The 38th Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

photo_cover I ESCAPED!!!

I am still in awe that I did it. I overcame every fear and doubt I had about my abilities and ESCAPED!! When I won the entry at Nations in 2017, I knew that this would be WAAAYYY out of my comfort zone (FLAT EVERYTHING), but with my great coach,focus, dedication and a positive mental attitude, I could – I WOULD – FINISH this race.

So, how did I get here? Last year was a very challenging and busy year. I decided at the end of 2016 to do IMMD and then 2017 came and hit me with a whirlwind. I had a major job change, we ended up having to move out and into a new house on short notice and training suffered. I made the command decision to pull out of doing IMMD. Hmmmm. What to do with the rest of the season and my training. I filled it in with a few races and then at the last minute I decided to do Nations Tri in DC. It was my first triathlon ever (7years prior) and for grins and giggles, I registered. Let’s see how I improved over the years.

I cut off 47 – FORTY SEVEN MINUTES – off my race time and came in 1st in my Division. 10 min off the swim and 37 min faster off the bike – run was essentially the same. WHO KNEW?!! Still, I didn’t even realize this until days later when I decided to look at the results. I didn’t even stay for the awards ceremony cause these Athena Maters (seasoned plum ladies) are fast a muthafugger. Yet when I looked at the results there was a 1 under DIVISON. Say what?

And email came – YOU ARE GOING TO ALCATRAZ!!

COLD ASS WATER for the swim, the HILLY streets of SAN FRANCISCO for the bike, HILLY climbs and sand stairs for the run. Jesus be some BioFreeze.


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Race morning came fast. Transition opened at 4am and you had to be on the buses to the Pier by 6am. Everyone had to be on The San Francisco Belle NLT 6:30 as the ferry left promptly. If you missed it, you did not race. I made friends with a bunch of great ladies racked near me and #2034 Melanie Detloff from New Orleans took me under her wing, kept me with her for the ferry ride and we jumped together. Having a buddy made that hour before the jump go by without getting in my head.

7:30am Time to Jump

Swim   46:02 (1.5mi)  1:45/100 yds

In about 7 min, they put 2000+ athletes in the water. There was no time to think, dwell, get in your feels or hesitate. You move like sheep towards one of two doors and step off and go. One minute I’m moving forward and then the next, I’m in the water and swimming FOR MY LIFE!!!

swimEQUIPMENT: Wax ear plugs, Neoprene headband, 2 swim caps, wetsuit, neoprene sleeves, neoprene booties.

The water was 54.7 degrees but to be perfectly honest, it didn’t even register that it was that cold. I thought, oh yeah, it’s a little cool, but byotch YOU BETTA SWIM!! For me. it was a literal fight – fight the current (swift and fast), fight to stay on course, fight to breath against swells and white caps (the wind picked up significantly by time all of us were in the water). Fight and yet, stay calm.

I got to what was about a little more than a football field away from the exit and I knew I was off course. I was swimming with everything I had…EVERYTHING…and going nowhere, I was getting no closer and I was drifting further away down the beach. I was gonna miss the landing if I couldn’t swim against this current.
A Jet Ski!!

Him: How you feeling? Whipped huh?

Me: Yeah, it doesn’t seem like I’m making progress and I can see the exit.

Him: You ain’t gonna make it. You are gonna end up about 2 miles down the beach. I need to reposition you.

If you are told you need to be repositioned, you don’t have any choice. You HAVE to do it or get DQ. You do NOT argue or debate the water safety people. Now, if you are repositioned or ask for help, you are no longer eligible for age group awards. BWAAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!!! Yeah, not my main concern, bro.

I had to pull myself up on a board on the back of the jet ski and he dragged me back way left of the exit. Him: Now get off and SWIM! Keep LEFT of the dome. LEFT OF THE DOME. GO!

I slid off and SWAM as if JAWS was on my ass. I MADE I IT. LAND. SWEET BABY JESUS and ALL THE SAINTS. LAND!!! I made it. I was FUGGING OUT OF THE GOT DAMN WATER!!!!

This was the hardest part of the race for me. I did it. It may be uphill on the bike and run, but as far as I was concerned, the race was downhill from here. I was skinnin’ and grinnin’ for the rest of the race. By hook or crook, I WAS GONNA FINISH!!

swimexitrunThere is a half mile run from swim exit to T1. You can leave a swim exit bag (mine had a pair of shoes, gloves, hand towel and water in it). The crew was awesome. I was asked my number and he screamed it out. I heard someone yell over here and I was directed to the row it was in. They were really not there to strip your wet suit, but the volunteer snatched me out of it. I stood on my towel, yanked my shoes on (slip on kicks), threw my stuff in the bag and was off to T1.

T1: 14:23 Don’t even step to me about transition times. It was a long run to warm up after the swim and YES, I took my damn time to get my shit together for the EPIC climbing I was about to do on the bike. I gobbled an egg and an applesauce, threw on my hydration pack and was off.


Bike    1:50:54 (18mi)  9.7/mph


Time to climb! My bike time was 7 min slower than when I did the course on the computrainer. Why? Cause on the computrainer you can go as fast as you can pedal on the downhill without riding your brakes, going off a cliff or crashing into some life sucking shit. I’m glad I at least practiced the course because for the love of all that is Holy, the climbs are LONG and STEEP and I knew that it was going to be a long grind. Just keep peddling – up and over. The descents were equally as long and steep AND FAST as hell. I saw 30+mph speeds and was screaming and riding my brakes on each one. I’m just not THAT fearless to just let go and let God. I knew He had me, but yeah, I wanted to arrive alive.


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I thought for sure that I would be able to get back without unclipping, but I (and the pack I was with) didn’t foresee the double climb. On the 1st long climb back to the finish (climbing after leaving Golden State Park, left turn up 100m and then hard right up short and STEEP), I hit that right turn, standing in the saddle and STILL couldn’t move the pedal. CLICK CLICK. I was off the bike with about 6 others and we walked and commiserated together. Two more long climbs and we were home free. Me and another lady played leapfrog up and down the last two climbs and kept encouraging each other to keep peddling, keep moving, almost to the top. I was ahead on the very last part of the climb towards near the bridge and I turned around to look for her and yelled. LET’S GO! COME ON! WE ARE ALMOST THERE!!

We were and we brought it in.


T2 8:35 I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. Worry ‘bout your damn self.

I was grinning like a Cheshire Cat! 8 MORE MILES and I WAS GONNA BE AN ESCAPEE!!! Just 8 MORE MILES! I can do anything for those 8 miles.elevationgraph2015

Run    2:23:54 (8.35mi)  17:14/mile

They say the race is won on the run. Since I wasn’t in it to win it – I didn’t give a fugg. Just wogg, shuffle and hump up and over the hills and GET IT DONE!!

The first 2 miles were flat out of Marina Green but into a headwind. The view of the bridge was spectacular. At mile 2 you had to climb stairs to the top of the park overlooking the bridge. You continue climbing for another mile. I was sticking to my 1:30/:30 intervals. I felt good. I was wogging happy. I made it to the top and then it was a steep descent onto the beach. I wish I could take a downhill like the other runners, but my knees can’t take it. I probably looked like a Weeble (they wobble but they don’t fall down) as I turned my feet out, extended my stride and shuffle/hopped side to side down the hill to the beach.

SAND. FUGG MY LIFE! There is NO POINT is trying run on loose sand. And then I approached the Sand Ladder…Put there by SATAN HIMSELF…sandstairs

Sand Ladder   8:55

400 wooden pile-on steps. Whose fugging idea was this shiggity right damn here! I looked up and told myself to not look up again until I got up there. Hunker down and climb and pull yourself up and along the best you can. 9 min later I was up at the top. A little more of a climb and then it was downhill to the finish.

I got to the top and texted Ron that was coming home. 3 miles left! I was filled with JOY!
(I ‘ont wanna hear your shit about my phone either. I didn’t have head phones and it was in my hydration pack so stuff it)

at the top

I laughed my way back. Seemed like the longest 3 miles EVER but I knew it was almost over.

finisherpix_2358_048340Ron was there waiting for me to bring it home! I was exhilarated. ESTATIC! I was going to finish! I was gonna ESCAPE!!

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I am so THANKFUL and BLESSED! The list of people that helped, supported, encouraged and coached me to achieving this goal is long. Know that I appreciate and love each and every single one of you.

And just so you know that I don’t have the big head…

I managed to swim across the San Francisco Bay, climb up and down hills on the streets of San Francisco, survive the sand ladder without injury or a mark on me. I climb the stairs in my own house, trip over the bar to the grandbaby gate almost going head first down the back stairs and hurt myself more, losing skin off my knee and knocking the wind out of me. That shit RIGHT THERE hurt more than ESCAPING FROM ALCATRAZ!!! The dangers of your own home will keep you humble. LOL!

Seriously???!!!! OUCH! That hurt.