About Me

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Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
My Blog is a self-indulgent, part journey, part training log, part hindsight account. After experiencing first hand, the terrrorist attacks in Mumbai I made a promise to myself to fulfil an ambition from many years ago to compete in an ironman triathlon. I was reminded that life isn't as predictible as a sine curve and a chance encounter with the most unlikely of people can change ones course forever. I hope you get something from my shared experience.

Mumbai to Port Macquarie

Hi and thanks for popping by. Maybe you stumbled across my blog by coincidence of a few key search words or possibly you were pointed in this direction. Either way you are here now...

This is an account of a my personal sojourn though life with it's many twists and turns. As you may later discover (if you're not already awake to the idea) , the universe has brought you here through a series of yes responses from yourself.

Chance is a concept I subscribe to... never is it luck.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The final moments of Mumbai and my prep for Ironman 70.3

I thought I would start this post with the last moments of the attacks in Mumbai. In time the full story will play out, that is, what happened over there was just the beginning of something far greater personally. It was certainly a 'lightening rod moment', finishing one path and beginning another. This is a recount of the final moments of that path. I learnt a lot the last few hours in that hotel, about me, my family, my mate Liv. I guess in some way I knew at the time that this is what I went to India for. I mean, I was there to centre myself again only I expected this to happen in a far more peaceful way. This was my request to the universe and as always she provided.

Our lights were off, the doorway barricaded, the window ajar and the TV on without sound. We could hear the bombs going off and see the death tally rising on TV. We could also see that by now (about 2 or 3am) the terrorists had killed people at 12 different sites and were now only active in 3 hotels. We were less than 100m away from the Taj and could feel each of explosions however we felt for the time being, relatively safe. It was now that we thought it appropriate to consider how we were getting out of this place. We were quite literally in the middle of a war zone and the consulate, whilst very helpful, essentially said what we already knew- you guys know more than us and that they would try and get us out when they knew more.

We waited until it was about 5am(in Aus) to call home and let the family know what was going on. The first of quite a few quick phone calls was quite terrifying for my family I am sure, as I recounted what happened at Cafe Leopold then what was happening just nearby. I explained to my sister that while we were in the stairwell near the cafe I considered calling my family to tell them I love them. Part of me did question if we would make it out of there though the overwhelming feeling was that we would and perhaps this is why I didn't call. During each of the calls explosions continued outside and each time I could sense the fear my family had as they heard them at the other end of the line.

I finally got to speak to my Dad and he unintentionally, momentarily, reduced my sense of relative safety. I explained to him that we were barricaded in, he could hear the explosions and was watching it unfold at home, so I guess he wasn't thinking too straight. He went on to explain that the terrorists were using grenades to blow up the doors that they couldn't open before entering the rooms and killing the inhabitants. I could hear and feel the enormous concern in my Dad's voice, like the rest of my family. A few hours later we began the process of getting out of India - could we get tickets? Was the airport even open? Could we get to the airport (or out of our hotel) if it even was? There were a couple of light moments in this next part.

This experience that I continue to share is an important part of why I decided to train for and hopefully complete, an ironman triathlon. While we weren't in safety yet I knew that now my life was different. My concept of safety is now forever changed, we came within meters or seconds of being shot in the cafe. I realised at this very early point of my metamorphosis that we perhaps have been only seconds from death many times before and had no idea. How many times has a car swerved when they saw you in the last moment because the driver was checking the phone? How many times have you chosen to take a different route or were running late to something. Maybe the universe opened up a different door. It certainly happened to me in Mumbai, the difference this time was, I am fully aware of just how near we were to a violent end.

Knowing this, I now choose to live, not survive.

The good news on the training front, I have put together 2 really good weeks of training. The long rides have been strong, the running smooth and swimming consistent. I now have less than 7 days until the half ironman in Port and my first proper chance to freshen up. I am gonna love this week!

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