IF YOU CAN PUSH, YOU CAN PULL. TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.7

Better Late Than Never. Argumosin, Asturias. Spain.
IN CONTINUATION FROM: CAN’T YOU READ THE SIGN, SIGN, EVERYWHERE A SIGN – TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.6

Greetings, From the UK.

2020 has been a real knee-jerker.

Here we are in an ongoing pandemic, people are losing their livelihoods, and more. The lid of society has blown right off.

The situation is very stark, yet here I find myself making whatever moves I can for my own envisioned lifestyle.

That said, I have found myself in the UK — not for recreation, but for love. What a sap story, but the chances that I have taken to get here are for her.

The point that I am trying to make, is that you always have options, even when you think you don’t. I have realized that more and more the older I grow– and the more that I am tested on my own terms or through others.

We are limited only by our minds in the pursuit of our own greatness. I can’t stress this enough.

“Yeah, but I can’t do this, or that, or this, or that…”

-Says Someone

I didn’t say that things will come easy, because there is always a compromise, or sacrifice to make. And when it comes to chasing down the things that you truly yearn for, there is lots of that. With that said, and as seemingly insignificant as that may seem, take the necessary steps to line up your interests as best as you can.

2020 has been weird, and 2021 is only getting weirder. However, every day is another great day to be alive, and this past year has been a great period of transition and transformation for many, and myself included. Throw what you will at me because I still love life, and life is great regardless of all the bullshit that you may hear, or may be unimpressed with along the way.

Don’t let these hard times ruin your impression of humanity.

Follow your heart, genuinely.

Let’s move on!

The following is Number 7 of 14 in the series of blog posts called “Tales From The Walk Behind Me”.

If you’re new to these, it is a series of originally journaled entries through a few of my days —events, experiences, thoughts— along the Camino De Santiago.

If you missed part one, here it is — Click Me!

This was my second Camino that took place over 26 days through September to October, 2019 that covered 1010+km along the Camino Norte route, including Muxia-Finisterre.

This is my standard cut and paste disclaimer from the tale before, I will give you the bit of warning because it might not be what you expect– my thoughts can be ugly because I’m a weirdo.

Furthermore, the content will vary, and the timelines will be all over the place because my mind loves a wild goose chase.

You also may question my own benevolence as a human being.

EXPERIENCE IS A STATE OF MIND, Here is no. 7…

EN ROUTE CAMINO NORTE – Luarca, asturias. SPAIN.

WEDNESday September 18, 2019.

Busmarzo, Asturias. Spain.

So here I find myself after putting in some work walking up hills, and eating too much food in my day.

I can totally justify my gorging food consumption considering the endless walking that I am doing, alongside a renewed love for pushups.

If I had a pullup bar, I’d be game for that too!

David Goggins inspired me big time, mostly because I related to his perspective. And though he lit a fire under my ass to fully dive back into my own fitness, I want to stress that I never really stopped in the first place.

Over the last year or so, I had so much going on with the excitement of life outdoors— between snowboarding, hiking, longboarding, and climbing around the Canadian west coast— that I let go of the standard I held for myself for so long by dialing back my regimented fitness routine big time.

On the first Camino, I tried to keep up with my own fitness by trying to do some light calisthenics whenever I felt up for it. But the repetitive stress from the broken buckle on my backpack, and the confined spacing of my bivvy bag wrecked my left shoulder pretty good. This injury sidelined my fitness for about 6 months after into the winter of 2018, where I focused on general movement, snowboarding, and climbing as opposed to weightlifting.

On another note, I have about 15 years of heavy physical training under my belt. The majority of my training was geared towards preparing myself for football, and for the most part, I probably trained too much, because I loved the training more than the sport itself.

In 2011, I came out of the sport with many injuries. This forced me to rethink my physical training as whole because heavy training negatively influenced my emotional state. At the time, I was so burned out mentally, that when I trained too heavy or to the point of fatigue, I would experience anxiety and stress trying to function socially, or other.

This is going down a deeper story, but as I started to recognize that link, I began to train with less frequency, and prioritized different approaches to fitness. For a while afterwards, I went the opposite way by focusing on less work overall, by being more direct with less filler in my programming.

A real “work smart, not hard” type of approach.

Doing things this way was good for a while, because I felt relatively fresh every time. However, I started to notice that my endurance was lacking as a result because I was training in a way that emphasized stopping short if I felt that I was doing too much.

Fast track that through today, I now realize that I was overwhelmed by my emotions while going through some sort of adrenal fatigue, or some other cathartic transformation. I was so tired of feeling “so tired all the time” back then that my mood became hypersensitive to fatigue. I would become emotionally unstable if I wasn’t feeling perfect, and that’s no way to live, because life is imperfect in itself.

Busmarzo, Asturias. Spain.

Practice How You Play-Work Smart, work Hard!

How are you ever going to get over your personal hurdles if you aren’t even willing to meet them?

Training has to be specific, and perhaps it was my perspective that needed to change more so than my training volume. I have since embodied this concept because I understand the intention behind my actions, as I am trying to build my own perseverance.

It’s a “know your why” kind of approach, but understanding this within myself I can optimistically cope with the fatigue, and any emotional, or mental deterrents along the way.

Back to the moment this time around, I have been walking long, long days, as I have also been keeping up with the dose of one to two hundred pushups and squats on the day.

Sure, I’m dead tired of it sometimes, but it invigorates me knowing that I can still finish the work even when I feel that I have nothing left to give.

This reminds me of something I remember hearing Mark Bell mention on one of his YouTube videos “There is no such thing as overtraining- Just undertraining”— Or something like that.

There’s no such thing as overtraining—only being underprepared for the task you’re about to perform.

Mark Bell, Ask The Super Strong Guy: Is CNS Fatigue Real? — Bodybuilding.com

The message is straight forward, it’s hard on your body because you’re not conditioned enough! But, that’s the point of intensity anyway– Continuous exposure to intensity for the sake of mental and physiological adaptation towards resilience.


Bell’s words have been festering in my mind alongside the words of an old football teammate, Kyle Ardill, who used to utter these words from time to time through some of our off-season training sessions early in the morning back in university. I’m sure he wasn’t the first to say it, but for whatever reason, his face is attached to it in my head.

“Fatigue is a state of mind”

Dilly

Everything is a state of mind

You know, it’s really funny as to what sticks with you through the years, and what thoughts or memories come crawling out from the back of your mind when you least expect it to. However, it’s remembering impressions and words like these from 10+ years ago that now speak wonders to me in times of a lacking motivation.

I was never a person to put other people up on a pedestal, because we are all capable of achieving great things for ourselves. But I am grateful for the strong characters that have shaped me through the years, in big or small ways. It started with my father, but whether they know it or not, I am grateful to have the familiar faces of old friends, coaches, and teammates to thank for their influence as well.

Where I’m Currently Writing and Doing My Pushups. Luarca, Asturia. Spain.

“One more set.” I think to myself.

So there I found myself, after a 36km day hiking through the rolling hillsides of the Spanish coast with a heavy rucksack in the humid climate weather of the day.

There I found myself, after finishing through the 100 pushups in the albergue common room.

Here I find myself, writing these words on the shoreline a few corners away from the albergue I have sought shelter in for the night while getting extra sets of more pushups between the sentences of this journal.

The hills are lonesome, but it’s easy to notice funny looks coming my way in the common rooms of albergues, and now here on the streets. The people glaring could be one of contempt, of intrigue, or of confusion, I am unsure of what I am receptive to today.

Either way, I don’t care what these strangers think of me, but with the same thought I do.

For whatever reason, I care more about the eyes on me now more than ever– when I know I shouldn’t.

I feel that my confidence has been worn down a little bit, as I have spent much time extending myself out towards others in the past few years, that I feel as I am trying to hold on to the last of my vulnerabilities so that they don’t get trampled on.

Yet at the same time I recognize that this is no way to live a life! And because this is my life,

I’ll do some damn pushups if I want to! and that’s the attitude about it whether I’m comfortable with it or not.

On that same note, perhaps it is just my own insecurities of the moment, but I can find gratefulness for Canada’s vast beautiful urban parks where you can escape to do that stuff.

Realistically, most great cities cater to great greenspace well. Of course there is greenspace here too, somewhere, but what I find a little ironic in this moment is that I am appreciative of the organized effort that man has helped shape with good intentions for others to appreciate it, yet I am so quick to escape it.

I am certain that everywhere has those offerings for people, with people to take it for granted as well.

Perhaps my feelings are the result of a tension between the yearning for such a greenspace right here, right now, and a lack of it, again, right here right now.

Perhaps this is the reason as to why doing some pushups on a curbside feels unsettling for me in this moment. I feel out of place, like some weird busker doing pushups for tips, or ice cream in the middle of the town square.

I feel unsettled as the people stare to try and figure me out, especially considering how European stare’s pierce into others at times like they’re some odd weirdo. Though for my sake they’d be right, because I am a weirdo.

Maybe all this tension is just the tension in my chest from all these pushups.

Oh god, have I spiraled into emotional instability again?

Nah, I’m over it, because I can’t even tell you what these words are about anymore.

One things for sure, I still wish I had a pullup bar right now.

G. Kourtesiotis.

Stay Tuned For Tale #8

Littermature


start here, Tale #1: TALES FROM THE WALK BEHIND ME, NO.1 – SKIPPING THE UGLY OUT OF LIFE.

read the camino journey blog post: IN THE PRELUDE OF EXPERIENCE: INTENTIONS OF A CAMINO, 1010+ KM ON FOOT FROM THE HEELS OF FRENCH AIRSPACE TO THE LIP OF SPANISH WATERS. PT. 1.

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