Last night was time to try something new. A friend had bought a two-for-one voucher for a climbing taster session at Undercover Rock in Bristol, and had sent the cry out for willing victims to come with her. Naturally, not being at all accident prone (or a tiny bit scared of heights), I jumped right in there and volunteered myself. Then another friend decided to join us, and thus it was that the three of us were stood looking slightly intimidated outside a random church in a suburb of Bristol at 6.30pm last night.
It turned out that all of us were slightly nervous about heights (clearly, we'd all thought this through properly), so there was a certain amount of nervous anticipation as we watched the climbers going up the walls like spiders, hanging in improbable positions, and very occasionally, falling off. Then our instructor appeared and quite firmly lead us off in a totally different direction to some walls that looked a lot more friendly.
The first trip up the wall saw me scamper quite quickly up a beginner's route (4? 5a? Who knows!), but then suddenly realise that I was quite a long way up at the top, as I hesitated trying to figure out the last step-up / hand-hold. Then there was a slight dicy moment as I reminded myself that it's ok to trust the harness when you abseil back down, and in fact that relaxing is much more comfortable than somehow trying to hold your entire weight on the line via your hands. Once the first time jitters had subsided though, and I'd had a quick break whilst belaying the two girls up and back, I set off up a different route much more comfortably the second time. Up and back quite comfortably.
I'd have quite happily gone for round 3 on the wall, I think, but from the climbing wall, we transferred through to one of the bouldering areas to try something a bit different. I loved these! Short climbs with only a short way to fall, so you could scamper up and back and then try something different. On our section we had pink routes, which were the easiest and purple with yellow spots. I tried two of the latter, before spotting one last pink that I reckoned I could just fit in before we all finished. Apparently this one was different though, as the instructor said although it was pink, it was more complicated as it straddled the corner of the room and a jutting out section of wall, and you had to move laterally as well as vertical. She offered to coach me up it though, so I was game to try, and whilst it was definitely more challenging, it was also more fun because I was really having to think about where my hands and feet (and bum at one point!) were going, in order to allow me to change direction. I came back down from that one, just starting to feel that the strength of my grip was wearing out, and my calves were just starting to threaten to cramp as I pushed to reach a foothold.
What really amazed me about the session was how strong I felt. I expected to suck at climbing, thinking that I'd be totally the wrong body-type for it, but, at the level we were working at, it was great. I actually ended up feeling really athletic. It probably helped that I'd been to my normal Body Balance class at lunchtime, as I seemed to be a bit more flexible that some of the others on the taster course. Once I'd been up a few times, I also started to feel much more comfortable with the heights and the ropes, and my own ability.
The girls did well too, but ultimately decided it wasn't for them although it had been fun - they were that bit more nervous of the heights than me, and I could see them struggling a bit with the pshcological aspect of it at times. For me though, I could feel that if I practiced a bit more, I'd be able to get more comfortable and probably have at least a degree of improvement before I hit the discomfort barrier again. And did I mention how strong it made me feel??? :o) So I've booked on to a two session beginners' course, which is the follow up to the taster session we did last night.
Food-wise, I didn't do too badly yesterday. I seem to be in a bit of a hungry phase at the moment, so I'm probably eating a little more than I should, but tracking it all again. In a bid to save pennies, we decided not to bother with dinner out last night, which meant I had an hour to get home from work, get changed, shove some food down my throat and leave. Since I'm still staying at Hannah's, I was a bit hesitent over which veg was ear-marked for which meal, so constructed a speedy bowl of pasta with pesto with a bit of sweetcorn and some chorizo in. There might have been a Yorkie bar after climbing as well, but I felt that was fairly well earned.
Right, I'm going to sit here and try and work out where else I ache in a slightly improbably place!
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