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Posted by on May 29, 2014 in Blog |

Alcatraz: Then and Now

Escape from Alcatraz, my favorite race, is coming up this weekend. Given what happened to me last year I am excited to toe the line again this year. It will be my 8th time boarding the San Francisco Belle so I decided to take a look back at my history at this race.
The picture above is from my first Escape in 2006. I was living in Chicago and I had never seen hills like the ones on the bike and run courses. Everyone kept talking about the swim but I thought that was the easiest part of the day (aside from the cold). There are two ways to bike in Chicago; into the wind or with the wind. Technical descending is non-existent. Needless to say, I went backwards out of the water. However, the seed was planted and I wanted to come back. Finish time: 2:59.
2008 (I think).
In 2008 I returned and took 20+ minutes off my 2006 finish time. Finish time: 2:37 (ish).
I don’t have any pictures from 2009 but I finished second overall amateur to earn my pro card from USA Triathlon. Finish time: 2:35-6 (ish).
I think this is 2010 or 2011. I broke 2:30 that year and finished 7th. I was 8th in 2011 (no pictures).
2012 Swim Start
Making the pass for 4th 600m from the finish.
In 2012, I finished 4th in 2:26. Those off the boat before the horn shall remain nameless. But, if she was going so was I. I am in the pink cap next to the white cap on the right.
My only picture from the 2013 race (far left, bum to camera). I was terrified. The water “looked” so cold to me. And, it was. I ended up receiving heated saline IVs in Golden Gate park. I take some responsibility for this. I probably should have biked with my wetsuit on a’la Boise 70.3 a couple years back.
Alcatraz 2014: Going Big for Ryder

When I was a freshman at Michigan we had graduate assistant coach, Jeanne Gibbons (now Brophy). She was an amazing coach and became a close friend. At Big Tens my freshman year I was completely freaking out before my preliminary heat of the 100 Breaststroke–I used to get so nervous I would cry! She put her hands on my shoulders, looked at me and said “set it up, first three strokes.” She wanted me to believe in myself, execute my race and forget what was going on in the other lanes around me. If I set up my race she knew I would swim up to my potential because of all the hard work I had done that year. I will always remember that moment. Jeanne moved on to coach at Arizona but we always kept in touch and luckily, I would see her during the season at meets around the country. I watched her marry her husband Chris and build a family.

At Jeanne and Chris’s wedding in Florida.
Jeanne and Chris Brophy.

This past January Jeanne and Chris’s seven month old son, Ryder, died unexpectedly. June 1 would have been his 1st birthday. I will be racing with thoughts of Jeanne, Chris, Ryder and her other children. Their motto is “go big for Ryder” so I will be doing that on Sunday. And, of course, I am going to set up my race with my first three strokes.

 For more information about Ryder please click this link. The Brophys want to help out a hospital that has given them so much.