Monday, August 25, 2014

Escape from Alcatraz 2014

This is one of my all-time favorite races (go figure - it also happens to be one of the most expensive).
Katie and I drove up on Thursday night and stayed with my folks in San Jose. Friday we knocked some chores off the lists (couples dentist appointment, cute huh?) and had dinner with Coach Muddy and Barbara. Saturday was pretty jam-packed: 
  • Muddy fit me on my bike in the morning but I'd bought the wrong valve extensions so had to make a few trips to the bike store. 
  • We drove up to SF where the packet pick-up line was horrendous (90 min long) which forced us to cancel lunch plans with Tu (tri friend I met in 2013 at oceanside). 
  • We then booked it to Berkeley to get Katie a massage with my boy Johnny (used to be my masseuse when I lived in the bay - now I self heal but I wanted Katie to experience the magic).
  • I went on a 1hr spin.
  • And then we raced again to San Rafael to catch-up with Katie's grandma, Nelcy, over dinner.
Thankfully, we'd decided to priceline a hotel (got the SF Marriot for $100 post-tax) so didn't have to drive all the way back to San Jose... but by this time my pre-race gear still wasn't together and I hadn't shaved my legs. You're supposed to stay off your feet the day before a race and this definitely didn't happen. I didn't get to bed before 11.
I was super pumped that my good friend James was racing Alcatraz this year and, conveniently, staying at a hotel across the street from ours. We met up in my lobby at ~5a and biked to transition together. We took the buses to the dock and chatted up Leanda Cave.
We found the best seats on the ferry (underneath the bar for those of you who do this race in the future) and relaxed for the 45 minutes until gun.

swim: James and I made the mistake of lining up on the right-hand side doors, and the volunteers here were much slower that those who handled the pros. It seemed like 50 people went out of the other door before they let us through.
This was another really rough swim for me. This was the first time my chest felt really constricted when I hit the water. I had to physically pull my wetsuit away from my chest to get some air. Your hear about experienced swimmers drowning all the time (in fact one died at this race just last year) and always wonder how it could be possible... I got a really mild sense of that during this swim. 
I also never managed to find my rhythm and could hardly sight. The year prior when I jumped out after the pros, I had the luxury of a sighting buoy. This year with the new exit ramp I never managed to find it.
The one nice part of the swim is James and I somehow managed to find each other 3/4 of the way through and swam in together.

bike: nothing terribly eventful here, felt almost identical to the year prior and wound up clocking in the same split as 2013 (to the second!)
run: was fun to have my family out on the course, they were really yelling at me to pick up the pace at the beginning (there was a certain pro female they wanted me to catch) but I kept it in check. Crossed the line definitely feeling like I could have put in a little more effort.


  1. Nice report! What's with the surge in blogging? U should be out training for Kona! ;-)

  2. Guillaume de ZwirekAugust 26, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    I crashed on Saturday so had 2 days off to heal. Was back on the grind this morning! Any interest in a training weekend down these parts soon?

  3. sorry about the crash :-( good to hear u back in action. SB training weekend would be awesome, but tough over next few weekends as we're moving house (again)