My Ironman Journey

The Time Has Come!

akhilvizby akhilvizAug 31st 2013
Returning back to Bristol after my two week training holiday in Gibraltar proved difficult. I was slightly homesick and was missing my family, the Mediterranean weather and the pro-triathlete lifestyle. It took me a few days to settle into my professional life and at times I was sat at my desk, staring at my screen and thinking; I could be in Gibraltar riding my bike in the sun!

I suppose we all go through phases like these which make us question the decisions we make in our lives regarding our careers, geographic location, family etc. I too was suffering from the post holiday blues but I had to console myself and focus on keeping myself fit and sharp for Challenge Vichy.

I have always struggled to taper for a race as I usually feel as if I┬'m not training enough to maintain my physical level of fitness. I know for a fact that I will not lose any fitness as long as I perform 30-45 minutes of exercise every day but nonetheless, there is always that fear at the back of my mind that I will ┬'lose┬' my fitness before race day!

Vichy, here I come!

My family and I flew across on the 27th from Bristol to Limoges and I also got into the Gromit hunting spirit! For those who don┬'t know, Gromit Unleashed is led by Wallace & Gromit┬'s Grand Appeal and Aardman Animations. Gromit Unleashed is a public art exhibition in which giant sculptures of Gromits, decorated by invited artists have been ┬'unleashed┬' on the streets of Bristol and the surrounding area.
The Time Has Come!
After arriving at Limoges, we picked up our rental car and made the 2.5hr drive to Vichy. The drive was pleasant thanks to the beautiful scenery but was also exhausting. Upon arrival at Vichy, we immediately went grocery shopping to pick up some essentials before settling into our cosy apartment. That night Team Triathlon Viz (TTV) devoured a 50cm pizza! I must say it was one of the best pizzas I┬'ve ever had!
The Time Has Come!

Race Week Preparations

The following day there was an organised bike ride to recce one lap of the bike course. I thought it would be a great way to test out my bike, meet other triathletes and also wake my legs up! The majority of the riders that turned up were French, which gave me the opportunity to practise speaking the language as I was once proficient! I also bumped into Kristin Lei who is a professional Norwegian triathlete. We chatted along most of the ride and we both agreed that the course is not as fast as originally anticipated. The roads weren┬'t as smooth as expected and there were a number of sharp turns which meant having to slow down. There were also certain sections where we encountered strong headwinds. Apart from those drawbacks, the ride was fantastic! The landscape and scenery within the villages were magnificent.
The Time Has Come!
The next couple of days leading to the race I practised swimming in the lake to accustom myself with natural features to use for sighting purposes. I also ran with my sister, Meenal, on a few occasions. We also had to go through the routine of the pre-race briefing, athlete registration and bike check-in. I also met up with the other members of the Great Britain team for a group photo. The pasta party was scheduled for yesterday evening where we stuffed our faces and shared our triathlon experiences. It was a great atmosphere and a fantastic opportunity to get rid of any pre-race jitters!
The Time Has Come!
Saturday 31st was a hectic day which involved checking-in. Basically, I had to rack my bike in the transition area and hand in my ┬'Bike┬' and ┬'Run┬' bags. These bags are placed in the transition zones with my respective gear for each of the disciplines. That evening I began mentally preparing myself for the race the following day. Eight months of intense training, dedication and commitment was all to be put to the test on race day. Having swam and cycled on the respective courses, I knew what to expect and therefore visualised myself performing the race. I mentally rehearsed my swim technique, breathing, transitioning and cycling through the bike course. I also knew where the aid stations were located on the bike course so I also visualised what food and drink to get and the respective quantities.

I had prepared myself to the best of my ability, both physically and mentally. I can only control the controllable and whatever happens on race day will be part of my ever-growing triathlon experience. Rest assured that regardless of my results, I will cross the finish line with a smile on my face!

You can follow my progress throughout race day tomorrow by searching for my name or race number (375) via the following links:

See You On The Other Side!

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