Thursday, June 10, 2010

Time to try something new

We like to challenge ourselves to doing at least one new thing a year. In the past few years, we have run half marathons, then marathons, then triathlons, then longer triathlons (still not done with that one yet!) We have also tried new classes and things we have just always wanted to do (Yes, I have a bucket list.) Well, I tried something new on Tuesday, sort of.

A few weeks ago, a website called Groupon (which I am now addicted to) featured a daily deal to a local indoor rock climbing center called The Vertical Edge. I was familiar with VE as hubby has climbed there on and off for many years. I have been there and I have watched people climb, but I have never done it myself. So, I used the deeply discounted deal as an excuse to go.

I signed up for the class and arrived at 7pm as an eager student. Of course, my eagerness waned after the instructor told us it was about a two hour class (I was expecting to be there about an hour so we could then head out to dinner). Since I was there, I tried to make the best of it. We first learned how to fasten the harness properly (see red and you are dead), and then we moved on to knots. We learned how to tie in to the climbing ropes safely. After learning how to be a safe climber, we learned how to tie in as a belayer (the person who stays on the ground to make sure the climber will not fall if he/she slips.) There were more knots, safety positions, and voice commands to learn. Soon, we were on the floor ready to belay with the instructor as backup.

Hubby got to be my climber. He headed up the wall and took a series of falls - some planned and some unplanned. I was able to belay him (after the initial jolt of weight - it is really not hard.) I took my test, and passed with flying colors. I am good to go.

Well, I did spend some more time belaying for Bill. It is actually kind of fun to focus on someone's climb and know you are there to catch them if they fall. It was nice to be able to hold up hubby's entire weight and lower him after he finished his climb. It made me feel strong (yes, there are pulleys, friction, and safety equipment so you are not holding all of their weight, but it still made me feel good.) The only thing I did not do is climb myself.

It seemed like a good idea until I got there, but then all sorts of things crossed my mind. What if I am too fat to climb? What if I get scared of the height and freeze? What if the rope breaks and I fall? What happens if I just can't do it? These thoughts kept me grounded this time, but I still had fun.

Luckily, the deal included a pass for a second session and equipment rental. I have a chance to go back when I am ready. I only hope that this time I don't keep my feet on the ground.

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