When I was preparing to donate a kidney to my stepfather, I was told that I could back out of the procedure all the way up until the moment before they knocked me out with anesthesia. After that, there was obviously no turning back. Well, in a similar fashion, I just purchased the non-refundable plane tickets for our trip to San Francisco, CA. So, with that, and the hotel reservations I’ve already secured, we’re pretty much set. There’s no turning back. Why, you might ask, would I want to turn back from that?
Well, before I answer, let me say that I know it’s going to be a great trip. We are using this adventure to mark two big events this year: our 25th wedding anniversary (we started dating in San Francisco, and our courtship was in Monterey, CA. So, it seems fitting to return to the scene of the crime…) Also, my stud of a husband (also affectionately known as “Gooberhead”) is turning 50 this year. So, we have a lot to celebrate, and we plan to spend a good chunk of time in Yosemite, the perfect outdoor-couple heaven; so, I really can’t wait for that!
Now, to the scary part… I haven’t written about my race schedule for this year yet. As I mentioned previously, I planned this year to be one of giving back. So, I don’t have the usual series of races and events all summer, leading up to a big race at the end. Instead, I sort of packed my whole season into less than two months leading up to June 1. After that, I will be coaching the absolutely fabulous participants of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training as they prepare for the Marine Corps and Baltimore marathons this fall… (I can’t wait to write about that, but it will have to be its own post…)
So what am I preparing for and what will cap off my short season? … Well, I have a few small running and swimming events, the Olympic-distance Columbia Tri (my alma mater of triathlon), and finally, my big race of the year… Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco on June 1! That’s the other reason we are bound for San Fran. And now we are locked in now, baby!
But the truth is I am totally petrified about the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Even after doing an Ironman, this much shorter race scares the wetsuit off of me. BUT! It is also very motivating. You have to enter a lottery to get into this race. Craig was the one who wanted to do it. We both entered. But I was the only one who got in. So, I really can’t pass up the opportunity. It’s definitely one for the ole triathlete bucket list! It would almost be like turning down a lottery slot in Kona.
If I can ever get completely healthy and back to a good training regimen, this race is going to push me in ways I’ve never been pushed before. I’m going to have to ride hills, and ride hills, and do hill repeats, and become a hill maniac. (This is SO not me right now. We’re talking about a serious transformation here.) I’ll have to face down the hill on Chesterfield that I really, really, really dread every day that I think about doing it. And, I’m going to have to go running on any beach I can find – so I can get used to running in the sand. Oh yes, and I’m going to have to do lots of open water swimming. The swim will be cold, choppy, full of current. Let’s just say you could throw in all the factors of an open water swim that you really hate (maybe even sharks?) and they could all happen in this swim. (Ok, maybe not the sharks. I don’t think so, anyway). So, there’s really no part of this race that is easy. The thing that makes it fabulous, though, is the scenery and the amazing locale. So, that’s what has got to keep me going. (That, and Ghirardelli chocolate and clam chowder in a big sourdough bowl from Fisherman’s Wharf 🙂 )
Since Craig isn’t doing the race this time, I really want it to be fun for him also. To that end, I know I need to be so ready that I’m not stressed out, and I can totally enjoy the heck out of it. That’s my goal. I don’t care about my time. I just want to enjoy it. I want to jump into that cold, crazy water and look around and think, “Wow, look where I’m swimming!” And then, I want to jump on my bike and ride those hills and realize I’m conquering the hills of San Francisco. And then I want to slog through the sand and the sand staircase on the run and look over at the Golden Gate bridge and realize I’m the luckiest triathlete in the world! That’s my plan 🙂
Here is a video to show you just how awesome this race is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RYnZ6lGv0E
photo credit: www.alainpicard.us via photopin cc
Hey Jenn –
Congrats on getting into the race. Two coincidences (haha): 1) I’m from Baltimore. 2) I live 10 miles north of the GG Bridge and my office is in the Presidio of SF and looks right out at Alcatraz. Not sure how soon you’ll arrive before race day but I’d be happy to give you and your hubby a tour of the hills around Mt. Tam. I just rode them yesterday (42mi, 5500ft climbing) and THEY ARE SO BEAUTIFUL! You probably know all about the “start” of that race and that part sounds the scariest to me. You also know the part about ‘aim for downtown and you’ll wind up at the Marina Green’. Aim for ‘Marina Green and you’ll be seeing the GG Bridge from below’. Send me an email. I can probably get Craig hooked up with a bike and/or he can borrow mine if you only plan on bringing your race bike.
Best of luck on your training. Ten days to the transplant…deep breath.
Wow, Patrick! That’s awesome. How many coincidences can we have? 🙂 It would be great to meet up while we are out there. Craig would love to ride those hills. So, we may take you up on that! I definitely have you in my thoughts leading up to your donation. Let me know if you have any last-minute questions that I might be able to shed light on. -Jenn
Hi Patrick – I realized later that I don’t have your email address or any other way to check in with you. So, I hope you get this somehow. I would love to know how your surgery went. Please comment if you see this! Hoping for the best! -Jenn
Hey Jenn –
I thought you could see my email address as I have to enter it to comment. It’s email@example.com.
I’m safely back in the Bay Area recovering. My brother is doing well. I am happy to be home but I have some follow up that I have to do that makes me wish I was closer to the transplant hospital. I have faith everything will be okay but I still require treatment that involves more than just R&R. That said, no regrets whatsoever.
I feel good and my brother is definitely much better than prior to his surgery. He dropped 20 lbs in fluid after the transplant. They said my kidney was beautiful :).
The magnitude of this journey is sometimes hidden and sometimes rolls over me like a wave at Mavericks.
Happy to converse more via email. Thanks for reaching out.
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