Swiss Cup I had a long chat with my coach Urs Stöcker about all of this. And his response was a little bit unexpected to me. There was no “oh, why don’t you take a break if you’re feeling tired of competitions”. He straight up told me that he thought that I did enjoy competitions, even though I didn’t always feel great at the end of them. He told me that I should not stop competing and to keep trying at it. To be honest it was nice to hear that from a coach in plain terms – that he believes in me. And maybe that was what I needed to hear. Between that, having a few days off of real “training” just to climb for fun, and doing a bit more (solitary) thinking about competitions, I made my own decision to keep competing.

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I must have been having some fun if I was smiling! David Schweizer photo.

I am an inherently competitive person. I live for the challenge that competition brings. I also really enjoy climbing on plastic (blasphemy!), and training. I think the three of them go together, because without any one of the three the other two lose meaning and purpose. Just climbing is great sometimes, but without training or a competition, I feel as if I am not making progress. And what is life if you’re not making progress?

I also came to the realization (or rather remembrance) that it is a good thing that I feel upset about my competition results. It means that I cared about the competition and how I climbed. That’s something that Andrew Wilson told me a long time ago, and evidently I had forgotten. But I think it’s an important idea to keep in the forefront of your mind. Being passionate about something sometimes can make the failures seem worse, but you cannot have success without also having some failure.

So, I will continue competing. It’s something that I’m only okay at, despite years of practice. Yet it’s something that I really want to and feel I can improve upon. For me it’s this challenge that keeps me interested and motivated from day to day.

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Trying hard to stay on at the Swiss Championships. David Schweizer photo.

And of course I also love climbing outside. This year I have grown a lot in that respect – I have probably climbed more outside already in 2015 than in the rest of my life combined. And right now I am psyched to take a break from plastic and spend an entire month in Rocklands in South Africa.

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3 thoughts on “Swiss Bouldering Championships and Dealing with Disappointment

  1. We all believe in you Alannah,your an amazing,strong well grounded person,I love reading your blog and catching up on what your up too,all the best in South Africa.

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  2. You are always a winner in our eyes, Alannah. It takes strength of mind and spirit to keep competing even when the course is tough. There is no satisfaction in acing an easy climb!
    Keep competing and keep safe.
    We hope you enjoy seeing South Africa at this time of the year.
    Love and blessings,
    Granppa and Grandma.

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  3. Alannah you are doing a great job and it does look like you are having fun. What an amazing experience, enjoy it all, the disappointments as well as the successes. Can’t wait to read and see photos of your next adventure. Big hugs xxx

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