Running Pause. Indoor Rock Climbing Go.

Officially, I rolled over my Morgan Hill Half Marathon registration to next year. The race is in two weekends and I’d admit that there is certain dissatisfaction that I would not participate. But, as life happens, so does injury. I need to lay off the pounding on the ankle and get better before I’m back on the trail.

That being said, I have to also admit that taking a break has been the right decision. Surprisingly, the right knee is feeling better (I can almost see my doctor saying “told ya’ so”) However, having to “pause” from a consistent 5-months training has been challenging for the mind and soul. I enjoy running because of the challenge and also because of the working-out-staying-fit aspect. Darn it, it just feels so good to get those endorphin!

Luckily, good friends are around and one of them suggested that I tried indoor rock climbing. I had only done rock climbing once in my life. That was in my teenage years, during summer camp. It was outdoor climbing. I was given a quick belay lesson and up I went. I could not remember how tall that climb was. All I could recall was I was literally 4 feet from reaching the top but never made it. I was too darn exhausted.

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In any event, fast forward to now (older and supposedly wiser). I said “why not?” Note: the night before I went out with my friend, I barely got any sleep. But, one latte later, nothing was going to me from trying something new. I took the 1-hour belay lesson and several double 8 loops and fisherman’s nodes later, I was up on my first climb!

Okay, running takes a while to get the “high” and sometimes on a bad run, it just feels like work and no high! Scratch that with climbing, especially, if you get a little “queasy” with height. Adrenaline started to pump as soon as I realized how HIGH I was off the ground. Additionally, the “fight” against gravity to go upward was very grueling for my upper body. As a runner, upper body strength training is mostly neglected. Oh, I felt that on the climbs.

After temporarily “passing” belaying class, I joined my friend whom was anxious to get up herself. She was more advanced and that meant higher wall (seriously, these folks feared no height!). It was mesmerizing to see climbers like spider man and defy gravity like that. I then tried few climbs and after the third trip, I was out of gas. My arms felt lifeless …

All in all, I’m glad I’m finding fun and exciting substitute to staying fit. It’s unlikely that I’d return to running for rest of the year (winter times are just not my favorite time to run). With this indoor rock climbing gym, there is also a gym with yoga and cross fit classes. There will be plenty to choose from to stay active while recovering and passing this winter. Who knows – maybe spring time comes, I’d be out climbing and running! It’s never too late to develop another hobby!

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