I've been climbing now for a little more than 2 years. But I guess if you count the time I was out because of injuries (um, like this one and yeah, this one) you could say it's been more like a little over a year :) Obviously I'm hooked if not even breaking my arm is going to stop me from climbing again.
There are lots of reasons why I love climbing so much. But I think the biggest one is that (unlike when I'm running) when I am working on a climbing problem, I completely forget about everything else going on in my life.
I can walk into the gym at First Ave Rocks and leave all of the crazy and the stress in my life outside the door. Sadly it's all still there waiting on me as soon as I leave, but while I am at the wall, I zone in and focus completely on what's in front of me. I've never experienced any other activity that gives me this beautiful, simple type of clarity.
Another reason I love climbing are all the people I have met since I first started. I think it's safe to say that I have at least 30 more friends than I did two years ago and it's all because of the climbing gym. There's a real beauty of collaboration in climbing and the gym makes it even easier to reach out and ask those around you for beta on how to approach a problem. This exact scenario has led to some really amazing friendships for me. And then those people have introduced me to other folks and it just keeps going and going like that until pretty soon you feel like you know half the town.
And finally, I love climbing because it is such a challenge for me. I am honestly not that great at it. I have worked steadily to improve over the past couple of years, but it has been a very slow process. Unfortunately I am a bit of a perfectionist which usually means I don't like to stick around and continue to do things that are difficult. I like to be
I was actually reminded just how hard climbing is a couple of Saturdays ago when I participated in my first competition. Because I had been improving and getting stronger a few weeks prior to the comp, I thought I would come in and perform well. I didn't think I would place, but I thought I would at least feel good about my performance.
I could not have been more wrong. Instead, I wasted time and energy doing routes multiple times because I kept making silly mistakes. This only fueled the doubt swirling in my mind. Apparently once I placed a number or points to a route, I choked. What a humbling experience. And quite honestly, I probably needed it!
While at the time, the comp didn't seem as much "fun" as I wanted it to be, it definitely taught me a few things and I learned a lot about myself. I learned I don't compete well and that I need to work on that. I need to take things less seriously and not place so much value on my performance and just have a good time with it. I learned to never drink a Red Bull before a comp ever again...maybe halfway through wouldn't be such a bad idea though :) I learned that my endurance is actually okay, because I was able to climb twice as long as I thought I could.
I also learned I have a pretty awesome group of friends who supported me by simply watching me climb for 4 hours or talking me down off my mental ledge in between climbs or by asking for a comp play-by-play via GroupMe. But let's be honest, I already knew I had some amazing friends.
And while I can't say yet that I will for sure do another competition in the future, I do know that you will still be able to find me at First Ave about three times a week. Just look for the girl flailing on the wall...or talking to half the people at the gym.
Climb on yall!