If the laziest person was to choose one destination in the country for things like the leisurely pace of life, exotic beaches, pubs, bars, night long parties with flashy neon lights and vibrant music on the dance floor, thrilling water sports.. one wouldn’t think beyond Goa, no matter how badly blistering weather of Goa would treat you. But this time I planned my first Olympic distance triathlon in Goa which included a 1.5 km swim in the sea, a 40 km cycle ride, and a 10 km run, all to be completed at a stretch in 5.30 hours’ cutoff time.
Nearly two years ago, I learned about triathlon after I met Hiren Patel who was going for an ‘Ironman’ event in Switzerland at that time. I was so much inspired and wanted a transition from an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle to a healthier one. Though I always had an interest in trekking and swimming, this was a new adventure for me.
When I look myself a couple of years back, I didn’t even imagine I would be able to do something which looked to me so much unattainable, dreadful and more of like self-torture. Also, I was a junk lover, but then gradually started avoiding it. In fact, I never thought I will ever start cycling again after school. And running was something which I thought is the most difficult thing for me. I would pant for breath after running only a few meters.
My love for swimming goes 10 years back when my family and I used to go swimming. So it was the only thing I knew I will be able to do. Still, doing this much distance continuously and that too in the open water looked so much demanding and my stamina wasn’t also as per the requirement. One can always be a complete beginner at running. After I started practicing running I saw the difference and improvement in my stamina level, endurance, mental strength which has also helped me in many ways. The journey from a couch to completing a couple of half marathons (21.1 km run) didn’t come easily. I feel great to have braved some challenges and finally tick them off.
Completing a sprint distance triathlon, a year back which is half of the Olympic distance triathlon had spurred me to take this challenge. Adding more fuel to my passion was the continuous motivation and encouragement received from my running and triathletes group members. And with the proper training plan I believed, I could make it to the finish line.
Although D-Day wasn’t a cakewalk. There were moments during the race that I didn’t encounter anywhere in the training but during the race. I suffered a calf cramp while swimming when I was about to finish the swim but then cramp was my perfect companion throughout the race. Again lost some time when the bike chain rode off and I fell off the bike but luckily it wasn’t a bad fall. During the run, the scorching sun and hot plus humid had put mind and body to the strenuous test. But I’m elated that somehow I sustained and finished the entire race despite unbearable heat, fall, and cramps in exactly 4.21 hours.
Triathlon demands a lot of mental, physical strength, and strong willpower. These three disciplines are tough individually and doing them at a stretch is really exhausting. Building your stamina for long and grueling triathlon and pushing your limits can take time. But then, you will be stronger than ever before which in a way boosts your confidence level in other areas and for other challenges as well. The best part is with practice and dedication anyone can do it. I can say with certainty if I can do it, anyone can. You just got to believe in yourself!!
Check out Goa Triathlon Results here