Friday, September 28


I have decided to do at least one set (1-3-5-7-5-3-1) of pull-ups per day. I have also decided to give up dinner until november. As such, things will turn pretty shitty chez Claudia!

To keep the psyche up, I have decided that everyday from now on I will start (and end) my day with climbing p0rn. This is very difficult as my hands get very very very sweaty.

I started my day with bouldering championships.

This what I'm ending my day with (it's also one of the few videos in which sharma is not talking, thank god!)

Thursday, September 27


We were supposed to travel the world to climb and boulder, and occasionally visit on our rest days. We would have my kickass (TM) omelette for breakfast every-fucking-day, and, if travelling in the summer in cherry-capable countries, we were going to pig out on cherries and sour cherries etc., that we would not necessarily buy. One of us would remain crazy fit climbwise, thus giving the rest of us wusses the possibility to climb harder routes that we would otherwise be unable to setup or clear. We would almost all eat crazy spicy food all the fucking time, and wonder at the overall wussness of one of us. When not driving, I would have to be exiled to the back seat or tear Marian's heart out because I'm such a great co-pilot. When driving, I would take crazy pictures of the people sleeping in the backseat.

We were supposed to live happily ever-fucking-after. And we probably will. Just not together. This is my second time as a divorce kid, and what I have to say now is very simple: Fuck this shit. I was three when my father and mother divorced and I took my mother's side  for fifteen years (also aided by the fact that my father never wanted to see me), only to realize five more years later (I know, I'm slow) that things are not always black and white and that, as a person outside the couple, the most inconsiderate and presumptuous thing you can do is take sides. Or choose. I'm a divorce kid once more, as the glorious foursome that was has turned into a rotating 2+1 that still struggles to find balance and new magic. And it's not even a threesome as the +1 person is, six months down the track, still broken.

New trips are planned and new magic is scheduled, but the person that's missing (the -1 from above if you want) still looms. Sometimes I wonder if all of us would not be better off with having our memories completely erased. 

Tuesday, September 25

One picture Tuesday

My friend is visiting, and therefore I have to do all the touristy stuff. This is relaxing and frustrating at the same time: I haven't climbed since Wednesday, but have conquered the motherfucker. And saw two koalas in a single run. Nevertheless, I haven't climbed since Wednesday. But then again, she will probably never visit me in Adelaide again. Sigh. Selfish, I am.  

One day she forgot her camera, and therefore I had to give her Tommy. This resulted in me taking picture with the (gasp!) phone. This is a weird, un-edited one. Am thinking of starting a new category of iPhone pictures.

Also, spring is here: time to take some time to go outside, sit on a sunlit bench, and ponder. In the winter, I used to sit on the steps of the library and watch the students walk by during lunchtime: summer is more interesting as the campus fashion (or lack thereof) is terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time.

Saturday, September 22

For you, dodo bird!

The dodo bird is going to Nepal.

After that, she is doing I do not know what and something or other and then she's coming to Adelaide, right before I leave for New Zealand. Dodo bird, please remember to send us your flight details. I miss you dodo bird, please have fun for me in Nepal. It's really something else!
Oh and I miss you and can't wait to see you and all that. Wait, I just said that.

Friday, September 21


1. I decided to call the Motherfucker, Rose Petals instead. Judging by yesterday's post, I really need the word motherfucker again, and I think that to some extent I need to move on from this. It's been nine months and three weeks but who's counting. So, for old times sake, one last one: Fuck you, Mothefucker! And moving on to: Fuck you, Rose Petals!

2. My running partner will be able to run again in three weeks. It's been a while since I've been so happy and so truly and utterly relieved. So happy and relieved that when I found out I started to squeal and jump up and down and squeal some more, to the utter embarrassment of the colleague that told me the good news, and to the utter bewilderment of the passers-by (we were on the main street, going to lunch). Life is good.


Thursday, September 20


Yesterday morning at 5:30 am I went to Chambers Gully again. And I failed. Again. My sekret plan was to run until I reached this beeg beeg slope, also called the "Motherfucker" (not that motherfucker, but yeah, close enough). I my mind, I visualized myself flying on this motherfucker and getting to the top of it, without any shortness of breath, smoothly going through the flat top, and then turning around and running back. The words to note here are "smoothly", "flying",  and "without shortness of breath".

And then I actually started running. I stopped at each and every one of the slopes. I stopped after each and every one of the slopes. And I stopped in the middle as well. Sometimes, more than once. I did not discriminate between the motherfuckers. I stopped at the big motherfuckers, and I stopped at the small motherfuckers. Throughout this ordeal, all I could think of was: "how could I do this so easily before?!"   "Why is this so hard now? I'm definitely fitter and skinnier and have much much more miles under my belt!", or,  closer to reality: "WHAT THE FUCK!?"

Eventually I reached the bend that I thought was right before the Motherfucker. And I turned that bend in the track and what I saw was not the Motherfucker but a smaller one - still serious though, but not the Motherfucker. And I stopped. And started to cry. I am not sure if it was frustration or tiredness, but the fact is that I didn't event try the small motherfucker. I cannot even begin to say how sad the fact that I didn't even try made me, and it still does now. The last time a slope made me lose control and cry was in South America and I definitely tried that motherfucker! Aargh.

So I changed the music to a slower one (Adele - don't you remember, if you must know), and sat down, put my back against a tree, and sort of dozed off for a couple of minutes. Afterwards, epiphany:
Turns out, for tough endurance-based journeys, it's 60% mind 40% body. At least! (Am very tempted to say 75% mind and 25% body.)  So when the mind is not there or plays the "I'm gonna playback a route I don't know and therefore mis-prepare you for what is to come" game, it's just not gonna work. Sigh. Time to rest.

Tuesday, September 18

One picture Tuesday

Tonight I was supposed to go climbing. But then I spent one hour with a student discussing a mark on his report. And then another hour talking to colleagues about maybe doing a summer school next year (if I'm still here, that is). The highlight of the evening was coffee with d. and a discussion about boundaries and personal time. About setting them that is. And having it. My resolution for that is to tell students from the start of the meeting how much time I have - this will help them organize what they need to get out of the meeting but also help me plan my time - with the understanding that if I do not say how much free time I have then the meeting can go on for as long as it needs to. 

But then!

Well obviously I couldn't go climbing anymore. But then of course I felt guilty about it (heh. But still, time, I have not!) So I proceeded to do pyramid pull-ups on the rim of my office door!

My first set went smoothly with 1-3-5-7-5-3-1, with 20-30 seconds break between each set. My second set did not go so well: I failed at 5 on the 7 and then at 4 on the 5. My third set was even worse: I failed at the fourth pull-up on the 5, and then after it I failed at the 5th, so I decided to end it quickly. Not surprisingly, I could easily do the 3 and 1 that followed. I am still surprised that my first set went so smoothly, and also blessingly pumped after all three. Not a total failure of the night, I would say.  

Sunday, September 16

Running uphill

Running uphill is like childbirth (or so I'm told): you remember that it was painful, but you forget just how painful it was.

This saturday I visited one of my Australian Golgothas, Chambers Gully. In Singapore, my Golgotha was Vigilante Drive, a steep hill (I know, Singapore and hills!) near NUS. In Adelaide, I have two Golgothas: one is Chambers Gully (not close to uni), and the other is Montefiore Hill (close to uni).

Anyway. FRIENDS! Wtf!? I started running uphill on Chambers Gully and within 30 seconds my legs and my lungs started to shout in unison: WHAT THE FUCK!? I had forgotten not only how fucking steep it was, but also I was in awe of my January, February self - I used to run on those slopes like a fucking mountain goat!

This time around, I stopped at every slope and took a photo of it. I called it "documenting spring" whereas what I should have called it was "Inception: Fatclimber goes running". Anyways, spring is here and the gully was in bloom:

 To be fair, and without really being a wuss, it is steeper in real life than in the photos:

 I do not remember exactly but I think the gully is not as green in the summer as it is now. Definitely not looking forward to that (I still want to join Six foot track, so this means that this will be my Golgotha come the summer).

 And this is howI felt at the end of it:

Friday, September 14


I've been climbing and running and whatnot for six days in a row: that is, I climbed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday and, wait! Thursday. I am now officially dead - this is my ghost typing by the way.

Last night I found out that two of my students have plagiarized. The problem that I have with this is that it really makes me feel guilty that I probably did something wrong - put this with the tiredness and the grumpiness and all the shit and it's going to spiral very quickly into the spiral of doom. And then another (bright but lazy) student quit the course, leading me further into even more existential questions. Sigh.

And there's nothing like total tiredness to sap the life force and the psyche out of you - add a few kicks to self esteem
And I started today on a very low on the everything side.

And then today, after many many many weeks of not answering my call and thus making me think only the worst, that colleague and friend that has leukemia finally called back! And suddenly deadlines and marks and feedbacks and submissions and budgets and casuals and phdstudents and trainings and not fucking things up, not burning down the place doesn't really matter because at least I'm alive and healthy to bitch about it.

Thursday, September 13


1. The lady 

at the shop selling the five fingers answering my doubts ("but orange is a bit wild for a shoe color ..."): "Well, you're already out there for wearing them in the first place, I say go all the way". This basically sold me on them.

2. 7.2 km

in 34 minutes. FTW!

Wednesday, September 12

No more time

Yesterday I managed a hattrick: not only did I forget my running gear and my climbing gear, but I managed to come to work wearing a skirt. Normally, the first two will not make any difference to my climbing, as I tend to buy pants that are also good for climbing (hint: I've forgotten my gear oh so many times). But yesterday, a skirt meant no pants which also meant no climbing. So I went to buy pants and decided to buy some running shoes as well. 

I've been toying with buying the Five Fingers for a long time. Initially I wanted to buy them after finishing Six Foot Track (if I finished Six Foot Track that is). When that didn't happen, I said I would buy them when I got to Singapore in September. In September, I went as far as to put a pair on and try them out. Then I decided that I would probably embarrass my running partner too much if I wore them so I didn't buy them. And then my running partner decided to fuck up his knee. Fast forward to yesterday. I went, I saw, I bought, and in five seconds flat I was 150 AUD poorer. Plus extra if you count THE AMAZING GREEN MERINO BEANIE in the backend (who buys beanies in summer? People that are going to new zealand, that's who).

Anyway, I bought the five fingers and then decided to follow the instructions closely:
Wear them around the house for a couple of days to start with and then on short walks. We can't stress enough the importance of taking your time. 

And so I wore them for five seconds in my office and then proceeded to go do my hill repeats. Because time is something I no longer have (<- Enter grumpy, tired, hungry, Claudia. Wait. What else is new?!) I went out of the building wearing only tights and an old t-shirt found in the back of the car. I hate wearing only tights around work - nobody has to be subjected to this! The t-shirt was orange, which was accidentally matching the five fingers. I wore my most badass face and going out didn't meet anybody. Of course, coming back in I met my PhD student, two of my students, AND school staff. PFFT.

Truth be told, I started determined to go do the hill repeats but then only ran 4km in the five fingers. The first thing you notice is nothing. There is nothing between your feet and the ground. You feel every pebble, every root, and every crack in the damn asphalt. You sort of quickly have to change your running stride, to stand straight (problem with me) and run with smaller steps (not a problem with me, as I am short-ish - taller than you, dodo!)  My right ankle, the I-have-sprained-it-and-then-ran-a-marathon-on-it-sprained-and-thus-lost-a-ligament, gave me some trouble at first but was fine towards the end.  The second thing you notice is just how much faster you are on uphill terrain, especially stairs (I may have done some stairs repeats in the building). The balls of your feet and the knee joint act as supherior springs that propel  you pretty effectively. Nice! The last thing I noticed was just how much my toes like to stick together, and how much they hated being spread out in the five fingers. It may be from being snuggled into climbing shoes that are at least one size smaller for five years now.

Tomorrow I'm hitting the hills in these, weather permitting. Otherwise, I'm hitting the hills in my trail running shoes. and I'm starting to get a bit panicky. Will I be fit enough? Just how tough is it? AAARGH!

Tuesday, September 11

One picture Tuesday

A two cormorant day is always a good day.

Monday, September 10

PSYCHED!!! x 2

The fuckwit that decided eons ago that having Monday 9am lectures is a fucking good idea should be hanged. We arrived late last night, and I managed to get to sleep even later, as I got caught up with preparing my lecture (had prepared it, but wanted to make sure - ha! one day, this will be the death of me). Needless to say, today's lecture did not go as awesomely as I would have wanted it, and this is an understatement.

But enough about me, let's talk about the Grampians!! I think that any trip to the Grampians that leaves you sapped of any arm strength (I pumped out while typing the above paragraph) but at least doubly psyched to go back, is a fantastically awesome trip. We explored a lot of problems in the first day and did a couple, and focused on three problems on the second day. I did not send anything new, but was happy to see that at least I can cruise V3-V4s that I have done before. Lygon Street Massacre remains my favorite problem in the V3 range (and yes, I can hear both D. and M. groan now) but this is because I am short and have decent finger strength. Or maybe just short.

And for the announcement of the day, I have the beta for Master Bates (V5) OH YEAH!!! It looks like the kind of things that I can project as it is definitely not my style - crimpy face climb, as opposed to overhanging powerful ROAR climbs. Master Bates involves a weird toe hook (NEAR MY LEFT PALM!), followed by a shitty crimp in which you downclimb to a good foothold, only to climb back again to a series of crimps, up to a sidepull pocket still to be explored and then onwards for the highball top-out over a garden of rocks below. A garden of rocks below. A garden of rocks below. And a tree. AAARGH! PSYCHED!! By the looks of it, we will go back two weeks from now, so hopefully there will be some sending going on.

The guys tried to do "Mary", but Mary, being the good girl that she is, didn't give in, despite the numerous beached whaling and humping that ensured over her top lip. (<-- This is not vulgar!) Hopefully by the end of the day I will have some photos of M. going for the hump on Mary's top lip. 

Friday, September 7


Today we're driving to the grampians for a full weekend of bouldering-weather permitting. Now this would have me squealing (literally) anytime but this time it's special, as we're taking new people to the gramps. I've always been giddy doing that, including for the motherfucker, because it's just so different and so many problems and so awesomely cool and aaaaargh!!! PSYCHED!!!

I've been like a fucking jack russell on speed for the whole day* and not even rude people, nasty chairs, clueless students and tons of assignments to mark have not been able to dampen that. PSYCHED!!!

*the morning had me in tears when my friend said "I've lost running", but after that things got a bit better - they tend to, once they hit rock bottom ...

Wednesday, September 5

Fuck this shit

My friend and running partner will probably stop running forever because his left knee is killing him. His left knee is killing him enough to warrant a visit to the doctor and thoughts about surgery, and that from somebody, who, like me, has serious problems with declaring any sort of pain.

In the quiet words of Shakespeare,  I say, ... "Fuck this shit".

Not only does he love running but running, in a similar manner to me, keeps him sane. Although, for some obscure reason, he actually enjoys it. And I really mean actually enjoys it, and not like me after 30 kms when the endorphins are finally kicking in, and then only as a measure of just how badly my body is breaking down.

Fuck this shit.
what one may say when frustrated or annoyed to the point that one gives up or no longer wants to complete the task at hand. Usually results in the task not being complteted. (Urban dictionary)

He is the one that introduced me to Six Foot Track by telling me just how dangerous and stupid and difficult that track is. He, of course, had ran it. And, of course, the mention of just how dangerous and stupid and difficult that track is made absolutely drool over it and want to run it.

Fuck this shit. What now? I keep telling him that climbing does not really need solid knees and probably he will come and join us if running will not be an option anymore. I guess this is probably the only time when I won't be happy somebody new joins climbing. Fuck this shit.

Monday, September 3

One picture Tuesday

About two years ago Jensen and I were climbing in the gym (whereby climbing meant that he gave me routes I couldn't do and I gave him routes he would flash).  I was waiting for San to arrive when I decided that I will improve my always crappy sloper strength (must be the fatness, really,  or the fact that I don't practice slopers, because otherwise I cannot explain why my sloper strength just does not increase) by doing a slopey route. It involved this green ball. I know it did because then I stepped on it. And when I stepped on it, it cracked like in the picture*. 

I just want to say that there's nothing that screams FAT!!! than the sound and sight of resin (it's supposed to be superiorly durable, enough to hang and put your life in it!!) cracking under your right foot!

*It's been like this for two years (was it more than two years?) It's sad and funny at the same time that the only mark I've left on that gym is DESTRUCTION! 

Saturday, September 1

A trilogy of sorts

I'm in Singapore for a week and I ran twice already, and probably I will run again tomorrow (wait, today). My last run was probably one of the most horrible runs I've had in at least a year. You see, it was the run of three daemons. Because I can definitely tackle the run of one daemon, and the run of two daemons, but I have yet to tackle the run of three daemons.

In the order of bad-assness, my three daemons are heat, gluttony, and thoughts. I decided to run at 10am on Wednesday morning. Let me put it this way: 10am on Thursday morning in Singapore is not the same as 10am Thursday morning in Adelaide. It's damn hot and humid, that's what it is. My legs were swollen, and I was sweating like a pig. That's when I decided to take off my shirt - "at least get a tan", I thought. I was now much cooler but also about 200% more self conscious, as I was running through the damn CBD. So I alternated between taking off my shirt, running a bit, and then putting it back on. And I ran and I stopped and i ran some more again. And then I stopped again. And ran. And stopped. And ran. Because of all this on-off business, my hair started to stick to my face and get into my (now) dry mouth. There's nothing like the taste of hair on a dry-mouth day.

Now you see, the reason why I was running at 10am instead of 7am was because at 7am I had had a very nice and very very big breakfast, and had then spent the next 3 hours digesting it off and doing some work. But the little monster was not done being digested and kept creeping up (literally) on me, threatening to have me puke in the middle of the CBD on very nicely dressed passers-by. So in between taking off my shirt (and putting it back on), I would also stop to prevent myself from puking my breakfast. It would not have been a good sight, plus, me puking my breakfast would have had said breakfast stick to the hair that was in my mouth, and thus have it stick with me for the rest of the run. Literally. Thus I had to stop SOME MORE.

But the most badass daemon were my thoughts. Nasty nasty things are happening and thoughts concerning them stop me dead in my tracks. Now don't get me wrong, I could have handled this little baby just nice if it were by itself, but with the other two, it was practically impossible. Thoughts aplenty and my (not positive*) inner voice bringing up images related to them ... For some, I would use the anger to propel me, but for others I would just stop suddenly and try (and fail) to blink them away. Thoughts, you ask. Like my paternal grandmother dying alone after being ignored by my father for at least five years. Or seeing my friends suffer in teary silence and realize that there's nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that I can do to make it go away. And this feeling of helplessness started the big momma voice in my head (not positive*), who started rattling on all the things i did wrong (imaginary or for real) since i was 6 years on (it has a very good memory). So in between taking off my shirt (and putting it back on), and trying not to puke my breakfast, I would also stop to get it to shut up. Which it did ... the next fucking day.

And before you ask, I'm running again tomorrow.