Hitting the Wall : the UNathletic Attempts Extreme Sports

nicoles postSo this was all my idea – one afternoon about two months ago I turned to my husband and said, “We should go indoor rock climbing.” His reply, “Sure!” and that was kind of that.

Then last weekend I decided we should actually just do it instead of just talking about it (a common occurrence in our household) – I had a little extra “fun money” this month and decided to reserve our spot for a class at Coral Cliffs in Fort Lauderdale.

Confession Time. The timing of our extreme excursion wasn’t exactly a coincidence. We had just come off a weekend with friends – including my sister, brother in law, 2 and a half year old nephew, a close girlfriend who is with child (18 or so weeks) and her husband. Hanging out for a fun Fourth of July weekend wasn’t exactly the same as how we used to hang out back in college. While still a lot of fun, being mindful of a toddler and his schedule is not something my husband and I are used to – and honestly – not something we actually WANT to be used to (not yet anyway). Planning a silly day of adventure and freedom felt luxurious and rebellious – in the exact opposite scope of settling down with family time.

Then we arrived. Our instructor for the class seemed to be on his own this afternoon which unfortunately meant we had to wait until he finished with the previous set of newbies. We waited for over an hour, which wasn’t a huge deal to us but it’s in this time I may have lost a LOT of my initial nerve. Plus it was extremely hot – sitting, waiting, where it’s hot and muggy contributed to taking me out of it. My husband was the opposite, watching climbers scale the make shift mountain terrains and courses invigorated his sense of adventure – he was ready.

After we learned the proper techniques of knot tying (my one area of excelling), hooking up the belaying equipment and actual belaying itself (manipulating the ropes, slack for your climbing partner) – we were ready to hit the walls. I let my husband climb first as he was itching to get up. Setting the scene, I – a 135 lb, 5 foot tall lady, will be belaying for my 6 foot tall 180 lb husband. Great, well the ropes do all the work anyway. Right? No, this was HARD – the motions of belaying are not natural at all, I was so concerned with NOT letting my husband fall from 25 feet in the air that I was watching my hands for proper technique, NOT the thing to do, I was supposed to watch him and let my hands just keep going. I’m happy to say I am not a widow yet, and he was able to get up the wall a few times, much to his enjoyment.

Then, it was my turn. I really thought I was going to be a super agile spider monkey and would be able to just DO this, not sure where on earth that idea came from. Climbing is all upper body strength (which is a DUH moment) and is something I do not inherently possess. I did manage to make it up the “easier” side. And at the top of the wall – I promptly had a wave of tunnel vision and my heart rate quicken very suddenly. Time to get down, the heat and just being completely out of shape for this nature of physical activity proved to be too much. I did attempt a second go of it – which felt better but was over thinking it and didn’t quite make it to the top.

I wouldn’t call it a total loss, though. I got to eat at my favorite sub place (La Spada’s with multiple locations in SoFla if you’re curious).

But really my favorite part of the day was actually getting to work together with my husband. We are kind of attached at the hip – which I love – but it’s a rare occasion when we can actually work together as a team, literally lifting one another up. Watching him ascent a particularly tricky path of holds and directing him from below is a memory I’ll hang on to for a while. His pride in his accomplishment as he reached the ceiling and the same pride for me when I completed the same – made the day completely worth it and we’ll probably do it again soon. The freedom of climbing, falling (which is basically how you get down) and not having to worry about anything but US is also something I want to hold on to for a little while longer.

Guess I’m not the only one because in the car on the way home, “That was such a great idea Nicole, maybe next we should go kayaking!”

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