Conquering Iron Man: A Conversation with Nama – EGMP 14B, 2010

In this insightful interview, we delve into Manoj Nama‘s inspiring journey of conquering the Iron Man event in Estonia. He shares his thoughts on the demanding training regimen he followed, the unexpected challenges he faced during the race, and the indomitable spirit that kept him going. Manoj’s dedication to his athletic pursuits shines through as he talks about the balance between his professional career and intense training routines. He also provides a glimpse into his future aspirations, including his goal to complete 25 IronMan70.3 races. From health advice to the joys of family time, Manoj opens up about his multi-faceted life, showcasing how he approaches every challenge with determination and enthusiasm.

Congratulations on completing the Iron Man event in Estonia! Can you share your feelings and thoughts right after crossing the finish line? How does it feel to accomplish such a challenging feat?

Absolutely elated!! IronMan has two categories IronMan70.3 and IronMan (Full distance). This is my third IronMan70.3 event and it just feels out of the world to have a third feather in my hat! 

Participating in an Iron Man event requires extensive training and preparation. Could you tell us about your training regimen leading up to the event? What were some of the toughest parts of getting ready?

Fact 100%. The more you sweat during training… the less you bleed at War! 

6 days a week, 1.5 to 2 hours each day of workouts with myriad intensities is what one needs to endure. That’s just not it…training needs to be holistic and that means, sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours each day, eat right (balance of carbs, protein and vitamins), hydrate yourself during workouts and during the course of the day and above all the spiritual connect to harness those energies, timely. Tough parts!!! There are days where you have intense back to back workouts between swim, cycle, run and brick, the day after brick training has always been the toughest part for me. (Talk about brick training a bit here).

The Iron Man event is known for its grueling challenges. Were there any specific moments during the event that tested your determination and endurance? How did you overcome those challenges?

A classic example was cycling with headwinds and crosswinds, which I was used to during training but not at the wind speeds we encountered on race day. Well, you don’t fight with nature and that is the Golden Rule…you listen to your body, be cognizant of the rest of the race distance you need to cover and rework your strategy to get to the finish line!

Each Iron Man race is unique. How was your experience at the Estonia event different from other races you’ve participated in? Were there any unexpected factors that added to the excitement?

Confronting the cold water challenge in this event was uniquely unnerving. IronMan70.3 races demand thorough mental and physical preparation due to unexpected hurdles. The trial swim, just three days before the race, was a mind-bending test that stretched my limits. The icy water required immense mental and physical resilience, from the initial shock to regulating breathing. This trial epitomized endurance sports – overcoming comfort zones and excelling in adversity, highlighting the synergy between mental determination and physical strength. Plunging into frigid waters unearthed an inner strength propelling me through the swim and the race, with enduring lessons. Sharing this journey captures race challenges and the invaluable rewards of embracing them wholly.

With the Iron Man in Estonia now behind you, what’s next on your athletic journey? Are there any other events or goals you’re setting your sights on?

Yes, the plan is to get 25 IronMan70.3 races under the belt and a few IronMan (full distance) races. My first full IronMan race will be called “Full at Fifty” :), which is actually a year away! 

Many people find inspiration in the stories of those who complete Iron Man races. What advice would you give to individuals considering taking on a similar challenge, whether they’re beginners or experienced athletes?

Health is Wealth, especially the kind of lifestyle we all lead. I would strongly advise one to consult their family doctor to start with and train under a coach who understands what it takes to get across the line. I train under Coach Kaustubh Radkar (The only Indian to have completed 35 full IronMan races), he understands and knows when to push us. I am really blessed to be training under Coach Kaustubh Radkar (Radstrong Coaching).

Beyond your athletic pursuits, can you tell us about your professional work? What do you do, and how do you manage to balance your career with your training and events?

We are in the business of taking good care of Commercial Buildings and Corporate Houses, primarily focussed on tech-driven maintenance operations & management and crafting roadmaps towards sustainability. I plan a couple of hours to myself every day and get my workouts and planning done & dusted. The rest of the day is focussed on business, ending with family time (not always and being candid) and a little bit of reading before shutdown!  I usually plan to do two such events every year. Sometimes, it is one IronMan70.3 race and a 4 day cycling expedition called ToK (Tour of Karnataka). To me, business, family, sport & service are the four pillars. Of course, learning new skills, one at a time…right now is guitar lessons.

Participating in rigorous events like Iron Man requires dedication. When you’re not training or competing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? Are there any hobbies or interests that you’re passionate about?

I am training round the year! Sharpening the saw 🙂

We love to travel and there is always some plan or the other brewing in the family. I am a hardcore movie buff! Did you watch Oppenheimer? Stellar, isn’t it? I have been learning to play the guitar and learn to play some songs from the 90s’! Simple but those evergreen ones I cherish!