Monday, June 11, 2012

Escape From Alcatraz

The Rock!
Yesterday in San Francisco was one of those picture perfect post card days.  There was no fog in the morning and it was going to be 72 degrees.  These days happen in SF a handful of times per year.  Score one for Alcatraz!  It was so beautiful that I thought for a split second why'd we move away?!!  Jess and I drove up on Saturday afternoon to hit packet pickup, then I was off to get my hair did before picking up pre race mexican food from my faveorite buritto shop in the city.  Then we headed over to a friends house to stay the night, thanks Blancos!!

Between Jess and I, we had 4 alarms set ranging from 4AM, to 4:15...We were not going to oversleep, no siree. Can you say type A girls?  We were up and at 'em at 4AM, eating, applying temporary tattoos and working our way across the city to the Marina start.  Super Jess had scored us parking in the "elite athlete" secion, so we were literally next to transition.  That was SO money as if you have ever been to SF that area is notorious for terrible parking and add to that a Sunday pre dawn morning?  You were likely to park no where near the race. 

We grabbed our stuff, headed over to transition and got set up.  I handed off a second pair of racing flats so that after the swim exit, I had shoes to run the 1/2+ mile trainsition to the actual T1.  I then got everything else prepped.  Food, drink, air in tires, 5 hour energy?  All a big CHECK.  Now let's get the wetsuit and head over to the shuttle.  The shuttle takes you over to pier 3, maybe a mile and a half away from transition to where the boat is waiting for us.  it is a big game of HURRY up and wait...some athletes got to the boat site at 4:15, even though the boat doesn't depart until 6:30.  We arrived just before the 6:30 departure, with enough time to say hi to David from Muscle Milk.  Onto the boat we went, all 2000 of us...on a warm sunny morning, wearing neoprene.  Mmmmmmm, tasty. 

Having raced twice before in the past 7 days, I wasn't feeling too nervous.  And the most nerve wracking thing about Alcatraz is the swim.  I have doen the swim twice before and you have to be on top of your sighting.  You have to look straight ahead at Sutro Tower, to end up at the Marina Green which is really far to the right.  That is how quickly and strongly the current in the bay moves.  And even though there are 2k other swimmers out there, you will never be next to anyone.  Thankfully there are so many kayakers out there, including Mark and co!  So good to see him before the start out in the water in his boat. You also will go through VERY cold patches.  55 degree water is already very cold, and then all of the sudden it's like "woah, who turned on the AC in here?!!".  Thankfully, my Freak of Nature kept me warmer and comfier than ever before.  I even got a few thumbs up on my suit and people wanted to know if it was everything it's cracked up to be.  YES it is!  OK, so off the boat we go, into the water and it's time to get down to business.

I was swimming OK, but kept wanting to sight and make sure I was on track and not going to overshoot my arrival and then have to try to swim AGAINST the current.  Mission accomplished here, although the ride in was quite bumpy and slower than when I did it in 2008.  The pros were also slow yesterday so knowing I wasn't alone was good.  I kept getting picked up by a currrent and kind of surfed for a stroke until I could resume swimming again.  Breathing to both sides is key to this race.  I hit transition in 35:59 for the 1.5 mile swim, and was 13th amateur out of the water..onto the short lungbusting run to T1. 

Transition along the water
Entering T1, there were very few womens bikes on the racks and I saw Brandy, a solid competitor that I love racing with!  We were out onto the bikes and played leap frog for a good chunk of the 18 miles.  I opted to ride my road bike with my Gray aero wheels due to the technical nature of this course.  It is either up or down and has lots of rough roads.   I had to get rid of the "bay beard" after the swim and was so thankful for a wrist band that quickly turned slimy green.  Even with this attempt, I still wound up with some pics of me and my bay beard.  LOVELY!  The bike course is very challenging and hopping onto the bike after a hard half mile run to transition makes for a bit of a slooshy tummy.  I was able to get down my energy chews and a bottle of Cytomax before hitting T2.  I had passed a few gals on the bike, but knew that there were a few more just up ahead.  Total bike time was 59:30 and I had the 6th fastes amateur bike.  I'd say good call by coach Manning on the road bike front.  Now let's see what we have left for the run.

I got passed right away by two fast international gals but didn't get discouraged.  It always takes me a while to get going on the run and yesterday would be no exception.  The run along Chrissy Field is gorgeous and flat for the first 2 miles before you hit the hills, stairs and sand sections.  I took in a bit of 5 hour energy (my first experimentation with intentional caffine) and tried to focus on reeling gals back in.  Brandy had passed me during the first mile and I just told myself to keep her in my sights.  Flying along the single track was fun, as you come literally shoudler to shoulder with the pros and other competitors...Leanda Cave almost body checked me, on her way to her big W.  The path is narrow and everone is hammering. I knew that the hardest sections were yet to come and took in some fuel on the downhill section to Baker Beach.  We hit the sand and I could see a few girls just up ahead.  I powered through the sand and prepped for the sand ladder, a 200 step hill that is made of wood rungs and covered in sand.  Talk about a lungbuster.  But after this, you are almost home free, there are only 3 miles left to go and just a tiny section more of uphill.  I made it through and then tried to hammer the last 2.5 miles of flat and downhill.  During the last quarter mile, I could see a gal up ahead but knew that I didn't have enough time to catch her.  She nabbed the 2nd spot in our AG and was only :20 seconds ahead.  Doh!  Those are the seconds, you KNOW you could have found along the day.  Total run time was 1:01:42 for the 8 miles and the 8th fastest run of the day. 

Jess, Laura and I with post race smiles!

Overall I ended up with a podium finsih of 3rd place in the Age Group and was 7th female amatuer and 4th American.  Fun day out with lots of friends equals an amazing race.  This really should be on your bucket list for triathlon.  Jumping off of a boat and then swimming with the Golden Gate Bridge to your right and the entire city of SF in front of you is pretty hard to beat.  Then biking next to the ocean and through Golden Gate Park and running along the beach?  Amazing.

Thanks to all of my super supporters out there, I wouldn't be able to do it without you!  TYR Sports keeps me fast in the water, Gray Wheels and Argon18 keep me moving onthe bike, the team makes me look good while racing and Cytomax keeps me fueled, pre, during and post race. 

Now it's time to rest up and get ready to race another Olympic in two weeks time and then start the prep for Vegas and Kona.
Post Race must of Dairy Queen!


Katie said...

almost got body checked by leanda? awesome. :)

congrats on a stellar race! your pics make it look like it should go on the list!

hailey said...

Yes, it was a good moment! Thanks Katie!!

MissFancyPants said...

Sounds like an awesome race! I would be so scared of that water - you are a rockstar!