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My alarm rings at 5 a.m. and I have two options. I run through the reasons to to pull off the covers one more time: I’m comfortable, not sleepy. The sun is coming up. It’s quiet and cool outside. It’s just 30 minutes.
And then there’s the biggest reason: I’m a rock climber with no rocks to speak of.
It’s easy to forget I’m in training mode. I read over and over that the best way to improve as a climber is to climb. I envy those I see living with renowned climbing areas in their backyard. You have it so good! But more than envy, I look forward to the day I’ll join the ranks of recreation-for-life-not-just-vacation. Until that day, I have vacation. I have seven glorious days planned in Rocky Mountain National Park in July and the alpine climbs call my name.
Until then, I rely on the playground at the top of the hill. It’s the finish line for most of our running routes, which vary in length between 2 and 10 miles. I use monkey bars, platforms, and grass to do push-ups, pull-ups, bar-hangs, dips, squats, planks, and yoga. I work out with my climbing partner & husband because without him pushing me, I would never go beyond that initial moment of discomfort. Getting up a half hour early is a recent change. I needed something fresh because it got too easy to make excuses in the evening. Now I get up, get my juices flowing, and tell myself I can have a second go later, if I want.
Most days and weeks, my workouts are all over the place. Juggling two work schedules requires enough routine that adding a regimented training program – even the idea of it! – bores me. Also, in general, I’m stubborn and developing willpower to do something I don’t enjoy is really asking a lot. For a while that meant I didn’t train, and I whined every time we made it out to climb because I wasn’t any good. I finally figured it out! Training is important because the outcome lets me do something I desperately want to do. So when my alarm rings, I can get out of bed (most of the time) to do something I want to do. And I try to remember: This is fun!
Training without rocks is not the same, but I see a difference once I find a wall to climb. I tackle harder moves and I have a better attitude on pitch 4 of 8. I want to be strong – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – because it makes hard things easier. I’ve found that all those things are tied together, so as I grow stronger in one, I grow stronger in all.
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