Why am I doing the SF Tri at Alcatraz Race???

Alcatraz , Athlete Stories , Training Tips Add comments

By: Yoko Kasai

I ask myself that all the time.  I was a dorky little kid.  Pretty un-athletic, chosen dead last for all sports teams in PE, failed my swim test when I was 10.  I got into riding my road bicycle, my Pepto pink Trek about 5 years ago when I met my husband. He said that if I didn't start riding, we wouldn't be spending much time together. I fell in love with both my bicycle and husband. However, when he asked me if I liked long and gradual or short and steep hills, I replied "I hate hills of all kinds."

Last year, I met some people who were tri-athletes. They said, "you should try the Vineman Showdown! It's in San Rafael and it's short.  You can do it!" And so I did. Then signed up for the Tiburon Triathlon, then ended the year with the Tri for Real in Pleasanton.  I was of the mindset that the sprint distances were hard enough and that I could never swim nor run any further than those. Meanwhile, my triathlon friends were signing up for Coeur d'Alene and 1/2 Ironmans. So I made a goal this year of signing up for an Olympic distance and then trying to run a 1/2 marathon. Therefore, I signed up for Alcatraz... after all if I am going to do 1 Olympic in my life, it may as well be an epic one.

Training is tough. I'm a wife, mom of a 9 year old, own a real estate company, and have a wicked streak of laziness. I'm completely undisciplined in every way and routine bores me so training is challenging. Besides, I'm still not comfortable in the water nor have I discovered a love for running.  In fact, running is painful; my feet are flat, my toenail always falls off, I have a weird 'kick' in my gait and blister the insides of both of my feet if I ran farther than 4 miles.  Those thoughts bring me back to the original question; "WHY?"  And why Alcatraz?  I'm scared of the Bay... it's cold, dark and there are sharks in there. Every time I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and see the island, my heart starts to palpitate.

But, what I've realized through doing these sprint triathlons and training with my friends is that it's started this competitive streak in me. While I suffer through the race, I feel great afterwards and get a weird thrill at looking over times and identifying room for improvement. Last weekend I finished the 2011 Tiburon Tri and had a respectable Top 10 finish. My goal at Alcatraz is to finish without dying and I'll look forward to seeing how I do. I know that I have to step up my training plan.  I now officially have less than 20 days until the race.  eek.  Shoot, I should have gotten up this morning to go for a run or swim.  Instead, I had a bite of ice cream with my cup of tea.  I promise to be more focused starting now.

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