We came down Rwenzori Mountain on 20th July and it has taken me almost a whole month to recover fully.
Upon getting back to Kampala, my knees were aching, mostly from the pressure on them from the descent. Coming down a mountain is very hard on the knees. But this pain lasted for about two days tops.
What really got to me was a rough cold. Right from the night we arrived back at Mihunga Lodge at the foot of the mountain, until we got to Kampala, I had a terrible cough. Joy, with whom I shared a room that night, gave me a concoction that consisted of ginger, garlic, cinnamon, honey and lemon. It was sweet to the taste and it helped ease the cough somewhat. By the time we got to Kampala though, I had lost my voice and I was coughing ceaselessly. In addition, I got very bad chills. I felt cold right to my bones! Despite covering myself with a heavy blanket, I still felt cold. The relentless coughing and the chills lasted for about two weeks. I also experienced a numbness at the tips of my fingers, that I couldn’t quite explain. This numbness lasted about a week or so.
I decided to rest and take it easy. I decided I would take a break from exercise. After all, I had walked a minimum of five hours each day for the seven days we were on the mountain. I figured that was more than enough exercise to make up for the time I needed to rest.
While I was still coughing after the two week break, I decided to get back into my exercise routine. Judging from my past, I knew that the longer I put off exercise, the more likely I would fall off wagon completely and it would be hard to regain the discipline again. So off I went to dance fitness class. And boy was I in for a rough ride! As soon as my heart rate picked up, I coughed a lot, to the point that it made doing exercise hard, but I pressed on. The next day, I did dance fitness class again. While doing one of the dance moves, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I ignored it and continued but my did I suffer for it! The sharp pain lasted during the day and I had to sit down very carefully. I could not make any sudden move while getting up from a chair. At some point the pain was so unbearable that I had to lie down. I had made plans to go pulling tyres while running that evening, but I knew that for my own safety and well being, I would have to cancel the exercise.
I decided to rest for another two weeks so that I could heal completely. Yesterday marked the end of the second two week rest period and I was able to do exercise without too much trouble. I went dancing in the morning and I did spinning in the evening.
I learned that mountains beat you down sometimes. I learned that the body needs to re-adjust to life back on the lowlands. I learned that it’s OK to rest and take it easy. I learned not to push my body more than what is necessary. I learned that one should respect mountains. They are their own creatures!
I am glad I am feeling strong again. I am now looking forward to my next physical challenge, my next ‘mountain’ to conquer. A marathon perhaps……?