Woohooo.. Well, I successfully completed the 2007 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and yah, that was kind of hard. It was a foggy and cold (ie.. normal) day here in SF, which actually was kind of nice… At 4am, I headed over to the Marina, where I joined 1600 other crazy people to jump off a perfectly good ferry, swim to San Francisco, and then bike and run around the hilly parts.
Here are my splits — I didn’t finish last. I actually beat 6 dudes in my class. Yay. There were 163 dudes in the 30-35 age group.
Total Time Swim Time Swim Trans Bike Time Bike Trans Run Time Sand Ladder 4:01:32 0:50:22 0:12:49 1:14:45 0:02:35 1:41:01 0:03:40
I met up with a bunch of peeps from my triathlon club on the ferry, so that was kind of nice to have some people to talk to whilst I awaited my doom.. It seemed like an excruciating wait between the time that we actually boarded the ferry and the starting gun.. As the moment neared, we all crowded toward the starboard side of the ferry, causing it to list severely to that side.. And then… like lemmings, people started jumping off into the bay. The cold wasn’t as shocking as I expected — I guess those training sessions at aquatic park paid off.. What was surprising was how far the city looked off on the horizon. Crap. That’s far. What the hell have I gotten myself into? Hmm. I hope I don’t die.
I started swimming, and as expected, I started off at a pace that was WAY too fast. But again, I knew I would do this from my practice sessions in AP, so I consciously tried to slow myself down as to not tire myself out too quickly. As I swam into the channel, things got kinda choppy. Literally. The swells started getting bigger, maybe 6 feet or so. Not huge huge, but still, a lot more than I had ever seen. Freestyle got tiring. I switched to breast stroke, which I knew was a bad idea cuz it uses your legs a lot more. But, who cares as long as it propels me closer to home. Hmm.. let’s try sidestroke — I read somewhere that it was super efficient or something. Some dude behind me was doing elementary backstroke and he looked pretty happy, so I tried that one too. But damn, that’s so slow. So, I finally settled into a good rhythm. 5 strokes of freestyle, then, 2 breast strokes to sight land and straighten myself out…
But.. apparently, my sighting wasn’t working that great. The race is timed such that the ebb current pushes you out towards the Golden Gate. So, you’re supposed to sight towards Fort Mason, and then the current will push you right into the finish. I apparently need to aim at Oakland. All of a sudden, a dude in a Kayak yells..
“Hey YOU! Go LEFT!”
I stop for a sec, look around, and realize that the ENTIRE field is to my left. Oops. But (thankfully) the exit is now in sight, albeit like 300 yards to my left now, which, of course is now against the current. Crap. I put my head down and swim hard for the exit and after a few excruciating minutes, I creep slowly towards the exit. Woohoo. I made it. Legs are wobbly as I stumble onto land. My transition bag is easy to find because, well, I was pretty slow, so most everyone had already gone ahead of me.
I jog the half mile back to the transition area, happy that I didn’t die somewhere back there. But now I get to bike and run. Great.
The bike portion was super fun. I’ve done the bike course a ton of times, so it’s my home turf, so I felt quite solid and strong on the bike. I actually passed a bunch of people, cranking pretty hard up the hills and then bombing pretty fast on the downhills. My new Ksyriums and the Specialized Pro tires were super solid and instilled a great deal of confidence in my riding, so that was pretty cool.. So yah.. hooray for biking. I felt pretty damn good. Zoom zoom. I biked above my swim/run rank, since I was ranked 1,175 in the bike, and well into the 1400s for the swim and the run.
The bike course took us from the Marina, up past the GGB, over to the Legion of Honor, down around the Cliff House, down Ocean Beach, around Golden Gate Park, and then.. all the way back.. It’s an 18 mile course, but super hilly. I passed a bunch of people that were from out of town and were completely taken aback by the sheer hilliness of the bike course. Apparently Chicago… not so hilly. So yah, I guess all of that fixie riding around town paid off..
Then.. the run. Ouch. I hate running. It’s painful, and I’m not very fast. I’d blame my broken ankle, but honestly, that was the only part of my legs that didn’t hurt today. The run was an 8 mile run, from the Marina, to Baker Beach and back… with a climb up the deathly Baker Beach sand ladder. All in all, it really sucked, but I actually jog/ran most of the course, which I’m actually quite proud of myself for doing. Then again, I don’t think my running is *that* much faster than my walking. The slowness of my running was exemplified when, at the turnaround, I was passed by a 71 year old dude. Man, that old guy could move.
My legs started cramping up somewhere near the 6 mile marker. Ouch. I gulped down some cytomax, and that seemed to help, but that wasn’t very pleasant. I just tried to keep on truckin’ and eventually, the finish was visible in the distance. I kicked hard for the finish, and when I got there, I was met with Mom, Dad, Andy and Meredith at the finish line. Thanks guys for coming to support me!
Despite my slowness on the run, I decided that I would book up the sand ladder as quickly as possible. I got what I think is a pretty respectable (compared to the people that finished near me) 3:40 for the sand ladder. I can’t run too good, but sure.. stairs? Done.
So yah.. I do admit that I did think to myself that I wouldn’t be too disappointed if “something” happened and I couldn’t do the race. But, I’m glad I did it, and I don’t think I’m gonna do that again. I think I’m gonna do more biking now, and maybe some more swimming — but limit that to a pool. Oh, and I guess I’ll still run, but only to beat Carlo and Sunnia in our Nike+iPod challeges. The SF to LA Aids Ride started today (Go Dana! Go Chad! Go Steph!), so I think I’ll do that next year.