Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rock Climbing in Alexandria

Last night I departed from my usual running/pool running/yoga workout regimen and went rock climbing for the first time in over 2 years. I forgot how much I enjoy climbing!  I first  learned at summer camp late in high school – we climbed at Turtle Rock outside of Buena Vista, CO. Then as a camp counselor I spent a summer belaying campers and climbing on my days off, and in college I utilized the school rock wall pretty often and did a bit of bouldering outside Boston.

But since moving to DC my climbing gear has waited patiently in my closet, eagerly anticipating the day I would again take it out to play (yes, I just personified my climbing gear…).

So last night was the night! My co-workers and I (unofficially the office climbing club) metro’ed to SportRock in Alexandria, DC’s closest rock gym. (DCists - $10 with a student ID!)

Luckily muscle memory kicked in and I passed the belay test (tying in, belaying a climber, etc.), and with that we were ready to go.

It took a few climbs to get warmed up and remember how to balance my body, but once I got back into the swing of things it was great! I’m definitely not as strong as I was back in my regular climbing days, but one of the things I like about climbing is that it’s just as much of a mental puzzle as a physical one. 

If you’re like me (i.e. distance runner arms), pulling yourself up the wall is not an option. Instead, I try to figure out how to position myself so that my legs and abs can do most of the work while my arms follow along providing balance.

If you haven’t been climbing before, or haven’t gone in a while, you should try it! Like yoga it works your entire body. I’d much rather climb than lift weights to accomplish the strength component of my workouts. Climbing uses muscles in completely different ways than running and can serve as a complementary strength workout to add to your usual training.

So, bottom line, I’ll be going back!