Dr. Ashley Titan
Posted May 11, 2020
MEET DR. ASHLEY TITAN
General Surgery Resident, Stanford University Hospital
We had the chance to catch up with Dr. Ashley Titan recently about work, training, and life in general since the pandemic hit.
EFAT: When did you race in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon?
AT: I have done Escape in 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019. I also did it as a relay with my family in 2010. I will be joining in 2021, and hope to join 2022 as well!
EFAT: How’s the last ~6 weeks [since the pandemic hit] been for you?
AT: The last 6 weeks have been very interesting and terrifying at times, but there have also been moments of joy. As a health care professional, this is the first time in my life I was scared to go to work. I didn't want to bring COVID-19 home. Any time I work a shift in the hospital when I come home, my boyfriend leaves a bag outside the house I fill it with my dirty scrubs walk inside start the washer on high heat, and take a hot shower before I greet him with a hello kiss, in hopes to reduce risk of transmission. However, it is my duty as a doctor to step up and continue to provide the care that my patients need. When I am not in the hospital I am working in a basic science research lab investigating how the tendon-to-bone interface heals after partial rupture/tear in hopes to improve the healing process and reduce the risk of re-rupture. During this time training has been a sense of peace and continues to be a place where I can allow myself to feel the calm of the world despite all the chaos at present. That is why I thought it was so important for me not to give up on my dream to complete and Ironman distance given that I had put a year of training in. Now my 140.6 is not about a time but instead is about safely bringing people together in a moment of joy. Escape from Alcatraz has always been that for me and my family (#TeamTitan).
Peaceful training ride in the Bay Area
Getting creative with training at home
EFAT: How has your experience training for and competing in Escape/triathlon equipped you to take on the challenges you’re facing now?
AT: The first time I did Escape From Alcatraz I was 20 years old a well-established cyclist and runner, but a lousy swimmer. The first time I crossed the bay for Escape From Alcatraz, I was terrified, but I knew that my Uncle, Boomer Titan, and my dad, Steven Titan, were there at my side and they swam on either side of me (and possibly doing the backstroke at times), and I ping-ponged between them as I learned how to site one of the most technical swims in the country. In the middle of the swim my Uncle and Dad had me stop and do a 360 to take a moment and take it all in. It was beautiful. I got to the beach and I kissed the sand so proud of that accomplishment and so grateful to have my family support me through that. I was smiling ear to ear with black sand all over my face. My mom, Liz Titan, has volunteered on the boat every year my dad has done the race (which is at least 15 times). When I think about Escape it reminds me about love for my family, togetherness, resilience, grit and the importance of exercise. These lessons have proven essential during these times both in the hospital and at home.
From training days to race days, family plays a big part in Ashley's triathlon experiences. Pictured here with dad Steve Titan.
Ashley and dad Steve have crossed many finish lines together!
EFAT: What’s one piece of advice you would give to triathletes during this time and as they look to pivot their training and adjust their expectations for this Tri season?
AT: Triathlons are not just about race day, they are about the journey to the race day. Your training buddies. Your awesome workouts/rides/runs/pool swims/OWS that you do.
EFAT: Just for fun: One word you would use to describe the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon
AT: I couldn't think of just one... so here are a few: #TeamTitan, family, togetherness, resilience, grit, perseverance, "notEatenByAShark", "NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender", and Escape
#TeamTitan after another family race together
UPDATE: Since this Q & A, in early May, Dr. Titan completed her mission of going for 140.6 miles (Ironman distance at a Social Distance), which she dubbed #EscapeQuarantineMan. This self-supported "race" had over 20 people partaking in either spectating, swimming, biking, and running, all at an appropriate social distance both in the Bay Area and the country at large.
Ashley and crew did the first half to the Alactraz bike and then biked back to Portola Valley and the rest of the course was up in the Peninsula
Completing the 140.6 mile mission!