I like the idea of using “adventuring” as a verb — all credit to this girl. And this weekend I did a little bit of adventuring in an effort to make my offseason as enjoyable and reinvigorating as possible.
Step #1: Finally make it to the indoor climbing gym I’ve had my eye on for months.
One of the activities on my post-IM list is climbing. It’s a great strength workout and a totally different way to build muscle and stay in shape than anything else I do. It’s one of the many new types of exercise I’ve been wanting to check out (see also: TRX, Barre, dance lessons, plus boot camp and yoga) and eventually I’d love to make it an outdoorsy experience. I’d guess there are lots of beautiful climbs out in the mountains of Virginia.
However, I haven’t climbed since I went to overnight camp back in middle school — and only then on those tall wood towers. I think I may have been on real rocks once, but mainly so we could then rappel down. I never took advantage of the climbing walls Duke built in our gym my junior year. In order to get back up to speed, on Saturday I joined a “climbing basics” class at Sportrock in Alexandria, which is basically a big industrial warehouse full of whole bunch of walls.
The class was really helpful. While I didn’t meet my soulmate there like some people, I did learn how to put on a harness (easy, duh), tie in as a climber, and belay someone else. It took a few tries to master the knots and the coordination, but once we were able to actually get on the wall I had a blast. The instruction itself took about an hour, followed by supervised climbing in small groups, followed by as much free time as we wanted to explore the gym.
You have to wait a day to come back and take a short practical test in order to belay someone else so you can climb freely, so I returned on Sunday and left with a passing grade and a five-climb membership to the gym. I think my biggest barrier — besides being a long way from Sportrock when I move back into the city — is not having anyone to climb with. There are a lot of people there with a lot of experience, and it’ll be hard to go by myself and find another person to work with me — even though there’s a sign up for just such occasions. It’ll also take me some time to feel confident on the wall among all these super climbers, but I know that’s just a matter of practice. I mean, there were small children scaling those walls like it was nothing. Fearless and lightweight, or something.
So, if anyone ever wants to go, just say when and I’m in!
Step #2: Make new athlete friends.
I joke a lot about having “Internet friends,” but some of the people I’ve met through this blog and on Twitter are those that I spend a lot of my actual time with. This weekend I kept up that trend by going on a ride with this girl, who is a great swimmer and all-around triathlete and a blast to train with. I hope she’s up for more SBR in the future…
Anyway, Sunday was warm enough to ride without any warmers HOORAY (also, we left at 11am). We drove to Georgetown to avoid the stupid trail miles from Alexandria and headed out on the same route the NCVC Espresso ride takes. Hills, beautiful houses, lots of fall leaves — WIN. Cupcake stop at Baked&Wired? Double win.
It’s not weird to randomly meet up with virtual friends in real life, right? Right.
Step #3: Play with puppies.
This has very little (ok, nothing) to do with my training, but I had lots of quality time with these
monsters angels over the weekend.
More adventuring to come! How was your weekend?