Hey everyone, welcome to my blog. Here I will give race reports and updates on training. I will try to keep it as up to date as possible. You can also follow me on twitter @bauer_andrew for more frequent updates. Enjoy!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Throw Back....Friday - Escape from Alcatraz Weekend

OK, so it's been a year since I've last written a post.  Sorry about that.  Life is busy!  I'll try to keep this one short, because we all know long blogs are less likely to be read all the way through.  We'll start with a fire-drill of race results so far this season:

Oakland Half Marathon:
I was so pumped to be 100% healthy after 2 years battling Achilles and calf problems, I decided to give a half marathon a go with minimal training.  I was also happy to run the Oakland Half, as it is my hometown.  Only having run one official half marathon prior, I was hoping for a PR, but wasn't expecting one.  I ended up with a huge PR to take 2nd place in 1:11:03.  It showed my hard work was paying off and I was even more excited to get this triathlon season started.

HITS Napa Olympic Triathlon:
Being 3 weeks before Wildflower as well as my first triathlon since July of last year, I was happy to race this low key Olympic event in Napa.  Rebecca and I made a weekend out of it with some good friends.  I had a great swim getting out of the water with a minute lead.  On the bike, the lead quickly diminished and by the time I was off I was sitting in 4th place, losing over 4 minutes to the leader.  With all the work I had been putting into the run, my bike has dropped off a bit, however I was strong on the run and caught the leader before the 5k turnaround.  I came away with the win, making it a great rust-buster for Wildflower!

Wildflower Long Course:
When I thought about Wildflower this year, I envisioned redemption.  Last year was rough...as you can see from my previous blog post.  I was very under-trained and it was my very first 70.3 experience.  I feel like I had learned a lot since...but the bike course still scared the hell out of me.  I really felt like this year was going to be a good one, especially with the altered course (2-mile run after the swim to T1).  I had the best swim of my life (even better than last year) to get out with the main pack.  I still really had no idea where I was in the field until I ran past Rebecca 1 mile into the run to T1 when she yelled "6! You're 6!"  I also heard people cheering for Jesse Thomas behind me!  Any time Jesse Thomas is behind you, you are having a good race!  Unfortunately that was only the swim/run.  The bike proved just as difficult as last year.  I lost up to 15 minutes to the leaders over 56 miles.  That's a lot.  Needless to say, Jesse wasn't behind me anymore.  I was able to recover for the run and use it to my advantage (unlike last year).  I ran myself from 21st off the bike up to 13th at the finish.  Overall, a great performance for me and still a TON to learn.

This brings us to the topic of this blog - Throw Back...Friday.  I know, I missed it by a day - I had a busy day at work.  Let's rewind to TODAY in 2008:

I'm sitting at Pete's Coffee outside Sports Basement Walnut Creek with my coach at the time, Wayne.  I was brand new to triathlon, in fact I only had 1 race under my belt.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Wayne took out a paper and pen and drew his best diagram of the San Francisco Bay with a little circle in the middle and labelled it "Alcatraz".  He then drew a bunch of arrows going towards the Golden Gate Bridge and said don't swim straight to the swim exit, but rather aim for different buildings at different points of the swim.  With only 6 months of swimming (ever) under my belt, I now knew I was in for a struggle.  "No problem" Wayne said, "Make sure you stop in the middle, look left and look right.  Check out both bridges and take a moment to realize where you are.  It's awesome!"  Stopping in the middle of a race?  I wouldn't even think about it.  Well, I did that year and it was awesome.  I finished my first Escape from Alcatraz that year, swim, hilly bike, sand latter and all!  I've come to think of this race as my home course and have competed every year since.  Here are some pics throughout the years:
2008 up the sand latter for the first time
2009 Run
2008 head to the finish!
2009 - 2nd in age group
2011 Finish

2013 Swim to Bike
2013 out of the water - very cold
Last thing, I promise:
One of the cool events going on during Escape weekend is happening tonight at Sports Basement Presidio.  Eric, the voice of Escape will be going through the course giving pointers and info to you athletes on everything you need to know for race day.  That starts at 5:30.  At 6:15, Andy Potts and myself will be there to answer any questions you might have about the race, triathlon in general, and life as an athlete (and full time employee).  We will be signing autographs after.  Here's a sneak peak at my super cool post cards, courtesy of Tanner Von J (photo) and Michael Stricklan (making it all happen).  Which one is your favorite?