Bouldering Part 2: She goes back for more…

I went back to the bouldering place the other day. It was nice and quiet at lunch time. I was with my friend who has been climbing for years. I couldn’t tell if it was a polite offer or if he was actually enjoying picking the routes for me and showing me different ways to do it. At the end, he asked me when we could go again – so I think the answer was yes, he enjoyed it!

Perhaps not as much as me though…

It was great. I love it. I think I may have the weakest fingers in the world though. When we were done, we went upstairs to the trendy cafe. I ordered tea, which came with the cutest mini milk churn and a tea pot. No problem with the tea pot, but I actually considered using two hands to grip the churn! My pincer action was severely compromised.

The next day, I ached – but in ways I have never experienced. It’s a very strange and acute awareness and actually, I think it will help me figure out what not to do next time. All of the achey-ness is in skinny strips in various places. Mostly my arms, shoulders and left abs (there was one move I couldn’t do and was perhaps a little too stubborn in trying).

I know I need to change the way I think about holding on. I need to focus less on “for dear life” and more on “as efficiently as possible”. I was surprised how much of it was psychological, I had to stop telling myself I couldn’t do it.

We attracted some attention, but I don’t know if that’s because I was RUBBISH, or because we kept laughing (at me), or because all of my gym clothes have been purchased with solo workouts in mind. Or perhaps they were trying to figure out if we were a couple and I’d managed to bag myself a fit, bearded man 16 years my senior…hmmm.

What was I talking about?? “One move I couldn’t do…”?! There were three, no four. But I successfully completed probably 10, maybe more. And one of them I could do broken down into bits, it was just putting them together with the transitions that I couldn’t do. There was a theme – I can’t hang from one hand and then reach up. I have some strength, but I don’t have the will or belief or something.

I fell off the wall twice. This doesn’t include the lower, wrong footing slips and trips. This means I was above 6 feet and I just fell because I missed or couldn’t hold on. Even that was fun though, and I managed to fall properly (they showed us how to do it in the induction).


We climbed for 1 hour and 48 minutes. He kept telling me I was tired, I kept saying I wasn’t. He was of course right, but I kept making progress right up until the end – one hold at a time! I was exhausted but I could still see I was moving forward – it was a brilliant feeling!

I learned new things – swapping feet on (tiny) holds, how to do a heel up and how to use volumes and wall space more effectively.

This is no longer about Tough Mudder preparation. I enjoy it, it’s fun, and it’s really fulfilling. So, I will be going again. Maybe with him in a few weeks, maybe before then by myself, to see if I can do some of the climbs by myself – I didn’t feel self conscious, but maybe I was?

Anyway, it will no doubt help me with TM, but that’s just a bonus.

Oh, and I have a shopping list: I need chalk and a bag and I will need some of my own climbing shoes (but I need to be sure I’m going to stick to this before I commit to that…).

So it’s now four days since I went climbing (just found this post unscheduled in my drafts). I can still feel a little tenderness in my forearms but I’m basically recovered, so I think I will try to go again on Friday – solo. I woke myself up one morning clenching my fists in my dream (let’s not analyse what was going on there) – it hurt so much!

New things are fun, and good for me – I need to challenge myself and push beyond my comfort zone. I may get some slightly more low-key trousers though..,

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