Saturday, October 2, 2021

Troy’s Tour-of-Auburn Marathon

Date/Location:

10/2/2021 Auburn, CA

Distance:

26.2 M Run

Time:

3:56:47 (9:00 pace)

Ever since Robin’s Tour-of-Auburn Marathon in May, I’ve been mentally preparing for this.  The Tour-of-Auburn Marathon is a course I made up for a mock marathon for Robin to do to prepare her for her Couer d’Alene Ironman.  Normally, the Napa Marathon is the race we use to prepare but it wasn’t available this year so I tried to simulate it in Auburn.  The Napa Marathon has 560 ft of climbing but the best I could design in Auburn was 1,640 ft of climbing.  The Napa Marathon also has 860 ft of descending.  In Auburn, the best I could do was have the end of the course finish down in the canyon for a total of 2,230 ft of descending.  This made the Tour-of-Auburn course have 3 X more climbing and 2.5 X more descending than the Napa Marathon course… pretty close.

It’s basically a pretty tough coursse and watching Robin persevere through it to the end convinced me that I needed to show the same perseverance and do it myself.

So this morning at 6am I’m doing the Tour-of-Auburn course!  Robin and the girls are supporting (they’re so awesome!) and Jon Seely is going to run the 1st 1/2 with me.  I’m mentally ready because I’ve been thinking about it for almost 5 months.  I’m also physically ready and that credit goes to the Lord.  I’ve dealt with significant foot injury for a year and early on couldn’t imagine running a marathon.  But the Lord is faithful and little by little He would keep me encouraged to press on.  He’d give me a little help, I’d get excited, and then I’d need more help.  In this way He kept me relying on Him weekly.  And the more I relied on Him, the more success I experienced.  My foot pain isn’t gone, but with the form changes and experience of seeing God get me through so many training runs, I have great confidence that I will make it through this marathon!

It’s been a hot summer but now the temperature is perfect.  It was hot when Robin ran it in May so I have a big advantage.  I jog to Skyridge School in the dark.  Robin and Jon are there waiting.  We gather together and I pray for the day.  I’m so thankful to be here, but I also know I desperately need God’s help in this run.  Without it there’s no end to all that can go wrong.  Including getting injured just 3 weeks before my Ironman California race.

I have a pace chart calibrated for the hills so I’ll know if I’m behind or ahead.  The goal is 9min pace and a 4hr finish.

Go!  We start off circumnavigating the school grounds.  It’s been a special place for Robin and I as our girls attended 6 years here.  Daddy Daughter Dances and jelping with Jog-a-thons, XC races, and Movie Nights are special memories.  Jon is a great pacer and keeps the conversation going to make the miles go by fast.  We pass by Vic and Cheryl’s house, great friends of ours that we see twice a week at church and Bible Study.  Then along the flat part of Indian Hill.

Mile 4.35 Maidu Market.  I’m a couple minutes ahead of pace as we pass our local South Auburn market.  Then behind the Nickel’s house.

Mile 5.17 Railhead Park.  I’m drinking well.  Robin is biking alongside with water and my Vitargo drink.  it’s important to drink a lot.  I stop at the bathrooms (but the time keeps going).  Railhead Park is the site of Cross Country races for the girls now that they are in Jr High and High School.  It’s a place we frequent often.

We continue on the canal trail, past McGregor’s Garden, and by Wyatt Hamilton’s house.  Wyatt has been an inspiration, he was the 16yr old that we supported as he set the 100mi World Record last December.  He’s at a cross country meet this morning.

We also cruise by the Carnahan’s house.  Glen has put on probably 100 races in our community over the years and we appreciate so much what he’s done for the local athletes.

We cross Hwy 49 and start up the big hill of Lincoln Wy.  I’m feeling good and focusing on running form.  My foot is doing pretty good and I’m loving these new Saucony Guide 14 shoes.  Robin and Jon encourge me to the top.

Mile 7.75 Top of Foresthill Ave.  yay, at the top and still 2 min ahead of pace.  We enjoy the jog around Aeolie Dr overlooking Auburn and old Olive groves.  Jon has never seen the views from here.  I’m glad he’s getting a chance to see new parts of Auburn.  Robin is keeping me on track drinking.  I’m 1/2 way through 1 of 2 bottles of Vitargo.

Mile 9.15 Placer High Track.  1 Lap around the track where we have enjoyed Tuesday Night Track for the last 12 years or so.  So many friendships made here.  And great times of prayer afterwards.  Now we tour through the campus, up by the band rooms where Anna participates and into the rustic neighborhoods behind.  We pass by the Glass Family house, more good fiends, and owner of Shear Perfection if you ever need good landscaping work done.

Mile 10.48 Overlook Park.  This is the site of many race starts/finishes, especially the past Resolution Runs.  1 time around the park and then we drop down onto the Placer High and E.V. Cain Jr High cross-country course.  Robin and I have spent a lot of time on this course and have thoroughly enjoyed watching amazing runners from schools all around race on it.  After a loop through Railhead Park again we continue on old cross-country trails and then onto the NID canal.  This canal is hugely popular and probably the ground I run the most.  Usually with Oscar, who is at home right now.  He would have loved to join us but a little too complicated.

Mile 13.6 Home. 2:02.  2 min ahead.  After the climb up to our neighborhood we’ve hit the 1/2 way point!  Anna has an Aid Station waiting for me.  Ariel joins me on her bike.  Jon has been great and will pull off soon.  A surprise pace, Karen Nickel shows up and runs with me!  I’m so fortunate to have such great support. Thank you, Lord.  I know the hardest part is ahead but my energy feels good.  My foot is hanging in there and I know God is the one holding it together.

Mile 15.9. Skyridge School. I use the porta-potty here.  This is the high point of the race again.  The next few miles will be nice but then one more time to the high point.  Circling through the Skyridge Neighborhood streets there are many memories and houses of friends we cherish.  I remember the Slater family that moved – Scot’s goal was to be an Air Force Chaplain.  We all remember Brad Kearns’ family that used to live here.  I go by the Peterson’s house and by Karen Nickel’s house.  A great neighborhood!

Mile 18.1 ARD Park.  We circle the park which has our local pool – site for many Robalos and High School swim meets.  It’s a beautiful park with a .7 mile walking loop.  Now we cruise through Race Track St. and go by the Warda house and our special friends, the Lane’s.  Lots of underluating hills now.  I remember how tough this was when Robin did it.  And because of that I’m extra mentally prepared.  Up to Auburn-Folsom, and into the Fair Grounds parking lot.  Legs are getting sore now.  This parking lot was the site for some track workouts when the High School was closed.

Mile 20.3. Railhead Park. 3:02. 4 min ahead. I made it back to the park.  Another bathroom break.  20 mile is a great milestone.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing this run.  Up to Auburn Folsom for a long stretch.  And now a tough climb back up to our house.  The good news is it’s the LAST climb before miles of downhill!

Mile 22.3 the Korn’s House.  Annette Korn ran a daycare our children attended when we first moved here.  More great memories.  As I round the corner near our house, Anna has her car with a mobile aid station in the back.  I grab some oranges and push on. Robin goes to get the car.  Ariel is supporting me. 

Running up Maidu Rd I feel amazing!  I pushing each leg down with new vigor.  I have plenty of energy.  It’s quite amazing.  I also realize that my pacing chart was for a 4 hr finish, but not a 9:00 pace finish.  I’m at 9:10 pace and will need to pick it up to break 9:00.  I don’t know that it’s possible but I’ll try and will be happy with whatever I get.

Mile 22.7.  Maidu Top! 3:26.  4.5 min ahead. It’s all downhill now.  Ariel has Robin’s phone in her back pocket placying worship music.  It’s so wonderful.  This definitely “makes running great again”  as Ariel sometimes jokes.  I’m pushing the pace downhill.  I feel like I’m sprinting but the pace barely comes down.  9:07 now.  Continuing down, the top of my right foot is getting sore.  I try to relax some while keeping up the pace.  Along the Dam Overlook road, it’s a beautiful view.  Robin is waiting with Oscar!  Yay, he gets to do that last couple miles.  Ariel turns in her bike and runs with me.  For the last mile Robin also joins the run.  Now 4 of us run along a flat deserted road.  Pace is 9:02.  Is it possible?  I’m running like crazy.

Down into the parking lot.  1 more short loop around the gravel pit.  And to the finish!

Finish 26.2. 3:56:47. 9:00 pace.  Done!  Thank you, Lord!  Exactly 9:00 pace which is a great bonus.  I’m tired and sore but don’t feel like I damaged anything too much.  Praying everything feels better in a few days.  Today was better than expected and the support was amazing!  I really feel ready for the Ironman now.

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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Save the Legs Triathlon (Troy) temp

Save The Legs Triathlon (Troy) 2021

Date/Location:

9/25/2021 Sacramento, CA

Distance:

2.3mi Swim – 56mi Bike – 4mi Run

Time:

5:17:18  (1:07:56-6:54-3:24:33-4:01-33:53)

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My family is supporting me in a mock triathlon made up of a 2.4mi swim (on the IM Sacramento course), 56 mi bike (from Sacramento to Auburn) and 4 mi Run (around neighborhood).  We call this a “Save the Legs Triathlon” because of it’s short run and use it when getting close to the Ironman.

A friend, Erica Chan, who is also doing IM Sacramento, set the swim portion on the actual course.  We arrived at the American River beach area and were greeted by the IM Swim Course director’s assistant in a boat.  Because part of the course crosses the busy Sacramento river, it can be very dangerous so she came out to help us.  We also had a kayaker, a paddleboarder, and Courtney Cardenas was supporting with his ski boat after he had just finished supporting Tim Sorenson’s triathlon team doing the same course.

Robin & Ariel helped me get ready and then took my bike to the swim finish at the “Pyramid Building” in West Sac.  About 20 of us started casually.  The water in this part of the American River is hardly moving, shallow, warm and stagnant smelling.  Despite being warm, I still start getting cold because I waited for an hour for the rest of the swimmers to show up.  Still, it’s a thrill to be swimming down the middle of the river in such calmness.

We go under the I-5 freeway bridge and the Jibboom St bridge, which is cool, and then are directed to the beach to re-group before crossing the busy Sacrmaneto River.  This is where Courtney stepped in to help with his P.A. system-equipped wake-boarding boat, “Ok, swimmers, follow me, I’ll get you across and then stay to the right”.

The water got suddenly colder in the faster moving Sacramento.  I’m trying to swim faster to stay warm but really it’s just trying harder without going faster.  I’m glad I swam here a few weeks ago so it looks familiar.

We get out at the ladder on the Etenesh Zeleke Public Dock where I see Ariel waiting for me.  I realler appreciate Theresa, Vince, and Courtney for the swim support.  It was well done with good directions.  But now I gotta bike!

Thankfully, besides my bike, Robin brought my jacket.  It’s been a scorching summer so I had no thought of needing a jacket for the bike but it was vital.  I get cold to the core and it takes so long to warm-up.

Bike

Over the I-Street bridge, left on Jibboom St, but it’s blocked.  I go around and through holes in the fence because I don’t know another way around.  Finally onto the American River Bike Path.  After 16 mi I’m warmed up and I’m thinking straighter.  I’m drinking Vitargo and trying to ride comfortably.  I didn’t realize it was “Bike the Parkway” day, a lot of bikes out and bike aid stations are set up.  It doesn’t impede me, though.

On Folsom Rd I’m able to open it up more.  But have to wait at some lights.  I eat 1 of my sweet potatos (needs more salt).  On Auburn-Folsom Rd I’m riding pretty well.  Robin and Ariel come by with encouragement.

Near Horshoe Bar Rd, Anna shows up on her bike (after her Cross-Country long run) to help me in my last 15mi.  She’s good at drafting.  We have some good talk and laughs.

When we get to Old Town Auburn, I push the last climb home and feel ready for the run.  Robin & Ariel have an aid station set up.

Run

It feels pretty good.  Oscar and Robin are with me.  Warm day now.  4 miles feels short so I push it.  1/2 way I run part of the Placer High Cross Country course and then through the neighborhood to home.

Thank you Lord for letting it all go well, especially being able to run well.  And thank you for my family that supports me with food and company.  They’ve helped me get in shape again after the last year off and now I finally feel ready for the Ironman Smile

Sunday, July 11, 2021

TBF Tri-4-Real #2 (Troy) 2021

Date/Location:

July 11, 2021 – Herald, CA

Distances:

Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K

Time:

2:22:54 (24:52-1:12:04-45:58)

Place:

3rd, M50-54

Teammates:

Andrea Ivan, Dana Haldeman, Troy Outman, Troy Soares

It really is comforting experiencing God’s grace so often.  With my bad foot (heel), I am never guaranteed ongoing training and it is very humbling because I can’t control it.  But as I continue to be hopeful and give God my best effort, even if it means walking, He continues to make races a time of closeness with Him and appreciation.

Today Anna & I arrive at Rancho Seco Park, site of the giant nuclear reactor towers, and the Tri-4-Real series which has a history of almost 40 years.  Arriving 1 hr early (my traditional timeframe) proves again to not be enough.  We both get only a 1/4 mile bike, a 1/8 mile run, and no swim warm-up.  But that’s ok.  I did discover my shifting was really bad and thankfully in 8min I was able to fix it.

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I rush to the water as Bill Driskill annouces “we’ll be starting in 3 min”.  Wetsuit on, a fellow racer zips it for me, and I fill it with as much water as possible because it’s super warm!  I look for Troy Outman but he’s at the other end of the start line.. a smile to each other let’s us know we’re praying for our races.  I pray that I can compete for Christ in the way the pleases God.  I look around at the other athletes, appreciating all that they have overcome or are anticipating to push through.  Triathlons are an opportunity to suffer a little, and an opportunity to look for strength.. I’m so glad I can find that in Christ!

Swim

Start feels good.  Sighting straight.  Feels SO much better than the last triathlon (my first of the season) where I felt out-of-shape.  Not much draft until after the 1st buoy when the Lord seemed to give me a couple people to swim behind.  This long stretch is usually hard to see.  I notice others stopping to look up.  But fortunately I don’t really have a problem.  The SPIT de-fogger is working well (goggles are clear) and I happen to see the far white buoy, despite the closer orange buoy being off-course.

Trying to use my left arm more is working well.  My right shoulder had been sore earlier.  I have the feeling of moving well though the water which is really encouraging.  On the final stretch I even pull ahead of a few swimmer I was drafting behind.  There’s not too many ahead of me now.  This is exciting!  I get 24:52 which is one of my fastest

T1

As soon as I’m able to stand, I unzip and this time quickly fill my suit with water.  It didn’t help with my left arm which got caught on my Garmin, but it really helped with the legs which kicked right out this time!  Happily I run for transition and hear Sara Outman cheer for me.  That means Troy is behind me but he opted for only a partial wetsuit due to the heat which can add a couple minutes.  My transition goes well, staying barefoot, and onto the bike

Bike

I have 2 lg bottles of Hammer Heed and will definitely finish them both.  It’s nice now but heating up quickly.  I try to get into a groove.  I try a couple different positions.  After a while the one that works the most is slightly offset on the saddle and using it to pull up the opposite leg.  If I don’t do this, I start getting knee pain.  But using the seat to lift the leg, rather than the other leg, helps calm the knee down.  The ride is going well although seems long.  Over the train tracks I know I’m getting close to the turn-around.  I think of Anna and pray that her bike works well and she doesn’t have an accident.  I count the riders coming back and I’m in 10th place.

Coming back I see Troy Outman pretty close, then Dana Haldeman, and, after a while, there’s Anna!  I’m so enocuraged to see her smile and that all is going well.  I ask the Lord that if a bike problem needs to develop, may it be me rather than her.

I pass one and someone else passes me so my position is maintained.  My average is about 20 mph but it sure is hard to maintain this.  I can see the towers easily but they’re still remain far away.  Finally I’m glad to turn into the park.  It’s a slight climb and my I have to really focus to keep my knee from hurting.

Over the speed bumps, feet on shoes, and a great dismount without a shoe falling off.  I get just under 1:10 (without transition) which is good for me.

T2

I sit down this time to get my socks and shoes on.  It goes well except for my arches cramping.  Maybe I should have stretched my calves coming in.  Grab my hat and Hammer gels just as Troy Outman enters T2.  Again Sara is in the perfect place to cheer us on.

Run

Ok, new form is to lean forward and let legs fall ahead, while at the same time trying to swing my rt heel forward quickly to the ground.  It’s not the easist way to run but my heel likes it better.  Compared to my last tri, I’m already feeling better, faster, and with more energy.  I thank God for this, especially since I didn’t get much sleep last night working on my Dad’s caregiver schedule.  It seems like God is blessing the effort and I’m grateful.

It’s hot but I hear they have ice water at the aid stations so I can’t wait for that.  The volunteers are great.. 2 waters.. very cold.  I drink most and put a little on my hat flap.

Back to focusing on my form as I undulate up and down the rolling road.  Ahead are a couple runners I saw ahead on the bike.  I’m gaining slowly.  Usually I would also have Dave Campbell catching me from behind but he’s at a different race today.  There’s just something missing when Dave isn’t here.. it’s a great rivalry we have.

I catch a runner right before the next aid.  The run sign is pointing the wrong way but a volunteer is off to fix it.  I really appreciate all they and the race directors do in marking the course.  Hammer gel, lots of water, and now onto the paved road.  I look for Anna.  Ah, perfect, I see her riding in right as I make the 3mi turn-around.  “How’s it going, Anna?”, “Great!”  I’m so happy.  Thanks God for timing that well!

Wow, there’s Troy right behind me!  That is a blessing because he’s been battling running injuries.  I’m handling the heat well.  Trying to remain positive and ignore it.  We take a hard right into a trail loop.  I pass another runner and he’s really concerned with his age placing.  He asks me twice what group I’m in and he’s very relieved I’m not in his 55-59 group.

I’m getting tired and hot, but I’m also reminded how God is blessing my run!  I smile and trust Him and remind myself I’ll get there.  I hope I can see Anna again.  I finally come off the trail onto the main road and there’s Anna!  Perfect.  She says she’s still doing great and I remind her that God is with her.

I’m going to really hydrate, cool off and fuel up at this last aid station with a mile to go.  The water is so nice and cool.  Ok, now time to go!  I tell myself the last climb is actually the finish line.  Because the next 1/3 of a mile is within earshot of the finish line.  I’m so glad to get up that climb, celebrate momentarily and now the final push.  I get one more water just 200m from the finish (and I’m glad it was there!).  Thank you, Lord, that was a great day and I’m so glad to be done!!  I finished the run in 46 min which is great with my heel.

God answered another prayer bringing Anna in safely Smile

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TRI For Real #2 Olympic-Anna-2021

Date/Location:

July 11, 2021 – Herald, CA

Distances:

Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K

Time:

2:41:33 (31:44-1:21:34-48:15)

Place:

1st, W19 & Under

Teammates:

Dana Haldeman, Troy Outman, Troy Soares

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SWIM

I walk down towards the swim and see Daddy take off. It's almost my turn to start the swim. I put my wetsuit on and by the time I have my wetsuit on the second wave is gone. Yikes, I'm in the third wave in 5 min. I quickly do some stretching to help my hip for the run and then get in the water. I put water in my wetsuit in order to cool myself off. The water is warm and I will most likely get hot. I get ready to start and I know when the race director counts down, he counts down super-fast. It's more like a 5-second countdown but he says it like a 10-second countdown. He counts down and we take off. I try to aim straight for the white buoy. Dad told me to keep my head straight when I lift it out of the water. That way the buoy doesn't look crooked making me go the wrong way. There's a lot of people around and we're all kind of bumping into each other. I started in the front of the pack so that I might find a good swimmer I can swim with.

As I’m swimming, my hip starts to feel sore. It seems every time I do an open water swim, my hip gets sore in the beginning. After a while though, praise God, my hip feels better. The buoy is finally getting closer. I can't find anyone to draft off of though, because they're either too slow or already way ahead. I finally get to the white buoy and turn around. I start swimming across but don't see the second white buoy in the distance. All I see is the sunshine in my eyes and a bunch of swimmers in front of me. All the swimmers make white splashes so I can't see a white buoy. I'm struggling to figure out where this white buoy is. They should have put more guide buoys out or something. I see an orange buoy up ahead but none of the swimmers are swimming straight towards it. It must be a buoy on the way back or a guide buoy that's way off track. I try to follow all the swimmers which is not always the best thing to do. Finally, I see a white pointy thing sticking up in the distance, I'm pretty sure it must be the buoy. Every time I look up though I kind of lose track of where it is. It's far in the distance and hard to see especially with all the swimmers splashing and making whitewater.

I finally get a good eye on it and keep swimming towards it. I'm swimming next to this other lady who's going about the same speed as me. She seems to zigzagging a lot or I'm just zigzagging. We're kind of bumping into each other as we each try to keep a straight path to the buoy. Kind of like we're fighting for the straight line there. I start to see seaweed underneath us and it's entertaining to be able to see something below instead of just water. I get to the buoy and turn. I can see the arch in the distance where the finish chute for the swim is. I start swimming towards it, keeping a good pace. Every once in a while, I keep bumping into people that I’ve seen before. It’s weird. As I'm getting closer, I'm thinking of a new technique to get my wetsuit off faster. Normally it takes a while for my wetsuit to get off because the zipper gets stuck. I come up with the idea of zipping my zipper down as I’m swimming in. When I get close I pull the zipper. It goes down super smoothly. This idea works really well. The only downfall is that I’m still a little ways from the shore and my wetsuit is creating drag. I get to the sand and stand up. I pull down my arms and start to kick my wetsuit off. I'm having trouble standing on the wetsuit and it costs me time. I finally get the wetsuit off and run up towards transition. In transition, I quickly put on my socks, helmet, and glasses. I now take off on the bike.

BIKE

I start the bike feeling good. I get my feet situated into my bike shoes, which are connected to my bike. This kind of takes a while. I'm finally all strapped in and get into aerobars for the bike. I'm feeling pretty strong right now and I'm trying to keep a 16.8 average miles per hour. That's what my mom did in her Ironman. Pretty impressive. I get across the levee and start heading down towards the main road. My miles per hour average is going up which is good. That way I have extra time to slow down on the hills if I need to. I turn onto the main road and it's just straight to the turnaround. I see a girl up ahead and I bike up passing her. After a little bit, she comes back to pass me again. An older guy passes me also. I stay where I am for a little bit then I catch back up to them. I'm biking for a while and then another biker passes me and then the old man follows. He is biking at a strong pace. I am biking along behind them and then hear pstttt. I hope nobody got a flat. I see the old man who passed me pull over. I ask him if he's okay and needs anything, but he says he’s okay. I guess he has the stuff to handle flat. I’ll look for him on the way back though, just in case he is having trouble. I also realize that I don’t have all the tools myself to fix a flat. Hopefully, if it's God's will, I won't get a flat.

I’m enjoying the bike right now and realizing how much I enjoy triathlon. It’s so much fun to go through transition fast and to move from one sport to the next. I’m glad God has given me a joy for triathlon. I start to see a few people coming back. I then go from the rough road we were on to a smoother road. This is much nicer! Hopefully, the turnaround will come soon. I've hit about 9 miles now. I see something yellow in the distance and I’m pretty sure it’s my Dad coming back. Wow, he's pretty far in front. I wave and tell him good job. He tells me “God is with you”. I know that even if I can’t keep a good pace on the bike or run, God will get me through it and give me a great race.

The road starts to curve into a small kind of town. I know we must be getting close to the turnaround. The downhills increase and I hope I'll still have the energy to make it up the hills on the way back. I start to stand up and stretch my calves as I go downhill. My calves are pretty sore right now but hopefully, they won't feel that bad when I start going uphill. I also try to massage my neck with my hand, so it stays loose and doesn't get sore. I also try to keep my head pretty far down to not strain it.  I see a railroad up ahead and make sure no one's behind me. I bike over the railroad at an angle so my bike tires don't fall into the cracks. Last year, when I crossed, I wasn't looking behind me and there was a car there. It was far back, but I'm glad that God protected me during it. After making a few more curves, I see the turnaround up ahead. I get to the turnaround and unclip my shoe so I can make the tight turn safely. I don't think bikes we're made for turnarounds. It's always hard to make a tight turn and then get back up to speed.

I start heading back and realize I should have been looking for people in my age group ahead of me. Oh well, I'll just try to catch the people around me. It's uphill now but it’s gradual. I'm keeping an average of 18.3 miles per hour right now. I'm very surprised about that and thank God for giving me a lot of energy today. Hopefully, I can keep the pace up the whole way back. Every once in a while, I pass people and it's getting a little bit busier with cars around. The cars mostly drive in the middle of the road unless they see another car. I go to pass a biker and should have checked behind me because there is a car there. Thank God the car is just staying back and isn’t passing. I have to remember to check for cars more. Even though bikes have priority over the road, the cars can still drive on the road. I get to the railroad crossing again and cross over it. I make sure to check again for cars or bikes behind me when I swerve. I'm up to 14 miles on my Garmin now. Only about 10 miles left.

I finally get out of the town area and back onto a long straight road. I keep my eye out because I'm getting closer to where I saw the old man pull over to check his flat. I don't see him anywhere, so he must have fixed it and got back on the bike. That's good.  A biker goes by me heading toward the turnaround. It’s a young girl, maybe 15 or 14 at the youngest. I am very impressed that she is out here doing this. I tell her good job and keep riding. All of the sudden, my stomach starts to rumble on the bike. I've been wanting food at random times these days and now I'm in the middle of a race and I'm starving. My stomach can be so weird. I'm at mile 20 now and I can see the two big nuclear towers that this race is famous for. They are getting bigger, as I get closer to the park. I take my gel hoping it will fill my stomach and give me energy for the run.

Up ahead I make the turn that leads into the park. I start to feel a blast of energy and thank God for giving it to me. I'm now biking very strong up a small hill to the levee. As I'm going up the hill, I see the runners running to the turnaround. One of the runners is my Dad! I tell him that I'm keeping an 18.3 average pace on the bike and he says “good job, God is with you.” I like how he always reminds me to keep my focus on God because I might not always get the pace I want, but the main focus is on racing for God. I keep biking towards the park and start to take my feet out of my bike shoes so I'm ready to change into my running shoes. I bike to the transition and hop off my bike pretty easily. I run with my bike in one hand towards my transition area. I've been practicing running with my bike with one hand and have it down now. I move my bike around the parking lot blocks and get to my transition area. I quickly get my shoes, hat, water, and bib number on, then head out to the run.

RUN

My Dad told me to try to keep an average of an 8:30 pace. I was surprised because I did a 3-mile race and it was hard to keep a 6:30 / 7:00 minute pace without it hurting for three miles. So to keep an 8:30 for 6 miles sounds hard. But as soon as I start running, I’m running at an 8:00 min pace. I am blessed to be able to run this pace even with my hip. I grab water and keep running. I get onto the run course and remember that it’s not my preferred run course. There are no trees anywhere and it's just a long dirt road. I finally get to the first-aid station and ask for ice. I fill up a sock that my mom gave me with ice and put it around my neck. I also fill up my water bottle that mom gave me at Christmas a while ago, with water for the Run. I take off completely ready for the rest of the run.

Up ahead to the left I see the connecting trail where the runners coming back join onto the big dirt road. I see my Dad coming off the trail! God keeps giving us great chances to see each other throughout the whole race. I ask him how he is feeling and he says he's feeling good. He starts running back to the finish line as I start running out towards the turnaround. As I pass people, I tell them good job, hoping not to tire myself out too much. But I know it's a good thing to cheer people on. As I'm running on a dirt road, I see the small trail on my left where the runners coming back are running on. I can see the different bridges that they cross and I start counting them. That way I know when I'm getting close to the last aid station. I count four bridges before I hit the gravel road that leads to the bike course. I run by the aid station on the corner and grab some water. I then continue to the road where the bikers are. As I get onto the road and am running down it, I see a young girl on a bike. She must be in my age group. She's doing pretty good for her age. I’m running down to the turnaround now and look for people in my age group. I don’t see anyone that is super young, but I keep running hard.

I get to the run turnaround and start running back up to the road to the gravel. On my way up, I see a kid in green who is running really fast down to the turnaround. I wonder if he'll catch up to me. I get to the gravel road and run onto a small little trail on the side of it. As I pass a runner, he asks if I'm going to keep this pace the whole time. I tell him I am. First, he says he’ll try to stick with me but then says maybe he can't. I tell him just to try his best and that’s all that matters. The trail turns and loops by the lake. If I wasn’t racing, I’d love to run right in. The trail then gets to the aid station on the corner. I grab some water hoping for it to sustain me till the last aid station because my water bottle is empty. I didn’t want to fill it up and lose time. Plus the boy in green is catching up fast. Now I'm on the trail that has the bridges on it. I can see the kid in green behind me. He's been catching up pretty fast. I’ve crossed one bridge so far and keep running. By the second/third bridge the green kid passes me. I tell him “good job for catching up to me” and “keep it up”.

After a while, I finally cross the fourth bridge. The trail then eventually curves back onto the main road. I'm so excited, I'm almost done! I just have to go to the bathroom now and try to run fast to hold it. I just need to get to the first aid station because I'm probably a little dehydrated. As I'm running, I watch my step so I don’t twist my ankle as I'm running down these rocky hills. I almost twist my ankle. I thank God for continuing to keep me stable throughout this race. I finally get to the first aid station, grab some water and keep running. I'm only a mile away but it seems like it's still so far away. I'm really tired now and I ask God to sustain me. It hurts to push but I can finally see the last turn towards the finish. I make this turn and can see where the grass leads to the finish. I can also see my Dad waiting there to cheer me on. This encourages me and I keep my pace up. I see Dad and smile pointing to God. I then turn onto the grass. I'm running pretty strong now and run across the grass to the finish chute. I see a runner ahead and use them to help me sprint hard. I hope they don’t mind. They are great competition right at the end. I point to God and finish. Instead of stopping at the finish line though, I continue jogging towards the bathroom. At least having to go to the bathroom the last two miles pushed me. I finished first in my age group, although I don't think anyone else is my age group or at least hadn’t finished in my age group. God still gave me an amazing race though and I’m glad I’m done!

Praise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endures Forever!

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Saturday, July 3, 2021

Crown City Classic 5K-Anna-2021

20:18 (Previous PR 19:40, 2019) 3rd (40 Total), 15-19 Female 5K: Ariel Soares, Jan “Grammie” Heidt;
12K: Robin  & Troy Soares
Date/Location: July 4, 2021 – Coronado, Ca (Racing here since 2014)
Distances: 5km
Time:
Place:
Teammates:

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I walk towards the start of the race and look for my parents. I see a yellow hat waving around and know that’s must be them. We get reunited and get ready to start. After we pray together, my dad says I can go up ahead. I slip through all the people to get closer to the front. I see them putting a rope between the runners to separate waves. I ask to move up to start with the first wave. They let me. I want to be close to the front to have fast people to pace with. They count down and send us off. I walk to the start because there are a lot of people trying to go at once. I try to slow down a little bit to give myself a good gap so that when I cross the timing sensor, to start my race, I can start fast without a ton of people ahead of me to slow me down. I start running and cross the sensor. I try to start fast, but my plan doesn't work too well. There are still a lot of people ahead of me. I touch the flag above me and continue running. Slowly people start to disperse as we get out of the running shoot. We turn onto the sidewalk and start to head toward the bridge. The sidewalk is pretty crowded which makes it hard to run. I’m doing pretty good on pace. My hip hasn’t been the best this year which has slowed me down from getting a lot of running training in. I’m not as well trained as 2 years ago, but I’m still planning to do my best for the Lord. My goal is to do 7 min pace the first mile, then 6:30 min pace the next two, which sets me up for a 20 min finish time. My goal is to try to get under 20 min like I did last time. I run by a drumming group that is playing for the racers. It’s nice of them to wake up early to do that for us. The path curves under the bridge and then next to the golf course. I'm holding 7 min right now but it’s still hard. I’m trying to stay up with some girls that started in front of me. It’s tiring, but I’m getting ready to drop my pace to 6:30. I get to the top of a small hill and turn onto the road next to the golf course. Up ahead I can see the first-mile sign. I hit the sign and pick it up. My watch says I did the mile at 6:56. Great. I have a few seconds to spare.

It’s hard to pick it up when I’m already tired. I just hope I won’t burn up from going too fast in the beginning. I trust God to help get me through it. I get to the aid station and grab water. I’m about to drink it when I realize that it’s Gatorade. I throw it down then grab the real water. I take a sip and dump a little bit of it on me. It’s kind of humid today, which is unlike San Diego. At least the weather is cool and cloudy. I start to see runners coming back and I know that the turnaround is coming up. I see it up ahead and go around it. A lady in front of me slows me down a little bit, but I get back up to speed. I’m heading back and I hope that the finish will be soon because I’m so tired. One year I was able to say "good job" to everybody I ran by. Now it feels like it's so hard to just talk. I do say "good job" to the people I pass. I start to look for my Mom and Dad but it feels tiring just to do that. I see Dad up ahead running. I wait for him to notice me, but he doesn't see me. I yell “Dad” and we tell each other good job. I found out later that I missed Ariel who was right behind Aad. I guess she was too fast for me. I keep running trying to stay at the 6:30 pace. I see Mom up ahead and she cheers me on. I tell her I’m dying. I see the aid station up ahead, but don’t get anything. I’m almost at the mile marker. My watch hits 2 miles and for that mile, I got 6:27. Yay, more extra seconds.

I keep running and go by a guy pushing a pink stroller with a kid with a disability in it. I have seen a ton of pink strollers around and now I remember the announcer talking about a club that got to start first. This must be them. It’s nice of them to show their support to these kids, by pushing them the whole race. I turn onto the sidewalk leading back under the bridge. I remember that most people slow down here, but I push through the pain and try to keep up my pace. I pass a kid and say "good job". By now my good jobs are faint and kind of hoarse. I wonder if I sound creepy. I go under the bridge and hear the drummers on the other side. Up ahead I see a girl who looks like she is in my age group. I try to pick it up even though it’s not much. It seems unlikely that I would catch her but I don’t give up. As I’m running I feel like I'm in agony right now. I haven’t pushed my body this hard for a while. I’m thankful that my hip isn’t acting up and holding at this pace. I also thank God for letting me be able to push myself for him in this race. I hit three miles at 6:23 mile. More extra seconds for the .1 I forgot to add to my pace. Oh well, if I don’t get 20 min that’s okay. I’m still giving my best effort. I turn into the finish line and sprint in. I see the girl up ahead finishing, but I still push in. The clock says over 20 min but maybe I still make it because I crossed the start line after they started the timer. I finish giving the effort to God for getting me through it. I collapse on the ground but get up after 5 seconds to make room for the finishers coming in. I don’t want to block them. I go off to the side to recover and thank God for a good race. My Garmin got 00:20:20 which is pretty close to 20 min. I always forget how painful the recovery after the race is, but at least it proves I went all out for God. The official time was 00:20:18.

Praise the Lord for He is Good, His Love Endures Forever.

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Crown City Classic 12k-Troy- 2021

Date/Location: July 4, 2021 – Coronado, Ca – Racing Since 2011
Distances: 12km
Time: 55:18 (PR 49:01, 2016)
Place: 2nd/40
Others: 5K: Anna & Ariel Soares; Jan Heidt;
12K: Robin Soares

It’s a great tradition coming to visit Robin’s folks in San Diego, watching the fireworks, and running the Crown City Classic.  Robin & I in the 12k and Anna & Ariel in the 5k.

I’m behind on sleep and tired from a busy week.  Also, my right heel has been bothering me a lot again.  Injries and an upcoming Ironman are an anxious combination, but it definitely brings me closer to the Lord as I know He is the only one that has my future in His hands. 

Recently I’ve been running with a more forward lean, and I thank the Lord that the foot has responded well.  Reading my race story here the last time we ran in 2019, I see my foot was hurting and I ran slow, but I also read I ran joyfully because it was a great opportunity to show God that I can always give Him my best effort and appreciate the ability to do so.

I have no idea how I can run today, I’ll just focus on my forward form and on the Lord and see what happens.

It’s perfect temperature.  The park is beautiful.  Robin’s mom, Jan, is also running the 5k.  We all warm up and stretch.  Ariel is planning a 8:30 pace, Anna 6:30, and Robin & I don’t know.

We proudly stand for the national anthem, pray together and line up in the crowd at the start.  It looks like a thousand people and everyone seems happy to be here.  The RD does the “Independance Day” speech and it’s hilariously dramatic.. and on point.  We look forward to hearing it each year Smile Running in the first wave are some Olympic trialist so quite a field!

Go!

We all start in the 2nd wave, running under the giant American Flag.  Anna starts in the 1st wave (trying for 6:30 pace).  I’m leaning forward and trying to let my legs “fall” into position.  I can still feel the sore heal intermittendly.  Along the golf course fence I start to loosen up a little and feel optimism about my run.  Thank you, Lord.  Robin, coming off her blessed Ironman just 6 days earlier, is taking it easy behind me as her body isn’t recovered yet.  Next to me is a guy running barefoot.  He makes it look easy.

Mile 1.  8:04.   I see Anna coming back, working hard, and smiling. I look behind and there’s Ariel!  It’s great to see her pushing it to stay with me.  I tell her it’s 8 min pace and she says that’s what she’s now going for.  It’s really motivating to have Ariel with me.  We I’m getting better at running with my new form, trying to extend my stride a little, and my pace is coming down below 8.  Ariel stays with me until the 5k turn-around. “That’s 13 min, Ariel, have a great run! You can do it!”

Mile 2.  7:36. The speed bumps are a little challenging with my “forward”, lower stride.  I need to combine leaning forward, extending stride, and lifting up on toes in the back to get height.  It’s warm and I get water at each aid station.  I’m picking it up and pass the barefoot guy.  I see the Olympic trialists coming back.. and flying.

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Mile 3.  7:29.  I always forget how far 12k is and spend much of the race calculating it out in my head.  I always expect the turn-around soon after 3 miles but it’s always farther than expected.  We go far out on the Strand… finally turning around.  I’m happy with how it’s going.  I start eating Cliff Blocks. Thank, you, Lord, you are so good!  I see Robin still going out to the turn-around and tell her “foot’s doing good thanks to God!”

Mile 4.  7:23.  Pace is coming down and I keep pushing it hoping to get down to 7:30 average.  I encourage others while working hard for God.  The foot is feeling the same even though I’m going much faster. 

Mile 5.  7:24. Continuing to pick it up.  Another Clif Block.  Good form.  Looking forward to 2 miles to go.

Mile 6.  6:58.  I figure a mile more to focus on and then I can always do whatever is left.  There’s a girl just ahead I’m trying to stay with now.  Water at aid stations.  Speed bumps.  Legs getting tired and sore.

Mile 7.  6:51. The girl near me is picking it up and I try to stay with her.  The footing is tough running in the banked drainage path.  I really have to focus on form to not hurt my foot.  Under the bridge, into the park, and by the Asian drum players which really sounds good.  “Hi Mom!”  I go by Jan, looking good finishing the 5k.  And there’s Anna & Ariel cheering me into the file turn onto the grass.  I smile and thank God.  The girl and I are side-by-side as we try to sprint across the grass.  It was an accomplishment to stay with her.

The-2021-Crown-City-Classic-075821-05-04355-0001505Again, I’m so thankful for what the Lord does for me when I have no idea how I would do it alone.  Good things are always just around the corner.  Robin finished without feeling too bad.  Amazed at how tough and appreciative she is.  She is inspiring.

(12 k, 55:18, 7:21 pace, 2nd place)