Sometimes I amaze myself with my strategic thinking. I put rockclimbing on the 4040 list because a. I wanted another physical challenge and b. my friend's husband manages a gym and I never see these friends enough. Putting this activity on the list and stipulating that it had to take place in Kansas City meant I HAD to make time for a visit.
This weekend away exceeded my expectations. I needed a change of scenery and I wanted my daughter to have some one-on-one time with these people I call family. You'll read about this weekend from other vantage points, but for now this post is about the climbing.
We squeezed our feet into our rental climbing shoes and stepped into our harnesses and approached the walls. “Are you afraid of heights?” Myles asked. “Well, I don't love them which is why climbing was added to the list.”
He looked around the gym and took us to a less populated area. He tied the rope onto my harness. I reflected that I really wasn't nervous. The zipline experience factored into the conversation. I guess I was more scared about launching off that platform than I have digested because I've used it as a barometer reading for my level of nervousness since. Climbing registered not at all on the fear chart compared to the ziplining.
Myles told me I was free to climb and I did. We started on a pretty easy route and I made it to the top quickly.
I came down the wall, not at all gracefully and Cadence took her turn. It was a joy to watch this girl try something new and to do it with such fearlessness. She listened to Myles's instruction and coaching carefully and got the hang of coordinating her leg and arm movements very quickly.
There was much cheering and applauding when the eight-year-old made it to the top!
Myles introduced us to more challenging routes with each climb. I marveled at my daughter's tenacity and drive to make it to the top of each climb. I was so glad that we were doing this activity together. We got to cheer each other on and celebrate each other's successes. Her little forehead poured with sweat with every climb. I loved watching how hard she was working and how determined she was.
Cadence got the hang of sitting in the harness legs outstretched and coming down the wall. I never descended gracefully. On my second descent, I slammed my left shoulder into the wall. That wall doesn't budge. It was jarring and a good reminder that rockclimbing is a dangerous sport and must be approached with equal parts caution and adventure.
“You have done harder things than this.” This was the mantra I repeated to myself when I hit a challenging place on the wall on my second to last climb. I was tiring and I wasn't sure how to proceed up the wall. I paused, took a breath to clear my head, and then resumed the climb. It felt so good to make it to the top.
I didn't complete my last climb. That route was the one that reminded me about limits and when to push through and when to know it's time to stop. I kept looking up and saw three more holds to get to before I was at the top. I had no more leg or arm strength. I contemplated what it would take for me to continue and how I would feel if I didn't finish. When I knew that I would feel just fine—not in anyway a failure—I told Myles it was time to quit and he eased me down.
Myles told Cadence that it was the best first climb he'd seen someone her age do. My Brad-Dad said he was impressed with how well I did. Those compliments were such a great way to end the day.
Our muscles were shaky, the pads of our hands were pink and sore. We were thirsty and tired and happy. I enjoyed the experience more than I had anticipated and it was especially sweet sharing it with my daughter and our friends. Their cheers and recognition of our hard work added so much to the experience.
15 of 40 items to go. It sounds like a lot, but most of them are scheduled between now and January 3, 2016. I'm thrilled to have accomplished so much and had so much fun doing every single one of them. Thanks for reading...more to come.