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My Day with Chrissie aka 2012 Malibu Triathlon Race Recap
The day began at 4AM. I had to be at Zuma Beach in Malibu at 5:30 AM even though my wave did not start until 7:20AM. I thought I would have a lot of time but in the end, I had just enough time to do what I needed to do. I did not anticipate a 2.5 mile walk from my car to the transition area. That said, this race is a MUST DO! The Malibu Triathlon is top notch. It sells out in minutes every year, with good reason. It runs like a well precisioned clock. The swag is great. The locale is amazing. What else could you ask for???
As I walked from my car to the transition area, I saw a pod of dolphins just a few yards off shore. I knew it would be an awesome day. I found my team and picked up my packet (another perk of this race, same day packet pick up was a breeze!). As we walked from packet pick up, I saw Chrissie Wellington. She was standing around talking to a couple of people. I told my teammates who she was and decided to stop and chat with her. She is the REAL DEAL. I welled up with tears as I recounted watching her in Kona last year. (I spectated the Ironman World Championship last year and watching her win was a highlight of the experience). She showed me her scars (from the bike accident that she suffered right before Kona). She is an inspiration!!!! I came away from our talk with a renewed vigor. I wished that I had signed up for the full race and not just the swim.
Me with my new bff Chrissie. Can you tell that it is 6:15AM in the pic???
Me, Kelly, and G. before the race. Go Team!
Our wave was also the celebrity wave. Guess who stood next to me at the swim start??? Chrissie! She swam with members of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. I had joked with Reilly that I wanted to start the swim with Chrissie having no idea that it would actually happen! The sea was a little rough at the start and finish of the swim. The rip current at the finish made it tough to exit the ocean but I made it up and out. Zuma is unpredictable and I was thankful for relatively calm seas. It could have been a lot worse.
Awkward post swim photo.
After the swim, I handed off the time chip to our biker G and collected my medal.
Medal for a half mile swim!
I stayed in the transition area with our runner Kelly and watched people at the bike dismount. This is a serious race. There were a lot of fast bikers out there! It was fun to watch.
Our biker had some issues out on the course (she did not bring water!!! I DID NOT KNOW THIS AND COULD NOT BELIEVE IT! It was a very hot day and water was necessary, even for a 18 mile ride). I had alerted medical personnel that I was concerned because she was out on the 18 mile course for a long time. (I am very familiar with the course as it is part of the route that I ride all of the time.) The medic said that she was not involved in any of the reported accidents. By the time she arrived in the transition, she was a little disoriented. The medic saw me with her and came up to be sure that she was okay. I took her to the brunch area (another perk of the race! free brunch!). She had several glasses of orange juice and some carbs and perked up. I am so glad that she was okay. It was her first race and she did not really know what to expect.
By the time she was feeling better, it was time for us to make our way to the finish to cheer for Kelly. Our runner Kelly was the reason I was on the team. She invited me to join her team months ago. It was Kelly’s first race. It was so much fun to watch her finish! She killed those 4 miles!!! I was so happy for her!!! Congratulations Kelly!!!
Overall, it was a great day! I highly recommend this race. I will definitely be back!!!!
Chrissie Wellington | Self before Self-Interest
Her success isn’t measured by the women that she beats on each course, it’s measured by the men whose times she bests. British Ironman phenom Chrissie Wellington is known for beating her counterparts by as much as twenty minutes, an eternity in sports.
Just over a month ago, in front of a group at the Harvard Club of New York, Chrissie told an attentive audience that she will be taking a break from Ironman over the next year.
She won the Ironman world championship in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 but she says, “When you win every year, people come to expect it, they forget how much work it takes.” It is for that reason that she has decided to take a period off to get back to re-focus on herself – personally and professionally.
Chrissie’s story is a great reminder that people should compete for their lives off of the field, just as much as you do when you’re on it.
When an athlete gives up competition, they also set aside their ability to earn money and earn recognition. But sometimes, you have to be ok with focusing on wellness rather than ego. In this way, there is no better example of this that Chrissie. Usually, this leads to a positive result. How so, do you ask?
At 36 years of age, she has four to five years left as a highly competitive Ironman. With her goal of matching the success of Paula Newby-Fraser, the South American legend who won eight times between 1986 and 1996, she is doing herself a lot of good by resting before her peak. Even her sponsors feel that this is the correct move.
With a goal of building her personal brand and outside earning potential, there is another benefit in this move by Wellington. By increasing athlete marketability outside of the sport, you relieve your stressors within your sport. Anxiety becomes calm, tension becomes ease.
This is the comeback that Wellington is setting herself up for. By our estimation, and the estimation of the seasoned experts, she will come back to compete stronger than ever. Compete every day, not just for your sport but for your livelihood.
IFE Q&A: World Champion Triathlete Chrissie Wellington
Ever forget to put your underpants in your gym bag and end up going “commando” to a work meeting? That happened to professional triathlete Chrissie Wellington, too. Only her work meeting happened to be at 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s office.
Wellington’s candor in her new autobiography, A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey, is not limited to the humorous side of her rise to be the world’s best triathlete. There’s a dark side, too, one that includes a battle with eating disorders, a renegade coach, and the bullying she experienced by fellow triathlon team members, perhaps spawned by jealousy: Wellington turned pro just before turning 30 (ancient by professional standards) and won her first Ironman World Championship —a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run — at the Hawaii Ironman a mere six months later. She has gone on to win that race three more times, along with every Ironman triathlon she’s ever entered. Thirteen, to be exact, in only five years.
Her story is compelling and her life thus far has been extraordinary. We had a few questions for her and Chrissie Wellington shared her answers.
Innovation for Endurance: For most professional triathletes, triathlon is all they know; it’s the only job they’ve ever had. But before you turned pro, you spent years as an adviser in international development for the UK Government, even rolling up your sleeves to aid people in third-world countries. How do you think your perspective on human suffering affects your personal capacity for your own physical suffering?
Chrissie Wellington: These life experiences have definitely shaped me into the athlete I am today, enabling me to develop independence, strength, and perspective. It made me realize the power of sport to make a difference in people’s lives, in developed and developing countries. It has enabled me to see wonderful landscapes and meet some great friends. I bank these memories and draw heavily on them when I am training and racing, especially to get me through the tougher, darker times. Most of all, traveling—and the things I have seen—have taught me so much about our capacity to endure and overcome hurdles, to never take for granted the opportunities I am given, to appreciate the simple things in life rather than placing value on material possessions, and to seize every chance that comes my way.
IFE: “Still got it.” That’s a sentence that repeats throughout your book regarding the memorabilia you’ve saved throughout your life. Of all the things you “still got,” is there anything you prize most of all?
CW: The scars born of the crash before Kona 2012: They tell more than a thousand words.
IFE: You took up cycling while living in Nepal and rode extensively in the shadow of the Himalayas. You have said in your book, describing those amazing rides, “I’m sure it was the making of me.” What would you say makes up the total Chrissie package?
CW: I don’t think my success is down to one single quality, but rather a whole package of traits: drive, determination, consistency, self-belief, a great support structure, physiology, and good genes (or failing that, an ability to look good in jeans!), positivity, ability and willingness to overcome adversity, an ability to rest your mind as well as your body, a competitive fire, my life experiences and yes…..big calves.
IFE: Your fastest marathon time in an Ironman race (2:44:35) suggests a real possibility that you would be equally competitive in a straight marathon. Has competing in other sports, be it running, swimming, cycling (or something removed from triathlon) crossed your mind?
CW: Of course, I am always open to a challenge and I would love to do a big city marathon, to test myself to the limit and see what kind of time I could achieve.
IFE: I suspect you will live the next 35 years as passionately and productively as the first 35 years of your life, and will need to write a second memoir. What will be the highlights in that book?
CW: I think this great question is best answered by plundering the final paragraph of my autobiography ….which goes a little something like this….
“…how can I speculate on what the future holds, when the present is so astronomically removed from whatever expectations I might have had in my youth? My only policy throughout has been to keep an open mind and, whatever I may do, to give it my all. It still takes my breath away to think where that simple outlook on life has taken me. I never set out to be a world champion – not many ordinary girls from Norfolk do – but neither have I ever wanted to be left wondering, ‘What if..?’ At so many stages along the way, the limits that I thought I could see lying ahead dissolved as I approached them. And that has been the most exciting discovery of all”.
— Kara Thom, Runner’s World Reporter
Photos courtesy of Chrissie Wellington and Center Street Publishing
Chrissie Wellington's favorite pre-race motivation:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!
-Rudyard Kipling, If