Monday, September 9, 2013

malibu triathlon 2013

Back in February, Kate decided she needed a new challenge. Half-marathons apparently weren’t enough for her, so she decided to tackle her first (of many?) triathlons. What better race to be her first than the Nautica Malibu Triathlon?

The week leading up to the triathlon was anything but ideal as far as pre-race preparation goes. We got news that we’d be heading to Innsbruck, Austria for the volleyball season and needed to pack up our lives before journeying to Malibu for the long weekend. We succeeded, for the most part, in getting everything packed and moved into storage, before hopping in the car and heading to Malibu for the race.

We arrived in Malibu on Friday evening and were greeted by our fellow racers, Dean and Tony, at the beautiful house we'd rented, right on PCH overlooking the ocean. What a find this house was - we hope to stay again next year!

Kate’s race was on Sunday, so she had an extra day to mentally prepare, relax, and get her body ready to swim, bike and run. Dean and Tony’s race - the International distance - was on Saturday morning, which was a blessing for triathlon-rookie Kate as she was able to get a first hand look at the race environment, the transition area was, and the course. Dean and Tony ran a great race and without doing much triathlon-specific training, finished with very respectable times. I mean, just finishing a 1 1/2 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run would make anybody happy - what a couple of studs!

After an ambien-induced night of sleep, Kate’s race day began with a 4:50 a.m. wakeup call. After a pre-race breakfast of some awesome oatmeal (humble brag), we were out the door just 30 minutes later. It’s always weird to me, and I’m sure it is to many others, when you’re driving to a race and it’s pitch black outside. It’s probably something I’ll never get used to. The parking at Zuma Beach was a little crazy due to the 5,000+ participants, but thankfully I was able to drop Kate off with ample time to organize her transition area before it PROMPTLY closed 6:30 a.m.

The Malibu Triathlon is famous for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that celebrities compete in the race. This year was no exception. We were even treated to a “celebrity guest” performance of the national anthem (I have no idea how I guessed it would be Bret Michaels) and an inspiring version of "Every Rose Has A Thorn" before the day officially kicked off. Kate was racing in the 13th heat meaning her wave's start time would be around 8 a.m. We had more than an hour to get relaxed (didn’t really happen) and watch the other competitors run into the water. We even found Dana and Lucy for a quick prayer beforehand.

Once heat #12 ran into the water, it was time to leave Kate and assume our roles as cheerleaders and spectators. According to my watch, at 8:03:25 a.m. the gun sounded and Kate was jogging into the ocean for her half-mile swim. We quickly walked to the exit point so we could see Kate come out of the water and run into her transition area. She crushed her swim with a time of 15:46 and came out with a nice smile (the serious faces were coming later). As an athlete, I can truly appreciate how close the fans got to the competitors at this race. I think it’d be pretty cool to be able to go into the stands after an amazing play and give Kate a high-five at a match. But I digress…

 After a quick transition to her biking outfit, she was on the road riding her sweet "power color" Bianchi. Although she may seem mild-mannered to most, Kate is extremely competitive. Anyone who’s watched a Vikings football game with her knows this as a fact. The first part of her bike, she was all smiles and waives when she passed us, but on the way back it was a different story. She needed to catch her “rival” - a girl her age who she'd passed then had passed her throughout the bike portion and so on... -  and she was determined to do it before the end of the bike portion. And she did. Serious face.

Probably Kate’s best and most confident leg (no pun intended) going into the race was the run due to her past running experience. 4 miles? C’mon. That’s easy, right? Kate dominated the run as expected (in part thanks to the power of Team Sparkle) and finished the race still running full steam ahead. Before the race even started, Kate had a few finishing goals. First, she just wanted to finish and not stop at any portion throughout (to tread water, walk, etc.). Secondly, she wanted to finish under 2:30. And finally, she wanted to beat Alison Sweeney’s time of 2:10:11 set the year before (this is more of a pride thing than an actual rivalry). I’m happy to say that she accomplished all of those goals and did it by a wide margin. Kate’s final time was 2:06:12 - just awesome! I’m so proud of her! In other news, Kate also skunked The Biggest Loser's trainer Jillian Michaels by more than 15 minutes. Not so humble brag.

After the race, we all enjoyed a very carb-filled brunch at Duke’s and headed to LAX so I could catch my flight to Austria. Overall, it was a fantastic weekend and I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing it next year (and the year after, and the year after that) - hopefully with more participants!

Thank you so much to all the family that came and supported Kate during her race (Caroline, Shelly, Dana, Tim, Lucy, Dean and Tony). I know she couldn’t have done this without your love and support before and during the race. Until next year...

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