Thursday, July 5, 2012

"It is always the simple that produces the marvelous..."

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 351:

One of the most powerful Spartan Race motto's is: Sign Up, Show Up, Don't Give Up. In the last few weeks, I've had a lot of "give up" sort of thoughts, thanks to this injury. Not give up entirely, but I've definitely found my thought train a little less on track, thanks to the frustration and inability to stay on my training program.

HOWEVER. I am unwilling to fail, or regress back to the person I said goodbye to 351 days ago (It was a decision I made almost a year ago and with that decision came great power. That is the key, people: Decide.) . Therefore, BlogLand, the times required a bit of a thought adjustment. If I could not do the things that I was accustomed to to get results... but I still wanted results... well... I'd have to find other things.

As and ye shall receive.

There are times that I know I am on the right track, because the Cosmos not only make the journey free of impediments, but actually help it along. Lately, I've been bitching about my T-Rex arms. And also my inability to do a lot of things with my legs. Suddenly, the Universe graced me with a fabulous new friend - who just happens to be an avid and extremely knowledgeable rock climber. Well, hell.

Guess who got to try bouldering ("Bouldering": climbing outside on challenges ...boulders... that don't require ropes.)??????

So, this is my official badass picture of the day. (What you can't see here is that I'm like 18 in above the ground...) I would like to take this moment to also have a flash of positivity. Instead of focusing on the squishy bit around my middle there (NO!! don't loook!!!), I'm choosing to direct this positive moment at  that calf muscle there. Rawr. T-Rex is in the Hizzzousse, peeps.

 THIS is my Spider Monkey guide... I mean, Climbing Tutor for the day, easily dangling from ledges..... My arms are scared just thinking about that.
 Here is me enjoying one of the best moments.... taking the climbing shoes OFF. haha... Those suckers take a little getting used to.

I did this one for YOU, BlogLand. Post bouldering tired-face, but demonstrating the carrying-equipment look: the thing on my back is a foldable crash pad/mat for when you must bail off the boulders.... Not that I did that (lol)... but I thought you all had to see my best impression of a ninja-turtle look.

So, here's some things I learned about rock climbing through this experience. This, BlogLand, is way hard. Running with a sandbag is hard. Doing burpees is hard... but this is a very specific kind of hard.

My first task was to simply climb a few holds up on this easy rock, then jump down to the crash mats. So, after a few deep breaths - because I'm not sure why this challenge made me a little nervous - I started up the boulder. With my big toes.

Seriously, BlogLand. My big toes were like, what in the HELL is this plan?! Which was shortly followed by my fingers echoing their sentiments.

Then I got to the easy part: Just jump off.
.... or not.

So, in all reality, I had only climbed up like three feet. Maybe four. Jumping down onto hugely thick, squishy foam, complete with a spotter, should've been an non-issue. Yeah. Well. Tell that to my brain. Instead, I glanced down between my body and the rock and was instantly quite SURE that I had climbed the Empire State Building. That crash pad was the size of a postage stamp, my right leg had the nerve-shakes and my fingers dug into my tiny rock holds like the world was ending.

Just. Let. Go.

Sometimes, THAT is the big lesson, BlogLand. At some point, you just have to let go. Maybe that's what I'm learning as I spend tonight closing out my 20's and wondering what my 30's are going to be like. You can prepare all you want, protect yourself all you want, but at some point, your only option is just to surrender to a scary experience: The Unknown.

What's going to happen when I stop clawing at this rock? When I hit that mat, will someone be there to steady me? What if I hurt myself?

What you can not do is cling to the same holds, in a vice grip, for too long. You must just take a deep breath, throw caution to the wind, grow some wings on the way down (any other true cliches?) and just LET GO.

And who knows... you never know what you might learn! The ground is closer than you think, people will catch you, and the mats are pretty damn squishy. But you have to take that chance and do scary things.

Later, whilst making my 4-5th attempt at willing my arm to be 3 inches longer so I could more effectively grab a hold, I realized I am going to like this new sport (and upper body workout. and challenge. ). It has a very unique sort of challenge to it; you must have some creative vision to figure out how you're going to get from here to there, using only tiny natural irregularities in the rock. You must also posses the physicality (or ability to will your fingers into obedience!) to maintain your positioning, stand on your toes and hold yourself to the rock. But it's not a team effort. It's very much YOU vs. Yourself/The Rock. Just the kind of challenge I adore.

Dear Rock Climbing... I have a distinct feeling you may be seeing much, much more of me. (Get ready arms... Beast Mode, Activated!)

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