The Couple That Races Together...

“Trish crushes me on the swim!”

     There’s nothing like a little marital rivalry to fuel performance improvements and Northern California couple, Trish and Al Hart, have been enjoying some friendly competition since they began participating in triathlon 10 years ago with Team-In-Training (TNT).

     Al, a Director of Technology and Trish, a grade school teacher, live in Fairfax, California with their dog Dexter and “iCat" Mac. The pair came to triathlon from very different athletic backgrounds. Al went to the gym for staircase sessions, watching people running outside while sweating indoors which didn't seem right to him. Trish liked to swim, ski and hike but was never serious about sports until she began training for, and racing triathlons.

     During a vacation to Alaska they met a woman on the train who had just finished the Anchorage Marathon. This woman was ordinary, in her mid 40’s & not particularly athletic looking. They thought to themselves, “if she can do it…” A few weeks later a random flyer arrived in their mail with an invitation to visit a TNT informational meeting promoting endurance sports, including triathlon. They both attended and here began their triathlon journey. From 2007 to 2012 Trish did various Olympic and Half IM Triathlons, while Al solely focused on running until he noticed that triathletes seemed to have more fun and encourage each other during workouts.

     Although Al’s first Olympic distance triathlon at Pacific Crest was less than optimal due to throwing up 2 times in the water, twice on the bike and once on the run, he did not give up. Vineman 70.3 a few months later went much better and he was inspired to keep going. It wasn’t long before he was online signing up for his first full Ironman. In Trish’s case, her decision to give the full Ironman distance a try was a case of “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Following Al’s lead, Trish signed up for Ironman Chattanooga via an IM Foundation slot. This decision quickly drove her to test her limits in a new way.

     Since joining Kinney Multisport more than 2 years ago, both have ascended to new heights in their triathlon “careers”, earning PRs and becoming IRONMAN All World Athletes in 2016. Each with two completed full Ironman events to date, their respective 2017 programs are a bit more dissimilar. Al is hoping for his best performance yet at the full IM distance and Trish, with her sights set on improving her speed, has a series of Half Ironman races scheduled and taking her first crack at The Death Ride.

     What’s their recipe of blending a successful triathlon career & being a married couple, while maintaining full-time jobs? They both agree that knowing what each has to do in order to achieve their athletic goals makes it easier when workouts keep them from spending time together. Their passion is the journey of training and the races they attend along the way. Training and racing makes them happy and being able to do it together enhances the experience. But what about blending long work hours with training, and even long commutes? Again, both Al & Trish know what it takes to meet their triathlon & fitness related goals. They know that sacrifices are a necessity and it forces them to be flexible in their own right. Al often has a 1.5-hour commute and will sometimes decide to get his midweek workouts in near his office to let traffic ease. Their successful partnership lets the other get in the sessions that they know are necessary without making the other feel neglected or guilty. They each know the time demands of training for long course triathlons and that the journey is what brings them both happiness in the end. By sharing this journey together makes their bond even stronger.

     Preparing for their races as a team also brings out the competitive side in both. Not only are they swimming, biking and running against others in their respective age-groups, but they also have a healthy rivalry amongst themselves. This mainly manifests itself in the swim, where Al is slowly closing the gap, knowing that Trish is working her hardest to make sure that she maintains that lead out of the water and into T1.

     The couple’s advice to others: “Be flexible, encourage the other to be their best, even if that’s not in your own best interests and enjoy the journey…together.” We are wishing them the best of luck and many more years enjoying their endurance sports endeavors side by side.