Seasons in Abyss

I've been doing a lot of thinking in the past few days. This is a polite way of saying I've had nothing better to do.

What triggered this line of thought was a tempo run I did a few days back. At the end of the run, covering 15 kms in 1:02:46(4:11/km) (

The extent of such an effort only 2 years back could have been filed under "Easy run".

Weekday training in June 2014.

As you can see in the picture, this was one training week in June 2014. In the period June, July, August 2014, I ran a minimum 21.1k, everyday at this pace.

I didn't suffer from Shin splints or any other form of injury, the body recovered well, despite getting 5 hours of sleep at night. And I did this while balancing my 2 pm - 10 pm job.

So, feeling a little exhausted after a 15k run at 4:11/km made me fall in deep thought.

What went wrong? From 2015 to 2017.

The answer is quite obvious, I moved to triathlons. And not logical increment from Sprint or Olympic triathlons, my 1st triathlon was an Ironman 70.3, 2nd was an Ironman, 3rd was 7, 70.3 triathlons in 7 days.

And then I did an Ultraman in 2016 and now I am doing Ironman Zurich.

The rush was real. I proudly admit it was in my 1st 70.3 in South China Sea, that I learnt how to swim in Open Water.
I actually learnt how to sight in Open water on my 1st lap and then swam the 2nd lap 9 minutes faster in the same conditions.
I actually wore cleats for the 1st time, when I went to Taiwan.

And it went flawlessly. I've seen people make such a big deal out of their 6+ hour finishes at 70.3 distances.

I swam below my potential, I used aerobars for the 1st time in my life during the race, on a normal road bike with a Shimano 105 groupset.

And I still finished in 5:33:32.

(On a side note, even when I did 7 back to back 70.3s, my daily moving time was less than 6 hours.
Ironman wasn't expanding back then and slots to World Championships were limited)

I think the turning point in the Upward curve of my career came, when I signed up for my 1st Ironman.
Ironman had a pull to it, something I always wanted to do. For me, the distances aren't too long.

But still, training for an Ironman meant I had to spend more time sitting on the bike. And because the intensity had to be low, the 100 mile weeks @ 4:15/km disappeared.

In other words, I went into the endurance game at a time when I was developing speed and it was a wrong decision. What was worse was the fact that I didn't realise that, even at 33 I would have Ironman waiting for me.

And by 33, my base for endurance would be extremely strong and the miles I would put in, would make me competitive.

Instead, I fell into that plague which befalls Indian Athletics. "The Finisher" culture.

"I did a Half Marathon in 3 hours!"
" I ran a PB in Marathon in 5:04!"
" He won the Ironman by finishing in 15:36" (sorry that was low)

For me, when I got selected for Ultraman, I wanted to be the Top 10.

Then I had 3 months of no training, and *boom*, I wanted to just "finish".

I talk about "finishing" as if it is a dirty word. No it isn't.

Don't get me wrong.

It is great that the person did HM in 3 hours, Marathon in 5:04 or Ironman in 15:36.

They had the courage to start.

But the difference between a finisher and competitive person is that you can finish at 10% of your potential. (it might be the case that you're finishing at 100% of your potential)

A competitive person, on the other hand, "finishes" at 100% of the potential.

Even when I finished Ultraman, I raced at 50% of my potential.

And you know what? That's the "finisher" mentality, which I hate.

It has bugged me ever since.

I know I can go 24 hours for Ultraman finish. But I didn't. I just finished.

Which might be good. But it wasn't good enough for me.

Two of the smartest brains in Athletics I know: Subramani Venkatesh & Shreyas Karnad (aka Manoj, just kidding), asked me the same question.

"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

I thought a lot about it and I have the answer.

After Seasons in Abyss since I picked up long distance racing, I admit I am less happy than I can be, I am racing below my potential.

I don't want to be labelled "finisher".

I want to be "competitive".

I was the 5th fastest Amateur at SCMM 2015. I want to be the fastest.

And I know how to do it.

*drumroll* *big announcement*

After Ironman Zurich, I will be taking a sabbatical from Ironman and all other forms of endurance triathlons for 3 years.

I will be shifting my focus to running faster times at 5,10, 21.1 and 42.2k as well as on Short distance triathlons (Sprint/Olympic).

I will try building my aerobic base and becoming faster.

And I will not rush back into the long distance arena, till I am both financially and physically strong enough to be in the Top 1%.

In the past few years, I spent a lot of money just to "finish".

And that,  just doesn't feel right to me.

I have age on my side and 1 thing I am good at, is being persistent.

It's time to mature and be scientific.

It's time to live upto my potential

It's time to win. 


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