A New Chapter

My trip to Brazil was great. It was so nice to see my family and friends and have some well deserved rest. I was recovering well from my slipped disk and started to ease my way into climbing again.

In March, as usual, I signed up to help my friends at Blokfest with the competition finals at Mile End, London. The atmosphere was great and the blocs looked so cool. I had to have a go! I was happily cruising the problems my way, having lots of fun and slowly regaining confidence. I can still remember so well the sensation of finally be climbing again and actually feeling strong! It didn’t last long though.

At my 17th bloc came the first fall. I lost my foot and fell from no more than 4ft high. There was that split second when I didn’t think much of it. Just another fall. Until my feet landed on the mat and I felt this agonising pain like my knee was tearing apart. It was my right cruciate ligament which split apart.

So I was injured again and this time it was going to be a looooong process.

Spot the difference

Spot the difference

I must admit. I didn’t take it very well at first. Why me? Not again! I hate my body! I hate myself! I’m not meant to climb! and blah, blah, blah!

Depression is a bitch! It will grow like cancer if you don’t fight it with all the tools you can get! Thankfully, I have lots and it may sound cheesy, but love is the greatest one. The love from my family and friends and the love I feel for them and for myself was the kick up the arse I needed to lift my head up, get over feeling sorry for myself and just get on with recovery.

Whilst surgery didn’t come I dived deeper into my Yoga studies, I started conditioning and strengthening training with the best climbers PT around, Tricky from New Heights Fitness, and had more regular fingerboards sessions, some on my own and some in the company of strong friends such as Catherine Gallagher and Evie Cotrulia for inspiration!

My new best friend

My new best friend

Sandra Berlin - Training with Tricky

Rehab training with Tricky. (Photo by Tricky)

For my birthday in April, I had booked a sport climb trip to Spain. I seriously thought about cancelling as I couldn’t climb, but this was my boys’ Easter holidays too and that would be selfish of me to cancel. And I’m so glad I didn’t! I had the most amazing time, with the loveliest people at a great villa in the Costa Blanca, Casa Lometa, and I even did some climbing!

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Gorgeous views at Casa Lometa

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Morning yoga with the girls. (The little one loved joining in too)

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Perfect spot for training!

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How far can I push that knee?

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Catherine Gallagher in action

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Louis and his game face

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First attempt to lead something hard on a bad leg. Scary and clumsy!

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Richard Grant in Gandia

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Cuddles!

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Beach rest day with the boys

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Tara on Tai Chi, Olta

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Group picture with our new friends. Petter, Camilla and Sofus.

I am now learning to focus on the positive side of things. See opportunities rather than failure. And most importantly, I am learning to be more compassionate towards myself and others. My limitations are teaching me to be more patient and kind with everyone. Especially myself! The person I beat up the most.

Work wise, it has been a humbling experience! I noticed I have to concentrate extra hard on everything I do. In consequence, I see myself as a more observant and attentive teacher and coach.

Surgery took place 6 weeks ago and although I still have a long way to go, I am recovering pretty well and I am more determined than ever to get through the year as a qualified yoga teacher, a stronger climber and a better person.

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