underutilized muscles

When I was younger I used to like going to the gym and lifting weights. Nowadays it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I’d rather do stuff outdoors. During the summer I ramp up my biking and hiking so I get enough cardio exercise that way, but I don’t really do anything that works out my upper body. So lately I feel like I’ve been losing a lot of my upper body strength. For a while now I’ve been looking for a hobby to try to maintain some of that strength that I used to have. I actually bought a kayak about 18 months ago, but I ended up not using it.

Thank goodness REI has an incredible return policy. When I walked into the store with my 18 month old kayak, the guy at the customer service register asked me if there was anything wrong with it. “Nope, I replied, just my stupidity for buying a fishing kayak,” I said. “Not a problem,” he replied with a smile. And so it ended up that my kayak was strapped onto the top of my car exactly twice– once when I brought it home from REI, and then again eighteen months later when I returned it to REI. So yea, I didn’t really get much of an upper body workout from the kayak, aside from the two times I lifted it onto the roof of my car. And both times I had help lifting it. That ultimately was the problem with the kayak. It was  a one person kayak but it took two people to load it up on my car, and I didn’t know anyone else with a kayak or anyone who was patient enough to wait on shore while I kayaked and fished.

This weekend the rain pretty much ruined my plans for camping and hiking with some friends from college. I was really looking forward to this trip, partly because I was really looking forward to the beautiful scenery at Tahoe and partly because I was looking forward to hiking up Mt. Tallac to get some altitude in, but mostly because I haven’t seen those friends in a long time. So I was pretty bummed out when the trip was postponed because of the weather. I guess that’s what happens when girls plan camping trips. They cancel at the first sign of rain. Of course, my way would be even stupider. I would probably go up anyways, set up all my equipment, and then realize after sitting in the rain how stupid and miserable and cold and wet I am. Then I’d pack up everything and somehow end up at the casino buffet. So yea, it’s probably better that the trip got postponed.

Instead of camping I ended up going to an indoor rock climbing gym with Sam. I had belayed people before, but had never actually climbed, partly due to my irrational fear of heights. By the end of the day my fear of heights was mostly gone and I had found a hobby that worked out my upper body. It worked out muscles in my upper body that I didn’t even know I had.

We took a short lunch break and hit up REI. They had their annual return sale going on. I got lucky and found a pair of Vibram Five Fingers for $20. In the evening I went for a short run to test them out. Interestingly enough, my feet didn’t hurt, but my calves and shins were sore from trying to cushion my landings. I think if I built those muscles up a bit more, I could actually get into barefoot running.

This was my bro’s last weekend in Davis before he moves back to SF. I ended up taking Monday off so that we can get a short trip out of town. We ended up at the casino buffet, basically the same thing that would’ve happened if I went camping. In the morning we ended up going rock climbing at a small gym in Reno. By the end of the day I had done a 5.9 and most of a 5.10a (which is actually pretty still noob status, but I’m hoping to get stronger and do the harder routes soon).

So despite the rain, this weekend ended up being pretty fun. And I found a new hobby to use those underutilized muscles in my upper body. That’s probably a good thing.

Things I am thankful for:

  • trusty friends on the other end of the rope
  • my bro finding a good job
  • REI’s ridonkulous return policy and their ridonkulous returned item sales

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