So I’ve been climbing a lot. Like probably to the detriment of my “training” for Franklins 200. My mileage has been erratic. I certainly am not overtraining. Probably climbing is just a way to avoid being disciplined and actually putting in the work. For sure, climbing has opened up a whole ‘nother world for me. And I’m really happy about it.
My friend Zach and I used to climb back in high school, which was over 20 years ago. We were pretty consistent about doing it for maybe three years. Then life went on, I moved away, then moved back. We tried to climb again, but it wasn’t the same. We didn’t have the same free time and strength and youth. We dicked around on his small climbing wall, but nothing ever came of it. We definitely never went anywhere to rope climb or even boulder.
And now I’m here in Utah. I work at REI and there is a Momentum gym literally next door. I hesitated about getting a membership because I was afraid I’d not go often enough to make it worth having. I bought a month pass, and I was pretty much hooked within the first two weeks. It really helped that there are so many climbers that work in our store. Black Friday offered a 6 month pass and I snapped that up, and I’m glad I did.
It took a few weeks to get to where I was “in shape.” The first two or three weeks, my forearms would get pumped super quick. The only thing I could get on were the purple V0 and V1’s with the giant holds. Much of my time then would be spent sitting and watching others climb as I waited for my forearms to relax. But I’ve made pretty decent progress, and a 2 -3 hour session in the gym isn’t unusual.
Probably the best part is the social aspect of it. Not everyone likes to run, but almost everyone likes to climb. I can now engage with some of my coworkers in a sport that we both enjoy. If I hadn’t ventured into the gym and started climbing with them, I wouldn’t know them nearly as well. I’ve told everyone that I am always up to climb, and And there are a few of them that I get to share both sports with, and that is really cool.
Perhaps the funniest thing (to me) is that I still don’t consider myself a climber. Even though I’m climbing quite a bit, I have yet to fully embrace that as part of my identity. Maybe because it’s all been gym climbing thus far, maybe it will change once I get outdoors.
And now I understand my friend Dustin’s point of view. During an ultramarathon, he told me he didn’t consider himself an ultra runner. I was thoroughly confused. I was like, “Dude, you’re running an ultramarathon right now. How the heck could you not consider yourself an ultra runner?”
So yeah, Dustin, I get it now. Even though I’m climbing in this gym, every time I jump off the wall, I’m thinking #notaclimber.