Monday, December 18, 2006

Jury's Out

After much careful thought and consideration, I've determined that I'd be an absolute fool NOT to go and do the Escape from Alcatraz. Thanks to all who commented on the race - everyone was in agreement and concurred that this is an important and awesome race. I'm pretty excited about it, although its hard not to be a little stressed out by the whole idea of it.

First the logistics of traveling cross country and 3 time zones to race. We're figuring on getting there the prior Wednesday to allow for plenty of jet-lag reduction. I read its also best to get there and try to acclimate to the water temp a bit - that gives me 4 days to jump in the water and get used, somewhat, to the cold. Looking at last year's pictures, it looks like at least 1/2 of the folks diving in off the San Fransisco Belle had the extra warm caps with chin straps on - I'll bet that I can make that determination (to buy one or not) once I get in the water on that Wednesday.

Do I ship my bike or do I go and get bike luggage and bring it with me on the plane? I'll be traveling to Chicago for the Chicago Olympic Tri too, so I'd manage to use a bike carrier more than once this year, but I don't know. You guys and gals with experience shipping your bikes could really help me out here with suggestions or experiences.

Mrs. Bigun is a city girl at heart; she's pretty psyched about the sightseeing opportunities and things to do right in that area. My cycling buddy, lets call him Bacon (worse yet, he's Canadian...) and Mrs. Bacon will be joining us as they love San Fran. I've found a hotel with some great reviews right up the road from the transition area - and it's "only" $110 a night.

My training attitude has changed overnight - today, given the choice of a good swim or good bike, I chose the swim. Neither were as planned, but I only had time for either a good bike and crappy or no swim, or a good swim and a really short bike. I'm just a little intimidated by this Alcatraz swim - is it obvious. The great thing about this will be working out one of those limiters - a weakness will become, well, not so weak - unfortunately I've started this swim thing so late in life that I can only reasonably hope to be a mediocre swimmer. Today's swim was pretty cool - I had a 1000m swim planned, and did it in 19:45. That's a 1:48/100yd pace - not too shabby for me - and I have flip turns to thank for that.

I ran into an old friend who's a biker - he leads a hilly 60m ride every Sunday morning just north of here - he promised to e-mail me the details Friday. Hopefully it's not too bad a training faux-paux to mix in some hill work with my base rides during the week. I've already noticed a huge increase in biking fitness in a few long weeks of base riding - today I was pressed for time to bike this loop and get out of the park before my car was locked in. So, I "stretched" my base HR up to around 140 - 142 range and rode between 19.5 and 20.5 in that range - that's a good 10bpm lower than where I was 2 months ago on the same loop. Granted, I only rode 12.5 miles right after the swim, but I'm still psyched with the progress.

The running, well, that's a bigger hill for this climber. I'm thinking the only way I'm gonna get any faster is to lose a bunch of weight. At 250, I'm just not going to see big gains in speed. I need to drop 20 lbs this winter if I'm realistically going to drop below, say, 9:00/mile for a 20k run. Once the new year gets by us, with all the food and drink distractions, I'll hit that project head on.

On a personal non-training note, the Bigun and Mrs. Bigun just celebrated our 13 year wedding anniversary! Hard to believe she's stuck with me this long. Here's to another 13...and more! Love ya, honey...


Anonymous said...

buy the neoprene cap NOW! the bay is cold! they are not terribly expensive so even if you don't use it your not out big bucks. I've never done the escape but i used to live in the bay area, the water is cold, spend the $20 now. :)

BTW i really enjoy reading about a fellow clydesdale training and racing. always nice to know i'm not alone in loving a sport my body wasn't built for. :) i was an offensive lineman throughout high school and college. now i'm around 250 - 265 and i've been doing tri's for a couple of years now.

The Stretch Doc said...

Congrads on the 13 yrs!!!
and totally awesome on the alcatraz! Will be following along as your time approaches!

Bigun said...

Thanks guys - lets try and get down to 235 together - I'll beat you there! I was 251.5 this morning....probably going up with christmas and new years festivities next week, then look out!

Ken said...

Hey Bigun,


Congrats on going to Alcatraz. Just remember to have fun. On that swim thing, I started swimming about 4 years ago and did the swim at Miamiman in 27 minutes. Just goes to show that us old folks can learn to swim. Especially with how tall you are, just use that huge wingspan of yours.

Bolder said...

congrats on 13 years!