Ironman – A journey to remember !

28 03 2016

Finally, I am writing this post and I am very much pleased to have accomplished the feat. This journey has taken about 4 years, ever since I started to learn swimming, got to know about triathlon events happening in Chennai, reading and hearing about success stories of friend’s friends who had completed the event. At that point of time, half-iron was the highest level of triathlon being conducted in Chennai and I had already set my eyes on that, but then it was next to impossible for me who caafn then hardly swim 30m continuously. My first ever triathlon was sprint level in March 2013. The swim leg was conducted in velachery aquatic complex and I managed to complete it, by holding on the ropes to breath for every 20-30m. With that confidence I had signed up of for the next level (olympic) in july 2013. This time the swim leg was in Anna swimming pool in Marina. My swimming had not improved much during this time and here the ropes were not so good and also the pool was variable depth from 4-12 feet. Half way through the first lap I tried to hold on to the ropes to breath,  but it could not support, and I returned and had to quit and I had written this post . Took membership in Velachery, developed breastroke just by observing the swimmers, improved on breathing, gradually started to lose fear of water, came back strong and conquered the same swimming pool in Mar 2014 triathlon and completed my first olympic triathlon. Then with this confidence, went on to complete half-ironman (my dream at that point of time) in july 2014 that too with swim leg being conducted in open waters of ottiambakkam (of course, with the confidence from my swimming guard Bharathi Dasan). Till then I had not thought about full-ironman and even after completing half-ironman , I told Bharathi that I will not be torturing my body anymore and will be doing only half-marathons and sprint triathlons after that.


Gradually, somehow I started thinking about full-ironman and this interest soon grew into an urge sub-consciously and I had decided to give it a try atleast. Registered for full-ironman the same year, kept practising swimming and by this time my swimming had improved a lot and I was doing 4km swim in 2:20 in swimming pool. Also, during these years I had completed many half marathons and a full marathon and also ran ultra marathon(50K) that september. On December 20,2014, much awaited full-iron day, CTC’s 3rd edition of full iron triathlon, I completed the swim leg easily in 2:02 just with breastroke as my swimming guard and surfers were looking over. It was a success in itself, had sandwiches and took close to 25-30 minutes to start my cycling (pro-bikers had sponsored a cannondale roadie) and I completed cycling in close to 10:30 hrs after having 2 punctures in the back wheel (one near 20km, probikers mechanics cleared it and the next one close to run start point) , handed over the cycle to mechanics and I was sitting over there thinking whether I should be running. This was because , it was around 7:30 pm in the evening and it was dark and I was afraid of dogs and I was telling Peter, I dint want to run because of fear of dogs. He called over Allwin, a volunteer and told me he will come along with and if there is any dog he will bark and clear the dogs. In the second 10k loop, Venky came along for cycle marshalling. Around 19KM (around 10pm) had vomitting and while I was sitting and resting, came the next mental disintegration in the form of a local from the village who came and spoke “yaen night laam ipdi oadeetrukkeenga, paaru vaandhi eduthutrukka” . I also had a flight to catch the next day early morning and I had to play Keyboard and I calculated the sleeping time that I could pull off before the getting ready to flight if I completed the event after taking few minutes of rest. It was less than 2 hours as the flight was around 6 AM in the morning and I can complete by max 2AM and I decided to quit (this post Ironman! explains further). Came back in Bharathi’s car to Mani’s house and Mani dropped me in airport the next day morning. I was telling Bharathi, now I know I can finish, that is enough and I will not be doing it again. He promptly replied, “nee ippo poi thoongu, we will look at it later. Oru time mudichuru. Any way decide on that later”.




After few months, this urge began to grow again and it will not be satisfied until I complete it and I decided I have to take the experience and I should complete it the next year at any cost or just keep trying. So, I again completed half iron in july 2015, just for training for the main event, this time improved on timing by one hour, but did not celebrate as I did after finishing it first time. As soon as the registrations for december full-iron opened, I registered immediately and was confident of finishing this time. Even practised cycling(I never practise cycling) 80km on a weekend in November along with Sivaram. I was eagerly waiting for the big-day but due to floods it got postponed and was re-scheduled on March 5, 2016. This meant more heat and humidity throughout the cycling leg, but I was still confident. The big day arrived, this time got cycle from Gokul with all accessories, got bag from Sivaram and this time Bharathi and Sivaram accompanied me to the quarry. I completed swim leg in 2:15 hrs changed and started to cycle in 15 mins. While cycling made sure that, I was always over 20kmph all the time except for around 20mins in the whole stretch. Completed cycling by 6:40 and started running by 6:50(half an hour earlier than my previous time). Looked for Allwin, could not find him. Spotted Venky, and he sent Kannan Gokul along with me for the first loop and promised to come with me in the next loop after arranging an MTB suiting his height. Then Sulai Sha, a friend of Venky came along in the second loop. By this time I had given u on walk/jog and continued with only brisk walk after 15km. Had vomiting around same 19km mark due to some breathing problem due to change over from hot and humid conditions to heavy cool breeze. In the third loop, again Kannan Gokul accompanied me and from the half of third loop Naresh ji took over. These guys were really awesome and kept motivating me throughout the run. This time also I met a local during the run leg, but for a change, this time it was on a positive note, he was saying “ji, inga oadravangallyae neenga thaan fit’a theriyareenga, neenga first vandhuruveengala” , “ille ji, first laam ennaaala varamudiyaathu, aana naan complete panneeruven” , “kandippa complete panneerunga, all the best” . Met him again during the last loop just before 3km, he said ” mudichuruveengalla, naanga poi tea kudichittu varrom, inga thaan iruppom” , “innum 3km thaan ji, mudichiruven.” Then went on and completed and everyone was happy, by the time, Bharathi had come in his car , then thanked all the cyclists who came along, collected my medal and came back home in Bharathi’s car, vomitted again slightly in the car, then he put all my things in my home and left. The next day morning I woke up, apologized to him and then went to church with Babu and came back and enjoyed Asia cup final. I updated my profile picture with the status

Glory to God and thanks to all my friends, supporters,those who prayed for me, all CTC volunteers and photographers and all those who made this happen. Now, its official. Arun John is an ironman. Finally the wait is over and I did manage to complete it in 19:30 hrs just within 20hr cutoff. Special thanks to Gokul Raju, for all the motivations and timing challenges he had given me right from half marathon days and this time for providing me his cycle, which should have atleast saved me some 45 mins than the previous timing, Raghul Trekker, who by chance met me at the cycle shop and helped me in getting the cycle heights right for me, Sivaram for helping me in cycling training and accompaniying me to the quarry on the event day,Bharathi Dasan, for carrying me to and from the event in his car and watching over me during the swim part, all the CTC volunteers at every aid stations, especially those who cycle marshalled me during run this time and the previous times, Allwin Kumar, Venkateswaran Whenghee Sekar, Sulai Sha, Kannan Gokul, Nareshkumar, big salute to you guys, Prasanthi, for introducing me to CTC marathon back in 2012, (it has been quite a journey since then), and all those who had been with me in previous events, Bala, Karthik, Tamil, Manikandan,Satheesh, (hope I had not missed anyone there), thank you all once again! Dreams do come true ! The biggest thing off my bucket-list now!#naanum_ironman_thaan

— at Ottiambakkam Quarry.”

on Monday, I received an amazing response from my colleagues. Our VP, HR and Admin congratulated me as I showed them my medal and they collected few photos taken during the event from me. The next day, I entered the office and headed towards canteen for breakfast, humming a song and was taken by surprise when I saw a poster of mine in the canteen door. And as I entered and turned left, much bigger surprise I could see the same poster being projected on the screen. This was followed by a mail to entire office. I never expected such a response. It was huge and now everyone in our Chennai office knows me as ironman.

I was telling Srini about all these happenings

And he said “Awesome da, Machi, state liye very few would have finished, cbe lendhu were there someone else? “

“I dont think anyone machi. wow.suddenly this seems big”

It is big :)”


and btw, I received my finisher t-shirt by courier just now



Dashing through the snow!

30 07 2015

Yes, its about the Sarpass trek. The planning for this trip started almost a year back, when Mani sent me the YHAI site link and kept asking me to look and plan for some trek. He had always been insisting on Sarpass trek (he had known this from fellow trekkers during one of his earlier treks). Then we forgot to look at the site for few days and one fine day we could see that there was no seats left out. We consoled ourselves saying we could definitely make it the next year. Somedays later Mani found that they have extended it for few more batches and wanted to register immediately. I was little reluctant since it was a 10 days trek, but finally agreed and booked our seats in the last batch of this year on June 10. Then we booked our flight tickets to Delhi on June 9 and bus ticket to Kullu. Luckily, Veera moved to Delhi just 20 days ahead of our journey. I had already informed him about our visit and arranged for our stay in Delhi. Then Spicejet changed their schedules for both onward and return flights and now that our stay was arranged we decided to reach Delhi early in the morning. The day before our flight, I had to finish some office work and take a direct cab to Mani’s house. The next day we got a cab and reached airport by 5, uploaded a selfie “himalayan trip begins” and boarded the flight.

We landed in Delhi around 9, took a prepaid taxi to Jasola and reached Veera’s place. We enquired about auto fare for tour around Delhi. Then Veera suggested to use metro service and rickshaw service alternatively to commute between different places. Then he showed us the place for breakfast and left for his office. Before leaving he turned towards Mani and added “Veiyyil le nadakkavachu saavadikka poraan unna, paathukko”. We took a cycle rickshaw to nearest metro and boarded the metro towards Kalkaji Mandir station. This was my first time in rickshaw and also in the metro. I started liking everything about Delhi metro, its very frequent, neat, and is the cheapest mode of transport within Delhi. Our first destination was Qutub minar. Here, I thought it should take a very little time to cover this monument, but it took sometime, since it was not a very small place as I had assumed, perhaps Mani was right, it took more than an hour. Here I did not have my memory card and I could not pull my micro SD from my phone, since I could not get a safety pin. Took some good photos there with my mobile and Mani’s. By the time we started from there it was about lunch time already and as Veera had instructed us we liked to visit the famous Karim’s Kabab near Jama Masjid. We had a nice lunch there, but felt it was slightly costlier and then purchased lunch boxes, water can, slippers for the trek, and micro SD in the shops in that street and left to Jama Masjid. This was seriously good and it gave a special feeling of the ancient Mughal colours and art. Now that I had bought the SD card, it was a feast for my cam. I could also get one of my favourite shots  (of pigeons flying in the background of the monument.) It was already 5.30 there and we had to give up on Redfort plan. We started towards Delhi gate, clicked some pics there, got a coolers for 130 rupees and left to Jasola. it was 7:30pm, still it appeared as if some 6’o clock. Then we booked a cab to Kashmiri gate and luckily we got a Tamil driver and we reached 20 mins before the start time(9:30pm), we took some bread and biscuits and boarded the bus, only later we realised that it was unnecessary. We poor guys had assumed that we will reach Kullu by 7 in the morning. When I woke up it was around 8 and we could see boards like 150+ kms to Kullu, and worse, they were stopping for breakfast. We were like “dey madhyaanathukkullayaavathu kondu poi saethungada”. To make things worse, bus engine got over-heated because of changing non-AC to AC bus. Then a mechanic from near by shop came in an auto and they got it ready temporarily and after some 30-40 kms the bus broke down again and then we took another local bus and we reached Buntar at around 3 after travelling through a tunnel on the way. In the bus we were looking for people joining the trek and were able to find one guy, Rahul from Kerala and we got introduced to each other. After taking lunch there, we left to Kasol base camp. As we reached, it started drizzling and we were welcomed with tea and were asked to fill the forms only after taking tea. We were alloted to tent no.14. From then on, our tent ppl were a group in the whole group, me,Mani,Clinton, Sanjoy sir, Rahul, Chaitanya, Ketul,other 2 Rahuls, and three musketeers (Kshitiz, Shrey and Raghav) . Sanjoy and Clinton were the most talkative of the group in that order, Mani was the only non-hindi-understanding-guy of the entire SP41 batch, Clinton was the most adventurous/mischievous , 3 musketeers were first yr college guys often referred as kids by Chaitanya. Chaitanya, Ketul, Rahul, me, Mani were of same age and were in same wavelength.

The second day started with jogging followed by exercises and then acclimatization walk for 3 km. Then we got introduced to each other in the group.

The 3rd day started with jogging followed by exercises and then rock climbing and rapelling.  Rock climbing was optional and initially I did not want to try, but after seeing few people do it and few people fail, but still not hurt much, I wanted to try and banked on my upper body strength to reach the top and I was able to climb it, I could feel I was well supported by the guide pulling the rope up once I put 80% effort on my hands. After reaching the top I was breathing heavily and had to wait for some 5 mins before I could get down, still my heart was beating heavily.

Day 4 was easy trek to Grahan village, It was very slow trek, with more stoppages than actual trek, it drizzled slightly after lunch , but we managed to reach the camp at around 3- 3:30. A group of 5 dogs also accompanied us from the kasol base camp through the trek. Of all these one black dog came all the way, till the end of the trek. It was named ‘Sheru’ by our group. I am actually scared of dogs and never liked the idea of growing dogs as pets, but on the final day of the trek I infact ended up taking photo with that dog. It was so faithful and was guarding all of us through out the trek. Then we went to the village and took some good candid shots of the people and played cricket with children there. All these days we had good cell phone signals but we had no signal from here on.

Day 5. This was sunday. We had thought we could not bath from day4, but since this was a village we found a guest house and had bath and also there was a BSNL phone in that house which we had to carry to a ledge nearby where we would get signal and we could call our home. When I tried this, I could not get connected, but then there was a village lady who offered to make a call from her phone and we were glad to inform our house members that we were on track to trek and we were good. Though we insisted, the lady refused to take money from us for the call. We tried to convince her saying it could be useful for her recharge atleast, but she did not budge and she said “why are you doing this, I am like your sister”. One girl rightly said “Hum suna hai ki pahado ki log achchi hothi hai , abhi hum dekha hai”.  we started our trek towards Padree. Here again it started drizzling after lunch, in fact it started pouring and we had to wear our rain coats and ponchos and luckily it rained just after lunch and so we all stood under the tent at the lunch-point . After the rain stopped we were able to reach our camp within an hour. This campsite was very beautiful and here it was really cold and it was from here on I started to wear those monkey caps. The campsite was beautiful, but just opposite to our camp lay a dead cow. We heard one of the guides saying, it was gang-raped by 5-6 bulls and we could see a bull was still trying to enter the dead cow through the evening till the next day. It was here the dog accompanied Mani to wherever he went and barked away the bulls and cows that were grazing on and around his way and accompanied him back to the tent and he took a vow to feed the dog with full packet of Parle-G

Day 6, this was a real trek. We had to climb down for few meters and then had to gain an altitude of 600 meters and this day we were supposed to cross the 3000 m mark where the oxygen levels were supposed to reduce to 9/10th or something. This was challenging. It had drizzled the previous day and it was all slippery and we had to climb down carefully to avoid getting drenched in muddy soil. Then we reached the lunch point at Ratanpani, this place was like western ghats , all green flat top. It was drizzling slightly here. We had a good photo session here. It was here we shot that smoking-clouds shot and I decided right there it would be my profile pic and got the caption ready already. It was with Chaitanya’s cam and finally I had to wait 2 more weeks to get it from him 😛 . After that we had to climb another hour to reach Mingtach, our campsite. From here we could see the next campsite, Nagaroo.

Day 7, this was supposed to be and was an acclimatization walk since we had crossed 3000m. It was slow with many stoppages and rightly so. Luckily it did not rain after day 7 and there was no trace of rain or rain clouds and we thanked God for that. We could see mountain lambs here and we had out first sight of snow this day, but Mani was saying its dirty snow and guides were saying don’t touch this snow, you will walk in snow all through next day till you are tired of snow. This was a short day of trek and was quite understandable since the next day, we were supposed to start early around 3 and it was going to be a long walk in snow before we slide and then trek down :). The camp leader here was strict and he maintained timings very strictly. we were on the top and enjoying the sun, and there was great difference in temperature between when sun went into the clouds and when it was out. We took a variety of pics and then we hit the bed early to get ready for the big day

Day 8, this was the longest day of the trek. We started early in the morning around 4:30, light was just showing up and we started towards the snow. I had very little breakfast and little water and also forgot to re-fill my water can. This was the first time I am gonna see snow. I was excited and after 1km of ascent, it was fully bright and white everywhere, “engum panimazhai pozhigiradhu..” , finally we all saw snow. We spent more than an hour taking photos, walking around the snow etc, then we took tea there for 40 rupees and then we had to climb up through the snow. This was a slow-long-slippery walk. After this we had to take an ascent of 1/2 km and reached the other peak, the highest point in Sar pass about 4200m. By the time we reached here I was de-hydrated and also my eyes were tired because of bright reflections from the snow everywhere. We had reached the main spot of the sar-pass trek, the snow slide. Though I was excited I was feeling so involved because of being tired and de-hydrated. Also I started to feel head-ache. This time I wanted Mani to go before me and we were just before the last few to slide. I was listening to the instructions well even as they were said to Mani. “Hold the stick in both hands, use elbow to break and lean on your back to accelerate”. This was my first slide and initially had butterflies in my stomach, but as soon as I started, I was in control and slided like a pro. In fact I helped some one who slided right next after me to come down with control, as I took the responsibility of braking for both of us.  After the slide was another gentle slope of snow. I again slided and we all completely lost fear of skating in snow. Right after the slide, I started to feel better and all dehydration and tiredness are gone. These 2 slides and a bit of walk was around 1km and we reached our lunch point. I was almost the first to reach along with the guide as I skated though the snow and had a good technique of climbing down along with the stick. The sun was up, so I put all my clothes to dry, washed my head from the stream near by(from the melting of snow) and finished morning duties  and drank as much water as possible and  had a nap before everyone arrived, and I was feeling better. Then we set off to Biskeri-tatch. It was a 2km descent and I climbed down very fast and got a good place in the tent. The camp leader congratulated on finishing sarpass trek and gave a warm welcome. Once we had seen the snow and descended, I was already feeling home sick, now that Sarpass is over I wanted to get back to the civilization as soon as possible. Me and Chaitanya thought about reaching the Kasol base camp the next day skipping Biskeri-tatch. Then after giving it an other thought, we felt anyway that night we may need to be in Kasol and only leave to Kullu the next day. So we continued with actual trek plan.

Day9, The next day was fully descent to Biskeri-tatch, and I was walking along with the guide and was accompanying him. Then there was a steep climb down. He asked the 2 of us who were walking right behind him to climb down , cross the bridge and climb on the other side. He was actually going to get a rope down to help climb down. We 2 did not see that coming and we already started to climb down. I was the first of the 2 and went close to the steep rock and was looking for the grips. The black dog that was accompanying us, went ahead and showed me the path. Half way through that path was muddy and seemed slippery, so I stopped half the way to look for alternate route, the dog again climbed up and went through the route. Then I somehow managed to get down though I slipped some few inches close to the ground as my bag hit the rock behind while getting down. I managed to get down only with some scratch on my left glute muscle. Then we climbed up after crossing the wooden bridge over the stream. This was an unofficial lunch point after this was like a walk in the park and we reached our campsite around 2:30. This place was really awesome and was of course like mini-switzerland (mind you I “also” have’nt seen swtizerland). we could see some herd of buffaloes all around the place and I was telling Mani “dey Switzerland le pooraa eruma maadu maeikira pasanga thaan pola”. Then we played tennis ball cricket here, with all guides on one side and SP41 on the other. I played for the guides side, I got only 3 balls to face and could not immediately adjust to the pitch and I had to retire, yet we lost. The second game was a draw as we lost the ball.

The next day was a climb down and we were supposed to reach Kasol base camp atleast by 3, so that we can get bus to Kullu and leave to Delhi. This was a climb down and as usual I was on my pace down. Initially I waited for people now and then after few steps. Then Saurabh gave me company and we two reached Barshaini road in 21/2 hours since start. that was close to about 9:45. The group that started before breakfast also was there, seems they had missed the bus while they were having breakfast. Then I waited for Mani, Sanjoy and Rahul and had to miss a bus just by 10 mins. Then the next bus was supposed to come only at 12:30 or so. So we took a cab which charged 700 for 4. We tried to bargain but they would not budge. Finally we reached Kasol by 1 or so, packed our things ,took bath and me, Chaitanya and Rahul decided that we are done with rice and wheat and we should have pure chicken for lunch. Mani alone had lunch in the camp, he was satisfied with moarkolambu in the camp. Then we took our bags, and had pure chicken lunch at little italy restaurant. Few of the guys had beer as well. Then we got bus to Kullu at 3:45, just beneath the hotel and we reached there around 6.30. Our bus to Delhi was at 7. We got some water bottles and boarded the bus.

The next day we reached Veera’s place around 11 and he was happy to skip his team outing, it seemed like he was searching for a reason to skip and we were there to help him out. Initially I had plans to visit Agra, but all the AC buses were full and Veera advised me not to go in non-AC bus that long, especially after a long trek. He seemed right and also it would take a day to travel to and fro and visit Taj Mahal. Also there were few places yet to be covered in Delhi. So we deiced that me and Veera will roam around in Delhi that day and Mani was happy to stay in Ac room and take rest to avoid further damage to his knee. We visited Humayun’s tomb and Redfort . And then we visited Paalika bazaar and bought a speaker for my bro, a sony headset for myself and a sony mp3 player for my sister. We roamed around in metro all the day and had good food at a Tamil kaiyendhi and reached home and slept.

The next day was sunday. Both were asleep . I got ready by 9 and left for church. I had googled and found a church the day before. It was drizzling when I reached Jasola Apollo metro in rickshaw. Then I reached Green park metro and asked for GautamNagar IPA church. Two of them asked me to get into their vehicle. I picked one, but later found that he did not know the church. Then he finally dropped me near Green park free church at 9.45. By the time I reached the first service was over and second service was supposed to start at 10. I took coffee and then went into the hall and found a big Keyboard(7 octaves) and positioned myself on the first row near the keyboard end such that I can get view of how they play in that church. I was praying and getting myself for God’s presence. I heard the sound of keyboard and opened my eyes to see what’s being played. There was beautiful girl playing the keys with notes beautifully. She was good-looking as well as talented. There was only one instrument , the keyboard and all the songs were played with organ tone, and she was playing complete notes for all songs reading from the music note book. Then after the service, I again took coffee and left to Veera’s place. Then we downloaded Game of thrones season 5 last episode, watched it and then me and Mani left to airport at around 4pm in metro. Metro to airport was slightly different and it was express metro( I forgot the actual name I guess). Met Nalini and her child at airport, had dinner at KFC and boarded flight at 9:15 ( it was late by half an hour) and reached Chennai at 12. Reached Mani’s place and slept at 1. Then reached office the next day at 10 and started posting pictures. I was completely tanned  because of the sunbath at the peak and it took almost 2 weeks to return to normal 😉

Kudremukh trek!

4 03 2015

Took me so long to finally sit down and write about this wonderful trip and it reminds me “yaenna ,..Basically I am a somberi”.

Last year september, one weekend, we planned for this trip. One of my collegue, my college junior, Karthik asked me “Anna, neenga intha month western ghats trek poana varuveengala”, I said “only I can’t come on 13th, if it is on 20th, I would come”. I had never been to western ghats before and if it had been I would not have said that ;). Luckily, it was on 20th and we(Karthik, Suresh and I) started from our office on that friday afternoon, took train to Bangalore. We had dinner at K.R.Puram. We ordered butter naan and roti, with some gravies. He gave us butter naan first and then he placed plain naan and said “sir, roti”, we were like “dey when did you start making rotis of maida”, but we finished off quickly before the Bangalore guys(Suresh’s PG friends) picked up us in the TempoTraveller (TT, as they were calling it through out the trip). We boarded the TT and I had a good sleep and the next thing I knew was we were in the base of the Kudremukha hill.

After refreshing, we started at around 9 towards Satish’s house. This is where we were supposed to drop our luggages. Till we reached there I was of the impression that Satish was a friend of these guys. We reached Satish’s house at around 10.30 , then we had breakfast and got our lunch packed and started our climb. It was a trek on well-established trail and it was about 10km hike and 10km descent, and no one was allowed to camp at the top and we had to reach the house before dark. It was drizzling all through and hence there were 2 obstacles for an otherwise easy trek, 1. the drizzle made the trail all slippery 2. leeches were present throughout and we were never allowed to stop anywhere peacefully. We applied tobacco powder mixed with neem oil till our knees and we started the climb with jeans on to tackle the leeches. Braving all those was still worth everything, up there was beautiful views waiting for us. I would say this was the best trek I have been ever so far, awesome views, it was lush green everywhere and I cannot explain it in words, I tried to capture every glimpse of it with my eyes and my camera. Getting my camera ready was another story, first up I had forgotten my memory card. One of the guys had a non-dslr cam , he offered me his memory card after first level inspection of my photographic skills. Then my cam’s battery got drained and I was wondering if I could get it charged at Satish’s house. Luckily, got some charge in the battery while we were having breakfast. At around 7km mark, the steeper climb was about to start and one of our friends  felt uncomfortable, due to fear of slope and 2 of them stayed there till we returned. Then the rest of proceeded to the top. We had our lunch somewhere below 1km from the top and then only 7 of us proceeded to the top and reached there by 3:30, finished our formalities on the top and started our journey towards the house. By this time, except for 2 of us, everyone had leech bytes and Karthik got cramp and it was getting only worser as he was not so careful with his steps and walking as if in a park. We finally managed to reach the house by 7, just before it was totally dark. Then we had dinner, played UNO and slept. The next day we took a jeep for the return from Satish house to place where TT dropped us the day before. We then went to Hanumangundy falls and spent some time there , then people went to Sringeri temple on the way back and then we returned to Bangalore, from where we returned in train to Chennai 🙂

anandha yaazhai – keyboard notes !

26 02 2015

This is based on a request from a reader.


anandha yaazhai

Setrilurundhu thookinar – keyboard notes!

9 02 2015

Posting notes for this famous song based on request from a reader:

Scale: Emajor



30 12 2014

CTC iron triathlon for 2014 was announced at the start of the month of November to be held on 20,21 December. As soon as I saw the poster I dropped a mail to Peter to ask him if it was possible to conduct the full and half iron on saturday just like any international event, just to make sure we had a rest day before starting the next work week. I was pleased to see him accept the suggestion and announced the triathlon date on 20th December. My swimming preparations were in full swing. Even before registering I tried a full 4km swim and noted my timing it was 2:20, same as international cut-off for swim of 3.9km and then registered and regularly practiced and noted my timing was going lesser and lesser and it was 2:10 one week before the event. I was pretty much sure of meeting the international cut-off time for swim during the event.

December 19th was our family day function from our office at Grand Chola. I was playing guitar for seven-song medley sung by our colleagues along with Karthick on Keyboard. We were there at the hotel even from the morning for the rehearsals. And meantime, Peter had arranged for road bikes for all full-iron triathletes from Pro-bikers and I had to collect it on the same day(day before the event) and I had to wait there for about 2 hours while they checked the roadie for me and was getting it ready, around 6 , I reached my home with the cycle, had Balaji waiting at my house for picking me up for the function as it would be late if I had to get back to office to get my pulsar, then managed to reach on time for our performance, played well and loaded carbs during the dinner and reached home by 9:30 and Bharathi also reached around the same time. I had packed all my things for the event a day before and so straight away hit the bed and had a good sleep. “When I woke up, I realized that I had left my swimsuit and cycling shorts at my hometown and had not picked up my cycle from the shop and I felt sad and later consoled myself that it’s ok and I could become ironman the next time” , having dreamt like this I woke up. It felt strange. I used to get dreams like missing the exams even now once in a while, so I thought it is okay and did not tell Bharathi about it and got ready, said my prayers “Lord, please help me to complete this ironman and come back to church next morning for the carols, if Your will.. ”

We reached ottiambakkam with Bharathi carrying the cycle in my bike, around 5:45. Then we changed to our swimsuits and got into the pool to get used to water after a warmup and then after few do’s and dont’s from Peter and Rahul, we plunged into the water for our swim leg. For full iron we had to do 13 loops of 150m to and fro. I was at my comfortable pace doing breaststroke ,at 12th loop while returning back I felt a slight pull in my calf muscles of the left leg, as I had my feet stretched open throughout the 1.5hrs of swim thus far. I reached the ropes stood there and relaxed my calf muscles by making a waving fin like action with my feet. I completed my swim leg with my personal best and well within international cut-off (2:20) in 2hrs. I felt very happy and great having completed the swim leg so easily and well within my target. It was 8:36 when I got out of water and heard from Bharathi that swim started around 6:35.

Then I got into my cycling suit and my next target was to complete this leg in 9hrs including all the breaks so that I could complete within international cut-off of 17hrs and also get some sleep in the night before catching the next day morning flight. In fact I had spoken to Mani and he had agreed to arrange a stay for me in his home and take me to the airport after waking me up at 4’o clock in the morning. I started cycling around 9’o clock after having sandwiches and some fruits. I started well and was going good, 1 or 2km just before reaching Thiruporur, back wheel got punctured and I did not notice till 100m or so from the aid station and luckily there was a cycle mechanic from Pro-bikers and I re-freshed myself while he set the cycle right, then I started again at 10:10 and when I reached the U-turn point it was 11:20 at Thirukalunkundram, initially I had planned to take lunch after completing first 90km, but the return from U-turn point was tough due to heavy head-winds and it took a toll on us and when I reached Thiruporur again it was 12:45 and I was drained and decided to take lunch there. It took a while to get back to senses and eat and around 1:15 started again towards infosys, Sholinganallur , reached there by 2:20, then got back to Thiruporur by 3:30, reached Thirukalunkundram by 4:40 and I knew we can reach Ottiambakkam by 7:30 at the max, now I was realistic since I had to take into account the headwinds. Reached Thiruporur by 6 just before the lights faded and thank God I was already in the city before it was dark, Now I was took some break at every 10km and also traffic started to grow and finally managed to reach Ottiambakkam signal by 7:10 and from there it was totally dark till the Agni college and during this short journey, back wheel got punctured again and it was luckily again only 200m or so to the college.

As soon as I reached I gave my cycle to the mechanic there and I was feeling something strange, I was not so comfortable though I had all the energy to complete. First thing was not completing in my target time (actually I missed headwinds, traffic and puncture breaks in my equation) , second thing was the fact that I learnt the running track was not lit so well and I have always been afraid of stray dogs, third thing was cough and infected nostrils due to drinking some water from the pool during swim, and the last was the next day flight and how much sleep I could get for the next day’s keyboard performance for carols. Even before starting the run, I told Peter and volunteers that I am planning to quit as I am afraid of dogs and I had no torch lights. So they arranged a cycle marshal for me. It was Allwin and he came with me through the first loop and we finished it in 1:20 comfortably by walk/jog as he accompanied me in cycle and he gave a good company and I was like I could walk/jog any distance in that climate, with a cycle marshal like him, then had some sandwich and again started 2nd loop, this time venki came with me for marshal, went well till 19km , it was 10:20 when I started to vomit and sat for 2 minutes when two drunk localites came and started speaking some non-sense to us about running all day in their village, as if they were responsible and we were irresponsible, I also realized that it could take another 3.5 hrs and running in this climate could only make the condition of my nostrils and throat worser, it was time to decide and the rest is history as my FB status read on the other day

“Completed 3.9k swim 180k cycling n 19k run in 15:50hrs without injury/cramp n had good amt of energy,at 19km started vomiting n realised i had got my nostrils n throat infected as i drank some water from open waters during swim, then had 2 options.1. To continue to walk after few mins of rest n complete remaining 23km which could take 3.30 at max in my walking pace,, tat means i cud complete 40 mins b4 cutoff 2.30am, risking my body condition further. 2. To quit n pull 4 hrs sleep b4 morning 6.30 flight so that i can justify my flight tkt bukd n perform well in carol service at church. I told myself “you know you can complete the rest just by walk n walking the rest was a mere formality n hence it is better to choose 2nd option” and i announced i quit. I must apologize to all ctc volunteers esp. venky n alwin, bharathi mani balaji n gokul for not completing it despite ur efforts in helping me n also thank them for bringing me this close to ironman. For ironman title, better luck next time

50K Ultra Marathon !

17 11 2014

September 7, 2014, yet another unforgettable day, the day I became an ultra runner. My FB status that day

“After 6hrs and 50 minutes of continuous run/jog/walk and continuous worship (thanks to my new philips neckband), reached the finish line of 50km ultra tail marathon and now I am an ‪#‎ultra_runner‬ . I should admit my practice sessions were too less, but fitness and right mindset (game-plan ) saw me through the finish line. As rightly said “jeikkirakku odambula irukka balatha vida manasula irukka balam thaan mukkiyam “. Trail was awesome and scenic \m/ , thoroughly enjoyed it (until and after 42km, i.e, 11’o clk after which sun was at its peak) Thanks to all CTC volunteers, they are the real hero’s. It was a great day and this is one of the best of my achievements of all time. Will blog about this for sure, until I get time for that, this is kind of a mini-blog

— in Solavaram, Tamil Nadu, India. ”

The Ultra marathon was announced few months earlier and I had been thinking about giving a shot at ultra50k. But still was not sure whether I should run 21 or 50 as I was bit worried about transportation to solavaram and back. Just a month before the race the intensity of the thought was reaching its heights and one of my friends also suggested that I run 50, and finally I decided to give it a try and registered for 50K.

The day before the big day, I had been to office to reply to some mails and while going through FB, I found one of my running friends Abhishek was online and he just posted some of his photos from Hyderabad marathon. I had been looking for some friends to get to solavaram. I knew he would be running the ultra, and as soon as I pinged him, he asked me if I like to join him in his car. I just thanked God and went to collect the BIB from Westin from where we met and left to Solavaram along with 2 other fellow runners after having tea at Abhishek’s place.

We were stuck in traffic for some time and we managed to reach around 8. we had dinner and we 5 people alone found a place to sleep in the first floor while all others slept in the ground floor. Based on ‘Rapid’ Raja’s idea we 2 ate few multi grain bread slices  and banana at 3, and then 4 to help us manage till 50km. and then we got ready around 4:45 and were all set for the big one. The race started around 5, and it was dark and the trail was also slippery and there were water logging due to the rains on the previous night and we had to be very careful and we had run with our torches. It was quite a slow start and I was just getting to my pace as we could see some light. At around 8km mark just after the 3rd hydration point, I felt I had over hydrated or had an overdose of citrus fruits, that i had to vomit and it took some 5 mins to come back to my senses again, but I knew I would be alright and kept continuing, then just after 5-10 mins I was all normal and then I handed my torch to the volunteers around 12km near the temple and kept continuing. Whenever I felt like walking, I walked and then kept jogging on very comfortable pace, and just kept ensuring myself even at a pace of 6km/hr(my walking pace) I could complete the last 20k or so within cutoff time i.e, 7.5hrs. Just after the first loop, I could find myself very close to some of the regular runners like Anil sir and Ravi sir, I even overtook Anil sir at around 26km mark ( though he eventually overtook me at 45km), and one of my friend venu at around same mark, then I saw Raja just ahead at 35km and then ran with him for around 500m but then he was too tired and I kept proceeding in my pace till 40km. During this time I met few of my friends who were running half marathon as well. After 40km, the sun was almost straight up and had to hydrate almost every kilometer and had to slow down. Then it was 50% walk and 50% jog till 42km. I just took out my phone and was pleased to see I had done it in 5hr20min. There were 2hr10min and only 8km left. By now I was very much certain even by walk I can finish within my target of 7hrs. It was 25% jog till next 2km, then after that it was only few steps of jogging after every water point and walk till 100m before the finish line. Jogged the last 100m with all smiles for perfect pose and completed the run just within my target time 6hrs50min. At the finish point was Murali giving an ice bucket bath for every finisher and seeing me very pleased with the ice bath, he offered me another one and I would not miss out on such opportunity and only after that I came back to my senses after my head having taken in all the heat for more than 3hrs.

Then came back in Abhishek’s car, and had planned to reach our home in Raja’s bike but only to find that Raja had put his bike key in Venu’s bag and they had already reached Tambaram, then we had to walk to the bus stand and from there got a share auto to Guindy and then I left to Kandhanchavadi in M119, got down at SRP and got a share auto to Kandhanchavadi so that I could get down just in front of my office, i would have never spent that extra 10 rupees on any other day, I was so hesitant to walk anymore that day. Took my bike and left to my house, took some rest after nice bath and then went to church, worshiped and thanked God and came back, had my favorite-after-marathon-meal, briyani with tandoori and dozed off for the day. 🙂