WeissCrax: Tri some Sunday inspiration

Friends Kara Randall, left, and Cristina Cook, right, at Sunday’s Goleta Beach Triathlon. (Randy Weiss Photo)

You likely don’t know Cristina Cook.

Umm … just met her myself!!

This recent UCSB Environmental Studies grad will soon be making her mark on the world in maritime policy.

But first Cook, 22, is traveling the world come early next year.

In the meantime, she and good friend Kara Randall, 19, are swim instructors for the locally renowned Wendy Fereday Swim School.

They both live near Goleta Beach and since they have the swimming down, they’ve been biking along the pathways here in The Good Land.

Running?

Not so much.

Sooo …. since the timing worked with both their schedules — they signed up for Sunday’s Goleta Beach Triathlon.

‘Thought it would be fun’ …

Randall, a UCSB junior majoring in economics and Spanish, has done it before.

Jack Bianchi helps mark competitors with their respective bib numbers

First ‘tri’ for Cook!

Both opted for the sprint venue.

And it’s here that our paths crossed …

Several times actually on the run with its switchback loops within the park … over the bridge near the airport … on the sandy shore darting under the pier.

When yours truly was sucking wind badly and slowing to a near-crawl early on the last leg of this awesome swim-bike-run venue, it was Cook’s friendly encouragement that provided jolts of energy.

“C’mon, you can do it!” she said as she passed the first time.

Surprised me!! I only caught a glimpse of a lime green running top and the large ‘Jackie O’ shades.

“You’re doing great!” she offered the second time by the bridge.

Really I wasn’t, but at least I was moving slightly faster than a stroll.

And she might have been saying that to everyone… but that didn’t matter either.

Then along the shore as she was heading in and I was heading out – it was my turn.

“Nice job!” I said with my left hand extended for a high-five.

The running leg of the Goleta Triathlon is partially on the beach, pictured here with the UCSB campus on the bluffs in the background.

She slapped.

We connected.

It was only after the race did we actually meet.

In the transition area.

Her bib number was 238.

Mine: 230.

That meant our bikes were resting on the same rack.

“Thanks for the encouragement,” I offered.

She flashed a smile and said something nice.

Cook plans to race again and her only regret this time was not practicing running more.

Running on the soft sand was ‘killer’ for Randall too.

The good-hearted Cook shared that her lifeguard tendencies also kicked in during the swim …

“I was nervous for some of the other swimmers around me,” she said in reference to those from the earlier ‘waves’ still laboring past the yellow and orange buoys.

That mighta been me, as well.

It all struck me that this was the real beauty of this sport …

The always-positive encouragement that comes from any and every direction.

Lifeguard Leadership: Kaitlyn Ogar, Matt Rogers & Supervisor Jon Menzies with Race Director Jerrett McFarland.

The fact there’s no smack … no trash-talking … only good mojo everywhere.

You experience this ‘good natured-ness’ all the time in triathlons and running venues – especially here in our wonderful community.

It starts with the many faces of inspiration along the sidelines …

Like coach, philanthropist & cancer survivor Jack Bianchi doing body marking … like awesome Bruce from Hazard Sports here at 5 a.m. tweaking bikes for free … like the ever-positive race director Jerrett McFarland doing whatever it takes with an always smile …. the lifeguards focused on ensuring a safe event… the many volunteers … the complete strangers cheering wildly at the Finish Line …

It all adds up for a great experience – no matter your time!!

It’s kinda funny about inspiration.

It can kick in at anytime.

From deep within you.

Or delivered spontaneously courtesy of outside forces.

When least expected.

When needed most …

Like today.

It was all around me at Goleta Beach.

And thank you Ms. Cook for leading the way.

Your star already shines bright in life…

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