Tuesday, 16 March 2010

To Climb...Or Not To Climb...

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it." ~ Charles Swindoll

A few weeks ago I toodled off to the climbing wall with the boys. I hadn't been feeling in top shape that day. Not sure if I ate something wrong or what, but the GI system was in shutdown mode and the process was sucking my energy. Ick.

I thought of bailing, but just couldn't. I love meeting up with the dudes and climbing. So I went. Turns out I wasn't the only one lacking in energy that night. Funny how that happens.

As it was, I had my first cruddy climbing night. I just couldn't get myself in the mode of climbing. I only made it half way on a couple of climbs. Instead I decided to take some photos.

Gunter way up high, with Jim on belay as well as striking a pose. (The walls here are 72 - 74ft)

Dave (L) and Jim (R) getting ready for a climb with Stephan fleeing from the camera!

Stephan chillaxing and waiting for someone to be belay.

Me, having put the camera down, belaying Stephan.

To make up for my lack of climbing on the Thursday, I skipped a sangha night and went again the following Monday. It was packed in the gym! A group of girl and boy scouts were there learning to climb.

There was one young fellow who was up a ways and was ready to come down. Kind of. The instructor was going to lower him....but the boy wouldn't let go of the holds. Oh how I know that feeling!! That was me not too long ago. My heart went out to the boy and I wished I could have climbed up to him to help him out. Eventually he did let go after much coaxing. I think he enjoyed the climb up at least!

I started out with my usual climb. I'd been working on it for a while. I have climbed it before, so knew I could. For some reason, this time I put some extra pressure on myself to complete it faster or better, which is not a bad thing...except when you start getting down on yourself when you don't achieve the better, faster part. Which is what I started to do, I'm sorry to say. I'm not sure where this attitude came from - perhaps left over from my Ironman days?? It wasn't a good attitude. Unfortunately, it stayed with me during the rest of my evening, which made for a not so fun night of climbing. I was putting pressure on myself, which was stressful.

I thought I had left those types of negative thoughts behind when I decided not to do the whole Ironman training/racing thing anymore. The hilarious part is I wasn't even very good at IM and yet I still had this attitude that if I wasn't as fast as this or as strong as that, I wasn't doing well.

This is not the type of attitude in my current activities. I am doing what I'm doing for the sheer joy of it, as well as the benefit of fitness!

As they say, the first step to fixing something is acknowledging there is a problem. So I did. I then went back to the gym on Thursday with a major attitude adjustment. I want this to be fun and enjoyable. I needed to bring some of my mindfulness practice into the climb and to enjoy the moment for what it was. I needed to relax when confronted with a challenge and let the solution come to me.

Which is exactly what I have done since then. The end result?? Some AMAZING climbing! Each time I go someone teaches me something new about climbing. Because I am staying more relaxed and calm when I climb, I remember what they say and can apply it. I am trusting myself more, most especially my toes and legs and the fact that they are rather strong and will hold me in a spot!

Last Thursday was magnificant! I did four 5.9 climbs - two of which were new to me. I made it to the top on all of them even though there were some tough sections that I had to find a solution to get through. I was calm and zen like the whole way. In fact, I was so calm that when I missed a hold and slipped, then swung on the rope, I didn't scream! A HUGE accomplishment. I might add that this fact was duly noted by Aroonis and Stephan below, much to my amusement. Aroonis then challenged me to look down and wave....uh no. I'm not at that comfort level yet!

As with all the challenges that life throws you, I'm glad that I got all huffy about climbing. It allowed me to decide what type of climbing I wanted to do, then take some steps to achieve a more peaceful environment for myself.

I'm excited for this weeks climb. Who knows what will be in store. Perhaps I will see what a 5.10 climb feels like, or I'll try out the new 5.9 climbs and see if I remember how I made it past the tricky spots?? At least I know it will be fun!

Peace out my beautiful friends!


  1. I am feeling woozy just looking up at that. My fingers and toes hurt just thinking about it.

    Love the new look!

  2. I think that is cool that you climb...I want to get my kids into that this summer...the university has a wall and (i think) there is another one somewhere....anything new to try!!
    Will keep you posted!!

  3. Good job Susi and thanks for the photos, they're awesome!!

  4. Good on ya for identifying those feelings and getting to business on them. It's funny how we blame external things for *making us a feel* a certain way when it isn't Ironman, climbing, whatever, it's like your quote says, "how we react to those things."

    Awesome post Susi! :)

  5. Love the pics. Glad to see you keeping in shape.