Mother: Beti, IIT jaaogi tabhi achhi padhai hogi aur achha ladka milega!
Girl: OK mom, say no more! (And she got selected)
Father: Beti, IIT-M se knowledge le li, theek hai, but get into IIM-A if you wanna get rich.
Girl: OK dad, say no more! (And she got selected)
Friends: Abey job kya kar rahi hai, baaki sab toh start-up kar rahe hain!
Girl: OK saalo, say no more! (And she did a startup)
Relatives: Startup ke chakkar mein achhe ladke se shaadi karna hai, ye mat bhool jaana!
Girl: OK family, say no more! (And she married a BITS-P/IIM-A graduate)
People: Bas kaam karo aur so jaao, health aur popularity ka kya?
Girl: My people, say no more! (And she did something EPIC)
This girl's achievements seem to be imaginary and the situation seems to be highly untrue, right? But the reality which I am still to pen down is different and that EPIC part mentioned above is something you must not miss to read.
Vineeta Mukherjee and her husband Kaushik Mukherjee, residents of Mumbai, together achieved a feat that's hard to imagine, let alone to go out and make it possible.
Let's read the story of their heroism.
Yes, you guessed it right, it's the Ironman Triathlon we're talking about.
The sport did not get the name IRONMAN just like that, in the images further, with the story of this power couple, I also will be telling you some of the craziest Ironman Triathlon facts that will show you just why is there so much hype around this particular race.
Coming back to our superstars who completed this treacherous ride facing a lot of obstacles, all we could think of were the secrets that made it possible for them to complete what no other Indian couple could ever accomplish.
If Kaushik is to be believed, it was all hidden in the proper planning that went through.
He says- "A little bit of madness and a whole lot of planning is what it takes! We've seen that whenever a goal seems ridiculously impossible and huge – it always helps to break it down into smaller pieces." When they started, they only had the idea of the race being extremely tough and so, they decided to go for a shorter version first i.e. The Olympic format of Triathlon that constitutes of 1.5 km swim + 40 km cycle + 10 km run.
They went on to participate in HM (Half Marathon), FM (Full Marathon), Half Ironman (70.3 miles in distance) and 3/4th Ironman.
Ironman triathlon fact #1: An Ironman covers 140 miles!
This couple we're talking about is not just another fitness freak couple that you can find in your locality. They both are achievers even if you talk about them in individuality. When I got the chance to ask the couple a few questions representing WittyFeed, I was shell-shocked to learn about the detailing that I received. Let me not mess with the young achiever, Kaushik's delivery and instead, put their secrets in front of you in his own words-
"Incidentally, Vineeta and I have very different preferences and strengths. While Vineeta has been a marathoner for over 10 years and has even completed the prestigious 89 km Comrades Ultra-marathon in South Africa back-to-back on three occasions between 2012 and 2014, I really struggle with running long distances. However, while I've been the swimming captain in my university, Vineeta doesn't enjoy open water swims as much. Luckily, we were able to share a few tips and techniques with each other to ensure that we both improve and finish the distances within the required cut-offs."
He also told about some of the local groups in Mumbai that helped them train regularly.
There's much more to this power couple's story, stay tuned.
Ironman triathlon fact #2: No form of locomotion other than running, walking or crawling is allowed in IRONMAN.
Yes, indeed there are many but the most famous of them being the couple of Mirinda Carfrae and Frederik Van Lierde who have done some groundbreaking work, breaking records with their extraterrestrial athleticism.
While the topic itself is subjective, let me introduce Rozanna Purcell (Irish model in the picture above) and Bressie to you. Now, these two are widely regarded as being the hottest couple that has ever blessed the sport of Triathlon together.
But wait, do we still have another hot couple on the list? Yes, we do and to see their pictures, you'll have to wait a bit. Coming back to our power couple's secrets, it brings me to reveal a few more of them.
We already know the importance of a balanced diet when it comes to preparing for something this daunting. As the famous notion suggests that it is always 30% exercise and 70% food which leads to a great well-being, having good food holds an utmost importance.
Putting it in the man's words who has been there, done that-
"During the training phase, we upped our intake of protein with eggs/whey supplements and limited the consumption of carbs/junk food. The goal was to build lean mass to get the body prepared for near 17 hours of non-stop physical activity. For long practice rides (100K+) we always carried electrolytes and energy gels to refuel ourselves on the go. Typically, in every hour of an endurance activity – we lose calories, water and salt. Our entire race plan was to ensure that we kept having calories for energy, water to prevent dehydration and salt tablets to prevent cramps. Luckily, we were able to manage our nutrition well till the time we reached the finish line."
Ironman triathlon fact #3: Amateurs race on the same course as professionals.
When you reside in a country that is hardly exposed to a sport like Triathlon, finding the training fields remains a question. Will you get the best of the resources, environment or the peer group or not, is always a worry. Let's make the understanding of this easier by learning it from the man himself.
Kaushik states, "It's not the easiest thing to train for an event like the IRONMAN in India but when you don't have a choice you just get on with it, right?
- Swimming: For pool swimming, we had to dodge a lot of leisure swimmers everyday while training at the 25-yard pool in our apartment complex. For open water swimming practice and mostly, to get the fear of open water out of our minds, we joined the group described earlier.
- Cycling: We stay close to the Eastern Express Highway in Mumbai which is a nice flat route for cycling practice although it's not safe to ride in the evenings or in the rains. For those occasions, we invested in an entry-level indoor cycling trainer – which is like a treadmill for cycles that let us keep up with our training.
- Running: Almost always on the roads – very little treadmill."
Ironman triathlon fact #4: You have 17 hours to reach the finish the race.
Even the most inspiring of the people need an inspiration to keep moving ahead, right?
So the couple that actually has become the inspiration for us see their inspiration in the supermodel and fitness promoter Milind Soman who completed the Ironman Triathlon in Zurich, Switzerland at the age of 50 on July 19th, 2015. The man is seen promoting fitness elsewhere in the country and is our beloved couple's favourite.
Ironman triathlon fact #5: Triathlon cycling and cycling elsewhere is completely unique to each other
FOCUS is the keyword to follow when aiming a competitive international race of this kind and this is how the couple achieved it.
The Ironman says- "It was about two years back when I first had the crazy idea that we would do this together. In fact, given Vineeta's endurance running background, I was pretty sure that she would be able to complete this but I wanted to get a feel of how triathlons were first before sharing the idea with her. So October 2015 was when I completed by the first triathlon and December 2015 was when I broke the idea to her – from then onwards, it has been 18 months of training and practice events – all of which led to a successful completion of the event earlier this month."
Ironman triathlon fact #6: The racers even pee in their suits to save some time on the race.
Triathlon, being a very expensive sport, investment remains a roadblock but our couple here have got their own budget hacks.
He explains, "This is a great question. The more we learn about triathlons as a sport in India and abroad – we realize that arranging for triathlon gear can quickly escalate to being quite an expensive affair. In fact, some of the cycles we saw in some of the practice events actually were more expensive than entry-level cars! :o Initially, we stuck to a very tried-and-tested philosophy of "beg-borrow-bargain" because at the beginning, we really didn't want to invest in anything beyond what was absolutely necessary. The biggest expense is the bike and both of us have been lucky in this regard. Vineeta purchased a used cycle from a friend who had attempted the IRONMAN earlier and I booked a bike from an older year (typically they are cheaper) online during a SALE period. Once we had trained for about a year and our performance."
Ironman triathlon fact #7: Triathlon was originated as an experiment to mix three tough endurance sports.
With technological advancements, the sport and the equipment used in it have also evolved and it is just obvious for the interested souls to keep a track on the capital requirement before taking a step forward into trying becoming a pro.
Anu Vaidyanathan, an Indian writer, businesswoman and triathlete finished the Ultraman Canada Triathlon that requires superhuman 3-day effort and 320 miles of treacherous devotion.
Husshhhh... I am already sweating!
All decorated with medals and proudly holding the Indian Tricolor, their eyes speak a thousand words and about all the sacrifices that they made to achieve what they did achieve over the course of the training years.
Had they not been able to complete the race (which of course was never the case), they'd have still been our champions!
While seeking for inspiration, it is important to take it from the right people and when we luckily have the right people at our go, why to miss the chance? So here comes the secret sauce-
"I think it is a fun sport and a really rewarding lifestyle choice – you're able to mix up three different activities and keep fit without the boredom and a reduced risk of injury. The only thing I would stress on is that preparing for an IRONMAN is a really long and sometimes lonely journey – so it is very, very important that you enjoy the process and have fun while doing it – otherwise, it can be very frustrating and lead to unnecessary anxiety. Lastly, nothing that beat a solid core and a well-trained body – so instead of giving in to the temptation of buying 10 different expensive triathlon upgrades and gear – just focus on being the strongest version of yourself on race day and you will hit your goal."
Ironman triathlon fact #8: Just finishing an Ironman is an achievement and you can then call yourself an IRONMAN.
Stay fit, stay blessed and stay running-cycling-swimming (not in that order) and email me to Sourabh@wittyFeed.com if you want to say something and do not forget to share this inspiring story.