Doug Flutie's triathlon debut, at Alcatraz, goes swimmingly (sort of)
We don't know what Lamisil is paying Doug Flutie to hawk its foot-odor-and jock-itch-conquering unguents. But we don't think it's enough.
Flutie, who is expected to start at quarterback for the San Diego Chargers this season, flew into San Francisco last Saturday to do some stumping for Lamisil, the title sponsor of the next day's Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. "I thought I'd be doing some p.r. work," he said. "I didn't know I had to participate in it."
That oversight helps explain why, the day before the grueling race, Flutie, 38, unwittingly jogged three miles at the Chargers' practice facility, did a vicious hill workout, then played 2� hours of pickup hoops. "My legs were trashed," he says. When he checked into his hotel, however, Lamisil execs had news for him: We'll send your wet suit up to your room tonight, they said, and get you set up on your bike in the morning! "That's when I started thinking, Oh, boy," says Flutie. "I wasn't scared. I'm in great shape. I just hadn't trained for this at all."
Most alarming, he hadn't been in a pool in "two or three years." The swim is by far the nastiest leg of the Escape, and this year's was the most difficult in recent memory: choppy seas and San Francisco Bay's powerful currents-one of which pushed swimmers back toward the ferry from which they had jumped. "I swam my ass off for 10,15 minutes, looked back, and the boat was right there," says Flutie. "That's when I said, "The heck with this.' " He signaled for assistance—which was available to every competitor—and was taken on a smaller boat to calmer water, near the coast. He finished the leg from there.
As it was, Flutie swam more than a mile of the 1.5-mile course, completed a hilly, 18-mile bike ride and an eight-mile run in less than 3� hours, finishing about an hour and a half slower than men's winner Chris McCormack. (Olympic silver medalist Michel-lie Jones won her sixth women's title, in 2:16:21.) Not bad for a guy participating in his first tri.
Despite his aquatic ordeal, it was the climbing-intensive bike leg that Flutie recalled with the least fondness. "At times I wanted to get off," he said, "but [ NBC] had a camera on me. I'll be damned if I get off the bike while someone's got a camera on me."