The Road to Warrior Dash: Day Seven

Posted: January 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

Getting 344 lbs in the air!

This blog is going to be more about last night than today. Last night, I had a pretty amazing time. I went to Aiguille Rock Climbing Center in Longwood with my friends. This place is AWESOME!!! I have to say for years I’ve spent time on the ground looking up at the people that can actually do the rock climbing walls in theme parks and tourist attractions. I always thought it was something a big guy like me couldn’t do very well. As I get closer to Warrior Dash, I feel the need to train my body to be able to accomplish some of the obstacles during the run. Earlier this week, I googled rock climbing in Orlando and found Aiguille. I asked Matt and James if they’d come along and I’m very thankful that they did. As an added surprise, James had his sister in town. It’s been around 17 years since I’ve seen Jamie but it was very cool catching up a little and climbing.

L to R: Jamie, James, Matt & me at Aiguille

First thing we did when we got into the facility was a training class on knots and belaying.

Tying the knot

Not your average KNOT

We first learned to tie a figure 8 knot. That was followed by a double-figure 8 knot and then a safety knot. After the figure 8 knot, you feed the rope through your harness and back out and the double figure 8 is tied. Then you put a slight space between the double figure 8 and tie a safety knot to make sure you stay attached to the rope. It took me a few times to get this down but I don’t think I’ll forget it now.

James standing as the belayer while Matt starts to climb

The belayer is the man on the ground who takes in the overhead slack on your rope as you climb higher and protects you from falls. They’ve got this little device at the front of their harness that the rope is fed and locked into and due to the closeness of the bends in the rope in the device and a combination of friction, even the smallest person can belay a big guy like me. Jamie is a skinny rail and she managed to keep me from falling off the wall on the way down once or twice.

After the class, the instructor took us over to the wall and had us try taking turns climbing and belaying. Then we were off on our own.
In addition to climbing, you can just take part in bouldering. Bouldering doesn’t need a harness or rope as long as your feet don’t cross the bouldering height line on each wall. I didn’t think I was going to end up getting my feet much higher than that with my current weight challenge. I was wrong.

View from the top

Well, I don’t know how it looks from the top yet. I never made it to the top of a wall but I did make it a slight way above the bouldering line. Most of my climbs averaged between 15 and 17 feet up. I’m really happy with that. My main challenge is that by the time I got that high up, my toes, fingers(at the first joint) and arms would all start to give out while trying to figure out where to step next. I kept hitting the obstacle of not being able to find a suitable point to grab or step on to get me any higher. They were there but many of them were out of range for the flexibility of my legs so I’d end up making sure my belayer was ready for me and then clumsily made my way down the wall.

Never thouht I'd make it so high on the wall.

Did I mention I’m afraid of heights? I admit I feel like I have a new challenge to overcome. I really liked doing it and want to learn more. There was this nice guy that kept coming up telling me that my “I can’t”s were just mind over matter and then he’d show all of us some advanced techniques on how to traverse the wall from point to point. He had all kinds of tricks and kept talking about how he couldn’t do it either and how his son was the one that made him come out and start trying it. He wasn’t fit by any stretch but you could see his arms were strong and he knew what he was doing. Having James there was comforting too. James (who may not know this) was my rock through the whole night. No pun intended. James didn’t have to take the knot and belaying class because James already knew how to do all of this. It was comforting having him there as a support for my wacky need to train.

Matt at the top

James on the bouldering wall

James takes a shot of me and Matt from high above. Check out his toe shoes!

Matt gets a firm pull upward on the boys.

Aiguille Rock Climbing Center

If you ever get a chance, take a buddy and go do this! It’s $15 per person plus $6.50 for your climbing kit. That includes shoes, harness and belayer device. Once you pay, it’s unlimited climbing until you leave the facility or until they close. Take a walk to the back of the gym and watch the advanced climbers. These guys are ridiculously good.

These are the best motivators a guy can have.

The website for Aiguille is so go check it out.

Today’s Workout

I’m not sure what I’m going to do today. I’ve got my daughter all day and may try to work out when she’s napping. If I can’t do that, I will try to do some kind of activity with her.

Tomorrow: Biking with the Boyz…and maybe some girlz too.

Follow my update tomorrow as I GPS map my entire bike ride.

  1. Heather says:

    I have tears running down my face. I’m so proud of you Pat. I really, really am.

  2. jodi brock says:

    Wow! What fun. I would love to try this. Was it a good workout or just fun? Full body or mostly arms?

  3. Melissa says:

    I’m so proud of you for being the one to initiate this in the first place, to be able to do it, and to want to continue doing it.

    I’m glad you had such a good day with the girl today too, and I’m glad you worked out during her nap. I probably would’ve slacked.

    You’re going to inspire so many more people than you already have.

  4. James Jessup says:

    Thanks, Pat. You are truly an inspiration and a motivating force. We will definitely be doing more of this stuff!

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