A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Monday, June 3, 2013

climbing the walls

We try to get out for 'date night' as often as possible and usually go for dinner or to the movies.

But last week we decided to try something different. I have heard of 'Climb Kalamazoo' many times but kept thinking 'that's not for me' so put it to the back of my mind.

But recently we have been trying to find ways to incorporate exercise into our week. I (still) want to lose weight - honestly I am like a stuck record but I finally feel things are falling into place and my head has caught up so fingers crossed and fridge on lock down, things might start to change... Anyway I had the bright idea of booking Jeremy and I in for a climbing lesson for date night. You need someone on the ground to hold the ropes for you and my Moms group have been talking about going there so we decided to bite the bullet, get our gym clothes on and head downtown to climb the walls... Or at least try! 

Upon arrival I needed to use the restroom which took me past the top of some of the climbing walls. I should probably mention at this point, that I have a huge fear of heights. But hey there is nothing like confronting your fears right?!

Unfortunately looking up and down at the size of the walls actually made me feel a little bit sick and even more nervous! My thoughts at that time went along the lines of 'what were you thinking?! Idiot!'...

Luckily there wasn't much time to think about it, as it was time to start our safety class, learning about how to attach ourselves to the safety ropes, how to belay for each other (make sure we don't hit the ground with a thud if we fall off the wall) and the necessary communication to stay safe. 

But soon enough the time came to head out into the climbing area, pick a wall and show the instructor that we had been listening and could safely guide each other up and down the walls.

I decided to go first and get it over with. I literally have never done anything like this before so aside from bricking myself about the height, I don't even know how to get up a wall. I didn't know where to put my feet or how to hold onto the tiny little things sticking out of the wall.

I have to say my first two attempts were not very successful. I got 'stuck' unable to find a way to reach up to grab the next bit to hold on to and my arms were starting to shake. Honestly I was a big girls' blouse, shouting down to Jeremy and the instructor that I didn't know what to do and when I couldn't hold on anymore, asking to be let down. 
When I returned to the ground I was more than a little disappointed to find I had only climbed up about 6 or 7 feet which was less than halfway up! 
Jeremy on the other hand took to it like a duck to water and was up the wall in no time. Show off! 

I don't think I had really thought about how physically demanding climbing is. All I was concerned about what how high we would be going up. 

But I don't give up easily and the instructor suggested I started on the training walls (in the pic above) which are slanted and therefore much easier on your arms as you push up with your legs.

And what a world of difference that made! I almost flew up the first wall. OK that's an exaggeration but it felt like it! 

We took it in turns, I did one wall a couple of times then Jeremy would fly up a harder one. And so on as we moved round the room.

On one go he came down pretty quickly, which I have to admit was totally my fault! The rope starting to burn because I let him go too fast, which made me let go even more and of course he practically fell to the ground! Whoops! Anyways he forgave me and trusted me to do it again... That guy needs his head read! 

It was such an amazing feeling to climb up a wall. I was amazed that I could actually do it and got through the first 5 walls which got more vertical as they went across the room. I felt like a monkey climbing up to the top and the hardest bit was being lowered down. I learnt that you need to keep moving and push or almost jump up to the next hold whilst stretching as much as you can. The ropes give you a big sense of security... I do not know how people climb up actual mountains! 

It was a great lesson in communication, trust and teamwork, an exhilarating experience for both of us and I can't wait to do it again! 

Or maybe we will give abseiling a go next! I will always be scared of heights and I have a feeling it will only get worse, but I will not let that stop me doing crazy things like parachute jumps and rock climbing. 
Life is too short. 

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