Just Try Harder. 

Several years ago my friend Roger Fage spoke three words to me that changed a huge part of my life. 

“Just Try Harder.” 

I had met Roger in Halifax around 2010 and  then during a random climbing trip to Kamourska, Quebec our paths crossed again.


We spoke of all the things and none of the things, but the one thing that stuck with me was this particularly conversation. 

He told me for a long time he was stuck. He was unable to progress in his climbing and seemed to feel like he had plateaued. Then one day, one of his friends told him the secret to success. “Just try harder.” And from then on he was surpassing his current climbing ability. 


I don’t know what it was about this moment because I’ve heard those words so many times before. However, perhaps was just the right time, the right place and the look on his face as he turned away from me and stared at the climb above us. 

Just. Try. Harder.

Ever since then it has been one of my top 5 mantras in achieving things. Whenever I feel stuck in something and feel as though I have plateaued in my own ability and skill, I take a moment to reassess what I am doing wrong. 


I look at the factors and the variables and I start making excuses. 

Then. I catch myself and it dawns of me. The words of an amazing, even keeled human…

Just try harder.

Then I take a deep breath and do you know what I do next ? I try harder. 

Since my recent ACL tear, I have felt like I have fallen backwards in so many aspects of my life. My strength, my flexibility, my will power. 


Prior to my injury I was just barely maintaining my fitness and then suddenly, goals that were already barely within arms reach had become insurmountable. I look at my before photos and now I’ve gained weight, gotten soft, lost endurance. 

I stopped writing blog posts. I stopped stretching. I stopped trying. 

I stopped trying. 

This is the moment I assess all the factors and variables again. Cloud my mind with why I can’t and why I won’t. Fill my heart with excuses.  This is also the moment that I stop doing that and get my soul together and once again realize the answer to all my recent setbacks is to,

Just Try Harder. 

Coming soon. The new and improved Melba Fucking Seto. 

When Life Pops Your Knee… Make Lemonade.


I’ve never been good with remembering idioms but as long as you’re picking up what I’m putting down then it doesn’t really matter.

Three weeks ago my knee went “pop” when I landed a tiny jump from setting a volleyball. I remember contacting the ball, hearing the pop, thinking “omg my knee is dislocated,” and then curling into a fetal position clutching my right knee trying to force myself to breath but not being able to. 

I remember hearing voices far away “are you okay?” “What happened?” “Can you move?” It seemed liked an enternity before my head stopped spinning and for me to realize I was holding my breath. 

My team mate Mel assessed my knee and being experienced in orthopedics she quickly informed me it wasn’t looking good. 


I booked an appointment the next day to the Acute Knee Injury Clinic and then went straight to my family physician to prescribe me radiographs and an ultrasound.  Initially it seemed it may have been a minor tear and my heart was happy.

A week later at my Acute Knee assessment I was informed that it was confirmed as a full anterior cruciate ligament tear. 

“What?” 

I don’t think I heard her correctly. She said the MCL and LCL looked great and then she said something about something. 

“How do you know? Do I need an MRI?” 

“No you don’t need an MRI because we knows it’s fully severed.”

I don’t know why but I’m pretty sure my eyes started tearing up. All the hopes and dreams of the summer … climbing…. paddling … surfing, seemed to collapse around my little heart and squeeze.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my jaw and tried to absorb this new intel. 

I asked what was next. What the expected healing process was and how long. 

Apparently many people including athletes can continue life without an ACL as long as they wear a brace whenever they are engaging in sports. Some people choose to have the surgery and it could take 3-9months for surgery and up to year to fully heal. 

You can imagine what was going on in my brain. Math. I was mathing out the next 2 years of my life.  3 months to heal from this initial tear. Then surgery. Then  healing all over again. 

Over the years I’ve trained myself to better deal with obstacles thrown in my face. I give myself time to absorb and process the information, grieve and then onwards and upwards.


The first week and a half I spent elevating, icingy knee and taking anti inflammatories. I ordered a K2 Comfortlite custom knee brace immediately, which arrived a few days later.


The second week I began to increase mobility with the assistance of a hiking pole and resumed playing discgolf. I went back to work. No word of a lie I think disc golf helped expedite the rehabilitation of my knee. Low impact activities to promote mobility. It’s easy to want to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself but the stiffness that follows is what is truly debilatating.

Now in the third week, I’ve begun to climb easy routes, hike short easy to moderate terrain and continue disc golfing. My followup appointment to see my progress and initiate a consultation for surgery will be happening in the next couple days. 


I’m more motivated now to actively develop my leg muscles and push hard to strengthen my legs before my upcoming surgery, and also so I can climb and paddle this year. If all goes well I’ll have surgery booked for the late fall of 2017 and I’ll spend all my off time making chalk bags and painting

All in all for those going through the same thing, I want you to know yes, it sucks but if you want it bad enough you can get back to where you were before and maybe even become stronger than ever. 32 is going to be the most epic ACLrecovery year ever. 

Follow me on Instagram @Melba_Seto and Facebook @MelbasToast.com to see what someone without an ACL can accomplish. 

The Road to 12a – Part 1.

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Villia Maria, Colombia

The last couple years I’ve been saying “This is it. This is the year I start climbing 12a.”

Yet one thing after another kept getting in the way of my climbing goals. Work, time, travel, excuses and excuses. It really mainly came down to not being able to balance work, life and finances to allow for enough climbing time.

2015 was a completed write off due to the Woods Canada Dream Job gig. Which was amazing of course, but I spent maybe 15 days total, climbing that year.

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Be Like Mike. 

 

mike bannerEveryone wants to be like Mike. The world is full of “I wish I could, ” “I want to do that,” and “if only,” kind of people. I am here to tell you, that you can, you will and you are. It’s up to you to say “Yes. ” Read my post about The Importance of Yes Friends.

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Travel Challenge Photo. Day 8/10: Quito, Ecuador.

I was nominated by Liberate Wings to post one travel photo a day for the next 10 days. Each day I will share a photo and challenge someone else to do the same. I also decided that though pictures say a thousand words… There’s always something more to the photo so enjoy each of the mini- stories of these photos over the next 10 days!


This photo was taken in Quito, Ecuador in August of 2012. It was the first climbing day of a two month climbing expedition trip in South America, and yes I am holding a sock.

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Travel Photo Challenge. Day 7/10. Bishop, California. 

I was nominated by Liberate Wings to post one travel photo a day for the next 10 days. Each day I will share a photo and challenge someone else to do the same. I also decided that though pictures say a thousand words… There’s always something more to the photo so enjoy each of the mini- stories of these photos over the next 10 days!


Bishop, California. Circa 2012.

This was my first time climbing in Bishop, California. We only had a few days to spend here but it was enough to keep me wanting more.

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Travel Photo Challenge:  Day 6/10 Meso Des Los Santos

I was nominated by Liberate Wings to post one travel photo a day for the next 10 days. Each day I will share a photo and challenge someone else to do the same.
I also decided that though pictures say a thousand words… There’s always something more to the photo so enjoy each of the mini- stories of these photos over the next 10 days!


Oh Meso Des Los Santos. This escarpment held some of the greatest climbing in all the places I visited while in Colombia.

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Travel Photo Challenge 3/10: Suesca, Colombia. 

I was nominated by Liberate Wings to post one travel photo a day for the next 10 days. Each day I will share a photo and challenge someone else to do the same.
I also decided that though pictures say a thousand words… There’s always something more to the photo so enjoy each of the mini- stories of these photos over the next 10 days!


This photo was taken during a two month climbing trip in South America.

We had decided to spend a week climbing in this little town of Suesca where the entire escarpment of climbs ran parallel to a railway track.

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Adventures of AdamsMom. Episode 1: “I Love This!”

A Week In Calgary In the Eye of a Polish Mom


I find more and more we see the young outrunning, outplaying and downright outliving the old. Our NorthAmerican sedentary ways are like a slow death filled with increased cases of high cholesterol, diabetes and heartattacks. With AdamsMom, this is not the case.

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Clip it, Clip it Good. 


It feels like forever since I’ve climbed. Since Potrero Chico in January. As I scroll through my photos and read all these climbing posts and like all these epic Instagram climbing photos I think “I can’t wait to clip it.”
  
For me that’s the ultimate moment in climbing. The clip. Your left leg is flagging while your right foot is balanced most precariously on a tiny crystal. Your left hand crimping hard on a microcrimp and then you realize you should have grabbed the microcrimp with your right hand and now you’re screwed so you try to cross clip with the right hand all the while trying not to pop off the wall. 

  
This is the moment. You slowly start to pull up the rope. It’s short. You yell “clipping!” The timing is off and your belayer is trying to feed the rope, while you’re pulling and it’s snagging. You’re starting to pump out.  “CLIPPING!” Don’t think about how far that last bolt is. 

“Slack!” 

“I’m sorry!!!!!! ” 

“Slackkkkk!!!!!” 

“I’m trying!!!” 

Clip.

  
You take a deep breath, your whole body relaxes. The pump is going away and you pull through to the next “jug.”

Sigh. This is my favourite. This push. To hold on when everything seems to be going against your favor. There’s a 95% chance you’re going to fall, and somehow you manage to mentally and physically push yourself through extraordinary means to stay on that wall. 

  
And then on top of that you somehow manage to send your project. Exhilarating .

There is no other passion of mine that gives me greater fulfillment than climbing. Yes, I love to paddle, do pottery, paint, act and play in the bush, but only climbing pushes my limits mentally and physically. 

  
Through sport climbing I have been able to experience such great failures and overcome the same failures. It’s incredible. It’s indescribable. That feeling to work on something over and over again and fall. Sometimes falling many times. Sometimes in the same spot. 

Then that one time you get a little bit of a better hold or get half an inch closer to the next bolt, it suddenly becomes all worth it. 

To clip that last clip. Even to clip just the next clip. It’s the greatest release of endorphins ever. 

This season I’m going to clip it. Clip it good.