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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Escape from Alcatraz

 Escape from Alcatraz 2010

It went really well. I was way more nervous than I had ever been for this based on my last experience. While I was way more prepared in the swim than I had ever been I still had my doubts. I hadn't spent as much time in the cold dip pool at the gym as I had intended. On top of that, the race being a month earlier than last year really made me think that the water was going to be below the 55 degrees that I had experienced in the past.

Anyway, I had convinced myself that I was going to go into shock and die as soon as I hit the water. But I think that in the last couple hours before I really came to terms with getting the race done and so I pushed ahead in the line to make sure I wasn't the last person in the boat to get off.

I crossed the timing mat and ran to the edge. I made sure it was clear and jumped. As I left the boat someone surfaced right below me and I landed on their shoulder. Sorry! But I swam forward so as not to be landed on myself. I came up and realized after a few moments that the water really didn't seem that cold at all! I started swimming right away and I felt really good. Now, it was cold, don't get me wrong. I could not, for the life of me breathe out with my face in the water. I could barely blast the air out as my face cleared on the left and I breathed in. I couldn't do more than one stroke without breathing either so it's not that it was easy.

Now, I have to admit that mother nature was cooperating. The ocean was like glass and the sun was out and it was very very pleasant in the water. That said, I got tired after a few hundred yards and breast stroked for a moment buut I quickly got back to swimming. I need to work on my threshold swims. 5 x 400 at level 3. Not far enough to kill you but too far to sprint. It would have been nice to be able to fall into that rythym but instead I did 100 - 200 yd pretty fast bursts with 30 second rests between.

I never got near a kayak. That really made me happy. At no point did anyone ask if I was doing OK. It's a funny race, you are with 2000 people and 30 seconds after being in the water you feel like you are swimming alone. If you bump into someone it's really suprising and then 10 seconds later you never see them again.

I got a bit nervous at the end. I had been sighting well and swimming well but I still felt like I could miss the landing area because of the current. If you miss it all you have to do is swim to shore and then walk a few hundred yards back. No big deal. The one thing you don't want to do is try and fight the current to get back to the original landing site. But it turned out to not matter. I finished a the absolute first place that you could get out of the water. In fact, I stopped my stop watch and of course was very very happy with sub 33 minute time but by the time I walked to the end of the beach and climbed the stairs and crossed the timing mat at around 34:46. Still 10 minutes faster than my best swim and 3 minutes faster even than last time when they reposistioned me.

Anyway I don't remember offhand but I think I was about at 50% of the field in the swim which was really cool. It was freaky getting to the transition area and seeing all the bikes there. The coral is usually empty when I get there.

Bike went OK. I can't believe it but I think I beat my time from 2007 when I was in such great bike shape.

The run was a breeze. I got beat up a bit on the sand ladder and the 1/2 mile or so after it which is uphill as well but I really felt good finishing. I had a nice sprint at the end. In hindsight I could have gone a touch faster I think on the last few miles but it didn't feel like that then.

I could easily pull 5 minutes off that swim and go sub 3:00. I bet I could run :30 less / mile which would get me to 2:56 and I might be able to pull enough off the bike to go to 2:50.  If I could quicken up that first transition I bet I could go 2:45. That would be fast.