So, now I have had my butt kicked by a climbing wall twice in less than a week. I instigated a bit of an adventure on my last day with Meg's family. Summer spent the day with Nana so I could "shout" Meg, Joshua, and Eilidh a day at the climbing gym in Palmerston North. In kiwi terms, that means I paid (in order to say thank you for putting me up... and putting up with me). It wasn't the biggest gym, but they had a good variety of interesting climbs. Joshua hopped on the wall and got to the top right off the bat, and Meg did really well too. Eilidh needed a little time to watch us climb and then tried herself, getting about 3/4 of the way up her first time. She didn't get quite as far on her remaining attempts, but did pretty well for a four-and-a-half-year-old! Both of the kids seemed to really enjoy the bouldering area that wasn't quite so high and scary. Joshua was even trying some overhangs by the time we left! It was easy to see that the entire family has the natural ability to climb and all three said they would like to go back again! The only one who didn't seem to enjoy it was Yulana because she was quite tired but there were far too many interesting things to look at instead of sleeping.
The routes weren't labeled, but the guy who worked there pointed me towards a few that had been set recently, trying to challenge my abilities. While I am still learning how all of the ratings relate to those I'm used to in the States, I am definitely not climbing where I once was. I suppose you do lose a lot of strength when you are away from climbing for a while, but it's difficult to find the balance between where you expect yourself to perform (where your mind can work out the problems) and where you are physically capable of performing (the point where you can just barely finish a route before you are out of energy). I don't feel particularly accomplished when I climb easy routes, but then I struggle on routes where I try to push myself (which is beyond frustrating).
I suppose the simple solution is just to get back on the wall and get back in shape, but it is a bit easier said than done, especially when I have an outdoor climbing trip coming up at the end of next week! I'm definitely working on it, but I don't think I'm going to be in the climbing shape I would like to be in order to get the most out of the trip. I'm sure there will be plenty of other activities to keep me occupied on the trip, but I will be climbing at the local gym in Nelson as much as possible in the next week to work my way up to it!
I poked my head in yesterday to have a look around, and came back tonight for ladies night at the climbing gym. I was actually not going to go, but then a girl in my hostel came up and said, "you are going to rock climbing tonight, right?" Well, I never really have been one to decline an opportunity to climb (except out of my own laziness), and apparently the manager of the hostel told her I was planning on going, so I figured I might as well go! Turns out that ladies night doesn't draw a huge crowd, so it was kind of nice to have a quiet gym while learning my way around a different set up and lots of new routes. Anya, my climbing partner for the evening, has been to the gym 5 or 6 times and had never climbed before she tried it out here. I'm not going to lie, it was nice to feel accomplished, but there was also quite a bit of inner struggle while I battled between the levels where I "should be" and where I am climbing.
After re-reading what I have written here so far, I feel as though I am complaining and I don't mean to be. It is just interesting to see how much and how quickly our bodies can change. I was climbing hard in the beginning of this year, but since I have not climbed regularly since May, my muscles have atrophied and my callouses are completely gone. I have maintained my flexibility with yoga but I feel as though I have a long way to go if I want to be climbing like I once was!
I suppose I ought to get some sleep so I can explore some more and keep my climbing date for tomorrow evening! I had forgotten how much motivation it takes to climb regularly, so for all of you who do, "good onya" and keep it up!
I was unable to post last night and now that I read through this again, I realized that I am talking about "flow"; something I learned while studying Recreation Therapy. The concept of "flow" is achieved where challenge and skill are matched to the point where time slips away and nothing else really matters to the participant. Ever have so much fun that you ask "where did the time go?" that's flow. Obviously, I am working on finding my new level of flow when it comes to climbing but I suppose it is always good to have humbling experiences to put you in your place! Perhaps I'll go off to the middle of NZ to think about that for a while...