Yesterday I woke up a follower, and went to bed a leader.
Which is a very dramatic (coined by TJ) way of saying that yesterday I did my first lead climb!
For those of you unfamiliar with climbing, you can check out Wikipedia’s definition of lead climbing here. In a nutshell, lead climbing is not necessarily harder than top-rope climbing, but it’s much scarier and has higher consequences if you fall. Which is why, even though I’ve been climbing for 2 years, I had never led before. And I was pretty freaked out about it – TJ was quick to point out that my hands were shaking as his girlfriend took a photo of me right before I started the climb. The first few moves were the hardest, but once I got out of my head I found that it really was actually a great experience. As is the case with most new experiences, as soon as you stop over-thinking it there is actually room to enjoy the ride! And it was great, feeling like I was more in control of my experience and wasn’t relying on my belayer to pull me up the climb. A totally new feeling of responsibility and even independence, all from one short, easy (5.4) sport climb. Even though it was one of the easier routes in the canyon, your first lead is a big moment in your climbing career, and I’m proud to say that I can now call myself a lead climber!
Yesterday was also the first climbing that we had done since starting CrossFit! It’s hard to say whether or not I really felt stronger because we rarely have climbed the type of routes we were on yesterday (The Boyfriend especially is mostly a desert climber, which is a very different type of rock and a very different type of climbing), but I definitely felt more confident about being able to –here’s that phrase again– push my limits. I know that if we hadn’t been doing CrossFit for the past several weeks, I definitely would not have had the confidence, physically or mentally, to get out and lead my first climb on our first real day out of the season.
Yesterday was another great example of moving toward my ultimate goal (with CrossFit but also just life in general), which is to be able to get out and be a better climber, hiker, rafter, and all-around active person. Playing outside is my passion but I felt like I had reached a plateau with my skill level and, honestly, my level of ambition and motivation. But yesterday proved that CrossFit is definitely helping me move past those limitations and push me into the next season of my life as an active person – hopefully one that will involve many more lead climbs.
Oh, and yesterday after climbing, TJ’s girlfriend Lindsay I went to an African dance class in Boulder, which was made up of equal parts flailing and sweating. I had taken African dance before, but not for several years, and it was HARD! But also super fun. I mean, what’s not to love about having a man named Maputo tell you, in a very thick Ghanaian accent, that in order to correct your dance form, you “just need to drop it like it’s hot!”