E for Endurance- A Personal Experience

Endurance- the term conjures up images of marathons, of triathlons, of long hours of effort compensated by the sense of accomplishment. I once remembered watching a telecast on the TV of a desert marathon in the Sahara- the participants ran in the night but ever segment was pure agony- pure polarised agony- no escaping the punishing trails. The reward must have been worth it. Personally I’m not a marathon person. I’m normally not someone who gives into heroics. I have a clear idea of what I’m capable of and what I’m not and tend to steer away from extreme things. However there is one event that is etched in my memory- there was nothing spectacular or heroic about it when looked at it from the perspective of a normal person. But it was different for me and when I was done with it I was so completely happy and proud of myself. Let me tell you what happened.

So last year, I went on a short vacation to Siem Reap in Cambodia. My trip was just for 4 days and I had planned for a long day of sightseeing on every day. To my dismay I came down with a sore throat and fever on the very afternoon I landed in Cambodia. I hoped that a good night’s sleep would help me recover and that I would feel fine the next day but I didn’t. But I couldn’t push the sightseeing any further so I started off to Angkor Thom the next morning after a measly breakfast (not many options in the buffet for non egg eating veggies). I felt ok to start off with but within 2 hours I was close to fainting- my fever had returned and I had no option but to cancel that morning’s sightseeing and return to the hotel to sleep. This was terrible for me- it wasn’t like I could return to Cambodia every other month and I had sunk in a lot of effort and money into the trip so it was a disappointment to get back to the hotel. But it was also necessary if I needed to have any chance of recovery. So I took my meds, had a pizza for lunch and slept wishing my illness away.

After a few hours of sleep I felt a little better once again and I braved out to do some sightseeing again. The paracetamol kept the fever under control and even though it was a bit difficult I stuck with it and visited Angkor Wat and Ta Phrom- two of the most spectacular temples in the Siem Reap area. Once again it was back to the hotel and sleep for me.

The next day I felt a bit better but the fever still kept me a bit weakened. I did a bit of sightseeing- reduced from what I had originally planned but nothing that exhausted me.

By the third day the fever had gone so I felt brave enough to wake up at 3.30 in the morning to head to Angkor Wat for the sunrise. Then a visit to Banteay Srei. The last part of the trip was the one I most remember when I think of endurance. It was a climb up the hill to visit Kabal Spean. The climb up the hill is what could be described as a cake walk to experienced trekkers/ hikers. I’ve never been a great climber. Somehow my muscles tend to freeze and I get stressed- this is in the best of days. So fevered out, tired and hungry with not quite the best pair of shoes I don’t know what got into my head to try it.

Waterfall at Kabal Spean
Waterfall at Kabal Spean

And I was right. I kept slipping- my heart was beating at twice the normal rate and I kept looking at the distance boards wondering how much longer a kilometre and a half could be. It was the longest and most tiring climb and descent of my life. And I did slip on my way back and landed up stubbing my toe quite bad (and pushing my guide accidentally when he tried to help me- he got a bad bruise and scratch as well- thanks to me- sorry!) Β But when I got back to the first signboard, I felt like I had conquered the world. I felt so proud of myself that I could go back eat a heavy breakfast at a small roadside restaurant and drink a huge cup of coconut water. It was quite probably the best breakfast of my life.

Made it- hurray!
Made it- hurray!

So this was my endurance test- one of the few- but one of the more memorable and happy ones.

The A to Z challenge is also a kind of endurance test. How many of us are going to make it through the alphabets that are left?

E for Endurance
E for Endurance
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18 Comments Add yours

  1. I think that the energy needed to travel is one this often overlooked as you illustrated here. Some of the times I’ve been the most tired in my life have been after a long day on the road. Great way to illustrate it though πŸ™‚

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you. I can’t agree with you more. Sometimes I’m more tired physically after a holiday than I am before but mentally never more energised!

  2. Lata says:

    So you took all those beautiful Angkor Wat photos through your fever? They were splendid and worth it. Beautiful post for endurance.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Hi Lata, indeed I was feeling under the weather almost the entire trip- but somehow I am glad I still did all this. Could have been so much worse. I am thankful to the Universe for that.

  3. Alex Hurst says:

    I hope I make it through until the end, but I can already see a lot of people tiring out in the comment sections. I wish there was a water boy/girl to hand out refreshers.

    That’s a lovely photo. I can’t wait to get a camera that can capture that kind of effect!!

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Alex, you are correct- it is hard to keep up and I have been guilty of not commenting on blogs because of problems I’ve had with internet access (thankfully I made my posts ahead) because of travel. I am back now and fully energised. I wonder what the blogging equivalent of water boy/ girls would be.

  4. You are on my list to check if you are being part of the A to Z Challenge.
    THANK YOU for being up to the letter “E”…
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2015]

    There’s no earthly way of knowing.
    Which direction we are going!

    HOLLYWOOD NUTS!
    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. neihtn2012 says:

    What an amazing story for Endurance! It should also be filed under W, for Willpower.

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thanks Hien, now that is a thought. But sometimes it’s so difficult for some alphabets because there are so many choices. Others like X are almost nightmarish because there are so few.

  6. Chrys Fey says:

    Oh my! I don’t think I could’ve gone through what you did.

    A to Z is an endurance test. The first day, I had a ton of visitors, but it’s slacked off a bit and I imagine it will even more as this is only the second week.

    -Chrys Fey
    Tremp’s Troops – A to Z Co-co-host
    Write with Fey

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Hi Chrys, that’s true- the enthusiasm tends to flag off as the days go on. But hopefully I will keep it up and so will you!

  7. QueasyPeasy says:

    Oh my goodness you do have endurance and tenacity. Great post and beautiful photos. Visiting from A – Z Blog Challenge. It does take endurance to complete the challenge but also good planning. Linda πŸ™‚

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you Linda for visiting my blog. Will visit yours shortly too!

  8. Nirmala says:

    On reading this I feel ashamed that I dont have any such episode to mention. I admire you for pursuing your goals! Keep it up

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Oh please! That is just you underestimating yourself. I don’t think these kind of experiences have to be in the same way. And I know you’re a strong person so πŸ™‚

  9. joannesisco says:

    I think that whenever we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, the feeling of accomplishment and even pride stays with us. I think you pushed yourself out of your comfort zone that day in more ways than one!! πŸ™‚

    1. Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚

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