Did anyone else learn the phrase “face your fear and it will disappear” 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, it’s rarely ever as bad as we expect.
Speaking of my childhood again, I used to love rock climbing wall birthday parties. For this month’s Propel post, they wanted us to face our fitness fears. I haven’t climbed one of those walls since I was, oh, 12? I wasn’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 Boulders 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 didn’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!
BRB, just signing my life away.
There’s three options at Brooklyn Boulders:
•Bouldering: you’re climbing smaller walls with no belay/harness (See: yellow/green wall.)
•Auto-belay: you’re clipped into a harness, and a machine belays you
•Human belay: a human belays you. (Groundbreaking, I know.) You need to be with someone who’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 wasn’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.
You’re supposed to follow the tape to get to the top, if you’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 then 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 almost 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.) 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 they’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.
What’s your fitness fear? Have you faced any fitness fears that weren’t as bad as you thought?