This year, I had the honor of being Co-Captain of the Disney Triathlon Team - with roughly 350 active members and 260 racing members, we were fortunate enough to have a leadership team to support us and keep us running.
After 14 weeks of training, everything culminated into this past weekend's events. Let's get down to it!
Thursday, September 14, 2017
We chose Thursday to have our Annual Carbo-Load dinner to accommodate for schedules. One of our team members from London had even flown in for the occasion! I had the unfortunate luck of coming down with a massive cold a few days prior - down for the count but I mustered enough energy to get back to work on Wednesday see myself through the weekend.
As everyone started to trickle in, I went around and asked people if they'd be interested in taking a group picture with me. It wasn't everyone, but over 100+ people agreed to take the group picture with me!
Our team is massive.
We had a great dinner, and announced some awards: Newbie of the year, Triathlete of the year, and our first ever Captain's Award. This was something that Jared and I ultimately decided on - it should go to someone (or a company) that made a huge impact on our team. We agreed that Newbury Park Bike Shop, our bike sponsor, deserved it most - Ben and his team have been there every week for (as far as I know) years and years and years. There has never been a weekend that I've been at a Zuma practice and they haven't. But on top of that, they provide support to us, even in the off season, and are always willing to help us out whenever we need something.
More pictures, and then a conclusion to the great night.
As a top fundraiser, the team got me a gift certificate to Newbury Park to put toward a new bike! Very sweet of them.
As a thank you from the team, everyone put money in for a gift for Jared and I! We each got gift cards to Newbury Park (how appropriate!) for our bike funds. I guess this new bike thing is going to be a real thing soon!
Friday, September 15, 2017
As a kick off to the NMT weekend, race organizers invited a few of us to the Sunset Restaurant in Malibu for a gathering to start the festivities. The Sunset is one of my favorite restaurants in Malibu - it's quaint, it's secluded, and the food is decent. The only downfall is the parking, but it's Malibu...
Michael Epstein, the race director, told us a story about how he was in Hawaii a few months back and saw a man playing on his guitar at a restaurant. He left his information with the restaurant, and fast forward 9 months - the man, his family, and his guitar were sitting in the Sunset Restaurant gracing us with their presence in an intimate setting while the sun crept into the ocean behind them.
A few of us were planning on racing Saturday morning so we took a group picture and left early.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
When the alarm went off at the crack of dawn, I knew I was not ready for a race - let alone an international distance race! Nearly a 1-mile swim in the ocean, a 25 mile bike, and a 6 mile run. I crawled out of bed, schlepped over to my car, and made the drive to Malibu.
It was still dark when I set up my transition area. Around 6:30, they shoo'd us out onto the beach, and we walked ONE MILE down to the starting line. Yep - the trek to the starting line was the distance we'd be swimming!
The cannon sounded for wave 3 - a bunch of us were moved up to this wave based on fundraising efforts, but what they didn't tell us was that we would be moved up to the Mens 35 - 39 age range: THE MOST COMPETITIVE AGE GROUP.
When we got into the water, it was immediately apparent just how competitive these people were. I turned the corner around the first buoy and a swimmer, in an attempt to pass me, grabbed my shoulder and submerged me into the water. I was NOT a happy camper.
I had to remind myself that I was racing twice, so I needed to conserve my energy. I took my time on the rest of the swim, got out of the water, and saw Kris and Charles! My face immediately brightened up. I wasn't expecting anyone to come out for race weekend.
I hopped onto my bike and settled in for the 25-mile ride. I decided to take it slow because I'd be biking again in a few hours. We rode past Neptune's Net and turned around on PCH before making it back down to Zuma. Very smooth ride, and because the amount of racers were much less for the international distance vs the classic distance, there wasn't a lot of pushing or shoving.
I got off the bike and did what I dreaded the most: the run. Since I developed my bone spur, running has been a little difficult, but I trucked on. This one I took VERY easy. As long as I finished, I would be happy. I met some runners from team TBG - they were all breast cancer survivors or family members of breast cancer survivors. How inspiring! 90+ members of their team were out there on Saturday.
I crossed the finish line and met my team at the CHLA booth. Day 1, done.
I had to stay at the beach until 1pm to rack my bike again, which was frustrating because I didn't have a bib number. But the guys in transition were very nice.
I headed back to the hotel and Jared and I hung out by the pool with our books until Alice and George dropped by. We had dinner at a nice little Thai restaurant before we went back to re-pack our bags for Sunday morning. The big day was almost upon us!!
Sunday, September 17, 2017
The entire season was spent prepping for this day. 260 athletes racing. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!
I pulled my car up to valet and grabbed my bag before heading over to transition. I checked in with the coordinators in the transition area, got my bike stickers, and walked over to the Disney racking area to wish everyone good luck!
I was lucky enough to be on Karla Souza's relay team - She was the swimmer, I was the cyclist, and Emily was our runner:
Together, we were the Pain Killers!
As if it wasn't just enough being in on her team, we were racked next to Zac Efron's team and team THE OFFICE!!!
Paul asked me if I was ready for the race. I told him that my training this year definitely didn't match my training last year! When I asked him how ready he was, he replied with the same sentiments! But he wished me luck, so I told him I would take everything I could get.
And at the end of our row? TEAM WESTWORLD!!
There was this running joke on Facebook that I had made regarding James Marsden and me asking him to marry me during this race... I jokingly posted the above picture with a "Step 1, done" caption to it.
My girl Thalia found me was we were walking down to the starting line, and I was so excited to see her! Look at her in all of Tu's Disney gear ;)
Emily and I wished Karla and Marshall good luck, and then headed back to transition so we could prep!
|Waiting for Karla!|
I pulled my helmet on, switched to my cycling shoes, and waited for Karla to get out of the water. As soon as my chip was strapped onto my ankle, I was off on my bike. I knew I needed to give it my all! Every other celebrity team had olympic swimmers and what seemed like professional runners. I told the girls I would be back in an hour, but I felt GOOD on the ride. I saw Jack on an uphill and the competitive person in me decided it was going to be him that I had to beat (sorry Jack!).
We took turns passing each other, which made for great motivation to get back to the top spot, but as the miles neared an end, I sped up and cranked it in to the end. I finished the cycling portion in 53 minutes - nearly 7 minutes FASTER than I thought I would! I averaged about 19 miles per hour on the bike ride - so much faster than I had ever gone in any other race!
I looked for Karla and Emily in transition, and we swapped the chip over to Emily.
We were on our last leg! Karla and I walked over to the finish line to cheer for everyone and to keep an eye out for Emily.
At the finish line, we met Tony Revolori (From the Grand Budapest Hotel!! AND SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING!!! ) and George Kosturos (from American Wrestler: The Wizard), who were cheering for their runner, Isabel Fuhrman (from the Hunger Games) - They were so sweet and were on the lookout for Emily too. We wanted so badly to win!
I asked Tony about their team name - Team Flash - and I should have put 2 and 2 together - that Tony played FLASH in SMH!!! I'm the worst Marvel Employee ever, lol.
SO many Disney people to be proud of. Victor ran through, Loren, Patrick - who had a photo finish with someone from Fox, Conrad, Jack, Albert, Marshall and Robert - who also had a photo finish! - and EMILY!!!
Emily was amazing. I told her that I had allotted 25 minutes for her but everyone told me I was crazy. That would have meant a 6:15 mile pace. But she cranked out a 7 per-mile pace, which is still BIONIC in and of itself. AMAZING!
We got our medals and celebrated: An amazing swim, an awesome bike, and a stellar run!
|Our reactions when we found out just how well we had done!|
I didn't get to watch Chelsie finish, but I love her so much that I want to say a few things about her:
Chelsie was my work wifey for the last 4 years - she made a career move a few months ago, and as such, I wasn't able to see her as much. Still, she trained on her own, and despite the adversity she's faced over the last year, she FINISHED!!! I wanted so badly to be there for her at the finish line, but was carried away by other duties.
Love you, boo! So proud of you and your endeavors.
Jared and I made our way over to the stage. We were fortunate enough to be able to present the check to CHLA on behalf of Disney (an honor that Bob gets every year). This year, we fundraised $275,000! To date, the triathlon team has fundraised just north of $3MM for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
This year was a magical year in terms of fundraising. We had nearly 40 less members racing this year, and we fundraised almost as much as we did last year. Fundraising (for me) was so surprising this year - I set a goal of $10,000 and surpassed my goal by more than I could have ever imagined! So much thanks goes to the generous donors who gave $20,856 to CHLA on my behalf this year.
Next up was the awards. Karla, Emily, and I placed FIRST in our division!
Karla aptly captioned that moment for us:
And, as is with tradition every year, our team picture!
Look at all those smiling faces. And some bewildered ones.
This season was very new for me in the sense that I was no longer just a member. Being on the leadership team (and being a Captain) meant a lot of responsibility - at practices, during meetings, when negotiating sponsorships, and even making decisions. Without our leadership team: Alice, Andrew, Jedi, Christy, Michele, Katy, Albert, Joe, and Robert - Jared and I would never have gotten as far as we did.
So much can be said about this season, but we have so much to be proud of and grateful for. There is no one else I would want to do this all with, and I would gladly do it all again.
As a side note - not only did I get to meet James Marsden, I got to meet Joel McHale too. I plan on marrying both in the near future (kidding, kidding)
Thank you to EVERY one of my donors:
Mark and Megan A, Matthew V, Alison, Mark H, Ashley and David Eckstein, Kevin F, Lisa L, Jodi C, Nate S, Lecia R, Marshall M, Bhart M, Leon S and Family!, Jack Harary, Andrew F and Alex N, Eric S, Jessica J and ME, Pat Y, Joyce J, Jenna S, Frank B, Stanley M, Naomi R, Janice F, Diane H, Lynn M, John G, Diane N, Nick C, Debbie C, Hymie A, Howard and Kristen and Tony, Rachel C, Kathryn H, Chris W, Jehanne L, Jarrett S, Ross and Margot, Northwest Co, Alfred and Carmen Fong, ICUP, Natalia E, Joseph H, Hymie S, Arieh R, Betty Y, Sevana D, Lloyd U, Marcos M, Genevieve O, Steven J, Sean M, Rachel D, Valerio F, Mike T, Donna B, Whitney H, Veronica L, Tricia and Manny, Anna H, Ben C, John K, Kathy M, Stef J, Thalia D, Nicole G, Lorne B, Maureen D, Martin B, Oran C, Evan and Bert and Richie, Meredith T, Carolyn F, Felice S, Dan M, Jessica J, Joseph S, Adam R, Krystal L, Carol P, Elliot M, Nathan D, Accutime Team, Susan P, Jay Franco, Olivia A, Jolene C, Ruz USA, Alexa Orr, Meredith N, Kim P
And special thanks to my biggest donors:
Paul G, Steven R, Brian M, Richie D, Morris C and JM, and of course - DISNEY MATCHING.
Thank you for an amazing season.