How to Escape from Alcatraz Alive

Photo via Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Facebook.

This Sunday I am embarking on a new challenge; I am taking a stab at escaping from Alcatraz.  After months of training and six Ironman Triathlons in my pocket, I am heading to California to take my chances with what even I call a crazy race.  I have watched this race several times on TV and said, “Dang!  That looks really hard!”  The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon Website describes the event like this:

“On June 10, 2012, triathletes from around the globe will descend on San Francisco for one chance to attempt the impossible – ESCAPE from Alcatraz. The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon attracts World Champions, Olympic Medalists and the best amateur triathletes from 50 states and over 40 countries. They will put their endurance to the ultimate test as they take on San Francisco’s icy waters, steep hills, and rugged terrain. Consistently ranked as a favorite event among Triathletes, this event draws thousands each summer to find out who has what it takes to ESCAPE!

Participants are printed with a race number prior to an Ironman competition.

The 2012 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon features a 1.5-mile swim through frigid waters from Alcatraz Island to the shores of the St. Francis Yacht Club, a grueling 18-mile bike ride, and a demanding 8-mile run through the trails of the Golden Gate Recreational Area. Set against the natural beauty of San Francisco, this thrilling triathlon is a virtual postcard of the City by the Bay.”

My kids think this race sounds, “awesome!” but everyone else I talk with looks at me with a puzzled grimace and asks, “why do you want to do that race?” and “aren’t you worried about the sharks?”

Heck, I’m an Alaskan, I train with moose, bears, and angry pickup trucks who try to run bikers off the road, sharks are not at the top of my nervous list.  Actually, the answer is simple but never seems to satisfy the inquirer, I want to do this race because it looks really hard.  That is actually the answer.  Setting a challenging goal, working hard to prepare for it, and then standing at the starting line knowing that there is no way I will not finish the race is priceless.

I have also found that if I sign up for a race, I will not press the snooze button when the alarm buzzes in the morning.  Instead, I will happily bounce out of bed knowing that each day I workout, I am getting closer to being ready for the race.  This is a commitment to exercise that benefits me in both the short term and the long term and I have have a lot of fun along the way.

So what’s next, I’m not sure yet.  Looking forward to Sunday, swimming with 2,000 other athletes in the rough waters, biking the steep hills of beautiful San Francisco, and seeing what my legs will do when they hit the sandy beach.

For more information about the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, visit