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Community Spotlight: Erica, Marathoner; Climber

Fitness fiend, marathoner and BKB Member, Erica Soma talks about climbing as an inspiration and source of empowerment. 

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Exercise has always been a cornerstone of my sanity, though, just like many people, this winter even I was feeling uninspired to work out. Last January I began training for my 7th marathon, but due to the ice and snow, was forced to train on the treadmill. When it was time to workout, I would often nap instead, catch up on work, or go home and put my feet up. I needed something else to keep myself active, so my friend suggested we try out Brooklyn Boulders.

The first time I walked into Brooklyn Boulders, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped.

I had no idea such a space existed in Boston, and one with so many opportunities for so many different activities. I wasn’t terrible at first, but knew there was a lot of room for improvement. I was in awe while watching experienced climbers effortlessly float up the walls that I had just struggled to even hold on to. I was confident that I could be stronger than most in the gym., but by the time I got to the top of the wall (if I even made it at all) I was shaking, sweating and short of breath. The first few times I went, I felt unsuccessful.

Completing my first 5.9 nearly felt better than crossing the finish line after running a marathon.

Climbing constantly leaves me feeling like I conquered something that I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to do; I surprise myself almost every time. I was soon hooked – climbing was the solution to everything!

My body feels stronger because I am mastering how to use my strength instead of just increasing it, which translates to running, injury prevention and my other workouts.

Climbing is relatively easy to get into and fairly straight-forward. During a session, I’ll look at the clock thinking it’s been 30 minutes when really three hours have passed. The sport is challenging and fun at the same time, which is a balance I strive to find for all of my clients.

About a month ago I traveled to Las Vegas for an end of summer poolside vacation. I thought about bringing my gear and checking out Red Rock Climbing while on my trip. While reading through their website to get an idea of what to expect, I noticed they had an option to go climbing outside with a guide.

Even though I had told everybody that I would never take climbing outside, this seemed like the perfect opportunity! I have always enjoyed hiking in Red Rock Canyon, which is a beautiful national conservation area right outside of Las Vegas, and literally all I had to do was show up to do it.

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While most people were still out at clubs, I rolled out of bed at 5 AM to get an early start climbing at Red Rock and beat the heat. After 3.5 hours of climbing with my guide giving me tips, showing me different types of rocks, and forcing me to do routes a few times with different approaches to getting to the top, I was officially exhausted. Although in some ways similar, climbing outside was a whole new world. When climbing inside you have guidelines and parameters – outside you just go for it. It was more challenging, and gave me perspective on what I need to practice indoors in order to improve my skills.

Completing my first 5.9 nearly felt better than crossing the finish line after running a marathon.

Not only has climbing given me a different, fun and challenging opportunity to stay healthy, no day is ever the same and there is always something new to try. My body feels stronger because I am mastering how to use my strength instead of just increasing it, which translates to running, injury prevention and my other workouts.

I get the same satisfaction from completing an extremely challenging route that I do from finishing a marathon, which means on a regular basis I am empowered and inspired to continue working hard and going for that next level.

– Erica Soma

IG / Twitter: Esomafitness
FB: facebook.com/ericasomafitness