24: Sweat and Chalk

It was October 2014. Mile 6 or so of the Whoos In El Moro 50k when I realized I needed to take a break from running.

I had jumped into trail running headfirst and after a year and a half of consistent running racing my body was exhausted. I did a lot of walking that day and a lot of planning for a break. After North Face 50. Then after the Carlsbad Half. Then after the Big Baz 21k. Then after the LA Marathon (no wait, I’ll actually skipped that). Oh hello Colorado.

Needless to say, I never took the time to listen to my body. This summer as the adrenaline of my move wore off, I faced a similar feeling of exhaustion. I pushed through it again and ended up at mile 53 of the Wasatch 100 as the Pope of Nope.

I continued exploring a bit as the summer turned to fall, but as winter has approached I have decided to take a step back and let my body recover a bit.

To fill in the gap of time and exercise, I have joined the local climbing gym Earth Treks. Relative to the past gyms that I have been a member at, this place is huge! It not only has an expansive bouldering area, lots of top rope/lead climbs, and treadmills that go up to a 30% grade.

I’ve enjoyed breaking up my exercise routine a bit. Instead of stepping out my door and running along the same road, breathing exhaust, or running through the night alone constantly fearing rolling an ankle, I have been able to push old muscles in new ways around a bunch of strangers doing the same thing.

I have enjoyed the challenge of relearning to climb. In the week+ that I have been going, I have left sore each day after 30-45 minutes of pulling myself up a wall. I left Riverside in 2013 being able to climb V4 climbs, but struggled my way up the V1s on day 1.

There’s something comforting about the smell of the climbing gym. I’m not sure if it’s familiar to all gyms as I think 99% of gyms I have been too have been rock walls, but the combination of sweat and chalk brings a smile to my face.

Using my legs in new ways, balancing on a foot here, pulling myself up from my pinky there, falling to the mat with a smile.

The callouses help me grip my beer glass to celebrate life.

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