Robert the conqueror. The aftermath.

It was presumptive of him to think that just because he has done the usual tempo, interval and LSD that crossing that 42.195km finish line would be a relatively effortless feat. But then again, humility was never one of his personable traits. Neither was insight. His friends had tried telling him, but tactful as they were, he brashly brushed them off with a warning to never overstep the boundary.

But as you would expect, he limped most of the way back starting from 25th km. He would hesitate to say that it was perhaps the toughest last 17km run of his life. Yet, pride had prevailed and he still adamantly maintained that he was not "in form" because of something he ate that morning. And besides, the weather was too humid and he suffered leg cramps from 18km onwards.

An experience like this would put most people off. Permanently in some cases. But Robert would not be in that list. He is incapable of giving up. One would misconstrue that it was his tremendous will power and admirable drive to succeed. However, the truth would be far from it. He is just a regular bloke who refuses to quit because he is incapable of acknowledging that he has messed up. He cannot fail. He still thought he could win this. But fail? Never in his wildest imagination!

He stumbled to make sense of his "failure" to run the marathon which he had so proudly proclaimed that he would "conquer". He searched his patchy memory of the race which largely consisted of him panting, walking, stopping and walking. He could see that perhaps the only consistency of his great exploit was the MP3 playing in the background. The battery had outlasted him. At least he was glad that he had remembered to charge the thing the night before.

He took 8 packs of power gel. He vomited two of them along the way. To the disgust of some runners who had not managed to swerve in time to avoid the projectile vomitus that splatted across the road. He looked perturbed to find the volunteer Medic team asking him if he wanted to get on the bus. They must have mistaken him for a newbie. "I have done this before, you know, this is not my first." He was quite right. This was his second. He didn't finish his first beyond the half way mark.

Robert was now resting in the comfort of his home. Legs held up on the cushion. Both oedematous. At least they felt numb. He couldn't figure what is the fuss all about. He was able to walk, but with a little help from the crutches. He was already plotting his next move. Circling the calender, his red marker was poised to plot the next course of his great exploits in the not so far off future. He would get back to his training once he does not require the walking aid. And when the oedema subsided. But run he would, he thought to himself, as soon as possible too, lest the "stamina" that he had acquired begin to dwindle.

Robert has called in sick. He doesn't want his friends to see him in this state. And certainly, the well meaning "I told you so!" would not be something he would like to entertain in the mean time while he recuperates. His boss was not so empathetic. "When do you think you can come up with a better excuse? I will see that MC on my desk first thing tomorrow!" He would have to worry about the MC later. Now, he needs to call up his 60 year old mum to ask her to come around to take care of his meals for the next couple of days.

In Robert's world, success and failure is relative and very subjective. He does not think that failure can be taken literally. Because behind every failure is a silverlining. Success looms in all these not so pleasant experiences. Just waiting to burst forth.

Perhaps he has a point. Perhaps we are all nuts too.

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