Try It Tuesday: A Week of Climbing

I decided at the beginning of the academic year that I was going to spend my senior year trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s using new techniques to improve my relationships with my friends, experimenting with self care tactics I haven’t tried before, challenging myself in my workouts, or something completely different, I’m taking this year to push myself to be better.

My AESOP as a first year was rock climbing, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a great workout and you get to use so many different muscles all over your body (plus, jumping off when you’re at the top of the wall is fun). It’s incredibly satisfying to reach the top and look down, seeing quite literally how far you came. Over the past year, I’ve been spending more and more time at the rock wall in Merrill gym, so I gave myself a challenge: go to the wall every day for a week and see what happens. Last Monday, I went to the gym and so started my week of climbing.

The first few days were good; I was really motivated to go climbing, either at the end of my usual workout or as a workout in and of itself. When I got to Friday, though, I hit a speedbump in my routine. It was a really busy day for me, and after spending several hours dealing with a frustrating and emotionally draining issue, I couldn’t find the time or energy to work out at all. It gave my body a rest, but I was really disappointed to not be able to spend any time at the gym.

On Saturday I resumed my climbing workouts and for some reason, I really felt my muscles the next few days. Honestly, I’m still in pain. I don’t think I worked out any harder on Saturday such that my upper back should have been in so much more pain on Sunday than any other day, but for whatever reason, my upper back decided to revolt against me and it now hurts to stretch, although it’s getting better. 

My hands halfway through the challenge

At the end of the challenge, I can fairly confidently say that I’ve gotten better at climbing; I can do more challenging routes, have better grips, and definitely bigger calluses on my hands (a weirdly satisfying thing) and many more bruises (so many bruises). I’m still planning to climb on a regular basis, but I think I might take a day off to let my back recover. The wall isn’t as intimidating as it seems, and the people who frequent it are really friendly (and I’m not just talking about myself, although I’d like to think I’m fairly friendly and approachable). Plus, you don’t need ropes since it’s a bouldering wall and doesn’t use a belay system, and you don’t need to have your own climbing shoes (there are so many pairs there for people to use).

I’d definitely recommend climbing for anyone interested, and maybe you'll see me there!