Sunday, May 20, 2012

Auburn World's Toughest Triathlon - Robin

May 20, 2012 – Auburn, CA
1.2mSwim - 56km Bike - 13.1m Run
5:54:36 (37:35-1:57-3:19:05-1:25-1:54:33)
1st OA
Andrea Ivan, Andrew Hudnut, Bill Severi, Jane Linder (Relay), Lindsay Grossman, Jody Galvin, Karen Nickel (Du), Maxx Hackett, Monica Erdosh

Today I'm reminded of one of God's great gifts to us...healing of Troy's 10 year injury.  Wanting to demonstrate sacrifice & faith, I phased out triathlon over a 3 year period (1. 1/2 IM and less. 2. Olympic and less.  3. Sprints only) and was willing to stop for good if my partner in triathlon was unable to compete.  But if Troy was healed in that time, I would return to the sport. What a gift that we can continue competing together and doing ministry together in triathlon.  God is good!

Troy and I meet up with good friend Karen Nickel and new friend/FCA teammate Bill Severi and ride down to the swim start.  It's a nice downhill ride that is quiet and scenic.  Soon we are in the hustle and bustle and searching for spots for our bikes.

Troy, Bill, Steve Caminiti (our worship pastor from church) and I gather for prayer.  It is all about Jesus and we all agree the glory goes to Him!  Troy and I say goodbye.  He's off to do the Sprint Tri.  I run into Karen and pray with her.  She's not feeling well so we pray she'll be better once her duathlon begins.  I do some last minute preparations like get body marked and head down to the water wearing Troy's Garmin (ordered the wrong parts to mount mine to the bike).  Troy's right, this Garmin doesn't fit under my wetsuit so I run up to put it on the bike.

I jump in the water and get a good warm-up.  The temperature is perfect!  I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do out there.  I hope to be competitive with the top swimmers today.  It's time to go.  I see fellow Victory Velo teammate Monica Erdosh in the water..."have a great race!" 
Ready, set, go!  All the women, men over 50 and the relays are off!  I cannot see the first buoy right away so I put my faith that the other swimmers are headed the right way.  It seems like I'm mid-pack from the get go.  I feel a little sluggish and a little discouraged, thinking “I haven't swam this far in years!”  Hold on; Lord, I know You're in charge.  I'm going to "just keep swimming".  Like usual, I don't find anyone to latch onto and just try to rely on my straight swimming to get me to the finish just as fast.

I find the two buoys out there with no problem and head back to start loop 2.  I realize that I didn't pull my Perpetuem Solids out of my bag.  I'll have to do that when I get to T1.  Hopefully it won't take too long.  Suddenly my hand hits something hard.  I look up and it's floating debris...wood chips, branches, and leaves.  It doesn't hurt much but I still want to avoid it.  I finally just look down and swim on through it. 

I head out for lap 2 feeling a bit tired but excited to get to the bike.  My stroke is feeling stronger and smoother.  I am pulling in some green cap folks in my wave too.  Yeah, I'm at the last buoy!  I push to the end and see a few green caps pull away.  It doesn't discourage me this time and I remain focused.  I hit the debris again but this time it's not as bad.  I swim all the way to the ramp, jump out and rip off my wetsuit.  I comes off so easily...I don't know why more people don't do it like that.

As I run up the my bike, a girl who finished ahead tells me good job.  "You too!"   I fish out my Perpetuem Solids and a Hammer Gel pretty fast (I forgot to take it before the swim).  I get out in less than 2 minutes.  Wow, thanks Jesus!  Nothing to complain about there.

I get clipped in on my bike with no problem.  Thanks Troy for getting my cleats working good.  Let the climbing begin.  I see Monica coming up to T1 as I go out, "alright Monica!"  I expect to see her soon.  It's fun climbing up Newcastle Road to Shirland Tract.  I'm able to use my aerobars more than expected.  I see Maxx and Bill and tell them good job. 

120520_auburntri_robin_bikeAs expected, Shirland Tract is tough but I'm able to keep passing folks.  My average is around 13mph and I wonder if I'll eventually work up to my goal of 15.3mph.  I'd like to take a gel but there is no aid station for miles.  I know I'll be passing T2 so I'll try to dispose of it there.  I get the gel down and see Francie Campbell at T2 directing traffic.  She gladly takes the wrapper for me. "Thanks Francie!"

As I get to the bumpy alleyway, I can see Troy coming back.  "Go Troy!"  He flies by and I wonder if he is in first.  Awesome!  I'm amazed at how well covered this area is by volunteers.  They are pointing out the bad spots and also keeping the returning Sprinters from running into us Long Course folks.  A little further on I see Dave Campbell flying down Virginia St.  "Go get him Dave!" 

I make it through a lot of busy intersections with the help of volunteers and CHP. This race is very well covered!  I see some really fast women Sprinters.  Wow, that's some tough competition! 

On my way past Machado's Produce, I'm looking for the Sprint turn-around from last year because I told Troy and friend, Dana, that it would probably be here.  But it’s not.  In fact it's way up past Arthur Lake.  Hope they’re up for the extra challenge.. they have to climb back up those two tough hills on Bowmen. Tough!

My average is climbing above 14mph.  Cool, getting closer.  We climb up through Applegate.  I don't see any women.  I wonder if I'll see Karen who started earlier.  For all I know, a pack of women could be just ahead.

Before I know it, I'm in Colfax and heading toward the Bear River Campground.  I see our friend, Bob, directing traffic coming off the freeway. "Hey Bob!"  Now I’m reminding myself to turn right at the top.  While practicing this course I took Karen and Jessica left on accident.  But as I turn right, I'm not paying attention to the signs and I can’t see the rider ahead so for a moment I'm worried that I'm wrong again.  Oh, I see the other rider and breathe a sigh of relief.  Phew, thanks God!

After a lot of twists and turns I finally turn-off toward the campgrounds.  It's a steep descent and I'm surprised how comfortable I am.  I am braking some but feeling confident with the speed.  Down into the campgrounds my average is above 15mph.  Great!  The climb out will probably destroy that but I'll try to make up for it as much as I can on other descents.  

I feel strong climbing out but I try not to push too hard.  I pass a few guys and make it to the top without loosing much of my average.  Awesome!  Now it's straight back.  I see Bob..."thanks Bob!"  He mentions a girl ahead of me.  Finally, another girl!  After a mile I can see two girls and one of them is Karen.  I catch up to her and tell her good job and ask how she's feeling.  She's feeling good and looking strong...thanks Lord!  Karen tells me that I'm the second woman.  Wow, that's a surprise!

The other girl stays ahead for a long while but I can see her.  Just when I'm about to catch up going up steep Geisendorfer Road, I find I’m in the wrong gear.  I’m trying to get water and thinking about a bathroom break at the same time so I forgot to shift.  I only have time to switch to my small chain ring so still have to crawl to the top, but I'm so glad I didn't have to get off my bike!

The girl alludes me until Clipper Gap where I'm able to pass her on the descent.  Her jersey says SOAR on it.  All it needs is an ES...he, he.  My goal now is to really work the descents hard and ease up the ascents to save my legs for the run.  It's a technique I know has worked well for Troy especially at hilly Wildflower.  I'm amazed that my average is now over 16mph!  What, that's crazy! 

IMG_4292On the out and back section, the girl passes me back and pushes hard up the hill.  I remain patient and look forward to flying back down.  At the turn around point I close the gap because it's a short descent that I push.  The poor girl turned a little too far down the road thinking she had to go around one of the volunteers.  Another volunteer points me to turn earlier so that puts the two us even closer.  It's a short climb up and  she pulls ahead.  At the top, I push hard down and pass her.  On the way down  I see Karen and Monica.  I cheer them on and continue the push.

Every descent I find, I'm trying to fly.  My average is 16.6 and I'm shocked.  I'm going to blow away my goal!  I have no idea how far ahead I am but I'm not going to dwell too long on that.  Finally I'm heading into T2 as the first woman.  This is fun!  I see Dave and Francie..."hey guys!"
120520_auburntri_robin_runI transition pretty quick and get started on what usually is my strongest leg.  It’s a 3 lap course.  I did 3 laps at the Auburn Marathon and they seemed to go by fast.  I hope that is the case today!  It takes me 1 mile before my legs feel good.  I pass Duathlon leader, Clarence, who is on his second loop.  "Great job!"

Mile 1 is 8:28.  I make it to my church's (Elevation) aid station.  I see Troy, the girls, the Gray Family and Susan Taylor.  Anna gives me a sponge and runs along side for a bit.  "Go Mommy" Ariel shouts.

As I make the sharp turn to go down the canyon, I can see the girl I passed.  I have some distance on her but she looks strong.  Will she catch me?
I feel strong running down the canyon to Stu's Trail.  Mile 2 is 7:45.  Alright, I hope I can keep this up!  At Stu's trail, I almost go the wrong way following another guy who jumped over a cone.  "It's this way" I tell him as I veer right.  Climbing out of Stu's trail, I notice the heat.  Whew, it's getting warm!

Mile 3 is 8:06 climbing out of the canyon.  So far I'm doing good but my legs are feeling tired!
As I head toward the finish of the first lap, I see Dylan and Michael Cook.  "Hey guys!"  Mile 4 is 8:52.  I have a gel and water at the aid station at T2.  My legs are really starting to ache now to the point of wanting to walk.  I see Michael and Dylan again and give them a smile.  I cannot walk in front of them...what will they think.  I climb up the road to the canal trail where I am camouflaged and I walk for a few moments until the ache lessens. 

120520_auburntri_robin_run2Mile 5 is 8:51. Clarence catches back up to me and I tell him to go for it on his last lap.  I'm feeling a little better now.  I'm looking forward to seeing Troy and the girls.  I make it and they are excited to see me.  Anna sponges me and Ariel cheers.

Mile 6 is 8:20.  The pace is good but my legs are definitely tired...ugh!  The balls of my feet feel like they are on fire because I'm wearing new helps that they are the same brand and model but they are not really broken in yet.  Because of some arch pain in my old pair, I choose to risk blisters instead of injury.  Maybe it's a good distraction from my aching legs. 
At the sharp turn I no longer see the girl from the bike but I do see a Silicon Valley Tri Club girl moving behind me.  Wow, I think she just might pass me!

Mile 7 is 8:18.  Just before Stu's trail, I see a fast female relay runner coming out.  She looks strong!  If my legs were doing well, I believe I could stay with her.  Stu's trail feels awful but I make myself run it all the way through...especially knowing that SVTC girl might be catching me.

Mile 8 is 9:23.  I pass Maxx and tell him good job.  I climb up to the Sac Tri Club aid station.  I get water and walk.  The ache in my legs is great and the break gives me some relief.  I get going again and climb out of the canyon.  I see Monica coming down.  She looks strong and focused. 

I walk again just outside of T2 and it does little to help.  Again, at the T2 aid station I take a gel with water.  At the short climb up to the canal I walk again and I continue to walk along the canal.  Come on, this is flat, let's go!  Lord, help me!  One more lap.  I just need to get to Troy and the girls!  Mile 9 is 9:47.

IMG_4451I make it to the aid station and try to smile at everyone.  "Do you guys have Coke?"  Troy says no.  Bummer!  I start to walk and Troy and the girls come along side me.  "Troy, I don't know what to do."  "Use the downhill and don't think about the uphill".  Ariel is pulling on me from behind..."Mommy, Mommy, Mommy".  Anna is sponging me off.  What a great support crew!  I wish I had more energy to thank them! 

Mile 10 is 9:38.
I think about Troy's advice as I head down the canyon.  I thought for sure that a woman would catch me by now.  At the sharp turn I see no women behind me.  Wow, Lord, could I win this?
At the Sac Tri aid station I ask for Coke and they have it!  Yeah!  They hand me a cold cup of it too!  It's tastes soooo good!  Ah!  There's Karen!  I give her a high five.

120520_auburntri_robin_finishI am determined not to walk anymore especially since I could win this.  Mile 11 is 8:56 right before Stu's trail.  It is a huge mental task to keep my legs going.  Lord, You are my strength!

Mile 12  is 9:19. At the Sac Tri aid station I get some more cold Coke.  That really hits the spot.  I REALLY want to walk but I promise myself that I can lay down at the end.  More than anything else, I cannot wait to be done.  I am surprised that I've been able to hold off the other girls.  Lord, you are so generous!

I make it to T2 and gladly veer right to the finish lane.  I'm thanking the Lord as I cross the finish line!  As promised, I find a spot after I finish to lay down.  Whew, I'm glad that's done.  What a day!

Name Race Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Troy Soares Sprint M40-44 2 20:00 1:12:05 27:06 2:01:49
Dave Campbell Sprint M55-59 1 18:30 1:17:27 29:49 2:08:02
Trudi Scott Sprint W40-44 2 23:52 1:30:00 38:31 2:36:52
Steve Caminiti -Swim Sprint Relay Men 3 21:58 1:37:47 30:46 2:32:14
Karen Nickel LC Dua W30-34 1 17:29 (Run) 4:04:03 2:22:36 6:46:31
Robin Soares LC W35-39 1 37:35 3:19:05 1:54:33 5:54:33
Monica Erdosh LC W45-49 1 39:26 3:29:19 2:07:13 6:20:12
Bill Severi LC M45-49 5 34:04 3:39:37 2:07:07 6:10:53
Lindsay Grossman LC W25-29 3 37:36 3:59:55 2:29:22 7:13:10
Maxx Hackett LC M25-29 8 39:26 3:52:08 2:47:34 7:25:39
Andrew Hudnut LC M45-49 15 37:17 ? ? 8:17:00
Ryan Moll LC M35-39 16 43:10 4:14:10 3:28:30 8:33:21
Jody Galvin LC W30-34 6 1:01:14 ? ? 8:51:27
Andrea Ivan LC W50-54 1 1:13:31 ? ? 8:55:38
Jane Linder - Swim LC Relay Mixed 4 42:44 3:58:43 2:55:07 7:40:21

Auburn Triathlon Sprint (Troy)

May 20, 2012 – Auburn, CA
1kmSwim - 37km Bike - 7km Run

2:01:49 (20:00-1:45-1:12:05-:50-27:06)


2nd, M40-44


Dave Campbell, Steve Caminiti, Trudi Scott

Robin & I leave the girls with the babysitter and head off on our bikes to the race start at Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Lake.  It's so nice being able to ride from our house, and even better being able to ride together.

We hook up with TeamMate, Bill Severi (1/2 Ironman), and Karen Nickel (Duathlon) at Shirland Tract and all ride to the start.  Once there we see triathlete extraordinaire, Dave Campbell; our worship pastor, Steve Caminiti (swim relay);

Also racing is Ryan Moll, 10 time Auburn Tri finisher, Andrea Ivan, and our good friend, Trudi Scott, who we saw yesterday at registration.  Also we're glad to see, Jody Gavin & Lindsay Grossman from Iron Prayer back to do the 1/2 Ironman again. Also from Iron Prayer is Andy Hudnut doing the 1/2 Ironman. And, for his first triathlon, our friend, Maxswell Hackett, from church, is ready to tackle the 1/2 Ironman

I hurry to the boat ramp.  Race Director, Brad Kearns, requires a warm-up swim for each athlete.  I'm glad to see the water is high.  I swim a little and then see recent Auburn Marathon winner, Jessica Bonner, heading out on the lifeguard paddleboard.  She's in charge of swim safety today.  She's a talented athlete.  If she was racing, she'd surely be up there.  I also see Steve.  He looks very comfortable in the water and happy as always.  This year, our sprint race will start 30min before the 1/2 Ironman.

Go!  Last weekend's Angels Camp race is a real boost for today.  It's about the same distances.  I take off fast in the swim, but soon slow way down realizing I can't keep that up.  The first swim turn around the tree is always a little hard to negotiate.  Then I swim straight for the orange buoy.  But the turn is actually at the farther white buoy.  This was my only crooked turn, the rest was straighter and more efficient than previous years.  I think the sun was higher this time so wasn't as direct in the eyes.  Plus, after many years, I know where that 2nd hidden turn buoy is.  I see others stopping to sight it.  Making the final turn, I realize the course is, yet again, going to be long.  I'm glad I'm only doing the sprint and don't have to do it twice like Robin will.  Robin's been swimming real good lately so I'm sure she won't mind the longer swim.  I push the long straight-away to the boat ramp finish.  I may have been a little slower than Angels Camp 120520_auburntri_troy_swimpace.  I finish in 20:01, 25th place.

T1: 1:46
My suit comes off fast standing in the water.  As I run, Brad announces, "Just throw it to the crowd!  Free wetsuit!"  No way will I do that.  I run to my bike on the uncomfortable rough pavement.  I'm off.. without my jacket this year.  It's going to be a hot day so I'll be fine.  I'm in 16th place after passing 9 people in T1.

Quickly I wonder where Dave Campbell is.  He's a faster swimmer (and currently in 6 pl on the bike).  It's a steep climb.  It's going well.  I pass a few before the Newcastle Rd split.  I see 4 ahead of me but no Dave.  Finally, on the last climb to finish Shirland Tract, I see Dave.  I really focus on efficient leg work up the hill.  I'm right behind him as we hit the descent to Auburn Folsom.  I imagine he'll brake.. he is 10 yrs older than me.. but he flies down through the turns.  I finally pass him on the flat and fly by Railhead Park where his wife, Francie, is directing traffic.  I'm sure she's cheering loud for him seeing us so close together.  I have to keep pushing or he'll catch me.  Especially on the descents.. he's got a very aero setup.

120520_auburntri_troy_bikeThrough familiar bike paths and twisting backroads.  I pass one more.  We're now on Lincoln Hwy and no one is in sight.  I'm in 2nd.  I pass Machado's fruitstand where the turn-around was last year.  I wonder if I missed it but I see the guy behind me still coming.  Must be the full 22mi this year.  I'm riding well now as I pass the 1st aid station (for long course athletes only).  Then I see the leader coming back.  He's got 2mi on me!  At Placer Hills Rd we turn-around and now I get as aero as possible and go, go, go!  I've got to keep the gap and then try to catch him on the run.

It's fun flying back through town, in 2nd place, with some folks cheering, and all the intersections monitored.  Feels like I'm going faster than I am.  I see Karen Nickel heading out with the Duathletes.  I hope to see Robin and her smile so I know the swim went ok.  On Gum Ln I see her!  She smiles and I just know she's going to have a good run.  Before I get to T2, I see TeamMate Bill Severi also.  I finish with a 1:12:06 bike in 2nd place.

T2: 0:51
For a second I forget where my stuff is.  Then a quick transition and I'm off.  Brad yells at me, "Better not go off course, you'll be humiliated".  That's for sure, Robin & I run this course all the time.  I'm 6-1/2 min behind the leader.  Gotta run hard, I never know, he might be a slow runner or get a cramp.

It feels good going along the NID ditch.  I remember Bill saying "the course is all down hill".  It's just about 3mi down and 1mi up.  At 1 mi (6:22) I see the aid station I'll be helping at later.  I down a full cup and focus on my downhill running.  Robin & I were just talking downhill techniques last night.  I try to use my calves to quicken my turn-over.  I make the right turn onto the dam overlook road.  I feel good and make sure to smile at the helpers and spectators.  At 2 mi (5:42) I see the leader, Greg Cook.  He is running slow.  I can't do the math, I just know I have to go fast if there's any chance.  I run around Stu's Loop on the tricky trail and it goes well.  I remember last year having an injury that made uneven running difficult. It's a fun little loop.  Back on the road, I'm getting tired but again Angels Camp was an encouragement.. I didn't die there, I won't die now.. go, go!  At 3mi (6:13) I don't see the leader up ahead.  It's a mile climb to the finish.  I take a gel, a lot of water, and pump my arms.  Running the tangents.  Hoping I'm getting close. at 4mi (6:51), only a 1/4 to go but I want to be done and the path goes around the park a little. Finally, onto the grass, I hear them talking about the winner, Greg Cook and how 120520_auburntri_troy_finishhe's going to announce 2nd place.  I finish in 2:01:50 (27:07 run) and pray.  I'm so thankful that God allows me to run and race well again even when I don't always feel good.

One of announcers interviews me for a minute.  Then I get to see Mike Scarborough & Dave Campbell battling it out across the finish line.  And then I bump into my old boss from Humpty Dumpty's Kitchen, Rob Hodges!  His wife won the sprint for the females.

Thanks, God, for another fun race and I pray Robin has a good day… she hasn't done a race of this distance for 3 years.  And that's because of her support of me.  I'm so glad to see her ramping up again, thanks to God.

Name Race Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Troy Soares Sprint M40-44 2 20:00 1:12:05 27:06 2:01:49
Dave Campbell Sprint M55-59 1 18:30 1:17:27 29:49 2:08:02
Trudi Scott Sprint W40-44 2 23:52 1:30:00 38:31 2:36:52
Steve Caminiti -Swim Sprint Relay Men 3 21:58 1:37:47 30:46 2:32:14
Karen Nickel LC Dua W30-34 1 17:29 (Run) 4:04:03 2:22:36 6:46:31
Robin Soares LC W35-39 1 37:35 3:19:05 1:54:33 5:54:33
Monica Erdosh LC W45-49 1 39:26 3:29:19 2:07:13 6:20:12
Bill Severi LC M45-49 5 34:04 3:39:37 2:07:07 6:10:53
Lindsay Grossman LC W25-29 3 37:36 3:59:55 2:29:22 7:13:10
Maxx Hackett LC M25-29 8 39:26 3:52:08 2:47:34 7:25:39
Andrew Hudnut LC M45-49 15 37:17 ? ? 8:17:00
Ryan Moll LC M35-39 16 43:10 4:14:10 3:28:30 8:33:21
Jody Galvin LC W30-34 6 1:01:14 ? ? 8:51:27
Andrea Ivan LC W50-54 1 1:13:31 ? ? 8:55:38
Jane Linder - Swim LC Relay Mixed 4 42:44 3:58:43 2:55:07 7:40:21

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Angels Camp Triathlon - Troy

May 13, 2012 (Mother's Day) – New Melones Reservoir, Angels Camp, CA

1:20:50 (14:33-38:06-26:47)


1st, M40-49 (2nd Overall)


David Slothower, Ken Hale, Scott Zavack

Going to Angels Camp as a family and having me race was actually Robin’s choice for Mother’s Day.  This is a great race-getaway.  It's small (63 athletes), racers bring their families, the kids play in the lake and the park and everyone has a BBQ together while Mark Aiton presents unique awards and tells great stories from his 25 yrs putting on triathlons.

Robin's won this race before and wants me to try to win it today.  So I'm going to give it everything I’ve got to make it a good show for her.  After last week's great feeling during the run, I'm confident about that portion.  And the swim is shorter so I'm not concerned about getting cold.  But it's the bike I feel I have to work harder at, so that's my focus.  Robin drops me off at the top and I practice the descent and push the final mile into transition.

At transition I see Scott Zavack, a friendly and formidable competitor of mine.  We enjoy racing together.  He's usually faster than me.  Part of me says, "uh oh, he's going to win" but really this is what racing is about.. taking on challenges that seem out-of-reach.  I also see Dave Slothower (we raced together back in '95) and Ken Hale (600+ triathlons). While in line, I meet another guy, Ken Rakestraw (his name is on his shirt).  He's about 6' 5" and all legs.  Surely he can cover this course in about 4 steps.  I hear he won it last year.

At the swim start I fill my suit with water to make it comfortable.  Nice not being concerned with being cold.  I'll be in and out in no time.  RD Mark Aiton gives the course talk and, as usual, points out that if you're scared of rattlesnakes, it's better to be first or mid-pack, because the snakes get mad at about the 3rd and 4th runner that go by.  Robin comes to the water and we pray for the race.  Now Robin, Anna & Ariel are on the dock encouraging me.  Telling me to go hard.

WP_000183SWIM: Go!  I take off fast.  It's thrilling to look left and right and see that you're on the front line.  But that quickly changes by 100 yds when the fast guys pull ahead and I can't even stay in their draft.  I head right and surge to try to catch some feet but now the heart rate is getting to high.. gotta settle in.  I try to swim straight (afterwards, my friend Dave, who was behind me, tells me I was zig-zagging.  But I think I was pretty good).

120513_angelscamp_troy_swimAround the buoy and try to pick it up, all-out for the boat ramp.  I'm keeping up with the pack now.  Passing 1 or 2.  I see some already running up the ramp.  It's ok, I feel like it's a good swim.  I stand up to the cheers of my family.  14:33. 8th pl. My suit kicks off fast and I'm off to climb up the ramp.  Earlier, walking down, I was careful to notice all the areas with debris and pieces of glass on the group.  But funny thing in the heat of the race, you don't care about sharp ground, stickers, rocks, you just run for the transition.

BIKE: Mark & Candy Aiton cheer me on saying, "Go Get Ken".  He's got a huge lead.  I'm more interested where Scott is.  I take off, on a goal to pass as many as I can.  I go by a couple.  But then it takes a while to pass my friend, Dave, "Good job, Dave!"  He's 56 but still races like a 40yr old.  I pass a couple more and then I see the leader, Ken, coming back.  Behind him is Scott.  I feel like I'm flying so after I make the turn I hope to catch up to them.

When I complete the first turn-around, I see all the guys I just passed not too far behind me and Ken and Scott are a long way ahead.  I'm also breathing really hard.  This takes the wind out of my sails for a moment.  "Ok, got get back in the groove and just work".  I'm trying to speed into each climb and stay on top of it.  I like seeing the other racers going out.  So many have smiles on their faces.

Approaching the big climb up to Hwy 49, I see a rider way in the distance.  It's Scott.  I push the hill.  Something sharp is in my shoe.  I coast for a second to shake it out.  Pushing up the hill.  Going well.  Getting into the aerobars on each flat.  I see Ken coming back down.  Father back is Scott.  He's riding a road bike so I wonder if I'll have an advantage on the fast sections.  I hope the turn-around comes soon.  I am a mile behind him.  No, there it is, I'm only 1/2 mile behind!  I'm making up ground.

I fly down the hill, thankful for my practice run earlier.  The final mile to transition is my best effort.  I feel really good about it and hit transition ready to run.  38:06.  Now in 3rd pl. I'm excited about the run.. so much that I start before I tightened my shoes.

120513_angelscamp_troy_run_startRUN:  Ok, here we go.  Candy says "Go get him".  I look up and there's Scott only 200 yds ahead.  I smile at Robin and the girls who are really excited.  I feel confident and plan to push the steep hill, and catch him on the flat, expecting him to slow down after the climb.  But he doesn't slow.  The gap remains.  I'm running well and thankful to the Lord for the Wildflower run which was really encouraging.

At mile 1 I'm breathing hard but don't care.. every step needs to bite into his lead.  It's only 100yds now.  I take a Hammer Gel and plan my attack.  The downhills are my specialty so that's where I inch closer each time.  I yell ahead, "Good job, Scott", both to be friendly and let him know where I'm at, but also to see his reaction.. does he slow and give up the fight?  No, he stays steady.  He runs with his hands relaxed, kind of shaking them out.  Reminds me to stay loose as well.  Is he comfortable?  I'm pushing so hard I'm sure he's got to be hurting as well.

At 2miles I'm close and ready to make a pass.  We're on single-track.  Shaded by Manzanita brush and trees.  Here it goes.  I find a wider section, rev it up, and surge in front.  What?  Immediately he surges right back to take the lead.  Ok, that's fine, he can do the work leading and I'll follow.  Then I follow too close and put my hand on his shoulder to keep from falling. "Sorry".  We're winding through the trail, up and down, I'm shadowing his every move.  He asks which way at the fork and I direct him.  Up the hill.

This is hurting.  I need water bad.  Finally!  I douse myself and drink a whole cup.  But Scott passes it by and now has 25 yds on me.  I know the leader Ken is young, so Scott & I are battling for the Masters Rock, and Robin would be so proud to get it.  But I start having thoughts of succeeding, settling for 2nd, this is too hard..  But I have to do it for Robin, torture myself with a smile on my face, make it exciting.

Mile 2.5.  I catch back up.  This is it.  The last technical sections before we climb back up and then all down hill to the finish.  I make my pass again, faster this time.  Again, he surges back immediately.  I'm taken back.  I've never seen this strategy before.  Usually when you pass someone after staying on their heels, they feel defeated and try to rest up in your draft.  But it's as if Scott is proving he's got plenty in the tank and is going to control the pace.  I know he can out-sprint me (just about anybody can out-sprint me) so I can't wait to the end.  I must get ahead now if I'm going to have a chance.

Mile 3.  Weaving through the hot shadows, I pass again, even faster, and somehow he sling-shots right back into the lead.  Ok, this is it, my adrenaline is pumping, is this a fight?  I jump over some brush and pass for the 4th time but this time I run like the finish line is 100 yds ahead.  Go, go, go!  I may blow up around the next curve but I've got to break this cycle.  It's working, I'm staying ahead, but I hear his steps behind… until… CRASH.   What was that?  I look back.. "Are you all right?"  Scott just pulled himself out of a bush.  "I'm ok".  Turned out he tripped on a rock and tumbled, rolling into a bush.  I take off.  Either he's going to be slower after his fall, or he's going to be faster with extra adrenaline flowing.

Up the hill. Go, go, go.  I can't hear anything over my breathing.  I won't look back.  It's going to  be close.  Just have to hurt a little more.  I grab another cup of water and race to the final down hill.  At the sharp turn, I'll look back.  I don't see him.  I've got at least 50 yds on him.  Just don't fall on the descent and I've got it.

120513_angelscamp_troy_run_finishThe final long stretch to the finish.  Robin is at 1/2 way cheering.  Anna is farther down waiting to run in with me.  After going by Robin I hear her cheer, "Good job, Scott!"  He's back!  (Robin said he put on a dash that she'd never seen before) I turn on the after-burners.  In 2006, Mike Statz passed me for 1st within yards of the finish line.  It's what Mark calls the most exciting finish in Angels Camp history.  All this hard work, I can't leave anything out now.  Anna's ahead waiting with outstretched hand.  "Anna, run ahead!"  She starts jogging towards the finish.  I want her to be at top speed when we connect.  If I have to slow down he'll catch me.  "Anna, go, go!" She goes a little faster.  "I'm going to catch you".  This gets her going, she looks back and says, "Oh, no you won't, Dad!", and goes into a sprint.  I run up to her, grab her hand and we finish… ahead of Scott.  26:47. Now in 2nd pl.  1:20:50 overall.

Scott had blood on this knees and shoulder.  The fall had knocked the wind out of him.  It was the most exciting race I've had in years.  Back and forth 4 times on narrow trails.  It was an adrenaline-pumping battle.  I'm not glad he fell but I know things like that happen to all of us and 2012-05-19 001 2012-05-13 020it's part of racing.  You just never know what's going to happen.

Turned out the masters trophy went to Dave, the 50+ winner.  Makes sense as 40+ in triathlon no longer marks a big change in performance.  Also, the winner, Ken, turned out to be pro, recently placing 13th at Wildflower in front of Matt Lieto.

I thank the Lord for allowing me to push beyond what I thought possible and for making it an exciting race for Robin - she thoroughly enjoyed it.  We went on to have a great time at the park and then met my mom for a Mother's Day dinner in Stockton before heading home.  Thanks, God, for moms.  Robin inspires me with all she does and just makes me wonder, how does she do it?  All the while, taking care of me, too?  The Lord gives her strength.

2012-05-19 001 2012-05-13 0132012-05-19 001 2012-05-13 015

Name Age Group Place Time
Troy Soares M40-49 1st 1:20:50
Scott Zavack M40-49 2nd 1:21:09
David Slothower M50-59 1st Master 1:32:30
Ken Hale M40-49 8th 2:14:31

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wildflower Olympic Distance - Robin

May 6, 2012 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
1.5kmSwim - 40km Bike - 10km Run



2nd, W35-39


FCA Teammates - Jenny Boakes, Nevah Frogozo, Victoria Blackmon;
Heather Flebbe, Stephanie Artis

This morning I have been uplifted by the sermon and Heather Gollnick’s testimony. The pastor tells us that he knows God's will for us and it's found in 1 Thess. 5:16-18:

"Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

Being joyful and thankful is something I struggle with so much. It has been a hard weekend for sure. Our beloved kitty, Brooke, passed while we were gone. Poor Anna spent a good part of last night throwing up. I was mean to Troy yesterday when I couldn’t fit in a swim or run to loosen up for today’s race. Yet, the Lord is good and remains with me even in these things. I haven’t always been joyful and thankful for the many things I have but I can start over. God’s grace is so amazing! When we ask for forgiveness, the reset button is switched. I don’t have to feel condemnation.

I’m going into this race tired and not fully prepared. If it’s a fast day, there is no way I can take the credit. It will all be Him. And, if it’s a slow day, He will help me put one foot in front of the other. It’s exciting to see what will happen.

Since the last time I did this race in 2010, my swimming technique has improved.  Despite not swimming this week, or much before that, I still hope to set a PR. Troy and I checked my results from 2010 and I also noted the bike and run times too.

I’m racing with an old high school friend, Heather Flebbe, and a friend from the track back in Auburn, Stephanie Artis. It’s nice to see them both and chat with them.

I wave to my family and Anna runs down to give me a hug.  I love them!  I head down to wait.  When the swim wave before me leaves, I jump in and get a good warm-up in. I’m excited for the swim today which is usually not the norm. I line up in the second row to the far left.

Ready, set, go! I swim out hard dodging the arms flailing around me. I get into a good rhythm and can see that I’m in the second pack of swimmers. As usual, I have a hard time finding a draft and I find myself in between the 2nd pack and the rest of the swimmers.  I don’t mind as long as I keep them in my sight.  I focus on extending my arms, rotating my body and pulling the water.  I’m sighting as little as possible to be even more efficient.  It’s risky but I’m counting on my tendency to swim straight. 

At the turn-around, I’ve made some progress.  I’ve passed a girl in my age group and closed the gap on another.  There are lots of other swimmers from other waves around me and I glance up more to avoid banging into them.  I’m pushing hard but wonder if it will materialize into a PR. 

I round the last turn at the dock and see the swim finish…yeah!  Dig, dig, dig.  I loose sight of the girl ahead but continue to push.  I swim as far as I can before standing up.  I jump out, run over to the side and rip off my wetsuit.  It comes off nicely and I’m able to kick off the rest.  I glance at my watch and it says 24 minutes!  Yes! Thank you Jesus! That is a big improvement and probably a PR (surprisingly it was 8 secs short of my best from 2002). 

As I run up the ramp, I look for my family but don’t see them.  I smile big to let them know I’m enjoying my race.  I run to my bike and get my gear on.  Today, my bike shoes are already on the bike.  My cleats were not clicking in well this morning so I pre-mounted them in order to keep from struggling while climbing Lynch Hill.  But last year, when I did the same thing, one of my shoes fell off and I had to stop.  I pray that I get my feet in this time.  As I mount my bike and ride I’m able to get my feet in…thank you Lord!

120505_wf_olympic_robin_bikeI feel strong climbing Lynch and am able to pass many women, though none in my age group.  I see 2 time Hawaii IM champion, Chris McCormick, running down to the finish.  “Go Chris”!  He smiles and says “Good job ladies”.  He’s running with the collegiate guys since there is no official pro category.  This year his focus is the Olympics and making the Australian team so this is the triathlon distance he must master. 

I get to the top and get into the aero position.  I have no idea where I am in my age group and I see few women going out to Interlake Road.  I wonder who is chasing me down because I always get passed on the bike.  I see one of our FCA signs.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of those!

I hit Interlake Road.  I hear my bike Garmin beep and see that the battery is low.  Oops!  I can see I’m close to my average of 17.9 from last year.  Troy told me to try to negative split the race (ride the last half faster).  It’s possible but I just don’t know if this energy will last.  I’m very surprised how good I feel today.  Lord, you are awesome!

I don’t see any FCA signs for a long time and wonder if they’ve disappeared.  That’s negative thinking!  I remember Troy’s encouragement to look on the bright side first and not the negative.  Down the road, I see the signs and smile.  Always hope for the best!

By the turn-around, my Garmin is dead and I start calculating the time I’ll need to get to negative split.  I’m still waiting to be passed by someone in my age group.  Suddenly I see a girl in my age group ahead of me and I see that it’s Megumi Masuda!  I have never been anywhere near her in all my racing.  Lord, now this is crazy!  Is this really happening?  It’s so ironic because just this morning I saw her and was thinking she is unbeatable.  I am humbled and shocked.  I encourage her as I go by as I do anyone. 

Up the road, I see another girl in my age group and I pass her too…”good job”.  We climb up and on the descent down, she passes me back.  Again, I pass her on the next hill and push a little more to make the pass stick.  The next descent is one I typically brake on out of fear.  Today, I’m descending with more confidence and little breaking.  I’m able to fly down and extend my lead over the girl. 

For the rest of the ride, I’m feeling great and I’m certain I’m negative splitting it.  Lord, after yesterday’s bad attitude and last night’s lack of sleep I certainly should be slower today.  Your grace is overwhelming!  I’m getting something I really don’t deserve…I won’t waste it but will keep pushing hard.  If I have my best swim and bike today and that is it, I’m happy with that! 

I turn off the main road and head back into the park.  One more big climb!  I try to spin more to rest my legs up for the run.  At the top, I descend down into a hard left and without braking.  I’ve never been able to do that!  Finally, I’m at the top of Lynch and ready to fly!  It’s crowded here with the runners on the road and the cyclists.  It’s hard for folks to hear me say “on your left” so when I go to pass a cyclist, he doesn’t move.  I squeeze by him, dangerously close to the double yellow line (an automatic disqualification).  Now, there is a runner out in the middle, and runners to his right.  I call out but he doesn’t move.  In a split second, I squeeze by and say “you’ve got to move over son”.  Son?  This guy is like 50 and I don’t know why that came out of my mouth.  Again I was dangerously close to the double-yellow.  As I continue down, I wish I had just slowed down even if I have to stop instead of risking it.  I’m sorry Lord.

The rest of my path is clear and I fly down.  I usually brake a lot here too but I’ve only had to tap the brakes a few times.  I’m amazed at my improvement on the descents!  I get to the bike finish and click out.  I should have pulled my feet out instead.  I pull off the shoes and run with them and the bike to my transition spot.  Wow, Lord, I didn't get passed at all on the bike!  And, it looks like a PR.  You get the credit Jesus!

Okay, one leg to go!  I leave T2 excited and hoping to see my family.  I run out and look for them but don't see them.  I know that Troy is at the FCA booth talking with others so I know he's in the right place.  I cannot wait to tell him what's going on out here today.  I run out feeling good so far.  It's warmed up but I hope with 2 hot marathons under my belt, I'll be able to hang in there.

120505_wf_olympic_robin_runMile 1 is 7:35.  It seems like I'm going even faster but maybe that's because of passing a lot of people.

Mile 2 is 7:42.  Ugh!  Though I'm keeping up around the same pace, it's hard to keep pushing.  Lord, I know you're in control.  I will not let up but give what I have.  I reach the FCA signs that Troy and I put out.  It's a reminder that this race is still a gift no matter how hard it gets...and it's getting harder as we head up the hill.

Mile 3 is 7:45.  As I continue to climb and find encouragement in the signs, I'm still passing people.  Looking at my watch, it seems like I'm going to beat my time from 2010.  I'm in awe!  I see a guy encouraging a girl on a bike.  I pass them and hear "is that Robin Soares?  Hey, it's John Dougery and this is my wife Julie Ann."  "Great to see you John and nice to meet you, Julie Ann.  You have a Pac West girl behind you but I think you've got her!  Go for it!"  We say goodbye.  That was cool!

Mile 4 is 7:46.  Well, even splits are good but it sure feels like I'm moving faster than my watch says.  Remember, it's a gift!

Mile 5 is 7:50.  Oh man, I'm at the top of Lynch.  It's downhill now...yeah!  I push hard and smile in 120505_wf_olympic_robin_finsihsatisfaction.  I couldn't have asked for a sweeter race!  Wow!  Again, I wasn't passed at all!  I might have a pack of girls ahead of me in my age group but I don't care.  This was amazing and I wouldn't change it!

Will I see my family at the finish?  As I round the final corner and enter the finish chute, I don't see them.  Oh man, I cannot wait to share all of this with them.  I look up and thank God!  I cross the finish line!  Woo-who!  Awesome! 


Olympic Distance -

Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Robin Soares W35-39 2 24:10 01:19:43 44:21 2:32:31
Stephanie Artis W35-39 11 25:58 1:28:21 51:56 2:51:47
Heather Flebbe W35-39 19 28:40 1:29:06 1:00:12 3:02:46
Jenny Boakes - FCA W50-54 4 28:29 1:32:56 56:28 3:05:04
Nevah Frogozo - FCA W35-39 56 33:01 1:45:23 1:06:40 3:32:00
Victoria Blackmon - FCA W40-44   1:00:58      

Mtn. Bike -

Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Conor Blackmon M13-15 14 12:42 1:02:48 19:46 1:45:58
Reid Blackmon M9-10 2 16:08 1:16:32 49:27 2:35:32

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wildflower Long Course (Troy)

May 5, 2012 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
1.2mSwim - 56km Bike - 13.1m Run

5:10:04 (31:40-3:04-2:56:08-2:46-1:36:26)


21st, M40-44


Ben Lee, Bruce Belden, Clyde Floyd - FCA.Cory Floyd - FCA, Dale Jackson, Dan Perkins - FCA, David Blackmon - FCA, Dennis Lee, Heather Gollnick, Jim Grant, John Wilson - FCA, Reynold Lewke - FCA, Richard Craft - FCA

My goal today is to match last year's time of 5:10 (turned out that 5:10 was last year's goal time & I actually got 5:18).  I'm going to need a good run but that's the part that feels slow and sluggish.  Maybe because after the Boston Marathon I never ran farther than 5 mi.

As I ride down to transition, it's a beautiful bright day, but I'm still concerned about the swim.  I have a problem getting cold.  And I'm not very confident about the bike.  Although I've been riding often, it hasn't been on the tri-bike which isn't as comfortable and takes some getting used to.

I set up transition and call my Dad.

On all of our hearts this morning is the passing of our cat, Brooke, last night.  Our neighbor's son, Sam, has taken care of her for years when we go on these trips, so she was in good hands, but had decided it was time to go.  She was 15.  She always seemed happy but did have a thyroid condition that rev'd up her metabolism and put extra strain on her body.  Despite her difficulties, she was always sweet and eager to be wherever family was.  She got to experience Auburn and the girls getting old enough to know how to really love her.  In return, she slept on Anna's bed at night.  When I was a kid I enjoyed my cat sleeping on my bed.

My Dad's a veterinarian and gives me good advice for Brooke's plans.  (After returning home we had a nice burial in the back yard with our neighbors in attendance)

I'm waiting in my group for the race start.  I don't see my FCA Endurance teammates but do see 2 MultiSport Ministries guys (They are a partner Christian men's triathlon team).  The 3 of us pray together before our race.  I bump into Jim Grant, doing his 20th long course in a row.  We raced together as friendly competitors for years!

Before the start I'm noticing I feel cool.  I can feel the chilly morning breeze through my wetsuit arms.  Then I notice all the cuts in my worn-out wetsuit.  Oh no, If I'm getting cold already, I'll be shivering by the turn-around buoy and I hate being cold.  I pray that the Lord will somehow keep me comfortable.  It's my main concern.

Swim: Go!  For some reason I lined up right in the middle near the front.  This is the battlezone.  Maybe I thought being 44 yrs old everyone would treat me with respect and kindness.  No, they're swimming on me from behind, hitting me from the sides and trying to kick me in the head.  Deep down I know it's nothing personal, just some of the fastest athletes in California exploding with energy they've built up over the last 3 months.  As long as I keep my head down, protected by my arms, I can take the beating.  But I have to drop my cover every time I breathe.  for a split second I witness the chaos above the water and then quickly duck down, thankful to still have my goggles and nose in tact.

After 20 yrs of racing, this is probably the closest to a panic situation.  Despite putting myself into this position, I wonder "why is God having this happen?" Quickly it hits me, "oh!  All the adrenaline may be going to keep me warm!"  Sure enough, after a good swim to the turn-around buoy, and finding some drafts, I realize I'm not chilled.  I'm going to make it!  On the way back I get to work, looking for drafts where I can but mainly I'm on my own, passing through the stragglers of the wave ahead of me.  Surprisingly I feel pretty good pushing the final stretch to shore.  I'm not shivering!  My wetsuit comes off fast as I hear announcer, legendary Julie Moss, saying, "Troy's showing how it's done!"  Wetsuits are hard to get off unless you do it right when you come out of the water.  Robin & I always do this, and people clap when they see it, but for some reason we hardly ever see anyone else doing it.

31:40.  56th of 278.  This is good for me!  Jim Grant is 4min ahead. (Bruce Belden 2min ahead, Dale Jackson 1.5 ahead, Dan Perkins 30 secs ahead)

T1: 3:04.  Goes smoothly.  I put on a jacket which takes a little more time.  It's to fight the chill.  I'll take it off after an hour.  In 3hrs, I'll be wishing I was cold again.  Wildflower for me is about extremes.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_bikeBike: I struggle to get my shoes on as we mount and frustrate some other guys as I swerve around.  I need to practice this again.  Finally I'm riding and feeling good. I'm breathing better up Beach Hill than previous years.  But out on the open road I see my speed is not as fast as the good ole days.  I average 17mph to Jolon Rd instead of 19.  But I'm riding smart, efficient and drinking Sustained Energy and Perpetuem Solids for proper re-fueling.  I love the Solids.  There has been some head wind which will be a blessing on the fast back-side.

On the rollers I use my usual technique: rest on the ups and push the downs.  There's not many others around me which is good.. I don't have to deal with avoiding packs forming.  I'm focusing on lifting my legs and maintaining good cadence.  I'm drinking well and peeing often.  Finally, my favorite part, the 10 mile backstretch.  It goes well and I get my speed up to 18mph.  Turning right at Hwy 101, we go into the canyons and the wind is behind us.  Great!  I hit my stride here and make up more time.  Robin rode this course 2 days ago and gave me an optimistic report, but this canyons section was not her favorite.  It's a real boost feeling good here and getting my speed up to 19mph average.

Nasty Grade.  It's hot.  But I have a bigger cog on the back compared to last year.  It really helps.  I pass a lot of people.  It's blazing hot at the top and there's the Eveready Battery Bunny banging on his drum in that hot costume!  Flying down the long descent the wind is blustery.  We come around the danger-zone.. the section where the worst crashes happen and I thank the Lord for keeping me safe (moments later there was a bad crash which our friend Bruce Belden witnessed and assisted at).

The last climb into the park.  This is the section I've been visualizing all week. It makes a difference.  I bear down and make it my best effort yet.  Great!  Into the park, through the cheering crowds and down Lynch Hill to transition

2:56:08. 44th of 278. Not bad compared to my 2:53:36 average for the last 4 yrs, but 16min slower than my 2:39:53 average for my first 7 years.

T2: Good 2:46 transition which puts me 3 min behind Dale and 9 min behind Jim and Dan.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_runRun: I quickly estimate that I need a sub 1:40 1/2 marathon to be near my 5:10 goal.  That's going to be hard.  I anticipate this run being a struggle from beginning to end.  But the first mile starts off ok.  It's hot so I adopt the Boston Marathon plan which worked so well.. get doused with water at every chance and drink plenty.  They have a hose at mile 1. Yes!  Wow, my split is sub 8.  Better than expected.  Mile 2 I start feeling pretty good.  I'm enjoying this.  Mile 3 I push the downs and run the tangents, even when everyone else is running in the shade.  The warm Boston Marathon run really helped for this.

After 3 miles my average is 7:20, much better than expected.  The best part, which I thank the Lord for, is that I feel confident.  It's hot and the trail is tricky but I'm on top of it.  I'm drinking and taking Hammer Gels.  I'm tackling every hard section.  I do walk on the 2 short steep parts on mile 5 but that's it.  The dreaded pasture section I actually look forward to.  I run it hard.  But then I start feeling it and back off a little.  After a lot of water and another gel, I'm getting back after it.  I'm passing a lot of guys but they are from other waves.

After 7 miles my average is 7:46.  This is an important milestone.  There's a tough climb in Redondo Vista but with all the cheers of the campers and supporters, this is a great part of the course.

Mile 8 hits the dusty trail again and can be a downer but I've had some great splits in years past here so I stay optimistic and run well.  I go by the tree that I stopped to rest at my first year doing this tough course.  I never did get my rest as a spectator quickly cheered me back into running.  I'm glad they did.

I take the hill starting Mile 9 easier and let some guys get ahead.  But at the top, I remember John Dougery's advice to use the free speed so I fly all the way down to Mile 10 turn-around, passing each guy I let go ahead.

Now is the key mile.  Robin told me to own this mile, to push the whole climb.  I can't let her down.  My legs & knees have started hurting on the descents so I have no excuse on this climb.  It's tough but I pump my arms, smile a little and get to work.  I recite each FCA Endurance Bible verse that's posted along the road.  God does give us the strength to do everything He sets before us.

Yes!  At the top and still at 7:42 average.  On track for a 1:37 1/2 marathon!  The top is the longest mile.  But, as I told a friend we met at our campsite, the finish is really at mile 12.  I make myself believe it.  I'm running well and not overheated.  I even skip the last aid station and charge the short hill.  I praise God at the top, tell myself good job and let the downhill take me to the real finish.  The announcer, Will, at the top of Lynch Hill shouts my name and shares about the FCA Endurance ministry that we're apart of.  How great that God can be glorified over the loudspeaker.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_finishwannaI maintain a controlled "fall" down the steep hill.  I have to go fast as 5:10 is going to be so close.  I run down the chute as fast as I can.  I'm so happy because this run was a blessing, a complete turn-around from what I expected it to be.  There's Anna ready to run with me.  Running together is great but I have to slow down a little for her.  I miss the 5:10 goal by 4 secs but it's ok.  I thank God and kiss Anna. She's such a great supporter.  I'm exhausted and sore and she goes through the line and gets all the food and water for me and tells me where to go.  She took good care of me.  How fortunate I am to have a whole family and the Lord that takes good care of me.

Run was 1:36:26.  13th of 278. 7:37 pace.  Total time was 5:10:04. 21st place.

Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Heather Gollnick WPro 17 26:40 2:55:00 1:42:41 5:08:41
Troy Soares M40-44 21 31:40 2:56:08 1:36:26 5:10:04
Jim Grant M40-44 23 28:01 2:51:06 01:46:24 5:11:38
Dan Perkins - FCA M50-54 7 31:22 2:53:38 ?? 1:47:14 5:11:56
Dale Jackson M50-54 12 27:13 2:55:08 1:21:08 5:24:25
John Wilson - FCA M45-49 31 30:35 3:03:23 1:45:00 5:30:07
David Blackmon - FCA M45-49 63 34:53 3:06:01 2:09:27 5:57:37
Reynold Lewke - FCA M55-59 27 37:50 3:21:36 2:36:48 6:51:31
Cory Floyd - FCA M25-29 133 34:05 3:42:59 2:34:30 7:01:11
Ben Lee M60-64 22 42:40 3:41:56 02:31:51 7:09:40
Dennis Lee M60-64 23 38:12 3:39:52 02:46:39 7:18:33
Clyde Floyd - FCA M50-54 98 40:13 3:34:22 2:56:55 7:19:32
Richard Craft - FCA M50-54   53:52 4:32:15    

TBF Weekend Warrior - Anna & Robin

Anna’s Race
When the race started I was running towards the jumpy house.  Lots of kids were passing me but when got there, I passed a lot of kids.  When I got out of the jumpy house, I saw 3 kids ahead of me.  Then I kept running and when I saw the water slide, I thought I’m not going in there.  But I went in there.  When I got to the part where I had to run in the water, I thought again I’m going in there.   But I went in there.  When I finished I felt real happy.  Then I ran into the water and got soaking wet!

Robin's Race
I find out that today’s race is open-ended.  Meaning I can decide the route I can take.  I like that because I’d like to run the shortest race I can possibly can…especially since my legs are still in recovery mode.  At the start, they hand out a map but tell us not to look.  They instruct us that we’ll need to run south to find 2 check points at which we’ll collect a gold coin.  I know that our friend Dave Campbell is at one of them.  It will be fun to find him!  Francie, Dave’s wife, is here at the start supporting the TBF staff.  We then will turn in the coins and then be able to go through the “Gauntlet” or obstacle course.  It’s made up of a jumpy house maze, vertical spider web maze with slide, mud pit, military slip and slide, hay bales, tires, military dirt crawl, zig-zags, balance beam, and trekking through the water.
Ready, set, go!  We all start running south and looking at our maps.  The first check point is at 600’ and the 2nd is at 400’.  I’m guessing that the 1st is on the big hill with the water tower on the south side of Granite Beach Park.  I know how to get there from other races but today there is so much water in Folsom Lake that it has flooded normally dry spots so I cannot even follow that route.  I have to be creative and find another way.  I decide to run that course backwards.  There are two guys ahead of me and two guys behind me.
I lose sight of all of these guys when I decide to take the road instead of the trail partway through.  I make it to the hill and climb up the first trail I know.  As I get to the top, I see Dave.  Yeah!  I can see those 2 guys that were behind me coming up the hill in front of me now.  Oh, they found a short-cut!  I’m using that on the way back!  I get the coin from Dave…”thanks Dave!”  I grab some water and go!  I’m feeling great.  My legs are hanging in there!  Thanks Jesus!
The 2nd check point is along the water so I know just where to go.  I head down the other side of the hill and follow the trail along the water.  I see lots of mtn. bikers and runners out for their weekend workout.  It’s a beautiful sunny day! 
I spot a Red Bull flag that is a marker on the course.  I’m going the right way!  And soon I see the 2 guys who were ahead running towards me.  Okay, it cannot be much further!  Soon I see the check point.  I grab the coin some sport’s drink and go.
Now I just need to find the shortest route back to the Gauntlet.  I decide to back track up the hill and down the new shortcut.  On my way back, I see those other two guys.  “Just a little further”.  I also see a lot of other racers on the way and let them know they are on the right track. It’s tough climbing back up the hill but I’m able to do it at a pretty good pace.  Before I can even see Dave again I spot a trail off to my left.  That’s got to be it!  I run down and sure enough I’m back on the trail I ran in on.  Wow, that was way faster and shorter!
I book it back as fast as I can.  I stick to the trail this time and stay off the road hoping that it’s quicker.  Soon enough I’m turning in my coins at the start of the Gauntlet.  Okay, now for the fun and easy part!  I run across the beach and climb into the jumpy house maze.  Right away I can see that this is not easy!  I feel exhausted already.  I don’t know how Anna does this so well!  I can hardly stay upright!  I have so much respect for those Survivor players on TV.  The do stuff harder than this and without much food or rest.
Finally I finish that and figure out how to get into the vertical spider web.  Oh my gosh, it’s hard to squeeze through these slats!  Slowly but surely I make it up to the top and slide down the slide.  I run through the mud pit as gingerly as I can not to get too dirty…ha, ha!  Time for the slip in slide.  I try to slide but there it’s sandy so it’s not very comfortable as you would expect. 
I’m breathing hard and struggling to keep it up.  I scramble over the hay bales and through the tires.  Next is the military dirt crawl.  It hurts crawling on my hands and knees on the dirt!  I finally figure out that I can lift my knees of the ground like a monkey.  That makes the rest of the crawl easier but not easy!  More tires and more hay bales!  Troy tells me that someone is catching me.  I guess I’m really slow!  Wait, he’s kidding, phew!  I’m pooped but my family is cheering and the race director is cheering!  Go, Robin, go!  I can see I’m almost done so I dig down and finish up the last bit: up and down some rivets with rope, zig-zag and water run.  I cross the finish line happy to have had the experience and happy to be done!