My first Olympic Triathlon




Monday, March 28, 2016
[Write-up by Anu Vidya]

So I was browsing through the CTC website looking for my trail marathon clicks… Just then, I bumped into the “triathlon” link…Till then, I dint know that such a sport existed…”who must be crazy to do all three at one go!”, I thought… The next second, I wanted to be one of those crazy ones…

I persuaded my uncle to give this a hit! Sadly, the “sprint” category (which is one of the shortest triathlon categories) was not open for the December triathlon (yes, all this happened in 2015)…The  only option we were left with was to sign up for the “Olympic” category which requires you to do 1.5km swimming, 40km cycling and 10km running…


We had close to zero practice and our triathlon was one week away…CTC was conducting regular open water swimming sessions at a quarry (yes, we had to swim inside a quarry)… We felt that we should give it a try..swimming in cool blue pools doesn’t always help, trust me!
*plunges into the open waters* All I saw was dirty green water with tiny tiny particles floating around…I freaked out!! Underwater scenes from the movie “Anaconda” started flashing in my mind…I started thinking about how deep the waters would be and if there would be snakes and big fish swimming below me! I didn’t dare to put my head underwater…I swam with my head out of water for around 100meters and my back started aching…I knew that it was high time I started desensitizing myself to the waters…It took me a few minutes to swim normally…Just when I was almost okay, something touches my foot underwater *freaakssss out*…It was a water weed! Okay, now I had to prepare myself for these as well…By the time I had completed 1.5kms, I was completely Okay with the waters…It was a refreshing experience infact!
Then….Just like many other events which were postponed due to the Chennai floods, the triathlon was postponed too.. *breathe*

Then came new year, pongal and life was almost back on track…we had totally forgotten about the triathlon… It was only a week before the event that it struck us that the event was just a few days away…The last time I swam was before the floods…I couldn’t remember the last time I ran…and thankfully, I had taken up the 25*10 cycling challenge which I completed just a couple of days before the triathlon…People thought I was crazy to give this a thought with possibly the least amount of practice… I had to gear up during the last two days before the event… Thanks to Dr.Saravanan and Monica for the last minute nutritional advice which I strictly followed (you’ll know how) on the day of the event…
During the same week, I had watched Revenant and it started reminding me of the triathlon waters! *ggeeezzz!*

The big day was here!
I was standing and staring at the open green waters (coz I was so used to blue waters)…I wondered how I got the guts to actually do this…
Scenes from Anaconda and Revenant started popping up again…This time, I had to prepare myself before the dive…there were more people, more water weed and of course more volunteers to encourage us all the way…
*dives into the waters*

The water was welcoming, soothing and pleasant… Yes, it was still the same green with the same weeds… but I had gained all the courage to lock up the stupid thoughts into a genie’s lamp…I thoroughly enjoyed the swim…When I was done with 1.5kms, I could hear sooo many people congratulating and encouraging me to finish strong!..One of them even asked me if I’ve been doing Triathlons regularly ( I couldn’t stop giggling). :P

The next was cycling…I knew I would finish 40km cycling though I would be very slow…Just when I was done with half the distance, I met a couple of volunteers from Tambram Thunderbolts at the aid station… Though it was just a couple of minutes there, there was a lot of positive energy, reassurance and live whatsapp streaming to the TTB group about my reach to the aid station…
After around 1.30hrs, I was done with cycling…Now came the hardest part…Doing a 10km run on a normal race day is completely okay…But when it follows cycling, your legs start giving up on you…I started my 10km run at 12pm…It was scorching hot and I could literally feel the sun sucking up all the energy I was left with…All I could do was munch the Mason & Co chocolate I had stored in my pockets and walk hoping that I would reach a water point sooner or later…Thanks to my supportive co-participants, random little kids who waved bye, daily wage workers who kept asking me why I was running at this time of the day and to the dogs who gave me random stares…all these kept me going…suddenly, it struck me that I hadn’t drank coconut water which Dr.Saravanan suggested…I stopped by this this tender coconut shop and immediately gulped it at one go (which is not recommended when ur gonna run immediately, but duh! I was only planning to walk it :P )…few kms later, I saw Chitapa munching on a delicious red watermelon (yes, he had finished his triathlon by then and he was waiting on the running route)…I was hoping I was close to the finish point and asked him “mudinjidicha?” (is it over?) and he said “illa, ulla onnu iruku *picks up a watermelon slice from the car*) (no, there’s one inside the car)…you eat and walk, your feet doesn’t really hurt much coz all your focus is on the food (since you haven’t had real food other than nuts and bananas in the last few hours)…


“10kms over…Your previous pace was blaaa blaa blaa” says Strava! Strava told me that  I was done with 10km! Where the hell was the finish point? I literally wanted to call up the organizers and tell them and say “Just gimme the medal, I can’t move another inch..”. The last 500 meters was the hardest.. when you know that you have freaking completed an Olympic triathlon within the men’s cut off timing, but you got to walk another 500 meters to convey that to the organizers…

I was finally DONE with it! I couldn’t believe that I actually completed a triathlon…From someone who used to come up with every possible excuse to skip the 100meters race on school sports day to someone who decided to sign up for a triathlon few seconds after getting to know the meaning of the word! I was so proud of myself!
It wasn’t over yet…then we get to know that Chitapa bagged the first place in his category in his maiden triathlon…Wohooo! :D

I’ve been wanting to write about it since then, and now, here it is…
Yes, the water was deep...yet relaxing…
Yes, the winds were harsh…dodging me to peddle past it’s rhythm…
Yes, the golden ball of fire was being the mean one…but it invited me to relish raw delicacies…
One thing I learnt from the event, TRUST YOURSELF  You’re the only one who knows how much you’re capable of…Trust your instincts and it’s desires (even if it randomly asks you to sign up for an Olympic Triathlon) :P



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