Sep 12, 2009

Alcatraz race

Early morning up at 5:30am after a night of windy rain and of all things in San Francisco thunderstorms and then down to the docks for race sign-in along with 700 other "nuts" for the 8am jump. Water at the "Rock" was a balmly 58f and seas with a slight 2-3ft chop. Needless to say I was happy this was not happening when I got to swim time;)

The entire race group walked down to the boat (ferry actually) listening to the scottish bagpiper blaring away which I love. Kind of cements the committment to what you are about to do.

Made it off the boat in the first few groups of three (you jump off one of the tourist boats from each side door three at a time four feet into the bay water just off Alcatraz Island). First time without a wetsuit so alittle nervous, water temp didnt bother me but the usual thrashing of many people and getting yur orientation to Aquatic Park takes a few sightings (lifting your head) to get on track. During the middle part was getting tolled around with what I am guessing was ocean freighter bow waves but made the way through and kept a good line to the harbor entrance. Finally was able to get into that forever stroke pace and was reayd to enter the harbor. As planned made it to the harbor entrance in a small pack of swimmers and kicked up the pace to drive to the finish. Made it to the beach and as usual stumbled a bit getting up the beach to the finish. Why in gods name do they make swimmers get out of the water to finish a race, were swimmers, not runners??

Anyway had a great swim, finished 11 overall and first in my age group in 29:47 minutes (1.4 miles) which was significantly faster than my 33:07 from two years ago and without a wetsuit which I guess saves you 10-15% effort so I am very happy with this result, happy with how I felt in the 58f water and chop and know I could easily kept on going. Gives me confidence to continue my training for the English Channel..

It was nice for everyone (mom,dad, rachel, ted, kate, thomas and griffin) to come watch and support. Katie (my sister) is doing a similar race Sunday morning so we'll do it all over again.

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