Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Choosing an Off-season – aka The Importance of Rest

What’s the best part about being a climber in the Southeast?  Climbing is a year round sport!  What’s the worst part about being a climber in the Southeast?  There’s no off-season…

I grew up in a family that followed multiple sports – baseball, basketball, volleyball…pretty much everything but football.  (And thankfully my hubby never got into football either – which works out well since football season also brings some of the best weather weekends of the year!)  I remember that my “favorite” sport would always be whatever sport was currently in season at the time.  I remember anxiously awaiting the climax of that particular sport (World Series, NCAA tournament, etc), as well as the inevitable boredom that ensued in the days thereafter as I realized that there would be no more “_______” until next year.  But the Atlanta Braves were long-forgotten by the time ACC basketball season was in full swing, and both winter and summer Olympics were celebrated with great fanfare in our household after a 4 year drought from patriotic athletic endeavors.

A Cragbaby at Rest Never Remains at Rest for Long…

While the mind of a child doesn’t have the foresight and wisdom to grasp the concept of an off-season time of recovery (ever seen a toddler fight a nap?), this tricky concept is one that most of us have to learn the hard way even as adults.  Our family learned the rest and recovery lesson back in December of 2008, when I tore my rotator cuff and was sidelined for a while.  The hubby was fighting a losing battle with a pulley injury in one of his fingers anyway, so it made sense to just chill for a while.  And by chill I of course don’t mean that we sat inside on the couch – instead we filled our weekends with hiking, mountain biking…oh yeah, and that time period was also when we decided we were ready to expand our family.  We came back from our climbing siesta feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and surprisingly hadn’t lost a noticeable amount of strength, even on our first outing back.

Ever since then we’ve  been fans of incorporating a “climbing fast” into our lives each year.  You may have noticed that you haven’t seen a trip report in a while…  That’s because from Thanksgiving until Christmas (give or take a few days), no one in our house engages in climbing-related activities (with the exception of guidebook work, climbing videos, and spring trip planning!).  This time frame was chosen mainly because the holidays are so insanely hectic anyway.  From a physical standpoint, taking time off allows our bodies to completely recover from any nagging injuries/overtraining that might have been lurking around waiting to flare up.  Mentally, it makes for a great time of refreshment, so that we can reflect on the past year, set new goals, and come back renewed and psyched for the next season.  And from an emotional and spiritual standpoint, the break allows us to fully engage in the holidays with the least amount of distractions possible.

So while I will definitely still be posting over the next few weeks, the trip reports will take a short hiatus until the new year (save maybe a guidebook day here and there).  Thankfully we’re over halfway, since we’re both itching to get back on the rock again!   But be sure to stay tuned, because with a new year comes a new Hit List!




5 Responses to “Choosing an Off-season – aka The Importance of Rest”

  1. Huck

    Love the message of rest, Erica. A part of the sport that gets overlooked…


  2. We have that problem here at Smith too. Just went out today and it was amazing- blue skies, bald eagles flying around and sun! I didn’t think I’d be so psyched to climb at 7 months pregnant, but it’s just so amazing out there!


  3. Brandy Walters

    Does this mean no gym time either?


    • Definitely no gym time – I feel like any overuse injury I’ve ever had has been due more to gym climbing than outdoors…

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN