Masters Swim – for Triathletes

We generally get drawn into lots of drills when swimming with the Masters group. No doubt that the drills are great, and lot to learn from the Masters group. This post is not to discuss the pros and cons of the drills for Masters Swimming, rather incorporate those drills to suit the triathlon needs.

So after my Masters swim workout, I spoke to a triathlon coach. And I found three really good points from our talk- Continue reading

It’s Cold !!

Guess it was the coldest day that I had to pick for swimming. Morning temperatures 34 F and evening 42F.

Woke up to go swimming for an hour, but looking out the window it was chilly cold, and a little windy :(. Took me 30 mins to decide, to hit the pool. I made it for the last 20 mins before the pool closure. This pool visit was after 2 months, and wasn’t bad given I did 1000 yds in those 20 mins. So begins the swim part of the Ironman training.

The hardest part in the morning, especially during winters, is to prepare mentally to dive into the pool. Water is always warm, so once I dive into the pool, I remain underwater for the first 25 yds, coming out just twice to catch breath.

Anyways, post swim feeling was great !!

Evening, I skipped the crossfit session, it was Angie’s workout (100 pushups – 100 pull-ups – 100 sit-ups – 100 squats), and went for a run. There weren’t any two thoughts about doing less than 10 miles, till I felt an awful pain on my posterior lower calf muscles. Its called  ‘Gastrocnemius’ muscle strain. Whatever the hell it is, you can read it and understand it over here.

Had to stop a couple of times. A little before 4 miles, I almost gave up, but walking was more painful than running. So I started a slow jog back, and at about mile 5, I picked up the pace. Thanks to crossfit sessions, that I was maintaining my pace for a good .75 miles at around 7:30 min/mile.

Check out the pace analysis-  A sense of achievement, so I am continuing with Crossfit.

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HITS Napa 70.3 Triathlon – My race report

All the best for the swim !!

All the best for the swim !!

Went into the race nervous, excited, and a bit scared!! Normal isn’t it?

Had trained hard, but never kept any time goals, except for finishing the race within the cut off time.

But based on my training, and my nature, I made up the following time goals.

Swim ~50 mins

Bike ~3h: 45mins

Run ~2h

Arrived on the pre-race day for the packet pick-up, and look for the parking areas, and understand the logistics. I had to be clear on this, as I did not had the luxury of anyone driving me around.

On the race day, first thing I did waking up at 3:30am was to eat my bowl of grainless cereals, with berries, and a banana. Would have loved some coffee, but had none. Drinking and eating early helped me clear out my bowel movement. Prepared my water bottles with nutrition drinks. Set up the car, with my bike, and all the bags.

Driving up to the race site was crazy, because of the windy road and race-day traffic. Funny thing was, that my friend Jeff arrived to support me way earlier than I was in the parking lot. Took me around an hour to reach the race site, I had to park my car away from the transition area, and then carry all my gears, packets, bike, bike pump. Doing this I ignored the fact that my stuff was scattered in two different bags, especially my race tattoo, race number on the helmet, even my towel.

Still reaching the transition area, with all the important things in hand 40 mins before the start, was good. But for all future races I will keep atleast an hour in hand.

30 mins before the start of the race, I put on my wet suit, using good amount of body glide.

Prior to swim start

Prior to swim start

The swim start was pretty haphazard, and even though I knew what it would be like, I did panic for the first 50m or so. Water was not that cold, but I kept popping HITS703my head up and down, rather than moving ahead. Controlling my nerves, I started with breaststroke and kept doing it for a good 25m or so, till I understood the brawl going on in the water. Though I had no thoughts in my mind of winning the race, or beating anyone in the swim, but as I started passing some of the swimmers, I gained confidence. Now it was just the regular spotting of the buoy, breathing every two strokes, and getting good thoughts into head. End of the swim was a little funny, the support boats and the buoys both were in orange color, and I took one of the boats as the buoy, and assumed that to be the last buoy to be touched. Did realize it soon enough, and finished my swim strong in 46 mins.

Asked the strippers (they are called ‘wetsuit strippers’ 😉 ), to rid me of the wetsuit.

The first transition into bike was awful. I realized that I forgot my towel, and so picked up the socks to dry my feet. I was totally blank at that point figuring out what needs to be done next. Eat or not to eat, drink or not to drink. Ate some nuts, and dark chocolate, they provide a ‘feel-good factor’ to me. Took a leak, just before exiting the transition area. I guess that did cost me 2 mins ;), so a total transition loss of 10 mins. Not to mention that I did not put my Garmin into Multisport mode, and did not start it way beyond the bike start line.

I started easy on the bike, ate alittle of Cliff bar and some water. The ride starts with a good climb, so it was pretty easy for me to move ahead of the pack. And as soon as I saw some downhill, I switched gears to go faster. The route had 6 cat-5 climbs, and lot of rolling hills. One thing that I did do well in the ride was, to controll my temptation to go real hard. Hammered on the flats, and kept spinning on the bigger gear while downhill, but did not let myself tire. The plan was to go all out after 35 miles. I kept myself fuelling with Roctane, and energy gels every 45 mins. In the last 18-20 miles I went all out, sometimes joining a pack, keeping myself just behind them, and using the downhills to move past. Passing riders, who transitioned into bike way earlier than I did, was quite confidence boosting. Finished a good ride in 3h:09m.

out of T2

out of T2

I did the mistake of not taking in salt capsules, which cost me 6-7 mins in the first 3 miles of the run. Suffered bad cramps, even causing me to stop. Thanks to the guy, who pushed me for the run, I actually ended up finishing around 30mins ahead of him J. The run course had rolling hills, but I kept a consistent pace. Continued to eat pretzels, oranges, and drink water, consumed only two Roctane gels on the run. Finished my worst half-marathon in 2h:08mins.

Finished the full course, in 6:18:00, damn impressive for me J. Chatted with strong people on the run course, funny that most of us were having thoughts of eating “Denny’s”.

nobody said it was easy !

nobody said it was easy !

Final times

Swim: 00:46:05.947

T1: 00:10:15.742

Bike: 03:09:24.711

T2: 00:03:57.705

Run: 02:08:25.267

Overall: 06:18:09.372

Quick look at the mistakes that I don’t intend to do again-

  1. Always keep the things in just one bag for the Transition.
  2. Never ever forget a Towel, or a Transition mat.
  3. If using Garmin, put it in the MultiSport mode.
  4. Use a Transition Basket- it is useful to dump things.
  5. Take salt tablets before T2, not during T2.
  6. Legally you are not allowed to help anyone on the bike, which I did L. Helped a lady struggling to mount her chain. She was still on her half way mark, and I was about to finish L. Don’t even remember the face.
  7. Carry a fuel belt, for your own nutrition.

Most importantly, whatever is happening, let it happen. It’s your first, so enjoy the race moment. Will work on winning the goals in the next one, as this is an adventure, not a destination !!


My first 70.3 Swim / Bike / Run

Just one is boring, so why not do all three !!

Here are the details of the event, and will be great to see you coming and support me-

Race Site:
Chaparral Cove
7600 Knoxville Rd.
Napa, California 94558
The swim start is at 7 am in the morning. At the above race site. Will swim around a loop in Lake Berryessa.
And then we come out and head off for a Bike Ride, the route for the Bike Ride is:
Distance: 56.01 mi
To understand the above map-  we first go up on PopeValley Road, and then come back, and go on Knoxville road, and come back to the race site again.
After the bike Ride, the run starts from the above address itself-
You will definitely be able to figure out numerous locations, best being the race site, to see me :). It will also be fun to move around, there will definitely be lot of crowd. A fitness festival to watch.
And if you guys have time, it will be great to sit for a dinner post race, somewhere in Napa or Vacaville.
See you !!

Swimming as a Sikh

My blog says I am a ‘Sikh‘. A sikh guy who is poised to swim, bike and run.

I have been swimming for a while, at the various swim centers in and around Santa Clara / San Jose. I like them all, but the one in Campbell works out great for me.

So today, an acquaintance at the campbell swimming pool walks over to share the lane with me. And we have this conversation-

acquaintance : “Can I join you ?”

me: “yes”

acquaintance: “Are you a Sikh ?”

me: smiling “yes I am”

acquaintance: “Great, first time I am seeing a sikh swimmer. This is what I have been telling to the others in the pool, that, he is a Sikh guy, and is doing pretty good. I have travelled all over the world, and have never seen a sikh guy swimming”

me: smiling and laughing “yes, infact, even I have not seen one, but surely there might be people “. (while writing this blog, it just striked me that my best friend Gagan learnt swimming)

Honestly, I was so happy, being called a sikh, and a swimmer (anyone who swims is a swimmer, isn’t it ?). On the same lines, it also made me think, that I need to do google look-up to find Sikh swimmers. There will definitely be Sikh women in the sport, but difficult to spot a sikh guy.

Few reasons, I think of that we do not see too many sikhs swimming:

  1. Swim centers are expensive infrastructure to build, so not easily available to people in every other country. This is generally speaking.
  2. Other reason, I can think of, but lot of Sikhs may tell me wrong, ‘sikh men find wetting their hair, and beard just too big a deal, and difficult to handle, and open beard after a swim.’
  3. Lot many sikh adults, do not know swimming, for the above two reasons.
  4. People think and spend more time thinking on how and what 5K’s to carry while swimming. Do we carry the kirpan when boarding the flight ? Its not that you are ditching the K’s. Lets just first get ourselves into the pool, and there will be workarounds, each one of us can figure out.
  5. We ponder over the protocols, if any, for the sikhs taking to swimming as a sport. Over the centuries, sports activities, and the competitiveness, in them have changed. So as per me, it is absolutely OK to untie your turban and put the swimming cap, because you do this anyways when taking a shower.

For those having really long hairs, here is a little innovation by 

Few posts on SikhSwimming-

1) People discussing on what to wear, and how to carry the 5-Ks during the swims:

2) SwimBana (Burqini:  Burqa + Bikini) is a dream come true for many Sikh women. They can feel free from the moral judges that also act like “fashion police”, who are trying to shackle Sikhi with Abrahamic and Vedantic chains, while sitting cross-legged on their high chairs.


4) To swim or not to swim (for women) –