A few weeks ago, Baron and I went rock climbing at Joe Rockheads. This marks only the 4th time I’ve attempted this sport. Good friends of ours are hardcore rock climbers and haven recently opened up a gym in Kitchener (www.grandriverrocks.com – check them out, they are awesome). The benefits of the sport are easy to see. It’s an amazing physical work out disguised as fun, which is exactly what I require. It’s also a very supportive community and going at your own pace is highly encouraged.
Like every other sport/physical activity I have tried, I’m not very good at it. I don’t usually have a fear of hieghts when I feel safe (ie. on a balcony, or a roller coaster), but hiking down a mountain, hill or even slight incline can really send me into vertigo. This seems to be fairly new, and rather disappointing. When I was climbing up the walls, I felt this fear, but it made no sense. I was strapped into a harness with a competent person belaying me. Even if I were to fall, I’d just dangle there. In fact, that has happened… and I LIVED! Then why am I so scared? I can’t quite figure it out. It could be the adrenaline going into overdrive.
Whatever it is, I am determined to find out. This is a change of pace for me as I normally shy away from something I find difficult or scary. In my ongoing quest to better myself I’ve decided to take this challenge on. I rock-climbed once in my early 20′s. I loved it like a child. I want to get that back.
This new found desire to attack a problem is a major skill in bouldering, so at the very least I feel I can try to improve in that area.
Something that is helping me stay motivated and positive is my ongoing experience with swimming. I briefly mentioned it a while ago, but to refresh: I had a life-long fear of water that I finally decided to overcome in the fall of 2011 by taking adult swimming lessons. That was a great experience but just the beginning as there was still so much to go. With the help of an amazing friends I am getting there. One of them is Jenn K who used to be an instructor (who taught and enjoyed teaching adults), and the other is Steph M who suggested Jenn teach me swimming an exchange for me teaching her manual photography. It was a brilliant idea, one that I hadn’t pondered on my own. Near the end of December, Jenn would come to my pool every other Monday, with Steph and I aiming to swim every Monday. With holidays and life plans we had to stop before Xmas and resumed near the end of January. I’ve made it about 8 times in total, with about 4 lessons with Jenn and I have made so much progress. I can now complete a lap doing backstroke. I’m improving my front crawl by a lot and hope to be able to complete a lap within the next months. Swimming is the best physical exercise for my asthma. The warmth and humidity of the pool means my lungs never get strained, so I can push myself to my limit. In other exercises I had attempted I found that my asthma was the thing that stopped me, not necessarily my muscles.
It’s so great to overcome a fear, but also great to discover that I can be good at something physical. I wouldn’t say I’m good at swimming yet, but every week I feel a bit better and that confidence helps me continue. I am applying that to other areas of my life and it feels great. I guess this is why kids participate in sports when they are younger. Hrm.
I hope to keep improving my physical abilities, and it feels really good!