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Accenture Escape from Alcatraz - TriathlonOther

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San Francisco, California
United States
Tri-California and Accenture
60F / 16C
Total Time = 3h 26m 19s
Overall Rank = 1138/1592
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 39/89
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 3:30. My mom and I got ready, ate some breakfast, and headed to transition around 4:15.
Event warmup:

I arrived at transition with my mom and we went to our respective spots to set up. Anditrigirl was only a couple racks over so she came over and hung out until I finished setting up. There was a girl two numbers down who was clearly terrified of the swim and freaking out a little bit. I told her the swim was not so bad and Andi and I calmed her down a bit. We were shortly joined by my mom, we adopted Jana into our happy little group, and caught the bus to the boat.

Then we stood around for over an hour chatting until we loaded. Since my mom and I wanted to jump off together, she walked into the lower level with us like we didn't hear them yelling that athletes over 40 needed to go to the upper level. Once on the boat it was another long wait. When the boat finally left shore we (my mom and I, Andi, and Jana) finished getting into our wetsuits, started donning our earplugs and caps, etc. And then... it was time to jump. :)
  • 42m 9s
  • 2469 meters
  • 01m 42s / 100 meters

Swimming in the Bay is pretty awesome no matter what your course is. It's beautiful. It's challenging. It's fun. I really like it and wish I had the opportunity to do it more often.

The tide didn't seem to be working quite as much in our favor this year as it was last year, but my overall swim finish time was similar. I was decent with my sighting in the beginning. I sighted off the Fontana Towers for what seemed like forever and then the Fort Mason buildings came into sight and I worked off of them for awhile. Then in the last third of the race, when the Palace of Fine Arts dome finally came into view, I kept swimming a bit too far to the left. I only sighted every few strokes to try to stay a bit smoother and it was amazing how far to the left I would start moving in that short time.

The water was smooth as could be when we jumped off the boat and then part way through 2 foot plus swells started washing over us. I wondered if it was a power boat, but someone told me later a huge barge was crossing the Bay on the other side and it was likely from that (although supposedly they close the Bay off for the swim...).

There were tons of people when I first came off the boat, but I still managed to keep track of my mom for a minute or so. Then a couple of people swam between us and POOF. She was gone, just like that. Knowing they wouldn't let anything happen to her, I went on with my own swim. In the middle of the swim the field seemed to spread out quite a bit and with the big swells it was hard to see where the kayaks were, or anyone else for that matter. It felt a bit lonely at times. I was able to stay on track decently though.

In the Bay you can tell when you get near shore as the water temperature drops even a few more degrees than out in the middle of the water. It got distinctively colder a couple hundred yards out and the last 200 yards seem to take forever to get to shore. I swam and swam and it seemed like the shore didn't get any closer. When I finally did step on solid sand, I had really enjoyed the swim but was glad to be moving on with the rest of my race.
What would you do differently?:

Sight better in that last third of the swim.
Transition 1
  • 10m 55s

This transition involves two separate transition areas. The first is after you climb up the wet rough steps and strip off your wetsuit and put on some running shoes. Then you have a half mile to three quarter mile run to the second transition area where you get your bike.

I got to the first transition area and did not have my shoes tied. Sh*&! I do this EVERY TIME. Oh well, the race is for fun so no worries. I headed out and was able to run pretty well to the bike transition area. That took a little less than 8 minutes. Than in the bike transition area itself, I ran into some trouble. For some reason my bike helmet was on the tightest setting (not sure how that happened) and I couldn't even get the dang thing on my head. It wouldn't adjust at first, but I finally got it. Jana had come into transition at about the same time as me so I slapped on the helmet, got into my bike shoes, wished her a good race and took off.
What would you do differently?:

Confirm that my helmet is on the right setting.

I'm pretty ridiculously slow in T1 in general and today was no different. In fact, I was exceptionally slow today. I really need to work on this.
  • 1h 17m 43s
  • 18 miles
  • 13.90 mile/hr

First I must say, this race was made possible by StartingToTri generously loaning me her spare road bike so I could keep my own bike at home while Tribiketransport did their thing. It wasn't quite fit for me, but it did it's job well.

Second I must say that for being such a difficult and hilly course, it is also one of the most beautiful. Sections of it are just incredible.

This course involves a few flat stretches and otherwise it is almost constant climbing and descending back to back. And unfortunately many of the descents involve sharp turns at the bottom causing you to brake and lose all your momentum before you immediately begin an ugly climb just around the corner.

On the way back we came around one corner and immediately hit a short but quite steep ascent. About a 20% grade for just over a block. Then only a short half block or so reprieve before a slightly less evil climb. Then we came to the last few miles. As we got near the end we hit the area with the ugly accidents from last year. We had driven the bike course on Friday and talked about the bump that used to be there that had caused so many people to crash last year. They had repaved it making it much safer this year. At the race today people were flying through and I was suddenly overwhelmed by the memory of coming down that hill with panicked volunteers screaming "SLOW DOWN - ACCIDENT AHEAD" for a couple miles in advance. And then coming around the corner to see paramedics loading people on stretchers into emergency vehicles. I was shocked at how vividly it came back to me. And then the whole area spooked me for a bit so I really slowed down for a couple minutes. I got it together and finished up decently strong.
What would you do differently?:

Even on a bike I had only ridden for about 30 minutes total that had not really been fit for me at all, I still improved my pace a little. My fear threshold with fast descents is still lower than it should be, but it's getting better. I need to continue working on that and my bike handling skills in general.

Overall I was happy with this ride.
Transition 2
  • 03m 4s

This might be my slowest T2 ever, with the exception of my very first triathlon. I can't even explain what happened. I, of course, forgot to tie my shoes in advance. But I do that at almost every triathlon so it only accounts for so much. I don't know. I'm baffled. But I was slow as heck here. I REALLY need to work on my transitions.
What would you do differently?:

Be faster.
  • 1h 12m 25s
  • 8 miles
  • 09m 03s  min/mile

I love to run. In any situation or circumstances. LOVE it. And this run is beautiful. It's as challenging as the bike course, and just as incredible. The first couple miles are flat but still quite difficult because you have to trash your legs at least a little bit to get through that bike course. Your legs are inevitably going to feel a little sluggish. And for having only done two short t-runs this season so far, I thought I adjusted pretty well. I felt overfull from my nutrition on the bike. There were no serious consequences, but it took a few miles for the feeling to go away.

We hit the first staircase, which is long and brutal in it's own right, apart from the sand ladder. And then we ran down a new random staircase that had been thrown in. As we continued we ran onto a section that seemed newly prepared with fresh woodchips and onto a really steep curving cement path. I learned later they were doing construction in the park and had to re-direct us around it. Eventually we got back to the road and then turned off to head down to the beach for the mile plus in the sand that felt like quicksand. The tide kept washing further and further up the beach after the turn around, eating up the hard packed sand and forcing us higher up into the soft sand. And then came the sand ladder.

Draining. That's about the only word for it. Your legs are just drained by the top. And then there's another quarter mile or so in deep sand going uphill before you hit packed trail. Then a bit more climbing before it becomes downhill the rest of the way home. Even the downhill can be a little tough because your legs are destroyed by that point and you have to keep it in control on single track trail, going down staircases, and running on steeply descending curved cement.

The last two miles are wonderful though as you finally hit flat trail and have a tail wind. I was pushing hard through the end and only got passed by about five people during the entire run. One looked like she may have been an elite athlete who had had some trouble on the bike. A couple others sprinted past right at the end and were gone before I even saw them and had a chance to try to counter. Not sure my legs would have had it in them the last 40 yards anyway. The run felt much more difficult this year, but I was only a couple minutes slower than last year and felt good about that.

I would have preferred not to get passed that close to the end, but it felt awesome to have been strong enough to have reeled in a huge number of people who had passed me on the bike and several others as well. As is the general trend, my swim and bike were low MOP, upper BOP and my run was strong.
What would you do differently?:

A few more t-runs, especially coming off a tough bike. Run more stairs and maybe do a couple runs on the beach here in Chicago to get my legs better prepared.
Post race
Warm down:

Hopped over to transition, drank Slim Fast for recovery, grabbed my camera and waited for my mom to come down the finishing chute.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm focused on training for an Ironman so this was not an A race and my training was far from specific for the race course. My main goal was to be here to experience it with my mom. I didn't really check my watch throughout and managed to finish about as strong as last year all the same. If I really wanted to improve on this race, I would need to focus my training around it and not have a long course as my A race later in the season.

Event comments:

This race is amazing. Incredibly well organized, tons of volunteers, plenty of aid stations, on time. Accenture and TriCalifornia really know how to put on a classy race. It's a beautiful course and an amazing experience. Just as with last year, I had a blast.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-02-27 12:00 AM
00:42:09 | 2469 meters | 01m 42s / 100meters
Age Group: 50/89
Overall: 1232/1592
Performance: Average
Suit: Quintana Roo Super Full
Course: Alcatraz Island to the shore at Marina Green
Start type: Dive Plus:
Water temp: 56F / 13C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Time: 10:55
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
01:17:43 | 18 miles | 13.90 mile/hr
Age Group: 55/89
Overall: 1318/1592
Performance: Average
Wind: Little
Course: We head past Crissy field along the Bay and start climbing a couple miles in. Then we travel through a neighborhood area, past Baker Beach, ride by the Legion of Honor, go by the Cliff House (these are in no particular order, they are just things I vaguely remember from the course), ride through Golden Gate Park, and head back. They had repaved some of the roads so they weren't as rough as last year, except in the park where it was still a bit tore up in places.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 03:04
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
01:12:25 | 08 miles | 09m 03s  min/mile
Age Group: 23/89
Overall: 724/1592
Performance: Good
Course: The course was changed a bit this year. We ran past Crissy field and into the park. There's a brutal staircase, onto the road, down the wide trail road and onto the beach. Then comes the sand ladder, a bit more climbing and then you reach the highest point in the run before you begin the downhill half. The last couple miles are flat and with a tailwind as you cut by Crissy Field and back to the race area for the finish.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-06-09 8:16 PM

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
My mom got into this race through the lottery too this year. It's such an incredible race we were excited to do it together. My dad is also great about supporting my mom with the races, which makes it fun. We had a great time and I'm so glad we got to do it. :)

Pictures above are my mom and I at the course talk the day before, my mom and dad (who came to this race both years), my mom and I after the finish, and my mom finishing strong.

Edited by MissKelly 2008-06-09 8:20 PM

2008-06-09 8:55 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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San Francisco
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

great race and sounds like you really enjoyed it despite a few little glitches. How cool that you could this race with your mom.

Good luck with your IM training. Perhaps we'll meet in Wisconsin!

Edited by enginerd 2008-06-09 8:56 PM
2008-06-09 9:04 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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Southwest Chicago 'burbs
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

I feel like I'm sponsoring you now... 

What a great race for not having really trained for it!  Your description (almost) makes me want to sign up for the lottery myself (you know, except for the bay, hills and running in the sand...).  And what an awesome experience to have shared with your Mom!  Priceless. 

2008-06-09 9:40 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
Nice report... congrats on a great race!

I was out of town this weekend, but we live across the street from the sand staircase... it's a killer!

Best of luck with your IM training.
2008-06-10 7:02 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Silver member
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!


Congratulations on a job well done! See you this weekend at SufferFest 2008!

2008-06-10 7:38 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Canandaigua NY
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

Awesome race!  Very cool that you could do a tri with your mom too!

Keep up the good work getting ready for your IM!!!

2008-06-10 7:49 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Alpharetta, GA
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
Awesome race!

Thanks for being our seasoned "rock" (pun intended) on the boat out; it definitely made the swim less jittery.

Enjoy your Ironman training and race. It was great to meet you!

2008-06-10 8:45 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Farmington, MI
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
Wow, what an adventure!!  I can't believe you braved that course two times in a row!  And your love for the bay swim is incredible- I swear last year you were totally freaking about sea lions and such?    CONGRATULATIONS on an awesome race. 

I can't wait to to do a tri with my mom!!
2008-06-10 9:45 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Westchester, IL
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
Your swim ROX, great job! Congrats
2008-06-10 8:57 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

You totally rocked it!  You are so strong this season.  I see huge strides in every event you do.  It's amazing how gracious you were while kicking my butt on the bike!  I couldn't be more thrilled for you.  You are going to do awesome at IMWI.

2008-06-11 6:00 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
You are just the luckiest person! You get to do this race twice, and not only that, you have an awesome mom that got to do the race WITH you! How sweet!

Congrats on a great job out there, and thanks for the RR- I can really appreciate just how brutal that course is!

2008-06-11 4:57 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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Extreme Veteran
Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz
I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the run.  I hadn't trained nearly enough hills, but between the perfect temperatures and the unbelievable scenery, I could have run forever.  The entire race course was breathtakingly beautiful.  Awesome job!
2008-06-12 9:56 AM
in reply to: #1455671

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Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

You had a really great race, and I enjoyed your RR, as well. That is just too cool that you were able to do the race with your mom. Congratulations!!

I think your T2 was very good. That was a pretty long run from the bike dismount to the racks. As a matter of fact, I think 3:04 was just perfect. (that was my T2 time also)

Those are wonderful pictures.

Edited by amschrod 2008-06-12 9:57 AM
2008-06-12 3:26 PM
in reply to: #1455671

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

Great race and race report.  Sounds like an awesome venue and a great time.  Good that you could race with your Mom, as well.  Very good RR, too.

Now I have to put another race on my list.

2008-06-13 1:23 AM
in reply to: #1456593

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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: Accenture Escape from Alcatraz

Nice job on a tough race.  You should be very happy with your race.  I would say that 15% to 20% of the people over

Geat job!  :-

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