Ranger Kathryn's Arches

July 30, 2013

On the rock again

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 12:12 pm
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Breathing my way through a problem area on "Consolation."

Breathing my way through a problematic move on “Consolation.” (Photo by Dawn Glanc)

Birthdays should be memorable. For my fiftieth, I bought my first pair of running shoes and entered a half marathon. The exhilaration was nothing short of monumental as I crossed the finish line and learned powerful lessons about myself and my limits. I wasted the first half of my life thinking I couldn’t run 13.1 miles, silly me.

Even a smooth-looking wall has tiny ridges you can balance on with rubber climbing shoes. Finding them is the challenge!

Even a smooth-looking wall has tiny ridges you can balance on with rubber climbing shoes. Finding them is the challenge!

Fast-forward to birthday 2013. Fifty-seven isn’t a special number, but there is no good reason to wait for the Big Ones when splurging on oneself because, in case you didn’t notice, life is hurtling at breakneck speed from birth to death.  I’d heard of “Chicks Rock!” climbing clinics for women, and one was happening a couple hundred miles from my home ON my birthday weekend. It was a no-brainer. I signed up.

Take four expert women climbers as guides, add fourteen women from all over the country  — teen-aged to my age, beginner to advanced — mix in some rain, polished quartzite rock, crackling campfires, sprinkle in lots of laughter and encouragement plus a modicum of bruises and scrapes, and you have a mighty fine 72 hours. MIGHTY fine.

Most of you would not find delight in perching on a centimeter-wide lip of rock, groping for invisible hand-holds. But… what if you tried just one new thing today?

March 14, 2010

BTR, part 5: You go, girl

Just about everything worth doing is worth doing because it’s important and because the odds are against you. If they weren’t, then anyone could do it, so don’t bother.

I had just read these sentences on a favorite blog of mine, and it resonated with every fiber of my being. Something within me balks at taking the easy way, the predictable way, the expected way.

I’m going to do this course. I’m also going to be decades older than anyone on that cliff, that week in April. I’m going to be as prepared as I know how to be — physically, mentally, knot-ly. I’m going to venture to the outer solar system of my limits again.

I did that at least once before. It was when I was facing my 50th birthday and wanted to do something memorable. I applied for a spot in a popular half marathon, having never run more than a mile in my life, and that had been forty years earlier. When my name was selected, I went out and bought my first pair of running shoes. I couldn’t even run 1/3 mile. As I trained for 385 miles and 3.5 months, a subtle shift took place within me; I went from “Just what do you think you’re doing?!?” to “You can do this, you really can.” That finish line brought indescribable exhilaration.

I can do this

You go, girl.

Leave a comment: When have you pushed your self-imposed limits? What did you discover about yourself?

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