Sunday, December 2, 2012

CIM Relay (Troy, Leg 2)

December 2, 2012 - Sacramento, Ca
Marathon - 26.2m (My leg is 7.6m)
2nd, Run Club Coed

Relay Teammates:

FCA Endurance Relay - Ellie Verdi, Troy, Karen Nickel, Desiree Swift

Other Teammates:

FCA TeamMate Jessica Bonner; Team Catch Us If You Can (Leonie Alesci, Robin, and Liesbeth & Kevin Magna);
Friends (Annette Korn and teammates, Helen Barker and teammate, Pacer Jim Kepfer, Kayden Kelly, Pacer Lee McKinley, Mary Serna, Pacer Michael Cook, Michelle Tuggle, Rich Alesci, Pacer Tim Twietmeyer)

This year I'm on a different team, competing against Robin instead of racing with her.  Robin has Leonie, Liesbeth and Kevin on her team and I have Ellie, Karen and Desiree on my team.  It's a special team this year because it's the FCA Endurance Auburn Huddle Team.  I'm excited to have an FCA sports ministry huddle here in Auburn thanks to Desiree starting it.

The big excitement today is the weather.  Pouring rain and high winds.  Last night at the pasta party at our house it was great trying to strategize what to wear with all the runners.  Most concerned of course are the marathoners. We had 5 of us running the relay, 4 marathoners, and Helen Barker, running the relay as a 1/2 marathon.

I drop off our lead-off runner, Ellie, at the start and feel bad for her having to run a mile in the dark, with blowing, pouring rain, protected with a trash bag.  But she was a trooper and did great.  Robin was also dropping off runners.  I take the kids to the start of the 2nd leg (with Robin following) and then buddle up in rain gear to warm up for my run.

It's howling out here!  I have to lean into it just to jog.  Surely this will add 20min to the marathoners' times.  This is the toughest conditions I've ever seen here.  Then I see the first runners.  Wow, they don't seem fazed!  The lead guys are only wearing singlets like usual and some aren't wearing shirts at all.  Pretty tough for the pelting rain conditions.

The kids hold their umbrellas while Robin and I wait for our teams.  This is a competition and we're both hoping our team arrives first and that we can keep them in first.  We see Michael Cook, Lee McKinley, and Rich Alesci all go by doing great.  And there she is, Ellie from my team!

We make a good hand-off of the chip and I'm off.  Adrenaline rushing.  It's not cold, just super wet.  I'm running fast when the wind dies, but slow when it drives.  The Relay always makes me run fast.

Mile 1: 6:40. My hamstrings are sore, probably over exerting, so I try to relax and still  have efficient pace.  Many marathoners are pacelining to dodge the wind which is smart but I'm going a little faster so have to stay to the left, in the open.

Mile 2: 7:14. My slowest mile due to the hamstrings but they are loosening up.  I'm amazed at each marathoner I see.  Some are running the same speed as me.  All are doing so well and not dismayed by the weather.  Cups at the aid stations are blowing all over the place.  Only a few bands are out under tents and are hard to be heard.

Mile 3: 7:07. I'm doing better and hoping to get up to the 3hr pacer and see Rich somewhere.  I ran 42min at the Turkey Trot 10k a couple weeks ago and am shooting for that pace today.  There are rivers of water going across the road.  The water is also running down my shirt like a shower.  The Nike gloves are working great and the bare legs are fine.  I have a wool cap and the only problem is keeping the rain from pelting my eyes.

Mile 4: 6:42. .  God is blessing my run and I'm thankful everything is going well for how crazy the conditions are.  A couple hills.  I try to fly down the descents and just power up the hills while keeping my eyes low. I thought I saw Rich Alesci up ahead (turned out he was way ahead actually).

Mile 5: 6:33. Ran through the cute village. The school band was playing under the eaves.  Pushed hard this mile.. my fastest yet!  I'm down to a 6:51 average.

Mile 6: 6:40. I passed Michael Cook leading the 3:10 group.  Less then 2 miles to go.  everything is going well

Mile 7: 6:37. Now there isn't much difference between my pace and the marathoners.  I'm almost at the 3hr runners.  I hear loud music ahead.  It's chanting of "hare krishna" or something.  Really annoying, just over and over for a whole mile.  But now I'm close to the exchange.  There's my TeamMate, Karen Nickel.  She's in perfect position, and ready with a smile and pigtails.  I give my last surge and am glad to stop and let her exchange the chip.  We're at 1:31.  My split was 50:49, a 6:46 pace, close to my 6:42 pace at the 10k!  "Have fun, Karen, and God Bless you!"  She's off and my job is done.  I jog back, still feeling the warmth of the excitement going through me, and see Robin coming down the road.  I cheer her on as she hands off to her teammate, Kevin.

We head to the finish and watch our teams and all the marathon studs finish.  I was amazed to see such good times even with the wind.  Rich did a 3:07!  Our team did a 3:17 for 2nd place which was exciting for all of us.  And we stayed ahead of Robin's team.

The sun came out afterwards.  It takes a real storm to make the sun look so glorious.  Similar to hardships in life to make the blessings so much more wonderful!  Thanks, God, for everything!

Karen and Desiree Bringing the Team Home!


CIM Relay–“Catch Us If You Can” (Robin)

December 2, 2012 - Sacramento, Ca
Marathon - 26.2m (My leg is 7.6m)
6th, Coed Open

Relay Teammates:

Leonie Alesci, Robin, Kevin & Liesbeth Magna

Other Teammates:

FCA TeamMate Jessica Bonner; Team FCA Endurance Relay (Ellie Verdi, Troy, Karen Nickel, Desiree Swift);
Friends (Annette Korn and teammates, Helen Barker and teammate, Pacer Jim Kepfer, Kayden Kelly, Pacer Lee McKinley, Mary Serna, Pacer Michael Cook, Michelle Tuggle, Rich Alesci, Pacer Tim Twietmeyer)

Crazy Conditions Today!


Robin, Leg #2 – 7.6 Miles

This year, Troy and I are on different relay teams.  I “kicked him off” my team so that my college roomie, Liesbeth Magna, could have her hubby Kevin on the team.  Troy is on a really great team with our new Auburn FCA Endurance huddle gals.  In fact, they are going to be tough competition!

I got to drive a bunch of friends to the start of the marathon: Jessica Bonner, Jim Kepfer, Kayden Kelly & friend,  Michael Cook.  Later my teammate Leonie and her husband Rich join us in the car.  They keep cover in the car as the storm rages outside.  It is fun until it is time for me to go and car battery is totally drained!  I had left too many things running for the 45 minutes we hung out.  Instead of looking to the Lord for help and peace, I start to panic and call Troy (he had just dropped off his relay teammate Ellie and was heading to the next leg).  But then I feel God's peace.  I ask a guy in a mini Copper, waiting to drop off his wife, to give me a jump.  Amazingly his little car is able to get my mini-van going.  “Thanks so much, God Bless you!”  I take a moment to thank the Lord and remind myself that He is most important today.

I’m on my way to the first exchange, yeah!  The rain and wind are non-stop.  I feel for the all the runners starting right now!  I decide I’m going to wear my plastic bike jacket.    I’d rather stay as dry as possible and risk getting too warm and having a slower time.  After 2 bathroom stops on the way, I meet Troy at our secret parking spot just as he finishes his warm-up.  The girls are gearing up to get out of the car and walk to the exchange as I head out for my warm-up.  When I return the girls and I are ready to go.  We walk to the street just in time to see the first runners.  Wow, these guys are wearing very little and a few guys are shirtless!  The girls come soon after and they also are dressed light.  Our girls are not digging this weather.  Usually the rain is fun but not today’s storm!

Troy, the girls and I wait in the rain and wind for our teammates.  There goes Rich!  He looks great!  Soon after Michael runs by pacing the 3:10 crowd.  He looks strong as usual!  I run into Jen Feller who I ran with at UCD.  She is also doing a relay.  It’s fun to catch up for a few minutes.  “Troy, here comes Ellie!”  Troy jumps out and gets the chip and takes off.  “Great job Ellie!  Okay, girls, time to go!”  Ellie herds them off to the car.  Soon I see Leonie and say goodbye to Jen.  “Great job Leonie!  See you soon.” 

I take off and it’s tough from the get-go!  I don’t feel very strong enough today to go sub 7min pace so I try to keep it as close to that as possible.  Within the first mile I see a big group of runners.  That’s got to be a pace group and sure enough I see a 3:35 sign pop up…that’s my neighbor, Tim Twietmeyer's group!  I catch up and wave as I go by.  “How’s it going” he asks.  I give him a thumbs up and tell him “great job”. 

Now, I’m keeping my eyes open for the 3:30 group which shouldn’t be too far I hope.  The wind is really relentless.  Going through my first aid station, cups are flying everywhere and are not staying on the tables.  I don’t know how these volunteers do it!  They seem to be able to give out cups to everyone with smiles despite the chaos.  I wish I could thank them properly!

I continue to move past marathoners.  I try to get as much as a draft from individuals and small packs as possible as I move along. I see a girl wearing a jacket from this year’s Boston Marathon.  Boy, going from the year’s hottest race to the year’s wettest/windiest…amazing!

By my third mile I do not see the 3:30 group.  Man, where are they?!  Should it be this hard to catch them?  My pace has been hovering around 7:20 which is decent for these conditions.  I am amazed that my search has distracted me from the chaotic weather.  My jacket has done a good job of prolonging getting wet…but now I can feel it working it’s way throughout my shirt. 

The spectators are amazing!  I am surprised by how many are out here! 

By the time I hit my 5th mile I can see a big group ahead.  This must be them!  Finally I catch up and see the pacer with the 3:30 sign.  If it took me this long to catch this group, the 3:25 group will be way harder! 

I can hear some sort of music booming ahead but after several minutes I don’t seem to be getting closer to it.  Then I can make it out as a chant “Hare krishna,krishna, krishna”.  I start singing “Jesus, Jesus” in my head and thank Him for saving me…because nothing other than Him can save me and give me eternal life.

Less than a mile to go, hooray!  The wind and rain continues to pound and I am anxious to stop!  I feel a little wimpy for that since these marathoners are trudging along with no complaint!  I see Troy ahead and he waves and runs off to tell Kevin I’m coming.  I see Kevin and make the exchange.  “Go Kevin!”  I find Troy and we hug.  So glad to be done!

Our team did great and I found out some very special news from Liesbeth and Kevin!

Team Magna Brings Our Team Home!


Year Team Name Relay Div Place Time Teammates
2012 Catch Us If You Can Open
6 3:32:57 Leonie Alesci (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Kevin Magna (Leg #3) and  Liesbeth Magna (Leg #4)
2011 Catch Us If You Can Open Coed 3 3:05:14 Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Liesbeth Magna(Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)
2010 Catch Us If You Can Open Coed 2 3:13:32 Robin Soares (Leg #1 & 2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)
2009 CATCH US IF YOU CAN Open Coed 3 3:08:47 Kevin Magna (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)
2008 CATCH US IF YOU CAN Open Coed 21 3:27:28
Robin Soares (Leg #1), Courtney Loveday (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)
2007 RIONIE AND SOARES Open Coed 3 2:58:55 Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)
2006 CATCH ME IF YOU CAN Open Female 1 3:00:54 Robin Soares (Leg #1), Megan Canova (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)
2005 DAM GIRLS & GUYS Open Coed 2 3:00:36 Robin Soares (Leg #1), Dick Kirkpatrick (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4) (?)
2004 DAM GIRLS & GUYS Open Coed 14 3:32:15 Troy, Robin, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven (?)
2003 DAM GOOD RUNNERS Open Coed 21 3:06:50 Troy-Robin-Leonie Wynhoven-Liesbeth Brouwer
2002 DAM GOOD RUNNERS Open Coed 76 4:13:14 Robin, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven
2001 DAM GOOD RUNNERS Open Coed 21 3:56:56 Robin Heidt, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven
2000 Un-Named Open Coed 49 3:48:04 Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt (?)
1999 DAM GOOD RUNNERS None 88 3:44:09 Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt

Note: The CIM Relay Races started in 1991.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Davis Turkey Trot–Stroller 5K–Ariel & Robin

November 17, 2012 – Davis, CA
5km Run

1st Woman
Dave Campbell, Leonie Alesci
This is our last stroller race together.  It’s bittersweet for sure.  Today is going to be tougher since there is rain and some wind.  Ariel is nice and cozy under the hood of the stroller.  We see mother-and-son team of Leonie and Reed Alesci.  We see our big competition…a grandpa and grand-daughters team of Dave Campbell, Isabella & Rachel.  We all chat and hang out.  The race is getting a late start and kiddos around us are starting to melt down.
121117_davisturkery_5kstroller_robin_ariel1Okay, it’s go time.  Go!  Dave and another guy take off and I stay close behind.  So far I feel good but I try to hold back a bit.  As we head west, I can feel the wind.  Dave’s hat flies off but he catches it.  He is running amazingly fast for a guy pushing two kids!  He’s currently in 2nd.  Soon we are going North on Oak Ave and it’s much better here!  This is the longest section of the race and I hope to pick it up here.  “You’re doing great Ariel!”
Mile 1 is 6:38.  I’m happy with that and that we are the first girls.  Dave is ahead and I’m trying to keep the gap as short as possible.  He’s moving closer to the first guy and I want to shout “catch him” but he’s too far away to hear me and I don’t have the energy.  I figure he’s thinking the same thing. 
Dave makes it to the next turn way before me.  By the time Ariel and I make he turn, he’s out of sight.  It’s getting tough to keep up the effort.  Lord, please help me hang on.
Mile 2 is 6:43.  Ariel and I are holding onto 3rd.  Soon we are heading South right into the wind.  Ugh, this is tough.  I see Dave briefly and he’s really close to first!  I know he can do it!  
“We’re almost done Ariel!”  We make it to the final stretch…the 2nd longest section of the race.  The wind is strong here and I push my legs and the stroller as hard as I can.  Thank you Lord for helping me…I know You’re with me!  I can see Dave in first in the distance. Yeah, you go Dave!
121117_davisturkery_5kstroller_robin_arielMile 3 is 7:02.  We are still in 3rd and the first girls!  Don’t quit!  I give it what I have.  Ariel and I roll across the finish.  Yeah!  I’m so happy that Ariel and I were able to do this one last time!  What a great race!

Name Race Place Time
Dave Campbell 5K Stroller 1st 20:00
Robin Soares 5K Stroller 1st 20:58
Leonie Alesci 5K Stroller 3rd 24:33
Troy Soares 10K 5th 41:57
Tom Harper 10K 4th 51:27

Davis Turkey Trot 10k (Troy)


November 17, 2012 – Davis, CA
10km Run





Tom Harper

It's a rainy day but we're prepared.  We've done this race for 6 years now.  This year is special because it's Robin's last time doing the Baby Jogger 5k Race.  Even though the drizzly morning is drawing a small crowd of moms and dads pushing baby joggers, it is still a heated race as Robin and our friend, Dave Campbell, are ready for their re-match from last year.  It's definitely the main attraction for me and the girls.

Anna & I cheer them on as they race off into the wind and rain.  We cheer on Leonie Alesci and little Reed, too.  Then I realize I have a race to do myself!  I almost forgot.  Rich is nice enough to watch Anna as I rush off to get ready.  I take off a lot of layers leaving tights, long sleeve shirt, knit cap, and gloves.  I've been a little sick lately so opted for the tights which I usually wouldn't wear in rainy weather.  I say a quick prayer, knowing my real hope for a good day always lies in the Lord rather than my body.

We're already pretty wet standing at the start.  I'm 3 rows back.  I see a triathlete-looking Forward Motion guy right on the start with almost a sprinter's pose.  On the count down, "3..2..1", the rest of the line goes on "1" whereas the FM guy waits patiently for the "Go".  Ironically funny that the calm runner-guys jumped the gun like triathletes often do at the swim start, whereas the high-strung triathlete-guy waiting for the actual start like runners are good at.

We're off!  Rich is cheering and Anna gives me a high five.  Not knowing what I can do after being sick, but not wanting to sand-bag, I set my goal pace at a 40min 10k… 6:27.  After the 1st 2 corners, I can see what looks like 1/2 the field already ahead of me.  That's ok, I know it always looks better at the finish line.

I slowly pass a guy carrying his son on his shoulders.  I tell him that's amazing and he says it's probably the last year as his boy is getting too big.  He started out at 6min pace.. with a kid on his shoulders.. even with a jogger that would be hard.  Now I notice a few women stretched out ahead of me and try to work my way up.  I'm pretty wet but the temperature is good.  And the wind is behind us.  I'm feeling ok.

Mile 1: 6:21.  Great.  But it will be harder coming back in the wind. I'm already realizing that the tights weren't needed.  Despite rain, legs always get warm.

121117_davisturkery_10k_dadwkidonshouldersMile 2: 6:24.  Good. But with a tail wind.  Now we hit the trails in the green belt.  I'm breathing pretty hard and the pace is difficult but I try to make up for it by running smart.. taking every inside corner.. using my arms.. looking ahead.  I pass some people and some pass me. 

Mile 3: 6:32.  I felt like I was pushing at the same speed but this is showing that something's giving way.  I'm about 10secs off pace but I'm still optimistic that I can make that back up in the last mile.. as long as I can keep 6:27 pace for the next 2 miles.  Mentally it's a good course with all the curving, tree-lined paths.  Sometimes you can see runners ahead going different directions… it keeps you wondering where the final straight-away is.

Mile 4: 6:39.  Reality hits.  20 secs is a lot to make up in the last mile but the real problem is the pace is getting slower despite my efforts.  Ok, don't focus on the pace, just keep trying, breathe deep, and get excited for the last mile.  At the 5 Mile marker I'll even slow down just a bit before I psych up and give it my all for the last part.  I'm hurting but I don't give up hope.  You never know what might happen.

The wind is in our face.  2 guys pass me.  There's a downhill coming up through a subway.  Despite the pain I surge forward to get into their draft, go all the way through the tunnel and then watch as they pull away on the uphill.  It was a good effort.  Little things to be proud of.

121117_davisturkery_10k_troyMile 5: 7:07.  Oh boy, I didn't realize the wind and fatigue was doing that much damage to my pace.  The 40min goal is out the window but I don't think about how much, I just smile, slow a little, and then turn on the big push for the last mile.  Unfortunately, my big push, isn't changing the pace.  There's just nothing there.  Wow, it's the like the body is on autopilot now getting ready to slow and land.  But I keep the pedal floored.  There's an overpass.  Oh, the uphill hurts.  But now it's down.. onto the street.. and there it is.. the long straight-away.  Just go to my happy place.. the finish will be here soon and I'll be happy.  Thank you Lord for getting me this far.

Mile 6: 7:07.  It is what it is.  But the good part is I'm going to make it.  I can hear Robin, Anna and Ariel in the distance.  I can't wait to find out how Robin did.  But for now just pump the arms and get there…

Done!  41:49.  That was tough and I can only imagine how much tougher pushing a stroller, let a lone a DOUBLE-stroller that Dave is pushing.  I found out Robin did great and Dave actually won overall.  Leonie also did great.  Thanks Lord for a good day!  I may not have won but it was a winning effort.

Name Race Place Time
Dave Campbell 5K Stroller 1st 20:00
Robin Soares 5K Stroller 1st 20:58
Leonie Alesci 5K Stroller 3rd 24:33
Troy Soares 10K 5th 41:57
Tom Harper 10K 4th 51:27

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Victory Velo Halloween Duathlon–Robin

October 28, 2012 – Auburn, CA

5.8 mi R - 9 mi B

2:10:48 (53:52-1:16:54)
1st Woman
Dan/Dawn/Devon Tebbs, Jesse Warda, Melissa Johnson, Troy Soares

The run goes from Victory Velo to the Overlook to the Western States Trail to the Old Foresthill Bridge.  The bike goes from the Confluence Trail, around the Clementime Loop and up Stage Coach.

Troy and I are a medical team this year: Dr. Soares and Nurse Soares.  As we arrive at the store we don’t see as many costumes this year but there still are some good ones: Superman, Storm Trooper (Devon), Shera (Dawn), Conan (Dan), Kitty Cat, Mario, and Ape.  We line up and get ready to run.  This year Devon Tebbs, a third grader and a Skyridge Jog-A-Thon winner, is running with us.  

We take off.  Troy, Jesse and Devon are running quick.  I’m impressed with Devon’s effort!

Mile 1 is 7:52. We are now on the trail heading over to the Western States trail.  Runners coming up the trail giggle and smile as they see me, the nurse, and Superman behind me. 

Mile 2 is 7:18.  I’ve caught up to Devon and he’s still running strong!  I tell him to listen for my Garmin watch to tell us when we’ve completed the next mile.  Doug Houston and Abe Ditman go by.  “Good job!”

Mile 3 is 8:49.  “There goes the beep, that means we have 2 miles to go I think.”  So far, no one has caught Devon and I.  We make it to the Western States 100 mile course.  “Don’t look back Devon, watch the obstacles”.  It’s a steep decent and we are letting gravity carry us down.  Devon is noticing the sights and sounds.  I appreciate that since often I’m in such a hurry to get places I hardly notice those things sometimes.

Mile 4 is 10:12.  Melissa catches us as we get to the waterfall.  Wow, there is a lot of water and I try to make it across without getting my feet wet.  Darn, I stepped in the water…oh, well.  Devon gets across well.  We say bye to Melissa as she continues on. 

Mile 5 is 10:00.  “We are almost there Devon.  No hands bridge is right around the corner”.  The Kitty Cat catches us.  “Stay with the Kitty!”  I can tell Devon is tired but his attitude remains amazing.  As we turn up the trail from No Hands, it gets really steep.  For a moment Devon walks, but then he’s back at it.

Under Hwy 49 bridge and back up onto Old Foresthill Rd.  Soon we can hear his dad, Dan, and others cheering for him.  It lifts his spirits and he flies to the finish.  I try to go with him with no success.  As I get to the finish, I give Devon a high 5 and run to my bike.  I'm the 2nd woman to transition.

As I’m getting ready, Cindy Ditman says hi and takes a picture.  I jump on my bike and away I go!  The first section is along the North Fork of the American River.  It’s much wider and less bumpy as in previous years thanks to a base jumper who had to be rescued.  It’s worked to my benefit and I am able to bike right through without having to get off my bike…yeah!  It also helps I rode this yesterday for practice.

I see another racer in his Victory Velo gear.  As I get closer, I can see he’s just riding a Felt road bike on the bumpy, dirt road…wow, impressive!  As the climbing begins, I’m feeling pretty good and it seems like I’ll catch that guy. 

Once I’m 2 miles up and off the dirt, I’m not any closer to the guy.  My legs are feeling really tired now.  That run downhill really beats you up!  I continue pressing and push through to the top of the road.

The road bike guy continues on the road and I turn off onto the trail.  Okay, here we go.  After some more climbing, it’s time to descend.  Last year, I was stressed and scared going down this.  This time I’m relaxed and calm.  I know I can do better and I know I’ll still need to walk some sections.  Lord, please keep me from crashing.

I make it down to the tunnel feeling confident.  I pull down my shades as I go through the tunnel and focus on the light ahead.  Lord, keep me upright.  I make it through!  I even get down a section I walked yesterday.

Towards the bottom, I get off my bike on a few sections but I’m quickly back on.  I finish the Culvert trail and cross Old Foresthill Road and continue on to the Mammoth Bar trail.  I know the first half will be great and it is.  Then it gets really rocky, narrow…to top it off, I’m on the edge of a cliff…oh dear, a bad mental combination for me.  I do some major walking here.  On one section I try to forge through but halfway chicken out.  For a second I’m teetering on my bike towards the cliff side!  I am able to steady myself and stop…phew!  Thank you God!  After a few riders pass, I walk the rest of this section.

I am able to ride the bottom of the trail and make it back to Old Foresthill Road.  I ride over the bridge and head for the last climb, Stagecoach.  Last year I was dragging here.  I’m tired but definitely have more energy this time.  I catch a Victory Velo guy going up. “Good job”.  He tells me to save him a beer.  It doesn’t seem long until I’m at the top.  Yeah!  I made it!!   Thank you God!!

Victory Velo Holloween Duathlon–Troy

October 28, 2012 – Auburn, CA
5.8 mi R - 9 mi B
1:40 (43:30-56:30)
Dan/Dawn/Devon Tebbs, Jesse Warda, Melissa Johnson, Troy Soares
This is my 3rd year joining this fun, grass-roots event.  The first year was just weeks after the Lord healed my chronic foot pain.  I'm thankful for 3 years running without pain.
After dropping off our mtn bikes 1000 ft. below at the American River Confluence, we gather at the Victory Velo Bike Shop in Auburn.  Many are in costume.  Robin & I are a Nurse & Doctor.  The youngest participant today is 8 yr old Devon Tebbs dressed as a Star Wars Clone Trooper.
Quickly, shop owner, Dan Tebbs, describes the course and says, "Well, get going!" and we're off!  (things I didn't remember before race start:  turn on my Garmin, pray for our race, tie my shoes, go to the bathroom).
We start off somewhat casual.  Up the steep Cherry Ave it's Abe (Charlie Brown), myself, Jesse Warda, Devon Tebbs (clonetrooper), Robin, Melissa, etc.  Devon moves up to 2nd!  Down onto the tracks and Devon is leading.  He's already breathing hard and I'm hoping he'll slow down a little to conserve.  It's actually a tough 6mi run to the river below.  We're all encouraging Devon, amazed by his running abilities.  He recently ran over 4mi during a 30 min jog-a-thon at Skyridge School.
It's a small group, about 20 runners, and I realize the "race" is going to be between Jesse & I.  Jesse has been running lately and I already know he's a tough cyclist, especially on the hills.  I'm thinking I've got to get ahead of him on the run to stay ahead on the bike.  Jesse & I pull away, carefully negotiating the deep rocks along the train tracks.  We shoot down the Western States trail.  Devon is 100yds back but still going fast.  He'll be ok as Robin and the other runners catch up to him  (Robin actually ran the rest of the way with him until he sprinted away the final 400yds!).
Jesse & I are chatting and he is letting me lead the way because I know the trail.  Although someone marked the course this year.  I'm breathing hard and the temp is heating up.  Still, my doctor's scrubs is a good running costume.  My dental hygienist (and Western States Finisher) let me borrow them.  Jesse is hardly breathing.  He's quite a runner!  He even slows up for me when I have to tie my shoes.  After pulling ahead, he has to slow again to wait for horses to clear the trail.  But along the fire-road by the river he gets a huge lead on me.
On Hwy 49 near the confluence I can see Jesse a couple minutes ahead.  I'm pushing but I feel taxed, hot and out-of-breath.  I really want to get on the bike to get some temporary relief.
43:30. Transitioning, I'm offered a beer.  That's how easy-going and fun this event is.  But I'm going for a best effort.  I've been practicing on the course leading up to this and I have to know I gave it my best.. so, no, I'm not going to drink a beer.  But Jesse is.  He's also emptying his camelback pack of the rocks that his friends filled it with before he got there.
I take off before Jesse and he opts to not finish his beer and catch me instead. We're riding together and talking which makes it fun.  He couldn't get all the rocks out in time so he's carrying quite a bit of extra weight but, as usual, Jesse always has a good attitude and laughs it off.  I'd like to ride the whole hill together and chat but if I don't put a couple minutes between us, he'll blow me away on the treacherous decent with his full suspension bike.  He knows the trail well, too, as he helped construct some of it.
Climbing, I focus on my new technique of pulling up more and pushing down less.  I'm climbing well.  I never let up.  1/2 way and I've pulled ahead.  At the top I think I've got the couple minutes I need. I switch mental focus from strength to agility as I hold onto the brakes for dear life.  If you're a downhiller, this is a super cool trail.. berms, drop-offs, a tunnel, and huge jumps!  I avoid the jumps.  I also slow down a little on the rocks and bumps.  My front fork is old and a little damaged.. I don't want to push it.  But it's still a lot of fun, when it's not too bumpy.
1:24:00. I make it to the bottom without Jesse catching me.  There's a 2mi climb left to the finish so I feel confident I'll hold him off.  I'd love to take it easy, but I have to give my best.  I think about Robin. I pray that God keeps her safe on the descent. She doesn't get much practice on technical trails and this one can be dangerous. 1/2 way up I see a random mtn biker way ahead up ahead and challenge myself to catch him.  Many hikers are out and give me some double-takes in my Doctor costume.  I catch the rider and sprint to the finish first.  Whew, that was a tough workout!  1:40:00
Robin was kept safe and did very well.  We're both exhausted and kick back at the post event BBQ while the kids chase each other around playing hide-and-seek.  Thanks, Lord, for a good day!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sierra Trail 5K–Robin

October 20, 2012 – Granite Bay, CA
5km Run (3.48miles actual)

FCA Teammates:
Desiree Swift; 1/2 Marathon – Karen Nickel
Desiree and I drive down to Granite Bay.  Troy is watching her kids along with mine so he’ll be doing his own sort of race!  On the way down we pray for Karen who is starting the 1/2 Marathon an hour before our race.
This race is to help me get tuned up for the Davis Turkey Trot 5K stroller race.  Trail running is tough and hopefully will put stress on my body similar to pushing a stroller with a 40 lb. kid, Ariel.
We pick up our gear at registration.  It’s a perfect beautiful morning.  Desiree and I warm up and wonder how Karen is doing out there… somewhere.  Desiree’s hamstring is bothering her so we pray just before the start for that and for us to be a good example of Christ out in the race. 
As I line up for the start, I regret not looking more closely at the map online. I was betting on following someone else but there are only 45 people doing it so it could get lonely and desolate.  I know that TBF always marks the course well but you never know.
"On your mark… get set.. go!"  In the first hundred yards I am leading the race.  I start praying “Lord, please help me go the right way.  I don’t want to mess up anyone’s race.”  There are lots of arrows marking the way and each time I don’t see one for a bit, I hold my breath and pray.
The course starts to spiral.  We keep winding up tighter and tighter.  Oh Lord, this doesn’t seem right.  Soon the spiral seems to reverse and we are heading against the back of the pack.  Arrows seem to confirm that I’m going the right way but it just seems weird.  There is a runner behind me and he doesn’t seem to be complaining so we must be good!
Mile 1 is 6:52.  I’m happy with that!  I continue to pray step by step and continue to find my way.  Thanks God!
Mile 2 is 6:41.  We are heading back towards the finish!  It’s good to know that it’s almost over and the pressure of finding my way will soon end.  We start merging with and passing the half marathon runners.  “Where did you get that energy?” a guy says.  I tell him we are 5Kers and that he’s doing a great job.  Where do we go now?  Up ahead, I see a sign pointing to the left for the 5Kers.  Yeah!
Mile 3 is 6:54.  That last mile had a lot of tight turns which slowed the pace.  I’m still happy with my effort.  As I continue to run I can tell this course is going to be long.  I continue to dig and hope my legs have over 3.1 miles in them.  It seems quiet behind me now and I’m tempted to ease up.  I’m reminded of my upcoming stroller race against Dave Campbell.  I cannot let up when he’s around so better not here either!
I finally see the finish!  I make it across first.  Wow, thanks God!  I’m soon followed by 2 other girls and then a guy.  Wow, girl power at the finish today.  I wait for Desiree and she brings in 2nd for our age group.  Great day!  Now it’s time to wait for Karen to finish.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Granite Bay Kids Run & Triathlon–Anna, Ariel & Robin

September 23, 2012 – Granite Beach,
Granite Bay, CA


Karen Nickel (Duathlon)

  Robin Anna Ariel
Distance 0.75mi S - 13mi B – 5mi R 1km R 1km R

1:41:47 (21:25-43:46-36:36)

4:46 (7:41 pace) 6:23 (10:18 pace)
Place 1st W35-39 (156 total) 3rd girl (7 total) 6th girl (7 total)


(Anna) I'm ready for my kid's race. Daddy tells me to do a warm-up run so I jogged around the picnic area.  They said it was time to line up.  Ariel is racing, too.  We line up together.  We are waiting for other kids to come.  They're walking up from the water where their parents had started the triathlon.  We raised our hands as the director called each one of us. There's a guy on a bike doing wheelies.  He's going to lead us.  Another will be behind us, probably with Ariel.

Go!  I run along the trail.  This time we didn't go through the sand.  We went up, across, and along the parking lot towards the finish line.  I ran strong to the finish.  I finished 4th, but was the 3rd girl.  Then I cheered for Ariel, my little sister, coming in.  After Ariel finished we hugged and then went to get food.

(Ariel) I tell Daddy I want to run alone.  Go.  I start running really fast.  After a while my stomach is hurting.  But I don't tell Daddy.  Even though my tummy hurts, I'm still having fun.  I like the course.  I think I'm going to make it.  Soon my tummy feels better.  I'm able to run faster.  I see the finish line and I think I'm going to win.  I cross the finish line and Anna is waiting for me.  We hug.  That was fun!


Last tri of the season!  Thank you Lord for the amazing races I’ve had so far!  This year was my return to 1/2 Ironmans and Olympic Distance races.  I look back and have never regretted “phasing out” triathlons for Troy’s healing.  Jesus, I am so thankful for this wonderful man you have gifted me with!  Marriage is HARD…the hardest “race” I’ve ever entered!  I love racing because it’s training ground for sticking to my marriage even when it “hurts”. I encourage any of you reading this to continue to hang in there and DON’T QUIT…God can help you to keep going!  It doesn’t matter who you are married to, it’s TOUGH!  Everyday I need Jesus to train myself in perseverance!  Try training with Jesus, too(=

I meet up with friend/FCA teammate, Karen Nickel, at Indian Hill to ride down to Granite Beach.  It’s a great downhill ride and a good way to warm-up.  We get to the race start and check in.  Francie Campbell and son-in-law Steven help us get this done.  After a warm-up run, I see Troy and the girls arrive.  Yeah!  Karen’s hubby, Jeremy, and kiddos Ben and Ellie arrive too. 

Anna and Ariel are doing the kids trail run.  They start just before I do.  I am sad not to be able to see them run.  At least when I come out of the water, they’ll be done so I can see their cute faces.  We pray with Karen for our races…we hope to be a light and a help to others out there!  I then say goodbye to the family and start the 1/3 mile walk down to the start. 

I’m excited to swim today! I’d love to be with the top gals if possible coming out of the water.  I remember dreaming of that possibility over the years and it’s becoming more of a reality.  I have to thank the Lord and coaches at Rocklin Aquatic Masters.  I’m not training harder but my form has improved a lot.  I get in the water and warm-up.  It feels good!  Let’s go!

I tell an old acquaintance, Tina Watts, to have a good day out there.  Ready, set, go!  The group gets a fast start and I find myself right behind a group of five.  I’m swimming off to the right on my own so I veer to the left to get in with those gals.  There’s no use being alone!

After a few minutes, I find myself moving up to the front.  Soon I’m right next to the top girl and passing her.  Wow, thanks Jesus!  I put my head down and rely on my straight swimming to get ahead and avoid being a draft for someone else.  I notice I’m drifting today to the right a bit.  I make sure I look up to keep myself on track.

120924_tbf_granite_bay_tri_robin_swimAfter turning at the first buoy, it looks like I have a good gap.  I focus on pulling the water and keeping my head down as I swim to the next buoy.  I am amazed at how strong I feel.  I round that last buoy and go for it.  I pull hard until my hand scrapes the bottom.  I jump up, run a bit to the shore, get my tag pulled and then rip off my wetsuit.  It comes off nicely and I’m on my way with a 0.3 mi run to T1. 

With the adrenaline flowing, the rocky beach doesn’t seem too bad.  I look up and see yellow from a far and know it’s my family waiting for me.  Yeah!  I finally get up to them and give the girls high 5’s.  “How did your races go girls?”  Good they say and Troy mentions that Anna was the 3rd girl…awesome!


I get to my bike and make a decent transition.  As I ride out, I see Dave Campbell directing the riders.  He cheers me on as I head out on this 2 loop course (6 miles x 2).  About a 3/4 of a mile into the ride I hit newly paved roads.  Wow!  This is so nice and smooth! 

The pressure is on now so I push it.  There's the women’s 40 and up wave behind me.  I know these gals are fast so I cannot slack off!  I see Karen coming back in the duathlon as I approach the end of the first loop.  “Go Karen!”  Once I make the final turn and head back, I see Tina not too far back.  “Go Tina!”

I finish the first loop at over 20mph. Thanks Jesus!  I get to see Karen finishing her lap and tell her to have a good run.  Then I see Dave, Troy and the girls.  I wave to them and say hi. Now I need to keep up this effort for the next loop!

It seems to be going well.  As I approach the back half, I see a guy walking his bike the other direction.  “Do you need anything?”, I ask.  I can’t hear his response as I roll by and I feel bad for not stopping.  I decide to finish this loop and then look for him on my way back.  I’m still over 20mph pace.  Yes!

On the way back I see Tina again.  She continues to look strong.  I finally see the guy walking and find out that he needs a pump and is walking to someone who has one.  He’s heading the same direction to a short little out and back section.  Another girl is stopped.  I find out that she’s struggling to fix a flat.  I don’t see a pump or someone to help.  On my way back, I see the guy with the gal.  I ask how I can help and offer my inflator but his stem is too short for it…bummer!  I tell them I’m sorry I cannot do more.  He seems to be helping her so I leave.  At least they can help each other…I hope!

120924_tbf_granite_bay_tri_robin_bikeI head back and I notice my pace has dropped off some but I’m still a tad over 20.  It was worth it stopping…I never want racing to be all about me.  I make it back to T2 and pass by Dave who cheers me on.  Troy and the girls are waiting and cheering too.  I make it out on the run in a pretty good time…yeah!

I follow an older guy out of transition who is fast!  He gets some distance on me and I just keep him in my sights.  Mile 1 is 7:33.  I’ll take that!

Eventually I catch up to him once we hit the hills.  I tell him good job.  He definitely helped me get into gear!  I can sense that there must be some fast women coming up behind me.  It’s nice pressure to have!

Mile 2 is 7:50.  After some hills and sand, I’m satisfied with that.  I see Martin Messersmith coming back and tell him good job.  I finally make it out to the end and head back.  Soon a very speedy lady runner is coming.  My heart sinks for a moment but then it encourages me to keep pushing.  As I catch up to Martin, he comments on that gal.  I jokingly groan and tell him it’s going to be interesting.  “You know the course, you can do it”.  I thank him for the encouragement

Mile 3 is 7:18.  That big hill is coming!  I run up the hill with a good effort…man this hurts!  Once I get to the top, I’m relieved!  I just let gravity bring me down.

Mile 4 is 7:55.  It’s mostly flat to the end so I dig in.  That girl could be really close now!  I try to catch the guys in front of me and use them to keep my head in the game.  As I round one corner, I see a guy getting up from the ground and he’s got dirt all over his back.  Wow, way to get back up and keep running!  I try to catch him but he just takes off!

120924_tbf_granite_bay_tri_robin_finish1I wonder if I’ll see Troy and the girls before they head off to church.  It’s 10:45am and church has already begun.  As I hit the home stretch, I see him waiting for me.  Yeah!  I push hard and finish strong. I immediately go to Troy and give him a 120924_tbf_granite_bay_tri_robin_postfinishhug before he has to leave.  I love him for all he does and all the support he gives!  Again, thank you Lord for him, my girls and another fun race!






Age Group







1:40:49 W30-39 1st
(1st OA)
15:29 Run 44:15 41:05
RYAN MESSERSMITH TRI 1:40:56 M15-19 1ST 21:50 43:48 35:19





1st 21:25 43:46 36:36
MARTIN MESSERSMITH TRI 1:48:35 M45-49 3rd 24:41 44:02 39:52
KAREN MESSERSMITH TRI 2:05:23 W45-49 4th 26:20 54:54 44:09
KATELYN MESSERSMITH TRI 2:37:48 W14& < 1st 35:39 1:02:48 59:21

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Winters Road Race (Robin)

August 25, 2012 – Winters, CA
2 laps = 48 miles
7th out of 18

Troy and I dropped the kids off at my friend Karen’s house bright and early this morning…thanks Karen! We are off to Winters, just outside of Davis, for a road race. I feel pretty good going into the race with some half Ironman training compared to last year when I was only doing Sprint triathlons.  Still, road racing is different from tri's.  Especially its danger factors!

Troy and I pull in earlier than expected. After picking up our bib numbers, we run into Victory Velo Teammate, Kevin Miller.  He and a bunch of teammates are racing the 1-3 Masters categories. Those guys have come a long way in a few years and they sure are becoming a force to be reckoned with! It’s so nice to warm-up with Troy! It’s kind of like a date…for 20 minutes…I’ll take any time I can get with him(=  He reminds me to focus on pulling the pedal all the way around up the hills to get more power.

Back at the car we run into Randy, Fred, Lance Loveday and Todd Allington. It’s fun to chat a bit until go time. Troy notices my bar plug is missing. Bummer, I forgot about that! The last two rides I’ve meant to take care of that. I ask the race folks and Kevin but they don’t have any. On a whim, I ask a cyclist friend, Nabil, known as the "Bicycle Lawyer". He has one and notes that he found it yesterday and kept it around for some reason. Thanks God and thanks Nabil!

Troy takes off with the CAT 5 guys. It’s a huge group! I take a video of him on the way out. There’s some guys in that group from Utah. Wow, I guess there’s something special about this race. “Go Troy!” It’s another ½ hour before I go. I run into Megan from the Copperopolis race. It’s nice to see a familiar face.

Our group, Womens 4, is the last group to roll out and we actually start with the Junior Boys. Once out of town, the race starts and we must ride separately from the boys. Right away, the girls take it out strong. A single pace line forms and I’m out there to the left exposed. I try to move closer to get the draft. Soon a UC Davis girl goes ahead of me and I get on her wheel. She makes desperate attempts to break into the pace line but these girls refuse to let her in. Some of the girls tell her to back off in fear that she’s going to cause a crash. She drops back and I’m still alone outside of the pace line until another girl in a blue jersey gets in front and attempts to break into the line the same way. Eventually she drops back and the UCD girl comes back. This time she finally breaks into the pace line, along with the girl in blue. I’m left out there again but now we make a turn and the road rolls. The pace line is broken. The pace line picks it up again but the group becomes erratic - slowing down for no reason and then taking off. I opt to drop back in the pack for a time.

Once I can see the big hill starting, I move up to the front. Within a few moments after, I hear a crash right behind me. Some girl near me tells us to keep going. I want to stop but there was a support vehicle back there so there’s not much I can do. Megan catches up and tells us that two girls rubbed wheels. She escaped by riding on the dirt.

I stay with this small group of girls up the climb. I see teammate Jay Garrard at the “feed zone” supporting the riders and say hi. I forget how long this climb is but I’m thinking it’s pretty much over…wrong! It keeps going! The road narrows significantly and gets steep! I stay with this group well all the way up. At the top, I realize I have not prepared myself for this steep downhill. The group takes off while I make my way down too cautiously. At the bottom, I am alone! I think I can catch the group. I catch up to a straggler. I attempt to get her to work with me to catch them. For a time, it seems to be working but she doesn’t seem to have the interest to keep up the effort. I decide to time trial it alone and try to catch them.

They move further and further ahead and it’s hard not to let up. I look back and there is no one. Lord, I will keep trying and will not lose hope…and most importantly I will keep a good attitude. I think back to the triathlon last week and am reminded that I can push hard on my own…especially with the Lord on my side. 120825_winters_rr_robinI make my way back to the start of the second loop and some guys pass and let me know that there is a group of women coming from the back. I’m relieved especially since I’ve lost sight of these girls. I continue to keep up a good effort until they are near and then I back off a bit. It’s a small group of girls and they ask me how many are ahead. “I think 6 or 8. They are several minutes ahead.”

We do a rotating pace line in hopes of making ground on those girls. It works well until we start the climb again. Back at the feed zone I ask Jay how far ahead the girls are. He says “not far”. Alright, maybe I can catch them. I take off and don’t look back. I need all the distance I can get on this current group of girls so that I won’t get left behind at the descent. This year I have the endurance to push this hill so I take advantage. I keep scanning the road ahead hoping I will catch a glimpse of the lead pack. By the time I reach the super steep part, I don’t see them but I continue to press to the top.

At the top, I prepare myself to push the descent. This time I actually do a better job and get some good speed. At the bottom, I look back and see that I’m alone. It’s like 6 more miles to the finish so I decide I’m going to time trial it again. I see a girl ahead and wonder if she’s in my group. A group of guys pass me and I am hoping that I might feel their draft for a moment so I can catch the girl. It doesn’t really help. I can see her latch on them for a moment and go around! Okay, she must be a CAT 3.

I continue to push hard anyway and keep smiling. The miles click off and I know I’m getting close. I turn a corner and see another girl and recognize her from our group. Awesome! Should I try to work with her or keep up the effort? Lord, what should I do? I feel Him letting me know it’s okay to forge ahead alone. I pass her and tell her good job. I put my head down and push hard. It’s getting tiring but soon I see the “1K to Go” sign. Yes! I dig down deeper and push hard to the finish. I point up to God and thank Him for getting me through this ride safely and in a good position. My average was 19.6 with help compared to 19.9 last week on my own. This cycling is tough and seems tougher than tris! I’m in awe of all those that can do this so well and so often!

Winters Road Race (Troy)

August 25, 2012 – Winters, CA
2 laps = 48 miles
26th out of 39

Victory Velo Teammates:

Aron Yevuta (3rd); Dan Garcia (5th);
Curtis Smith (18th)

A Great Race Ahead
I'm glad the kids are being watched so Robin and I can do this race together.  It's only our 3rd, and last, bike racing event of the season.  I felt so comfortable on the bike, thanks to God, at the Vineman Triathlon that afterwards I was already thinking about a strategy for doing well at Winters.  Dreaming about being the first one up the 2nd climb, pulling ahead on the descent and then catching a break-away to finish with, or even time-trialing all the way to the end using my new aero position.  But then, even though I thankfully recovered well from the Ironman, I continued skipping rides until, "Wow, it's this weekend!?"  Still, I felt good on a ride yesterday (a flat ride) so we'll give it all I've got.

I line up with the Cat 5 Elite (a funny category, meaning the "best" (Elite) of the "worst" (Cat 5 beginners)).  A full 50 rider field.  I meet my 3 other Victory Velo teammates, Aron Yevuta, Dan Garcia, and Curtis Smith.  Robin & I pray and she sees us off (her race is 30 min later).

Smooth Start
Rolling out of Winters, onto the rural, flat roads, it's enjoyable and I feel comfortable.  Last year I was a little anxious, answering every surge at the front of the group.  But breakaways never lasted and only the hill was able to whittle the group down to 1/2 the size.  So this time I'll just sit-in and focus my energy on the hill and the last 9 miles.

Mile 8. Aron and another guy, go off the front.  The nice thing about having a teammate in a break is that the remaining 3 of us are to "block" and not work to catch them.  So when the peloton tries to catch them, we just relax and disrupt the pack.  However, Curtis does surge and ends up in no-man's land between the pack and Aron.  He comes back and then works well with Dan at the front to block.

Preparing for the Climb
Mile 10. Into the hills.  Every thing is working out great for me.  But then I drop my bottle of Heed.. right in the middle of the pack!  "Bottle! Look out."  Thank you, Lord, that no one was hurt!   I'm working my way to the front nicely.  But then I pass up the neutral water bottles even though I only have 1.  I didn't want to take it from someone else who may need it.  I'm struggling more than expected on the little climbs.  But I get behind a great lead that pulls us all the way to the big climb.  The perfect position I wanted going into it.

Over the Top, Just as Planned
120825_winters_rr_troyMile 15. The climb gets steep at the switchback and multiple guys pass me, including Curtis, but, huffing and puffing, I continue standing, with a goal to get over the top first… this way I'll have the technical descent to myself.  Curtis tells me, "ok, take it easy now", but I continue on and pushing over the top, get to the other side first.  I take the first hairpin great and have a good gap.  The next two corners take me a little by surprise but overall I get about 30 secs on the pack by the bottom!  On the flat I see Aron far ahead and make a big effort to try catching him.  But without the pack, I just can't build up much speed.  I'm really winded.  Aron is pulling away and now the pack is approaching.  Finally I get swallowed up and go back to sitting-in and recovering well for the 2nd loop.


2nd Loop
Mile 30. It's going well.  I have high hopes for doing the same thing on the hill this time.  But I am starting to feel some fatigue in my neck and shoulders while we're just spinning.  That's a sign of wearing down.  But the group also shows signs of fatigue on the little rollers.  I can do it.  It's going to hurt but it will feel great over the top.

Surprise Discovery
Mile 37. Getting steeper.  Approaching the feed zone again.  Pace is a little faster this time.  I'm closer to the back of the pack, planning to move up in the "stair-step" sections ahead.  I'm pushing hard.  I maneuver over and grab a bottle.  A quick sip and put it away.  The pack is 20m ahead of me now!  I'll catch back up.  I go to accelerate… but I can't!  My legs are already at their limit.  It's a shocking moment of awareness.  Although I gave hard efforts before this point, even some that hurt, I always could go a little faster if needed.  But not now.

I'm at the limit.  I can only huff & puff at the same pace and hope the pack slows down.  But they're not.  I don't give up hope, but now they're pulling away on small descents.  I face reality… I've been dropped.  Instead of being the moment I dreamed of - gradually moving past the riders up the hill, cresting ahead of the pack, flying down the backside and bridging up to a breakaway - I'm in a whole different race now.  A race against the others getting dropped.  A race to see who can handle the suffering the best, who can continue pushing all the way to the end, resisting the temptation to give up hope.

Race of the Stragglers
Mile 39.  I catch a Berkeley Triathlete guy that got dropped.  I follow a bit to the big hill and then push past.  I get to the top in front of the other stragglers and start my screaming descent, my only hope of catching some part of the pack.  But in the 3rd corner a rider is down and being cared for by paramedics.  I'm sorry to see that and pray he's all right.  I slow through that corner but then pick up.  At the bottom I see 2 riders way ahead.  I've got to catch them.  "Go, go, go!  Find something!  You gotta go!" I push with my best aero effort for about a mile and finally do catch them!  Oh...they're 2 women!  They're a different group, I'm not allowed to draft them, I have to continue on.  I was so ready to get a rest but instead press on.  A couple more miles and still no one ahead.

Follow the Rules
Mile 43.  A women's pack passes me and behind them are 3 stragglers from my group!  The Berkeley Tri guy is one of them.  Great!!  But now they're drafting the women, just sitting in.  I tell them to separate but they don't seem to care.  I know we can pass the ladies if we work together.  "Come on, let's go, let's move ahead".  I lead the effort and pull through.  I'm surprised the women are yelling at me to stay out of their way when I'm trying to do just that.  But then looking behind my guys have deserted me, content to just "suck wheels".  I can't stay ahead on my own so have to drop back and let all of them go ahead. That's the rules.  They may get disqualified and drafting women is sure not a way you want to get DQ'd.

The Finish -  A Great Workout and God's Gift of Safety
120825_winters_rr_troy_finishI continue pushing and eventually hook up with another guy.  We go into the finish and I give my best 200m sprint but still can't seem to accelerate.  I'm 26th.  Which is almost 1/2 the field so a nice consolation for not giving up.  My legs are really taxed and wobbly.  It's nice that even though a race doesn't go as planned, there's still a lot to get out of it… perseverance practice, a great workout, and vital experience.. next time I'll know not to give such a big effort on the first climb… got to save it for the 2nd.  What I'm most thankful for is the safety that the Lord has given both Robin & I.  We've been protected well this season.  Some of our Victory Velo friends in the higher categories have had crashes.  They are recoverable and we know Christ has a plan even for crashes in our life, but we're also thankful for the times that crashes aren't a part of the higher plan.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Folsom Olympic Distance Triathlon (Troy)

August 19, 2012 – Lake Natoma, Folsom, CA
1kmSwim -40km Bike – 10km Run

2:09:02 (23:41-00:45-1:02:48-1:03-40:45)


5th, M40-44


Dale Jackson in AquaBike; Dave Campbell

Robin raced yesterday in the long course and I was amazed how well she did.  A 5:10, which is a good time even for the men.  She went into it undertrained so we than the Lord for giving her a great performance.

After she worked so hard, I feel obligated to get a fast time, too.  I'm also not fully prepared. Since Vineman I've spent more time catching up at work, than training and resting.  But Vineman went great and going from Ironman distance to Olympic distance is a mental boost.. relatively it's a short race!

I'm imagining swimming fast, fastest yet, without fatigue, and then pushing hard on the bike from the beginning, without having to "save energy for later", and finally dashing out on the run without regard for how I feel because it's only 6.2 miles.  That would probably put me near the top.  Ok, I'm excited to start.

We have a pre-race prayer down by the water. About 6 of us.  I swim a little in the surprisingly frigid water of Lake Natomas.  I glad I have my Aquaman Tri-Blitz from  Patty Stokes there got a warmer, better fitting suit.  It's a little thicker so I'm be perfectly comfortable, and it comes off much faster, too.  We watch the disabled athletes start their swim after getting helped into the water.  So impressive.  And now we're ready.  Everyone comments on the sun directly in our eyes.  It's like swimming to Heaven!

The Swim
Go!  I start well.  Sighting is working well actually by just swimming a little right of the sun.  Momentarily I get a couple drafts but most of the 1st leg is by myself.  Swimming in the open is always nice and calm.. no need to chase or avoid swimmers.  I'm swimming strong, but hope not to die coming back.  We come together but I get a clean turn around the 2 buoys.

Now the long back stretch.  I sprint over to a guy swimming a little faster.  Drafting is normally both helpful and uncomfortable.  The periodic sighting on the swimming ahead and subsequent zig-zagging to get back behind him is annoying.  This time (thanks, God!) it's perfect!  There's no splash & bubbles because he doesn't kick much and it's clear enough to see his feet underwater.  I never have to sight!  I just keep my head down, relax and follow his feet wherever they go.  This point in the swim I'm usually struggling to go fast but it's so nice now I'm really enjoying swimming along without having to sight.

With 100m to go I have to leave my great leader and try sprinting by.  There's 3 of us side by side.  It's exciting.  With all the energy I saved, I'm actually able to pull ahead to the shore.  I high-five Anna & Ariel next to Robin and continue unzipping & removing goggles and cap.  By the time I'm ready to take my suit off, I'm already in transition.  But it still comes off easy.  Love it.  And I'm quickly running out with the bike.

23:41 (6th in age group). (TBF tri was 23:30)

The Bike
I'm motivated and excited. I'm always thinking about the 25mph goal which I've never gotten.  But reality is showing me already that 22, 23 is about all I can get on the flats.  I'm going to do my best from beginning to end… now go, go, go!  I push it up the hills and accelerate the descents.  I'm excited to try the great position I felt in Vineman.  I'm not feeling it yet.

I'm passing a few and a couple guys pass me.  But I feel like I'm going really fast.  I forgot how much climbing this course has.  I'm amazed that Robin did it twice yesterday and averaged 20mph!  I'm only just over 20mph now.  The farther I go, the more I start feeling the great aero position I experienced at Vineman.  The main difference is that now I'm trying to go 2mph faster.  It's hard to relax and power at the same time.

The leaders are coming back.  I'm counting.  They're all "Every Man Jack" athletes.  That team has got a lot of talent!  I'm 23rd to the turn.  I'm excited to catch a few on the way back.  It's mostly downhill.  It feels great to be going so fast on straight roads.  There's another side-road out-and-back.  Now it's back down to Folsom.  I'm trying to get up to 23mph, which I did at the TBF race.  It's going up..22, 22.1.  I get to the final flat section and know this is the last chance to move the pace up.  22.4, 22.5.  Up over the pedestrian bridge, behind the park and 22.6 is my pace.  Pretty good.  Now I quickly pull my feet out and get ready to dismount.  A great dismount into a full run.. all the way through transition.  I hear Robin and the girls cheering.  It's a great transition, for the athlete and the spectators.  Lot's of cheering.  Makes you go fast.

1:04:36 (with transitions; TBF tri was 1:04:40). Bike split: 1:02:48 (23.6mph, 7th in age group, previous '08 time: 1:03:21)

The Run
I sprint out.  The swim and bike have been exactly the hard effort I wanted to do.  Now, to make it complete, I need to run fast from beginning to end.  It's only 6.2 miles!  But the legs are a little stiff.  I think about the Coronado Independence run and the good form I had there.  I think about TBF and how fast that was.

  1. 6:30   I see a guy ahead in yellow and focus on catching him. 
  2. 6:22.  At 2 miles I do catch him and now am counting the runners coming back.  Wow, those Every Man Jack athletes are still dominating.  They're all spread out.  I had hoped a few would bunch up just ahead of me.
  3. 6:37.  At the turn I'm happy with my pace, about 6:36, and I think I could break 40min!  I'm in 21st place but the next runner is quite a ways ahead. 
  4. 6:36. I'm drinking at every aid station and take 2 Hammer gels.  I'm keeping the pace but it's getting hard.  The weather is perfect today.  Not hot and no wind.
  5. 6:38.   1 mile to go and I think of the final mile at a track workout.  I'm just about spent, which is a good sign, but I have to push all the way.
  6. 6:25.  It feels like a great race, everything just as planned.  And there's Anna and Ariel!  Robin has them staggered so Ariel is already going down the finish chute.  Holding hands the 3 of us cross the finish line.  Wow, that was great!120819_folsom_olympic_troy_finish

40:45 (6:34 pace, 5th fastest in age group)(TBF tri was 40:15).
Total: 2:09:02, 5th place (TBF tri was 2:08:24, 1st place)

The girls get waters for me, go with me to shake hands with the guy in yellow that I passed on the run, and help me walk and jog around to cool down.  Whew!  Thanks God for a great race.  Even with the perfect effort, I didn't place and I didn't break 40min in the run (I realized later that the pace needed was 6:26, not 6:36).  But it's great because I felt the Lord wanted me to put out the high effort, while being a good sport, and the goal was met.  A victorious day!  Thanks, God.




Age Group





DALE JACKSON AquaBike 1:31:00 MEN 1st 25:02 1:04:00 NA



2:09:02 M44-49 5TH 23:41 1:02:48 40:45
DAVE CAMPBELL OLY 2:13:11 M55-59 1ST 24:41 1:06:29 40:14

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Folsom Triathlon Long Course – Robin

August 18, 2012 – Lake Natoma, Folsom, CA
1.2mSwim - 56m Bike – 13.1m Run
5:10:41 (34:27-00:58-2:48:32-?-1:46:44)

1st, W35-39
Dale Jackson
Today will be interesting for sure!  This is an “A” race for me.  But I haven’t had the chance to train consistently with the girls home this summer and recent activities (Troy’s Ironman, the girl’s birthday, the start of school, etc.).  I don’t regret a moment of the fun we’ve had. This race is in the Lord’s hands and I’m excited to see what He’s going to do!
We get out the door late and I’m trying not to stress out.  I ask the Lord for His help to be at peace and content with any outcome today.  Troy drops me off a few miles before on the American River bike path and I bike right to Lake Natomas.  I don’t have a headlamp but there’s just enough light to see.  At the transition area I find a spot next to a very nice guy who is doing his 2nd long course triathlon. I run over and wait in line at registration.  I see Anna guarding our FCA tent and gear and wave her over.  I give her a big hug and she runs back to her post.
Once I have my gear I head back to my spot and realize that the nice guy is a challenged athlete.  He’s missing his right leg below the knee.  I never even noticed.  I have so much respect for him and all other challenged athletes.  I’m hoping that he’s going to have a great day out there!
Time is running short as I wrap up getting my spot set and body marked.  I run to the bathroom quickly in my torn shoes.  As I head back, I take a picture of my shoes and post it on Facebook: “Yeah, wearing these babies for the Folsom LC…it’s been such a busy summer…but God is in control”. 
I find Troy and new friends, Mike and Donna, at the pre-race prayer.  I squeeze one leg into my wetsuit before we start.  We pray for the racers, protection, and opportunities to be the Lord’s hands and feet out there today.  We thank Jesus for our health and bodies that are able to do something so long…especially Mike who competed in the Full Vineman with Troy 3 weeks ago.  We also pray that Mike stay on course after biking 12 extra miles last year!
I give the family love and hugs and then jump in the water for a warm-up.  Burr, it’s cold!  This is so weird because just yesterday I swam upstream at Rattlesnake Bar (which flows into this lake) in just a swimsuit and was very comfortable!  I’m so glad that I have my new wetsuit from!  Thanks Patty!
I line up with my group and get ready to go!  I hope to find a draft and have a good swim time.  Go!  I get out quick and watch the girls that forge ahead.  I see two girls speed away and a third girl to the right of me and slightly ahead.  I decide not to draft because she’s too far out there and I’m not sure if she’s worth drafting yet.  I am thankful I can swim really straight and I hope it works to my advantage.  I catch the 3rd girl at the 1st swim buoy and stay near her till the next buoy a short distance away. 
After the turn she goes far right again so I opt to swim straight instead.  I can see she’s pulling ahead but I remain hopeful.  As I look up at the last buoy ahead, it’s almost as if it’s getting further away.  Eventually I’m there and the girl is already around it and on her finish kick.  I dig down and push hard to the end.  As I approach the shore, I see the girl running up to T1.  I get out, kick off my wetsuit and run to my bike.  I’m out of transition my fastest ever this season…yeah, thanks God! 
I’m off!  I cross over the Hwy 50 bike bridge and head towards Prairie City.  I pass one girl and wonder if she is the one I was chasing.  This is a two loop course with a series of out and backs…3 to be exact. 
On the first out and back I see just a few guys and then I see a girl and she’s way up there!  She must have had a super fast swim!  I don’t think I’ll catch her but I’ll keep my eyes out for her.  I pass another girl going out.  This must mean I’m in 2nd!  Wow Lord!  I wonder if this is a place I can hold!
As I head out to the next out and back I don’t see any new women.  On the way back I see Dale Jackson,  he’s looking great!  I know he’ll be passing soon!  My pace started around 18.5mph and is getting faster…yeah!  Soon there’s a significant hill and I slow down but am still able to pass some guys without pressing too hard.  I’m thankful for all the hard riding I’ve done with the Victory Velo riders!  It’s up and down to the turn-around and the moment of truth…who is hunting me down?
Coming back I see two women, one in white and one in red.  They both look strong!  I set a goal to stay ahead through Mile 28 (halfway).  I see a few more women that look strong as I turn on the last out and back…oh boy!  I’m feeling good myself and can see my average approaching the mid-19’s.  I’m really surprised at how well it’s going and can only thank the Lord.  Dale goes by and I cheer for him.
I make the turn and start watching.  Yep, girl in white and girl in red…and closing the gap!  And not too far behind.. some more ladies.  I turn on the main road and head back to finish the first loop.  I keep watching the miles click off and hope I can make it to 28!
Mile 27.  The turn around is coming.  I might make it…no, I get passed by the girl in white like I’m standing still.  It was a good effort. I look down at my average speed of 19.5, I cannot be upset…I’m going faster than expected!  The turn around looks a bit dicey with the sprint riders going right and us doing a u-turn to the left.  I just about make it around when another cyclist takes it sharp, passes me on the inside and makes me wobble a bit.  He apologizes, I accept and he heads out in front of me.
I am able to keep the girl in white in my sights.  As we head out to the Prairie City area, I start to pass her and at the same moment another guy impatiently passes both of us on the other side of the double line.  That’s a big no-no.. an instant DQ in this sport.  I look at her as I’m passing and say “I guess that was worth it?”.  She smiles in agreement. 
I’m certain she will pass me again but I still make a run at staying ahead.  On the first out and back, the girl in white passes again. We both tell each other good job.  As she pulls ahead, the guy who passed me at the end of the first loop goes by and gets right on her wheel.  Hmm, I hope he’ll pass her or drop back because he can only stay on her wheel for 15 sec.  He doesn’t and clearly is now drafting.  I keep watch as we make a series of sharp right hand turns.  I feel bad for all the hard work that he is benefitting from.  I want to catch up and tell him to leave her alone but I will leave it to the race officials.  At the Silicon Valley Tri I yelled at a cyclist for doing the same thing and that didn’t help the situation.  All I can do is hope an official catches him.
Soon I hear the race official’s motorcycle come along.  I hope they catch him!  They pull up and watch him for several moments.  From my point of view it seems like a clear cut penalty.  The official continues on and the guy continues drafting the girl.  Within a few minutes another race official motorcycle comes along and also observes him. Wow, I think he’s going to have several minutes added to his time.  At the turn around I see the officials talking intently…maybe about that guy? 
On the way back, I see the drafting continue and hope that she can get away.  I also see some new faces chasing me too…and they look fast.  My new goal: finish behind the girl in white. 
On the next out and back, I see the girl in white is able to pull away from that guy…yeah!  My average is close to 19.7.  Wow, Lord, awesome!  I cannot believe it!  I climb up the big hill again and try to scream down the other.  On the way back, I see 2 fast girls have moved ahead of the girl in red that has been chasing me.  One is from the Olympic Club and the other from Forward Motion…I have my work cut out for me! 
One more out and back and then I can head home.  I’m catching the drafter.  He’s been all alone for a long while now.  I know I need to pass convincingly to keep him off my wheel.  I ride by as fast as I can and it looks like it’s worked.  The Olympic Club girl and Forward Motion girls are getting closer but I think I might be able to hold them off until the run.
I keep looking back to check if that guy is trying to draft me.  He is still back there and I realize I’m stressing out too much about him.  I decide to not look back and focus on getting home.  Lord, with you , I don’t need to worry!
My average is 19.8.  Wow, can I bring it up to 20?  I don’t have much left to ride so maybe 19.9 is possible.  Lord, I’m amazed at what you’ve helped me to do! 
I hit 19.9 right before I turn off the road to head back to T2!   I hear the volunteers trying to get someone’s attention.  Maybe it’s a car.  As I turn on the bike path another guy jumps on the trail from my left.  Wow, where did he come from?  I look and realize that he had just come from the freeway offramp!  The volunteers were yelling at him.  I’m so glad he’s okay, that is so dangerous!
As I come in to T2, I can see Francie and Dave Campbell who are volunteering cheering for me.  I make it to my spot and get ready to run. I hear the girls and Troy cheering and I wave. I make another quick transition and hit the road. Dale is right there on the way out.  I hope his AquaBike was a good one!  I drop my hat on the way and have to run back and get it…oops!
I know that today the run will be my weak link.  I cannot complain though, this is a gift!  The course is a double out and back.  I set my pace to be between 7:30 and 8min pace.  I feel pretty stiff going out but am able to manage a 7:40 average…thanks God!  I pass the girl in white and tell her good job.  I realize that I’m the 2nd woman on the course.  Wow!
At the turn around, I can see that the Forward Motion gal is coming up quick.  It’s not long before she passes.  I tell her good job and then try to stay with her.
Mile 4 is 7:36. I’m still with the FM girl and around the corner comes the drafting guy.  He says to us, “that’s the race right there”.  The FM girl says back to him that it’s too early to tell.
Mile 5 is 7:41.  The FM girl asks me if there is a restroom and I tell her I don’t think so but there is plenty of cover out here.  At the next aid station she stops to walk through and I’m alone again.  Well I better not slack off now…especially since I’ve seen the Olympic Club girl and another FM girl, Sharley, running fast behind us!
Mile 6 is 7:29.  Alright!  I know that I’ll be finishing the first loop and I hope to see Troy and the girls.  The course goes right over to the finish and then continues to the next loop.  Troy is there smiling and cheering me on.  “It’s survival on this one” I tell him.  “Maybe you’ll get your second wind”…ha, ha just what I told him at Vineman.  I smile and tell him I’ll see him soon.
Mile 7 is 7:41.  Well maybe I will get a second wind.  I know there are still women behind me so I’d like to be able to pick it up.
Over the next few miles I go from a 7:58 to an 8:17 pace…oh brother!  I get down and think that under 8 min. pace is not going to happen.  I realize that my average pace is still under 8 minutes even though the pace per mile has slowed.  Wow, God thanks again!  You are sneaky!
At the out and back, it looks like I just might hold off the girls.  The FM that dropped off is back on track but doesn’t seem to be running any faster than me.  Sharley is sure looking fast but I think I have enough distance on her.
Mile 12 is 8:20.  Ugh!  Come on legs!  Knowing the finish is less than a mile away I pick it up. 
Mile 13 is 8:02.  Yes!  I see Dale and he tells me I’m the second woman coming in.  That first girl ahead of me on the bike stayed ahead on the run too.  I see Anna ready to run in with me at the finish.  She grabs my hand and literally pulls me across the finish line.  Wow, that was great!  Thank you Lord! 
Name Race Time Age Group Place Swim Bike Run
DALE JACKSON AquaBike 3:08:25 MEN 2ND 33:05 2:33:30 NA
ROBIN SOARES 1/2 IM 5:10:41 W35-39 1st 34:27 2:48:32 1:46:44