Today was a lovely day.
First, for the first day in three weeks, I took the day almost completely off of work. I really needed that; with last weekend’s freelance gig I have kind of crammed 3 weeks of work into the past 2 weeks, and the past couple days I have had a lot of trouble putting any kind of focus into it.
Second, the day itself was sunny and warm (for winter—40 or so). The 19 inches of snow from last Sunday is melting nicely; the banks are still there from where sidewalks were shoveled, but there are already some bare patches on lawns.
Third, I went climbing, and it was a lot of fun.
I went to a climbing gym, Brooklyn Boulders Chicago, which has been recommended to me by some of the trainers at my regular gym. I’ve never done any climbing, but it’s something that I’ve been interested in incorporating into my workouts. I feel like it will help with any kind of grip-strength-related obstacles—I’m glaring in your general vicinity, traverse wall, although I wouldn’t complain if it helps me get better at monkey bar- and similar-type obstacles.
Anyhow, I can cheerfully say that I’m absolutely rubbish at climbing. That’s hardly a shock—in addition to having no technique to speak of, my grip strength-to-weight ratio isn’t where it ought to be. (Both because the grip strength is too low, and the weight is too high.) Being not good at it didn’t impair my enjoyment of the morning all, and I even managed to figure out a few things as the day progressed.
See, the climbing walls are nicely covered in holds, but they are arranged in “problems”—routes of varying difficulty, delineated by the color of the hand and foot holds. I only managed the easiest ones (Yellow is my color!), and not even all of them. But there were a few that I started out completely hopeless on, but figured out a way to get better as I went—realizing that if I started from a seated position it was easier to support myself, or that I had to turn my foot to the left instead of the right.
Some of it’s also just getting comfortable being in weird positions. It’s amazing how unnerving it can be to try to hold onto a wall when your body is tilted backwards by 3 degrees. There were a probably hilarious number of times where I managed to fall spread-eagle on my back from a height of about 6 inches.
I suppose it’s obvious when you think of it, but before experiencing it I never thought of how much the shape of the various grips affect the difficulty. There were some where I could fully or almost fully grasp them, and there were some where only my fingertips fit in.
The facility has two bouldering walls, which contain dozens of the “problems” that I was working on. They are not that tall, maybe 20 feet max, with thick mats below, so you don’t need any additional equipment. There are also much taller walls that require safety ropes and harnesses; I didn’t use those since they require training and I figure it’s not particularly worthwhile to do so until I have some basic ability.
It’s not fair to rave based on one experience, so I won’t. (This isn’t intended to be a review, anyhow; just a report on an experience). But I enjoyed the day a lot, and I’ll be going back, and hopefully it will eliminate at least 30 burpees a run.