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