Beyond Yourself (Part 2)

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Beyond Yourself - Part 2

On December 20th, 2020, I took on part 2 of the challenge. As a reminder, the physical challenge was a two-part workout to show support to those who have health limitations and can’t exercise, such as MS, Lupus, Parkinson’s, COVID, cancer other conditions. I completed part 1 on December 13th, 2020, which was affiliated with a long workout involving an assault bike and a pull-up bar. The challenge stated that I was to finish both parts within seven days. Last Sunday, I decided to complete the second part of the challenge in one session. Part 2 workout for me was:

  • 32 rounds
  • 1-mile walk
  • 5 Strict Pull-ups

At first glance, this may not look that bad to some. Walking may not seem hard as many walk every day. However, it was quite the opposite of easy for me. Before I started the workout, my honest thoughts were that I wasn’t concerned with my physical fitness being challenged. I was more worried about how my feet would hold up. Which I have been told is a mental game in itself. Luckily for me, this worry I had about my feet is precisely what occurred during this session:) It could not have been any more perfect.

I was fortunate enough to have a good friend of mine, Joe to join me on this lovely walk for the first 20 miles. The early 20 took roughly 7 hours. I was not focused on achieving any particular time as I have never traveled farther than 24 miles in a day. That 24 was back in high school when I weighed 40 pounds less at a high elevation running camp in the Steens Mountains.

This December 20th session started at 6:04 am with rain showers and wind at the local Linn Benton Community College Wellness Path. Luckily they have a pull-up bar on the old track for me to utilize. Joe and I stopped here and there to stretch, eat, urinate in the woods, drink fluids, and of course, to complete the pull-ups. One component that I underestimated was the temperature of the pull-up bar. It was relatively cold to the point (and my hands) that I had to use my fingers’ tips to complete the reps as it became slippery and chilled due to the rain showers. Quite humbling as this scenario was a different variable I had not been exposed to. It could be why my fingers turned into giant pale sausages shortly after a few hours into this session. I could barely push the button to get back in my truck! It was hilarious!

Once we completed the first 20 miles, Joe headed home, and that meant the last 12 miles involved no music, my physical body, and my mind. Quite the opportunity to yet again be able to cultivate new internal realizations of me and the universe. Just the way I had hoped for. One of the thoughts that entered into my mind was that settlers traveled thousands of miles on foot. And here I am, walking on a human-made wood bark path with tender feet. Is that fair for me to complain? Probably not. Do I have a greater appreciation for what people did on foot in the 1800s? I most definitely do without a shadow of a doubt. The ability to move from one location to the next is undervalued and under-appreciated by many.

In my life, I have been exposed to a plethora of people who had most, if not all of their physical capabilities, taken from them. One of which was my uncle, who I was named after, who became paralyzed after a car wreck in high school. We had numerous and pleasant conversations regarding how much of a privilege it is to move. These conversations changed my perspective DNA on the ability to move. Maybe next time your watching tv and you want that ketchup for your hamburger that’s in the kitchen 20 yards from you that you think twice about saying, “gosh it’s too far to get”. Many would cut off a limb if it meant that they could walk that far one time.

Another person that comes to my mind that has changed my perceptive DNA for the better is Owen Robinson. It is quite challenging to write about this human being as he has and still is, offering me many personal realizations. I was fortunate to be introduced to Owen by my beautiful wife when we began dating. Owen is one of the most, if not the toughest, most genuine, human beings I have come into contact with. Due to his genetic condition, Owen is consistently painful, has difficulty breathing, cannot move on this own, and cannot verbally communicate. If I were to have a verbal conversation with Owen to see if he would like to walk 50 yards for the first time in his life (or even breathe without issues!), he would undoubtedly take that offer.

I have no remorse for those who do not care to utilize their physical capabilities daily when someone, such as Owen, would do just about anything to have the opportunity to do what you can but choose not to. These are the thoughts that began to flood in throughout those 7 miles when I was cold to the bone, bloody from chaffing, and the beat-up feet were all occurring. None of these small issues are significant in the grand scheme of universality. None of these issues are meaningful to those who cannot move due to physical limitations. I would bet that many who are in similar positions to Owen would love to be cold to the bone, bloody from chaffing, and beaten up feet. Because that would mean a chance for them to do something they have never done before, move without limitations.

Once Joe left, miles 21-24 all of a sudden became quite challenging for me mentally, as I had never experienced this kind of feet discomfort. At mile 25, my chaffing began, which led to the worst bloody thighs I have ever had. Miles 26-32 consisted of general fatigue and discomfort all over my body, which made me laugh at one point, as I began to separate my physical body from “myself” to the point where it seemed as if “myself” was pulling my physical body along on a leash. Quite euphoric as I have never had such an experience. However, this discomfort was so minute to the hundredth power to what Owen and many others deal with and experience daily. This is why, when I finished at 11 hours 58 min and 3 sec, I appreciate being able to use my physical capabilities in support of those who can’t create this new “heightened sense” of my insignificant self. This is something I have never experienced. Call it what you want; this day and experience took me far beyond into a new dimension of life mentally, physically, and spiritually. I hope to stay within as it is full of humility, clarity, and gratefulness.

Takeaways

Be grateful, appreciate, and never take for granted your ability to move from one location to the next. Show sincere empathy to those who can’t.
If you are genuinely grateful for your ability to move, exercising should be employed every day in some format. Yes, everyone has time to do five pushups and or walk 400 meters. If you don’t have time to exercise, you don’t have time to walk from your kitchen to the living room. Not exercising every day when you have the physical abilities to do so maybe an insult to those who can’t.

Try things you have never done before. Either you succeed and finish, or you don’t, which also means you succeed in having a new learning opportunity to improve. It’s a win-win. It works out; you win. It doesn’t work out; you win.

Special Thanks

My gorgeous and caring wife: for supporting me, making me food for the session, as well as aiding me in the recovery process.
Joe: for joining me on a lovely walk with meaningful conversations.
Deana: for the challenge that shifted my perspective
To someone or something: for the ability to utilize my physical capabilities

A question to ponder

If you are not going to exercise every day in some format, how about you trade positions with someone who wants to have your abilities?