The other day, I did something I’ve never done before.
I went rock climbing.
OK it was indoor rock climbing, but rock climbing none the less.
Rock climbing has always appealed to me. I love the thrill you get from extreme sports and the challenges of climbing a wall, and that feeling of accomplishment one would feel when you reach the top, really appealed to me.
We walked into Boulders indoor rock climbing centre in Cardiff on a Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, it was packed, there were loads of kids, and some sort of children’s birthday party was going on. I felt slightly overwhelmed and also clueless, especially as I saw little 8 year olds climbing up walls with no qualms whatsoever.
We walked up to a random wall. One that didn’t look too difficult. At least I didn’t think it did.
I got about a foot off the ground before I felt scared. I was scared to lean back and allow the rope and my boyfriend holding on to the rope to take my bodyweight. I was scared of my hands or feet slipping. But eventually I got over it and started climbing. I got about a quarter of the way up before I realised that I couldn’t go any further. All the ‘rocks’ were way too far away for my small arms and little legs. So I leaned back, and came back down. Even though it took me about a minute to muster up the courage to do that.
It made me think, oh shit. Maybe i’m not so cut out for this rock climbing malarky after all. But after getting a drink I realised I did not want to be defeated.
We tried an easier wall.
This was more of a ‘starter’ wall. Still high, but not quite as high. And it sloped inwards slightly, rather than going straight up, or sloping outwards like the more difficult walls designed for the people who knew their stuff and were armed with a ton of strength.
It was so easy. I was happy I had done it and now I felt ready for more of a challenge.
We went up to a wall that was straight, but still quite easy. This was a bit more of a challenge, but not as difficult as the first wall. It was the perfect way to build my confidence. As I got right to the top, I finally felt a sense of achievement. As I abseiled my way back to the bottom, the rush of climbing started to kick in.
Right, that was it. it was time to go back to the original wall and tackle it once and for all. If my boyfriend could get to the top, so could I. Yes he was taller, stronger, and had been climbing before, but still, there was no reason why I couldn’t do it. I am still strong, flexible, and now armed with a new found courage.
So we went back to the wall. I climbed higher than I did the first time, but then I got about two thirds of the way and it got more difficult. It was the hardest hurdle. And I was exhausted. My arms ached. My body was sweating. My soul tired. My energy sucked. I looked down. I couldn’t do it. I went back to the bottom.
Then as my energy came back up, I felt like a fool. I didn’t have to climb it all at once. I could of rested for a while and carried on. I had to try again. So I did. And as I got back to that point I once again felt that tiredness. So I gave myself a few minutes to recuperate, and then I went for it. I needed to use a lot of strength in my arms and in my legs, but most of my strength came from inside, from that strong desire to get to the top. And I did. All the way. Right to the top. I could of touched the ceiling if I wanted to. When I came back down I had the biggest adrenaline rush and felt a huge accomplishment. I think I had just found my new favourite sport.
To others, it may not sound like a lot. But doing something new can always have challenges or present fears. While my strong desire to get to the top of an indoor climbing wall might not be something others understand, for me it was huge. Because for me it was not just about the climbing, it was about that sense of accomplishment of overcoming something. I love trying new things, but I also have a competitive streak in me and knowing that this is something which is all about progressing and overcoming obstacles, as well as something that gives a pure rush, and is really good for you, totally appeals to me. With yoga, it’s all about a journey rather than a destination, and so rock climbing allowed me to get the other side of me… the side that is all about the destination… out.
Rock climbing is incredible. It’s an amazing workout, yet good fun. But don’t be fooled. It is insanely difficult at first, unless you’re on a super easy wall. I was surprised by how much strength was required. I just can’t wait to go back, get my strength up, and maybe even go rock climbing outside, ON REAL ROCKS.