Sometimes you meet people who inspire you to be better. Last year I met Brooke, a cheerful and friendly woman who I would soon come to find out is also wickedly fast and equally humble. She works at The ACTIVE Network with Mike and was in training for her first sprint triathlon. As I got to know her during the ACTIVEx workouts as well as last year’s CAxMP, I had a feeling that she had the drive to become an Ironman someday. After she easily and accidentally won first in her age group at her first sprint triathlon (and it was a competitive one!) despite riding a borrowed aluminum road bike without clip-in pedals and having almost zero formal swim training, I knew it was only a matter of time before she’d be on the quest for Mike Reilly’s voice calling her name.
Luckily, good things do happen to great people and Brooke won a free entry to an Ironman of her choice at least year’s ACTIVEx holiday party. She chose this year’s Ironman Arizona and quickly transformed from an injury-prone former collegiate runner to a triathlete with a cycling addiction. She fell in love with the bike and her enthusiasm for long solo rides is seriously something I wish I possessed. More so than those solo rides, she loves group workouts and since meeting her I have shared my goal of qualifying for Boston and she has been an amazing support system for me. Her kind words and patience with my slower-than-her pace have fueled many runs together. On the flip side, I am able to share my Ironman knowledge with her. We, in turn, have inspired each other to achieve goals that perhaps on our own would seem just a little bit more out of reach.
On of the aforementioned runs, which also happened to be a day when all of our legs were fresh, the sunset over Torrey Pines was particularly epic and we were taken over by a strong case of Runners High, I was asking Brooke about her racing plans going into the upcoming Ironman and we realized that there was no feasible 70.3 race for her to participate in before the big day. Meanwhile, Mike has had the idea for a DobyMan (a play on our last name) 70.3 for a few years now, which ideally would have taken place on the same day as the La Jolla Half Marathon (which has the reputation as being the most challenging half marathon in San Diego as the course contains the brutal climb over Torrey Pines).
The DobyMan would begin at the La Jolla Cove with a 1.2 mile swim to the La Jolla Shores, continue with a 56 mile bike ride through the rolling hills of Rancho Santa Fe, and finish with the La Jolla Half Marathon (on race day). Of course his plan if executed would required waking up at 2 a.m. to actually get to the start of the race in time to run it, so it has always been kind of a pipe dream. However, on this particular afternoon at Torrey Pines, we decided although the original dream might not happen, we could use Mike’s inspiration to create Brooke an awesome 70.3 race.
And so it happened. This morning Brooke, Mike, another of their co-workers Jinna, met up at the La Jolla Cove around 6:30 so we’d have toes in the water at 7 a.m. I admit, I almost bailed on the swim, as I haven’t swam since the La Jolla Half Marathon and I haven’t swam 1.2 miles since…. possibly the Ironman. Not to mention, my recently discovered fear of sharks was putting bad thoughts in my mind. But, my FOMO took over and I faced my fears and swam 1.2 lovely miles in the ocean with all the little fishies, a few seals (permanent residents of the La Jolla Cove), and three friends. The water was warm and surprisingly it wasn’t too hard to swim for just over 40 minutes in the open water.
Although the transitions were lightning quick, we got Brooke out of the water and on her bike and then Mike and I headed to a local breakfast place to stuff our faces with pancakes and eggs while Brooke biked 56 miles (she choose a route with a whopping 3,500 feet of climbing). I felt lazy for a second then remembered I was going to have to run a half marathon in a few hours. After breakfast we headed out onto the course and were able to find Brooke out on the course Brooke thanks to a stalkerish iPhone app.
Due it being horse racing season at the Del Mar fairgrounds, we opted to move the start of the La Jolla Half Marathon to the Solana Beach Train station, which in the end worked out perfectly. Brooke showed up at the car close to noon and she changed and fueled up and we were off. Mike and I had just come off of a hard week of marathon training including a long run with 10 miles at near goal race pace on Saturday, and despite a rest day yesterday, my legs weren’t exactly fresh for our “race.” It was also high noon, close to 80 degrees, high humidity and very sunny with a 10 mph headwind (too bad the course doesn’t go the other way!?). Despite these not-so-ideal race conditions, we had a great time traversing 13.1 miles together. It obviously helped that we were running through some of the most scenic vistas in San Diego, or in our humble opinion, the world.
Along the way we started to fantasize about finishing and decided that four criteria must be met in order for someone to be named a “DobyMan.”
1) Swim 1.2 miles in the cove, bike 56 miles, and run 90% of the La Jolla Half Marathon course
2) Start AND finish the course in the cove. All participants must jump in the ocean at the end of the race to be considered finishers.
3) All participants must swim and run together. No Aquathon participants may start the run without waiting for the triathlon participant to dismount the bike. No triathlon participant may run ahead of other participants. All must finish together.
I’m happy to say that Brooke is now a DobyMan. Mike and I are the first Aquathon finishers and Jinna is the first swim course finisher. I’m not sure there is a better way to spend a Monday away from work. All are welcome to next year’s 2nd annual event!
Have you ever put on your own event? Would you do the DobyMan or a part of it!?