melissa i strong

rock climber, writer, photographer, working on life daily

A vow was made as I left Hueco--to come back ready next season--ready to crush!


I have suffered for three years from a shoulder injury that I foolishly choose to climb through rather than rest and let recover.  This decision kept me climbing but not using my shoulder correctly.  I was compensating and climbing in fear making the situation worse.  Because of this I lost a lot of strength that I needed to get back.  With my shoulder becoming more stable (yet still suffering from a shoulder impingement) I realized how weak I got in the interim--this is what initially drove me to training.  I trained a bit for the first time in my life last spring and it was a great! Before that I had never campused or trained with a trainer.  Starting July 2012 until November 2012, my good friend Bronson MacDonald and I would drive to Boulder once a week and train at Movement with Kris Peters.  We were training for 2-3 hours on Mondays getting totally worked!  I would try to follow up on my own later in the week training on our climbing wall in the garage.  Anyone who knows about coaching can see the big hole in this plan—we needed more than one day a week and more structure focusing on specific long term goals.  Kris was great but unfortunately due to time and money we could only afford the one day a week plan which got us a bit stronger but not where I truly wanted to be.  I realized this when I went to Hueco—I felt stronger but needed more endurance combined with the strength.


The vow I made in Hueco revolved around a long-term plan of attack.   I contacted my friend from England, David Mason who coaches some strong British girls I have had the opportunity to climb with this past year and are extremely impressive climbers.  I was not alone when I made this vow to return to Hueco stronger--Layla Mammi and Bronson MacDonald were right there with me!  First we had to see if David was interested in this challenge and we all had to agree that we needed to be self-disciplined.  Then we completed some strength test and made some horrible videos so David could determine what we needed.  Also, David asked us to set up some long-term goals—like for Colorado this fall and Hueco in November! Since the training is going to be done with videos, Skype and email it is going to be challenging but it also makes it affordable since we are not requiring as much of David’s time as if we were meeting him daily.  We have a Google calendar we set up that is shared with each other so we can track what we are doing each day and how we are feeling and progressing.  David is checking in on this monitoring our progress and watching our super exciting training videos.


We all started training at the beginning of May and are in the middle of phase one which consists of six weeks mapped out by David.  We have been shown different exercises via videos and have to complete a set number of each that varies every week including climbing outside and/or inside.


There are so many reasons why I am excited about this program—first that we have long term goals, second it is more affordable since we are on the more independent overseas program, third everything we need for training we have built at our home in Estes Park, CO before and after this past Hueco season.  We expanded our climbing wall in the garage by adding a 62-degree wall, moving the 52-degree wall over and building a transition in-between.  Also Adam built a massive campus board attached to our garage!  Having all of this here makes it a lot easier for me to budget my time, get everything accomplished and also saves on gas money since we are not commuting to Boulder.


There are also many challenges to this plan like the distance but I am ready to try!  It has worked nicely into our spring as well.  We drove away from Hueco into a snow storm that seemed like it lasted until mid May—oh wait it practically did starting with a couple feet May 1st!  We are finally breathing a sigh of relief as it feels like spring has finally sprung and we can climb outdoors again as well as train!!!



















Spring Training

Motivation to finish the wall


Spring weather, training and home made pies

Beach vacation visiting the family--We were able to escape a three day three foot show storm in April visiting family in the Cayman Islands


Garage wall--still in need of more holds