English Ninja Wannabe

It was Jen who first mentioned American Ninja Warrior to me. I had no idea that this horribly addictive, obstacle-course ‘game-show’ existed. But once I’d checked it out, I secretly adored it. And then, a week or two later, a clip did the rounds on the interweb of the first woman to complete the course in the finals…and I was hooked.

If you haven’t seen this clip of Kacy Catanzaro doing the course, you honestly need to take five minutes to watch it. And then you should take five more and watch this, her submission video for the series. My jaw was literally on the floor watching it – this tiny, amazing girl doing these amazing things!So when my friend Lucy asked me if we all fancied going bouldering with her and her husband and daughter at a wall in SF, I nearly bit her hand off. Ninja Warrior arms and abs would be mine in one easy session!

Dogpatch Boulders
Dogpatch Boulders

We went on Saturday. It was my first time bouldering. The Husband and I did a climbing course 6 years ago in the UK which we enjoyed, but didn’t love.Β Β I liked the idea of bouldering a little more – not so much heading straight up a wall but using my weakling arms to get around. Not having my bottom-fat spilling out of a harness would be a bonus too.


We spent about an hour there and it was a flipping good workout. I didn’t try to climb particularly high – I spent more time trying to climb across, around and along. I liked how climbing kept my mind ticking along too, trying to work out where I should put my hands and feet next! I was also totally inspired by some of the guys and the women climbing there – they were incredible! Our friend Jimmy was pretty awesome as well.

It was like that Tom Cruise bit in Mission Impossible!
It was like that Tom Cruise bit in Mission Impossible!

I have to be honest – climbing made me feel pretty hardcore and badass. I wasn’t particularly great at it, I don’t mean to imply that I was, but every time I hauled myself up onto the wall, Β I LOVED how it made me feel!

Full disclosure: The Husband laid on the floor to get these shots. I wasn't so high :)
Full disclosure: The Husband laid on the floor to get these shots. I wasn’t so high πŸ™‚


(Yes I was wearing socks. Apparently climbing shoes should be worn without them, but the thought of sweaty rental shoes and bare feet was too much even for this embracer of germs).

The Husband and the Dude had a great time too. The Husband’s height meant that he only needed to climb up a few grips and he could touch the top. The Dude LOVED it – his height and skinniness worked really well in his favour and he found his nose also helped at times!!



Bouldering was pretty humbling. It became clear that I have very little upper body strength and precious little core strength. I definitely fancy bouldering more regularly in order to strengthen those particular areas!! When I finally managed to haul myself up to a hand-hold I’d been aiming for, it was really satisfying, even though I had to stop climbing shortly afterwards when the constant rubbing gauged a hole in my finger. Need to toughen up.

Do you think I liked it?
Hand hole…


On Sunday, I was up early to get my run in. I needed to run long and hoped for 12 miles but the day was busy so I settled for 10. I alternated ‘normal’ speed miles with ‘faster’ speed miles – not tempo speed but just trying to push the pace a little. The last three miles are wonderful steady, gentle downhill so I made sure I pushed harder on those miles rather than cruise home easily. I felt like I worked really hard so when I got home and saw 10 miles at an average pace of 9.17, I was disappointed. However mile 6 went up an enormous, steep hill which forced me to walk. When I take that mile out of the stats, I ran 9 miles at a 8.57 pace, which I feel better reflects my effort. Is this cheating?? πŸ™‚

Later that day, we had a party for the Husband, partly to celebrate his birthday last month and partly to celebrate his Ironman. It was a lot of fun!!!

I won’t give up the day job to be a cake decorator, don’t worry!!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    The photo of the Dude “using” his nose while bouldering is hilarious!! Oh, and thanks for sharing a photo of the gouge in your finger — now I get it. Yeah, pretty typical climbing wound. πŸ˜‰ Glad I got you hooked on American Ninja Warrior. πŸ™‚

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, me and my dainty non-climber hand. I need to develop callouses immediately!!! Thanks for the ANW heads-up πŸ™‚

  2. I’ve never been bouldering, though it sure looks and sounds like fun! I LOVE American Ninja Warrior. It’s my favorite show for the summer πŸ™‚ I feel incredibly weak while watching it, sitting on my couch eating chips. lol.

    Glad you had a fun time bouldering! I need to find a place here in the south bay.

    1. Cathryn says:

      ANW is such a guilty pleasure isn’t it!! I def want to go again though…once my hands have stopped hurting πŸ™‚

  3. Grace says:

    Ha! In climbing, no holds are barred. You can use your knees, your elbows…so the nose-bar is a totally legit move. (In a past life I used to be a slightly more hardcore climber, albeit one afraid of heights AND ankle sprains…no wonder I stuck to running. I did like that a lot of climbing is about balance and not just raw strength.)

    I’d seen the video of Mighty Kacy’s ANW run, but not her submission video – badass! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Cathryn says:

      I have so much to learn and I really want to improve. Once my hands have healed up, I’m going back. Fascinated by your climbing history…you need to do some blogging about that!

  4. Bean says:

    I love the cake!

  5. Michaela says:

    That cake is amazing. I’m hoping there will be a gluten-free version at the finish line for me in November!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Get yourself to the Bay Area afterwards and I promise to make you one. I went to a gluten free place for lunch today – the food was good, but I realise what a fan I am of gluten πŸ™‚

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