Sunday, June 4, 2006

I have Escaped from Alcatraz

It is offically over, I have escaped from Alcatraz!!!

What a ride and adventure the past week has been. It has been non-stop running since I left last Thursday. We, Barb (roommate) and I took off at 6am on Thursday with the mind set to drive as far as we could in one day so that we would not have to drive much through out the weekend. Needless to say as I talked in the third person all day Thursday to drive Barb crazy we made it all the way to Reno (15 hours) so that we could hit the slot machines late that night and drink a few beers (free when you play slot machines).

The next morning (Friday) we got going around 7am to head towards NAPA Valley, the wine making capital of California. We rolled into the town of NAPA around 9am and I could not have been more impressed. That is such a great place!!! Grapevines and winerys as far as the eye can see. Needless to say Barb and I had our share of wine intake after visiting 7 different winerys that day and tasting everything that each one had to offer. That night while sitting in the hotel room waiting for the effects of the wine to go away I started to think about my race that I had in two days and prayed to the Gods above that I will make it through in one piece. Maybe going wine tasting all day was the best thing to be doing before a race but I would not have change a thing looking back on it now. It was so much fun.

Good food Good wine = Good Times

Saturday morning we got rolling around 8 am and hit the city of San Francisco around 10 am. My first thought as I drove into the city is that there is a shit load of money in this town. The houses (everywhere) and cars where all big money. All we did on Saturday after getting to the city is drive the race course so that I kinda had an idea of what I was in for and we went to the race check in and meeting. The check in and meeting is required so that you can understand how things are going to be ran and what the rules are, even though they never change from race to race. After that was all set and done it was just a matter of relaxing and getting mentally ready for the next day. I had a 4 am wake up call coming.

Ok the race report, here we go.

I was already laying there awake when the wake up call came at 4 am, needless to say my nerves were a bit on edge. I was really starting to get nervous about the swim part of the race from Alcatraz. After arising I ate a bannana and a Clif Bar with a glass of milk so that I at least have something in my stomach for the long morning that I have laying ahead of me. Our hotel was about a half mile walk to the race start so I wanted to get going by 5 so that I was there by 5:30 to set up and get all my gear around. As I was setting my gear and unpacking my duffle bag I discovered that my wetsuit is gone!! I totally freaked out, there was no way that I was doing this 1.5 mile swim in 55 degree water without my wetsuit. I dumped all my gear in the fenced in area and took off running back towards the hotel down the street that I came in on. I got about 3/4 of the way back when I found my wetsuit laying there in the middle of the sidewalk. The stupid thing fell out of my duffle bag as I was walking to the start. What a way to start the day, made me start to wonder what else could go wrong today.

The start of the swim is from a boat that is parked in front of the island of Alcatraz. They unloaded 1800 plus swimmers off that boat in under 6 mins. They removed a railing from one side of the boat and everyone just starts going over the edge like a big tidal wave into the bay. That was crazy!!!! Once I got away from the boat and things started to calm down it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was just hard to site where I was going because of the waves and the fog that rolled in half way through the swim. When the fog rolled in I decided that I would just follow everyone else and not worry about siting. Hopefully we would all end up in the correct location on the shore. The swim took me 48 mins., not great but better than I thought it would be.

Next up was the bike and run parts of the race. Nothing really eventful really happened during these 2 parts of the race. I word of advice that I can give to anyone who does this race is to train in the hills. I spent a lot of time the last couple of months trail running in the hills west of Boulder. If I would not have done this there is no way that I would have finished this race in good shape like I did. The reason that I say that I finished in good shape is because after finishing the race Barb and I went to Pier 39 for lunch and to look around and I was not totally wiped out.

It was a great trip and hope to do it again someday, but the chances of that happening (hard race to get into) are very slim.

Alcatraz 2006 finish

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