Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Grand Columbian Triathlon - Sep 13, 2008

(The gang at Dry Falls on the way back)

We flew into Seattle on Wednesday night and it was good to meet Ruchi, Anup & Rohan –had a few glasses of wine and some awesome lamb curry that Anup had made and called it a night around 12:30am.
Thursday morning we loaded up the Jeep and set off for the 4 hour drive to Grand Coulee – the contrasting terrain which changed from a lush green hills of Seattle to flat farm lands to barren hills to the granite canyons of the Grand Coulee area were matched by Anup’s eclectic music collection. We heard music that spanned UK bhangra, Bollywood hits, Turkish music, Japanese instrumental, Sufi songs and a collection of North African/Arabic beats.

Got to Grand Coulee around 2:30 in the afternoon dropped my bike off at the bike shop and headed for lunch and a few cold beers. Checked in at the Grand Coulee Motel which was right in front of the imposing Grand Coulee Dam. Went for a 30 min run in the evening and had some good Chinese food for dinner. Spent the evening relaxing by the pool, sipping a few cold brews. Friday morning picked up my bike and went for a short ride – rode the bike to the swim start and had a 15 min swim – rode back to the motel. Late afternoon as we were sitting in our room I noticed that the rear tire was flat – so set about pulling out the tiny metal shrapnel and as I was inflating the new tube Anup noticed there was hole in it (I’m glad these guys did not diversify into making condoms!) – any way, used my last new tube and headed to the registration/packet pick up (bought a few more tubes at the expo). As the pasta dinner was included in the race fee I had dinner with the athletes and headed back for an early night.

(Fixing the flat)

Race Day:
Up at 4:00 am got to the race start at 5:15 – dropped my T2 and special needs bags – placed my bike bottles – topped off the air in by tires and headed off to the start. The water in Banks lake was beautiful – bluest of blue and calm. The Race Director had placed a white rope all along the floor of the swim course – that was a huge help, although in a lot of spots it got hidden by the grass on the lake bed.

Swim: 2.4 miles (Time 1 hr 23 mins)The first 700 meters was swimming directly into the rising sun – the visibility was ZERO – but I had this guy drafting off me so I assumed he was following the rope or buoys…I was also very flattered that someone found it fast enough to draft off ME! But after about 1.5K his constant slapping of my feet and scratching my toes started getting me pissed. I just stopped – thankfully he carried on and I finished the second loop all alone.

(Swim Start)

Bike: 112 miles (Time 7 hrs 43 mins) Changed had a Porta stop and off I was – the bike starts with a 3.5 mile climb to the Mesa – (We drove up the climb on Friday and it looked steep in some spots) but with fresh legs and a cool day it was not all that bad – it was a easier than the Old LaHond climb in Portola Valley (Woodside, CA) – then once on the Mesa (Table top plateau) you could see for miles in all directions – it was desolate country – not a tree in sight – miles of farm land. The first 60 miles were all rolling hills with long stretches of 2-3% grade – The 10 mile stretch out of the town of Almeria was especially painful – the blustering cross winds and the irritating 3% grade just sapped my energy – this plateau was deceptively hilly! For miles I saw no one, accompanied by dust devils and tumble weed – the only way I knew I was on the right track was by seeing the occasional gel pack or CO2 cartridge on the road. Around mile 60 Ruchi, Renuka, Anup & Rohan were at the Almira aid station.

(At Almira - Pix by Anup)

I stopped and refilled my bike bottles and headed off for the next 52 miles. The last 37 miles on Hwy 155 were the worst – this historic route has not been maintained and there were partition ruts every 10-15 feet (for 35 miles!!) the constant “Thump, Thump, Thump” was very uncomfortable – I tried riding on the white lane marker but every car/truck that went by made my bike wobble. I was glad to get off the bike. The ride over the Dam was pretty cool (only the participants were allowed over the dam – it is closed to public due to security issues)

(View from the top of the climb to the Mesa)

(Hwy 155)

Run: 26.2 miles (5 hrs 19 mins) The run was off road on well packed dirt all along the river (Two 13.1 mile loops) – I was cheered on by the gang from the bridge and had Rohan’s company for about 100 meters going back up the hill to the bridge at the end of the first loop (2 hrs 33mins) – As I was walking up the short hill, Rohan said “Isn’t this a running race? Aren’t you supposed be running?” I had to laugh and watch the 10 year old scamper up the slope…Ah! to be young again!

(View from the bridge -Pix by Anup)

(Grand Coulee Dam - Pix by Anup)

I made the turn around and ran on for the next 5 miles at a nice steady pace – I met Richard Jones who had also participated in the Vineman Iron distance race 6 weeks ago. He was in good shape – he really powered away from me on the bike on that bumpy 155 stretch...We ran together for a half a mile and then he asked me to carry on. Richard went on to finish the race, big congrats to him…he had suffered badly due to the heat at Vineman and could not meet the cutoff – that DNF was taken care of at the Grand Columbian Iron Distance triathlon – He is an Ironman! I finished the marathon in 5 hrs 19 mins for a total finish time of 14 hours 47 mins. Rohan decided to run the lap around the block to the finish with me and as we neared the finish line he just took off – the crowd (and I) had a good laugh as we watched him sprint away and finish a good 20 meters ahead of me…Ah! To be young again!

(At the finish - with Rohan looking on - Pix by Anup)

Picked up my bags the next morning and headed back to Seattle – settled in for some lovely dinner and beer and had a good music session with DJ Anup.

Great race – very well managed – well stocked aid stations – lots of Porta Johns. If the full distance race returns in 2010 I will consider doing it again. Thanks again to Ruchi, Anup, Rohan and Renuka for all the cheering and support.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Full Vineman Triathlon, August 2, 2008

I did The Vineman Six years ago,
Half a dozen years! Oh! Where did they go?
2008 Full Vineman was to be a group event
Anu, Rajeev, Vinod, Padma - to injuries and a higher call they went.
Last man standing, I thought I might as well go on
Another race, and another poem will spawn.
Race day 3:15am I awoke - coffee , banana and oats ate
Off we went to T1 and the starting gate.
The last song you hear stays with you they say,
For me it was Khwajaji…alas that song did stick to my dismay!
Vinod, Rashmi, Chakri, Veena, Deepu, Mauli and Krishna,
They had all come to cheer and participate in the drama.
The swim was done in a consistent 1:24 – Off to the bike I strode,
First 56 went by in 3:14…I pondered a 6:45 as past the turnaround I rode.
Three bottles sustained energy and 3 gels down, I was on track
Plan the race and race the plan…there was just one little crack…
A weird thirst I felt around mile 40, mouth parched, I’d made a trade
I had stretched out my hand for some Gatorade.
That stuff, in my stomach does not quite sit so well,
At mile 60 it came back to cast its dastardly spell!
My stomach suddenly bloated felt like a balloon
I thought , if something did not give I’d be airborne soon!
Like a “born-again” seeker I began seeking in earnest
The little green portas , they became my eternal quest
Not to forget the song…I took some liberties with it by far
Porta mere porta, dil me samaja…
The run began with a serious attempt to get it on
My stomach lurched , I searched, where have all the Portas gone?
Taste of water felt bad, Gatorade was out of question
Coke, I hoped, would come to the aid of my digestion!
Out of the blue comes Stan..."Rajeev why are you walking?"
“Find a Green House” I say, “then I’ll tell you why I’m walking”
Go Rajeev shout Renuka, Vinod, Rashmi, Veena
Cheering me on are Krishna, Deepu, Mouli, Chakri, Sabita
My stomach with me following waddle on as they scream
The sun has set, my finishing in daylight is all but a dream.
Pitch blackness all around I finally begin to run
Fatigued, pained and angry…and I do this stuff for fun!
Finally I stumble over the finish - fifth one I’ve done
Those that say “it gets easier” - have been out too long in the sun!
Mani runs in to finish, of this man I’m now a fan
Cool, calm and collected he is an Ironman!
A big hug to the weary cheerers, they are tired to the bone
One final stop, this time a ceramic pot, we are headed home
What a day! I’m sure it would be different, had it worked out to the plan
But then again, if it were so easy, they wouldn’t call it the Ironman!


Cheering Squad: Stan is missing as he was on his bike cheering everyone

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Off the beaten track! Yosemite version 2.0

All righty then... Its been 13 months since our debacle at Yosemite - I still had to see the White Wolf to Soda Springs (Tuolumne Medows) route. Arun Sharma, who had organized the one day 32 mile run/hike last year, invited me to do the same route as a 3 day backpacking trip this year. I, in turn, invited my training buddy IronStan (soon to be rechristened "IronSherpaStan") to share the pain. I have never been backpacking before - so this was going to be interesting. I borrowed a backpack from Rashmi & Anil, bought a compact sleeping bag from Sports Basement and a $15.00 small tent from Walmart! (Pam called it a womb tent) - it actually is a studio tent, with an attached bathroom...the bathroom is only a zipper away...come to think of it...two zippers away...wait...including the sleeping bag...three zippers away...I call it my "zip zip zip zzzz...unzip unzip unzip wizzzz tent"...much more sophisticated name indeed.

Thursday July 17th 7:30 pm Renuka packed the backpack and weighed it - 32lbs! Leaping (expletive) lizards! there is no way I can walk 32 miles carrying 32 lbs...some repacking, lighter t-shirts, and 20 minutes later - 30lbs..."I'm screwed" I say...might as well enjoy it ... we had a 4:30am departure from Sunnyvale so I got to sleep early, 12:00am.

Friday July 18th: I was up at 3:00am and ready at 4:15 awaiting Chakri and Stan. 4:30am Stan calls "Rajeev, I just got up...sorry, but does this cause a problem?"..."Umm, no Stan we are just going to be late and Arun is going to #$%&^%$ KILL us!" We asked Stan to drive directly to Pleasanton and meet us at Pam's house. We started for Yosemite at 7:00am and got to White Wolf around 10:30. After parking two cars at Soda Springs (the end of the trail) and repacking the backpacks with the bear canisters, we started the hike at noon. (Smart move of the day: distributing the 5 wine bottles into 3 plastic containers and ensuring the 3 containers do not travel in the same backpack - I believe the President, Vice President and the Speaker of the House have a similar plan of action...except they are not in plastic containers...I think)
At the start: (L-R Chakri, Stan, Me, Arun Sharma, Aun, Pam, Karan, Heera, Arun Desigan)

The players: Karan (7-8 years old), Pam, Anu, Heeral (Age 20-25), Rajeev Char (millions of brownie points for my previous comment), Arun Sharma, Arun Desigan (Old), Chakri (like Madonna & Prince he only goes by a first name- ageless), Stanley Ho & Mike (both around the same age)
Stan's best friend (Mike)

We begin the hike at 12:00 noon - 10/11 miles to Pate Valley - with a 4000 feet drop in 2.5 miles... about 3 miles into the hike we meet a couple and the conversation goes:

They: "Lukens Lake is beautiful to swim in, you all will really enjoy it"
Arun Sharma (AS): "You mean Harden Lake"
They: "No - Lukens Lake - we just swam in it"
AS: "No Lukens is that way" (pointing in the opposite direction)
They: looking at each other "No Harden lake is that way, you are heading to Lukens"
Me Thinking: "Oh Shit!"
AS: "Really!? Sorry guys, we are on the wrong trail"

A bit of back tracking later we are back on track - Stan's previous comments (in jest) about Yosemite being too high for bears and snakes ... came back to bite us! Within an hour we see a bear about 20 feet from the trail...scary stuff.

(Pix by Arun Desigan)

We move on...by 3pm fatigue starts setting in - most of us have not slept much and the heat and the weight of the backpack starts taking its toll. We shift some backpack weight around and Stan, Chakri, Arun Sharma and I decide to press on faster to get a decent camp site. We tell Pam, Karan, ArunD, Anu and Heeral to take it easy as it is a full moon night which gives them plenty of light to make the treacherous decent safely. During the descent we see our second bear sighting...this one is really close...8-10 feet away.
(Pix by Stan)

Shortly later I hear a "SPLAT"...the plastic wine pack I was carrying fell out of my backpack and broke...wine leaking all over the trail...SAD...Chakri & Arun managed to salvage about half a bottle from that mishap. After the descent Chakri & I lose sight of ArunS and Stan...
Hetch Hetchy Reservoir - on the way down from White Wolf

We keep pressing on hoping that they would have stopped for us. 45 minutes later no sign of them! Chakri and I are out of water...I drop my backpack and tell Chakri that I'll run ahead for 2 mins and if we do not find Arun/Stan we will head back towards the rest of the group. Luckily at the two min mark I run into a campsite - I ask them if they saw 2 guys go by...they did...I ran on a few more minutes and spot Stan...I scream "What the @#$% Stan!...you guys should have waited!" I had a mini meltdown...memories of last year came flooding back....:-). I ran back to Chakri and we got into the camp site (The site was fantastic) Arun made a nice warm cup of Coco for us and half a liter of water later, Stan, Arun and I set out to meet the rest. We left Chakri at the campsite. 30 minutes of fast walking later we finally see the others coming down the last of the descent. Stan and I relieve some of the tired folks of their backpacks and let them head on to the campsite faster. With daylight fading Stan, Heeral, Pam, Karan & I made the hour long walk back with our head lamp lights on. 9:30pm we are all accounted for...cheers and a camp fire is lit. As we filled our buckets during the night I saw a snake swim away from me in the river...that was too close...A sumptuous dinner and a glass or two of wine later, we set the bear canisters 200 feet away from the campsite, dowsed the camp fire completely, and we all staggered into our tents.

Saturday July 19th: 10/11 miles -(camp just after California Falls) 7:00am we are all up - ArunS & ArunD are directing traffic...breakfast is being made, hot coffee is being brewed...life is good. Stan & Chakri are all packed and ready to go! The regular backpackers (ArunSharma/Pam/ArunD/Anu and Heeral) make us all comb the campsite and ensure that we pick up every scrap we brought with us...not even a corner of a wrapper was to be left behind...we really spent some time doing this - and I am glad we did it, the wilderness is so pristine that it is our responsibility that we "leave no trace behind." We start out towards Pate Valley and the infamous "right turn" that Anil, Vineeta and I missed and got horribly lost last year. Along the way hikers coming back warn us about a "rattler 300 yards ahead" Pate Valley is a Rattle Snake heaven. Luckily we do not see any rattlers. We pass Heeral and ArunS - Heeral seems to be in some distress (She was not well a few days ago) We continued through the tall grass and thick brush of Pate Valley. We slowed down to ensure that Karan/Pam/Heeral were ok and within sight. The temp started rising and it was 87-88F and humid. We left the tall grass and got to the Tuolumne River...GOR-GEE-US!

After a while Chakri, Arun and I decided that we should take Heeral's backpack and give her some relief so she can recover for the rest of the trek. We found a nice long log and hung her pack on it and 4 of us took turns carrying the "Pig" for the rest of the day.

The climbs were really painful...we had about 2ooo feet of climbing...Stan (and Mike) would take off for a few miles, drop his backpack and run back to help us - relieving one of us of our packs and heading out at double speed...the boy is insane!
(Pix by Arun Sharma)

For lunch on Saturday Arun D and Anu had chopped onions, shred carrots and cut avacados! We had tortillas stuffed with theplas, carrots, onions and avacados...we sat by the Tuolumne River...soaking our weary legs in the cold waters...sublime!

After a second grueling climb and some spectacular waterfalls we stumbled into a vacant campsite at around 5:00pm. Stan went for a 2 mile run...this kid is NUTS!

Set up camp and had an early dinner - finished off the wine and we were way too tired to hang around...by 10pm we were all in our tents. We had decided to get moving at 8:30 am the next morning.

Sunday July 20th: Campsite checked - we had a quick freshen up at the river and were off at 8:30 sharp. The 3 hour climb to Glen Aulin this was really tough and cumulative fatigue was getting to all of us...All of us?...No, one person refused to be conquered by fatigue...that was IronSherpaStan. He continued to do his relay work - he is insane! Heeral was feeling fine and was back in the swing of things. Karan and Pam were feeling much better too - the most memorable quote of the trip was during one of the million stories Pam & Karan were exchanging. Karan said "Medusa was cured by a good shampoo" I cracked up! this kid is special...for an 8 year old he is phenomenal. After a good lunch at Glen Aulin we had another 2 hour climb before we reached Tuolumne Meadows.

After that the trail flattens out at 8,600 feet...beautiful flowers and...meadows. A lady stopped me along the way saying "You have a face that is calming and says that you have a lovely voice, can you please sing a nice light song for me"...I sang (actually murdered) 'Country Roads' by Denver and both the lady and her husband rescued me by sing the song really well.

4:30 we were all done..we finally made it...this was a tough trip, but we all agreed that the next time we need to do it in 5 days so we can actually stop and smell the roses!
Karan at the end (Soda Springs) He seems sad that the trip is over!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tagged: Thoughts On Running

My friend Anil “the horse” Rao tagged me and so here are my thoughts & answers to his tag.

1. How would I describe my running 10 years ago?
10 years ago – 1998 - Chicago was home, running was a challenge in winter but I do remember bundling up and getting those 5-6 milers in. Summers were great and I was in decent running condition – no injuries – nice easy 5-6 milers as I trained for The Chicago Triathlon and Lake Geneva Triathlon.

2. What is your best and worst race experience?
The best experience was during the marathon at the 2007 Ironman Canada – I felt really great and even thought I could have gone a bit quicker…pretty cool considering that I completely blew up during the 2006 race. This year’s Napa marathon was wonderful too – nice easy paced race which leads me to believe that if I stay uninjured I could improve by another 15-20 minutes in a year.

Worst race experience was during the Marathon in the 2006 Ironman Canada…I just imploded and everything went downhill. It was a slow tough walk. Other non-race bad/scary experiences were:
a) During a training run at Huddard Park (Woodside CA) in 2002-03 with Rajeev Patel. We got lost and ran out of water…the 8 miler turned out to be more like 16-20…the trails, hills were tough.
b) 32 mile Run at Yosemite where Anil Rao, Vineeta & I got lost - Details here

3. Why do you run?
Because it is swim, cycle, RUN!

4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
I always listen to my body and no one else – and over the years the most regular and best piece of advice has been “relax today – have a cold beer.” I always listen to my body (and it shows :-))

5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
I’ve been having a mid-life crisis for about 25 years.

I tag the following people:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Auburn World's Toughest Half Triathlon / Napa Valley Vintage Half

May – Half Iron Distance races

Napa Valley Vintage Half Ironman – May 3rd
World’s Toughest Triathlon – May 18th

My Bib number was 44 in both races! What are the odds of that happening?

Napa Vintage Half Iron Distance race: (Swim 1.2 mile / Bike 56 miles / Run 13.1 miles)
When Padma mentioned she was going to be doing the Napa half I immediately decided to jump in and kick start my training season. Padma graciously let us share her hotel room which turned out to be a real blessing.

Renuka and I drove up later in the afternoon and after getting lost (Google maps suck!) we finally made it to the room at 9:30. Thankfully Madhavi & Padma had brought back some leftovers from their dinner. After vacuuming the pasta we had a fitful night – four of us cozied up in a small room. This was Padma’s first Half Iron distance race and she was pretty confident – (though she had niggling worries about making the swim/bike cut-offs.) The morning was pleasant – I opened the room door and I was in the transition area…AWESOME! We racked our bikes and headed for the swim, Superman Chakri drove all the way in the early hours to cheer Padma, what an amazing guy!

(which direction are we going?)

We had decided to swim together, but so much for plans – within 5 mins I lost Padma in the sea of back wetsuits. Since it was a relatively small event <250 participants the swim was pretty smooth – it also was about 300-350 meters short! Started the bike – saw Padma just after the first turn around and she was all smiles – the course was not easy – not very hilly - but it had that irritating grade where you just cannot get into a decent cadence. Got off the bike & proceeded to the run – it was warm (low to mid 80s) – the course was gorgeous, and I stopped to take in the views of lake Berryessa – beautiful course.

(How beautifully the blue of the Porta John stands out against green trees - oh and the Babe in grey track pants is gorgeous)

Padma called out as she ran by, she was all smiles and wearing her trademark panama hat and carrying her (ultra runner) bottle in hand – she was in her element – this girl loves to run and it shows on her face.

Chakri ran the second lap with her and she came in to finish at a fantastic 7:51:20 –Except for a mini GI meltdown on the bike she had a good race. Padma is in great shape for Full Vineman triathlon in August. Her Splits – (Swim 00:38:33 / Bike 4:17:23 / Run 2:44:11) With 11 mins in transition.
I finished in 6:33:34 (Swim 00:34:25 / bike 3:33:27 / Run 2:13) with about 12 mins in total transition!
BIG thank you to Madhavi, Renuka & Chakri for cheering us on.

Auburn - World’s Toughest Half Iron Triathlon: (Swim 1.2 mile / Bike 56 miles / Run 13.1 miles)
This race certainly lived up to its name. Six of us were planning on doing this race – Vinod unfortunately got injured and had to drop out. Tandy was doing the Olympic Distance, Doug, Abhijit, Stan & I were doing the half iron distance. This was to be Doug and Abhijit’s first attempt at a Half Iron Dist race. The drama started on Friday when Brad Kerns (Race Director) sent out an email saying that they expect 105F temperatures on Race Day (Sunday) so he was planning on reducing the run to 9 miles. By Saturday Morning the race was back on with the normal distances (by popular demand by the athletes!) Saturday Morning – after the Asha long run Renuka and I headed for Auburn – Abhijit drove in with his Mom and friend Ashish, Crazy Stan drove alone in his car without the AC. The temp was 102F and rising – We got into Auburn, registered and drove to T2 deposited our shoes etc. and checked in at the hotel. Met up with Tandy & Doug. After a nice dinner we called it a night.

Pre-race Dinner

5:20am - we left the hotel – Big thanks to Ashish and Renuka for driving us to the swim start. The place got really crowded as there were 4 races (International/Half Iron/Duathlon and a relay)

Before the race - Stan is missing as he was warming up

Which direction do we swim? As we were walking to the swim start I realized I had not looked up the course…had no idea where the buoys were – so I decided to follow the crowd. For some reason the crowd decided to leave me behind…darn I was just hoping I could keep sight of the swimmers past the half hour mark as that was when the International distance swimmers started – the last thing I needed was to follow the wrong crowd!
After a rather long swim (which seemed uphill!) I was out in 0:54:09 (Pathetic!)– Abhijit, Stan & Doug were there – so off we all went – Stan seemed to have the quickest transition. I saw Mouli and Veena who came all the way to cheer us on – such wonderful people (Thank you, Thank you).

Chicken on a slow roast: That is what I felt like on the bike. The bike course was HARD – it was HILLY and then some. The volunteers were great and it was amazing to see that they were still full of energy after almost 3-4 hours in that heat – IT WAS HOT! The reports had the temp anywhere between 93-102F (My car gauge read 77F at 5:30am and 102F when I finished!) The slow grind up the hills in those hot conditions were painful! I had managed my fuel intake pretty well so I had no cramping issues – just energy sapping climbs. Got through ~3.5 bottles of Sustained Energy (mixed with Succeed) and 3 eGels – aprox 1,200-1,325 calories just about enough for the 4:22 bike ride (a stellar 12.81 mph! I should retire! Steve Larsen, the winner, finished the entire race in 4:48:20!!!) – But wait, I have my excuse figured out. I did notice a lot of Cervélos flying by me and after doing a quick check I realized it was my glove buckle that had come unvelcroed (is there such a word?) – I was sure that this little flap was causing excessive drag - I quickly fix that – the next few Cervélos…went by much slower…but by then that drag had cost me the race. (How drool - what a drag)

New Shoes attract trails: The run was off-road through the trails starting from the Dam Overlook (this is the same section I paced Rajeev Patel during his 2006 RDL 100 miler) – All these years I’ve been running in trail shoes and doing road races – last week I bought my first pair of road shoes in years and ended up in a trail run. Well I really don’t like trail running – my low foot lift makes me kiss the earth more often than I'd like. Five minutes into the run...crash... I kissed the earth...a protruding root was the root cause of my fall, not to be routed by the route and after a routine dust off I started again. The down hills (well it was all downhill for me) were bad...boulders, holes, roots it was conspiracy. Finally we had a section of gravel road and regular good ol’ black tops. The volunteers were great, the cheering folk were fantastic, lots of bikinis around...(got to love summer.) I saw Abhijit on his first lap – he was in fine form – unfortunately both he and Doug would not be allowed to finish the second loop due to the time cutoff. They both did 64 miles of a 70 mile race in grueling conditions – and in my mind they are finishers. The run was done in 2:36:06
Total time: 7:52:32
Stan finished in 6:57:32 and came in 5th in his age group. Way to go Stan!
Tandy finished her tough International distance race in 4:21:38

Stan & Doug waiting & waiting for me to finish

Madhu, Shridhar, Dhvanee drove up all the way from San Jose to see us finish – thanks a million guys! I finished too late and was too tired to take you out for a decent lunch – but I’ll make it up to all you wonderfully supportive folks.

I look forward to racing with Doug, Tandy, Abhijit, Stan, padma and Vinod – Vinod I hope your injury heals quick – we need to resume our pre-race Beer tradition :-)

(Pix for the Auburn Tri coming soon)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

2007 - a look back

Another great year with TeamAsha - we survived the heat and chaos at the Chicago Marathon, ran the beautiful Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and finished strong at the Silicon Valley Marathon in San Jose. Along the way our runners raised money to help educate and change the lives of less fortunate kids back in India.

Another year with four marathons (including 1 during my Ironman). Napa in March, Chicago & Marine Corps (DC) in October and Ironman Canada in August. Apart from that a few of us did the Tri OneOOne Triathlon (3/4 Ironman Dist) in June, Vineman 70.3 (Half Ironman) and a century bike ride in July.

2007 was a year when a lot of my friends achieved personal sporting highs:

Anil Rao, Alan Geraldi, Gary Friedle and Padma - Finished their first 100 mile race.
Rajeev Patel - ran three 100 mile races in 3 months! He also finshed the tri 101 (3/4 Ironman Dist Race)
Vinod Herur - returned with me to do Ironman Canada for the second time.
Mark "Irondog" Williams - finished another (10th?) Ironman Canada!!

2007 was a good year for me as well - With Personal records at;

Napa Marathon (26.2 miles) - 3:56:40 (Previous Best 3:59:12 - in 2006)
Vineman 70.3 (half Ironman) - 5:48:29 (Previous Best 6:06:03 - in 2003)
Ironman Canada (full Ironman) - 13:14:52 (Previous Best 13:53:26 - in 2002)

First Quarter 2008 update:
Napa Marathon March 2008 - Here I am - 11 pounds heavier - but still managed a decent finish at Napa with a Personal Best of 3:49:00 - Vinod Herur ran a carzy 3:30 and qualified for Boston! Awesome Vinod. Gururaj, Bharti, Lila finished their first marathons - congrats to them - they are all 1/3 of their way to an Ironman finish...:-)

A week after Napa I went bowling with a few friends and on the first roll I pulled my piriformis muscle - that's it...the extreme sport of Bowling is out...I'll stick with Triathlons, Marathons and maybe some gentle skydiving.