Last week one of my friends, Miss K. who really enjoys rock climbing, asked me to join her for a climbing session. That was truly out of my comfort zone as I have a "thing" about heights. Well, to tell you the truth, I do not do well above a first floor.
I said yes.
I arrived at the climbing gym, signed my life away (waiver to fill out before you start), and watched a video describing safety rules (including how to roll if you fall). Then, my friend helped me find the right shoes. Yup, just like Cinderella. The shoes had to be quite tight to be right for climbing and to ensure a safe foothold. Miss K. gave me a very good lesson on bouldering, She showed me how the color coded routes worked and how to hold on safely. I covered my hands with chalk and went for it. Making me feel safer were the big thick mats covering all the floor surface. I observed other climbers trying out way more difficult routes. Their grace and strength actually reminded me of Spider Man! Climbing feels like you are playing a human-type Tetris game, your body being part of the puzzle.
We climbed the boulders for a while, trying different levels of difficulty. Then, Miss K. said: "Let's go get you a harness!"
After a review of how to behave when someone is belaying you (you have to have your certification to belay people), I was ready to go. I climbed the easy route ok. I tried not to look down. It worked pretty well. I did not go touch the top of the wall. I was high enough for me for now! I hinged from the hips, like sitting down, in the harness and let the belayer take me down. That was quite fun actually. You sit in the air and you slowly get down with your feet against the wall to guide you. Felt almost like having a super power!
Then I tried a more difficult route. This time I did touch the top of the wall, and felt really proud of this accomplishment! That was HIGH for me!!!
I did not know how my body would react to an activity that it was not used to. The next day, my forearms were a little sore but that was about it. (They were sore from gripping for dear life!!!) It was nice that my body served me well. I'm in pretty good shape. And that fits well with my fitness philosophy: keep yourself in shape so you can do the activities your heart desires. I want skiers to ski with strong legs and core and fabulous coordination. I want hikers to hike and come down the mountains with sturdy knees and with ankles that can take the burden. Just like I want to keep grandparents in shape so they are able to play Legos on the floor with their grandkids. When the phone rings, they also can spring up to go answer before it goes to voicemail.
You never know it might be your friend calling to ask to go do something a little out of the box. Let's say horseback riding!