My journey with 3/4 Iron Distance Triathlon
[write up by Anil Sharma]
“Happiness is pushing your limits and watching them back down.”
After successfully completing Olympic triathlon, Oct 12 , Nagala Half Ironman triathlon, Nov12 and the Half Ironman in Feb 13, I was desperately waiting for announcement of Full Ironman from CTC. Peter,Founder CTC was however wise to raise the bar slowly and steadily as the aim was not for few individual success stories , but to create wider opportunity for many participants.
When the information of triathlon event came from CTC on 02 Apr 13, without thinking again I registered myself for ¾ Iron man while for Aditya and Nandini we registered a little later for Sprint category. This was to be sure of their swimming capability before registering (Thanks to Manoj Pandian who helped Aditya to adopt to correct swimming style). I knew that CTC team are flexible for changing category.
I had an issue with my left leg Quad from a YMCA republic run. This problem started getting settled thanks to training camp organized by Radha Krishnaswamy. After Feb 2013 triathlon event there was not many practice session for swimming. We had some training session with our friends Shankar Patel, Chandramohan, Satish,Andy and Manoj Pandian, but didn’t cross 500Mtr mark in those sessions. Cycling practice was at its worst since we couldn’t plan long cycling sessions. But I made sure to keep my body fitness up with running work outs
In the beginning of June 2013 it became clear that without serious and committed preparation nothing will move. I somehow convinced my wife on high fitness demand and the need to be out daily at 0400hrs. First time in my married life I started instructing on type of food I need, otherwise I never would dare breaching into that Kitchen area. So it started with one-time pulses in food and compulsory meal maker mix. Stuck to our vegetarianism and never felt that some special diet plan or meat is required to compete in these events.
Preparation started on way with 10×10 programs, I am die hard admirer of this program 10×10 as it puts our fitness level straight on track. After finishing the 2nd set of 10×10 I participated for triathlon on next day.
A Big preparation setback came from the news that SDAT Velachery stopped entry of guest in pool, other pools were insufficient for practice. This pushed me into budget planning to fund for membership of SDAT, as usual kids money bank and wife secret fund was handy and took a family membership of pool on 29th June. Confidence flowed after doing 2-3 session of 1 KM and final session of 2k brought smiles back. This was the point when I was sure of completing of 3/4 Ironman triathlon.
The event day planning started with challenge of logistics. How to reach 3 bodies and 3 cycles to marina by start. We decided to leave early and cycle. Our home is 20+KM from Marina and we kept the pace in control in view of the larger event. Time tragedy struck as in all homes with Kids, we finally left home at 05:00 AM. I knew that we can’t make it to pool before 0545hrs. Since we were to start swimming as soon as we reach, so couldn’t afford to get exhausted with cycling. I told kids lets go slowly whatever time it takes.
On reaching pool I was VIP J as VIP always arrive late, Saba ( CTC) saw me, first question “why are you so late” and simultaneously all work of signing of declaration and issue of BIB started immediately, somebody ( Might be Sreyansh sorry forgot name ) escorted me to my lane, there also Rajasekar asked “hey Anil Sir why late.. Come on jump”, other side I was welcome by Shyam with claps, I didn’t note the timing clearly but it was around 0550hrs when I started the event and touched the water. In all hassle left kids to the care of CTC volunteers.
Although the practice sessions boosted confidence in 2.9 KM swim I had cramps five times on the calf. Fortunately all came one by one and in different legs. Technique of stretching in water helped and I got on track. The last one was little heavy and even Nandini noticed that from the outside she wanted to call Vallabh ( Always available for help) I didn’t want to waste any time I told her I can handle this. Stretching trick again helped along with talking to body. My wife’s Jam sandwich was a pleasant bite after swimming. (With our workout needs, they become specialist in nutrition)
“First you feel like dying. Then you feel reborn.”
Maintained the strategy of steady thrust, took first half cool, and allowed body to warm from the stiffness of swim. All the support point was well equipped with energy material Gatorade/sneaker bar/Banana / Sandwich and special to mention smiling faces welcoming updating the status/position in race how far further to go and all information.) Meet Ravi kumar at Mahabalipuram refreshing point, as usual he wanted some good clicks J, Had little problem at u turn at Kalpakkam, went into DAE colony as could not find volunteer who was to indicate U Turn, on return did some pacing in spite of scorching humid heat of 12 o’clock on OMR. ECR stretch was little better with some shade, but OMR is totally bald on shade, was enjoying expression of people standing on bus stand on the way “they might be saying – who are these cracks what we call in Tamil loose – doing cycling in this heat” some of the kids was waving bye, bye signs which I was returning back as much I could do. Second Booster J had another jam sandwich near Siruseri as I knew during cycling only these can be digested, can’t eat anything during running. Also had to save energy for another challenge of 31Km running.
Before reaching Neelankarai turning I called Peter for identifying right turn, to the surprise immediately Prabakar and Peter came as escort to direct me to correct turn “ wao what a VIP treatment” people were ready to hold bike as I arrived, somebody is taking by back pack, somebody coming with energy drinks, saying thanks will be too little for all this efforts and let me added further this is not only for me it was for almost everybody.
With the slow and steady strategy, I did six loops with Ravi/Raghul/ Gunna. We walked for a while to get strength back, short chats. Raghul was facing severe cramps.Sri Ganesh and Satish and Punnraj Arunachalam arrived after cycling. Sri Ganesh was in pain because of cramp and mental pain of converting ¾ to half due to cycling issue. With each round completion there were cheers from dedicated volunteers feeding us with energy, line of photographers to capture all happy moments.
Around four o’clock when I called home to give them update (btw it’s necessary to update on regular intervals to make sure that I get dinner and a broad smile on way back. ”) I was told that they are coming to witness my finish. This gave required for hard finish, Aditya accompanied for last three KMs, whole running was a mix of run/walk, but last 400 mtr I flew like Husain bolt to finish line..
Medal ceremony was superb and simple with Peter handing over Finisher Medal and Neem plant to spread green message, followed by super tasty cheese sandwich.
“ It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”
- Slow and steady is the mantra to through these grueling events.
- Best part to eat is during cycling.
- Plan your race follow with training plan, if it doesn’t work out well don’t lose your heart your previous training and learning still help.
- Please check your cycle before maintain correct tyre pressure, if you are hiring a cycle hire it two days before get it fine tune with mechanic check for oil and chain tension.
- For events of Olympic and above good maintained cycle is must.
- We can complete event with only gear bike is totally a myth, Gear cycle surely helps but not a must, Punraj completed his ¾ Ironman on non gear, very ill maintained cycle, I completed my Nagala Half iron man on Non gear 10Kg heavy Avon MTB. Sri Ganesh missed his ¾ due to maintenance of cycle, Its legs which pushes cycle and not other way round.
- Always try to reach venue well before start time of event.
- If we have not practiced well none of the energy drink will help.
- Stick to your healthy diet plan, Junk food like Deep fried is not so bad occasionally, mind to minus that with decent work out next day. ( I am a fan of Samosa and Cholla Bhatura).
- We are not professional “ sorry if I am offending anybody at least I am not “ we took to physical activities to our enjoyment let’s not bound it with anything, it’s for enjoyment and lets enjoy it,
Sincere Thanks to CTC for organizing such a wonderful event and providing a platform to test our physical and mental strength, without selfless and dedicated efforts of these volunteers’ events can’t be a success, These volunteers were braving the heat waiting for participants to arrive, I will miss a lot if I don’t mention Vallab ortho’s support, his team was on work right from starting of the event at 0530 to the last 2000hrs, He was available with his family and kid of less than a years of age. Hats off to the support from Vallab