climbing comp february 13I’ve been writing since I was small. I’ve always been that annoying kid in class who actually read all the books assigned. But in my third year of college, I opted for a serious English degree thinking of my high school teacher, Mrs. Brenner, who showed me that books were more exciting than I assumed, and that good writing takes more work than you think  (as she crossed through the fifteen extra words I added in my essays from the thesaurus to sound smarter). I chose to specialize in Creative Writing instead of English Lit (since I probably read more than I probably talked to people at that point).

I would say that was probably the most influential decision of my life up to this point, but another decision, perhaps, impacted my life even more deeply– my decision to start climbing.

Always an athlete, I was obsessed with one sport to another. I tried tennis, ballet, tap dancing, swimming, softball, baseball, and the long-lasting volleyball for about eight years, but nothing stuck with my like climbing. When I started to climb at the Tallahassee Rock Gym, it wasn’t really love at first sight. I was terrible. My arms hurt like hell and all of my skin started to peel off, like the outside of a mushy banana. My fingertips were bloody and blistered. And thanks to the advice of my friends, I bought Evolv Elecktras that were three sizes too small (which now I have decided is a very stupid idea spurred on by strange, masochistic climbers).

For if no reason other than I hate being bad at something, I kept climbing. And somehow, I began to improve, and fast. Within six months I could do V3s easily and by the time I had been climbing for a year, I was actually pretty good. I entered a competition at TRG for kicks, just to see where I stood with the other girls who had been climbing far longer than I had, and I ended up in the finals. Not only was I shocked, but amazed that going from not being able to do a pull up at all, I had risen to placing third. And boy when that happened, there wasn’t much that could stop me. I’ve been climbing and competing now for about four years and despite my (many) injuries, a few surgeries, summers off and even drama at the rock gym, I haven’t stopped and I dont think I can.

Climbing has turned into my life.

I’m a yoga teacher, dancer (not necessarily a good one), an occasional volleyball player, aerial artist, but I don’t feel that any of these define me how climbing does.

I think about it, talk about it, and when I’m not doing it, I’m plotting the next time I can. It’s unavoidable, I’m a climber. I’ve been dodging the urge to start another outdoor blog as there and many, and plenty amazing to choose from, but I give in. How can I not write about something that is so much a part of me, that before I even started this post I had 20 more ideas of what I can write about next. I look forward to this adventure together & thanks for reading! -Alice


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