Running with God himself

Okay, all dust settled on Ultraman. 
Achieved my goal, became the 1st Indian Male and earned all the fancy titles.

Enough motivational talks. There's something else I need to talk about.

Yes, I became an Ultraman on 16th May 2016. But something else happened too that day.
Something I had been dreaming for years, something I never thought would happen.
Dreams are of two types : The ones you can control and The ones you can't.

Being an Ultraman was in my control, i could work hard and achieve it. 

But say, I have always dreamt of seeing a Nirvana concert (after watching the MTV Unplugged 1994 show). But can I control it? No. Kurt Cobain shot himself! 
These dreams are the ones which are dependent on other people. And are based on their presence.

Now one such dream was to meet the legendary Craig Alexander.
I have the following Sporting Heroes:
1. Lance Armstrong
2. Rafael Nadal
3. David Goggins
4. Michael Phelps
5. Craig Alexander
6. Dave Scott

PS : No cricketer even though I grew up in a cricket obsessed country. Surprised, aren't you?

Getting back, i'd like to thank Ricky Jeffs for making this happen. And yeah, this blog is more like a teen fangirl's diary page. So sit back, relax and hope you enjoy this entry :

16th May 2016 :

It was 5:00 AM on a Monday Morning. I hauled up my tired, hurting body into Deepak Sir's i30 knowing I'm going to have to subject myself to 84.3 kms of running in under 12 hours that day to achieve my dream.
We drove down to Noosa Surf Club and waited in line for the registration. 
That's when Deepak Sir told me, "Hey, there's Crowie"

As if all the weight of this world had been lifted from my shoulders and the body, which had been subjected to a 10 km swim and 421.1 km riding(with 13000 feet of climbing, thank you Christine and Wayne, I love you guys too) in the last 2 days, suddenly felt like it was in dream land.

*cue slow romantic music* I walked like a gazelle walks to a stream of water, all dreamy eyed and saw him.

And there he was, the man who I have watched race for years now, seen all his World Championship Victories and Documentaries(atleast 20 times each), right infront of me.

I took the sane decision of greeting him with a Hello, rather than screaming and the fainting(if I fainted I wouldn't have been allowed to race,smart decision amirite?)

                       Saying Hello

Coming from a country which leads the World population in people worship, I was remarkably well behaved. We, the people of India, have worshipped a LOT of weird things : Movie stars(vapid narcissistic jerks), Cricketers( even worse vapid narcissistic jerks), Godmen( the worst kind of vapid narcissistic jerks, no I don't have a limited vocabulary, i just believe these words describe them the best) and Politicians( slaves of the people, elected by the people and still behaving like our masters).

*recovering from the rant*
I thought Crowie was there to flag us off or something. So when the gun went off, I left with a heavy heart that I might not see Crowie again.

And 2 kms in, I felt the hair on my neck standing up. Holy Mother of God, it was.......... Dave Carrol! The Ultraman Kiwi who last year, won the longboard award for finishing each day right at around 12 hours.  
He just zoomed past surfing on his longboard. Just beautiful!

Then came Moe Grass, Ricky Jeffs,Cameron McKay and CROWIE!
And luckily enough, they were running exactly the same pace I wanted to keep for the 1st 50 kms. So I tagged along and was soon joined by Matthew Wheatley and the awesome Keith from Trilogy Cycles.

                   Let's chase Dave!

For around 6 kms, I was just quiet. Didn't say a single word, too overwhelmed to see Crowie run beside me. Finally at 10 kms, when we left the suburbs and reached the seaside that I opened my mouth.

            Giving Crowie a split readout

My biggest regret was not being in good shape. The 1st Indian Male to do Ultraman and he has a paunch. In the past 4 years, i've never had this. Never.
But hey, if I was in good shape would I have run at 6/ km? No!
I would have chased Chamba down and won day 3.
So, no regrets for being fat that day.

I told Crowie about my hopes and dreams. My training schedule, how I spent 8-9 hours on the trainer(and he approved!!!), how much of struggle it was training in India and how much I worship him. I told him about how I gathered inspiration from the Aussies Abroad documentary and how, like him I had planned to sleep in a bike bag if I didn't find an accommodation.
I told him about my Sub 3 Marathon time(which he said is Good! Yay!) and I told him how I struggled with injury and depression for 3 months and how I was trying to make my country proud. (And in the process explained why I was fat)

                Happy Happy Happy

Crowie was full of stories, inspiring ones. He talked about pain and how people are scared of it and how pain doesn't kill anyone, it's a matter of outlasting it.
He told about his recent Busso 70.3 victory and how he would have held a 1:09 HM pace if the 2nd place guy didn't let up. He had a few kind words about Lance Armstrong too, which I would not divulge.(No, not even if you say please)
He was honest, and open and so cool!

At around 21k he dropped off, giving Ricky Jeffs, Cameron McKay(and their crews), Matthew Wheatley and I, the unique distinction of dropping a Pro!

          Yes, that's me leading Crowie! 

Crowie was there all day, even after I dropped the group on the climb, waiting in a crew car, cheering us on. And if your idol tells you, "You're looking strong!", you tend to feel strong.

             Feeling strong and how!

He came back, and the group caught me  at 48k. I told Crowie I had planned to run 50k in 5 hours and then run-walk rest of the way in time remaining. The last words from him were "Good job mate", and then he left.

Now if I wasn't fat, I would have kept pace and ran with them all the way to the finish. So yes, I do regret that.
Maybe another time.

But those 25 odd kms, I ran with him changed my life for good. I don't know how to express my gratitude but honestly Crowie, thank you.
Thank you Ricky Jeffs from bringing him.
Thank you Ultraman Australia for inviting me to race because without you 2 of my biggest dreams would never have materialized.
And thank you to my parents for letting me dream and live those dreams.

PS : Back home on the trainer, I put on the 2011 Ironman World Championships video and saw that moment of Queen-K highway when Crowie overtook Chris Leito and thought in my head "I ran with this guy!" Not too many Indians can claim that, can they?

Photo Credits : 1st one : Craig Percival
All the others : Barry John Alsop, Eyes Wide Open Images


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