Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

I always thought this phrase was more about talking to people, public speaking, things where you wouldn't die if you messed up.  I found a WHOLE new meaning to this on Friday (I think I am still mentally recovering which is why it took me until today to get to this post!!).

I organized a Team Building Event.  I did something similar last year where we held an Iron Chef competition.  We had a blast!!

Again, other than a chance of food poisoning, no death involved!!

This year I had my mind set on a ropes course.  I found Calleva and it was right in our neck of the woods   I think maybe it's self torture, I'm nervous on a high ladder but somehow thought it would be fun to swing from trees in the woods....not sure WHAT I was thinking.

It actually ended up being SUCH a great time.  We all REALLY stretched ourselves WAAAAAY past the limits we ever thought possible. 

We were harnessed for everything, but somehow your mind does not allow that to help you think you are safe! 

I had to climb a tree (try getting size 11 shoes on tiny pegs that were obviously stapled into the tree years ago and were slowing disappearing into the tree as it grew!!), then get myself out onto a balance beam tied between two trees very high up.  Did I mention it was swaying?  Or that it was on an incline?  Again, what was I thinking????

Once you got all the way across and back to the middle, you then had to jump off...backwards.  That's right, I am officially a crazy person.  Somehow I survived and actually really liked it.

The zip line was a blast too.  Again a long climb (this time up a pole so no growth = no peg disappearance...still not the easiest for shoeboxes!)

Then there was a swing.  No ordinary swing.  As we were hiking through the woods to the location of the swing, I was convinced that it was placed very deep in the woods so if you die they can just bury you right there and no one would know!  I don't have a picture of this one because it involved the whole group, but I'll do my best to give you a mental picture.  I'm in a harness that straps around both thighs and my waist (of course the plastic helmet that would be of absolutely NO help if I fell to the forest floor...but anyway).  Two hooks were placed on the front of my harness at the waist, one was attached to a Y shaped bungee cord like device between 2 large trees and the other to a long rope around a pulley.  The whole group held the end of the rope and raised me into what felt like close to heaven.  Since the hook was on my waist, I am now VERY high in the sky laying flat on my back dangling by a hook.  Whenever I'm ready, my instruction is to pull a ripcord that will release me from the rope my group is holding and send me at the speed of light toward the dirt (backwards) at which time the other bungee device kicks in pulling me backwards up into a high swing JUST so I can then see the forest floor coming as I swing the other direction.  I didn't hesitate to pull the cord (I'm not sure exactly why, maybe just wanted to get it over with), but let me tell you that my life flashed before my eyes on both the backswing AND the frontswing.  After that, and I realized I was alive, the next 20 swings (you are moving at such momentum, it takes a while to stop) were a lot of fun!!!!

And finally to the death jump.  Yes, that's right, that's the name, the death jump.  I don't have to tell you why I was a tad nervous.  But I threw on a happy face and decided to dive in.

The goal was to climb a very high pole (oh and did I mention that it was swaying like a palm tree, except it was 30 times as high as a palm tree!!).  Ok, check...climbing the pole.  Now, swing your leg over a plank that measures 8 inches in width and was about 3 feet long.  Check.

That's where it all went bad.

I looked down.

I saw how far up I was and I was on a small piece of wood on a swinging pole.  I think the only reason I didn't faint was because I was more afraid of falling off if I fainted then just sitting there until a crane could come rescue me.  No crane.

This is what I was supposed to do:

Stand on the plank.

Then jump off the end and reach for a trapeze bar.  Right.

Instead, this is what I did.

I came back down.  And then I did a victory dance for being alive as my group applauded me.

Joe went before me and ended up standing on the plank for 15 minutes BEGGING to come back down.  He was finally ENCOURAGED, yes, that's what they call it, to step off the end.  I asked our guide when I got down why he let me off the hook so easily when I said I was coming back down.  He told me that he has done this for 10 years and he just knows when someone needs to come back down.  Can I tell you how much I admire experience????

Anyway, that was my adventure.  Despite not completing the last task, I have to say that I really had such a great time.  And, believe it or not, would be willing to go back and try again.

We were told when we started that the goal was to take a step or two beyond what we thought we could do.  So, complete it or not, I think I took A LOT of steps beyond what I ever thought I could do.  It was such a great experience!!!  Luckily the rest of my group agreed.  Everyone thanked me for putting it together and I think it was a great success.  Now, how do I top that next year???

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