Monday, June 05, 2006

I Escaped from Alcatraz

Beth and Chris at the awards

June 4, 2006
San Francisco, CA

Swim Exit

This was the first time this year that i didn't mind getting up at 4:25am for a race. Lately, I've been questioning getting up that early for a race; why, when I can sleep in, would I choose to get up that early??? I was excited about this race and I actually felt ready.

Run to Transition

Jay relaxing at the awards

The day before (Saturday) I had a nice bike and run with Beth and a short swim in Aquatic Park with Beth and her homestay Gordon. He belongs to the Dolphin Club and invited us to go with him to the club and a swim. The water was cold and both my head and Beth's were spinning. I've never had that feeling before and it wasn't that the water was any colder than I was used to. Unfortunately, Jay forgot to bring his wetsuit (he wasn't racing, but he could have gotten in and swam the day before) so he went to grab a bite to eat while we swam.

Jay, Beth and me at the awards

Later in the afternoon I was scheduled to do an interview with IMG. It took about 10 minutes and I thought it went okay. I'm not sure if it's for the DVD or for television, but I'll find out soon. At 5pm we had our pro meeting where the announcers proceeded to tell us about the Sand Ladder Challenge. There would be timing mats at the beginning and end of the 400 step sand ladder on the run. It would time each person for the steps and then find out who was the fastest up the climb. I told Beth that I'd like to win it! I'm not sure if you get anything for winning, but it be a cool title for at least one year!

Linda Gallo

Sunday morning I was up at 4:25am like I said. I drank my coffee and ate part of my plain bagel while getting ready to leave. Jay dropped me off at the transition area and then went back to the hotel to sleep for a while longer! Lucky guy.
I was surprised to see that I was the first pro to arrive! Usually there are quite a few "early birds" but for some reason, I took the cake this morning! Not long afterwards though Beth showed up and we got our transitions set up. Because there is such a long run from the swim exit to T1 you are allowed to drop off a bag with an extra pair of shoes to run in; I usually just run barefoot and by the end of the 800m run on the pavement my feet are on fire. This year I decided I would put a pair of shoes in the bag just in case I decide to use them. After dropping that bag off, Beth and I rode our bikes for a short while making sure everything was good to go.


I was debating whether or not to carry a spare tubular with me and if I did decide, where I would put it. I finally thought that it couldn't hurt to have an extra spare with me and with electical tape and rubber bands I secured the tubular, tire irons and co2 into my second bottle cage and hoped that it wouldn't bounce out on the bumpy roads of San Francisco!

Me on the stage

After our ride, we put our running shoes on and went for about a 3 minute run as time was flying by and I didn't want to catch the last bus bound for the pier. One last glance at my transition area and we caught the bus. I don't know why, but both Beth and I were so giddy on the ride to the pier. Maybe it was nerves or maybe we weren't quite awake yet, but it was a fun bus ride!! Once at the pier we found a marking pen and body marked our selves and then stood in line for the port-o-potties. I was lucky enough to get in before Erin came around and zip-tied the potties shut forcing the rest of those in line onto the ship.


Once on the ship there was nothing to do but sit and wait and chat with friends. It took about 35-40 minutes to get out to the island and position the boat. Then we made our way outside and lined up according to our race numbers. With a few minutes before the horn was to sound, we climbed over some chains and stood on the 1 foot ledge while holding onto the railing waiting to jump into the bay. The horn sounded and the male and female pros jumped and dove into the cold waters of the San Francisco Bay. I had a good position and decided to follow the swimmers on my right. I got behind a girl and was able to stay with her for the majority of the swim. The water wasn't cold although I eventually felt my fingers going numb, my body was warm, almost too warm at times. The weather when we jumped was sunny with an easy breeze, but within only a few minutes of swimming I remembering looking up to sight and noticing grey dark clouds. The water began to get rougher and I knew that we must be in the channel. It gets rough in the middle of the swim then usually it calms down and makes for a pleasant swim into the finish. But this year, the rough water seemed to last until the very end of the swim. It made it difficult to maintain a proper stroke especially when your hand enters air instead of water! I don't even want to think of how much salt water I swallowed out there!! After exiting the swim at the St. Francis Yacht Club and climbing the slippery steps towards our bags, I quickly striped my wetsuit off and decided to put on my shoes that were placed waiting for me. My swim time was 34:40. I began my run towards T1 and was very glad to have those shoes on my feet! What made the tranisition even longer was the run on the grass to the back of the transition area before heading to the front where my bike was racked. I had a quick transition but had some difficulty getting my feet in my shoes and ran into the fencing and had to get off my bike and start again. I could only laugh, try again and then continue with my race! How funny.

Top 10

There was such a strong head wind on the way out but I kept pressing as I had a time goal for myself on the bike. It was to ride a 52 minute 18 miler through the streets of SF. I was able to pass a few girls going out but didn't see any more girls on the way back into T2. No female passed me on the return either which I was thankful for! I was quite a ways off of my time goal (57:04)which I attribute to a very strong head wind.

Jay and I after the race

As I pulled into T2 and got my running shoes on I noticed Sam McGlone and Pip Taylor heading out on the run. I wasn't too far off and my goal was to try and catch them. Toward the beginning of the run I was able to pass two other women on my quest for Sam and Pip. I could see Pip in the distance but I unfortunately never caught her or Sam for that matter. I got to the sand ladder and completely forgot about the challenge; I was focusing on Pip who was just ahead of me. I passed a few age group men and continued to focus on Pip. We got onto the pavement and had about a mile and a half to the finish and she slowly pulled away.

The Infamous Sand Ladder

The street was lined with spectators yelling and cheering and taking photos which really spurred me on and I picked up the pace to the finish line. My run time was 52:46. I placed 8th and was happy to be in the top 10...which was my original goal. My overall time was 2:29:47.

Run Lexi Run

After the race I had an appointment with the Power Bar photographer for a photo shoot. I rode my bike down to Chrissy field and found the warehouse where they had set up. It only took a few minutes, but I had to clean myself up and redo my hair! It was fun and I hope I get to see what the photos look like!

A wave to the crowd as I finish

I made it back in time for the awards and after we stepped off the stage and were collecting our checks Terry Davis looked at me and said so and so won the sand ladder challenge. I didn't hear the name so I asked him who and he said me!! How funny that I completely forgot about it; but I won by 1 second over Becky Lavelle! Again, I don't know if I get anything for it but the honor was sure nice!

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