Did anyone else learn the phraseÂ â€œface your fear and it will disappearâ€ as a kid? No, just me?
The older I get, the more I realize this phrase is true. So often, we build up a fear in our head, and by the time we face it, itâ€™s rarely ever as bad as we expect.
Speaking of my childhood again, I used to love rock climbing wall birthday parties. For this monthâ€™s PropelÂ post, they wanted us to face our fitness fears. I havenâ€™t climbed one of those walls since I was, oh, 12? I wasnâ€™t sure if I had the upper body strength or the mental fortitude to scale these massive walls.
Since I hate telling myself no or making excuses, out to Brooklyn BouldersÂ I went. (In some crazy act of luck, this was immediately following my 10-mile run that ended at the JackRabbit in Park Slope, so I only had to walk 10-15 minutes to get there.)
Another fitness fear I didnâ€™t even realize I had was climbing a rock wall with a camera man in tow. Propel sent out a cameraman to film this adventure.
I got a quick intro from one of the instructors, and off and climbing I went!Â
BRB, just signing my life away.
Thereâ€™s three options at Brooklyn Boulders:
â€¢Bouldering: youâ€™re climbing smaller walls with no belay/harness (See: yellow/green wall.)Â
â€¢Auto-belay: youâ€™re clipped into a harness, and a machine belays you
â€¢Human belay: a human belays you. (Groundbreaking, I know.) You need to be with someone whoâ€™s certified to belay, though. Or find someone. We found a guy to belay me for a few rounds. (See: blue walls.)
I tried the bouldering, but quickly moved to the auto-belay area.
The idea of climbing without a harness wasnâ€™t very appealing to me.
The instructor had me climb up a bit before trying out the auto-belay. I did NOT trust that machine at first, but I realized I sort of had to. I jumped and the safety net appeared, and all of that.Â
Youâ€™re supposed to follow the tape to get to the top, if youâ€™re wondering what the pink tape is. Looking up at the wall was really daunting, but I broke it into chunks: I first climbed about halfway up, to test the belay. No way was I climbing all the way to the top and thenÂ making sure that belay worked and I was comfortable with it. It just took me once testing it before I was ready to go up to the top. I got almostÂ to the top, and they told me to go to the green rock all the way up top. Challenge accepted.
Between the fear and climbing pretty quickly, I got my heart rate up, and was dying for some cold Propel by the time I got down to rehydrate. (And, oh yeah, I ran 10 miles before.) Â Luckily, there was a cooler of cold Propel waiting for me, in my favorite flavors, grape and strawberry.
This was much harder than the auto-belay wall, because there were 14 million different holds to grab on to. The instructors said theyâ€™d help if anyone got stuck figuring out which way to go, but my belayer was not a fan of me and not helpful. I got about 3/4 of the way up this wall, reached across weird, and tweaked a muscle in my shoulder and came down.
Verdict: I had a ridiculous amount of fun, and I would definitely go back. Also, I drank at least 4 Propels while there, no joke. Rock climbing is a legit workout, especially with a 10-mile warmup.
Whatâ€™s your fitness fear? Have you faced any fitness fears that werenâ€™t as bad as you thought?