mt. kinabalu (leg 4): conquering pain

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.  ~Lance Armstrong

 As I approached Panar Laban, my feet gave in and I fell a few steps before I reached the door.I did not resist the fall. I sat down for minutes thinking it was a well deserved rest. Finally, I picked myself up and dragged my painful body inside the hut to sleep. 45 minutes later, Ron arrived and we started to prepare ourselves for the final showdown: the trip back home…

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We hurried to the restaurant to eat our breakfast and started our descent. As was expected, I went on ahead and left Ron to the mercy of the mountains. After going past the 2 kilometer mark, I felt the burning pain on my feet. My muscles started to shake and my hands were blistered as I used a cane to support my weight as I go down. My ipod died on me and I had to hum ACDC songs to pick up my speed.

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As I walked down, I met people asking me how the sight was. I told them about the place where we stopped and it was magnificent. I’m sure the sight on the summit was a hundred times more fabulous. I saw excitement on their eyes, much like our excitement the day before. And try as I may to complain about the pain I felt, I did not utter anything that would dampen their spirits. I was ashamed for even thinking of exhaustion when I see porters climb up with their heavy load.

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The people I walked with were my distraction. We were talking non-stop even as we drink our fill on pit stops. I even saw a Japanese guy strumming a guitar as he climbed. We even got to sing a few songs before parting ways. I felt the pain leave my body as I met brave souls trying to conquer nature.

Finally, I saw the gate from where we started. I had to stop every few steps to rest. As I cross the threshold, I was almost close to tears. I made it out of Kinabalu alive.

Somewhere between the climb up, I thought of quitting. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t. There was something about this crazy idea of mountain climbing that made me something else, maybe even something more…

I have conquered my metaphor of fear, I no longer fear pain…

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