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Will I Escape Alcatraz? By Tom Collins

by Alexandra Parren
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escape from alcatraz triathlon Sundried ambassador triathlete USA

The countdown has begun and on June 3rd, I face-off against the unquestionably intimidating and universally bucket-listed Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon!

Nervous? Me? Absolutely! The internet is littered with videos and stories of this legendary race: the highs and lows, the successes and failures, but when I line up on that boat ready to face the strong currents of that icy, choppy and shark-infested water I can only hope that I am able to turn those nerves into a single sentence mantra: “You got this!”

There is no way I could say that I am ready, or that I have trained as hard as I could have. Ultimately, the Gremlins got to me too many times. I mean they had a fair bit of help in the form of unexpected levels of work and home stresses and a bout of tonsillitis that put me out of action for over a month... but they did get to me and I just couldn’t beat them off all the time. 

Not to say that I haven’t trained at all... I mean: I still ride to and from work, a few run intervals, maybe a swim or 2 and a long run each week, a long bike here and there, so I am not in bad shape... but could be better. I am currently out in Tampa, Florida and enjoyed a particularly hot 22km run just this afternoon as my last long run before taper week and whilst my recycled coffee Olperer men's training T-Shirt was my obvious choice... not even that could wick away the buckets of sweat... sorry Sundried!

So why do I think that suddenly I am going to be able to say “You got this!” ? Because my goal has changed. I believe that I am nothing, just lost in this world without my family and friends... and so made the decision to focus on them; if that means not going swimming first thing in the morning so I get to have breakfast with my son, or not getting out for a long ride at the weekend so I can spend the time playing at home, visiting friends or even shopping with my wife... so be it and more importantly... I just gave myself a break. I mean why let this become a needlessly added stress!?

I do want to say at this juncture, I have the most supportive wife, she never asks me not to go training and is on hand to listen to my boring chat about meal prepping and homemade energy snacks... but in order for me to be fulfilled, I need more than just training and racing, I need my family, I need to know that I am supporting them  them as much as they support me. So if you are feeling the pangs of guilt over not training, or not being at home as much as you would like... give yourself a break and maybe adjust some goals, you will be surprised at what you will still be able to achieve!

And so it has been for me, for the past few months, I have found that putting time into my family has been more important than putting time into my training; and that has led to a shift in my goals (more on those in another post to come)... which for this race is simply to enjoy it, give it everything that my body has and soak up all that this iconic race has to offer. Whatever the time, whatever the result... it really doesn’t matter as long as at the end I can call myself an “Escapee!” 

About the author: Tom Collins is a dad, triathlete, and Sundried ambassador. 

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