Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 42 - Five

"Because it's there."
- George Mallory

Those three famous words were my initial thoughts coming into last Saturday's ascent of Pico de Loro.

For the most part, it was one of the more humbling experiences of my life.

Perhaps it was because I only had less than two hours of sleep following a late workday the night before (or I have difficulty sleeping the day before any travelling activity). Perhaps it was because I knew that I was going into the climb with horrible cardio. Perhaps it was because I could never figure out how to make a compromise between bringing a lot of fluids and packing light. Or perhaps it was because I underestimated the mountain - or overestimated myself.

It made me recall some of my favorite mixed martial arts fights. More specifically Brandon Vera versus Randy Couture, Alexander Gustafsson versus Jon Jones and more recently, Gilbert Melendez versus Diego Sanchez. I often wondered how it must have felt like when you have been fighting in the Octagon for the last twenty-four minutes and your opponent was still standing across you with the same desire for victory. I wondered what it would have felt like when your body has failed you, you're running on fumes and you have no choice but to push forward on heart and sheer willpower alone.

Now I think I know how it feels like.

Needless to say, I was the last to reach the summit and the last who made the descent. To say that it was harrowing would be an understatement. To see that it started to rain while we were on the summit was spirit-breaking.

I guess there are several lessons that I've learned from the climb. First, I need exercise - probably swimming due to its low impact nature. Second, we can never really tell if we can do something by virtue of mere observation. And lastly, I now know what some of my limits are, that I could break past them way into uncharted territory.

Crossing that off my list. I guess sky-diving is next? I'll give it a thought when I'm no longer sore.


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