Monday, August 17, 2009

Alcatraz Sharkfest 2009 Race Report

Here's the thing.

It is totally do-able.

Now I know. There is a lot of hype around this race. But the truth is.... you could do it too.

It was FUN. Kathy and I got there early. Probably too early. Like 5:45. Alcatraz was still shrouded in fog with the lighthouse beacon still cutting out over the sea. Slowly people trickled in and by 6:55 we took our last trip to the porta-john and suited up. It was cold so it felt good to be covered in neoprene. The pre-race talk didn't give much in the way of direction as I had been lead to believe and hoped. They joked about beach closings in Santa Cruz and other nearby locales due to shark sightings! Then all 900 of us (there were 1000+ registered) started the "parade" to Pier 41 to catch the ferry.

By the time the ferry actually departed we were sleepy and feeling sweaty in our suits. We laid our heads back and nearly fell asleep... he he. "Ho hum another race", we joked. Helped keep the nerves at a manageable level. To our surprise we rounded Alcatraz and circumnavigated the whole island ending up on the far eastern side, just peaking a view of SF. We were told to line up in groups of 3 and Kathy and I jumped to it. This was the best part. Just standing there in anticipation. All suited up and peering out through the dark large bulkhead out to the sparking sunshine and turquoise water. Like leaping into heaven. And then we jumped! The water was perfect. Refreshingly cold but no numbing.

We went straight to the start line (the other ferry had almost disembarked everyone) and wiggled our way to the front. And kept wiggling. Too many large men in the way. Literally not more then 1 min 30 seconds passed (just long enough to relieve myself, sorry folks) and we saw a visual countdown underway on one of the boats - 10 - 9- 8- 7 -6- 5 - 4- 3- 2- 1 ... and neither I nor any of the people around me waited for the horn. We just took off.

Here is where I unintentionally made a good move. I kept my head above water and swam "tarzan" for about 10 strokes. It kept me from being kicked in the face I am pretty sure. By then I had enough space to hunker down and get serious about going all out for a bit before settling into a normal pace.

It was choppy and there were small and quick swells. For those in Maine, I figure it was like swimming Pine Point on a windy day. Just doable but tiring. I admit I spaced out a bit in the middle of the race. I was able to sight pretty well off the large orange buoys on the back of the pace boat, but couldn't make out much more. During the middle 1/3 most people I could see were to my left with many fewer to my right. I thought this was good, but in retrospect I think I should have taken a harder in line to the right. I had to keep redirecting myself that way probably b/c of the current. Tony from the SCAQ blog reported that many swimmers (him included) were "swept off course by 300-yards or so due to an aggressive high tide flow moving through the bay". Probably this is what I thought was just me not swimming straight. Part of the fun of open water!

However once inside the breakwater, I was in my element. Only about 3-4 minutes of the race were left but I gunned it and passed LOTS of people here. It was much flatter and easier to make some good headway here so I enjoyed myself. This was fun!

Final stats:
47th OA / 655 in the wetsuit division (120 non-wetsuit competitiors)
7th woman OA
1st AG

Kudos to Kathy my fabulous training partner who was 3rd woman overall in 36:37 !! Way to go!

Only 2 Mainers in the race and we both won our age groups. Go Maine!

This is a race I will definitely do again.

Kathy and I in our post-race euphoria... yeah baby!!


Wendy said...

Very well done!!!

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

Ange said...

I"m so excited to hear about it!!! GREAT Job!!! how far was you know??
Very cool...

John said...

Way to go! Congrats on winning your AG and doing so well overall!

IronMatron said...

Great RR. You are such a fast shark. Kathy too. Glad it was AWESOME! Yeah for adventures!

Alejandro said...

Happy Birthday! Congrats on your finish in your age group and way to represent Maine! I’m very proud of you!

Julie said...

I'm so happy for you, and completely in awe!!! Congrats!!!

maria conley said...

Awesome job, Alina. Did you say 7th woman overall? That's great. You are a very fast. Congrat's.

Tony Austin said...

Congratulations! That was a hard race, way harder than the average Alcatraz Sharkfest. WAY HARDER!

I am signed up for next year!

Swimming for ME said...

Tony - Thanks....we are coming back in 2011 if it is planned for August again. It was just so FUN! And now I know how to handle those currents a little better based on your report.

MaineSport said...

Nice job. I did the same swim in the Escape Tri. It is a bit intimidating, and very unique!

Anonymous said...

viagra online

buy viagra

generic viagra

ninest123 said...

louis vuitton, ugg boots, louis vuitton, nike free, tiffany jewelry, tory burch outlet, chanel handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, prada outlet, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, louboutin outlet, jordan shoes, louboutin, michael kors, prada handbags, ray ban sunglasses, nike air max, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, longchamp pas cher, air max, air jordan pas cher, nike outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet, ugg boots, louboutin shoes, nike free, gucci outlet, longchamp outlet, nike air max, oakley sunglasses, longchamp, burberry, cheap oakley sunglasses, replica watches, nike roshe run, tiffany and co, kate spade outlet, sac longchamp, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louboutin pas cher, christian louboutin outlet, uggs on sale

ninest123 said...

replica handbags, nike air max, coach outlet, north face, north face, michael kors outlet, hollister, michael kors, ugg boots, oakley pas cher, burberry, michael kors, michael kors outlet, hollister pas cher, nike air max, ugg boots, nike free run uk, sac guess, coach purses, lacoste pas cher, kate spade handbags, true religion jeans, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet, hogan, mulberry, abercrombie and fitch, vans pas cher, true religion jeans, new balance pas cher, nike roshe, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet, timberland, michael kors, nike blazer, vanessa bruno, nike air max, converse pas cher, tn pas cher, michael kors outlet, air force, michael kors, lululemon, hermes, true religion jeans, ralph lauren uk, ray ban uk, coach outlet, ray ban pas cher

ninest123 said...

reebok shoes, instyler, nfl jerseys, wedding dresses, iphone cases, ray ban, beats by dre, ralph lauren, vans shoes, mac cosmetics, p90x workout, north face outlet, birkin bag, giuseppe zanotti, nike air max, babyliss, chi flat iron, celine handbags, asics running shoes, lululemon, vans, valentino shoes, new balance, oakley, mcm handbags, north face outlet, gucci, lancel, longchamp, nike air max, hollister, louboutin, hollister, ferragamo shoes, nike roshe, nike huarache, mont blanc, ghd, soccer shoes, baseball bats, converse outlet, hollister, bottega veneta, herve leger, insanity workout, converse, soccer jerseys, timberland boots, nike trainers, abercrombie and fitch, jimmy choo shoes

ninest123 said...

sac louis vuitton pas cher, doudoune canada goose, louis vuitton, barbour jackets, moncler, pandora charms, barbour, bottes ugg, thomas sabo, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, moncler outlet, toms shoes, moncler, moncler, canada goose outlet, links of london, supra shoes, pandora jewelry, moncler, coach outlet, swarovski, juicy couture outlet, karen millen, swarovski crystal, canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, wedding dresses, moncler, ugg pas cher, canada goose, canada goose, moncler, canada goose outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, marc jacobs, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, montre pas cher, canada goose uk, pandora charms, hollister, louis vuitton, canada goose, ugg boots uk, replica watches