Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 update & Vineman August 1, 2009

(Photograph by - Rashmi)

It took a reminder from Stan for me to get started on my race report for Vineman 2009.

First order of business is to congratulate my friends on their accomplishments:
Big congrats to our first time Vineman (Iron distance race) Finishers.
Doug Obester, Abhijit Karmarkar, Nick French & Karen Bonnett – Welcome to the club!

Relay teams for the Vineman
Chandramouli “Mouli” Balasubramanian (swim) and Anil Rao (Bike & Run) – Anil is now just a short swim away from an Ironman race finish.
Tandy Chouljian (swim), Kevin Sorensen (bike) & Tony Fong (run) – they won their age group.

Manisha Ghosh, Som Ghosh and Stan Ho also participated but had to stop due to bike issues (Manisha/Som) and severe GI issues for Stan (his race report). They really toiled hard but at times mechanical issues and stomach melt-downs are beyond our control. Stan has continued training and has his mind set on his big race in November “The Silverman” Triathlon. Best of luck to him.

Congrats to my sister, Nandini - she started running this year and has finished 2 half marathons in Chicago! Way to go Dini!

100 mile and over 100 mile runs:
Anu Singh joined the elite group of 100 mile run finishers – Rajeev Patel accompanied her and finished his nth century race
Rajeev Patel ran an incredible 186 miles of a 250 mile Thames Ring race in the UK
Anush Elangovan for his Mt Denali expedition.

Further congrats to the Next Generation of athletes – Manisha’s son Samir (age 13) swam the Catfish 2.4 mile swim without a wetsuit and finished in 1:55, Som’s 10 year old daughter Shewli swam the Alcatraz swim and dedicated her swim to breast cancer survivors! (Her Blog) Anu Singh’s son Nishad ran 25 miles with Anu as her pacer during her 100 mile run…all incredible and budding athletes.

Tandy, Doug and I participated in the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, we had a wonderful time on a perfect day in beautiful San Francisco. The swim was different from the 4 prior crossings I’ve done – as there were 1000+ swimmers jumping off the San Francisco Belle. A few weeks before the race Doug & Tandy invited me to join them on a trial swim – the 3 of us swam with the Race Director guiding us through the sighting process and coaching us on the areas to avoid during the swim. It was beautiful and one just cannot help but stop and gawk at the city of San Francisco from the water. It looks so beautiful with the Golden Gate bridge to your right and the Bay Bridge to your left and the cold bay water surrounding you in a protective embrace (Yeah right!! The last bit was just a bit much!).

(Photograph by - Vinod)

Now on to August 1st and the Vineman – the drive in on Friday was PAINFUL! The traffic was just UN-BEE-LEE-VA-BAL! Anil, Renuka and I drove up together. After getting there we registered, met Tony, Doug, Tandy, Abhijit, Stan, Manisha and Som. Checked into our rooms and headed for dinner. Tony, Karen and Kevin could not join us but the rest of us has a super time at dinner and we headed back to the hotel for an early night.


(Post dinner pix - showing off our race band)

Race morning was fantastic – it was cool with some mist hanging low over the water and some fog rolling in. Met Kevin, he was pumped and ready for his promised 5 hour ride! After the body marking was done I headed off to catch my swim wave. The swim was crowded and shallow. The turnaround point was so shallow that I had to stand up as my hands were scraping the bottom.

After a quick change I was on my bike – Abhijit was right there with me we rode out together and then I decided to make use of the lovely weather and took off. About 10 miles into the race I hear a booming “GO Raj – turn those legs arooound”...Kevin zooms by me beaming...he was like a speeding freight train – I felt I was standing still! Wow! He was flying. I went on and around mile 35-40 I felt some pain around my right knee...expecting it to go away I pushed on and unfortunately by the time I reached the half way point the knee was hurting pretty badly. Tandy was waiting at the 56 mile special needs station, cheering us on. Nick was there too – he was feeling good and we chatted a bit as I tried to stretch. After borrowing some sun block from him we both took off.

(Special needs - mile 56 - with Nick- pix by Tandy)

By mile 70 I could not get into the big gears at all – the knee was really hurting...I was spinning in the easy gears and dreaded the thought of having 40 more miles of spinning to do! Man was that boring as hell...Doug flew by me and cheered me on – he was looking really good. Around mile 85 Anil and Abhijit caught up with me and we rode for a while – I stopped to stretch and I lost both of them as they powered on. After what seemed like an eternity (it was my slowest bike time EVER) I got to the transition – switched into my running gear and took off (well limped off) and I saw Tony swinging back on his second lap. (Tandy swam a 1:22 swim, Kevin took 5:09 and Tony eventually ran a 3:01 marathon – A 9:40:24 finish!)

(Kevin and Tandy)

(Tony finishing)

After cheering Tony on I saw Stan walking...WALKING! Now Stan does not walk, I stopped and asked him if all was well. He seemed to be in really bad shape, said he could not hold anything down and was really cramping. I told him to hang on and gave him a salt tablet and some water, he promptly spat it out (or threw it up). Stan said he would walk from aid station to aid station and see if he could make it, but he was in a pretty bad shape. He carried on and Abhijit and I ran on for a bit. I was power walking at this stage and Anil soon caught up. Doug was in fine form as he ran through for a super finish. As we jogged/walked through the finish of the second lap Anil said "come on we can go under 15 hours if you jog a bit faster from here on out". So off I went trying to keep up with him. Vinod, Rush, Renuka, Gurpreet, Krishna, Deepu, Chakri, Mouli, Tandy were all out there cheering us on. Arul who was a race volunteer was marshalling the mile one section which also was the last point before the finish – he was AWESOME in cheering and being out there for over 6 hours!

After a 5 hour 18 min Marathon I was done – my finish time was 14:43:01 (Swim - 1:24:09, T1 - 00:07:17, Bike 7:46:46 (ugh!), T2 -00:06:33 Run 5:18:15)

(Abhijit, Tandy, Doug and Rajeev - Finishers medals and smiles)

Weather was perfect – but the knee was not :-) All in all a great weekend spent with lovely people doing what we all enjoy.

Up coming races:
Chicago Marathon October 11, 2009
Dallas Marathon December 13, 2009
Big Sur Marathon April 25, 2010

Sept 14th Anil, Padma, Anush and I were invited on the Radio Show "The Indian Angle" The link is here for those with an hour to kill. Only sound no video:
The link

After the radio show (Anil, Anush, Rajeev, Padma & Shachi)