Swim Around the Rock

Start of the Swim Around the Rock Race.

At about 11am I finally did it. After about 2 hours of swimming, I completed the swim from the shores of San Francisco, around Alcatraz, and back in nothing but a swimsuit, cap and googles.

Receiving a medal after completing the swim.

The flood tide was even stronger than expected and it swept me about 1/4-1/2 of mile east of the island on the way out despite my efforts to aim to the west. It also caused me to be swim several hundred meters to the west as I neared the beach. But all told- it was a fun swim in comfortably cool temperatures (62 degrees warming to high sixties in some pockets near shore).

My family was there to see me off and my sister and her family were there to see me arrive.

With the family after cleaning up. Alcatraz can be seen in the background.

Thanks also to the wonderful support kayakers and other swimmers who helped spur me on through some of the rough waters in the channel.

Travel to Alcatraz

Well, after a trip to Utah County, Park City, Salt Lake City, and Reno/Sparks…I finally arrived in San Francisco this evening. I picked up my cap and shirt at the Sports Basement for the Swim Around the Rock (Alcatraz) race tomorrow morning.

http://www.waterworldswim.com/SAR/information.html

I got the run down on the swim from a swimmer who swam the “test swim” this morning. The water temps a relatively warm 62 degrees. Currents are a little tricky near Alcatraz, but generally should not be a huge factor. The race starts around 8:30 tomorrow morning at the Aquatic park near the end of Van Ness Street. I’m not worried about wildlife or the distance…my only concern is that it has been a few months since I swam 90-100 minutes in the cold, but I should be fine as I have always performed well in temperatures even into the low 50s.

Now just need to get some sleep…

Hiking and Swimming in Color Country – Swim Around Alcatraz

On Saturday I opted for some time with the kids and tried to make a workout out of it too. I wanted to hike to the top of Signal Peak, the 10,300 foot mountain overlooking St. George. It became more of a workout than I anticipated when my 9 year old decided she was spent after only a quarter of the distance and I had to carry her 80 pounds on my back. We decided to find a nice lookout and turnaround. We’ll see if it helps my biking. 🙂

On Sunday, I finalized travel arrangments to the Bay Area for the Swim Around the Rock, the annual race around Alcatraz Island. I’m excited to be one of 20 or so participants to brave the 60 degree water in this 3.25 mile race.
http://www.waterworldswim.com/SAR/information.html

I did 6K swim at Summit Athletic Club on Tuesday morning.

Brick Workout at Sand Hollow

Met up with 8 Southern Utah Tri Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir at 6am. I had broken out in red bumps after Monday’s swim due to the “swimmer’s itch” parasite in the lake so I decided to try my wetsuit this time. Unfortunately I discovered that storing your wetsuit in 120+ degree heat for a few months allows the rubber to melt together. It took a good ten minutes to pull it apart and it had a number of rips and holes in the neoprene by the time I unfolded it enough to stretch it on…bummer. I did a 1.25 mile swim and did seem to avoid the itch this time.

Six of us continued on to do a nearly 40 mile bike ride. We went around the reservoir and through the farm country to Hurricane, through Hurricane to La Verkin and finally into Toquerville. We climbed some good hills out of Toquerville to the I-15 and then came down the frontage road through Leeds and Harrisburg to Quail Creek Reservoir and then back to the 9 and back up to Sand Hollow. I’m in serious need of hill work, but I was nearly able to keep up with leaders, Jamie and Rob. I was grateful for a couple of hydration stops.

Finally we did a run. I jogged 2 miles back from the reservoir towards the 9, turned around, and jogged up to the western edge of the dam and ran along it back to the parking lot for 5.5 miles.

Nice 45 mile workout morning. Now I just need to keep upping the distance so I can do the St. George Ironman’s 140.6 miles next May.

Early Morning Swim and Ride in St. George

I woke at 4:30am this morning to join the swim workout at Summit Athletic Club at 5am. The pool was very nice and kept at a comfortable (cool) temperature. The workout was a nice 2500 and I threw in a few extra laps to get to 3K.

I came back, grabbed a quick bowl of oatmeal and hit the road on the bicycle. I went from Bloomington the whole length of the trail that ran on the north side of the Virgin River through St. George to Washington. I climbed up to the Washington Community Center and then under the I-15 and back into town on Highland Dr., through town and back to Bloomington along the Virgin River trail. It was a fun 22+ miles and relatively easy 400 foot elevation gain.

Tomorrow is a full brick workout at Sand Hollow with a number of the St. George Tri Club who are training for the Utah Half Ironman next week…1+ mile swim, 40 mile bike, and 8 mile run. That is Olympic plus distance…a good get back in shape tri for me.

Exploring St. George on Bicycle

Last night I dropped by the Green Valley Country Club and did about a mile of laps in the pool after visiting some fun historic sites with the family including Brigham Young’s Winter home and Jacob Hamblin home. The tour guide was awesome and shared some incredible stories about this Mormon Missionary to the Indians.

This morning I decided I needed to get another bike in so I did 20 miles around St. George. I started in Bloomington and did a loop around Sun River towards the AZ border. Came back and took the Virgin River trail to River Road. Grabbed a trial membership at Summit Athletic Club and headed back down River Road through Bloomington Hills to the condo. There are some beautiful trials along the river which I highly recommend if you are in Southern Utah.

Running in Dixie

I was up at 4:30am so I could do a 5am coached swim that I had heard about, only problem was that I wasn’t sure where it was at. I did discover it wasn’t at either the Washington Recreation Center or the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center. So I hung out in Washington and did the 6am run with the St. George Tri Club. We did about 6 miles starting from the Washington Recreation Center and running up to the Golf Course and back. Great group of folks to run with and lots of great information about the events and workouts here in Southern Utah.

Thursday I’ll be a little smarter and head to the Summit Athletic Club at 5am. It is nice this area has so many great places to workout.

Swimming in Sand Hollow

Did a 6am swim with the St. George Tri Club (Rob, James and Jamie) in Sand Hollow Reservoir. The reservoir will be the site of the St. George Ironman swim. Apparently the reservoir currently has “swimmer’s itch”, a parasite that can causing rashing. Supposedly it was isolated to a shallow part of the lake, while we were swimming in the deeper area near the boat ramp. It was a nice mile-mile and a half swim…I dried off fast and I’m hoping that did the trick to avoid rashing.

July 4th Workout – Bicycle to Veyo

I had my bike reassembled last night after the long trip from Abu Dhabi and decided to break it in. The family had plans to drive to Cedar City for brunch and I asked them to pick me up in Veyo on the way so I could ride part of the St. George Ironman course. I rode the 32 miles and climbed 2000 ft. from Bloomington to Veyo via St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, the Shivwits Indian Reservation, and Gunlock. I was pretty bushed. Unfortunately that is just 1/4 of the route of the Ironman. I’ve got some work to do.

I came home and did a 3 mile run around the Bloomington Country Club before calling it a day.

Great BBQ and fireworks with the family in the evening.

Southern Utah

Flew back from the Middle East on Wednesday and went back to St. George where the family is visiting my in-laws. I think we’ll rent a place here for the summer until we determine where we’ll be long term. The possibility of remaining in Abu Dhabi is looking rather bleak after my original employer decided to shut down their Middle East operations and a couple of alternative job opportunities didn’t pan out.

If you know someone looking for an experienced Management Consultant and project manager, direct them here for my resume and background:
http://www.christopherroberts.info/

Training: Did a 5 mile jog along the Virgin River this morning and mapped out the St. George Ironman bike route. [Details] I think I’ll try it out tomorrow morning before the Gunlock Rodeo where the family is planning to meet for a steak and potato BBQ before the July 4th fireworks.

The Next Big Swim:
Also, I have been in contact with the helpful folks at the Yemen Tourism Agency as I plan the Gate of Tears swim. What a beautiful country! Click here to see more about this cool country and area: http://www.yementourism.com/. The information about the country has only increased my desire to go there. Apparently Al Quaeda strongholds are mainly in the northern and eastern hill country. Though the coast is a hotbed of Somali pirates, I’ll be swimming some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world where there are navy escorts. Though the Djibouti charter teams aren’t interested on account of the pelagic Tiger sharks- I am still hoping it can be negotiated safely with the right precautions. After all, the Catalina channel is the location of dozens of great white sightings every year, but 159 people have successfully crossed it.