In December 2014, I took my sons to Climbers Rock in Burlington to try some indoor climbing. The oldest dude had done some at school, earned his certificate to belay and was keen to keep at it. My youngest was a natural; watching him go up and down the walls reminded me of Batman scaling city towers and, then, jumping down. Me: I’m afraid of heights so I spent countless hours watching the two of them climb together. But the more I sat there and the more I saw others harness in and reach for the top, the more I realized that I should be able to as well.
We stopped climbing when I broke my jaw, started again when I was cleared to resume activities, then stopped again when my parents died. For whatever reason, we never went back. The three of us never discussed why we weren’t going, but I often found myself thinking about it.
Fast forward to December 2015. I wasn’t running due to a tight SI joint and was tired of just spinning and yoga. The dudes were bored and needed to get more activity in their lives. We talked about heading back to Climbers Rock and it wasn’t long before the dudes were literally driving me up the wall.
During the past two months, I have realized what a fabulous form of cross-training this is for me. First, it is a great way to strengthen my feet and counteract all of the pounding I do to them when I run. When climbing, my feet are constantly stretching; I can tell that they get stronger. The day after every climb, I almost feel as though I’ve had a foot massage. Climbing also supplements the yoga work that I have been doing to strengthen my core and it helps me to really stretch out my legs and back. I love the feeling of waking up back muscles that I haven’t used in a while.
The best part of climbing, though, is I can do it with the boys. One night, the Littlest Dude climbs better than all of us and, another night, I can climb tougher walls than the dudes. We’re at approximately the same ability level right now and that will change. But we will still be able to do it together and, when we aren’t climbing, we’ll continue to watch and support each other. It is a great family activity.
So once a week, we are committed to going to Climbers Rock. Getting one busy mom, a working teen and an active 10 year old to find time to do this together can be a challenge but we do and happily get out of the house. Hubs: he is happy to have the house to himself.
And my fear of heights? Well, I am still working on that. But I am reaching for the top and make it up there. I just don’t look down.