Out there, there ain’t no black and white. There’s only fast and slow. Nothing matters, not color, not money, not even hate. For those ten seconds you are completely free- Race
Why a Triathlon?
Because I can. Isn’t it?
It started over coffee when I met Mehul one fine evening in May 2018. He suggested that I should enroll in Kolhapur triathlon. I looked at him aghast wondering- REALLY !!!
He discussed the race casually. Of course, he will be casual as he is avid is all the sports and also an Ironman.
But what about me? Good at none.
I thought to give it a shot. I surfed the website and realized that sprint distance registration was over. Hence, I enrolled for Olympic distance and again asked Mehul, “do you think I can?” and his reply was as usual, “oh yes! It’s not tough.”
Preparation; aka “maar jaega tu”(you’ll be dead)
I had to streamline my work out and get into further strict discipline, so I needed a coach, and unanimously I landed to Viv. His weekly training plans left me breathless, exhausted, muscle sore but extremely satisfied.
I followed sensible eating, adhered to the training routine,my gym instructor Sagar framed my sessions as per my training plan; I tweaked and adjusted the plan with my travel and kids schedule. Trust me it’s sturdy and tough to burn the ass on the cycle trainer and also teach geography for the test.
It was equally tough to deny all weekend late nights, skipping social dinners or even casual chit chat. I had to time my training along with home, kids, work, travel and all of them equally demanding. The wine and single malt connoisseur in me also took a back seat.
Uffff!!! Sipping nimbu-paani on Friday eve because I had to train from 4 am on a Saturday, who would ever make such a sacrifice other than a crazy head.
Here I faced two vital challenges,
First, to keep myself motivated every single day
Second, to follow a hard training schedule along with other significant responsibilities
Tackling the first one, to keep myself motivated every single day
Setting a goal with a motive to raise the bar higher and higher kept me motivated. I also believed that I am doing this for myself and not for anyone else. Training left my mind numb, and I focussed my entire energy in one direction. It was my meditation.
Also, getting into a circle of energy of like-minded people and seeing their achievements, struggles, hard work was motivating too.
Managing the second one, Time- management
I started getting up early before waking up boys for school. At times I trained after I dropped them to school and was at the work desk by 10 am. I also managed cycle training while I was checking their homework or revising for the exams. During my travel, I never missed the gym and running.
Toughest-part ; aka Phatt jaegi
November 2018, I was all set for my first triathlon and excited, anxious, nervous, running cold, parched throat, dizzy, etc.
On the day of the practice swim in the open lake, it took me several minutes to plunge or not. Finally, I managed but swam along the support rope for a very short distance. Tried several times but could not achieve the full length.
I suffer from Acrophobia(fear of heights) and during this process realized that I also suffer from Thalassophobia(fear of water, dark, uncertainty).
I studied a lot about it, talked to therapists, read several self-help books, and nothing helped, just nothing.
I had a DNF (did not finish) in Kolhapur triathlon. I could not swim even 100 meters on the race day.
I had to take this phobia in my stride, and I always believe that nothing is more powerful than the human mind.
Sheetal came to me as a guiding angel and introduced me to Nimesh, swimming coach who took groups for sea swims. I had an anchor now.
I distinctly remember when I went for the first time for the open water swim — the night before I was crying, praying, meditating endlessly.
I got up at 4 am, took a deep breath and drove to Uran which is a two hours drive from my place. The sea was low that day, and I swam only until where my feet touched the ground. Nimesh was very cooperative here and encouraged me to swim further but I couldn’t.
The second attempt was better than the first one. The third attempt was very confident where I jumped into the middle of the sea from the boat and swam till the shore. That day the sea was very high with waves pushing me here and there, but I managed the swim.
I was now somewhat sure of swimming in the sea for my next race.
Second attempt, Abu Dhabi Triathlon March 2019
Just a few days before the race Deep asked me to check with my coach about the wet suit and Viv gave a thumbs up. Now the issue was on how and where to get the wetsuit? Here Parul came as a savior; she not only helped in selecting but also guided on handling and renting. It gave me lots of confidence in the open water swim.Check the link herehttps://www.buttersport.com/
Challenges during the race
I landed in Abu Dhabi feeling drained. Next day I had my trial swim. I took a while to jump in the water, but then I finally tried the sprint distance of 750 meters and was now happy and confident to swim through the whole length the next day.
I was back to the hotel with a terrible throat ache, and by evening I was down with a fever. I rinsed and gargled with betadine. Salt, disprin and a combination of all too. Could not eat anything or even sip water. I was terrified about the race now.
Got up much before time moreover who slept that night, popped two paracetamol and off I went to the venue. I was trembling by now.
Running nose, fever, body ache, and cold wind, nothing was in my favor.
At the holding area for the swim, we were starting in waves of four, and I had no waiting time at all, no time to ponder, regret, mull but to jump and I did.
I had a very poor swim, but I was determined to finish the full distance and not give up.
Once out the sea, I ran to T1 to get the bike and realized that I had not kept my glasses (I use high power glasses for the swim and run), I had no other choice but to wear my swimming goggles and bike.
Finished the bike lap and hushed for the run. By now it was hot, and I dragged myself for the first 2kms. It was the last lap, and I was not ready to give up come what may. So I held my chin up and jogged –run-jogged and finally sprinted in the last km cheering to myself the way I do for Sid for his runs. I remember cheering loudly,“Sid, ho Gaya beta. Almost done, darling. Just 500 meters left, we will not give up. Run darling run. Mamma is right here with you.”
Once I touched the finish line, I sat down and cried my heart out(har baat pe hi rona aa jata hai), definitely for I finished but also that I did not give up.
I never will.
Popped two paracetamol pills, packed my bike(thanks to mastermindhttp://www.mastermindbikes.in/welcome.html and team here) and flew back home with a determination that next race will be better than this.