Give it a Tri

| Monday, November 28, 2016 | |
To do it or not wasn't my concern. In fact I was aching to try it out and test my strengths at something so challenging and yet so wonderful at the same time.

Barely a month to train for it, I decided to give it my best and work hard. What seemed a bit austere at first became slightly comfortable towards the end of my training, towards the end of that month. Two years of only distance running had done its trick in giving me all the necessary aerobic conditioning required for the first two legs of my upcoming challenge. 
 
As a kid I had enjoyed swimming and cycling as a recreation. But, to transform that into a competitive sport which required a ten kilometers run in the end was something that I never dreamt of doing, until now.

It was after our long run at GKVK, sometime during the young days of August 2016 that Sujay Shalawadi had planted this idea firmly in my mind. 

"You should do the triathlon at Thonnur this year", he said to me. Never knowing that this idea would grow into an obsession. It was my all consuming thought about doing a Tri that kept me preoccupied for the entirety of that day. 

This is my next goal, I decided.

 
Endless questions were racing through mind. Where do I begin? How do I go about my training? Where would I practice my swim and bike sessions? How many sessions would be adequate? Who could coach me? What would be the necessary arrangements required for such an event? How different would it be to swim in open waters as compared to swimming in a pool? How would I transport my bike to Mysore for the event? Etc, etc....

The solution presented itself when I spoke to Sujay and Akshay Raju. The two pros had answered all doubts to my satisfaction. The credit goes out to Sujay for guiding and training me through this process. Handing out workouts, tips, suggestions and most importantly being extremely supportive even when a few others forbade me to take up this insane challenge. 

As each passing day, I could feel my confidence growing as I was training. I was on the right track. Focused and determined to accomplish my goal. 

The day arrived when we had to pack our bags and head down to our destination – Mysore. Arshad Jacob, a fellow triathlete with immense experience in the business, joined Sujay and me for this event. We drove down with our bikes mounted on top of the car to the heritage city. Reached the expo in the evening and were briefed about the race by Mr. Ajit Thandur, the organiser for this event. 
 

No sooner did we collect our bibs did we find ourselves back in the hotel getting our gear ready for the race scheduled for the following day.

Dark, pleasant, calm and quiet were the first signs of the following morning I woke up to. The first thought that ran across my mind was the lake. Bereft of experience in open waters I took a plunge into this challenge. I was anxious, nervous and brimming with excitement all at the same time. This was the day I had been looking forward to all this while and it had finally arrived. There wasn’t much of a strategy that I contrived. Just that I had to give my best and be strong for the entire course of the race.

About an hour or so later, we found ourselves staring at the vast expanse of the lake. This was the first time I had ever laid my eyes upon it. It was beautiful, serene and treacherously deep.

Moments lapsed. One by one the athletes started pouring in and soon the silence disappeared. Some were pros, some were amateurs like me. There was only one purpose for us that day. To finish the task at hand. To complete a triathlon.

From the very beginning it wasn’t easy. We had six loops of two hundred and fifty meters that we had to circle around in the murky and warm water. There wasn’t much of a warm – up required for the swim leg so we just dove in and the race had begun. After six loops I emerged from the lake having completed the first leg. Two more to go I said to myself. Sprinting to the transition area I got my bike gear on and cruised down the hill to cover two loops of a ten kilometers ride on an unfamiliar rolling terrain, occasionally passing by a few villages and eager onlookers from these dwellings. Speed – breakers, potholes, cows, tractors, buses and aimless villagers crossing the roads like it belonged to them, were some of the tourist attractions we witnessed as we zipped past. These were the hazards that we cautioned ourselves even before the race.

Lastly, a ten kilometers heartbreaking run was all that was left. But as I crossed the half way mark I could sense that I was slowing down as I was accompanied by my two best friends - cramps and dehydration. I couldn’t move my legs the moment I got off the bike, but somehow gave it my best. In the end, when I crossed the finish line, I was more than happy.

When it was all done, I thought to myself, I’ve achieved my goal. Time to focus and work on the next one. If the sun rises on the 15th January 2017, I will have become a marathoner.

There will always be obstacles when you try something new. Believe in yourself. And to those who are reading this and wondering whether to do a triathlon, to them I’d like to say – Just go for it and give it a Tri!



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