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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic


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San Francisco, California
United States
Tricalifornia
65F / 18C
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 29m 14s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Got a really good nights sleep, went to bed around 9:30pm, slept fairly well, got up at 4:30 AM. Had my transition pack packed the night before, race clothing laid out. I showered, dressed in my tri suit, put my breakfast in a bag and rode my bike from the hotel to the race start. Wouldn't you know it, but a brand new noise arose from my front brakes that has never been there before, not even 2 days ago when going for a course pre-ride! I had to check that out, and couldn't find anything that was going ot kill me. I think the front wheel may have gone a tiny bit out of true, but certainly not noticable without a truing stand, so I just ignored it. Had my breakfast starting at 6AM, 2 hours before race start, then a gel 30 minutes before race start.
Event warmup:

None really. The swim was a jump off a boat, we got ferried to the Pier (Pier 3) at around 6:00 in the morning, so there was no time or point in jogging or cycling.

On the crowded noisy boat, I managed to lay down and meditate/nap to help keep my mind calm.
Swim
  • 52m 20s
  • 2640 yards
  • 01m 59s / 100 yards
Comments:

Jump from the Hornblower into the moving current of San Francisco Bay right in front of Alcatraz Island. I looked out the back windows of the boat at the island and it was magical. Steep rocky outcrops, seagulls and trees clinging to the cliffside made me feel like it was a scene out of a movie...except it was my own life!!! I was about to escape from Alcatraz! The number of kayak support boats was unbelievable, they were everywhere, but once in the water, you were lucky if you could see one or two at any given time.

The course headed to St. Francic Yacht club. Sighting was initially towards some tower that I never found, so I sighted left of Fort Mason. As I got closer, and the current took me out towards the Golden Gate bridge, I had to adjust my sighting to just left of the Palace of Fine Arts, an enormous Golden Dome about 1/4 off the shoreline. My line was pretty decent and it got crowded at the exit as well.

The swim itself was marvelous. I had a great time, never got freaked out, the water wasn't too cold, no sharks bit me, no seals investigated, but a flock of pelicans swooped overhead pretty close. There really aren't any words to describe the swim, it was the most amazing thing in the world. I tried to roll over on my back several times to look back at the island, over to the golden gate bridge and to the San Francisco skyline.

My sighting was going well, and the only time I really had to sit up/breaststroke was to let other swimmers by who were headed on a different course than I was. Otherwise I was very pleased with my sighting and staying on a fairly straight course while swimming.

The water was a nice greenish color and visibility about 5 feet, just enough to see feet in front of me and bodies to eh side so I could avoid getting kicked.

Suddenly, the beautiful green color turned into a dark murkey gray...I looked up and fog had enveloped the skyline. I looked for my landmarks again, and even the palace of fine arts had become shrouded in fog. I rolled over onto my back one more time to get a last look at the island, and it was not visible anymore. How cool this was! To be swimming in the bay, totally enveloped in fog, but not so much that I couldn't see the shoreline. Finally the finish was in sight, and the speed of the current was obvious as I cruised past the yacht club at several miles per hour.

The feeling of seeing and hearing the crowd as I climbed up onto the sand and the mossy steps was just amazing. I felt like I had finished a marathon. It was truley the pinnacle of my atheletic career up to this point!

But...there was more to come...26 more miles of adventure ahead!
Transition 1
  • 12m 1s
Comments:

This was actually 2 transitions, the first out of the wetsuit, and into running shoes right at the swim exit, then a 1/2 - 3/4 mile run to the true transition area to change into bike shoes and start the bike leg
Bike
  • 1h 28m 55s
  • 18 miles
  • 12.15 mile/hr
Comments:

THis was a stiff bike course. Overall the elevation gain was not too bad compared to my training rides in Pittsurgh, but there were fewer, steeper hills. The climb from Great Highway on the beach up to the top of Seal Rock road was KILLER! I laughed when I got to the last bit...I truley felt like I was in San Francisco. Everyoen was standing on their pedals and it just looked strgith up. I put my head down, stomped on the pedals and cranked my way up the hill.
What would you do differently?:

Overall, my time was average for me. Given the hills I am pleased. But I got passed by tons of people. I had moments where I was able to blow past people going up hills, but these bursts were short lived. In my future training, I'll need to up the intensity to learn how to hold onto it longer, and not worry about using up energy pushing and cranking on flats.
Transition 2
  • 04m 31s
Comments:

The entire transition area was about 1/4 mile long because there were SO MANY athletes. By this time I was pretty tired, and walked the entire transition which added some time. Took time to douse myself with spray on sunscreen as well, which was good.
What would you do differently?:

Not much I don't think.
Run
  • 1h 51m 27s
  • 8 miles
  • 13m 56s  min/mile
Comments:

I knew the run was going to be hard. I ended up running (slow jog) to each water station, drank some water and walked for a minute then jogged again. Of course, this plan only lasted 2 miles, because all of mile 3 was uphill. Ugh! Mile 4 down to baker beach was OK, but the turnaround seemed sadistically far away. Finally up to the sand ladder! My plan was to run up the entire ladder since I had spent a lot of time this winter doing steps, even if it burnt me out for the rest of the run. Well, I lasted about 1/3 of the way up, caught my second wind and finished the rest. I beat a few folks in my group up the sand ladder. :) The rest of the run was just a slow mental slog, especially the last 2 miles, which were flat and on sidewalk. As the finish line got closer I had to try harder and harder to keep moving because it just didn't seem to get closer. But by that time the crowd kept me in.

The most awesome part of the whole race, even better than finishing the swim, was running down the finishing chute. I felt my pace quicken, my stride lengthen, and all my pain was temporarily vanished! I heard my chip register and then my name annouced as I smiled for the cameras and pumped my fist in the air a few times...look for it on the video soon. ;)
What would you do differently?:

Continue my run training like I have been. More strenght training overall to continue throughout the spring training season (like my coach wanted!)
Post race
Warm down:

Put on a long sleeved T-shirt for the sun, had some whole foods handouts (bagels, lentil soup). Got a post race massage.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

This race was my longest yet for the swim and the run. Overall endurance for this distance was limiting. Even though my run is the slowest, I think I have more capacity for improvement in the bike. If I could hold my place in the pack after finishing the swim somewhat mid-pack, my overall race time would be very much improved.

Event comments:

By far my biggest improvement for this race, even more so than generaly fitness gains, was my mental preparation, positive visualization, and pre-race nerve calming ability. This was a constant active process throughout the last several weeks and months culminating in these past few days. Read my race reports for the Shamrock Shuffle, and the Great Lake Escape to read how lack of control over negative thinking affected my overall races. I was incredibly pleased that this technique worked to my advantange and now that I know it works, will continue to use it and improve on it in the future.

Finally, I just can't say how incredible it was to have finished this race. I wasn't always sure I could do it. Those last few miles of the run were so mentally challenging, that to finish the race, makes me think I can really do anything I set my mind to.




Profile Album


Last updated: 2006-06-04 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:52:20 | 2640 yards | 01m 59s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Suit: 2 piece ProMotion
Course: Taken out on a ferry (the Hornblower) to Alcatraz Island, swimming south towards ST. Francis Yacht Club, while being swept along by the ebb tide and currents from the rivers that form the San Francisco Bay.
Start type: Dive Plus: Waves
Water temp: 55F / 13C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding:
T1
Time: 12:01
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
Biking
01:28:55 | 18 miles | 12.15 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance:
Wind: Some
Course: Along the shore, up into and over the Presidio, down Seal Rock and onto the great highway, up through Golden Gate Park and back along the same course.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 90s
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
T2
Time: 04:31
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
Running
01:51:27 | 08 miles | 13m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Mile splits will go here soon.
Course: Down Crissy field, up the bluff along a sandy trail. Mile 3 was all uphill. Under the Golden Gate Bridge, along road, down to baker beach and 4 mile turnaround that seemed forever away. Back along Baker Beach and up the dreaded Sand Ladder! THen back along the same trail, under teh bridge, down to Crissy Field and into the finish line chute.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
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

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2006-06-04 10:57 PM

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Coach
9166
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Stairway to Seven
Subject: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon


2006-06-04 11:05 PM
in reply to: #442915

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Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congratulations on completing such a challenge!!!!!!!!!
2006-06-04 11:11 PM
in reply to: #442915

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SF Bay Area, Mountain View
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congratulations, the sharks didn't get you! now you need not fear any other swim.

i'm glad you liked SF Bay - the Golden Gate with the fog rolling in is amazing, isn't it?
2006-06-04 11:11 PM
in reply to: #442915

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8763
5000200010005001001002525
Boulder, Colorado
Gold member
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congrats! That's my favorite race of ALL TIME! So much fun. The bike and run courses both have everything you could ask for. What a blast. Congrats again! Great race.
2006-06-05 6:26 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Elite
4344
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Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Great race.  Thanks for writing it up so well.

TW

2006-06-05 6:40 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Crystal Lake, IL
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

I love your descriptions, especially of the swim.  Fantastic!  Congrats.

 



2006-06-05 6:45 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Elite
2706
2000500100100
Hurst, Texas
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Fantastic race; you should be very proud of that effort!!  It sounds like this is one of those races that everybody should do at least once!

Great job!

2006-06-05 6:56 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Master
2945
200050010010010010025
Centennial, CO
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
One more thing to check off your list. Not many people will ever do that race. It is a remarkable accomplishment. Way to go...
2006-06-05 7:00 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Veteran
172
1002525
Pittsburgh, PA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Sounds like an awesomely challenging race selection. Way to step it up and challenge yourself. Cooler than thou was the course, man. That scenery will be in the back of your mind forever. Sounds like you rocked it - right on! Super fast swim! Bike time looks real good - I know those short steep hills were probably killer. And, I cannot imagine doing that long run. You really should be proud of yourself. Can't wait to see pics.
2006-06-05 7:01 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Master
1551
10005002525
Virginia Beach, VA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congrats on finishing an amazing race!!!! I loved reading your report. Great job!!
2006-06-05 7:17 AM
in reply to: #442915

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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a thrill - Sounds like you really took in the whole experience...very cool.


2006-06-05 7:28 AM
in reply to: #442915

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2006-06-05 7:30 AM
in reply to: #442915

Master
1938
100050010010010010025
La Crosse
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Wow -- you had an ADVENTURE this weekend! Who else can say that? A-mazing!
2006-06-05 8:16 AM
in reply to: #442915

Master
1668
10005001002525
Cinnaminson, NJ
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

great job!!!!! Sounds like you had a great race!!!

That is one race i hope to put on my resume.

2006-06-05 8:52 AM
in reply to: #442915

Pro
3883
20001000500100100100252525
Woodstock,GA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
I am so proud of you *tear*...you can do anything that you set your mind to! Thanks again for letting me be a part of  your journey.
2006-06-05 9:35 AM
in reply to: #442915

Master
1831
100050010010010025
Keller Tx
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

great Job.

It sounds like to took the whole race in.



2006-06-05 9:36 AM
in reply to: #442915

Expert
739
50010010025
Flower Mound, TX
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Great race, and great report especially of the swim.   I can't imagine what it must have been like to swim in the SF Bay! 
2006-06-05 9:59 AM
in reply to: #442915

Arch-Bishop of BT
10278
50005000100100252525
Pittsburgh
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Awesome race... well done. 

 Peace.

2006-06-05 10:41 AM
in reply to: #442915

Lethbridge, Alberta
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Good race AdventureBear! Congratulations! Taking some time to appreciate the setting like you did sounds like a great idea. I didn't realize until Sunday's tri swim practice but one of the guys from our group was down in SF doing the race with you. He was in the M70-74 category.
2006-06-05 11:10 AM
in reply to: #442915

Expert
822
500100100100
Roseville,
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congrats on finishing, doing well, and actually ENJOYING one of the toughest courses out there.

Mike
2006-06-05 11:11 AM
in reply to: #442915

Elite
3201
20001000100100
South Florida
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congratulations!  What a cool race.  I am afraid of sharks and I got nervous just reading about you jumping into that bay.  


2006-06-05 12:42 PM
in reply to: #442915

Master
1862
10005001001001002525
San Mateo, CA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Congratulations!  I the start of your race on the 10PM news. 

2006-06-05 1:06 PM
in reply to: #442915

Champion
6962
500010005001001001001002525
Atlanta, Ga
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Rock on AdventureBear...you rock!!  Sounds like you made the most of that race and that's all that matters.  I have to put that race on my resume....something you've already done.
2006-06-05 3:05 PM
in reply to: #442915

Veteran
118
100
Roseville, California
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congratulations on an awesome accomplishment! Terrific race report! I can't wait to someday do the race myself. What an experience.
2006-06-05 3:34 PM
in reply to: #442915

Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Way to go Suzanne!!  and sounds like you enjoyed it, which is a plus!
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