The moment, the “What the Eff” moment, yes that one we all experience it in life. Sometimes we are sitting in our office, sometimes we are in the middle of the woods, or sometimes we are hanging off the ground by a rope trembling looking at the leap you must make to get to the next hold. It is within that moment that we wonder how did we get ourselves into this situation and more importantly how the hell can we get ourselves out. Tonight turned into a chance to explore that very moment this time in the climbing gym.
My schedule is getting back on track with Steve at Green Mountain Rock Climbing Center. This year we are adjusting our approach with a better understanding of each other and my needs as an athlete as well we are constantly testing my limitations and building off of them. Tonight it was about challenging myself through climbing. We moved from challenging climb to challenging climb. Half way through Steve even remarked I am becoming a talented climber. This to me is one of the highest compliments I could receive.
We started out climbing 5.7+’s then quickly moved to 5.8’s and 5.8+’s and in the end attempted a 5.9, this week unsuccessfully. Steve noticed for the first time that I would get into a climb and would find the pause button for a moment, in that moment he said he say my “What the Eff” but then he added I just kept going. He asked if that was what really was going on in my mind or he was just guessing. It was 100% what I was thinking. In that pause every time a hundred thoughts would come crashing down on me. They would range from anger (why was he making me do this), doubt (I can’t do this), overwhelmed (This is way over my head), self doubt ( you aren’t good enough for this), frustration (why are you stopping) and at the end each time I would end with fuck it I had to keep going.
I am not sure if a couple months ago Steve would have seen that in me or that I would have been able to vocalize it in myself. An athletes strongest asset at the end of the day is not how strong or fast they are it is self awareness. The athletes that knows their strengths, weaknesses, and better yet is able to put words to their feelings are the ones that often repeatedly rise to the top. For the first time I am scratching this surface, finding myself able to vocalize I am in the what the eff moments, realize it then keep going. As I said to Steve today, it didn’t matter if I had the feelings he was not going to let me off the wall until I reached the top. I know their is a greater metaphor in there for life but honestly, with the 15ish climbs we did today my arms and fingers are too tired to continue to type. So tonight I let you find the lesson in what I experienced on a manmade rock wall this evening.