Giving back to a cause paved our next guest's way to his first triathlon.Â It didn't take long for him to discover that he has the ability to win. He has won in the short course and he has gone to Kona. This athlete is a fierce competitor on the race course but is as nice as they come. Ladies and Gentlemen please welcome: Patrick Baldwin
KK: Patrick please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What was your athletic background before starting triathlon? What do you do for a living?
PB: First, thank you so much for the interview, it means a lot to me!
I grew up in Minneapolis, MN and went to college in the greatest city in the world Madison, Wisconsin.Â I moved out to San Diego in 1999 for a job- I'm a Landscape Architect.Â I wasn't sure if I wanted to live in San Diego, but I took a run through Torrey Pines when I was out for the interview and decided that I could live here for awhile.
During High School- I ran cross country and track and was on the cross country skiing team, so I was able to build my base early, though I wasn't that competitive, I was more of a social team member (i.e. meet girls).
PB: During college I kept the running up and entered a few marathons- just for fun, no real goals at the time, but I ran nearly everyday to stay fit and sane.
KK: How did you get involved with triathlon? When did you start? Why?
PB: I got involved with Triathlon through the Team in Training program back in late 2000.Â My first race was the Lavaman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii- not a bad place to start!Â Â I ended up racing well and from that moment I was absolutely hooked- a budding tri-geek.
PB: I had been thinking about trying a triathlon for awhile, Most of my life I tried to fill my time with as many things as possible and when I was starting out in my career, I found I really only had my job to take up my time.Â I thought a new goal was in order and I signed up with the team after hearing the TNT Coach Gurujan speak at a San Diego Tri-Club meeting.Â The race was in Hawaii, I wanted to do a triathlon, the fundraising seemed to be a good goal to throw in along with the training and I wanted to meet girls.Â It was perfect...
KK: Can you believe we met 8 years ago; you have done very well in this sport. What has been your greatest moment?
PB: Wow 8 years ago, it's amazing- I think the triathlon lifestyle makes the years go by even fast, so many goals.
PB: It's hard to pick a greatest moment because I love racing so much.Â If I think about every race I've done, almost all of them have moments that could make it the greatest moment.Â The race with the greatest impact was my first IM Hawaii- I didn't really know what I was doing out there so I just took it all in all day- truly blown away by the spectacle of it all.Â Also this past summer, my wife, Paula, and I raced IM Coure D'Alene together.Â Training for that together and racing together was a great experience.Â The course was looped so we saw each other all day.Â I remember coming back by transition and heading out onto my second run loop- I was having an incredible day out there and as I get close to the transition tent, I see Paula run out right in front of me!Â So very cool, I ran up and surprised her.Â I was so happy to see her off the bike and running strong, it gave me a huge boost to go out and finish strong.Â Â OK one more, finishing the lavaman triathlon on the beach in Waikoloa and then jumping in the water is always one of Life's greatest moments.
KK: What is your favorite event? Why?
PB: Again, I think IM Hawaii is my favorite event because it is always the big goal.Â Â For me it's pretty much the be all and end all of racing triathlon.Â Locally, I really get excited for the San Diego International triathlon- its local bragging rights for the year.Â Â Lately, I've been getting into the xterra sponsored trail running series.Â They are a blast, a killer workout, very low key and they make you eggs after!Â Also- the beer garden after the San Dieguito Half Marathon makes that run one of the best in town- all local micro-brews, nothing better at 9 in the morning.
KK: What is your least favorite event? Why?
PB: I must say this past years ITU World Championships for amateurs.Â It takes a lot to get there (mostly money) and they build it up for you- but when you get there you realize they spent your incredibly high entry fee on giving the pros a better race.Â I've only gone to one though, so I do hear some host cities are better than others.Â It was in Vancouver this year; at least the city was a good destination.
KK: If you would, what are some tips that you would to give to someone starting off in triathlon?
PB: I would say to take it slow.Â As soon as you cross the finish line of any event, Sprint, Olympic, Ironman...you are a triathlete for life.Â It doesn't matter the distance or event.Â Learn the ropes and your body before adding on the big miles.Â Any distance is as hard as you want to make it, they will all hurt and give you great joy and satisfaction- so give it some time and build and enjoy before jumping into the long ones.
Also, if you can- travel to some races- it really adds to the lifestyle.
KK: Have you ever had to overcome any major setbacks or injuries in your sporting career? If so how did you overcome them?
PB: Ahhhh....I'll tell you in a few weeks.. First one so far, still sorting it out and crossing my fingers.Â To many long races in too short of a time late last year, I should have listened to my own advice.
PB: For everything else I've had- mostly minor- Gino Cinco- the great ART specialist here in San Diego works wonders.Â Also, always wear lots of sunscreen- especially if you an irish boy from Minnesota.
KK: What is the funniest thing you have ever heard or done, while in a race?
PB: My first ever Wildflower, I brought a disposable camera out on the run with me.Â I had heard about the naked aid stations so I thought some photos would be fun.Â They turned out good!
KK: One of the most important things in life is "balance." How do you balance family, friends, training, and career?
PB: I get up very very early and I have an incredible wife who is a tri-geek as well.Â Â This really really helps.Â I don't think I could do it without her support.Â The job is easy- you just have to be dedicated- the hardest part isn't the time- I always find the time to train, it's getting work out of my head.Â I, like many, have a job that you are never truly finished and I have to force myself to come to a stopping point and then focus on the training.Â It's a total mental game.
Friends...well the architect friends think I'm crazy but they still have the love and understanding.Â The rest of our friends are just like us!
KK: Are you involved with any charities?
PB: I started triathlon with Team in Training as I mentioned before.Â I was a participant for (2) seasons and then became an assistant coach for 2 years.Â It was an incredible experience, one that really shaped my life.Â And I met my wife!
KK: Other than racing what other types of thing do you enjoy doing?
PB: Ahhhh, not much during the summer.Â I really like to cook- though we do eat cereal for dinner at least once a week.Â Otherwise, I'm kind of a beer aficionado so I do love exploring that world.Â Also, I try and play guitar- well I did when I was young but my wife got me a nice acoustic for my birthday last year and yes, it is gathering dust.Â But so is the painting set I got her!
KK: Do you have a coach or are you self coached?
PB: Self coached based on a lot of guidance in the years.Â My wife has a great coach and I sometimes look over her shoulder at her workouts (and mistakenly add an hour or two- see injury above...).Â Â The TNT coach Gurujan taught me the fundamentals.Â I still think of his stories and advice ever time I toe the line, from Hawaii to Imperial Beach.
KK: Is there someone and/or something that really motivates you? Maybe it's a family member, friend, mentor, coach or a personal experience.
PB: I think my desire to compete motivates me.Â I love every minute of racing (except the night before).Â During the race though, often I am motivated by the simple fact that I am lucky and healthy enough to be out on the course.
KK: What is the best advice anyone has given you, which has enhanced your triathlon career?
PB: When you are racing, you are the rocket, not the rocket scientist.Â Practice everything you do during the race beforehand and know where everything is.
KK: In every sport there are a lot of heart warming stories and there are so many amazing people out there. Is there a specific story or person that you would like to tell us about?
PB: That's a tough question for me- I start crying every time I see someone riding a bike on TV!Â Paula can't even watch IM Hawaii on TV with me- I'm sobbing.
Anytime I see somebody pushing themselves, of any ability, it really drives my emotions and gets me out the door.
KK: What are some of your goals for the 2009 race season?
PB: Top five in my age group in Kona
- Patrick qualified the Ironman World Championship with a time of 4:21:52 at the California 70.3 on April 4, 2009.
- On May 2, 2009 At the Avia Wildflower Patrick completed the long course with a time of 4:29:41.