Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TeamSoares at a Track Meet

This was fun and hard all at the same time.  Robin is very experienced from her High School and College days of running track and new it would be a good experience for the whole family and our Tuesday evening running group.

We showed up at the beautiful track facility at Rocklin High School on a day which hit 100 degrees.  For only $5 each we were in and able to do as many events as we wanted!  Anna and Ariel were free.

I had never done a track meet.  They had an official USATF starter with a gun and everthing.  Robin explained how I should warm-up and where to go to start our first event, the 1500m.  It was all very exciting and as a result my times were faster than I expected.

I used to be able to run 5:20 miles at the track 15 yrs ago so when I did 5:15 pace in the 800 it brought back great memories.  But it was far from the leaders shooting for 2:14 in the 800.  And Robin had done 2:18 back at school.  I figured out that was just over 4:30/mile pace!  I gained new respect for track distance running.

The 1500 was our first event and that hurt the most.  My throat felt so dry gasping for air in the hot temperature. There was only a couple guys in the 1500 and I actually won it with a 5:05.  This prompted some high schoolers to be talking about me as we lined up for the 800.  "The gentleman in the yellow won the 1500.  So watch for him."  Yes, our bright yellow FCA Endurance race attire brings attention... hopefully to the Lord.  But I was not threat to those kids as they all left me in the dust.

Now the 3000 had the older kids... masters.  We had quite a pack.  A dozen.  I was running towards the back put really pushing in hopes of not getting lapped.  I maintained good consistency and picked it up a little the last 2 laps.  I passed 1 guy and with 1 lap to go (happy that I was beyond getting lapped) I focussed on Mike, the guy I barely beat in the 1500.  But he stayed a few seconds ahead and got me this time.

The real thrill was watching Anna run a 28 sec 100m!  She sprinted off the line at the gunshot, stayed in her lane, and ran the whole way.. smiling, too.  And then she ran the 50m with Ariel.  Ariel also ran the whole way and stayed in her lane.  They both were wearing lane numbers and got ribbons at the finish.  All for free entries.. what a deal!

This was the last all-comers track meet for the summer and I'm glad Robin got us and Tom (from our running group) to get out there.  We finished with a 400m relay where Robin handed the baton to me.  The sun was going down and it was a great way to finish.  I definitely encourage everyone to try it out.  And there's a lot of pole-vaulting, discus, jumping, and sprinting to watch in between events.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Silicon Valley Long Course Triathlon (Troy)

June 11, 2011 – San Jose, CA
Swim 1m – Bike 56m – Run 9m
4:19:02 (26:53 - 2:04 - 2:42:24 - 2:09 - 1:05:32)
Clyde Floyd, Todd Allington, Steve Chavez, Kiet Tran

After a good night sleep at our friend's, the Ridder's, Robin & the girls drop me off near the Almaden Lake so I can warm up on the bike.  I'm looking forward to this new event.  I've raced the San Jose Triathlon since 1992 when it went up the steep, infamous "Metcalf Mauler".  It's always been an Olympic Distance race, but this year, race director, Ryan Coelho, added a Long Course. The bike course goes down Santa Teresa towards Gilroy and then comes back to San Jose through the beautiful hills and reservoirs like Uvas and Chesbro.  The same route my friends and I did so many times on training rides while I lived in the South Bay.  Today will be the first day we get to race our familiar training course.

I arrive to a busy transition area and see Teammate, Carrie Chavez volunteering to body mark and direct athletes through transition.  Teammates, Steve Chavez (doing the "Aqua-bike" with a running injury), and Clyde Floyd (doing his first Long Course) are also racing.  Plus many other friends I've raced so many years with, or have just met this season at FCA booths and Iron Prayers.  I set up in our designated "FCA Team" bike rack and do a mile warm-up to the other side of the lake, where the "secret" bathrooms were just being opened.  Perfect.

Before the swim we gather in front of the FCA Endurance booth, right near the beach swim start, and join together for a pre-race prayer.  About 20 athletes and supporters quickly gather in as Cory Floyd begins sharing his favorite section of the FCA Competitor's Creed.  As a PE teacher, he pinpoints on "respect"… for coaches, for each other, for God.  We pray, encourage each other and head into the water. The water is great!  Heavy rains this year make for good flow and clean cool water at Lake Almaden.  It's a 2-loop rectangle around the island including a beach run between the loops.  It's a great change.  It's easy to navigate and fun to watch.  The layout of the race site has the finish line, the vendors, the FCA booth and the stage all along the grassy water front.  It's very action-packed.

Go!  The race starts.  I'm positioned up front.   The water is perfect.  Sighting is easy with the straight-shots.  Prior years had us serpentining around the lake.  I find some drafts periodically.  My effort is feeling pretty steady.  I hear the cheers running across the sand and then dive back in for loop 2.  The final stretch I push hard, head-to-head with another guy.  I come out and see Anna cheering loud for me.  While catching my breath I jog to transition, surrounded by encouragements. 

In transition, Carrie Chavez helps point me to my bike.  I yank on my special FCA Endurance jacket which has been great this season in keeping the chill off for the 1st half of the bike.  I run out and jump on my bike.  Laura Schuster is volunteering in transition and cheers for me.  Wow, Laura and I first raced together back in the 90's!  Robin and the girls cheer me as I head out.

Around the next corner I start putting my feet into my shoes already attached to my pedals…. when, for the first time ever, one of my shoes falls off.  Ironically I recently spoke about this. At the Auburn Triathlon Iron Prayer, I talked about "Plan B" and the best way to prepare for the 100611_siliconvalley_troy_bike2 worst is to look to Christ always because the Bible says He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us know how to act in all situations.  Losing a shoe is hardly a significant mishap but I did tell the story about how Scott Tinley dealt with it.  Scott Tinley trained for every imaginable mishap, even practicing picking up a dropped bike shoe without getting off his bike.  Dave Scott saw this happen after a bike transition and thought he'd get time on Scott but seeing him whip around and pick it up without much lost time surprised him. So how fast can I fix this situation?  Not very.  I get off my bike, walk back, pick up my shoe and start biking up the incline.. only to realize I can't bike with 1 bare foot.  So I get back off put the shoe on first and then finally get going.  Not pretty but I'm back up to flying speed. 

Cruising down Santa Teresa with a slight tailwind, perfect temperature and perfectly flat and being waved through every intersections by friendly San Jose officers… this is just what I wanted.  After tough bike courses like Wildflower and Auburn Triathlon, this is a relief.  22mph all the way to Morgan Hill feels like a real good ride.  The climb over Llagas Rd is pretty and exciting. Back on the flats I feel like I'm riding well.  Suddenly a group of 3 girls pass me.. hammering.  I'm impressed and can't match the speed.  As we enter Gilroy, the intersections are no longer patrolled.  I see the girls ahead swerving some as they negotiate crossing traffic.  At the next light I wait anxiously for the cars to pass before I can cross.. feeling bad about going through a red light.  In Gilroy, at the Hecker Pass intersection, I see the girls go straight through.  I didn't review the course carefully but I thought we would turn here.  There's no signs or volunteers directing but as I get close I see the right-turn-arrow chalked out on the ground.  I quickly yell as loud as I can to the girls to come back but they're too far away to hear even if I had a horn.  I turn, along with some guys and we all feel bad that those girls, probably the leaders, are now unknowingly getting farther and farther behind.

It's getting harder now as the terrain starts to undulate.  A guy says, "are we the only ones out here?"  Indeed, there's no one around but a cone placed every mile reminds us we're on course.  Coming up to Uvas Lake I'm hoping for an aid station to grab water to pour to rinse off with.  However, the aid station is only serving sports drink.  But I've got my Hammer Sustained Energy which is working great. I re-focus and get into a new groove which feels good.  21mph and it feels comfortable, like I could go forever.  But, of course, fatigue still builds.  But I feel fast and ride well all the way through the "reservoirs", up McKeen Rd and into the neighborhoods of Almaden Expwy area.  I'm trying to average 20mph and surprised that I'm maintaining it through the hills.  It's been a great ride. The best part about this ride is reminiscing about my favorite racing adventures over the years as I cover parts of each one.  First, sailing down Santa Teresa reminds me of countless San Jose International Triathlons.  Then cutting over to the Uvas South Bay Triathlon course on Oak Ave brings back memories of fast-paced technical riding.  Then we turn down onto Sunnyside which was part of the Tierra Bella Century.  Then back onto the South Bay Tri course and finally back on the San Jose Tri course.

About 3 miles to go and I'm surprised to see runners heading the other way on the trail.  6mi ahead of me?  I thought I was closer to the front.  Not sure, but pressing on as fast as I can.  I race into transition, have a great dismount.. boy those first few barefoot steps hurt.  Quickly change into running shoes, and, again, Carrie Chavez is there to help me find my way to the "Run Out". Since I just ran a marathon last week, I'm planning to take it easy and just get through the 13mi run today.  It's just a fun day, no pressure.  I run by the booths and there's Robin and the girls.  Anna yells louder than ever before, "Daddy, you gotta run fast and get an award!  Think of God and get an award!"  Oh boy, now I gotta go hard, I can't let that little girl down who wants to go on the stage with me.  Then I hear Laura cheering her famous line, "go hard or go home!"  This is going to hurt but it's all good.

The first 3 miles are slow and difficult.  I'm surprised how many athletes are already coming100611_siliconvalley_troy_run back.  Tim Sheeper, Todd Allington, Keit Tran, etc.  At the 3.5mi turn-around I pick it up and start feeling good.  Like it's downhill!  The temperature is cool.  Thanks God for letting me feel good despite the tired legs!  I get down to sub-7 miles and at each mile mark I dare myself to do it again the next mile. At 7mi we're back at the park and head North towards the perk ponds.  I'm really getting tired now and also wondering how we're going to get 13mi in.  The perk ponds are only a couple miles away.  Then I see runners coming back again and 100611_siliconvalley_troy_finishsee the mile marker on the other side of the road.  The run is only 9mi!  Not 13.  Terrific!  Thanks, God, this is just what I needed.  And sure enough, at 8mi, my calf starts to cramp up like it did in the marathon.  I try to keep the pace fast while carefully being sensitive to that leg. The calf holds up and I finish!  Wow, a great day, and I thank Christ for the joy He puts in my life even when I'm doing difficult feats like triathlon.  I didn't make the top 3, by a lot, but it felt like a good race and Anna's cheers made me go faster. The next day we watched more friends and Teammates race the Olympic distance.  It was a great weekend and God used the FCA booth to help others and to plant seeds.  It's all for Him.


Go Clyde, Steve & Todd!!


Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Todd Allington M40-44 3 25:53 2:24:50 1:02:53 3:56:39
Troy M40-44 12 26:53 2:42:24 1:05:32 4:19:02
Clyde Floyd M50-54 14 33:03 2:53:31 1:42:03 5:12:51
Steve Chavez
M50-54 1 25:40 2:36:42   3:06:34

Sunday, June 5, 2011

San Diego Rock'n'Roll Marathon (Troy)

June 5, 2011 - San Diego, CA
Ben Rosenau, Daniel Patterson, Marilyn Watson

Jan & Jerry dropped me off up ahead of the starting line which worked well as the other roads were jammed with the 26,000 athletes trying to get to the corrals.  We took some pictures. Then I jogged to 5th ave.  Down the street were masses of athletes, but here were unused porta-potties and a nice street along the San Diego Zoo where I could warm up.  Some Kenyans were warming up here as well.  We could hear lions and jungle birds somewhere in the distance.  I knew I was in good running company.

I double-tied my shoes, paused for the National Anthem, dropped off my gear at the UPS trucks, stretched, prayed and now it was 5mins to start.  I forgoe another trip to the secret potties and wiggle my way into my Corral #2.  1000 runners in each.  They sent off the wheelchair racers, and then Corral #1.  Here we go.  Wow, it's pretty exciting.  I can tell everything about this race has been thought out and will be well-run.  Orderly, we move to the starting line.

Go!  A smooth start.  Different from my nightmare last night about doing this race and having everything go wrong (running with my sweats on; carrying a blanket, phone, and a stopwatch not started).  I do a quick check of myself.. Garmin, stopwatch, MyAthlete tracker, knotted laces, right clothes for the perfect weather and goal: 7:15 pace.

5 min into it we start getting overrun by Corral #3 released behind us.  But I find open road and just stay focused on being efficient and relaxed.  The course is great - lot's of San Diego highlights.  Bands are great.  Many runners dressed as Elvis - the king of rock'n'roll.  We descend to downtown and trying to maintain a steady heart rate, I pick up the pace and take 110605_rnrmarathon_troy3advantage of it.  We run along the bay, next to the aircraft carrier, The Midway, up through the gas-lamp district and everyone is cheering and helping us along.

At 10k (6.2mi) I think I'm a couple minutes ahead of schedule, but I'm going to need this for the climb ahead.  We veer onto Hwy 163, a 6-lane freeway open just to runners.  Pretty cool.  The 1/2 marathoners, which had veered off earlier, enter the freeway in the other Northbound lanes.  Good course planning - keeping us separated.  Overhead, amazingly, I still see the long line of runners who are just starting the race - 50 min into it!  The hill goes forever.  The off-camber is uncomfortable but I endure it as I run the tangents - where the steepest angle happens to be.

At the top, 11mi, my Garmin says I'm ahead, at 7:11 average, but my stop watch says I'm closer to 7:15. Strange.  Now I pick up the pace with a steep descent.  The camber is difficult.  My right foot is holding up fine with the pounding.  This should feel easier than it is.  My heart rate is all over the place but I'm pretty sure it's the Garmin acting up.  It's showing 125% of max ??  At one point it says I've been averaging 200bpm.  Impossible, unless I was my friend, Kevin Sutton.

We pass through a large freeway interchange.  The 1/2 marathoners to our right take the looping 110605_rnrmarathon_troy2off-ramp, cross overhead and then merge back in on our side.  It's spectacular seeing the throng of people moving along the freeway like Monday morning rush-hour.  By now the marathoners around me have diminished to only a dozen anywhere near me.  Whereas the 1/2 marathoners, who have separate lanes, are spread across the road.  I imagine in another hour it will be the same on our side.  But for now, we have the whole road to ourselves.

I'm looking forward to seeing Jan and Jerry at the 13.5mi checkpoint.  I'm really working hard and not able to pick up the pace much if I wanted to.  It's good to have something to rewarding to run towards.  I cross 13.1mi just seconds under the 1:35 I need to get 3:15 at the finish.  I'm right on 7:15 pace but my Garmin says 7:09 average.  I know it's wrong now.  I will start clocking splits on my watch.  I'm looking for Jan and Jerry.  It's hard just to look around which isn't a good sign.  My inclination is to go "tunnel-vision" but I know Christ gives me strength to interact and give Him glory where possible.

"Troy, Troy!"  There they are.  In a perfect location.  So great to see them.  High-fives and then the reunion is over too quickly.  At 14 and start taking splits and trying to push the pace.  I down a Hammer Gel.  But the extra effort has been slowly upsetting my stomach.  I know I need nutrition but I'm starting to feel bad.  Body check:  my left shoulder is sore.  My legs are getting stiff and sore.  And I'm having some GI issues.

15mi.  With the extra effort I'm still maintaining only 7:15 pace.  I start to think that there will come a time when I can't hold it.  But "you never know what can happen".  I cold start feeling great and boy would I love that.  We're on a long out-n-back.  I'm trying to relax to calm the stomach, but push to keep 7:15.  Down below to our left we can see beautiful Mission Bay.  It's nice to know we still have some elevation drop.

17mi. Finally we turn around and I'm hoping for some tailwind to help.  For a couple miles I go under 7:15 pace and then latch onto a Cancer Support runner who looks comfortable.  Gotta try to stay with him.  Up a little climb I fall behind and lose the seconds I was gaining previously.  I'm giving it a lot of effort so the slightest grade slows me down.  Don't give up.  We go through a clever Pac-Man aid station - everyone dressed as those colorful goblins.  I smile but can't do much more.  I take advantage of each descent, trying to catch up.  At 19mi I'm side-by-side with him, thinking I can go even faster.  But then the legs tighten up more and my left calf is cramping.  I use my right leg more.

20mi.  Someone announces we're on 3:10 pace but I'm just a little behind.  I pull off to a porta-potty to help the stomach and the calf needs to be stretched or it could bring me to a later stop.  I stretch while sitting and get some relief from both problems.  Now I gotta get moving and try to make up time.  I think about 1994, running with Dick and Clint in the California Int'l Marathon trying to qualify with a 3:10.  Our agreement was that at 22mi you could forget pace and go as fast as you want if you had it in you.  This is motivating and I imagine taking off at the 22mi sign.

22mi.  There's no taking off.  I've got nothing more in me.  Little turns or changes in the path stab at my legs.  I pray and trust in the Lord and ask for strength.  Even though I'm only 1-2 minutes behind, I'm not going to be able to get back to 3:10 pace.  And if I don't continually give it my all, I won't finish under the qualifying standard of 3:20 either.  It's tough realizing that this 1-2 minute deficent right now equates to waiting an extra 1 week to register for Boston.  That's the goal Robin & I have for our 10th Anniversary.  She's qualified with a 2 week registration advantage.  I just have to do all that I can.

24mi.  I'm really slowing down.  I imagine track workouts and try to go 1 lap at a time.  We're on a loop around an island in Mission Bay.  It's desolate except for some boats and water skiing nearby and, of course, the always helpful bands and aid stations every 1mi.  I stop at 24mi and try to stretch.  Whoa, the legs are worse then I realized.  Ok, pump it up, 1 more mile and then all-out.  Looking at the time, I can do it under 3:20 as long as something bad doesn't happen.  I try to recite Ps 23, about "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want".  I'll be content with whatever time I get.  "He leads me beside still waters".  I look at the calm bay water and smile.  I can do it.  There are reminders all around me of what can happen.  One guy suddenly starts hobbling as his legs lock up.  Around the next corner is a guy on the ground getting medical attention.

25mi.  I'm going to do it.  I've got 12 min left.  It's hurts like crazy but at 1/2 mi to go I do manage to pick it up just a bit.  There's the finish chute.  Yes!  I can't wait to lie down.  I'm so thankful that God has kept me together to complete the task.  I finish in 3:17:49, pray and then try to walk, realizing my legs may be more punished then ever before.  I find some grass and ever-so-gingerly lie down.  The pain reverberates up and down my body but it is good to rest. "He lays me down in green pastures"  Indeed He gives me rest.


Normally I would re-fuel and eat but the stomach is nauseous.  Through the throngs of athletes and families, I make my way out of Sea World San Diego and onto a peaceful bike path where I walk slowly to my rendezvous point with Jan and Jerry.  Every street coming and going is jammed with cars and buses.  I'm glad to be away from that.  Jan comes up and gives me a hug which feels so good I'm about to cry.  I'm done.  It was a hard effort.  I wasn't trained enough with the deep down fitness but it's a great comeback from not doing a fast marathon in 5 years.  Wow, through Christ all things are possible.  But ultimately His will be done.  I'm fine the results and Jan and Jerry made it all go smoothly and took care of me, including getting me a coke which tasted so good and helped my stomach.

Go Marilyn!


Way to go Daniel (left) & Ben (right)


Age Place
Run Time
Daniel Patterson
Ben Rosenau
Marilyn Watson