No regrets

"Pain shouldn’t matter at all. It is just a symptom of the effort you are putting into the task. "

My personality isn't what you would describe as easy-going. People often tell me "Even professional athletes party. They drink and they smoke." Well, clearly you haven't noticed the fact that I am not a professional athlete. 

For me, getting out there, no matter how the conditions are, even if it means skipping out on an extra hour of sleep is the very definition of fun. Yes, that doesn't make me a very fun loving person ( if your definition of fun is what the conventional world has taught you). But for me, I am the most fun loving person out there. 

Do you know how much fun it is to run for hours on end with the snow falling on top of you, with nothing to disturb you and your thoughts and the pain which has gone up so high that you have become entirely numb?

You must be thinking by now, but hey, do you know how much fun it is to drink and to be around friends?

No, I don't. Because my definition of fun is different from yours and if you judge me for it then you're the one wasting your headspace.

People around me love to judge. And because I am pretty soft spoken when it comes down to one-to-one chats they love to bash me around as if they everything there is to know about life.

I was told "Why do you keep bringing up your past, your CV?"

Well, if it bothers you then don't read it. Skip the part. Haha.

But seriously, why do I?

For starters, I'm pretty sure not too many people read what I write. I am the farthest person from "bling". No sexy photos on my blog. The only "sexy" photo I have is from the Nike ad shoot in 2014 and since then no one has clicked a better photo of me.

It is actually very cool.
Plus the content that I put out isn't exactly agreeable to most people. You see, ego is a very big thing in people's lives. The things that I write about often takes major dumps on people's egos. If I write about someone who is trying to do races nonchalantly rather than actually training more and doing well in one of them, I create a major controversy. 
Who am I to give advice, right? I get it. Not being sarcastic here, I actually admit coming off as a judgemental prick.
And I get it, to each their own. The world doesn't behave according your viewpoint and I'm wasting more of my time in telling people what I think, when self-realisation is far better and much more organic process.

Everyone has their own reasons for doing things. There are people who run just to build a fan following and becoming popular, others run to become better and fan following doesn't bother them. And it is all fine until you call yourself out to be what you really are.

The only people who really bother me are the ones who lie about the reason they are doing stuff. They put up motivational quotes and act deep, when their motives are very transparent and shallow. Just be honest about it. If you are shallow and your motives are shallow, so be it! It is good. The world needs more showbiz. People like me with their right-wing propaganda don't sell very well.

Anyways, why I keep bringing up my past is because people who *actually* read my stuff and *actually* care about what I say, I want to paint them a picture of my life.

My 1st Half Ironman was in Taiwan, I was a 24 year old guy who could run and swim, and had enough endurance to last the distance. I had no knowledge about triathlons, all I knew about is what I read online or in books. And as all of you know, practicals are very different from theory classes.

I purchased cycling shoes and cleats 15 days before the race and people had warned me that you fall off the bike when you ride with cleats. So determined not fall, I didn't ride with them until a day before my departure when I practised a little on the road near my house.

When I landed in Taiwan, I began to ride with cleats. In the shop, I saw aerobars and because I have always believed my Dad is an ATM, I bought them thinking they would make me very aerodynamic, which is total bullcrap because I had purchased a bike as-is without any bike fitting done. So just buying aerobars wasn't going to make me any faster.

Then I saw a triathlon suit at the expo and thought maybe it is a better idea than wearing swimming shorts and then changing into bike and run gear. $$$.

Taiwan days

Race day dawned, but what hadn't dawned on me all week is that I didn't know how to swim in open water. I was pretty decent in the pool, but the South China sea isn't like the swimming pool at Rohini Sports Complex, not at all. Plus, on summer days, there are at times 150 people in the 50*25 meter pool, swimming across the lanes and it is a chaos.
But then in Taiwan, there were 1900 people, and despite being Chinese territory there were quite big.

I had the patience to just stand and let the whole wave pass before I entered the water, in my trisuit for a wetsuit swim. As the water became deeper and the land disappeared underneath my feet and salt water entered my nose, I began to hyperventilate. "I can't do this, I might die here" was the exact thought in my head 5 meters into the start of the 70.3 miles. But then I remembered "hey, I know how to swim!". So I just took my head out of the water and started swimming towards the people, revising what I had learnt in the blogs. "Ten strokes and then pop your head out for direction". It took me 25 minutes to cover the 1st 950 meters of the 1.9k swim. And the next 950 meters took 15 minutes, because I had figured it out.

Rest of the day was quite fun, I had to hop off the bike and get my chain back in place a couple of times and I remember telling my dad on the run "This is easy". And it took me 5:33:32 to finish which was good enough for a 9th place in my AG, which isn't that bad.

I didn't tell this story because I want to reinforce my CV. I told it because the people who actually take me seriously can read this and say "Hey, this guy was stupid when he started and he still finished intact with a decent enough finish. We can do it too, much better than him. We'll go prepared and kick some ass."

I'm not there to intentionally inspire people. I'm hardly any inspiration, all I talk about is working hard and taking no shit from others. There are so many others who have achieved so much in life. If someone reads my stuff and it somehow reinforces their belief in themselves, then I managed to do why I do this in the first place.

I want to leave the world a better place than I came in. As simple as that. I don't care even if 1 person reads it or I repeat my stories thousands of times. If I managed to give you some hope through my miserable little life, if I managed to give you some company in your journey, if I managed to make you laugh through my stupid stories, then hey, I did my part.

And looking at my past helps me gather strength to step out of the bed and face the world. The world around me is like a burning building. I am trapped inside it and trying to get out of it. The future is an uncertain place but when you have willed yourself through bad situations in the past, you take courage from them and try to fight through.

We all talk about regrets and I often joke about my training methods. I wasn't a very fast triathlete for a simple reason. Triathletes swim bike and run. I just run. I biked sometimes and swam even less. I did bike plenty in my last Ironman but then shit happened on the course and that gave my naysayers to tell me "You didn't follow the convention, so you suck". Well, fuck you too.

I did 2 Ironmans and 1 Ultraman on a road bike on which I still haven't gotten a bike fit done and I'm pretty darn unaerodymanic. I never ran to my potential because I ended up burning a lot of matches on the bike, and running with your heart doesn't give you the run course record, you need legs too.

But do I regret it? Do I regret doing the Ultraman? Do I regret doing 7*70.3 in 7 days?


And I know many of you think that I should and that I went too far with it, well guess what I think about your opinions?

I went out to each of my challenges with the desire to be competitive and not just end up with a finisher medal.

In my 1st ironman I learnt that the bike trainer I used, didn't even have sensors or a proper resistance, and that doesn't help at all if the Ironman has a 12% climb for 20k. I also learnt that Whey Protein is absolute shit.

By doing 7*70.3 days, I learnt the importance of recovery. Yes, I went into them too soon after the Ironman and I did 7 in an aggregate time of 37 hours which comes out at each 70.3 in 5 hours and 17 minutes.
You don't do them that fast if you're trying to do 7 in 7 days. But I am very proud of what I did and I am pretty sure no one even has tried it since, because it is a stupid endeavour.

And as far as my Ultraman goes, I signed up hoping to be competitive. It didn't help I was injured for the 1st 3 months of the year and that I was so broke that i couldn't afford to buy a wetsuit and I ended up taking a Taxi which cost me 422$ which further bankrupted me. It didn't help me that I gained a lot of a weight and it didn't help me that i couldn't swim because there were no pools around. I know all of them sound like epic excuses for someone who paid 1950$ to just enter the race, but that alone was the end of my money. I was in tremendous debt and I feared telling my parents because I knew it would break their hearts.

Even after Ultraman and before going to Switzerland, when my debt came infront of my parents I was utterly ashamed and heartbroken. And they were nothing but supportive, they paid off the debt and hoped I would become better with money.

Which I can proudly say, as of today, I am. Living in Switzerland, yes I purchased a Macbook and an iPhone X and an Apple Watch, but fuck you, it is my money and I know how I am investing it and what I am using it for.
I had planned to buy the Mac for almost an year before I came to Switzerland because I was sick of Windows laptops and their limitations, I had undergone several bad experiences and I wanted to buy it. As for the phone and the watch, I thought I had a job in the bag only to be screwed out of it because of some extreme reasons of national bias.

Yes I could save up and get a bike fit done, but biking just doesn't cut it for me and Ironman's major chunk is biking and I just haven't build a proper base for it. The fit can come later, i need to learn to love it first. I love to run more than I love to bike or swim and I am back doing that.

I know what I buy and what I don't buy and I am very well aware of what I do with my money.

And you know what all that shit that transpired since my 1st Ironman taught me? It showed me who my true friends were, it taught me how to be better with money, it gave a shitload of memories I can draw inspiration for because my life is still a big struggling mess.

If I could do a 10k swim without a wetsuit, with a 3 inch wide and inch deep cut on my neck which burnt with salt water and with a total of 3 practise swims amounting to 9k total and still not finish dead last and infact keep up with Craig Alexander for 50k of the 84.3k double marathon on Day 3, I sure as hell can deal with a bunch of racist pricks who denied me a job opportunity. 

It gave me a sporting CV which enabled me to come to Switzerland, being the 1st Indian male got me here away from a rotting IT desk job and running around in circles in terrible pollution. It gave me lessons on what not to do and you know what? I learnt them on my own and that is the most valuable experience of them all.

So what if i couldn't be competitive? Even if you finish a Sub 10 IM you aren't winning Kona. That takes 8 hours and 1 minutes and you a million miles away from it. Even if you end up winning your AG and your time isn't near the Pros, and you grow to regret the sport then I'm sorry to say you're losing yourself. And even if you win the world championships, like Kilian Jornet said "It just means that you were better than a bunch of other people in one sport, on that day. It is next to nothing in the whole scheme of the universe".

Yes being competitive gives me joy but the challenge is not to win, but to push myself to the absolute limit. And I did it for every race I ever raced in. If my best was an 11 hour and 53 minute Ironman finish despite another bunch of shit happening with me, then so be it. I am very proud of the effort I put in and I am very proud of everything I have ever done in life and no I do not regret even a single minute of it. Well, except taking Whey Protein. Should've avoided that. And well, that stupid crowdfunding campaign. That was an act of pure idiocy and I would never do it again. I don't totally regret it per se, but I learnt my lessons there and that's the end of it.

The only bad race is the one you don't learn anything from. If you think you have won, it is the end of you. Victory defeats you, it costs you your strength. No one in life is perfect and people make mistakes so that they can learn from them. So yes, you can sit around and point their mistakes to them when they are undergoing a shit phase in their life or you can tell them you pulled through that mess, just have faith.

Yes I am a class A jerk most of the time. But I don't know any better than being hard on myself. I was raised by people who lived their lives around people who were lesser than them in every way, but stood over their shoulders telling them that they were wrong. But did my father give up? Did my mother give up? NEVER. 
And they didn't "take it easy" or looked back at regretted things. Infact, they are proud of even their worst times because that's what made them better people.

If you think I am a class A jerk to everyone around me, you should see myself treating me. I love being tough on myself. And it wouldn't have it in any different way. I have been waist deep in self-pity from time to time, but I have learnt to use that anger and become better.

Take all the failures that come to you, all the successes, take every single up and every single down moment in life and accept them as a part of your journey. Regret nothing because everything you do is a lesson in life that leads to be a better version of yourself.

No one else loves you more than you do. And true love is unconditional, right? So accept yourself for who you are and run into the future. Don't lie around regretting things but instead use them as a fuel to become the best version of yourself.


Popular Posts