My American Ninja Warrior Journey

     Earlier this year I decided that I would send in a submission video for American Ninja Warrior. I watched the Japanese version when I was in high school, and it always seemed like it would be something fun to do. When I arrived in Denver for the qualifiers in May, I really didn't know what I was getting into. Silly me, I assumed that the whole qualifying round would take about an hour. I am going to call that my typical Cher from Clueless moment, which happens at least once a day. Looking at the obstacle course I couldn't wait to try it out. Growing up doing gymnastics, rock climbing, and pole vaulting, heights and swinging around have always been things that I like to do. A giant obstacle course is basically like a playground for adults, and I think that most people would agree that when you see it you feel like a kid again. The only thing you want to do is try everything and start swinging around. 

 Sizing up the spinning log. Wow was that thing fast! 

Sizing up the spinning log. Wow was that thing fast! 

     As I approached the start of the course I felt a familiar feeling of overwhelming nerves. This feeling is a common one that I experience in every climbing competition. It is the moment right before my 5 minutes starts on a boulder problem. Following that feeling of overwhelming nerves I think to myself "whatever, just go and listen to your body." The same exact thing happened the night of my qualifying round of American Ninja Warrior, and the next thing I knew I was already through the Quintuple Steps. The next obstacle that I took a moment to prepare for was the mini -tramp jump to the cones. I knew that as long as I got to the cones I would be fine, but it was getting there that worried me. Since I am a former gymnast I know how to jump on a trampoline, but it is hard to tell how far away the objects that you are jumping to will be. As I leapt from the trampoline towards the holds I was ecstatic when I felt the cones securely in my hands. I cannot express how badly I wanted to stay dry during this whole run. 

 My huge jump and reach towards the cones! 

My huge jump and reach towards the cones! 

     As I walked up to the Devil Steps I wasn't that worried. People who know my climbing style know that I am a very powerful climber, and I tend to not use my feet as much as I should at times. That being said, campusing up stairs seemed like the perfect obstacle for me. In the end I may have underestimated this obstacle a little bit. After watching each guy complete the obstacle the gap at the top didn't look that bad. The moment that I got to the last step on my way up I realized that the gap was a lot bigger than it looked. As I prepared to commit to the transition move the only thing I could think was "I hope I can grab the step on the other side." Once I felt the step in my hand I immediately pinched the step and felt a sigh of relief. I was feeling a bit fatigued as I campused down the steps, but I knew I had enough left to complete the course. 

 Campusing my way through the Devil Steps!

Campusing my way through the Devil Steps!

     As I walked up to the Warped Wall I knew that I could do it. I was definitely tired, but I know that the body can always handle more than you think it can. Knowing that I only had three tries to complete the obstacle brought me back to a familiar feeling. This time to one that brought me back to my time as a Pole Vaulter. As I fell off the lip of the wall on my first attempt I was excited because I knew it was possible for me. After falling on my second attempt I realized that I just needed to relax, breathe, and let my body take over. When I grabbed the lip on my third attempt I entered into a state of total euphoria! I was so excited that it took me a second to find the buzzer. I knew that the course was possible for me, but I also know from being an experienced competitor that things sometimes just happen. I have to say I am so happy that I decided to do this, because it has been such a fun experience for me! 

 Grabbing the lip of victory on top of the Warped Wall! 

Grabbing the lip of victory on top of the Warped Wall! 

     Since the show aired on Monday I have received so many kind words from so many people. I truly appreciate all of the support from friends, family, and fans of the show! When I walked into ABC Kids Climbing Gym to coach this week I was immediately surrounded by all of the little kids that I coach telling me how proud they were of me! I am not sure if there is anything cuter than that. The climbing community has been so supportive of this endeavor that I have embarked on as well, and it means the world to me. This community never ceases to amaze me, and it is made up of some of the best people I know. I'd especially like to thank my sponsors who are all very excited for me and who have been so supportive of me: Adidas Outdoor, La Sportiva, Rockwerx, Organic Climbing, Jtree Life, and Gnarly Nutrition. It has also been lovely to receive so many messages from women around the world, athletes and non-athletes, who are all so excited and have been inspired by the show. Health and fitness are two things that are really important to me, and if I can motivate women and girls to get involved in fitness I think it is an overall win! I have always had a muscular build and been quite strong, and I remember times when I was embarrassed by my muscles. Over time I grew to accept them and be proud of being a strong and athletic woman. I hope that women and girls see that it is okay to be strong, and if they want to be strong and girlie they can be. The future of female athletes is a bright one, and I am glad I can be a part of it! Tune in to NBC for the rest of the season of American Ninja Warrior and see where my journey takes me :)!

xoxo

Meagan 

 

A Long Overdue Post

     It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, and aside from being busy I don’t have a good excuse. I tend to be picky about what I choose to post, and as a result there hasn’t been a post from me in 6 months. Since my last post I’ve probably started to write five or six different entries and decided there was something wrong with each one, resulting in no post at all. Therefore, this is my attempt at turning over a new leaf, so hopefully this post makes it out of my Audrey Hepburn journal and on to my new website…

 I wasn't kidding about my journal... I just love Audrey! 

I wasn't kidding about my journal... I just love Audrey! 

     Since my last post a lot has happened, and luckily some of the events are documented through Instagram. I have some amazing new sponsors that I am working with (Adidas Outdoors, Gnarly Nutrition, Joshua Tree Skin Care, and La Sportiva). I am also happy to say that my other sponsors (Organic Climbing and Rockwerx) that I have been working with for almost a year are still helping me pursue my dreams! I’ve also taken on a new role as a coach at ABC Kids Climbing in Boulder, Colorado, which I started at the end of October. Becoming a coach at ABC has been an amazing opportunity for me, and I feel so lucky to get to work with so many amazing kids and coaches on a weekly basis. I think that having a gym like ABC is the best way to help mold the next generation of climbers. In my opinion they are in the best position to achieve their goals and reach their full potential not only as climbers, but as members of this amazing community.

 

 We were Bouldering National Champs this Year! Photo by Greenz Productions 

We were Bouldering National Champs this Year! Photo by Greenz Productions 

     In addition to coaching and competing I have also been doing clinics across the country. Clinics have been a great way to meet new people and share my passion for climbing with them. Since I came from a gymnastics and track background the idea of clinics and camps has always been something that I was used to. It is nice to see that in the sport of climbing people are interested in developing their climbing skills through clinics and camps. It is something that other sports have been doing for a long time, and in climbing it is more popular than ever at the moment. It really shows that the sport which so many of us love is truly progressing.

 

 The clinic I did after The Heist in Boston! Photo by Tim Roy 

The clinic I did after The Heist in Boston! Photo by Tim Roy 

     This upcoming month will be a busy one for me, filled with multiple competitions and hopefully some outdoor climbing. It all starts next weekend when I travel to Boston for the Ring of Fire finals. While I am there I will be teaching a clinic on Sunday morning following the competition. I have also been given the opportunity to coach the CRG team at the Glastonbury gym on Monday, which I am looking forward to. Following the Ring of Fire is Dominion Riverrock in Richmond, and finally the Toronto Bouldering World Cup in Canada! I’m really excited about my upcoming competitions and in the meantime I am training for them as best as I can.

 

 Qualifiers at the Munich Bouldering World Cup! I can't wait until Toronto!!! Photo by Sebastien Lazure 

Qualifiers at the Munich Bouldering World Cup! I can't wait until Toronto!!! Photo by Sebastien Lazure 

     Somehow I was able to give a short recap of the last six months as well as a glimpse at what is to come for me. I am really happy with everything that is going on right now, and I really appreciate all of the support that I have had over the past couple of years! The launch of my website was a great success and the feedback I have received from everyone has been lovely. It looks like my work here is done for now. Until next time…(Hopefully not 6 months from now)

xoxo

Meagan 

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Whirlwind! That is the only word I think creates an adequate description of my recent travels. Following my time in England I made my way to Arco, Italy, for the Rockmaster competition. It was sort of surreal to be part of such a legendary competition, so I had to make sure that I consciously took everything in. Despite not making finals I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Arco, but in all honesty how does one not enjoy their time in Italy? Lake Garda seemed to be the site that everyone who found out I was going to Arco seemed to suggest I go see. I have to say the way everyone described the lake still didn’t do it justice; it was absolutely breathtaking. In addition to the beauty that I was constantly surrounded by in Arco was delicious the food and coffee. I am not sure I will ever enjoy pizza from the US again, because the pizza I had was phenomenal, thinking about it right now is making me sad knowing that I can’t have any. I also find myself constantly trying to make or find a cappuccino as good as the ones that I got in town multiple times a day, for the 3 or 4 days I was there, but alas my cappuccinos are no match. I am constantly telling people that one of my favorite things about Italy is that at anytime during the day you could see someone walking with gelato. That little fact was amazing because I never felt like it was too early or too late in the day to indulge in some delicious gelato. I think I had so much nutella gelato that I don’t need to have nutella for about a year. 

  Lake Garda off in the distance between the mountains!

Lake Garda off in the distance between the mountains!

 Following Arco, Alex and I took an impromptu trip to Innsbruck, Austria. Innsbruck seemed like the best place to go for a few days before heading to Stuttgart, Germany, for the Adidas Rockstars competition. The time I spent in Innsbruck was quite relaxed and really fun. It was nice to be able to go to Tivoli and get a couple of training sessions in before the Rockstars competition. Unfortunately, I may have climbed a bit too much, but you live and you learn. The mountains that engulf the town are absolutely gorgeous, and as I walked, shopped, and ate in the city center I kept wishing I had more time to spend there. All of a sudden my couple of days in Innsbruck were up and I was off to Stuttgart! Prior to my arrival in Stuttgart I had heard from many people that the Adidas Rockstars competition was one of the best competitions they had ever been to. Not only was the competition itself a lot of fun, but also the overall experience was described to me as one that made climbers feel like the professional athletes that we are. To my satisfaction the competition lived up to every tale I had heard and more, my 14th place finish was a little bonus to the experience. Everything from the hotel, transportation, massages, and amazing food to the giant arena, great boulder problems, and excited fans was amazing! In my opinion, the Adidas Rockstars competition is in a league of its own as far as competitions go.

  Qualifier 1 at Adidas Rockstars! 

Qualifier 1 at Adidas Rockstars! 

After Stuttgart I returned to Boulder, Colorado, for a few days to move into my new apartment, and to try to help some of my friends affected by the flood. I almost felt guilty for being away from something that was so devastating to my community, but I am looking forward to being back there and helping out as much as I can! I basically unpacked and then repacked my bags to head to Boston for the first ever women only competition at the Central Rock Gym Watertown called The Heist! I have to say I am so honored that I was able to be part of such a revolutionary competition. When I heard about the competition I was 100% in from the start! Not only did I think it was a great idea, but also a couple of my favorite ladies (Andrea Brennan and Brittany Marryiott) organized the event. The competition was definitely a great success, and I was psyched to have my Rockwerx family at the competition to cheer me on!!! I ended up taking 6th place, and even though I didn’t have my best day of climbing, it was impossible to be unhappy. Since I was in such a fun and supportive atmosphere with many of my closest friends, I just couldn’t seem to stop laughing and smiling! The following day I taught two bouldering clinics and prior to teaching them I was extremely nervous. Looking back I can’t believe I was so nervous since I had such a fun time in both of my clinics! It seemed like everyone enjoyed it and learned a few new things, which is all I could ask for! When it comes to competitive sports it is sometimes difficult to remember that the goal is to always have fun! There are definitely moments where all you want to do is crawl into a hole and die, but at the end of the day climbing is one of the most amazing sports and we are all so lucky to be a part of this sport. So why not focus on the fun that comes with climbing and just keep smiling! 

  Final 1 at The Heist!!! Photo By Cort Gariepy

Final 1 at The Heist!!! Photo By Cort Gariepy

London Calling

I have been in Europe for about eleven days now, and I absolutely love it! The last time that I was in Europe was this past February when I went to Switzerland to climb outside. This trip is a little different, since I am more focused on competitions at the moment. My trip began in Munich, Germany, with the last Boulder World Cup of the season. Going into the competition I was nervous, but excited to be competing in my second World Cup. Unfortunately the competition did not turn out the way I had hoped, but at this point it is more about gaining as much experience as possible to better prepare myself for next season. Despite my underwhelming performance, I did enjoy myself. The problems that I got to climb on were tricky, but just what I need to become more familiar with in order to improve my climbing. Watching the rest of the competition was very exciting, and the problems looked like they were very fun to climb on. I feel like I cannot talk about the competition without mentioning the venue. The competition was held at the Olympic stadium, which was constructed for the 1972 Olympics held in Munich. Since I am a bit of a history buff, I was quite excited by the fact that I got to compete at the stadium where so many other amazing athletes competed before me. All in all I would say that my trip to Munich was a great one!

  Munich Olympic Stadium

Munich Olympic Stadium

  After I stuck the dyno in qualifiers! Photo by: Patho Dieguito

After I stuck the dyno in qualifiers! Photo by: Patho Dieguito

Following the Munich World Cup I made my way to Sheffield, England, with my friend Alex Puccio. Alex has been living here for a few years, so it has been nice to see England with, basically, a local. I had never been to England before, but I’ve always wanted to go. I have to say that so far I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. The climbing gym here, The Climbing Works, is just what I need to get better at the European style of setting. The gym is equipped with all of the slabs and volumes my heart can desire. I have two more competitions before I go back to the states, so The Climbing Works in Sheffield is the best place for me to train.

 Alex and me after a day of training at The Climbing Works

Alex and me after a day of training at The Climbing Works

I obviously couldn’t see England and not make my way to London, so last Thursday Alex, Tash, Adrian, and I drove to London for a weekend of site seeing, good food, shopping, and a bit of partying. I blame the trip to London for the excessive amount of luggage I’ve been toting around, but what can I say a girl needs options! London is absolutely beautiful, and filled with so many historic places. Whether you are visiting Buckingham Palace or just walking along on the old cobblestone roads, there are moments where you feel as though you have been transported through time. I will definitely have to go back for a bit longer next time in order to see everything that I want to see. I really love big Cities, so getting to walk around and look at all of the buildings whilst observing the vast array of people in the city is almost mesmerizing and very enjoyable. It is no secret that I love fashion, and I love to shop, so being in a city where fashion is so major was just the cherry on top for me. The next stop for me will be Arco, Italy, on Thursday (my Birthday!!!) and I cannot wait! Ciao, until then. 

 The Burberry store on Regent Street!

The Burberry store on Regent Street!

 I had to pick up a copy of Tattler! It's almost as good as Vogue ;)

I had to pick up a copy of Tattler! It's almost as good as Vogue ;)

PSICOBLOC!!!

     Last week I spent some time in Utah, this time I wasn’t going to Joe’s Valley, but to the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, and the inaugural Psicobloc Masters Series competition. The last time I attend the OR I was probably 14 years old, but lucky for me the OR hasn’t changed too much. The biggest change was that I am now 23, and trying to make a living as a climber. Which means that every meeting I had was that much more important, because I need to be able to support myself now. Coming back into the climbing community has been a great experience for me, and the OR made me more aware of how awesome this community is. The climbing community is a very close and supportive one, and when it comes to the outdoor companies the vibe is the same. It was nice to sit in a meeting and feel at ease talking to athlete managers at various companies about my passion for the sport of climbing. I felt as though I was talking to a friend about my favorite thing in the world, climbing, which happened to be their favorite thing as well. Thus, I have nothing but good things to say about my summer OR experience.

 Working out the moves on the route during semi-finals (Photo by Tiffany Hensley)

Working out the moves on the route during semi-finals (Photo by Tiffany Hensley)

When I heard that there was going to be a Psicobloc competition in the U.S. I just wanted to know how I could be a part of it. The idea to create this particular event was one that had been on the minds of many American climbers, but it was Chris Sharma and Mike Beck (along with the many other dedicated people) that were able to make the dream a reality. The idea that we were going to be climbing 50+ feet over a 12-foot deep pool excited the thrill seeker in me. I have always loved the feeling of falling, whether it is on a roller coaster or falling into water from a high height, it is the moment of weightlessness that a free fall creates, that is the moment that I love. The main aspect of the competition that made me nervous was the fact that 50+ feet meant a lot of moves! Since I mostly boulder, I was worried that my endurance wouldn’t be up to par in comparison to some of my talented competitors. Since the format of the competition incorporated the duel aspect I knew that I at least had a chance to do well in the competition. I am naturally a pretty fast climber, which is exaggerated when I climb routes due to the fact that I lack the endurance to move at a slower pace. In the end my speed did end up working to my advantage, and I was able to pull off a third place finish! I couldn’t be happier with my performance; I had fun and put forth my best effort, which is all anyone can do. The women's field was made up of so many talented climbers that it could have been anyone up on the podium, which made the competition all the more exciting.

 Lynn Hill climbing on the wall during semi-finals! I was so psyched to meet her :)

Lynn Hill climbing on the wall during semi-finals! I was so psyched to meet her :)

Even though this comp was unlike any competition I have ever been to, one thing remained the same, and that was the fun I had with my friends. Competitions are serious, but no matter how serious they are, I can always count on the fact that I will be laughing 90% of the time. This is said a lot, but getting to see some of my friends is one of my favorite parts of competitions. Since climbers tend to lead a more transient lifestyle we don’t get to see one another as often as we would like, so competitions give everyone that chance to catch up and have a good time!

 Having fun with the girls reading the semi-finals route! (Photo by Kim Puccio)

Having fun with the girls reading the semi-finals route! (Photo by Kim Puccio)

Coming back to climbing has proven to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had since I have been back, one of them being the opportunity to be a part of the Psicobloc Masters Series. The event was epic! It was obvious, with the presence of the roaring crowd, that it really resonated with a mainstream audience. Climbing outside, competing, and traveling is really all I want to do, and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of a few key people. Rockwerx is one of my sponsors, and from day one they have believed in my abilities as a climber, and supported my dream of being a professional climber. I feel so blessed to be working with a company that allows me to do what I love! I am excited for what is next, which will be the Munich World Cup, so I will be off to Europe in couple of weeks! Until then I will be training and climbing outside, I have to say I am quite happy with my life right now!