Select Your Region

This choice will be remembered for future visits.

365 Days to V10

July 30, 2014 — Nicole Myers broke her arm while arm wrestling a coworker. Here’s how injury inspired her to train even harder.

nm2

Injury is one of the toughest blows for climbers, especially the training climber. Climbers spend so much time taking care of themselves: warming-up before a session, stretching before and after a session, and doing cool-down exercises in and out of the training room.

With so much time dedicated to preventing injury, perhaps even more frustrating is injuring oneself while not even climbing.

Nicole Myers — BKB Routesetter, Instructor and leader of our Women’s Climbing Series — experienced a major setback earlier this year when she broke her arm while arm wrestling a coworker. While the incident was a complete accident, the results were nonetheless disheartening. I chatted with Nicole about her injury, and her resolve to come back from it even stronger.

—–

nm

AG: Can you describe what happened?

NM: Well, I borrowed my coworker Tory’s massage ring without giving it back. One day she saw me using it and jokingly claimed that I had stolen it. I said I wouldn’t give it back because too much time had passed and instead, some sort of contest involving brute strength was necessary to resolve the issue. That meant arm wrestling match.

I know my strengths and weaknesses as a climber. I know that I’m powerful, being mostly a boulderer, and that Tory has endurance, being mostly a rope climber. So my thought was just to slam her down — use all my force in one move. So that’s what I did.

Suddenly, I heard two loud popping sounds and watched Tory slam my hand down in victory. I was stunned and quickly realized how bad the implication was — pop sounds in climbing usually mean broken tendons.

AG: Yikes, that’s a scary moment for anyone. Did you head to the doctor immediately?

NM: My coworkers gathered around and gave some field assessments. Consensus was that I should head to the hospital. I was reluctant to do it. So the first thing I did afterward was pick up my girlfriend for a date in Boston.

The date happened, but not at a nice restaurant. Think Salem Hospital’s Emergency Room. They gave me an X-ray, painkillers, and referred me to a specialist for the next day.

 

Nicole Myers and Tory Michak.
Nicole and Tory making light of the incident at BKBDAY.

AG: And, any good news from the specialist?

NM: Well, going to the specialist was honestly one of the scariest moments in my life. As an aspiring sponsored rock climber, injury was like the worst thing that could happen. I was thinking that after spending so much time training all summer, one stupid bet might have ruined my future.

The doctor asked me what I do. When I told him that I’m a rock climber, he didn’t seem to know much about it. I didn’t even hear what he said was the problem. All I could squeak out was, “Will I be able to rock climb again?” He said he’d re-assess me six weeks later after I’d been in a hard cast.

AG: Climbers know that even a week or two off the wall can feel like an extreme setback to progress. Six weeks minimum must have really stung.

NM: Oh definitely. You know, at first I was totally devastated. Getting in a cast for 6 weeks is like saying, “Yeah maybe you’ll be able to do the thing you love again, but we’re not really sure.”

AG: So how did you stay mentally strong while in cast?

NM: I certainly went through a process afterward. At first I felt completely defeated. Later though, I had a realization:

This doctor doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know what I am capable of, and I can make a decision to climb again by doing everything in my power to get there. Feeling sorry for myself wouldn’t help anything.

After my cast was put on, I resolved to heal as efficiently as possible.

AG: So the injury happened over this past summer. When was your splint removed?

NM: I got it removed on September 16th, 2014. That’s when I immediately began physical therapy, and the challenge began.

16472965132_ced4465a0a_k

AG: 365 to V10?

NM: That’s right. I’m giving myself three hundred and sixty five days to climb a V10 outside.

AG: That’s a serious goal for anyone. And an awesome one I might add.

NM: Thanks. It is definitely a challenge.  But I’ll train hard. I will focus. And ultimately I will show myself what I am capable of.


Stay tuned for training tips from Nicole including warm-ups, cool downs, injury prevention exercises and more, all on her road to climbing a V10.