I have but a handful of real fears in life and the 20 week challenge has taken head on in confronting one of my main fears, that being I’m absolutely petrified of heights. Although there were other elements along my journey that took courage, such as ordering chips in front of Kellie Oliver-Morrish my 20 week buddy, and receiving the look that could sink a thousand ships, I’d say my fear of height I addressed more throughout this challenge and took a lot of courage, at least for me.
My first encounter with a near death experience was back in May at the Buller Gorge swing bridge. It started like any other day, sun shining, birds singing as the clear crisp water played on the rocks as it trickled along the river bed. I had only made it half way across the bridge when the bridge rocked with the force of a 7.2 earthquake, my eyes glazed, a few colourful words escaped and there was a bubble that popped in my underpants. Turning I could see my good friend Tim Jackson jumping up and down rocking the bridge with all his might, all the while with a big toothy smile. If anything it actually sped up my pace to get off the bridge, and I was still alive!
To this day I’m not sure why I then found myself harnessed in and clipped to some flimsy wire that went back out over the gorge. Still not wanting to seem chicken I took a leap of faith to fly across the gorge like superman…. or so one would think at least. Reviewing the video of the event tells another story. Count down 3…2…1… jump I think is what is meant to happen and then leap across like a super hero. I started my run on 3 it got to 1 and I came to a complete stop at the edge. It must have looked spectacular as the camera man was shaking in a fit of laughter and behind me Kellie is bent over laughing with tears streaming down her face. I don’t think they could see the drop I could and again don’t forget the flimsy wire. Still I calmed myself and then just jumped. It was a blur and again I think my mouth was more colourful than a rainbow. But I had done it.
Next I took it upon myself to try once again to confront my fear. This time alone, out at Adrenaline Forest in Christchurch. How hard could it be I thought, I’d be strapped in, my kids had all completed the highest levels in the past and the only one around to prove anything too was myself. There are 6 levels, the highest being in some small twigs high up in the top of the pines, maybe one day I’ll see them, but it wouldn’t be today. I started on a comfortable level 3. This wasn’t too high off the ground or at least I knew I’d survive the fall and allowed me to practice the clips and navigation of the course. Having achieved this and feeling confident it was time to attack level 4. This was high enough for me to be concerned and although some would say I was shaking a little, I’m sure it was more a light breeze that whistled through the trees that made it appear that way. I got most of the way through the course before low and behold I had to be rescued. More due to a mistake with the clips than myself. Once resolved I carried on to complete level 4 and felt very proud of what I had done and set the challenge to beat later in the 20 week block.
I did return to Adrenaline Forest with my children in July, and went straight to level 5. It wasn’t so much the zip lines that sent chills and sweat down my back, it was the rickety ladders that didn’t seem to be attached to anything miles up in the trees. I had the ground far below, the trees swaying and these dodgy ladders, with the only way down to keep going forward and complete the course, or so one would think. Come in my second rescue! Not looking as I thought that best, I shot across the highest zip line only to see my son stuck part way across. I’m screaming, wind rushing across my face, which explains the tears and my son looking in horror at his father hurtling down this line towards him. Hence both stuck, on a wire, high in the air. Luckily our rescuer lowered us down and we both lived another day.
Lastly while in Auckland for a ½ marathon I thought it would be a good idea to do the Sky walk at Sky tower with Kellie. This would be a true test of courage in confronting my fear. Things didn’t go well from the start as in my mind I had already calculated how unsafe the tower actually was. It was a 328m high structure built over 20 years ago and from what I could see no real footing to hold it up. I’m no engineer but it didn’t add up in my mind. Still I was here, so put on the suit and took the lift up. Once harnessed in we were taken outside and onto the walkway where we were to walk around the tower. How best to describe the horror…..
The rope used on the harness did look very old and worn and one would have to think it was almost like an old shoe lace thrown over an overhead wire. Didn’t brim me with confidence. Then the walkway which appeared to be a grate type structure held to some protruding bit of steel by a couple of bolts. Looked like a cleaned up old car radiator and it was unsure if it could support my weight. Then there was the wind. All this while 300m above the ground on a structure that might tip. Although I did walk perhaps 2 meters out onto the walk way it was truly too much for me. It took me a lot to get that far but simply couldn’t push myself to go any further. So opted to return as it was truly a cod brown moment. Kellie on other hand completed and was inspirational enough to know that I will return and try to build up the courage again to try once again. Though it does seem safer to order the chips at this point!
I think if it wasn’t for the 20 week challenge and having such great encouragement from friends, family and the Pumped group I don’t think I’d have even looked at doing any of the above or trying to broach my fear of heights. I’d have avoided instead of simply just giving it a go.
Courage My Love sponsors the 20 Week Challenge annually with a prize voucher for the lucky winner to buy themselves some great new activewear. The 2017 Challenge is in it’s last weeks and we are sharing some stories of the people who have spent the winter making change in their lives.
The 20 Week Challenge was created by Broni Mac who has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and won awards for her efforts. Broni has used over 120 Personal Trainers, many of whom have been national Award Winners, to deliver the programme and called upon a wealth of dietitians, nutritionists, mental conditioning coaches and movement specialists to contribute to the material. They’ve helped thousands of people to lose weight and that’s without even having a weight loss category in this transformation challenge! They believe that the road to being healthier and fitter should be fun, injury free and as easy as possible.
The Challenge is open to any adult who wants to make a change in their life regardless of your current level of fitness. Whether you are chasing more energy, less back pain, want to run 5km or a marathon, overcome an injury, learn to swim, quit smoking, sleep better or take up pole dancing, they’ve got your covered with some 25 categories in the Challenge.