Sunday, September 25, 2011

Granite Bay Triathlon (Robin)

September 25, 2011 – Granite Bay, CA
Swim .75m – Bike 13m – Run 5m
1:39:56 (20:06-42:16-37:34)
Ann Downey, Hal Tacker, Jesse Moore, Messersmith Family
I drive down ahead of the family because they have to leave for church as soon as I'm done.  I park a few miles away and bike into the Granite Beach park.  It's the first chilly morning in a long time, requiring me to wear my beanie and warm-ups.  The first person I see as I bike up is Dave Campbell.  Besides being a great competitor, Dave and his wife Francie are regular volunteers for TBF.   It's always great to see them!
I check in and squeeze myself into a bike rack. After chatting with my nice "neighbors", I get body marked and head out for a warm-up.  I'm debating whether or not to wear my FCA jacket to stay warm on the bike.  As I run more, I can tell I'll be just fine without it.  On my way back, I see Troy and the girls arriving.  I give them hugs and then run back to finish getting ready.  I see kids starting a race and I wonder if that's the 1 mile kid's race Anna was supposed to do in a 1/2 hour.  I check in and found out that they changed the time...but didn't post it.  I'm disappointed but I know that God's in control and somehow this will work out.  I find Anna and Troy 5 minutes later and tell them to get started now and go for it.  Anna is not upset but up for the challenge with Daddy by her side.  They take off without knowing the course and it's not marked....I pray that they find their way and have a good time.
Ariel and I go back to transition and finish my final preparations.  We then wait for Anna and Troy at the finish.
(meanwhile.. from Troy: "Anna and I are running along the trails, hoping to eventually see the other kids running.  Anna says she's not going to stop and sure enough runs the whole way.  I ask her where the course goes because she did it last year.  Together we piece it together and the fun we have exploring the route makes the distance go by quicker.  Heading back, Anna is still running and coming out of the trees she shows how much fun she's having by running over some bike jumps.  Now she sees the finish area and, picking up the pace, runs towards Ariel waiting near the finish.  Hand-in-hand, with the announcer cheering, a big smile on her face and pointing up to God (like she practiced at home), Anna finished strong with Ariel.  We never did see the other kids in the race)
  Within 12 minutes we see them coming!  Yeah!  God helped them figure out the course!  Ariel crosses the line with Anna...what a joy to see 2 smiling faces!  I tell Anna good job.  We all pray and then I head out to do a warm-up in the water. 
As I'm getting in I see a familiar face.  It's Jesse Moore, a UCD running teammate and co-coach from Davis High.  It's been a long time but he looks the same.  I find out that he's a bike racer now and a coach.  Cool!  It's his first triathlon today so I tell him to enjoy. 
As I warm-up, I think how funny it is that I dread swimming the pool because it's often cold but I love getting in the water to race.  God has been so generous in giving me some great swims this year despite my once a week visits to the pool.  He's also blessed me with some great coaches (Chris Breitbart and Tracy  Battistessa) who have been great help in refining my strokes.
At the starting line, I line up next to 11-year old Katelyn Messersmith.  It's a family affair at these races.  Her brother, Ryan, and dad, Martin, are already out there and her mom, Karen, is in the wave behind.  Katelyn has a great attitude and is very smiley.  I know she's going to have fun out there.  Race director, Mark, tells the group that there are 2 girls today that will be battling it out and will be way ahead.  I hope to at least keep those girls in close range. 
Ready, set, go!  I see a few girls going out front so I push hard to get on their feet.  Other girls come around me and soon I'm sandwiched in between.  I panic for a moment as they are almost right on top of me.  Help me Lord stay calm!  I push hard and pull out ahead.  Soon I notice that these girls have drifted off to the right...phew!  The water is choppy so sighting is hard.  I mostly keep my head down and try quick glances to avoid swallowing water.  I round the first buoy, which was farther out than expected, and have no idea if others are's too hard to look for the blue caps. 
At the last buoy, I get too close and it bonks me in the face.  That woke me up!  I can see the finish and put my head down and focus on pulling the water.  As I breathe left and right, I glance 110925_granitebaytri_robin_swimto see if there are any blue caps...I don't think I see any.  I can see the bottom getting closer to me and I'm sure I can even stand up now.  I keep going until my hands touch the bottom and I jump up and run ashore.  I'm able to whip my wetsuit off...yeah!  As I run up the beach I hear Mark say "second woman".  Alright!  I run up the beach and there's Troy and the girls.  "You're the first woman" Troy says. I tell him "actually the 2nd woman"... just to set the record straight(=
I jump on my bike and head out for 2 loops.  I see Dave and his son-in-law, Steven at the "hot corner" directing bikers.  Dave cheers as I go by.  I get aero for the first flat stretch.  Then I start hitting the undulations and tight turns.  Troy tilted my seat up a bit and I'm feeling more comfortable.  The first loop is going well and is uneventful.  Riding into the backside of the course, I make note of the first girl as she's riding out.  She looks strong but I'll see if I can close the gap.  I look down at the 20.6mph average on my Garmin and make another goal to hitting 21mph average on the next loop. 
I roll back to the hot corner and Dave cheers and Steven jokingly boos me...that's a first(=  Halfway out on the course I see a guy walking back with his bike.  It's too dangerous to stop here to help.  I decide to look for him on the way back but pray someone else will help him. As I make a turn to go to the far backside of the course, I see a girl turning left instead of right out of that back section.  Whoa, she just cut the course!  I soon see the top girl at about the same point so that means I'm not loosing much time, if any, to her!
110925_granitebaytri_robin_bikeMy average continues to hover around 20.6mph so I push harder to get it up.  Then I hear something fall off my bike.  I look back and there's my bike bag with my tire repair stuff on the ground.  Bummer.  I make a turn for a short out and back and wonder what to do.  If I leave it till later, I might never see it again...a problem.  Also, someone could easily hit it and possibly crash...bigger problem!  I decide to go get it.  Once out of the short out and back I hang a left instead of going straight.  I pull over, wait for others to pass, and then grab it.  But now I find myself at the same spot where that girl cut the course.  If I continue left, others will think I'm cutting the course.  So I go right, instead, and ride the short out and back section again so that there will be no debate over me cutting the course. 
That added a good 2 minutes to my time!  My average is down 2 mph and the lead girl is farther away now.  I trust that God has a plan and I remember the guy walking his bike.  Well now I have easy access to my bike bag.  I don't see the guy but I run into a girl walking her bike.  "Do you need anything?", I ask.  "A tube", she says.  Well, that I can do!  I stop and pull it out for her in a snap.  As I bike away, I realize I didn't even ask if she knows how to change her tire.  I look back and ask her if she can do it herself and she says yes.  Alright, I feel better to continue.
I push hard down the last stretch.  Dave cheers and Steven boos as I come in...ha, ha, what a moment!  I make a decent transition and run out.  I'm struggling to get on my running Garmin and hat.  I put off figuring it out as Anna joins me for a bit and gives me a high five.  Troy and Ariel are cheering in the background.  This is awesome!  I love my support crew!
Once I get my gear settled, I focus on a girl ahead.  I work my way up to her and tell her good job.  I pass her but she hangs on behind me.  Maybe I'll have some company...which is a good motivation to push it! 
Mile 1 is 7:01.  That's great but it sure hurt to get that.  I doubt I can hold this pace especially as it gets hillier...I'll try!  Though this course is brutal, it sure is beautiful.  I love being along the lake!
110925_granitebaytri_robin_runMile 2 is 7:29.  Again, that hurts and I haven't got to the sandy beach yet!  I see a group of guys ahead on this narrow trail and I catch up to them right when they hit the sandy stretch.  I now have room to pass but it's really difficult to move.  I slowly make my way by them..."good job!".  Once back on the road along the lake, I see runners coming back.  Oh yeah, this is the long out and back part...ugh!  Well, at least I can see the competition and it's not too hilly.  I see the first girl coming back and I tell her good job.  She looks strong and it looks like she's well ahead.  I'll keep pushing because you never know!  I make the turn around and head back to the big hill on the course.
Mile 3 is 7:10.  Painful, but good!  I continue to push hard because I know the hill is going to slow me way down.  Here we go!  Light feet, look into the hill, use your arms!  It's still hard but doesn't seem as long as years past.  Up and over...down!  This is a steep and slippery downhill!  I wish I was my friend Courtney who can easily run down this!  Instead I slow way down and try to go down sideways...pointing my toes down like Troy always says.  I slip...Jesus, please keep me in one piece!  Thankfully I make it to the bottom!  Ahhh, flat ground! 
Mile 4 is 8:22.  Okay this is the last mile!  Think Tuesday track!  I just ran a 6 minute mile with the help of my friend Jim Kepfer this week so I've got to push hard!  I try to ignore the discomfort and focus on navigating the narrow trails on the way back. 
Mile 5 is 6:41!  Thank you Jesus!  That's great!  Now it's time to finish!   I see Anna and grab her hand.  We run across and hug. Ahhh!  That was great!  I see Troy waiting in the car....time for church!  I run Anna over there and say goodbye and tell them I love them.  What a day!

Name Age Group Place Run Bike Run Time
Ann Downey W40-49 1 14:29 43:04 40:46 1:38:19
Hal Tacker M50-59 1 14:18 42:17 41:58 1:38:33
Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Ryan Messersmith M14 & U 1 18:25 40:38 39:07 1:38:10
Jesse Moore M35-39 25:21 36:36 36:50 1:38:48
Robin Soares W35-39 1 20:06 42:16 37:34 1:39:56
Martin Messersmith M45-49 21:28 41:09 39:11 1:41:48
Karen Messersmith W35-39 23:40 52:41 47:56 2:04:17
Katelyn Messersmith 14 & U 31:12 1:04:41 58:44 2:34:37

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Folsom Cyclebration (Robin)

September 17 & 18, 2011 -
Folsom, CA
11m Time Trial; 40min Circuit Race
12th in series
(8th in TT; 13th in Circuit)
Time Trial
I'm looking forward to seeing what my body can do today in the TT (time trial), especially considering that my tri bike is covered in a layer of dust.  I've been cycling but not focused much on the tri-type events...and this is as close as you can get to a triathlon in cycling.  I'm so thankful and grateful that my good friend Courtney is here to watch Ariel.  Anna and Troy are at a work reunion party in San Jose so it's just me and my baby.  Courtney's husband, Lance, is going for the top 3 in the Omnium (3 stage race: Criterium, Time Trial, and Circuit Race).  I hope he gets it!  This weekend, due to Troy's reunion and my avoiding the criterium, we are each competing in 2 of the 3 events.  We'll still get an overall score, but will be at a disadvantage.  My ultimate goal is to keep close to the Lord and give Him the glory no matter what.. good or bad.
I run into Victory Velo teammate Todd Allington and he warns me about a fence, after the turn-around, that sticks out onto the bike path we'll be riding on.  I note it but don't think much of it because, much to my disadvantage, I look up a lot on the tri bike and never get too focused on the ground.  I ride over to the start.  It's just a little tent on a virtually abandoned bike path.  We line up and get ready.  I'm the last in my Womens 4 group.  We leave on 30 sec intervals.  There are all kinds of fancy disk wheels, skin suits and aero helmets.  I'm just glad to have aerobars!
As someone holds my bike, I clip in and get into cool!  Ready, set, go!  I take off and get into my aero bars.  Within a few miles, I can tell that 30 seconds is actually a lot of 110918_cyclebration_tt_robintime.  I don't make much progress in catching the girls ahead but I keep trying.  I see that fence that Todd was talking about.  It's much closer to the finish than I thought.  I'm averaging around 23mph.  It's a hard pace to hold but I'm hoping to keep it up and also hoping that I'll have a tail wind on the way back to help.  This path is mostly flat with some small rollers.  They're enough to get you out of rhythm and tired.  I notice that I keep having to slide back in my seat.  I'll have to have my "mechanic" fix that later.110918_cyclebration_tt_robin2
As I approach the turn around, I can tell that I've made some progress on catching a few girls ahead.  I make the sharp turn with my left foot clipped out to stay balanced.  Not a good idea because my foot slips when trying to put it back in.  It takes a few more seconds to get positioned and clipped in.  Well, next year I'll work out the kinks(=  I see the next wave of women coming out.  I just need to keep ahead of them...another thing to keep me motivated.
I discover that there is no head wind and my 23mph average is dwindling.  I keep pressing on and close the gap.  Around mile 8, I pass one of the girls ahead of me.  I tell her good job.  She doesn't have aerobars which makes this tougher for her.  We go up and over an overpass and I see a rider down...right in front of that fence Todd was talking about.  Oh no, she hit it!  As I coast by I can see that she's unconscious and there's blood on her head.  I want to stop and help and pray with her but I can see there are volunteers with her already and I'll just be in the way.  Reluctantly, I continue on.  "Lord, please help her!"  Things like that put things in perspective.  The results don't matter especially when someone is in need.  It's really hard to continue but I try to anyway.  I continue to pray for her all the way to the end.
I cross the finish line and it's bittersweet.  I'm glad to be done but I'm concerned for her.  I ride over to the guys in Lance's group waiting to go next and warn them about the fence.  I should have mentioned it when I started my race but I hope that it can be avoided by others.
Thank you Lord for your protection!  Please keep that woman from harm and heal her quickly. 
Circuit Race
2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 004This is as close as I'll ever get  to a criterium!  This is a 2.4mile continuous loop that we'll be doing for 40 minutes.  It's a great course with a little bit of everything.  I'm hoping that the corners will go well today!  I'm still a bit nervous with the close riding.  I'm thankful for all the experience with the fast-paced Coffee Republic ride (that I get dropped on) and the Victory Velo Tuesday morning rides.  Ultimately, I need to keep my focus on the Lord so that He can help keep me sharp out there and a good example.
We roll out and quickly we are up to 20mph.  I'm hanging back trying to get a feel for the group.  It's not a good idea because I start falling off the draft and having to push hard to get back in.  I make an effort to put myself in the pack.  I see Troy and the girls as we head back in from the first loop.  He's not giving me any special instructions yet so I'll keep doing what I'm doing.
The group keeps pushing but I don't feel like there is a sense of urgency on their part.  I'm hovering in the middle of the pack just waiting to see what they will do.  I'm not sure if I want to even try to lead it.  This is a Women's 4 and a 35+ race.  This means I might be up against some ex-pros so I don't want to overdo it. 
We're coming up on 3 laps to go and I find myself leading out front on the backside of the loop.  I keep the pace steady and try not to create a stir by trying to take off...even though they might not follow anyway.  Eventually I'm eaten up by the pack. 
As I see Troy I motion that there are 2 laps left. I can feel the tempo picking up and the few teams here getting ready to make a move.  I plot my move for the last lap and decide that on the only uphill on the backside of the course would be a good place to push.  110918_cyclebration_circuit_robin
I see Troy and the girls one last time and I hear him say to put myself in the top 5.  Okay, this could be tough but I'll give it a try.  On the hill I push and get ahead with another girl.  Going into the turn, I don't feel comfortable and brake a little...a bad thing to do!  I make it but it gives me little confidence for the next big turn.  I'm in the top 5 rounding the corner and I slow again slightly and find that the girls ahead are turning really wide which pushes me closer to the barrier.  I hear a "watch it" as we keep swinging farther.  Right behind me I hear a bang followed by 2 more bangs.  Oh no!  That did not sound good!  I look back and see 3 girls on the ground.  Did I cause that?  I wasn't' sure so I hesitate and wonder if I should stop and help.  I see that there are 3 volunteers on them so I decide to continue.  Please Lord, help them!  I pray that they are not seriously hurt.  By now, I'm out of the draft and pushing with all I have to catch up.  I cannot close the gap but I know I've got to keep pushing regardless.
On the last turn I'm trailing but I push and actually pass another girl who spent herself getting her team up front.  I cross the line and feel relieved to be done but terrible for the girls that crashed.  The whole group goes around again on a cool down and by the time we reach the crash site, it's all cleaned up...that's good because that means there were no serious injuries.  Thank you Jesus!  What a relief! I hear the girls talking and they felt those girls crashed because the front pack swung wide which flung the rest of us off towards the barrier.  Still, I know that I need to work on not braking into the turns.  Thanks Jesus for keep me upright!  Phew!


Folsom Cyclebration - Criterium & Circuit Race

September 17 & 18, 2011 -
Folsom, CA
Criterium, Cat 5 (40min) & Circuit Race, 35+ 4&5's (45min)
Crit - 15th, Circuit Race - 14th
(32nd in Cat 5 series & 28th in Cat 35+ 4&5's)
I arrive with plenty of time to warm-up, check out the course and be ready.  The only other crit I've done is the hilly, technical Auburn Criterium.  I've always had some concern for flat & fast crit courses.  Today's is a .6mi flat loop with gradual corners.
I'm glad my friend, Vince Hoffart, is here as he's always helpful in knowing what to prepare for.  He also fills me in on his tire failure in the last race we did together.  I know he's a good sprinter so his strategy today will be to focus on the last 2 laps.  For me, not having a powerful sprint, I think I will just try to keep the pace up so the group at least goes into the sprint spread out, giving me more of a chance.
Most racers warm up on wind trainers near their car.  I still prefer the old-fashioned way of riding 2011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 001around the neighborhood.  I head down Folsom Blvd, cut onto the American River Bike Trail and am enjoying the beautiful trail… while avoiding the many runners and bikers.  Before I know it I've gone too far and don't know where I am.  I go off-roading down a trail and pop back out on the main street and get back in time for the race.. with my heart beating a little faster.
Robin, Anna and Ariel are here now.. they're the best supporters!  They pray with me, take my extra gear and cheer to the start line.  Michael O'Rourke gives us pointers on how not to cause crashes (Cat 5's are the "beginners".. we need pointers).  And then we're off!
First I try to get comfortable with the group and the2011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 014 turns and changing positions.  All while trying to stay well in the draft to save energy.  Each time around I hear Anna, yelling the loudest, "Move up, Dad, you can do it!"  Even though the goal is usually to remain in the middle until the last laps, I'm going to have to do something impressive in front of her for all that cheering she's doing.
The first thing I try is pulling ahead in the 90 degree corner.  My strong point is corners and descending, but it's not going to help much today.  2011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 015I do get well ahead in the corner, hoping to tire the group by catching back up, but it's just too much work for the effect it has so I don't focus much on that plan.  Instead I try to stay near the front.   Chasing everyone moving up and sometimes pulling but only shortly.
I make sure to come through the finish in the lead sometimes which gets Anna all excited, although the pack knows that it doesn't mean I'm any closer to winning.  On the next lap I come through in 2nd place and Anna yells, "Get back up there Dad, you can do it!"   It makes me smile every time.  Bike racing is confusing enough for me, let alone a 6-yr old.  I can hear Ariel and Robin cheering for me as well but Anna's yelling 2011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 010instructions like she's got money on this race.
With 2 laps to go, Vince finally moves up near the front and the pace picks up.  I definitely want to be near the front as well.  I make a daring move across some bikes to get to a prime position.  I was clear of their front wheels but it wasn't a smart move and they let me know, "Hey!"  (Afterwards I apologized to the group.  Don't want to set bad examples).
So we're winding up with 300m to go in a sweeping left turn.  I expected the sprint to start at 200m but it began 50m earlier and caught me a little off guard.  But I dug deep, staying in the saddle at first (I can't sprint 250m) while about 10 guys went by me.  At about 150m I gave it my all and did pass a few guys burning out near the line.
Wow, that hurt a lot but it's a really cool rush flying across the finish line at over 30mph and costing with the whole group for the next 200m and continuing the cool down.  I was satisfied with my finish of 15th out of 31.  I thanked the Lord for keeping us safe.  Someone crashed near the finish last year and broke a collar bone.  Nothing is ever for sure.  I'm so glad the Lord is in charge… I just have to keep it that way.
2011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 0232011-09-18 001 2011-09-17 025
In order to get to church, I had to change my category to 35+ Cat 4/5 and race the 5:30pm event.  This turned out to be awesome because it meant I got to ride with Lance, Todd, and Kevin.  And also other teammates, Robin and Ron.  But Lance, Todd, Kevin and I have ridden a lot together and I've watched them improve so much, moving to Cat 4, winning races and setting high standards.  All with humble and appreciative attitudes.  So now I get to ride with them and they've included me in their sprint strategy… I'm to lead out after the round-about with .8mi to go, with Kevin taking over at the bridge, then Lance going at the final 300m corner and Todd hopefully taking the sprint.  This is perfect!  I knew I had no chance in the sprint so just wanted to be a help somehow.  Now I'm nervous, figuring out how I can get clear in that turn #6.
Robin, 2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 010Anna, and Ariel are here again, and strategically stationed at the round-about turn where a lot of the action will be.  We start the race and the pace is slow.  It's fine with me because I don't have plans for the final sprint.. mine starts way early.. and hopefully when they don't expect it.  My plan is to hide in the pack until the right moment.
After a few laps, getting the feel for the turns and the riders to avoid, I do a practice run leading out on the Sibley-Blue Ravine turn, through the round-about and around my "key" 2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 016turn into the straight.  It goes well, but as I pull to the left to let the pack come through, I unexpectantly hit my pedal on a curb.  It shocks me but I recover fine.  Then I hear the crash way behind me, on the other side of the road.  I see him go down hard, sliding into the other curb.  I slow as 2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 025my instinct is to go help him, but the support vehicle is already out and by his side and I remember Robin going through the same dilemma this morning, feeling the need to stop, and then having to catch back up.
I work to catch back up.  Feeling terrible that my jostle may have rippled through the peloton.  I talk to a guy who was nearest the crash in order to find out.  His rear 2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 022wheel was actually the downed rider's demise.  That's what happens when you overlap the wheel in front of you and that rider suddenly shifts.  I still felt like I caused the "shift"
After a few more laps and successfully "sitting in", it's 1-to-go and our Victory Velo team is together and near the front.  But Todd is now pulling.  I'm thinking he's supposed to be resting.  I can't leave him out there.  He might burn out 2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 032and hurt the plan.  I'm the sacrificial guy so I better get up there and block some wind for him.  So I do.  But now I'm in front way before my time.  I've known all along that I can't last a mile at the front and sprint, but I don't know what else to do. 
I'm leading the pack on the back stretch, trying to keep the pace high.  Now I'm thinking, "I can do it, I'll lead and then I'll sprint and the plan will work great".  After we cross the railroad tracks and ascend to the turn onto Blue Ravine Rd, the Bicycle Plus team makes their move.  It was the perfect place.  I was already taxed and the slight climb was enough to neutralize me.  It was also a risky move as 4 of them made the pass in the middle of the most dangerous corner.  This is where 3 girls in Robin's race went into the barriers.  Then, right in front of me, I see their lead rider clip an inside pedal, loose control momentarily, hit the barrier, throw his whole team into disarray, and then, somehow, recover and accelerate back into the pack.
Everything was out of control now as every team was taking advantage of the chaos.  Instead of my vision of going into the upcoming round-about in a single, swift line, I was deep in the pack desperately trying to get clear to move up.  Out of the round-about and there's my "key" corner ahead.  But 1/2 my team and 1/2 the pack are ahead of me.  Still, I grunt it out and do my best to move up and sprint but I can't make it happen.  My legs are burning up now.  Kevin has come around.  Todd and Lance are up ahead trying to catch up to the leaders.  I'm just hoping they can get there and sprint to a good finish.
In the last corner I give it all I have for the very long final straight-away.  It looks like everyone is ahead and they're all too far to see if our blue-and-white made it to the front.  I finish, huffing and puffing and re-group with my team.  I'm disappointed that I didn't execute the plan.  I'm concerned for the hurt rider.  And I'm thankful that no one else got hurt.  I was so close to the other team almost crashing, and the chaos afterwards, it's amazing to me we're all ok.
2011-09-18 002 2011-09-18 036Todd is an animal.  He says, "I feel fine, I still have more in the tank" while my legs are quivering.  I guess I could have left him on the front and he still would have sprinting well in the end.  This is the experience I need.  I have a great team that's very appreciative.  And it's a thrill to be in a bike race and come out ok.  I also heard that the rider was knocked out but came to and wasn't badly hurt.  And that his fall appeared unrelated to my commotion.
I learned a lot this weekend.  Bike racing is risky and happens in a split second sometimes.  It's addicting, too, imagining the perfect the plan and wanting to keep trying until it happens.  Only if the Lord wills.  That's what matters.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Davis Labor Day 10K (Robin)

September 5, 2011 - Davis, Ca
4th, W30-39
Hal Tacker,
Kathy Kelly Roggenbuck
It's always good to be back in Davis even if I'm not feeling well rested or stretched!  The girls are really excited to race and we are excited to watch!  Poor Troy is on crutches today because he sprained his ankle on the trails jumping over some rocks and brush yesterday.  He is still joyful and smiling and I know that it's because he's focused on Christ...and trusting His plan.  It's a good reminder for me that's it's all about Him out there today.  Our buddy Hal Tacker is here doing the 5K.  He injured his plantar fascia this year and had to miss out on a lot of run races.  Today he's back and curious what he can do with minimal run training. We all pray together before the race. 
I run into an old college teammate, Kathy Kelly now Kathy Roggenbuck.  It's great to see her!  She moved back here 10 years ago and is raising her family.  She's now back to teaching after staying home with her kiddos.  I'm reminded that it was Kathy that introduced me to Rancho San Antonio back in the Bay Area.  What an awesome park!  I miss it!  I also run into the coach at Davis High, Bill Gregg.  It's always great to see his smile and enthusiasm!
All the racers line up (5K and 10K).  Before we start, there is a small ceremony honoring some Japanese visitors, a yearly event.  I see their sign reminding us of the devastating earthquake and I am humbled.  I've been complaining lately about being behind on tasks at least I have a home and a healthy really puts things in perspective!
My goal today is to run under 43 minutes (under 7 min pace).  I spent the last few days painting in our garage and I didn't make it out yesterday for my usual 1 mile pre-race run.  We'll see what happens!  Ready, set, go!  It's a narrow start with speed bumps and a wooden ramp to get up onto the bike path.  I breathe a sigh of relief as I make it through.
I feel nice and comfortable at 6:54 pace and I hope I won't be suffering later on. I've got Troy's 110905_davislaborday_robinGarmin on this time as mine ran out of battery...oops!  As I pass some of the Japanese visitors, I cheer them on.  I see Beth Bourne up ahead directing the 10Kers and 5Kers in 2 different directions.  "Hey Beth!"  She cheers me on, encourages all the runners as they go by and directs them at the same go girl!
Mile 1 is 6:54, I think.   I'm getting used to the settings on Troy's watch.  I set the mile alert thinking it would give me splits but it's just an alarm. 
I still feel good and focus on pace and not on passing runners yet.This race benefits several local high school cross country programs including Davis High which I coached back in college.  The kids from these teams are out in full force at every possible corner, turn, intersection, you name it!  They are also cheering with such great enthusiasm which reminds me to smile.  I once told my top runner at DHS that she was smiling too much in the race and not focusing enough.  In retrospect, now as a racer for Christ, I've learned you can be a tough competitor with a joyful and humble heart.  As the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Competitor's Creed says...
I am made to strive, to strain, to stretch
and to succeed in the arena of competition.
I am a Christian Competitor
I face my challenger and as such, with the face of Christ.
I do not trust in myself.
I do not boast in my abilities or believe in my own strength.
I rely solely on the power of God.
I compete for the pleasure of my Heavenly Father,
the honor of Christ and the reputation of the Holy Spirit.
110905_davislaborday_robin2"To compete for the pleasure of my Heavenly Father" was something that the late Eric Liddell (Chariots of Fire) used to say and he smiled, smile on!
Mile 2 is 6:53.  Wow, still feeling good!  In just a few miles I'll try to push the pace.  It's nice and flat out here.  Coming from hilly Auburn, it makes my legs feel light and fast. 
Mile 3 is 6:54.  As I look ahead now to see if there are some women to pass, I see one not too far ahead.  I feel fatigued more so I take a Espresso Hammer Gel for a kick.
Mile 4 is 6:53.  I'm ready to pass the girl and I'm tempted to sneak by quietly and quickly to make the pass last.  I feel it's not the Lord's will so I make it a point to encourage her even knowing she could go with me.  The pass does stick and it feels good that I did  it a better way.
I can see a few girls way ahead.  Chances are I won't catch them but I press on anyway as if I can. 
Mile 5 is 6:45.  Alright!  Now, I remember Troy telling me that the last mile is the time to pretend 110905_davislaborday_robin_finishI'm on the track back in Auburn on Tuesday nights.  I try to run with good form and fast.  The last mile always seems so much longer in my mind, funny how that works!  It hurts but I still put
on my smile. Those girls are closer but still far.  Keep pushing!
Mile 6 is 6:38.  Go!  Last lap on the track Robin!  As I round the last corner, I see Troy and the girls.  Anna is ready to run in with me.  I grab her hand and we sprint to the end.  Yes, thank You Jesus!  I'm so wiped out but I still give Anna a hug and thank her for finishing with me.  What a good day!  Now it's time for the girls to go!
Go Hal and Kathy!
Name Race Age Group Place Time
Hal Tacker 5K M50-59 3 20:42
Robin 10K W30-39 4 42:36
Kathy Roggenbuck 10K W30-39 10 54:13