Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Escaping from The Rock

I think this must have been Escape from Alcatraz #5 for me?  I took last year off as I was traumatized from the swim in 2013 when a man died and I thought that my race would be over as I swore I was going to need a rescue kayak...the race had been moved to accommodate America's Cup in 2013 and the San Francisco Bay in March is not nearly as "calm" as it is in early June.  I remember the waves so big I thought I might not make it "chop" and the frigid temperatures after the swim...not exactly my ideal Kona like conditions!

This year Kayla said that she was going to do it and that so should I...mind you this would be 3 weeks post Ironman Texas...who does that?  Think about it...a taper before Texas, race and then three weeks of easy and unstructured workouts.  Perfect race prep!  The goal was to not embarrass myself or have wine leak out of my pores while I was sweating.  We were lucky enough to stay with friends on Saturday night, so enjoyed a walk through Golden Gate park to dinner before hitting the sheets for some pre-race sleep!

Swim: 33:41, two minutes better than my previous best time.

If you've never raced Alcatraz, it's kind of hard to imagine.  They bus everyone from transition to one of the piers.  All 2000+ athletes get on ONE boat and mozy out to the island for the start.  I'll let you use your imagination as to how 2k athletes on one boat is...a bit hot, lots of nerves and a bit of pee in the carpet ;)  Everyone goes off right after the pros...there is an opening on the side of the boat and they just start yelling "GO, GO, GO!!!" and everyone jumps off in a rolling start style.  Your face hits the balmy 58* water and after a quick "holy MOLY it's cold!" internal dialogue, you are off to sight 1.5 miles straight ahead.  You have to sight straight ahead as the current is so strong in the bay, when you sight straight, you will actually end up half of one mile down the road.  Crazy!  And that is exactly what that swim feels like from beneath you...even if the water is "calm" on top and not very choppy, the current stirs it up so much that it feels like you are being thrown around from underneath you.  I know that's a bit dramatic, but your stroke feels like you must look like a 2 year old thrashing about.  The entrance into Aquatic Park is a welcome sight and hearing people yell "WIPE YOUR FACE!!!" as you exit the slimy bay waters is always funny.  After wiping my bay beard off (just scan some of the pics...you will see what I mean), I headed to find some shoes to put on my frozen claws for the half mile run to transition.
Beautiful whip ready to roll!

Bike: 1:00:16...I've been faster, and I've been slower

I had arm warmers and gloves to put on as I ran to transition, but opted for gloves only.  Figured since it was in the high 50's when we started that I could get through ;)  I rode my road bike  with my rad new Enve clip on aero bars as the course is so undulating that a TT bike (for me) just makes no sense.  I was super pumped to have the clip on aero bars though as there are a few section through Golden Gate Park where you can actually get a rhythm and I think the bars truly helped here. Kayla caught up to me right as we went past the Golden Gate Bridge on our way to the Ocean and I knew my job was to just stay close...girl is training for Lake Placid and is on fire right now!  Once we got going towards the Ocean, we got treated to see the front of the men's race coming back on the course and then saw the women as they were flying out of the park and up past the Ocean towards home.  It's always so inspiring to see the pros hammering it out and fighting for the win.  I felt pretty blah on the run and had to keep reminding myself that there were only 18 miles in total, that I needed to PUSH and HURT and not have a low IM heart rate.  I stopped at the top of a climb, positive that I had a flat- checked my tire and NOPE, just some flat legs ;)  Kelly passed me here and was like, "are you OK?"...yes, nothing to see here, nothing to see!  I tried to push as much as possible to get back to T2 and hope that I'd be able to run!

Run: 57:51 for 7.5 miles or a 7:42 pace...

I felt like such a rookie as I headed out of transition.  I didn't eat anything on the bike, knowing that I had had a huge breakfast and I was only 1:30ish into the race, but this meant it was time to eat as I headed onto the run!  I dropped my energy chews as I headed out onto the run and made the decision to go back and get them as I knew there would be no on course nutrition other than drinks and I would need some kcals over the next hour to propel me to the finish.  The run is just like the bike; all over the place terrain wise- but I've done it enough, that in my head, I know that I just have to make the it to the sand ladder and from there, it's downhill/flat the rest of the way home...JUST...one tiny word!  I was so glad to see Kayla on the beach running towards the sand ladder and then to see the finish line!

yes please!
beer garden gals!
35-39 Podium
After the race I was HUNGRY.  Why does post race food always look so yucky?  I made a bee-line for Chestnut street and found a massive salad...to which my hunger said, "YEAH RIGHT lady!", so we had fries while waiting for the awards to begin!  The sun came out just as we were finishing up which meant it was fun to hang around and talk to people after the race.  After the awards, we headed home and I got to spend the rest of the afternoon with my sis and her girls in the pool.  Not a bad Sunday indeed!
Everyone loves pool time

Next up is Vineman!  See you in July!