It’s amazing what the human body can do! And what’s more amazing, is all the different shapes and sizes of human bodies that can do it! Follow me?
No, well, here’s what happened. Kevin and I decided to walk down to the Marina Green in San Francisco to watch “The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The Bay was an azure blue with little white sailboats floating by.
It was a beautiful day for the 1,800 wetsuit clad people, who had just plunged off a ferry into the frigid 55 degree water, then swam their way to the beach at the Marina Green, battling currents, and braving sharks (really small ones, but sharks nonetheless) and even sea lions as they made their way to the shore.
Listen, I’m no swimmer and I was thinking swimming for a mile and a half is certainly more pool lengths than I’d be interested in…even if the pool was heated. But that’s not all! These folks are just simply amazing and not just the pro’s! I’m talking about the people who are not professional triathletes, people like you and me, and Kevin, and my women friends who are of a certain age.
There were the young athletes, people in good shape, people with beer bellies, folks who had seen the better side of 5o, there was a blind man who was tethered to a guide, people who have lost legs in the war, and some kids! All of them amazing!
I don’t know who these folks are but they have the courage to jump off a Ferry in the middle of the Bay, swim the 1.5 miles to shore, get out of the water, run almost three quarters of a mile just to get to where their bike is, change out of their wetsuit, grab their bike and take off on an 18 mile race through Crissy Field, along the coast on the Great Highway, through Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park and back to the Great Highway retracing their ride back to the Marina Green.
But wait there’s more! How about a lovely little 8 mile run?
From Marina Green, the group runs to Fort Point, just below the Golden Gate Bridge. From Fort Point they battle the Presidio Headlands up and under the Golden Gate Bridge through the tunnel and onto the Coast Trail. through the Coastal Defense Batteries on the narrow trail above the Coastal Bluffs to Baker Beach, where they hit the deep sand of Baker Beach. Then these poor people have to run up the dreaded Sand Ladder (400 steps up the cliff). If this doesn’t give you leg cramps I just don’t know.
There is nothing like it anywhere in the sport of triathlon. More than one triathlete has used the hand cable to help them walk up the stairs.
Then, they get to run all the way back to the finish line. Most of them make it. And even those who don’t have a tale to tell. For those who do, the last half mile is a sea of cheering, clapping, admiring spectators, many like us were simply awed by the achievements of these people.
The winner finished the race in a little over two hours. Some took more than twice as long. But who cares. They did it.