Hollywood’s Tri: The 2010 Malibu International Triathlon

The Nautica Malibu Triathlon is considered to be THE L.A. race to attend. Each year, dozens of celebrities come out to show their athletic prowess and commitment to fitness by racing the short course, sprint distance race on Sunday. David Duchovny, Terri Hatcher, J-Lo, Matthew Mcconaughey and countless others have been seen at the event over the years. So many celebrities come out in fact, that the organizers have established a celebrity-specific division.

Because of its popularity and offering both sprint and olympic distance races, then event takes place over an entire weekend, Saturday being the Olympic distance and Sunday being the sprint. This year was my first time attending the Malibu Nautica Triathlon and I opted to participate in the Olympic distance race on Saturday. An Olympic consists of a 1.5k swim, a 40k bike ride, and a 10k run. My goal going into this race was to get a new personal best at that distance and finish with a total time of around 2 hours and 22 minutes.

The day started off with a Lemans-style start from the sand, sprinting into the water, then turning North around a buoy a couple hundred yards out, and then swimming nearly a mile along the coastline before rounding the last buoy and heading to shore. I got a solid start as well as a good line to the first buoy. After that, I quickly found a rhythm that worked for me. I stayed on a pretty straight line and never strayed too far from the buoys (a problem I have lost time from in the past). I came out of the water in just under 30 minutes, not an amazing time by any stretch but I wasn’t terribly disappointed.

From there, I made quick work of the transition area. If there is one thing I have gotten pretty good at in triathlon over the last 5 years, it has been transitioning. This is a skill I have been trying to pass on to my wife as well but it is not going as well. This is ok though because whatever she lacked in transition speed this last weekend, she more than made up for with a lightning fast run.

The bike course turns out of the Zuma Beach parking lot and heads North on PCH. The undulating hills are just mellow enough to allow one to keep a good pace, and just steep enough to make sure your legs still sting a bit. About 9 miles into the ride, Jeff, a good friend and teammate of mine came speeding up from behind so I picked up my pace and we paced each other for 5 or 6 miles before I watched him slowly drift ahead. After he got a short lead out in front of me, I came up on another rider named Sean. Sean is a guy I continue to see every time I race in Southern California. He is a phenomenal swimmer but I seem to be a stronger cyclist, so I am always catching him at about half way through the bike on every race. While there are thousands of triathletes in Southern California, the community of racers is still pretty tight, so these kinds of run ins and development of friendly rivals are not uncommon.

I came in off of the bike, made quick work of T2, and then got out onto the run in hopes of chasing down, passing, and putting timebetween my friend Jeff and I before the finish. The run course is very flat and with the exception of one or two 10 to 20 foot climbs, it should have been a course I could have really laid down the hammer. The first mile did not feel good. I was hoping to consistently run 6:35 minutes/mile but just couldn’t get my heavy feeling legs to turn over that kind of pace. I followed Jeff’s grey and orange Team Poseidon tri kit as long as I could, but he was on fire and no matter how much I tried to tell my legs to make chase, they just didn’t want to do it.

At around mile four, my legs started to feel a little better and I felt like I could have kept getting faster and kept running for another ten miles. I guess that is just my body getting more conditioned for Ironman Arizona than it is for shorter distance races right now. As with any race that I don’t meet my goals, I constantly analyze why things happened and how I could have made a difference, and the days following Malibu have been no different.

I crossed the finish line with a final time of 2:31:18. This wasn’t near my goal time but I was still happy with the performance on the day given where I am at with my Ironman training. My wife, Elise had a good day as well and in spite of having a small mechanical incident on the bike, she managed to PR at the olympic distance by 30 seconds, get 7th in her age group, and had her fastest 10k split ever, averaging 7:20/minute miles.

I would definitely recommend the Malibu Nautica Triathlon for either the sprint or the Olympic distance. The event was well organized, the course was well equipped and stocked at aid stations, the schwag bag was well stocked, the course is pretty fast, and there was a good community of racers in attendance.

Lake Stevens 70.3

The story of this race started last year as I crossed the finish line of the 2009 Vineman 70.3 in triple digit temperatures.  Never again did I want to run a Half Marathon in that kind of strength sapping speed killing heat.  So when it came to planning my race season for 2010 I flipped open “The Road to Clearwater” guide to the 70.3 series and started scanning for a late season, West Coast based temperate race.  Ah ha!! There it was, Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3, in Everett, north of Seattle Washington, where highs average in the low 70’s.  This would be perfect, with a fast run I could be done by one o’clock, long before it heated up to even a cool mid 70.

Of course nothing in life actually goes to plan.  I arrive the Friday before the race in temps in the high 80’s, and forecast to climb steadily to a peak on race day.  Rats!!  Bike drop off at the transition area the afternoon before the race…92 degrees.  More Rats!!!!  Oh well nothing can be done about the weather, its just one more variable and it’s the same temperature for all of us, so drink up, stay hydrated, put your head down and go.

Race Morning. Up at 4:00, eat some breakfast, load the car and head to the race.  There by 5.30, transition set up by 6:15 and off to watch the Pro’s start at 6:30.  The lake is beautiful, picturesque and warm.  72.6 degrees which means no wetsuits for the pros but age-groupers are good.  That’s a relief, not that I am a bad swimmer, but when your’re swimming 1.2 miles the extra buoyancy and warmth of the suit sure helps.  The swim was great, plenty of room in the lake for each wave to start and swim in clean water, and thanks to the local rowing club it is the first time ever I have swam open water with lane lines!!  The buoys they use to mark the course are attached to bright white cables you can see running in arrow straight lines along the bottom of the lake.

Out of the water, a short run through the parking lot and onto the bike. I had driven the course the day before and I knew it would be hilly, but oh boy! Seemed like I was either climbing or descending the whole time, always changing gears.  The tough going was at least made enjoyable by the beautiful surroundings and some great aid stations handing out icy cold water.  Still it was a hard ride, two loops of constant hills, never really able to relax into a steady rhythm.  And oh, did I mention the heat?  It’s something you don’t really feel when riding unless its super hot, and for the last half hour of the ride I got the distinct sense that things were warming up.

Off the bike and quickly onto the run.  No shade.  More hills.  Darn hot.  Oh boy not again.  The run was also a two loop course and I soon found a steady pace, and with an aid station at every mile I could dump two full cups of icy water on my head to stay cool, and gulp down two to stay hydrated.  That kinda worked for the first 6 miles but with temperatures’ climbing into the 90’s even that wasn’t enough to keep me cooled down.  So here I am again running a half marathon in brutal heat with no shade, and so on the second loop my run splits got progressively slower and slower.

Finally I crossed the finish line, sat my butt in the first aid tent where they dumped yet more water on me and put a grocery bag full of ice on my neck and shoulders.  That did the trick and 10 mins later I was up and about reflecting on the race.  So, I could be disappointed in the time.  It wasn’t my fastest, not by a long way. And I was overheated and hurting.   I am however a great believer in the saying that there is no such thing as a bad race.  The ride was really hard…but it was the kind of riding that would make me stronger for my next race.  The run was brutal, hot and tiring for sure, but it also made me mentally tougher and a tad less intimidated by high temperatures next time around.  It was also a beautiful part of the world, a great course, and a really well organized race with great volunteers and well stocked aid stations and I still smiled the whole way.  Will I be back for more?  Maybe, maybe not.  Would I recommend it to anyone wanting to have fun on doing a 70.3?  Absolutely!!!

P90x Training

When it comes to exercise, I haven’t always been motivated to hit the gym or even run a 5k for that matter. Enter Saatchi LA. When your boss comes to work wearing tennis shoes because he plans to go for a 20 mile run later, and your cube mate is bringing his bike to work because he plans to do a triathlon afterwards, you can’t help but wonder…”What am I missing?”

At the beginning of the year I got motivated to do a 5K…then a 10K…then before I knew it I worked my way up to doing 12 mile hill runs at Griffith Park. I started to realize what the “runners high” was all about. I got more brave and decided to train for the LA Marathon.

I started to come to terms with the fact that until I get the metal plate taken out of my foot, that Marathon I was training for was just not going to happen. Anything after 12 miles, my foot would give out and every step after that was a nightmare. So, foot surgery is going to happen this winter, but I am just not happy with doing nothing in the meantime. I started to realize not only do you get gratification with your results but you become part of a community, a community of athletes, a community of motivation and support.

So, what can I do in the meantime to stay physically fit, yet not be torturous on my foot? My uncle started doing the P90x program about 3 months ago. I have been tracking his progress as he updates on Facebook. I couldn’t help but be stunned (and inspired) by his final results of the 90 day program. He lost SIXTY pounds in 3 months and exchanged his “6 pack of beer belly” into a “6 pack of abs”. He was so impressed with the program he became a coach. The second I expressed interest at giving it a whirl, he told me all about the program.

Basically, the program is all about “muscle confusion”. By providing an extensive variety of different moves that take time to master, P90x is continually challenging the body’s muscle into new growth. The more you confuse the muscle, the harder your body has to work to keep it up. The more variety you put into your workout, the better and faster your results will be.

Ok, I can do this (hey, I can do anything for 90 days…I think).

Step one – set up profile.

Name: Regan

Gender: Female

Age: 25

Fitness Goal: Look like this…

Ok, let’s get started!

I must admit, the hardest part was actually pushing play. I have heard horror stories of people losing their lunch from working so hard, etc.

Day 1) Arms & Back + Ab Ripper

180 push ups (of multiple kinds) and 200 or so situps (some I didn’t even know existed and/or that your body could actually do), and an hour and a half later I’m done.

Lessons Learned:

1) I’m way more out of shape than I thought 2) don’t try to keep up with the super buff guys in the video, they’ve already been doing this awhile 3) clear out the dogs beforehand (rolling around the floor = play time to the pups) I spent most of my 60 second “breaks” trying to get the dogs to stop licking my face and off my back. 4) The “x” stands for “xausted”.

I felt pretty good afterwards I must say. Well, that was yesterday…

As the day goes on today, I am getting progressively more sore. Thank you Skyler for the 3 ibuprofen (I think I need one more?). Unfortunately this program takes a lot of dedication. 6 days a week and one day off. Tonight I have to accomplish plyometrics (hoping that does not involve your arms!) So you ask, why are you doing this then? It all comes back to the motivating team and support system that comes with being active. A wise man once told me (and just happens to be my boss) “pain is weakness leaving the body”… how’s that for motivating?

Dear pain, please leave soon, thanks!

Not sure if I’d make it without these words of encouragement.

Fitness goal for tonight: Just push “play”…