when you let go of fear

The post is sponsored by Fitfluential on behalf of Polar.

I wasn’t always afraid of heights. It’s something that has gradually happened over time, along with the realization that sadly, I am not invincible, and when you’re up high, chances are that you could fall. My fear of heights translated to a fear of flying, along with the fact that I had to totally relinquish control to the pilot and crew of the plane. If something were to happen, it was entirely out of my hands. I’ll never forgot the first time I had to fly alone cross-country, to visit the Pilot, who was my boyfriend at the time. I white-knuckled the arm rests the entire flight, but it was worth it to get to spend a weekend in North Carolina with my love.

Even though I don’t love heights, I deal with them. For example, I haaaate going up on an escalator. This is me:

Buddy Elf Escalator Scared Face

Source

If I have the chance, I’ll take the stairs or an elevator instead.

With my height phobia, I always thought it would be something that gave me butterflies, but not something that would really affect me that much. That is, until the first time I climbed a mountain.

Hiking 1 of 1

When I visited Mountain Trek last year, I did a lot of things for the first time. I saw beautiful Canada (and can’t wait to go back!) and hiked for hours. It was my first time using hiking poles -I joked that I felt like an awkward spider- and wearing real hiking boots. I love to be outdoors and spend time exploring, so I figured that it would be love at first sight. That is, until the REAL climbing began. We hiked grueling routes, many of which involved switchbacks and steep climbs uphill. It was like my escalator fear x9273 and I couldn’t dare look behind us as we climbed up.

At multiple times during a particular hike, I started to doubt myself and seriously considered quitting.

“What are you doing?”

“Just stop now. They’ll come back for you. That is, if a wild turkey or bear doesn’t eat you.”

Our leader, and everyone in our group remained totally confident, which forced me to keep my cool, too. At the heart of it, I knew I was safe, and I didn’t want to be the only one freaking out. So, I pressed on.

The view at the top was totally worth it.

Top of the peak 1 of 1

Hiking 1 of 1 3

It was reassurance that it can be good to push your comfort zone when you know that you’re in a safe environment. I had experienced hiking leaders with me, and despite the butterflies, in my heart, I knew I could do it. 

Heavy lifting 1 of 1

With Polar’s latest campaign, #DiscoverYourFirsts, they’re encouraging us to share our stories of memorable firsts. They could be sports or athletic-related, or personal memories that stand out. They’re also the makers of my favorite heart rate monitors, and sharing an AWESOME discount code with reader friends: use POLARFITBLOG to get 20% off any heart rate monitor or activity tracker (minus the A360). It would be an amazing holiday gift to yourself heading into the new year! (I’m wearing the Loop in the photos above.)

When was the last time that did something that scared you a little? A memorable “first” in your life?

xoxo

Gina

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Polar.

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Comments

  1. I climbed sterling pond in Vermont last year which was the hardest climb I have ever done. The view and the memories that I made were well worth it! Not to mention I sprained my ankle on the way down and had to climb down in the worst pain ever!
    On a personal level I drove 2.5 hours to visit family by myself over the summer. I was really nervous but found I love driving alone!

  2. I am deadly scared of heights too, but I’m the opposite. I will avoid the elevator and take the escalator instead. Been stuck too many times. One of my biggest fears I’ve conquered was going to the gym for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing and feared everyone would stare at me. But I got over it, did it and no one minded I was there.

  3. I’ve noticed my fear of heights is very specific and weird. For example, I’m fine on planes and most mountains. I am NOT fine on Seattle’s space needle, rollarcoasters, or driving on the edge of a mountain or scary bridge… especially that mountain bridge on hwy 1 in CA south of Monterey. Not cool. Not cool.

  4. I am SO the same about heights. Last weekend, I had a mini omg moment on a chair lift when I was skiing. I know it’s so irrational, but heights get me every time.

  5. This: “I wasn’t always afraid of heights. It’s something that has gradually happened over time, along with the realization that sadly, I am not invincible, and when you’re up high, chances are that you could fall.” Me too! I used to love heights and now I’m a little more wary of them. Although, I’m fine with heights if it’s from a *safe* vantage point (such as being in a plane vs standing on the edge of a cliff *shudders*).

    And I’d take the escalators over an elevator any day—I feel like I always need an escape route. I don’t like being trapped 🙂

    <3 your story.

  6. I first learned to ski in junior high and then moved to Colorado in college where I started skiing on a weekly basis. I always had a certain amount of fear about wrecking myself. My husband (who has been on skis since the age of 3) has really pushed me to challenge myself and improve but I still hate skiing in the trees. I just tense up.

    Last year we took a wrong turn and the only way down was a SUPER steep tree run. I wanted to just cry and give up, but I told myself to buck up and just take it slowly. He was guiding me the entire time and I knew I would be fine. Sometimes thinking about it just increases the stress and hesitation. You just have to go for it!

  7. Claire Johnston says:

    Way to go! I always thought hiking was awesome, too. Until I went on an extended hiking journey. We ended up hiking half of Mt. Rainier in Washington. This is an ACTIVE volcano mind you…and completely horrifying with base camp around 5,000 feet I believe. Quite high. I felt like I was on the moon or something, surrounded and covered in snow. No end or beginning in sight. It was worth it, though!!!

  8. What an inspiring post! My 29th birthday present to myself this year was a solo trip to Italy. I’ve always wanted to travel overseas alone but was too intimidated. I’m so glad I did it—I had a great time and came back feeling so much more settled and confident about day-to-day stuff that used to rattle me.

  9. Cool way to try backpacking! I read “Wild” and thought it sounded cool but I’m not buying all that gear. Then carrying it up hills. lol.

    Scary first in recent weeks: Letting my 15.5 year old drive my car.

  10. Thanks for writing my favorite blog! So much useful info in here and it never gets stale. Happy New Year!

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