Mind Over Matter

Today I made it out of school alive, barely. For some reason the kids were really after me today. At one point I probably had about 20 kids holding onto me somehow, or stacked on another kid who had a hold. At one point of this jumping I actually thought I was going down and I was going to get beat by these kids for a while, but I guess an adrenaline rush gave me the energy to stand up with all these kids on my back weighing me down. 

The plan was to get a few PE classes done early in the morning and head out by noon for Cape Town to hike Table Mountain, which means I wanted to conserve energy. This little defensive bout I had to put up at the break almost wiped me out, I didn’t think I’d make it to Table Mountain. But, fortunately, I found the energy somewhere deep within me to make this journey.

A group of volunteers headed to the closest train station and caught a train to Cape Town a little after noon. We must have not thought too much about the time of day we would be beginning our trek up the mountain, because 2 o’clock is about the hottest part of the day, and we also happened to choose the hottest day in a while. The sun was blistering hot. 

Just as I expected, we began our hike up at about 2:30. We were told on average it was a hour and a half to two hour hike. We decided to be on the better side of average, so we aimed for 4 pm as our finishing time. 

We also caught a little break before the trek that lifted our spirits: we caught a ride to the base on a construction truck, hanging on the bumper and in the flat bed. It was crazy actually, thinking that this would never happen in the States because of liability issues and what not. But these guys had no qualms with us jumping on their truck, and actually got out to help people get into the bed. After all, this is Africa. 

After a few minutes of hiking up, a few guys in the front of the pack waiting in a shady spot and ended up stripping down to shorts only because it was scorching hot outside, and we had over an hour left. We waited on the rest of the group to catch up, took a few photos, caught a water break then started on the trek again. I felt pretty good about the rigorous activity; my cardio wasn’t an issue at all. But after a while, my short legs started to burn from the oversized steps I was having to take up on many of these rocks. Quads were on fire. I kept preaching to myself, “It’s all mind over matter. This pain is mental and you can wish it away. Push the negative thoughts out and surround yourself with positive things.” I almost became zen-like on that mountain, maybe the Steve Jobs book really got to me. 

After quite a few stops for water and applying more sunscreen, we finally reached shade and it was like night and day. I could hike this last 45 minutes protected from the sun, finally. This put a little perk in my step I believe, but that actually could of all been mental as well. I was trying to catch up to some of the guys that got a good bit in front of me, and never actually caught them until I actually peaked the mountain. It felt good to finally walk on something flat, or close to flat. I did it in under an hour and a half, good for me.

I might have done something like the Rocky dance atop the staircase like mountain, because I believe I just completed the biggest staircase in the world. I was in a happy place now, and the view was incredible looking over Cape Town and much more. All that perking up I was doing was worth it, and the pain in my legs disappeared finally. 

We caught a break at the top, which was huge relative to Lion’s Head, which we hiked a few weeks ago. It was a massive rock. We took pictures for a while, soaked in the views. I brought up some juice and carrots as a celebratory snack at the top, so I indulged. After a while though we were ready to get down before the cable car stopped working, so be crammed into the circular transport and whizzed down the face of the mountain to ground. A hike that took an hour and a half only took about 3 minutes to get down from. That was a bit depressing.

After that we caught a taxi straight home, and just about passed out during the ride home because of exhaustion. Once we made it back, I came straight home for a bite to eat, my book, and my bed. My goodness that was a hard hike; I’m going to bed with the understanding that I’ll wake up to a grueling soreness in my legs. 

Once again, the city had something beautiful to offer. I was happy I made it up to see everything from the sky. The constant battle in my head never ceased, and mind definite succeeded over matter on this day