1980 Palisades High Graduate Lynne Fiedler Keeps the Competitive Juices Flowing as an Ironman Triathlete
By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
While running a Christmas 10K with other parents as part of a fundraiser for her son’s lacrosse team, Lynne Fiedler was first asked about trying the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. Her life has not been the same since.
“I’d never done anything like that but I decided to try my first triathlon in 2005,” says Fiedler, who attempted the sprint (Classic) course. “I had no swim background and I wasn’t a cyclist but I rented a wet suit, changed clothes in transition and did the cycling on my mountain bike. You kind of get hooked once you do it. I didn’t get on the podium that first year, but my competitiveness sort of kicked in. Whatever I do, I want to do it well.”
Since then, Fiedler has completed 13 Ironman triathlons (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run) and numerous ous Half Ironmans, Olympics and Sprints. She turned 58 yesterday and shows no signs of slowing down.
Growing up on Amalfi Drive in the Riviera neighborhood, she went to Canyon Elementary and Paul Revere Middle School and played sports at the YMCA.
“I loved the beach and I liked the small town feel of the Palisades,” she reminisces. “I could walk to junior high and I’d skateboard down to the beach with my boogie board. You could take the bus back then into Westwood. It was a tighter knit community. I’d go to movies at the Bay Theatre and to Rustic Canyon Park and the Palisades Recreation Center.
Fiedler attended Palisades High, where she played guard on the basketball team and pitcher and shortstop on the softball team.
“I should’ve run track back then but I didn’t,” she recalls. “I was one of the better players but definitely not good enough to get recruited.”
After graduating in 1980 she went to UC Davis, where she participated in intramural sports.
“I wanted to be a veterinarian and UC Davis has the only vet school in California,” she remembers. “I didn’t end up on that career path. Instead, I graduated with a degree in Biology and I got married the next year. I worked for my mom’s business (Ann Fiedler Creations, a custom invitations and stationery company), which she started out of our house and ended up in a storefront on Pico Blvd. near Rancho Park. I got married shortly after college and lived in Brentwood and Santa Monica before moving to Beverly Hills. I first ran the Palisades Will Rogers 10K about 30 years ago. I’ve won my age group many times recently. I’ve run it 10-15 times and will continue racing it every year.”
Fiedler has two sons—Jonathan (31) and Zach (28), both of whom went to Beverly Hills High. Both played sports and inherited athletic genes (Jonathan is a personal trainer), but they are sprinters, not distance runners like their mom.
“We kind of say ‘Who would win if we ran a mile?,” she admits. “Well, I can say the longer the race, the better chance I have.”
In 2006, Fiedler got a road bike and stepped up to the Olympic Distance (1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run) at the L.A. Triathlon (now Herbalife)—from Venice to downtown near Staples Center.
“My first year I still swam the breaststroke and I didn’t place in the top three,” Fiedler recounts. “In 2007 I did my first 70.3-mile, or Half Ironman, the Silverman in Las Vegas. I trained very hard for that and came in second place in my age group. I was 45 and the youngest in the 45-49 age group. That’s when I started getting more serious and racing them more regularly.”
“Swimming is my weakest link and I preferred the longer distance because it gave me more time to catch up. It’s fun to pass people on the bike and run. I’m a pretty strong cyclist but running is definitely my favorite. In 2008 I did the Oceanside 70.3. That’s a big and super competitive race. I’m in the 55-59 group right now. You do better when you age up. This year wasn’t a year I aged up. That’s a big deal as you get to race older people. I haven’t suffered major injuries. I had plantar fasciitis and a hamstring issues, but nothing that’s kept me out of a race. I’ve been very fortunate that way.”
Fiedler’s first full Ironman was in Wisconsin in 2009.
“My goal was 12 hours and I did it in 12:02,” she recalls. “I’d never run a full marathon before. I didn’t place in the Top 5 but I was thrilled nonetheless.”
Fiedler’s best time to date in an Ironman Triathlon is 10 hours, 20 minutes, six seconds in 2013 when she was 51. Her marathon time was 3:40, she placed second in her age group and qualified for the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii for the first time.
“I’ve raced two Ironmans in a year before and I do some road races and trail runs,” she says. “I like to race the Xterra trail race in Topanga over Thanksgiving. I haven’t tried the Palisades Turkey Trot yet. I prefer to workout in the morning. I have a coach who gives me workouts, depending on what I’m training for. My goal right now is to run the entire Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains from Will Rogers all the way to the ocean past Leo Carrillo State Beach—a total of 68 miles. I’ll mix my training up with a swim, then a run, or a bike ride then a run and throw in a rest day. On weekends I’m doing trail running. I’ll drive down to Playa del Rey and run to Manhattan Beach and back. I run Sullivan Ridge and do most of my bike mileage on Pacific Coast Higway and the canyons out there.”
Fiedler’s first Ironman victory came in 2016 at the Lanzarote IM in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain—one of the toughest Ironman courses with 8,000 feet of elevation on the bike leg. By finishing first in her age group she automatically qualified for Kona.
She won her age group at the Whistler Ironman in Canada in 2017 and did Kona again that October. She was supposed to do an Ironman competition this year but all events have been canceled due to COVID-19.
“I’ve also raced the 70.3 World Championships several years,” she says. “Last year it was in Nice, France. Next year I’m signed up for the Oceanside half and another in Canada. My goal is always to do my best, hopefully on top of the podium. For the Half Ironman World Championships they change locations every year. There’ll be one in New Zealand in 2022. Next year I’ll be the oldest in my age group. I decided to take a break after my last Kona. Ironmans take a lot out of you.”
Fiedler competes for a team called “Smashfest Queen” (SFQ) and always trains in her team gear. She reflects fondly on her Pali High days.
“Mrs. Rose Gilbert (who died in 2013 at the age of 95) was my literary analysis teacher and Bud Kling was my basketball coach. He made it fun. I’ve stayed in touch with Bud and see him at reunions and at the Palisades 10K. I used to swim in a Masters group at the Pali pool and I know a bunch of Palisades triathletes. I’d love to move back there. I currently coach triathletes because it’s my passion and I just love this sport!”
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