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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
12/22/09 10:07 A

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"I always have a plan for limiting panic and for managing it when it hits."

That's a great philosophy, and I am sure it will serve you well. I am so excited for you that you get to do this race!

DESERTFLOWERG's Photo DESERTFLOWERG Posts: 1,437
12/21/09 12:55 P

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I was born in Northern California and have lived in SF, East Bay and South Bay. Unfortunately, I had not yet learned how to swim when I was living there - but I always envied the people I saw going for swims year round in the bay. The Bay area is my favorite place in the whole world and I have wanted to do the Escape from Alcatraz from the first time I heard of it. I imagine this will be the hardest event I ever do (can't see myself ever doing a half or full IM). Yes, the whole race will be a challenge for me.

I've already set up a formal training schedule . . . which will be a first for me. I never followed any schedule for my sprints or Olympic events. For lack of organization, I like the Nike slogan "Just do it!" But I realize, this time, I will need the confidence booster of having completed a full training schedule.

I do have a wetsuit and hood and love swimming in a wetsuit (just hate getting the blasted thing off when hands & feet are numb with cold).

I have swum in chop before -- don't like it at all -- but have always struggled through the various panic attacks. Would prefer not having panic at all, but the one time I went into a race overconfident, thinking panic was a thing of the past, is the time it bit me the hardest. So, since then, I always have a plan for limiting panic and for managing it when it hits.




Desertflower
5'5"


When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . .
Henry David Thoreau


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SHORTY20's Photo SHORTY20 Posts: 7,138
12/21/09 8:24 A

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No real advice, but congrats on getting in, that seems like a really cool race!

Be fearless.
You only fail when you stop trying.
"The cure to anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." - Isak Dinesen

5K PR: 25:28 (Nov. 09)
5 Mile Race PR: 44:36 (Dec. 2011)
10K PR - 58:03 (Oct. 09)
15K PR - 1:29:59 (Apr. 2011)
Half Marathon PR - 2:03:39 (Apr. 12)
Marathon PR - 4:48:55 (May 2011)
HELENGUNTHER's Photo HELENGUNTHER Posts: 286
12/20/09 9:24 A

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Wetsuits, hoods, and booties are a must for water that temperature. But make sure you practice swimming in the wetsuit many times prior to the race. Maybe the extra buoyancy will help eliminate some of the panic. Also, check with the website/race director and make sure they allow snorkels. Some races just don't allow them. And as Gladgad said, see if you can take a vacation somewhere where you can get in some open water swim practice, especially in rough water. And her suggestion to have friends practice rough conditions with you should help a bit.
Congrats on getting into such a prestigious event! Remember, the entire race is a challenge. I hear the bike and run is pretty hilly, too. Just think what great shape you will be in by the time you are ready to race!

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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,617
12/19/09 5:32 P

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Yes, a wetsuit will help immensely with the buoyancy in addition to the salt water. In fact the web site highly recommends wetsuits AND hoods. That's some cold water!!!

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
12/19/09 4:52 P

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First of all, congrats! I always thought that looked like such an awesome race, and I am sure you will kick some butt!

If you have trouble finding the bracelets for pressure points, talk to a travel agent--they frequently recommend them for cruise passengers and might know where you can find them in your area (one travel agency I knew used to sell them). Dramamine makes me sleepy too, but Bonine doesn't. If you decide to try any kind of medication, try it beforehand and see what side affects you have. You won't know if it will help with the seasickness, but at least you'll know if it'll put you to sleep.

Also, do you have a wetsuit? That was my saving grace in my first ocean swim, under post hurricane conditions. I could easily float on my back to combat the panic attacks at the 8' waves.

Good luck!

DESERTFLOWERG's Photo DESERTFLOWERG Posts: 1,437
12/19/09 3:05 A

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I'm going to look for that pressure point bracelet. It's too weird feeling seasick while swimming. I've never tried the mask & snorkel. I'll have to think about that.




Desertflower
5'5"


When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . .
Henry David Thoreau


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DESERTFLOWERG's Photo DESERTFLOWERG Posts: 1,437
12/19/09 3:00 A

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I know I'm so lucky!!! I am so excited about doing this. The lottery opened on December 1st. The last two years, I missed the sign up for the lottery (at the Escape from Alcatraz website), but I probably wouldn't have qualified because I had never done Olympic distance until last summer.

I've already mapped out a day by day, week by week training schedule for myself. I've never followed any training schedule before and I think completing an orderly training should boost my confidence as I go into this.

I don't know if going last in my age group will solve the problem -- In my first Oly, I got swam over by wave after wave behind me (lol). . . I'd just be getting one panic in check when somebody else would swim right over me and it would start again. Quite horrible as an experience, but I did get through it and finished the race. My next Olympic, with a mile swim, was an absolute delight -- not one moment of panic, just pure enjoyment. Each race is always different.






Desertflower
5'5"


When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . .
Henry David Thoreau


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JUNEPA's Photo JUNEPA Posts: 7,864
12/18/09 11:25 P

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You are SO LUCKY to win the lottery for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. How do you enter that lottery? One good thing about that race is that the swim portion is one-way, so you won't have to worry about being swum ( is that a verb?) over, especially if you go last with the object of doing the experience, not going for a personal best time. YOU ARE SO LUCKY !!

June -- Pacific Time Zone
Where you end up is more important than how fast or where you start out.
- Improved fitness and nutrition, energy and confidence are my rewards.
It is our choices...that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
A PH (personal high) is the main goal, a PB is the sometime icing on the cake.
Never underestimate the inevitability of gradualness.
Sopra le nebbie delle valle e le vicende della vita sorge una promessa di luce e serenita.


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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,617
12/18/09 9:21 P

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The best advice I can give you about the swim, then, is to be the last one off the boat in your group. Decide ahead of time that you will NOT be racing the swim - you will just be swimming the swim. Many times what brings on panic is starting out too fast or being over anxious about starting off well.

If you feel comfortable in a mask and snorkel, maybe bring that just in case. Personally I prefer it (yes, it's USAT legal) as it's easier to continually breathe, I don't get splashed in the mouth with water, and it's easier to see where the feet are. I am in a more relaxed state when using the mask & snorkel. But that's just me. For some people it makes them claustrophobic. Others feel it looks silly and yet others feel it's cheating. I say do what makes your feel comfortable as long as it's legal!

With regard to the sea sickness, there are wrist bands you can buy at your local drugstore for less than $10.00. They look like a sweat band but they have a hard plastic bead in them. You put the bead up against a pressure point on the inside of your wrist and that is supposed to help sea sickness. I have known for that to work. Don't take dramamine - that stuff will make you sleepy, and you sure don't want that during a race.
emoticon emoticon

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
DESERTFLOWERG's Photo DESERTFLOWERG Posts: 1,437
12/18/09 8:03 P

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I do know open water swimming and my unpredictable reactions and that is what makes me quite nervous about this.

There is really nothing I enjoy more than open water swimming. In non race conditions, I come out of the water feeling fantastic -- like I've been doing meditation for an hour, instead of any physical activity.

On the other hand, when panic sets in, fighting against that panic leaves me absolutely exhausted and disheartened. And last year, under race conditions, I had to deal with panic in all but one of my open water races. I've never had to jump off a barge into freezing water either! Yikes!

Physically, I know I can do the swim. I'm not sure I can handle the panic, if it comes. I need to be able to prepare for this mentally. The best mental preparation is to do the swim several times before. But I'm in Colorado and so that is not going to happen.

Any advice for the sea sickness I experience in waves?



Desertflower
5'5"


When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . .
Henry David Thoreau


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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,617
12/18/09 7:23 P

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I don't want to bring you down or be negative, but you might want to think this through this a bit.

As one who did not do any meaningful open water swimming prior to my first tri which consisted of a rough ocean swim, try to take a weekend and go somewhere where you can get into the open water - preferably near the location where your race is. If you're a strong swimming you should be okay without prior exposure, but if you're nervous about any part of it, you may want to seriously think about getting some experience prior to the race. Open water swimming is a completely different animal than pool swimming. Don't forget water temperatures. The Bay is one freezing cold swim.

I tend towards the conservative side of things, and don't go too far out of my comfort zone, but if I decide to take a risk, I take a calculated risk. I try to think of everything that could go wrong or that I may face and prepare myself physically and mentally. So if you decide to do the race, then I would suggest you get into the best swimming shape you can. Swim 5 days a week if you have to. Have your friends dunk you, kick you and elbow you while swimming. Have them pull off your goggles while dunking you. Do this is in deep water where you can't stand up.

Figure a 1.5 mile swim might take about 45 minutes to over an hour. If the conditions are bad, it could be longer, and you need to know you can take it for that long. Honestly, I don't want to discourage you, just to give you some food for thought.

You know yourself and your limits better than anybody else.

BTW - Congratulations on winning the lottery into the race!!!

Edited to Add: Hey, I just saw that there is an open relay division. If it turns out you don't want to do the swim, ask the race directors if you can enter a relay team. I'm sure you can find someone who is interested in doing just the swim.

Edited by: GLADGAD at: 12/18/2009 (19:27)
-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
DESERTFLOWERG's Photo DESERTFLOWERG Posts: 1,437
12/18/09 4:51 P

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I was just notified that I was selected in the lottery for the Escape from Alcatraz!!!! It is being held early this year, on May 2, 2009. This is so exciting. I feel like I may be in over my head, on the one hand, and, on the other, that I may never get another chance to do this. I really want to do this, but I have a knot in my stomach. Can I get trained to do this? (I did two Olympic distance tri's last summer, but slow.)

Where I live I will have no chance to do any open water training between now and then. I have never swum in the ocean. In choppy lakes (when there is a strong wind), I experience sea sickness and I can be hit by panic at anytime. I'm worried for my first open water swim of the season to be jumping of a barge into the San Francisco Bay with hundreds of other bodies. Since I can't actually do any open water training, I guess I'll have to do mental training?
Any advise on how to tackle this challenge?

Edited by: DESERTFLOWERG at: 12/18/2009 (16:52)

Desertflower
5'5"


When it's time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived . . .
Henry David Thoreau


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