I had one homework training task to complete when I got back into it after my 5 days off over Memorial Weekend…. and I couldn’t do it…. for emotional reasons.
After taking nearly a week off, the task assigned to me by my personal trainer was after doing a bunch of rock climbing and/or bouldering, and after my hands were cactus, I was to climb a really difficult climb that would kind of force me to fall at least 3 times. He wanted me try and complete the climb, but basically push myself hard enough that I fell off.
Couldn’t do it.
I’ve yet to fall off a rock climbing wall, if I feel like I’m not going to be able to make it, I centre myself, get my balance right, sit back in the harness and let my belayer know that I want to come down.
I’m not scared of heights, I’m more than happy to stand on the edge of a cliff while everyone else is freaking out, but when I was a teenager I went rock climbing with my buddies, my harness wasn’t put on super well, it was loose and twisted, which I didn’t care about because I just wanted to climb… I didn’t have a crazy fall like you’re probably thinking, but when I hit the top and my mate started to lower me, he totally let me free fall for most of the way and then jerked me to a stop inches from the ground. It hurt. It hurt in all the places dudes are most sensitive and while I was totally winded, I laughed along with my buddies because he got me good.
That little joke though, kinda broke something inside of me, and so I’ve been a nervous nelly at the top of the wall ever since. I know the rope and the knots are tied tight, I know my belay partner is great and looks after me, but I just can’t help but be incredibly nervous each and every time… and falling, I just can’t seem to do it. It’s insanely limiting… you get better by pushing yourself, falling off and trying again until you get it.
Rock climbers have what they call a project. It’s a climb that is too hard for them, that they work and work at, climbing until they fall until days, weeks, months later they finally conquer it. I haven’t let myself do that, and so I’m not going to get better at the same rate who doesn’t have this insanely nervous reaction.
It’s nuts, it’s entirely entirely psychological and I’m honestly not sure what to do about it.