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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon - TriathlonOlympic


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San Francisco, California
United States
Tricalifornia
53F / 12C
Overcast
Total Time = 3h 24m 50s
Overall Rank = 1142/1545
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 63/106
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 3:00 am, put on my Salt Creek uniform to represent the club, tried to choke down some oatmeal and a banana despite my nervousness about the swim to come, and headed to transition. Set up transition and was on the bus to the Pier by 4:30ish.
Event warmup:

Stood around in the cold, misty, windy San Fran weather until it was time to board the boat. While standing there, in this small world, a woman I used to work with at Fleet Feet who moved to North Carolina a year ago walked up and said, "Kelly!?!" I hung out with her until the swim. Climbed into my wetsuit on the boat and then started repeating to myself over and over again, "There's nothing to fear, there's nothing to fear, there's nothing to fear."
Swim
  • 41m 47s
  • 2250 meters
  • 01m 52s / 100 meters
Comments:

After the infamous Thursday night swim (took an hour to swim half a mile in a good chop and into a 4.8 knot current) I was still a bit intimidated by this swim, despite the clinic coaches assurances this would be way easier. It was supposed to be a wave start but after the pros took off that went out the window and people started just jumping out whenever. I was supposed to be in the second wave after the relays and I suddenly realized that everyone was pushing out and there was hardly anyone left in the boat. I pushed through the door and they were yelling, "Go Go Go!" You didn't have a moment to think, you just ran out, held onto your goggles and jumped. And then you swam like hell to get out of the way and get out of the Alcatraz current.

Because all sources had indicated you need to sight and swim a bit to the left to stay on course I did just that, but apparently the current was working with us better than they had thought because they kept rounding us up and sending us more to the right. My parents said for most it was pretty much a straight shot from the boat to shore. We had a 4.8 knot current working with us and it clearly makes a huge difference.

I apparently did not want to let go of the whole swim to the left thing and I very much underestimated my swim speed and my sighting was off because of it. They sent me to the right multiple times before someone finally told me what I should have been sighting off of based on my swim. It was WAY more to the right than I was swimming. I probably would have been a couple minutes faster if I hadn't spent so much time fighting the current more than I needed to by trying to swim to the left. Overall I thought it was a really good swim though. It was MUCH faster than I expected and went way smoother than Thursday. And the clinic helped a lot. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I say that clinic is worth a thousand dollars. Lucky for me they only charged $15. If you ever do this race, sign up for Water World Swim's "Swim with Pedro" Alcatraz Clinic. It's a worthwhile investment.

I also pee'd in my wetsuit for the first time. It took me almost to the end of the swim to do it because it defied everything I believe about not going to the bathroom any ole place. I had to slow down a bit near the end and really concentrate on making myself go, but I knew I'd lose a lot more time stopping off at a restroom once I was out of the water than I would in it.

As I got closer to the shore I could see the crowds standing at the finish, as well as a few flash bulbs here and there. And then I could hear the dull roar of the cheering through my ear plugs and I started to get a little emotional. As nervous as I had been for this swim, it was overwhelming to finish. Since crying is generally not conducive to breathing while swimming, I kept it in check though. :)
What would you do differently?:

Sight better knowing now how the swim actually goes, not be so nervous so I could soak up more of the coolness that I was doing this race, and remember to stop and look back at Alcatraz much earlier in the swim. So cool.
Transition 1
  • 09m 16s
Comments:

This transition involved stopping off right after the swim to take off your wetsuit and shove it in a plastic bag and then about a half mile run on hard, rough asphalt to the transition area. Because it was so cold in the morning I stupidly did not want to switch over to flip flops and left only those for the run from the swim exit to transition so I could keep my warmer tennis shoes until the boat. Wtih wet slippery feet it was really dumb decision. I finally took them off and ran without them but my feet hurt so bad it really slowed me down and I know I lost a minute or two. The rest of transition went about the same as always. I need a lot of work on T1. It's always WAY too slow.
What would you do differently?:

Leave tennis shoes at the swim exit instead of flip flops.
Bike
  • 1h 20m 42s
  • 18 miles
  • 13.38 mile/hr
Comments:

The ride was pretty but involved some very rough road at times. Rough enough a guy who was flying down a road beside me got a pinch flat rolling over a tough section. I heard a big pop and some metallic sounds and saw what looked like a couple of screws fly off before he pulled to the side. Since flying downhill scares me anyway, doing so on rough roads with some sharp turns at the bottom as this course had, coupled with his pinch flat and a nasty accident that happened later on the in the race, I continued my not good tradition of riding my brakes on the downhill. It really killed my time and overall rank too. I did really well on the uphills, but I didn't make enough ground on anyone to prevent them from passing me on the downhill. I tried to go as hard as possible on the flat to make up for it, but they were usually good on those too and I couldn't catch anyone.

The hills were very tough. I felt like hurling once I got to the top of a couple of them and I was glad to see how strong I was in comparison to some of those around me.
What would you do differently?:

Get more experience, bike handling skills, and confidence riding downhill so I don't lose time there. Train enough to be a stronger cyclist in general. The bike always kills me in the race.
Transition 2
  • 01m 43s
Comments:

This was a much better transition. Much more in line with what I would expect of myself, although I would eventually like to get my T2 down closer to 1 minute.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. It went about as smooth as it ever does for me.
Run
  • 1h 11m 22s
  • 8 miles
  • 08m 55s  min/mile
Comments:

Ahh the run. The part I will always love the most. And what an awesome run it was. Some single track on the course that sometimes made it hard to pass anyone. It was very tight for two people (one going each way) and there was definitely no room to cut around anyone sometimes. And it was gorgeous. The whole run I kept thinking how I couldn't believe I was getting to do such an awesome and beautiful race. Given the terrain, I felt like the run went really well.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. It went well, felt good, I was fast enough to pass a lot of people and I stayed strong. Overall an awesome run.

It is such a phenomenal race and I was so overwhelmed to have done it that when I crossed the finish line I started feeling a little emotional again and threw my arms out and started grinning like an idiot. It was really amazing!
Post race
Warm down:

I walked around for a few minutes and felt a little light headed from the push at the end. Couldn't find my parents so I went back to transition and called them. Packed up while I waited for them and then drank a big bottle of Recoverite on the way back to the hotel.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I made some stupid first timer's mistakes that I would not make again if I did this race in the future. There were just some things I had never encountered in another race I didn't quite know how to handle. I also would have benefitted from a little more hill and stair training with the run, but that still went well overall. Otherwise, I just need to keep hammering away on the bike, literally. It's my weakest link and I need to work on it.

Event comments:

I'm still so in awe I was able to do this race. It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute of it, even the more difficult ones. It is well organized and supported, first timer friendly despite it's difficulty, beautiful, and well worth the time, energy, and money. I'd love to do it again.




Last updated: 2007-02-06 12:00 AM
Swimming
00:41:47 | 2250 meters | 01m 52s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/106
Overall: 1267/1545
Performance: Good
Suit: Quintana Roo Super Full
Course: From the ferry boat just off Alcatraz Island to just west of the Saint Francis Yacht Club.
Start type: Dive Plus:
Water temp: 57F / 14C Current: High
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Below average
Rounding:
T1
Time: 09:16
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
No
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
Biking
01:20:42 | 18 miles | 13.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/106
Overall: 1353/1545
Performance: Average
Wind: Some
Course: A VERY hill course on some San Fran highways, through Golden Gate park, and on some city streets. Some VERY rough road at times.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
T2
Time: 01:43
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
Running
01:11:22 | 08 miles | 08m 55s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/106
Overall: 828/1545
Performance: Good
Course: Out of transition, back parallel to part of the bike course, and onto a trail. Wove around down under Golden Gate Bridge, eventually onto the beach for a mile and a half or so, the famous sandladder, more hill immediately after that and then the last three miles was mostly downhill or flat.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
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:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2007-06-03 7:10 PM

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Expert
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Wellington, North Island
Subject: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon


2007-06-03 7:32 PM
in reply to: #827503

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Regular
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Westchester, IL
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
It sounds like an awesome race. Congrats on doing this race. I never heard of anyone peeing in their wetsuit. Great idea, I will have to try it next time.

Edited by Grizdog 2007-06-03 7:32 PM
2007-06-03 8:29 PM
in reply to: #827503

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Veteran
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Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
I heard last weekend that peeing the in wetsuit is an option, and a warm one at that. I think I might be most impressed by that!

Really, great job! It sounds like you had an amazing experience!
2007-06-03 8:34 PM
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Elite
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Chicago, IL
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

that's awesome, congratulations!!! 

2007-06-03 8:42 PM
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Master
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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
AWESOME SWIM!!! I know how nervous you were coming into this swim, and you crushed it!! Great job! And great job on the whole race too It sounds like it was a blast, and I'm glad you really got to enjoy every last minute of it while you were out there! Congratulations!!
2007-06-03 9:27 PM
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Champion
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Whizzzzzlandia
Silver member
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

I have peed in many many many many places. ***sigh*** my wetsuit included.
 

You, my friend, had a great race. And I'm so glad you had enough presence of mind to soak it all in. I hate to think of us missing cool experiences because we are too focused, scared, or just unable to let ourselves enjoy them! Yay! Yay! Yay!

Congratulations! I can't wait to see the photos.

 

SMILE!

Whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

 

 



2007-06-03 9:44 PM
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Champion
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the colony texas
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Does this mean you will start carrying your own portable litter box around ??

great job on the race
2007-06-03 9:57 PM
in reply to: #827503

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Extreme Veteran
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Olathe, KS
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Great job today! You did such a good job - and what a swim! wow!

I hope you got a good look at Alcatraz as you were swimming away... that would be amazing to see. Sounds like such a fun race - glad you had a good time!


2007-06-03 10:17 PM
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Expert
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Orange County, CA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Nice job! I also raced this one and really enjoyed the run as well! Congrats!!!

Edited by jbjboc 2007-06-03 10:18 PM
2007-06-04 9:24 AM
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Master
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Colorado
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

AWESOME job!!!  It was a little intimidating for the first time huh?!  But I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.  I had the SAME thing happen on the swim.  I was headed pretty much where they said to for "faster" swimmers and I was still too far left!  (I was told TWICE by kayakers to swim further right )

Nice job and great work on that run.  Those hill and sand were tough after the beating on the hilly bike!  Just my type of course   I hope we BOTH get a chance to do it again!!

CONGRATS!

2007-06-04 9:49 AM
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Expert
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Farmington, MI
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Awesome, Awesome, Awesome & way inspiring.  Sounds like such a cool adventure. 

Pictures please!



2007-06-04 12:27 PM
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Elite
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In The Peleton
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Congrats!  This is one of the legendary races, glad you enjoyed it.

Edited by PeterAK 2007-06-04 12:28 PM
2007-06-04 1:23 PM
in reply to: #827503

Member
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Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Wow. Great job! Such an accomplishment!
2007-06-04 1:35 PM
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Expert
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Lafayette, CA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
I'm glad you loved the race too. It was a great experience! You had a great race. I'm ready to sign-up again!
2007-06-05 10:25 AM
in reply to: #827503

Member
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2525
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Fantastic job! Thanks for sharing your race report!
2007-06-05 10:25 AM
in reply to: #827503

Member
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2525
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Fantastic job! Thanks for sharing your race report!


2007-06-05 10:43 AM
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Extreme Veteran
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Long Beach, CA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Wow- awesome job! This is one race on my list of long term goals, your report has inspired to me to race it even more now. Thank you for sharing the experience!

So whats next????

2007-06-05 11:20 AM
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Sydney Australia
Subject:
2007-06-05 3:14 PM
in reply to: #827503

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Expert
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Flower Mound, TX
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Great job, and I'm sorry I missed meeting you at the Thursday clinic, but like I said I couldn't make it out there in time.   I'm glad that made you feel more comfortable on the swim. 

Nice run split too.  The run was a blast, wasn't it!?

2007-06-05 3:54 PM
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Champion
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MA
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Nice race...wow you really nailed it.

Swimming you did great...sounds like that clinic is a must for anyone doing this race.

You are wise to be cautious on downhills until you feel comfortable.

It is tough race and you are one tough amazing triathlete chick!

Congrats!

I'm so far from being ready to do a race like this... 

 

2007-06-05 5:05 PM
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Expert
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Central New York
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
Great job this weekend! For the sake of "keeping things in perspective," consider that:

1) Your T1 time was more than two minutes better than mine despite the flip-flop debacle;

2) The currents are unpredictable, so your being a bit too far over to the left was spot on given the information which was provided; and

3) You've overcome one of the greatest obstacles that mammalian racers can face: the fear of peeing on yourself.


2007-06-05 7:21 PM
in reply to: #830390

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Expert
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Wellington, North Island
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
mburkhart - 2007-06-05 10:43 AM

Wow- awesome job! This is one race on my list of long term goals, your report has inspired to me to race it even more now. Thank you for sharing the experience!

So whats next????



I hope you're able to do it. It's really amazing.

What's up next? My mom's first tri ever is in two weeks so I'll be flying to Colorado to do that with her. Then my first HIM in July. Hopefully that will leave me with a nice high too.
2007-06-05 7:23 PM
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Expert
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, District of Columbia
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
I have to agree -- this was a great race, wasn't it?

Nice race report.
2007-06-07 4:29 AM
in reply to: #827503

Member
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London
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

WELL DONE - sounds like an awesome race - I would have been so scared; you are one of the toughest people I know

That was a wonderful race report! I enjoyed all the details. Peeing in your wetsuit -mmmmh, been there, done that - divers do it all the time... beats doing it on land!

2007-06-08 11:43 AM
in reply to: #827503

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Veteran
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Victoria, BC
Subject: RE: Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
What a fantastic race!!  You did such a great job, especially on the swim -- you rocked it!  Way to go!!
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