Sunday, April 8, 2018

Happy Kids Du #5–Ariel-2018

Date/Location: 4/8/18, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: Ariel: 37:29  (PR 31:53)
Place: Ariel: 3rd, 9 & 10 Year Old Girls


MY RACE STORY

BY ARIEL

1st RUN

I have been sick. I’m line up for the 5th and last duathlon. The race director says 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! I immediately start hurting but I keep running. I try to keep up with the 2 girls I saw in the 1st race but they are too fast. We all enter the trails. I can’t see the 2 girls anymore. I run down and up hills. I turn and twist. Then I see a road and cross it. I go through bushes and now I’m on the home stretch. I finish the first run and run into transition.

BIKE

I run Anna’s bike to the line and get on it. I bike out of transition and up the hill. I turn and go down a hill on to a long flat road. I bike fast so I can pass and get back in the front. I see a 2 girls and I want to pass them. I am getting closer and closer to them. I turn and then I do a big turn again. Then I do the big U-Turn. I pass the 2 girls. I go on the big turn again and then turn on to the long road again. I go down the hill into transition and get off Anna’s bike.

2nd RUN

I’m hurting and I’m tired. I run the path to the trails. I enter the trails. I still can’t see the 2 girls. I run down and up hills. I turn and twist. Then I see a road and cross it. I go through bushes and see some little boys finishing to. I start sprinting and I’m on the home stretch the finish line. I finish. I’m 3rd place.

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Mighty Dog 5K - Anna


Date/Location:

3/8/18 –

Granite Beach, Granite Bay, CA

Distance:

5K

Time:

27:24

Place:

1st, 5K Large Dogs

Teammates:

Manouch Shirvanioun

Oscar was doing great it seemed like with all the dogs, so I wasn’t worried about my race. I started to get more and more excited as the timer counted down. When the race director said go, I started running. But Oscar had a better idea of what pace he wanted to go. I tried to get Oscar to heal but he would not listen. I stopped to get him to know that I was the boss but it didn’t work. I kept stoping and trying to pull Oscar back.

Once I got to the first mile, dad told me to not stop but try to put my hand in front of Oscar. I tried what he said but Oscar still didn’t listen. Usually Oscar would heel to me, it was like he knew it was a race and he had to get to the front. I tried to trust God and not cry but it was hard.

According to the dog whisper, you shouldn’t have your dog in front because then the dog thinks he’s the leader not you. So it was hard when Oscar didn’t heal and just pulled me the whole way. We started to head back to the finish and I tripped and fell and dropped the leash. Oscar didn’t care he just kept running the race without me. Luckily there was a person in front of me who grabbed Oscar for me. I thanked him and kept running with Oscar pulling me.

I came though into the opening and felt miserable. Mom was cheering me on but it was hard. I turned around the corner and saw the finish, Dad and Ariel. I smiled and finished for God. I love Oscar even though it was not fun when he pulled me. It was our first dog race together but it won’t be our last. Thanks to God I got first in my age group. Could have been worse.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Happy Kids Du #4

Date/Location: 3/10/18, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: Ariel: 31:53, PR!   (Previous 32:05)
Place: Ariel: 3rd, 9 & 10 Year Old Girls

My Race Story

1st Run

I line up at the starting line for the 4th Happy Kids Duathlon. The race director says 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go! I start running up I go straight and the enter the trails. I go downhill then up the hill. I try to catch a girl that was in my previous duathlon. She’s not in my age group. I stay behind her. I tried to stay with her but she disappeared into the distance. Every time I go around a corner I see blue {which is the color she was wearing} go around another. I keep running. Dad cheers me on. I start to sprint to transition. I run into transition and put on my helmet. I run my bike to the line.

Bike

I get on Anna’s bike and go up a big hill. Then down a little hill and then I go on a long straight road. I keep biking and do a big turn. I see kids going back on the other side of the road. I go up a little hill then turn. Now I see kids coming. I do the big turn and enter the long road again. I see the girl I wanted to pass. I bike harder. I’m getting closer and closer. I pass her.  She says a good job and I say a good job back. But right in when I was going into transition she passes me.

2nd Run

I run out of transition. My legs hurts. I go up a hill and enter the trails. I do a zig-zag. As I run up a small hill and my legs are sore. I cross over a I see a lot of drift wood. Dad is waiting for me. He cheers me on. I see the long stretch to the finish. I feel exhausted as I run down the home stretch. I run around the corner and see the finish line. I sprint to the finish. I’m so glad I finished. I got 3rd in my age group.

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Chanoko 31K–Robin-2018

Date/Location:

3/10/18 – Auburn to Granite Beach

Distance:

31K (Approx 20 Miles)

Time:

3:21:07

Place:

2nd (40-49 Females); 4th Overall Woman



I want to keep my streak going of doing this race since it’s beginning in 2016.  It starts just a couple miles from our house and finishes at Granite Beach.  With it being a week after the Napa Marathon, results could vary.  It could go as well as last year, first overall and a 9:34 pace, or it can be more challenging.  I don’t really have high expectations and just want to see what I can do.

I get dropped off by Troy and Ariel at the Overlook. Ariel is off to do her 4th Happy Kids Duathlon at Granite Beach – the finish of my race.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see her race.  Anna won’t either as she’s off to the Regional Science Fair.  We will join her later.  We all pray for each other and the competitions we have ahead.  My main prayer for my race is to remain joyful no matter how I feel.

After getting ready, I go to the start.  I don’t recoginize anyone this year.  It’s a bigger crowd this time.  They’ve added a 50K so that has brought out more folks. 

Mark, of TBF Racing, starts us off and takes off ahead on his mtn bike.  This first part of the run is downhill to the river and I start off at sub-8 min pace to capitalize on this.

On our way down we take a detour on Stu’s trail.  It’s a short little loop named after former pro triathlete, Brad Kearns’ dog.  Then it’s down my favorite trail to run up, Cardiac ByPass.  I don’t like running downhill and especially with any kind of obstacle.  But I know there is going to be A LOT of obstacles today so better embrace it!  I think about Troy telling me to jump over the rocks.  I do a decent job moving along though I am passed by a few guys here. 

Continuing on Cardiac Bypass, I make the final descent to the river.  I’m averaging about 8:12 pace here at 3 miles.  The goal is to be between 9:34 pace and 10:08 pace by the end…hoping for closer to 9:34 but with the Napa Marathon just a week behind me, that might be a tall order!  I see Mark taking pictures and smile.

The pace slows to 9:02 as I continue on the next 2 miles due to the up and down terrain.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m actually catching some runners going downhill in some spots and it gives me confidence that my skills are improving.  I am able to pass a girl.

I am feeling certain my arch support has inched it’s way down to my toe.  I feel a lump that seems to be moving around some.  I try to ignore it but it’s annoying.  Maybe I’ll stop later on to check.  I also need to use the bathroom so maybe I’ll do both. 

I get a good rhythm going as I continue towards Rattlesnake Bar.  A girl passes me and she looks strong.  I try to stay close.  By the time I get to the PG&E power station around Mile 8, I’m hanging onto 9:05 pace.  I pass a guy who has stopped to rub his knee.  I tell him to hang in there and that I’m praying for him.  I say it kind of quiet so I think he doesn’t hear me.  I need to be bolder and unafraid to share the love of Jesus!

I love this part of the trail.  There’s a pond called Avery’s Pond here.  The trail is wide, the plants are beautiful and you can see the river.  Only 11 more miles. That sounds far!  I remind myself that last week’s marathon was much longer…sounds better but still a long way to go. Wondering if my energy will hold up!

I make it to Rattlesnake Bar.  As the aid station comes into view, I decide to stop and check my shoe. I get my water bottle filled up as I take off my shoe.  My arch support is where it is supposed to be so it must be my sock.  I try to straighten it out and then quickly put my shoe back on.  As I’m leaving, the guy with the knee issue comes up and asks for tape.  I want to tell him good job for persevering but I don’t because I don’t want to interupt.  I decide to take off and again regret not being bolder.

Somewhere in the next few miles is the start of the “Meat Grinder”.  It’s an up and down, twisting and turning section that can be very slow going. 

By Mile 14, it’s apparent that I’m in the heart of the Meat Grinder.  I cannot remember if the Meat Grinder is around 2 miles or more like 5 miles.  I’ll soon figure it out. 

In the last 4 miles my pace has gone from 9:12 to 9:37.  I can see already that 9:34 pace is not going to happen today.  I’m feeling tired and my legs are not feeling strong.  I’ve noticed my legs are threatening to go out from under me and I hit some downhill sections.  I’ve been having a Clif Blok about every mile now.  Now I just need to stay ahead of 10:08 pace!  I feel God reminding me to be joyful and just keep trying.

I catch up to a girl I saw in the beginning.  She’s doing the 50K.  We run together for a bit and chat.  We actually get a nice pace going for a bit when the trail is a bit more straight and level. It’s not long before another hilly and winding section comes.  Ok, the Meat Grinder is definitely more like 5 miles!  The gal stays with me for a bit more but then I pull ahead. 

By Mile 16, I’m averaging 9:56 pace.  Oh boy!  Just keep trying and just keep smiling!  I should be near the outskirts of Granite Beach park.  A girl flys by me.  Oh wow!  I could be in 1st, 2nd or 3rd depending on whether she and that other girl are doing the 50K.  And, who knows, maybe there are more girls out there from the start that I didn’t see.

At the start of Mile 18, I finally know I’m in Granite Beach Park. I see an Aid station and get to run on the paved road in the park.  It’s a short, by nice break from the trails.  I’m at 10:01 pace.  I think I can hold that until the end!  I am able to catch and pass a few guys.

Back on the trail.  I can hear Mike announcing though I’m still 1.5 miles from the finish…so close but yet still more to go.  Soon I hear “first woman”!  Ok, well that confirms it.  I feel God reminding me that I was happy just to be here and keep the streak going. 

I see Troy and Ariel with 1 mile to go!  They are cheering and smiling.  I smile back and wave.  I tell them it was hard but I’m glad to be almost done.  They jump in the car to race to the finish and I keep going. 

I hear fast feet approaching from behind.  It could be another woman so I pick up the pace.  I feel like I’m flying along though I’m probably not going much faster.  Suddenly a guy goes flying by and I breathe a sigh of relief.  I try to keep up as best as I can.  There is another guy ahead.  I wonder if I can catch him.

So close!  I can see the finish area…yeah!  Go, go, go!  I finish as fast as I can smiling all the way.  I point to the Lord as I cross the line.  So good to be done!  Thank you Lord!!

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Napa Marathon–Robin - 2018

Date/Location:

3/4/18 – Calistoga to Napa, CA

Distance:

Marathon (26.2 Miles)

Time:

3:32:10

Place:

10th (40-44 Females); 16th Master Woman

Teammates:


It’s been a busy week!  Yesterday was Anna’s first of two science fairs.  She did great finishing 2nd in her category!  There have been many, many hours invested and many late nights!  Troy and Anna have been working so hard and I’ve been trying to help by taking on some of their chores and also caring for Al, Troy’s dad, a bit more.  I admit that the stress has been high for me…and it’s really my own doing.  I haven’t allowed the Lord to help me and I haven’t been fully trusting that He can work things out.  This race has almost been an after-thought but it’s still a long race and it’s been looming on the horizon.  I’ve invested in the endurance training but not in speed so I don’t expect any PRs.  I just want to have a good attitude and smile.  The half marathon I did a few weeks ago was a challenge mentally.  I struggled to be positive and I missed my goal by a few seconds.  I was a bit of a grump after.  I just don’t want to go there today.  I want to enjoy this time running and being with my family.  Troy’s Dad spent the night at home with a caregiver giving us some much needed time off!

We spent the night less than a mile from the start.  Very convenient and it doesn’t require a super early start!  I get up and spend time in God’s Word.  I read John 7-9 and see the many ways Jesus proved He was the Son of God, one with God.  What a powerfuly creator I serve.  I want to glorify Him today! I warm up running around the hotel and get ready to head to the start. We pray together as a family

Over near the start, I do some drills and feel much looser!  Troy, Anna and Ariel find me in line for the porta potty.  They’ve brought a hoola hoop and jump rope that were in our hotel room.  Those girls just want to have fun and I love their spirit! 

Troy is confident that I can run 3:34.  I am just hoping for a sub-3:40 marathon like 3:37 which is 8:17 pace.  This is based on my half marathon race and lack of training at faster paces.  Troy set my Garmin Virtual (Race) Partner to 8:10 for a 3:34 marathon.  He actually set it for 8:00 pace based on the Garmin being 10 sec/mi off in the past. Garmin inaccuracies have given me false assurance that I’m running on pace in the past.  It can be pretty discouraging.  I’ve turned off my auto lap feature so it won’t give me mile splits.  Instead, I’ll track my splits by clicking off my Timex watch at the mile markers – Old School style. 

I say goodbye to my wonderful family and give Troy a big kiss.  Here we go!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Start

A horn starts the race and we are off!  Only 26 miles to go!  Just one mile at a time!  It’s foggy and very chilly this morning!  A guy near me complains that this race is supposed to be scenic.  It gets some laughs. I’m thankful for no rain this time!  I’m bundled up and feeling perfect.  I’m carrying my phone so Troy and the girls can track me better.

Mile 4. I’m averaging about 8:05 per mile and staying ahead of my virtual runner.  That’s faster than the 8:17 pace I was hoping for!  There are two girls that come up alongside me and are looking for their significant others.  They see them at the first real spectator spot.  One looks like a natural runner (orange shorts) and it seems like she’s really holding back.  Her friend tells her the pace is too fast so she slows down for her friend.

Mile 6. I get a 8:14 split, I realize that my goal is 8:10 and not 8:17.  It’s fine because I’ve been running under 8:10 according to my Timex.  I’m barely ahead of my virtual runner. 

MIle 7.  There’s another group of spectators (Deer Park Rd).  I don’t expect to see my family quite yet but out of nowhere I hear “hey Mom!”.  I look to my right and there’s Anna with a camera running alongside me!

  180304_NapaMarathon Robin Deer Park 7.5 d

What a nice surprise.  I reach out and give her a high five and a smile.  She asks if i’m feeling alright and I tell her my hamstrings are getting sore.  As I continue on, I hear some gals behind me remark on how moving the scene was for them.  Glad it touched someone!

I have a worship song in my heart just as Anna prayed for.  Thank you Lord! 

My hamstrings are bugging me more but thankfully I’m able to hold my pace.

Mile 9. I’m averaging 8:07.  Great!  Another spectator zone ahead (Pope St.).  There’s Anna again with Ariel getting pics and videos. 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Pope St 9.5 b

Anna takes off running alongside me again and tells me I look fast.  She asks about my hamstrings and tell her they are a bit more sore now.  What sweethearts!  Troy must be dropping them off…or maybe there’s a problem at home with Al and he’s on the phone.  I pray for that to not be the case. 

The virtual runner is ahead of me by less than 100 feet. I hope to catch up but in the least keep the gap minimal.  A guy with bunny ears passes me. 

The sun is out now but it’s still chilly.  I’m feeling comfortably dressed!

Mile 11.  Anna and Ariel appear again (Zinfandel Rd) without Troy.  It’s so good to see them but I wonder if things are ok at home. I prepare myself for the possibility that something is wrong with Al.  I tell the Lord it’s all in His hands and I’m just going to keep going and see what happens.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Zinfandel 11.5 c

I ask Anna as she runs alongside me again.  She says everything’s great with a big smile.  Must be fine then!

At Mile 12 I’m averaging 8:06.  This is great!  I hope to keep it up!  The virtual partner is just under 200 feet ahead and I’ll try to keep it that way.  Catching up is probably not an option.

At the half marathon mark I’m at 1:46.  That would put me at a 3:32 marathon!  That would be awesome but there is still a lot distance to cover!  In 6 miles is a “big hill” as Troy reminded me about this morning.  He also said that should be my favorite since I love hills!  I don’t know if it will really be love at mile 19!

The fast girl in the orange shorts flies by. She’s without her friend.  Wow, look at her go!  She is a real natural!  I have decided that I want to catch the bunny ears guy. 

It’s hard trying to catch up to the bunny guy but I’m getting closer.  I also see a girl with her hair in 2 buns next to him.  Maybe I’ll catch them both!

Just before Mile 16 (Oakville Cross Rd) I finally see Troy! He’s smiling and cheering me on.  I ask if everything is ok at home and he says “I haven’t heard anything”…phew, what a relief!  He says I look like I’m limping. I tell him I don’t think so but my hamstrings are sore.  He says they’ll pray for me.  A little further up are the girls.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 c

They are so focused on capturing the moment on their cameras, that they are silent…but smiling.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 f

Anna runs with me again and continues to encourage me.

At Mile 16, I’m averaging 8:04 pace. The virtual partner continues to stay ahead and it’s almost at 300 yards!  I catch the bunny guy.  I was hoping to catch up and rest but he’s slowed down. I look ahead and see another pack of runners to catch.  Must keep moving ahead and not let up!

I catch up to the next pack of runners and they’ve slowed down too.  I latch onto a runner going by and follow him to the next crowd of runners.  The fast girl in the orange shorts is gone along with the girl with the buns in her hair.  I set my sights on a girl with a big heavy sweatshirt on and wonder how she can run with that.

I see the girls again (Yountville Rd) just before Mile 19!

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville18 b180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville 18 d

Yeah!  But no Troy.  And I probably won’t see all again until the finish line.

At Mile 19, the girl ditches the sweatshirt at a box at the mile marker.  Wow, she must feel free now.  I’m climbing the “big hill” but it’s actually very subtle.  I pass the girl and look ahead to the next pack of runners. 

I think we turn off this road at mile 22.  Then it’s only 4 miles to the end.  I’ll have 2 main straightaways at that point in the race and I visualize myself running each one with focus.

At Mile 20, I’m averaging 8:04 but I’m still behind the virtual runner.  Despite the constant hamstring discomfort, this race is going well.  Thank you Lord!  As long as nothing goes wrong with my muscles in my legs, I just need to keep pushing and see what happens.  I think I can hold this pace. 

The “big hill” just turned out to be a long gradual climb.  By mile 21, I’m heading down.  Just a few miles to the turn.

A blond gal passes me.  I try to stay with her.  Pretty soon, I’m passing her back.  We go back and forth a bit all the way to the turn.  I keep thinking ahead to those 2 straightaways.  It’s going to be hard but again, if nothing is holding me back why not push it. 

Mile 22 comes and I can see runners turning down the road.  The virtural runner is ahead by a lot.

I make the turn.  Ok, stretch #1!  The blond girl is just ahead.  I push and pass her just at the Mile 23 marker. 

Halfway down the road I see our friend Eric Gilsenan.  I wave and he tells me good job. This is good timing because my brain/heart and body are having an argument.  My body wants to let up and cruise in since I’m well below my original goal.  But my brain/heart know that I’ve got to keep going. A 3:32 is looking very realistic as long as nothing goes wrong with my legs.

Here comes stretch #2…and there’s Anna! (Oak Knoll Rd) Wow, that girl is everywhere!  I love it!  Now I’m energized!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakknoll 23.5 c

Stretch #2 looks LONG and it’s because it’s the end of the race. 

At Mile 24, I’m at 8:05 pace and I’m am a bit closer to the virtual partner.  Oh boy, this is tough!  2 more miles of this??  I remind myself that I have less than half of a Tuesday Night track workout left!

There is a guy at the next aid station shouting “how bad do you want it?!”  My brain/heart wants to go for it.  My body is trying to get me to slow down.  I keep pushing and it feels like I’m running all out!  Troy and I have talked about how it always feels like that at the end. 

I make it to mile 25!  One more mile!  Thankfully a woman flies by and I try to latch on.  She’s pulling ahead some but she’s helped me to push harder.  I’m catching up to the virtual runner!

I finish stretch #2 and now i just need to weave my way through a neighborhood.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 a 

Go!  I’m going to get 3:32!  So close now!  I see Troy and Anna cheering me on! 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 b

Their smiles and cheers keep me going. I can see the finish!  I keep pushing!

Down the finish chute!

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I’m so happy and relieved!  As I cross the finish I look up to God and thank Him!  Wow, what a race!  What a undeserved gift!  Thank you Jesus!

180304_napa_marathon_robin_post_race180304_NapaMarathon Robin Finsh

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Happy Kids Du #3–Ariel-2018

Date/Location:2/24/18, Granite Bay
Distance:1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time:Ariel: 34:19 (8:12-1:00-15:35-0:33-8:54)  (Previous 32:05)
Place:Ariel: 3rd, 9 & 10 Year Old Girls


My Race Story

1st Run

I line up at the starting line for the 3rd Happy Kids Duathlon. The race director says 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go! I start running up a big hill I try to catch a girl that was in my previous duathlon. But she’s not in my age group. But she’s too fast for me. I try to stay with her but she disappears into the distance. I enter the trails. Every time I go around a corner, I hope to see the girl I was tiring to catch. But every time I go around the corner, I never see the girl. I keep running. Dad and Anna cheer me on. Mom cheers me on too. I start to sprint to transition. I run into transition and put on my helmet. I run my bike to the mount line.

Bike

I get on my bike. My bike peddle wouldn't move! I start to cry.Mom comes to help. Then a race person comes to help. He quickly fixes the peddle. My chain had fallen off the axle. I get on my bike and go up a big hill. Then down a little hill and then I go on a long straight road. I keep biking and do a big turn. There is a little boy in front of me. he is fast. We keep passing each other. He is with his mom. I see kids going back on the other side of the road. Then I see the girl I wanted to beat. She dosesn’t look so far away maybe I can catch her. I go up a little hill then turn. Now I see kids coming. I do the big turn and enter the long road again. I pass the little boy. I bike up a small hill and down a big hill into transition. I see the girl I wanted to beat just starting the run!  I take off my helmet.

2nd Run

I run out of transition. My legs hurt. I go up a hill and enter the trails. I do a zig-zag. As I run up a small hill and my legs are sore. I cross over a I see a lot of drift wood. Dad, Anna, and Mom are waiting for me.  They cheer me on. I see the long stretch to the finish. I feel exhausted as I run down the home stretch. I run around the corner and see the finish line. I sprint to the finish. I’m so glad I finished! I got 3rd in my age group.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon (Troy)

Date/Location:

2/18/18 –

Davis, CA

Distance:

1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles)

Time:

1:41:03

Place:

7th (45-49 Male)

Teammates:

1/2 Marathon: Matt Pistone, Robin Soares
5K: Anna Soares, Ariel Soares


It’s a beautiful day for the family to compete together in Davis.

My training has been minimal (again) for this event but I do have 2 10-mile runs and one of those was the tough Resolution Run.  Today I hope I can stay with Robin to provide her company and support in her prep for the Napa Marathon.

All 4 of us do our warm-ups.  My right ankle / Achilles feels tender and starts to make me anxious but it is a reminder to rely on God and recall the countless times He has taken care of things outside of my control.

We talk to the girls about the plan.  We start our race and they start theirs 10 min later.  They will finish and get their warm clothes and wait for us.  We all pray and try to set our focus on the Lord in the efforts we’re about to attempt.

Robin and I discuss the goal pace: 7:37 for a 1:40 1/2 marathon.  We spot the run pacer and are ready to run.

Go!  Soon we find we’re about 50 yds behind the pacer, negotiating a lot of runners.  It’s a new course for us so new scenery.

Mile 1. 7:24. Thinking ahead we plan on the highway over-crossing to be where we can catch up to the pacer. The course goes on more shady bike paths – which Davis has a lot of. We’ll run this part again for the last 2 miles.

180218_davis_stampede_half_troyMile 2. 7:32. I’m realizing that my Garmin isn’t accurate.  I estimate about 10 secs off per mile.  [I’ve adjusted all my splits in this report accordingly] We pass by the park where we started.

Mile 3. 7:25. We climb up and over the freeway. This is where we said we’d catch up to the pacer.  We’re now only 20 yds behind so it’s not hard to bridge the gap as we descend from the overpass.  Nice to accomplish that goal.  We’re on a long stretch on a frontage road and it feels easier now.  We’re in close with the pacer group and all seems great.

Mile 4. 7:38.  Our pacer seems to be a little more winded than he should be.  As we head North, I notice the 11 mile mark is at the start of the overpass hill and that will be a great milestone to get to.  Only 7 more miles!

Mile 5. 7:42. Running along bike paths in a green belt is very nice.  Our pace group has broken up.  Some runners dropping off and others going ahead.  Our pacer tells us, “it’s still a long race to go,” in order to calm us down and be patient.

Mile 6. 7:40. Either we slowed down or the pacer picked it up, as we are now about 100 yds back.  I start calculating our pace from the mile markers and announce we’re a little ahead which is good.   Robin says she’s feeling tired so I know it’s starting to get hard for her and she’s already digging deeper.  I have to use the restroom and think there’s one at mile 7 so I pull ahead in a plan to be able to catch back up afterwards.

Mile 7.  7:40. There’s no bathroom. Must be at Mile 8.  We’re on the gravel section along the golf course.  I told Robin that this section should remind us of Auburn. I catch up to the pacer and another runner asks if I’m a part of the Auburn Tuesday Track group.  I find out it’s Matt who has come out a couple times.  Robin is only 30 yds back, still running strong, but I need a bigger gap if I’m going to make a pitstop.  I pull ahead more looking for the Porta Potty.

Mile 8.  7:31.  Finally, at the 8.5 aid station I find a bathroom.  I’m quick but still Robin gets 60 yds ahead.  The pacer made a stop, too, so both of us are trying to catch up now.  I’m surprised he’s working pretty hard.  I can see Robin and Matt running together.  Finally, by the end of the path I catch up to them.

180218_davis_stampede_half_tro2yMile 9.  7:46. It good to be back together.  We’re on pace, but we don’t have a pacer.  I carefully calculate our pace each mile now and let Robin and others know.  I remind Matt and Robin to be ready for the bridge, a huge milestone to get excited for, because it’s “all down hill after that” (well, not really, but it sounds good)

Mile 10. 7:42. Through more paths and green-belts.  And then into the wind on a long stretch to the Mile 11 bridge.  I really try to get the troops excited.  But then I start feeling a strain in my calf and consider that if I have to slow down I’ll try to send them off to reach the goal.  I ease up a little and try to be really efficient.  It starts feeling better and by the bridge it’s fine again.  Thank you, Lord!

Mile 11. 7:50. We’re at the big bridge!  It will take our mind off of the long miles to be able to focus on the climb and enjoy the descent.  Matt pulls ahead. Robin is strong and maintains pace up the grade.  She’s great at climbs.  However, dropping down the back side she takes it conservatively and doesn’t get the 5 secs to be easily gained.  Robin doesn’t like the descents as much as I do.  1-1/2 mi left.  I’m focusing on being an encourager for Robin, and Matt when he’s near, and this keeps my mind off of the sore legs.  It’s going to be close for making our 1:40 goal..

Mile 12.  8:03. We need a 7min mile. I’m feeling pretty good and could pick it up a little but right now the joy is in seeing Robin have her best race possible.

Mile 13.  7:46. I check the time.. 1:40.. but we have to wind through the park.  We’ll be a little over but it’s so great to be done.  Thank you Lord for a good day!  And our girls are there to greet us and tell us about their races.

I really thankful to be able to finish so close to the goal without any serious pain or misery.  Just some soreness.  The best part was being able to run with Robin the whole way.180218_davis_stampede_half_troy_finish