How did you get involved in running, triathlon and cyclocross?
Growing up in India, I was never physically active even falling behind in regular kid’s play. In 2008, I surpassed 180 pounds, so I made a resolution to lose weight. I started with a 1 minute jog to walk ratio on the treadmill then some hikes on the weekends and a very strict diet with zero sugar. I lost almost 40 pounds in 6 months.
At 25, in 2012, I moved to the US to pursue my Master’s degree and started gaining weight again. In 2013, I took an internship in Atlanta where I walked and jogged the Chattanooga trail. I ran my first 5K Race in under 29 minutes, which introduced me to the race environment.
In 2014, I moved to Chicago and discovered the Des Plaines River Trail close to work. I bought a Cyclocross bike and this changed my lifestyle forever. For 3 months, I biked the 12 miles to work. I went on to complete a half marathon, began cyclocross and bike racing, and completed my first Chicago marathon in 3:41:33.
In late spring of 2015, I took the initiative to learn swimming. This was a big step for me, as I never learned to swim and had a phobia of water. It took 6 months and countless hours of effort, but I stepped into triathlons in Spring of 2016. With aggressive training, I’ve been able to finish a couple of sprints, an olympic and a half ironman race, another Chicago marathon, and completed a successful cyclocross season.
Why did you come to PT at The Manual Touch?
Being very new to endurance sports and lacking experience, I have had many injuries including ITBS, knee tendinitis, and a sports hernia. I was referred to The Manual Touch by my new swim instructor.
At The Manual Touch, Denise was a great help. I met with her twice a week, looking at all my weak spots, doing running analysis, and learned a lot of home exercises. The exercises started-off very basic and got more advanced as time progressed. As the days passed, the injuries started to subside. After every long run, I met with Denise to reinforce the at-home exercises, which I meticulously followed.
The result was a miraculous 3:35:13 marathon! After the successful rehab schedule, Denise prescribed several at-home exercises to do on a regular basis. I have been doing them at least once a week ever since, and follow the pre and post run stretches and exercises.
My next goal is running a fast marathon and inching close to Boston qualifying time. I also want to improve my swim leg and train for the Ironman Wisconsin, my first full distance with some half iron distance races before the full distance.
Raj Ponna, Mt. Prospect March 2017
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