Sunday, July 31, 2016

Thonnur Swimathon 2016

How did the idea of Thonnur Swimathon come to my mind
I got the 1st feeling of the an ideal Triathlon when i participated in the Olympic category for a Triathlon in Chennai hosted by Chennai Trekkers Club in Year 2015. After completing the event, i had more confidence in participating in a Triathlon and could even think for more. One of the runners introduced me to Thonnur Triathlon. Once i shifted to Bangalore, i was always on the lookout for the registrations to Thonnur Tri. 
Thonnur Swimathon 2016

This was the 1st time ever - Enduro sports had organized a Swimathon prior to the main core Tri Thonnur. I began my Swimming preparations a month ago. Thanks to Rahul - who helped me on the preparations. With the access to a 30m Meter pool - it was a daunting task even to complete a kilometer in the pool. If i had to cover 2.5 kms in the pool, i would have to swim more than 2 hours and do more than 30 laps per session. I initially started swimming for 1 hour and increased my pace. Before the event, i gave 2 trials for a full 2 hour session. Weather was a hindrance almost every day - gloomy, dull and with the onset of monsoons. I did miss a few days on the practice but tried to keep up the pace and momentum. 
2.5 km route

I drove to Mysore a day in advance to avoid any chaos and confusion on the Karnataka bandh. The team had organized a stay at Hotel Siddharth, Mysore (25% discount) for Swimmers. I had the whole day in Mysore but couldn't do anything due to the bandh. The Hotel is famous for the "Filter Coffee" so i sat for a couple sessions. Had dinner early so that i could get good rest for the next days challenge. I guess i could not - the anxiety for the swim and not to miss the bus for the venue.

Thonnur Swimathon (July 31st, 2016) 
Woke up at 3 am and got ready, the transport was arranged for all participants to go to the venue. Thonnur Lake is approx. 38 kms from Mysore - a 1 hour drive. I did not want to take the risk driving alone assuming i would get lost mid way. Most of the participants were sleeping while i was awake awaiting the destination. After a small climb, i could sense we were here. Yes, it was early morning and Lake Thonnur looked beautiful. It had a beautiful landscape. A cloudy and windy. Enduro Team was busy getting all the arrangements done, the buoys were in place etc. Announcement was done soon for Swimmers to get ready and briefing to be done. 
It was the 5k swimmers who take the charge followed by 2.5 k swimmers and 1k. There were nine buoys marked with flags - so for me to do the 2.5kms - i had to do 2 loops followed by a small loop of 500metres. There were colored flags at every buoy so that swimmers do not get lost or confused. At every loop - the Swimmer had to call out for their bib for their completion of the loop. The organizers had done a fantastic job on this - well planned. 
Once the signal was given for the 5k swimmers, i could sense my heartbeat - pounding like never before. Now, it was our turn to jump into the water. I wanted to start late as there were quite a few who wanted to rush / compete the race. My focus was to complete the 2.5km in a good time and get the experience of an open water swim. 
1st loop swim - After the signal, i jumped into the water, there i was all alone testing my endurance, speed, agility, focus and destination. My 1st 200 meters was a clueless swim - drank a lot of water, fear of getting drowned, fear of getting cramps in my left leg, water penetrating in my Speedo goggles. I took hold at one of the buoys - relaxed for a while and tried to focus. I was all alone to decide whether to call for help of swim further. At a far distance - i could see the green flag - long way to go. I was in the water again in Freestyle mode to swim further. I was better this time as i gained momentum and covered a few meters. Once my head was up to see if i am in the right direction - i came to know that i had swam away from rest of the pack. I had to swim back again next to the buoys - i realized that for every 3/4 strokes - i had to look up and see if i am in the right direction. Once reaching the green flag - i had covered 300mts of swim and had to hit back to the bay for 1 loop completion. I was on a easy mode swimming back - more confident with a variation of Freestyle and breaststroke. On completing of the 1st loop - I did bump into a few swimmers and got a solid kick on my face - making my goggles lopsided. Waited for a while, put my goggles on and off i was on to complete my 1st loop. Called out for my bib number and decided to take a small break. i saw a few 1st timers do the same. Chatted for a while and was back again in the lake. 

2nd loop swim - The 2nd loop swim was a difficult one. Since the Sun was out in the morning, it was warmer and a bit windy. Every stroke seemed difficult - waves had gathered and the momentum was very slow. It was a herculean task now to swim. I changed my focus on breaststroke to go on with an easy pace and to avoid loss of energy. I had various thoughts in my mind but i was focused to complete the 2nd loop in a easy pace. Timing was not an issue and i knew once completing the 2nd loop, the balance 500 meters will be a smooth swim. I guess i took a longer swim this time as i was exhausted. Once reaching the bay, i took a small break , drank water and off again for the last lap.
3rd loop swim - this was the last loop and i knew i was close to my destination. Now, i only had to cover half the swim of 500metres. I began at an easy pace and was very happy that i was towards completing my finish line. As i reached my destination towards the bay, i felt happy of all the hard work i had done. This was a moment to cherish.

At the finish line. 2.5 kms in 1:22 mnts.
Timings - When i got the Split timings a day later, i could not believe for a moment. I swam better than my regular practice sessions. During my practice in a 30m meter pool in SNN Raj Serenity, in a 1 hour slot - i used to cover 900 mts. Before the Swim, i gave a try to complete a 2km mark just to check on my timings - i covered the 2km mark in 2 hours. As per the timings - i swam the 2km in 1hr 4mnts. - huge difference with an open swim. Overall - i swam the 2.5kms in 1:22:02 seconds.

Thanks - Special thanks to Enduro team who made the event a grand success and memorable. Without your support Ajit Thandur, Prajwal Prasad and Abhilash - the Swimathon would not have been possible. Excellent support on the Buoys, registration, timings, transport and logistics. Hats off....Special thanks to Rahul for helping me during practice sessions in SNNR Raj Serenity. And lastly, Soma and Siya who i always look up for my adventures.

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