Saturday, July 28, 2012

Friends in the news and congratulations:
Naresh Kumar for completing the Death Ride! What a dedicated guy! Amazing athlete!
Stan Ho for his 6th Death Ride finish and he helped Naresh train for the ride this year.
Murali Krishna and Chakri for doing 3 passes of the Death Ride. Hats off!

Vineman 5.0
Thinking back...a mere 10 years ago I was at the starting line of Vineman for my first Ironman race. 10 years on, and I came back for my 9th Ironman race. This year's race was special because it was the first ironman race for one of our Team Asha runner/biker. Chandrika Srinivasan had a early end to her first attempt at Ironman when we were hit by a storm in the swim during Ironman Coeur d’Alene. But now, she was ready – after another month of training to push for that goal.

Tandy, Doug, Chakri, Chandrika and myself reached Santa Rosa on Friday – we sat through the mandatory race meeting (pretty pathetic) and then got through the packet pickup and dropped off out run stuff at T2. After a checking into our hotel (Extended Stay America), I realized my bike had a flat. So off we went to buy new tires – after switching both tires we all headed out to Mary’s Pizza for dinner.

Stan came in at around 10:00pm and we all got to bed after watching a bit of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

4:00AM we were up, and even though we had it all planned, we were late getting to the start. The crowd of athletes entering the transition was all the way up to the main road...I’ve never seen it this crowded. There were 3 races being held, Barb’s race & Relay, Full Vineman & relay, Aquabike. We all rushed in and managed to find a spot. I grabbed my wetsuit and goggles and ran to the porta line. Thankfully it was short. I was the last guy into the water and as I was zipping up my wetsuit the gun went off for my wave. I’ve never liked the Vineman swim, it is way too shallow and my palms keep scraping the floor. Anyway after a bit of walking and swimming, I was done in 1:30:15.
T1 and bike:
I took my time changing and decided to go with a sleeveless jersey! What was I thinking! It was cool/cold for the first 20 miles or so and then the sun came out. I had decided to change my diet to about 200 to 250 Cals per hour with lots of water. It seem fine, I was stopping to pee at every aid station! I met Stan (who was biking around the course cheering Chandrika and all of us) on my second loop and he said Chandrika had a great swim and was doing great on the bike...with that good news I pottered on in my slow easy gear. I was burning up, the sun was cooking my back (bright idea of wearing a sleeveless jersey!) and I was getting burnt pretty badly. I finished the bike in 7:35:37...nice slow pace :)
T2 and run:
A quick change and a reapplication of sunscreen I was off. Feeling fine I started running, sticking with one eGel every 45 minutes. On my way back from the first loop I met Stan, he said Chandrika was not doing too well as she had GI issues. Funny how she follows every example I set :). I met her close to the turnaround she was about half a mile behind me and I gave her a couple of Pepto-Bismol tablets and carried on. I slowed to a walk and waited for her to catchup. When I next met her she was double over and just ‘HAD TO GO’ I rushed on to the next porta and stood in line for her. Lucky for us the girl in front of us, seeing Chandrika’s discomfort, let her go ahead! What a great gesture of sportsmanship...she too was in the race! I thanked her profusely and we carried on. Every 10 mins or so, her stomach would revolt (Chandrika was running close to a 10:30 min/mile at that stage, and was looking great except for that stomach issue) and I’d run on to grab a spot in the porta line. She had a few more tablets and we slowed to a walk for about mile to let the stomach settle. After about 7 miles at a decent clip she was feeling better. I was beginning to fade and getting a bit light headed. I asked her to carry on and keep that pace going...she insisted on hanging with me and finishing together...I would have none of that, I told her that 'it is a long race and things change suddenly...if you are feeling good, just go' we can always celebrate at the end. Off she went. I met Chakri a few times along the way he was tiring too, but being his usual self he was more concerned about others! Crazy guy! Krishna and Mouli were on the course walking and running with us. At the final loop Mouli joined me and we walked back to the finish. Having coke doused myself in the last few miles I managed a running finish! A slow 6:00:16 marathon.

I finished my 9th ironman race and my 5th Vineman – my time was 15:27:31 – my slowest ironman time!! But hey! I finished! This is my 10th anniversary of Ironman racing and well, what better place to race than the place where it all started 10 years ago!

Chandrika finished in 15:04:54!! Nailed it! Her first ironman race! What a great moment for her and the team! We are all so proud of her dedication and for staying the course. The quote 'tough times don't last but tough people do' was written for her. Thank you Renuka and Muneer for nudging her to sign up for Vineman right after that CdA debacle! What a turnaround! We celebrated with champagne at the end with Muneer, Renuka, Rajeev Shankar, Bhanu, Madhu, Venki, Krishna, Mouli, Stan and Chakri. Chakri finished his second ironman race – what a stud!

Tandy finished her first half ironman race in 17 years! She is back! She finished Barb’s Race, she and Doug stayed back to cheer us on during the run! Thank you for the support and cheering and congratulations on your finish!