Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wildflower Mtn. Bike - Robin

April 30, 2011 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
.25 m Swim, 9.7 m Bike, 2 m Run
1:04:33 (7:00-2:39-38:59-2:50-13:05)
This is definitely a new experience here at Wildflower. I never ever thought that I would do this race until a few years ago. With my promise to God to focus on sprint tris this year, it was a clear decision. With Troy already on course racing the Long Course, the tricky part was finding child care. Our friend and wife of Troy’s FCA teammate David Blackmon, Victoria, volunteered to take on Anna and Ariel along with her own 3 great kids. What a blessing that her daughter Katie and Anna have been fast friends!
After working the FCA booth with Anna and Ariel, we go down to transition to set up my spot. Today is pretty simple since it’s so short. Next, I drop the girls off with Victoria and head down for the swim start.
Even though the swim is about .25miles, I’m going to wear my wetsuit. The water is definitely COLD so I don’t want to freeze! I get a warm up in just a few minutes before my start. I’m feeling strong. I line up in front in hopes of getting out front with the leaders.
Ready, set, go! I’m right in the thick of things! There are so many of us out in front pack that I’m certain I’m going to get clocked. I push harder to get out of the masses along with a few other girls. I breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn’t hit. Soon we hit a wall of swimmers from the previous wave. I start to zig-zag to keep from plowing into them. I don’t want to ruin a newbie’s triathlon experience by running them over. At the only buoy, there a bunch of swimmers just treading water. It’s not a good place for them to be and I’m not sure if they realize that. I swim wide and get around them. I can see the finish and more swimmers…everywhere! Time to zig and zag some more! I glance around and only see one other girl nearby in my wave. There could be more ahead but it’s too hard to look with all the bodies to dodge.
I make it to the finish clearly with a few extra yards under my belt! I get out rip off the wetsuit and make a run for my bike. Out of T1 I go with my new mountain bike, shoes and SPD pedals. I’ve opted to clip myself in my bike since this course is mostly paved roads with a few fire roads. It is a bit risky considering I’ve only practiced this set-up just yesterday for the first time. As I go out, I ask for the Lord’s protection and help. Within the first mile, I am thankful to be clipped in. I feel like I have so much more power! Once we hit the dirt trail (used by the Olympic & LC runners) and the first dirt hill, a guy goes down across the entire trail. There’s nowhere to go but off my bike. I’m able to clip out quickly and stop but I cringe as I hear a bunch of folks behind me try to avoid me. Phew, no one crashed into me or each other! Thanks God!
We hit the pavement and ride towards the next big climb. I look up and see bikes all over the road and even across the double yellow line! Wow, this is a penalty in the other races here but this is considered a beginners race so anything goes I guess. I attempt to pass on the left. After many futile shouts of “on your left” and seeing no signs of officials out here, I opt to zig and zag through the crowds. I make it to the top of the course where I go right to get on the first loop (and later will go left to get on the second loop). A volunteer runs at me with a pen and marks my arm. Wow, that’s weird! I realize he’s just trying to keep track of the loops for each person. It reminds me of a funny Office episode.
Down the gravel fire road I go! It’s really spread out here so I’m basically alone thankfully. I can focus on the trail instead of others. I get to the bottom and a slippery downhill section I’ve been dreading. I take a breath, ask for the Lord’s help and let go of the brakes. Whew, I made it! Thanks Jesus!
It’s up the big paved road again. This time I take the time to look at the FCA Endurance signs we put out on the course. It again reminds me that He’s in control! I get to the top of the course and take a left. I hit another gravely downhill section and slow way down this time. It’s not pretty but I make it through. Now I just need to ride the rest of the Olympic run course and I’m home free! I’m again encouraged by the other FCA signs placed over here! It gives me that extra bit I need to push to the end!
Soon I’m at Lynch Hill. Weeeeee, down I go! It feels so much more stable descending on a mtn. bike on a paved road! I’m able to let my fears go and just fly!
Once at T2, I take a little too much time getting ready.  I 110430_wf_mtnbike_robin_runget a slow start! Oops! Well, once out on the course I try to make it count. I have no idea what place I am! I try to pretend I’m out at the track doing mile repeats. With the undulating course, it’s hard to get going fast or run smoothly. I look at all the folks out here wearing racing flats compared to my clunky trainers.
Mile 1 is 7:05. Not as bad as I feel! I make it to the turn around and enjoy the downhill! Ahh! Now it feels like my track legs are kicking in! Thanks God! It’s cool coming back seeing the Pros go out on the long course run…man they are flying!! It makes me think about Troy. I pray that his ride is going smoothly without any technical difficulties!
110430_wf_mtnbike_robin_finishMile 2 is 6:42. The finish line is close! It’s nice to have a short day! As I pass the expo on the way in, I pray that Anna & Ariel are having fun and being good. I make the final turn and hit the chute. It’s a long finish but I’m pumped up by all the cheering! I dig down and give it what I can. I look up to God and thank Him. I cross the line…yes, I’m done!!

Wildflower Long Course - Troy

April 30, 2011 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
Swim 1.2mi – Bike 56mi – Run 13.1mi
5:18:36 (32:48-3:23-2:58:09-2:29-1:41:47)
Dale Jackson; FCA-E Teammates: Ben Greenfield, David Blackmon, David Fraser, Jeff Vicario, Justin Morejohn, Justin Rose, Marilyn Watson, Scott Archibald,  Reynold Lewke
It's a beautiful day, but still a bit chilly.  To make sure I don't get too cold on the bike I have toe warmers, a new aero-helmet (which keeps the head warmer) and a high-tech racing jacket which Robin got for me and even screened the FCA-Endurance logo on it.  If I'm cold in the swim, I'll use the jacket on the bike and take it off before the hot Nasty Grade section.
Ever since the kidney donation I am a little more sensitive to the cold.  Getting older is also a factor.  So I'm planning better for it now.
At the race start, the announcer, Julie Moss, is telling the crowds my story about the kidney donation (almost 2 yrs ago now).  It was published in the online race program and surprised many including Julie who knows us pretty well from the many Tri-California events we go to.
I swim a little a few waves early to make sure I have time to warm back up before my start.  Waiting amongst my group I have a great reunion with Kiet Tran, Jim Grant, Jeff Fieldhack and Mark Cosgrove.  We've all been racing together since the 90's and it brings back great memories to see them all.
I'm glad to be racing with TeamMate, David Blackmon, again.  Last year we were so close on the bike.  He's gotten even faster so I'll be trying to stay with him.
Right before my start I see Dale Jackson.  It's a great encouragement.  So glad to see him racing his 25th Wildflower I think!  I pray and give the race to God.
110430_wf_lc_troy_swimThinking I'm not that fast in the swim anymore, I line up a few rows back.  But when the gun goes off, this turns out to be a mistake.  It's very congested.  I survive ok but think closer to the front would have been better.  I'm trying to swim efficiently and steady, with little surges just to make sure I'm still pushing.  But I'm not drafting like I used to.  Hard to focus on swimming and looking for people to follow.  I swim most of it on my own.  1/2 way through I'm getting cold.  Strange because the water isn't that bad.  I'm definitely wearing my jacket when I get back.  We hit a lot of seaweed & debris on the way back.. churned up from a boat or something.  I do a big push to shore and come out with a surprisingly good time of  32min.  But then I botch up my wetsuit removal and end up with both feet stuck, entangled in wetsuit.  Robin has the best 2-kick exit.. I just didn't have the energy left to kick hard.
Finally I get free and jog to transition.  With my jacket on I see Dave Blackmon already exiting transition.  Ok, let's go get him!  I clip in with some significant swerving.. still disoriented from the swim effort and heavy breathing.  The crowds are great as we start off through the chute.  Going up Beach Hill I have to stand a lot.  Later I would realize I have the wrong cog set on with a 21 max.  Ouch.  Out on the course I'm perfectly comfortable in my jacket and riding fast with my aero helmet.  I read the FCA-Endurance signs with scripture and encouragements.  Really helps.
110430_wf_lc_troy_bikeAt 18 miles, the head wind from the North is fierce.  I push knowing that once I turn East it should get better.  Nope.. it still feels like a headwind.  Soon, we head more South and then it will be great!  Dave Blackmon is up ahead.  At times I could see him but I can't catch him.  Suddenly I see a group of riders stopped ahead.  The side-wind has become treacherous.  I pray that the downed rider isn't Dave.  I'm relieved when I can tell it's not.  But now is the question of stopping or not.  I want to catch Dave and there's already people helping him.. but I just spoke about this at Iron Prayer to day before so it's a must.  Always must stop.  He's hurt pretty bad with possibly a broken hip/leg.  There is a team of fire-fighters racing today and one of them is already helping the riding, making him comfortable and asking questions.  Soon another fire-fighter stops.  I think that their team isn't going to do too well today because all their athletes will be helping people along the course.  I think about what I can do and remember the conversations that followed Robin's first-aid stop in the Hawaii Ironman.  People suggested to just let the person know you're there.. comfort them.  So I put some biking gloves under his head and told him everything's going to be all right.  The police and ambulance arrived quickly and I continued on my way glad he was in good hands.
I lost less than 3 minutes and was determined to still catch Dave.  I was surprised how difficult the wind was.  I was expecting it to improve.  I'm working hard and ran out of my sustained energy drink.  Should have had 2.  I grab a Gatorade and jug it, but then start feeling a little sick later.  I do my best to keep pushing.  My average is 2 mph slower than the goal.  It's a tough day.  After my favorite flat section on the back I finally get to the canyon section at mile 34.  Tail-wind finally.  I use the reprieve to take off my jacket and tie it around my waste.  A friend of Helen Barker's goes by and introduces himself and says he liked the kidney article.
At mile 40 I'm feeling better and making good time.  An RV gets in the way for a bit but soon I'm on Nasty Grade.  Maybe I'll see Dave here!  I have to stand the 2nd 1/2 but try to be efficient anyway.  At the very top, Mile 43, a fellow TeamMate, Justin, also tells me he liked the kidney article.  We talk for a bit and then I fly down the huge descent.
110430_wf_lc_troy_bike2The last 8 miles is a key section.  I do well, really pushing myself.  The last climb into the park is also key and I pass a few guys.  Finally I descend down to the lake, drink all my fluids, and stretch the calves a bit.  The dismount always hurts a little as the legs transition from biking to running.
Quick transition and now I'm running and not feeling too bad.  I see Victoria (Dave Blackmon's wife) cheering and taking pictures of me.  Hmm, no clue as to how far ahead Dave is.  I'm looking for him.  First mile is good but it's starting to feel hard.  How am I going to go 13mi?  Don't think about it.  Just focus on God and going 1 mile at a time.  I see Mark Cosgrove and run a hill with him.  I push well on the trails.  At mile 4, I make a goal to pass 10 people on the next hills to mile 5.  I never stop running even when the grade is bitter steep.  I actually do pass 10 people!  Now it's down into the pastures.  This is mentally tough here but I think "at the next aid station I might start feeling much better".  You never know what's going to happen.. who you're going to see, etc.  Sure enough I end up talking to a runner after the aid station and then pick it up.  Another runner latches onto me.. shadowing me up the hill next to the park entrance.  I don't let it bother me.. just run my own race as well as I can.  I stay ahead and finally get to the peak.. Mile 7.5.. amidst all the cheering campers!  They're great.  Mile 8 takes us back onto the trails.  Then more campers but I'm struggling now.  Eating Hammer Gel.
I see famous coach and friend, Muddy Waters, as I turn back onto the paved road.  And way up ahead is... Dave!  I also see Jim Grant as we pass through an aid station.  I encourage him as he starts walking.  He's a tough competitor but sometimes the race doesn't go as planned.  On the long downhill I know I'll make strides on Dave.  We had talked earlier about how he doesn't like the downhills.  I catch up with him and we run together the rest of the way down.  It's great to have a TeamMate to run with and I'd rather run the whole way with him than try to beat him.  He insists that he's going to take it slower and I should go on so with that I dig in and try to put this last hill behind me.
I read the FCA-Endurance sign about "My grace is sufficient".  I am about to cry because I think about how self-focused I was the days leading up to the race.  I made Robin feel like everything had to be my way because of my big race.. when really God's grace is sufficient and I should just appreciate that God healed me 1-1/2 years ago so I could run pain-free right now.  Now I want to finish even faster in order to see Robin, apologize and give her a kiss.
Yay!  Mile 11, at the top.  I see Jeff, an athlete I trained with at the ICTN Christian Triathlon Camp in January.  He passed me on mile 2 of the run and now we're side-by-side.  We're both flying (well, 7:30 pace, but feels like flying).  I think of the "Iron War" between Mark and Dave.  I read the FCA-Endurance signs out loud.
110430_wf_lc_troy_finish2Mile 12 is at the top.  110430_wf_lc_troy_finishIt's the "finish" in my mind.  I'll make my move there.  Jeff and I encourage each other to push it to the top.  I'm able to pull ahead, giving it all I have, but another guy comes up from behind and passes me.  Wow, he's really moving!  The downhill is an advantage for me so I smile and lean into it.  Soon I'm flying down it, barely out of control.  But it's working.  I catch him, and then another, and another!  I come flying around the corner and into the chute.  Wow, that's all I had, an exhilarated race.  Thank you Lord for making it all possible.
I did find Robin quickly and she accepted my apology.. now ALL is good! Smile
Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Ben Greenfield M30-34 4 28:30 2:45:03 1:30:16 4:47:17
Justin Morejohn M30-34 7 32:36 2:39:38 1:32:58 4:50:18
Troy M40-44 14 32:48 2:58:09 1:41:47 5:18:36
Jeff Vicario M40-44 16 39:04 2:52:56 1:42:42 5:19:38
David Blackmon
M40-44 23 32:30 2:54:44 1:51:09 5:23:36
Dale Jackson M50-54 7 31:12 2:57:14 1:57:40 5:31:57
Justin Rose M35-39 63 32:26 3:14:55 1:57:26 5:50:37
Scott Archibald M55-59 33 34:16 3:10:01 2:23:41 6:16:40
Reynold Lewke M55-59 42 42:13 3:38:15 2:46:19 7:27:22
Marilyn Watson W50-54 15 49:12 4:10:35 2:24:45 7:34:06
David Fraser M65-69 8 52:17 4:26:45 3:21:17 8:53:09

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Copperopolis Road Race - Troy

April 23, 2011 - Milton, CA
42M (2 x 21M loop)
Victory Velo - Walter Gorba
Others - Jeff Braunstein, Vincent Hoffart
The day before we drove around this famed course. We heard the roads were rough but that still didn't prepare us for what we saw.. thousands of asphalt repairs, patches on patches, in a futile effort to keep the road flat. Like a colorful quilt it stretched for miles up, around a reservoir and back down (COURSE VIDEO). The scenery was beautiful and road was very less-traveled. But we were anxious about the bumps, cattle guards, mud puddles and steep descent. We practiced on the downhill. Tires at 100psi, bolts tightened, water bottles secured, seat bags removed… we held on tight to see how fast we could go over the bumps. It wasn't too bad, but I'm a bit of a daredevil. Robin, on the other hand, doesn't like descents so the added bumps made it nerve-racking. Here she was entering her first road race ever and had to face bad roads, tough competition, and worst of all… cattle guards.
Race morning, we show up right as the pros go darting by onto the sketchy roads. "Whoa, they don't even hesitate". This was impressive. Thankfully we saw some friends. Phyllis helped Robin sign up for the correct race and encouraged her. We both warmed up about 5 miles off the course when we saw a fast female rider. She asked, "Is this the bike course?" We saw her race number and gave her the bad news that she was a few miles off course. She turned back and replied, "Bummer. The worst part is that I was winning." We felt bad for her. Before our races started we looked for some bumps to practice on. In a demonstration for Robin, I rode across a cattle guard and immediately pinch-flatted. I fixed it and increased pressure to 110psi.
Lining up to race I'm glad to see Vince Hoffart, old friend, Jeff Braunstein, and new teammate, Walt. There's 15 of us in the 35+ 5's. We start and Jeff & I talk a little until a Precision Stone Racing guy calmly pushes the pace. I get on his wheel, glad to have the pull and find I'm handling the bumpy road well. I'm eager to stay with the lead up the 1000' climb. 5min into the ride, we pass the feed zone at the top of a rise and surprisingly see that the 2 of us already have a little gap on the field. This is good. But then as we re-group in a dip in the road, I get that soft feeling… I keep riding until I'm sure it's a flat. I pull off just as Jeff Braunstein attacks. He goes on to take the hill stay away from the pack for the next 15mi.
Meanwhile, I'm pumping, thinking about how these new Gatorskin tires keep flatting. I need more pressure. 120psi at least but that's hard to do with a little mini-pump. I inflate until the pump is hot and fortunately it looks like I got the pressure. It's a slow 6min tire change. Next time I need a cartridge.
Instead of being depressed, I'm motivated to ride as hard as I can and try catching a few. I climb well, gasping for air, passing some women 3's, and then tuck down to time trial along the high valley with the reservoir off to the left. I see some riders far ahead and keep hoping they my group. Then I see the huge 45+ 4's pack behind me. I hold them off for a couple miles. You're not supposed to use other groups as it's an unfair advantage, but I'm looking for experience and not to win anything. Negotiating potholes & cattle guards in the pack, and comparing my descending skills are things I want to practice. So I rest and negotiate obstacles for 3 miles and then take off on my own.
In a thrilling descent, I manage to stay ahead of the pack and really push the bumpy corners. Then I come through the finish line with 1 lap to go and they tell me the 35+ 5's are just ahead. I time-trial over to the climb again and am really feeling the fatigue now. I get water and ease a bit. The 45+ 4's are flying up the hill.
I catch the Precision Stone Racing guy and he says, "We're in 8th place." Which is surprising. He says, "Let's work together. I'll pull on the flats" and this sounds good, but at the top I have a big gap on him and take off on my own. I push hard on the 10miles across the top, into the wind, looking for the group in vain. But I feel great about my riding. It's faster than I expected. I see a guy walking who has no tools so I stop and give him my pump and patch kit.
I hammer the last climb trying to catch a rider ahead. Then descend in an eye-watering flash of fun and fear. Looking down, my front forks look like they're flexing, absorbing bumps, but it's probably my vibrating eyeballs. It's a crazy thrill. Trying to find the skinny smooth parts between the hazards. Afraid to go faster, but afraid to use the brakes at the wrong time. Zoom… onto the smooth road at the bottom and finally pass the rider from another group. It's just me but I practice sprinting for all I've got to the finish. No pack in sight but I raced against myself and barely won. Wow, what a thrill!
I see Jeff Braunstein and the others and catch up on the action that panned out far ahead. I was glad to have at least caught 5 guys in my group. But I'm really boosted about racing here next time. It's a great course for me.. bumps and all.
During the race I was praying for Robin to have a great experience despite all the fears she would have to overcome. I check back at the car to verify she didn't have to drop out after 1 lap. I'm excited she's still racing. At the finish I see 3 of her group sprint in… and there she is.. just 15 secs behind them! Alright, a great finish in her first race. I feel like we're both victorious and it's time to celebrate. I just thank God that He gives me so much to race for that I don't feel disappointed when things go different from plan. Sometimes different is exciting in different ways!
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Copperopolis Road Race - Robin

April 23, 2011 - Milton, CA
42M (2 x 21M loop)
Boy, I’m super nervous about my first road race! After seeing the route firsthand by car and riding part of the big descent yesterday, I’m having doubts that this is a good idea! I’ve never ridden a road so completely covered with patch jobs. I just hope that my bike and I will be in one piece at the end. Troy assures me that my bike will roll right over these bumps and will withstand the vibrations. I’m now grateful for the mountain bike experience I’ve been getting! All I know is that it’s all in the Lord’s Hands today!
As we get there I run into Victory Velo’s women’s team captain, Phyllis Olrich. She’s an amazing lady who also loves the Lord! I think everyone in the cycling community knows her! Back in ’97 Troy actually saw her on a bike climb up Tunitus Creek Rd in the Bay Area. Her and her fiancĂ© rode to in their wedding/bike attire and got married at the top. It was a God-send to talk with her because Troy and I were debating if I should race the Women’s 4 or 30+ Masters. Phyllis lets me know that the 30+ group is going to be a mixed category, possibly with some ex-pros. My best and easiest (ha, ha…it’s all relative!) race is the Women’s 4…SOLD!
Troy and I warm-up together. It’s so nice out here! I mean we cannot find another bumpy road to practice on! All the other roads are perfectly fine! We ride past this rocky 2011-04-25 001 2011-04-23 006hillside that Anna loved yesterday. She told us, "when I turn 100, l want to have my birthday party up there"…lol! Well, now Troy and I think that’s a good idea for each of us, too! We head back and decide to ride around on the gravel/dirt parking areas for practice. Troy tries to get me to practice a cattle guard nearby. Oh, that’s too scary right now! But, I hope in the heat of competition, the cattle guards won’t intimidate me! He shows me it’s no big deal. As he comes back he pops his back tire! Oh man, not good! Well, better now than later!
Troy and I stop at the car and loose some layers. We pray and then head to the start. Troy’s 35+ 5's group has 15 along with his friends Vincent Hoffart and Jeff Braunstein. I see them off. “Go Troy!” I have 25 more minutes till  my start so I warm-up some more. Back with my group, there's about 15, and they all look seasoned. I chat with a nice girl, Erica, from Santa Rosa. I tell her that I’ve never seen roads like this. She says “the roads in Auburn must be great”… I agree that we’ve got it good in Auburn! The race director says “off you go” and that’s it! Please, Lord, help and protect me!
I’m relieved that the group doesn’t just take off! We turn onto the bumpy road. None of us are talking because we are all concentrating on and adapting to road conditions. It really is bumpy but I’m finding that I can handle it. Then we make it to the big climb. Soon we are greeted by a newly paved section and you can hear the sighs of joy. Someone jokes “the county supervisor must live out here”…it’s nice hear a chuckle! The girls get chattier for a time but as we keep ascending more, it gets quiet again. Girls start to drop.  Soon I find myself with 3 other girls at the top.  One of them is that nice girl Erica. She suggests we all work together and take turns doing short pulls. Not Knowing what “short” means, I pull the group for a few minutes before pulling off. The other girls show me how “short” is done...a continuous rotation of our bikes. Wow, I’m officially in my first organized breakaway! I didn’t expect this! Wow, God, You sure are making this work out well!
The road out here is actually pleasant compared to the first 5 miles! It's fun being out front working together! But I'm scared of the cattle guards coming up! As we are about to cross the first one, I find myself in front on my turn to pull. Okay God, it’s in Your hands… I don’t look down and go for it. Phew, I made it! Thank you Lord!! In the heat of competition, these cattle guards are actually easy! God knows what it takes to make me go for it! I also survive the next two the same way. Lord, You are so Good!
Time seems to fly as we head towards the final descent of the loop. We are all chase group in sight. Cool! I feel surprisingly fresh and strong! Wow, this is nice! We start getting each other’s names down and get to know each other.  Besides Erica, I’m riding with Janet from Pleasanton and Lauren from Woodbridge.
I start preparing myself for the very bumpy descent ahead as we climb the the final hill. I’m definitely a cautious descender and this is going to be a major disadvantage. I hope that once again, the competition will push me to go for it! Yesterday, I rode part of this so painfully slow that Troy had to tell me to speed it up!
Once at the top, they let it rip! Okay, here it goes. I hold on for dear life and pray!! I try to keep the braking to a minimum and put my weight back. Again, I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m flying down the hill. I’m not with the girls but I can see them ahead. I’m confident that when it flattens out, I’ll catch back up. Thanks Jesus for again protecting me!
Once at the bottom, it takes me several minutes, but by the time we start the 2nd loop, I’m back in it. At this time, I cannot help but think of Survivor. Like the show, we’ve started out as a “tribe” and have worked together to stay ahead of our competition. Also like the show, it’s only a matter of time before we start turning on each other. I have no idea what’s in store so I just keep doing my “duty” of pulling my share. Lauren seems concerned that Erica and Janet are missing some pulls. She tells me that she thinks they might be sandbagging it. I don’t know what do to with that information. Does it mean we should take off? I’m too inexperienced to know so I keep the status quo. No one seems to be in a hurry to take off so we all just stick together. For the time being, it looks like no one is coming up on us.
I continue to thank the Lord for letting me be in the front. I am amazed!! And to think I dreaded this day! This has been so great!
Once over the cattle guards we know the final descent is near. I’m debating whether  to push the ascent to get a little distance on them. But, as we start to climb, I can see that my body wouldn’t be able to handle pushing more. I did more damage than I thought having to play catch up last loop! It’s hitting me now. In fact, I can barely hang on to the girls!
The final descent comes and they are gone! Even with me pushing the envelope more, I cannot keep any contact. "4th place is good", I tell myself. Halfway down, another pack of 4 girls catches me and flies by like I’m standing still. Crud! Great, now I won’t be 4th! Whoa! Lord, I’m sorry for my attitude! This is a gift to be here and I’m doing well for my first race. I’ll take what I get! I don't give up, and at the bottom of the hill, I get aero and push hard. I catch a girl, but find out it’s young guy. I continue to push and try to close a very large gap. I can see the finish, and Troy! I dig down and get across. What a day! Thanks be to You Lord!
I find Troy and we hug. As I tell him about my day, I run into Janet and Lauren. I tell them good job and ask if they held off those girls. They did but those gals were the Masters 30+ group. What?! I realize that I’m actually 4th after all! Whoa! Lord you rock! Thanks for this great experience and for letting me ride with such nice gals!
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Zoo Zoom 10K – Troy

April 10, 2011 - Sacramento, CA
Rich Alesci
This is a fun event. The kids look forward to the zoo and I do too, as it's a chance to just hang out with my family. I'm also reminded of how thankful I am just to be running when I think of the history of this Zoo Zoom run for me…
2007 After 8 yrs. of foot pain, I just race the best I can.
2008 After a surgery, I race but ½ way through feel the foot take a turn for the worse.
2009 Sit out on injured-reserve, but later in the year, the Lord answers my 10-year prayer. The chronic problem suddenly goes away and the foot starts getting stronger.
2010 I race hard, having improved enough to give Robin a run for her money, edging her out by a nose at the finish line.
2011 here I am again, making a come-back. My foot is no longer a problem, but the winter threw other injuries/ailments at me - like a strained glute and a broken toe among others. This is my first 10k since Thanksgiving, but I set my hopes high for a 40 minute run. My 1 mile warm-up feels slow and sluggish. Rich & I take our positions in the crowd of 800. I stretch, pray with Robin, and hear the count-down begin for the start.
The gun blasts and we're off and it's always surprising how suddenly it feels so easy to run. I love that adrenalin rush. I give Anna a high five, say hi to Ariel, see Leonie & Robin cheering and begin my 6 mile journey with a smile, wondering what's going to happen next..
Rich is pulling away quickly. He's a good runner, even with minimal training. Even as a new dad, this is looking to be his best running season. There are a number of women just ahead. I will try to stay near them.
Mile 1: 6:36. This is the fastest I've run at the track lately and actually what I expected for the first mile, with probably a slowing to 7min pace for the remaining miles. But now there's a tail wind coming down the back side. I'm focusing on the Lord and my form. At the marathon last month I really learned how to listen to my body and not strain any previous injuries. So now I'm running "light" on my feet, balanced, more efficient. I take advantage of the tail wind and start to pass people… and a band playing on the course. And now I'm coming up to the only aid station and my family. I'm so glad to see them.. another high five to Anna… and Ariel, and then some needed water.. I didn't drink enough before the start. I'm glad to see Terry here. And always enjoy Leonie's enthusiasm!
110410_zoozoom_10K_troy_runMile 2: 6:37. Wow! Another fast mile. And the heart rate feels good. We wind through the neighborhood. I see my family again and then head back to the start for lap 2.
Mile 3: 6:36. This is surprising to be so consistent. It's working so I'm not going to change anything. Steady on the uphill and then utilize the tailwind on the back side. I'm catching up to one of the faster women.
Mile 4: 6:38. Ok, instead of letting up, now use the tailwind. Heart rate is great. I'm running balanced and "light". Suddenly I feel a big push from behind and pick it up. Feels like I can go as fast as I want! What a great feeling. I blow by some guys and know my pace is getting faster each mile. I'm going to negative-split the race! I see my wonderful family and tell Robin, "it's going to be the 'perfect' race". I hear Robin say, "You can catch Leonie's friend, Vance". So now I have a goal. I take more water and increase the effort.
Mile 5: 6:23. Wow, loving it. Thanks, God. Instead of "going out too fast", this will look like a perfectly planned race. I think about my original running partner, Dick, and how he'd appreciate that. Ok, there's Vance. I really have to push to catch up to him and do so 024with a ½ mi to go. I say hi to him and encourage him and he starts encouraging me. He picks it up and tells me to "come on".
Mile 6: 6:06. I'm breathing hard now, side-by-side with Vance, but I drop back just a little to move over and give Anna and Ariel a high-five. Then I pick it back up and tell Vance, "had to get a power-boost". He's really pushing me, telling 110410_zoozoom_10K_troy_finishme, "let's do it", and I'm giving it all I've got, while still trying to run in control. I know he's got a good sprint in him and I'm spent, but I do what I can with 50 yds to go. Surprisingly he doesn't surge but let's me pull ahead. I finish in 40:13, meeting the lofty goal I set. I say a quick prayer, thanking Jesus who so often surprises me with blessings. I see Vance, who wasn't racing officially and pulled off before the finish, and thank him for pushing me to my goal. It was the perfect race.
Go Rich!
Age Place
Run Time
Rich Alesci 4th 39:46
Troy 4th 40:15

Zoo Zoom 5K – Robin

April 10, 2011 - Sacramento, Ca
Leonie Alesci
It’s nice to return to such a great event! We are excited to be racing with Team Alesci. Leonie and I will do the 5K while the “boys” battle it out in the 10K. The races are separated by 45 minutes - enough time for Troy and I to switch child duty. Our neighbor, Terry, is coming to watch – he wants to support Anna as she runs the 1 mile race.
It’s a beautiful sunny morning…but chilly! I warm up for my race and feel pretty good. I’m hoping to run 6:30 pace even though I’ve had trouble running one mile at that pace during our Tuesday night track workouts. God is in control and all I have to do is give it my all!
Leonie and I head to the start. I see Courtney Cardenas announcing the race and say hi really quick. We pick out our spots. It’s going to be a fast race! There are several clubs, including the Fleet Feet team. It will be interesting.
Ready, set, go! It’s a crowded start! I am barely able to give Anna a high-five as I go by. After a few more feet I make it into a good spot. I’m running too fast and pull on the reins a bit. But I actually feel pretty comfortable so decide to push the envelope a bit. I see a pack of Fleet Feet runners ahead that I’m gaining on. Soon, I’m catch and pass them! Cool!
Mile 1 is 6:28. That felt great! My heartrate is a bit high so I wonder how long I can maintain it. I see a Fleet Feet girl and guy ahead and push to catch them. I also see a little kid running with them - he’s looking strong!
110410_zoozoom_5K_robin_runMile 2 is 6:19. There’s my family! I give Anna a high 5 and just miss Ariel’s little hand. They are so sweet! I catch up to the kid (probably 7 yrs. old!) and tell him good job. I encourage him to catch the same Fleet Feet girl I’m chasing. I pass the Fleet Feet guy and tell him good job. Man, this is starting to hurt now. I keep pushing and hope to survive! I feel like I’m maxed out but I just keep going. I see my wonderful family again and smile. I see the Fleet Feet girl is in my reach. I decide to 110410_zoozoom_5K_robin_finishmake a pass and hope it sticks. I tell her good job and press on.
Mile 3 is 6:26. Pain! I just got to make it hurt a bit more! I round the last turn and push hard all the way to the line. Thank you Jesus!! I’m done and can barely catch my breath…that means I didn’t leave anything on the course. Yes, good day! The Lord is so good!
Go Leonie!
Age Place
Run Time
Leonie Alesci

Zoo Zoom 1 Mile – Anna

April 10, 2011 - Sacramento, CA
1 Mile
All Kids Won!