Nautica Malibu Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Malibu, California
United States
Michael Epstein Sports Productions
70F / 21C
Total Time = 1h 42m 22s
Overall Rank = 149/1407
Age Group = M 45-49
Age Group Rank = 19/112
Pre-race routine:

In 2007, this was the first-ever tri for my wife and myself. Then as now, she works for Disney studios and we both participate among the 325+ members of the Disney Tri Team at this race...not only in racing and training, but also in the major fundraising effort for the race charity, Childrens Hospital LA.

Even after the race promoters added an Olympic distance race on Saturday, the Malibu Tri (now called the "Classic" distance) is still one of the larger tris around and has an atmosphere most sprints just won't ever convey. Because of the size of the event, parking can be an issue, so we try to get there before the announced time for the lot to open...which was 4:30am this year. With a 40 minute drive, that meant we got up around 3am. (It also meant that I was completely ready to go by 5:30...and had a 2-hour-plus wait before my wave start.)

I'd bought some new off-the-rack orthotic insoles the day before and tried them on a short run--they seemed like they were going to be a good fix for the chronic problems I'd had both with my old prescription pair (worn out) and my new set (just not fit as well as the old ones were originally). I had them set up in my racing shoes, so I was walking around very lightly before the start, hoping not to aggravate my arch pain, which was not bothering me.

Standing around the Disney team racks, we watched our ostensible teammate, Teri Hatcher, arrive with the team coordinator, to take part in the celebrity division of the race. (Interestingly, I think she got more attention than J-Lo did when she did the race last year.) Used to work with Teri back--briefly--when I was a 2nd assistant director on LOIS & CLARK, but she wouldn't know me from Adam 13 years later.

After we walked over to the swim start, another celeb I used to work with put in a non-competing appearance: David Hasselhoff was the "starter" for the race (I also worked on BAYWATCH for a while, an even longer time ago).
Event warmup:

Got in a nice swim...water was by far the warmest it's been for any swim I've done at Zuma Beach: 68F! Sweet.
  • 15m 35s
  • 880 yards
  • 01m 46s / 100 yards

Seemed like everyone wanted to start on the outside like I always do, so I was resigned to some contact. Earlier wave starts showed that there was going to be a big current pushing us...elites got pushed way inside the first buoy and had to veer left to get around it.

Took a nice easy run down the beach and into the surf. Our wave got lucky and mostly had swell rather than the big beach breaks that pounded some of the earlier waves. Made a beeline for the buoy and had to fight my way through a pretty big scrum. Once I made the turn though, I found myself in clear water the rest of the way, with warm water temps and a big current...zoom!

Generally good navigation...I've swum this course over a dozen times over the last three years, I guess, so I know what to sight off of. Got to the final buoy surprisingly quickly and knew I was having a good swim. Once again, got pretty lucky on the swim into the beach: No breakers.

Goal for the swim split was between 15 and 16 minutes...took a split on my watch when I got up out of the water and it was right around 14 minutes, so I was pretty stoked. Split on my watch as I entered transition was under 15:30, so I was even more happy with that.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Pushed the pace enough that I could tell I was having to work to maintain my turnover rate the last 300m...good sign that I wasn't leaving anything on the course. Definitely the most comfortable and effective I've been getting through heavy traffic.

After a good (top 25% O/A) swim at my IM in August, I'm starting to feel good about my swim in general.
Transition 1
  • 03m 11s

First time I took off my wetsuit just by stepping on it. Can't afford to damage it, but I had a towel down under it, so I took a chance on it. First time I went without gloves for the bike. Did have to reset my bike computer, since it goes to sleep when left unused for long periods and I wasn't using my Garmin 205 on this ride.

Always a bit of a C.F. at the mount zone at this race with all the newbies, but I got through it okay.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing comes to mind.
  • 52m 56s
  • 18 miles
  • 20.40 mile/hr

I've wanted to crack 20mph on this course and haven't in the past...last year I was crushing the course...then I broke a spoke and that was that.

Made the decision to ride this at a higher than usual cadence...~92 rather than the ~86-88 I normally ride. For an 18-mile ride with no major climbs, I thought I could get away with that. I think it was a good decision. Got passed much, much, less than I have been in the past (even though I was out of the water ahead of most of the guys in my wave). Tactically and technically, I felt like I had a good ride. More importantly: No problems at all.
What would you do differently?:

Might have pushed it more on the hills, but I was trying not to kill myself for the run, having been undertrained due to my hamstring injury in July, right before Vineman.
Transition 2
  • 01m 51s

Good. Was going to strap on my Garmin 205 on the run out, but decided to just take the 4 or 5 seconds and do it at my rack. Got bike shoes off, running shoes on fine. Hat. Race belt. On my way.
What would you do differently?:

Put on Garmin on the run out. But my goal was to be around 1:30 and that wouldn't have gotten me there. Malibu is a very, very, long transition area...hard to get a short transition time.
  • 28m 48s
  • 4 miles
  • 07m 12s  min/mile

Oy. I was just completely boxed behind four slow runners in the narrow chute that starts the run course. I tried to be patient, but finally just blurted out, "Sorry, guys, let's pretend we're on the bike course: On your left!" They all kinda turned then slid right...and I felt a bit like the Road Runner leaving them in the dust.

I really was hoping for a sub-7 pace this year, but not having trained much since I popped my hammie on July 12 made that a shaky possibility. I got to mile 1 in 7-flat, but looked at my Garmin about 1 km later and I was around 7:30...probably wasn't going to be a PR for this run course.

Malibu is an narrow out-and-back course, so you're passing runners going the other way the whole time. Great opportunity to cheer on Disney teammates (which I did). I was passing people constantly (as usually happens on tri runs for me) and was only passed three times the whole run...and I overtook one of the three shortly after he passed me.

At about 1.75 miles, I saw a cluster of Disney uniformed folks heading back from the turnaround and yelled out I got closer, I saw it was Teri Hatcher and the couple team members who were assigned to run with her for safety/protection from paparazzi. It occurred to me that I was enough faster than them that I could possibly catch them by the finish, so that became my particular reason, just seemed like it might be fun.

Miles two and three were okay, but not stellar and I figured I wasn't going to manage my sub-7 pace, but would be close. Passed a ton of people on the return leg down the beach walk. Really picked it up the last half mile. My stomach was not happy with the last gel I'd eaten along the way...thought I might become one of those classic posters of some guy puking while on the run, but was too close to the finish to let that slow me down.

No sign of Ms. Hatcher and Co., though. ;)

Really kicked it home and finished in 1:42:24 by my watch, making my goal of sub-1:43 for the race. Exiting the finishing chute, I was right behind the Hatcher posse...just missed catching her, apparently.
What would you do differently?:

I might have gone harder on the run, but the near-puke section in mile 4 tells me that probably wouldn't have worked too well. Just barely missed last year's time for this run...if I hadn't been stuck for so long behind the slow runners in the chute at the beginning, I definitely would have PRed this.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around. Fought my way through the reporter/photographer throng around Teri Hatcher. Got some great food at the celebrity/fundraiser a plate to take to Liz, since she'd had bad luck with there being food left when she finished (late wave start combined with ~2 hour time on the course). Needn't have worried...lots more food this year.

This might be my last tri for awhile: I recently was diagnosed with a hereditary blood disorder that's going to require a series of blood withdrawals that will leave me pretty anemic for awhile. If they go well, I'll be back to full training in late December, but won't know for awhile. Nice to have my last couple races of the year (this and Disneyland half mary last week) go well and to be all the way back from my freak hamstring injury that trashed my first IM on August 1.

Also nice finish to the tri season that Liz got the annual "Team Member of the Year" award from the Disney Tri Team. Well deserved--she's come a long way from the couch to become an effective fundraiser and event organizer for the team and took on the challenges of her first marathon and first half iron this year, all while mentoring two newbies on the team. She had a good race, too, so nice day all around, capped off with a photo with Macca, who was hanging out after racing the sprint just for kicks and chatted with us for a bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Just a general lack of conditioning...rode almost no hills at all after my hamstring injury and only just resumed a reasonably full running schedule about two-and-a-half weeks ago...only to have my chronic foot problems flare up. Managed to get everything squared away and got back to full health for this race, but that doesn't erase the lost weeks of training. If I trained properly, I think I'd have been closer to 1:40. As it was, in my third time racing here, I P.R.ed everything but the run and only missed that by 5 seconds. Really happy to have gotten comfortably over 20 mph on the bike...I've only ever done that on a very flat course previously.

Event comments:

Really unique atmosphere with something of the scale of a typical IM or 70.3. Celebrity participants lend an interesting flavor to the day (which some people find annoying, but I enjoy). Very long sprint race, which makes it a rare race that is appropriate to both experienced and newbie participants. Always nice swag: quality (cotton) t-shirt, embrodered ballcap, and towel, as well as an attractive medal.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-03-04 12:00 AM
00:15:35 | 880 yards | 01m 46s / 100yards
Age Group: 20/112
Overall: 213/1407
Performance: Good
0:40.94 run into water, 13:27.12 actual swim (1:32/100 yds), 1:27.64 run up beach to transition
Suit: Xterra Vortex 3 John
Course: Swim in ocean off Zuma Beach. 150 yds out from beach, right turn, ~600 yds parallel to shore, then right turn in.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:11
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
00:52:56 | 18 miles | 20.40 mile/hr
Age Group: 29/112
Overall: 195/1407
Performance: Good
Course: 18 miles, out and back on Pacific Coast Hwy, Zuma Beach parking lot to Leo Carrillo State Beach and rtn.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:51
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
00:28:48 | 04 miles | 07m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 13/112
Overall: 102/1407
Performance: Average
Splits per Garmin: Mile 1 = 7:00, Mile 2 = 7:14, Mile 3 = 7:13, Mile 4 = 7:04 (plus 17 sec's for balance of run).
Course: 1.4 miles on concrete sidewalk along Zuma Beach. Exit onto Westward Beach road for 1.2 mile out-and-back. Back along same 1.4 miles of beach walk.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5