I like to do a short morning walk before breakfast, since I’m currently experimenting with intermittent fasting. Fasting is good for pretty much everything. I’m primarily attracted to it for its ability to activate cellular cleansing processes, spark the production of growth hormone and reducing inflammation. Follow the link if you want to know more about the benefits and different kinds of fasting. I’m starting off gently by diminishing my eating window, which has some of the kick ass effects of fasting. For the moment, I just try to prolong the natural fasting period of the night – between dinner and breakfast; hence the pre-breakfast morning walks.
My plan was to start the day with a nice two hour walk on flat ground – no mountaineering and nothing too strenuous. It started off just fine, until I decided to explore a new route that seemed promising. This led to me happily walking along a gravel road with which I am very familiar, thus letting my thoughts roam wild and free. Of course, I shouldn’t have let them. I walked the gravel road the opposite direction than I’m used to, which led me to making an error. I know bloody well exactly when I should have made a sharp turn right to get up to Gaucín again, but I just didn’t. The morning was beautiful and I just felt like exploring the road ahead instead.
About two and a half hours into the walk, I realised it was going to be a bit longer than planned. I then turned on my GPS, which told me I had another three hours to go before reaching Gaucín. This, I hadn’t anticipated. I thought I was a slight bit off and would have to walk for an extra hour or so. Now, I’ve been training quite diligently during the spring, and it’s no strain for me to walk for five hours. The only problem was that I’d brought just enough water for a two hour walk on flat ground in the cool hours of early morning – not nearly enough for a five hour mountain hike in the rising midday heat.
Still, there is a certain kind of beauty to exhausting yourself utterly. As I made my way up the mountainside, the sun beating down on me with the full wrath of God, I felt exhilarated. I also felt a lot of other things – thirsty and stupid, above all. I realised that there must be a hundred better, quicker ways of getting back to the village, but I went with the one the GPS suggested, out of fear of getting even more lost. I didn’t pause once, nor did I slow down, because I was very aware of the fact that the heat would be getting worse by the hour.
The challenge was, more or less exclusively, emotional. The walk was far from too strenuous in itself, and the fasting was fine – it tends to be if you’re in a nice and deep ketosis – but I was a bit stressed out by having only a decilitre or so of water left as I embarked on the last two hours of the hike. Had I planned a five hour hike, I would have brought at least five litres of water. Today, I had half a litre to begin with.
Obviously, there was never any real danger. I could have made my way to any of the nearby fincas and asked for water or a lift, had I really needed to. But I felt there was a certain aesthetic to finishing what I had started. There is a Swedish proverb which roughly translates “That which is lacking in your head has to be present in your legs” – that is, if you’re stupid enough to aggravate someone, you’ll have to run really fast, and if you keep forgetting things, you’ll have to run around making up for the lack of foresight. So, I did finish the walk, and I did feel very content when I finally got my breakfast at two p.m. All in all, the hike was 25 kilometres, which may not sound like much judged by flat-surface measure – but it’s quite enough in the hilly mountains of Spain.