November 26th to 30th I went to Mexico City to compete in the Youth Pan-American Climbing Championships. I ended up having a pretty successful competition, placing 4th in lead(difficulty), 1st in bouldering, and 3rd overall. Coming out of this competition I feel ecstatic. Not only for the success I had in results, but also the battle against stress and sickness before, and during, the competition. I was extremely nervous having nightmares and dreams about my climbing. A few small panic attacks during training. I think it had something to do with my performance at the World Youth Climbing Championships in September, where I had a poor performance. I think I was worried about something like that happening again- to have another poor performance. But the moment I got to Mexico this intense anxiety was gone, and I went in to my performance mode.
Two weeks prior to the competition I caught a flu bug. Nothing too serious, but I couldn’t really train hard, just do easier climbing. After a week of that I had a couple days of being healthy, then another bug. This time it was a stomach flu. At this point there was about 3 days until I left for Mexico City, on the 24th. All I could do is hope that it passed in time for my flight. On the 24th I felt okay when I woke up, if it had gotten much worse I probably would have had to cancel my flight and stay home, so I finished packing and left for my flight. I arrived later the same day and settled in at a hotel with a few other teammates. The next day I felt worse. This day the Canadian team switched into the living space in the athletes village left from the Olympics. I spent most of that day sleeping. The next day was the first day of competing; it was lead qualifiers. By this time I was almost over my stomach flu, and was feeling much better. I was psyched for first qualifiers. As I got more tired through the day I felt a bit worse and by second qualifier I remember sitting in the chair about to climb and thinking just get through this. I ended up qualified for lead finals despite being sick, which I was pretty happy about.
The next day was bouldering qualifiers and by this time I was tired but finally better. I qualified 4th for semis.
The next day was speed, which was a rest day for me. I got to really make a recovery and prepare mentally and physically for lead finals the next day. Mexico City was at a higher altitude then I was used to, so despite sitting around all day it was extremely important to monitor how much time you spent in the sun and how hydrated you are.
Day 4 was lead finals. I was feeling pretty good, but was noticing something. With the altitude change I found I was getting pumped much quicker than normally. Also the style of pump felt different. It felt more like my muscles were drained and fatigued rather than the numb feeling of lactic acid that I am used to. I was getting pumped much quicker. With that factor in play I sadly fell about midway through the route trying to make a tricky clip but giving up and going for a positive movement. A few other competitors also fell here as well, but were quicker so I ended up in 4th place due to time. Only one competitor made it past that point.
Day 5 I competed in bouldering semis and finals. I was super psyched to compete and that carried through in my performance. I paced 1st in semis being the only person to top all of the problems. Then in finals I onsighted 2 of the 3 problems, and came in 1st!
My results from bouldering and lead were also enough to place me in 3rd place overall. A really unexpected but exciting finish to my trip.
All photos courtesy of Shane Murdoch.