Sunday, December 7, 2014

CIM Relay (Troy & Karen)

December 7, 2014 - Sacramento, Ca
12.9mi (Marathon Relay - 2nd Half)
1:27:49 (3:06:44 total relay time)
3rd, Coed Open

Relay Teammates:

FCA Endurance
Karen Nickel & Troy

Other Teammates:

*CIMfast: Stephanie Holloway & Friends
*Catch Us If You Can: Robin Soares, Leonie Alesci, Megan Sebra
*First Big Run: Jason & Hope Shykowski
*Sovereign Sandals: Todd Osterberg, Nick Elcock & friends

Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Lee McKinley Michael Cook, Jamie Frink & Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Bailey Shykowski, Beth Bourne, Melissa Penwell, Sandy Baker, Scott Eckhardt, Troy Outman

It's a tradition. We do the CIM Relay every year.  Robin does it with her UC Davis buddies and I do it as a FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) Endurance team.  This year I'm a 2-person team with Karen Nickel.  I'm doing the 2nd 1/2.

My goal is 7:00 pace for a 1:31 1/2 marathon.  But that's 30 secs a mile faster than my last marathon pace.  I'm hoping my achilles and hamstrings issues will hang in there.  But mostly I want to run with my focus on the Lord.  I know in that case, it will turn out just as He wants it.

The weather is great.  Ariel and Anna are with me scooting around while I wait for Karen to arrive at the exchange.  She's probably going to run a 1:37, her previous best.  Robin is also doing the first 1/2 of the marathon on her UC Davis Team so I'm expecting to see her and Karen come in together.

I see Dave Campbell go by on the EliptiGO bikes leading the pros.  I also see the rest of Robin's team, Leonie and Megan here.  I get a good warm up in.  Achilles and hamstring feel good.

141207_3381Here comes Karen!  Ahead of pace.  Hand off goes great but she tells me Robin's hamstrings have flared up and to pray for her.  As I take off I immediately pray for her.  I know how uncomfortable that can be for her and it's a bummer because she's been working on them so much lately.

Mile 1: 6:47.  I figured the first mile would be under my 7:00 goal, so won't assess until a couple more are behind me.  I'm trying to run tall, efficient and relaxed.

Mile 3: 6:56, 6:45.  After a few miles, I'm surprised to be maintaining a sub-7 pace.  I see friends along the route like Reed, Sean, and others.  I hope they realized I'm only running the 2nd 1/2.  While surrounded by many runners, I look to my side and see Bob Erhardt from work!  We're both amazed to be running side-to-side in this crowd.  He's doing the whole marathon and going for 3:19.

Mile 5: 6:52, 6:51.  Bob settled back as I pushed forward.  Still so happy, and thankful to God, to be averaging sub-7 pace!  Another marathoner (Jacob) matches my pace and says it's really helping him to stay with me.  I encourage him and even pray for him.

Mile 7: 6:47, 6:53.  At the famous 20 mile mark.  The "Wall".  But fortunately for me it's only mile 7.  I'm amazed Jacob (the guy I met) is still with me.  He's negative splitting his marathon which is really hard to do.

141207_3409Mile 10: 6:54, 6:46, 6;47. 3 miles to go and so happy and appreciative to be at sub-7 pace.  Maintain I can even pick it up a little bit…

Mile 12: 6:40, 6:39.  This is going great!  After the bridge I picked it up.  Jacob held on for a mile before dropping back.  With 1 mile to go, I'm really sore but try to pick it up even more.  That's when I feel the hamstring start to go and quickly slow it down a little.  I hear Dylan Cook and Nicole cheering for me.  It really makes my day.  Now I just have to run as smart as possible to keep up the pace without blowing a hamstring.

I come around the corner and thank the Lord as I finish. imageMile 12.9: 6:37 pace.  Actually was able to negative split!  Thank you, Lord.  Our team finished 3rd in 3:06:44.  Thanks, Karen!

2014 CIM Relay–“Catch Us If You Can” (Robin)

December 7, 2014 - Sacramento, Ca
Marathon Relay - 26.2m (My leg is over 13m) – Legs #1 & 2
Note: The CIM Relay Races started in 1991.
8th, Coed Female

Relay Teammates:

Leonie Alesci & Megan Sebra

Other Teammates:

*CIMfast: Stephanie Holloway & Friends
*FCA Endurance: Karen Nickel & Troy
*First Big Run: Jason & Hope Shykowski
*Sovereign Sandals: Todd Osterberg, Nick Elcock & friends

Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Lee McKinley Michael Cook, Jamie Frink & Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Bailey Shykowski, Beth Bourne, Melissa Penwell, Sandy Baker, Scott Eckhardt, Troy Outman

I meet 6 friends (2 pacing and 4 racing) at Maidu Market at 5:30am to drive them to the start.  We load up and head down to Beal’s Point which is less than a mile from the start.  It’s a fun ride down.  I drop off the group at the camp bathrooms and park the car. After the pit stop, we run to the start for a warm-up.  The weather really couldn’t be better!  2 years ago was torrential rain/wind and last year was extremely cold. 

Once at the starting area, we all begin to go our separate ways but not without encouraging each other first.  Karen Nickel and I run to the start and get some strides in.  My hamstrings are tight and I feel like I cannot go as fast.  I’m hoping once the race starts, I’ll loosen up.  I’ve been trying some new things to help the hamstrings like myofascial exercises with a lacrosse ball and trying to get some consistent massages…though this week I skipped it as I got too busy.  But, the hamstrings have been much better lately so I’m hoping it will go smoothly.  I give Troy and the girls a call to pray with them.  It is a critical part of any race!

I find Karen and we look around for some of our other friends racing up near the front: Bailey Shykowski (17 yr old, 1st marathon), Melissa Penwell (first marathon) and Troy Outman (marathon veteran).  We cannot find them so we find a spot on the starting line.  I run into my friend Beth Bourne.  I pray with her and Karen. 

It’s time to go.  Our friend Eric Gilsenan is announcing and counting down.  Go!  We are off!  As usual, it’s a fast start.  People are everywhere and the elites are off in their own world. I see the 3:05 pace group go by and try to stay close.  I was thinking about trying to run 7:00 pace but that seems a little fast at the moment

Mile 1 is 7:07.  Good start!  There are so many runners ahead of me, I’m amazed!

Mile 2 is 7:03..  Feeling good!  My hamstrings seem to be okay.  My right shoe seems to be too tight and it’s hurting the top of my foot.  Should I stop?  No, I decide to press on.

Mile 3 is 7:05.  Wow, this is great!  I can even see the 3:05 group coming back to me!  I might really be able to run close to 1:30.  The top of my right foot is still bothering me.

I hit the first aid station and see Rob Myer and Jesse “Santa” Ellis handing out water.  I say hi and grab some water.

Mile 4 is 7:12.  Both hamstrings (the whole hamstring on each) are starting to feel tight!  Okay, just hang in there!  The 3:05 group is fading away.

Mile 5 is 7:10.  I’m able somewhat hold the pace but these hamstrings are getting worse.  The course rolls quite a bit (forgot about that) and that seems to be aggravating the hams.  The top of my right foot is no longer an issue…I’d take that though over the hams!!

Mile 6 is 7:20.  More pain/discomfort!  Ugh!  The 3:10 pace group goes by.  I know this means Michael Cook’s 3:15 group is coming soon along with Karen, Troy O and others.  It’s hard not to be frustrated.  My engine is ready to go but these legs are not.  Lord, please help me to keep a good attitude.

Mile 7 is 7:16.  I’m hanging in there!  Man I’m just barely over halfway.  Lord, please help me get through this!

Mile 8 is 7:31. My hamstrings seem to be going through periods of “cramping”.  It won’t hurt for a moment and then it really hurts.  At those worst moments, it feels like my legs want to give out on me!  It has never been this bad before! 

Mile 9 is 7:34.  Lord, help!  I’m just trying to go as fast as I can.  When the cramping stops briefly, I try to push it…but these moments are so short.

Mile 10 is 7:47.  Getting harder!  I contemplate slowing down but I know I cannot give up.  Today is all about persevering!  We are going downhill through a small twisting part of Fair Oaks.  It’s a cute area with a lot of energetic folks cheering.  I try to smile through the pain but it’s hard.

Beth comes by and encourages me.  She could tell that something was going on.  I tell her to keep going for it.

Mile 11 is 7:54.  Ugh!  Karen comes alongside and prays for me.  I really appreciate her slowing down to do that…she is such a great friend!  I tell her to go for it and that I’ll see her at the relay finish.  I’m doubting that the Lord will turn things around…but at that moment, I feel some relief! 

Soon Troy Outman is alongside me and praying also.  He’s going for a 3:15 today and seems to be running great!  I appreciate his prayers and want to pray out loud for him too but let the pain consume me.  I say a prayer for him in my mind.  I start to feel even better!  Thank you Lord!  How can I doubt you?!  I tell Troy I’m going to try to catch up to Karen.  He tells me I need to go now.

Mile 12 is 7:25.  Wow, prayer does work!  Though the hamstrings still hurt, I no longer feel like my legs are going to give out!  I can move them a little better too!  Thank you Jesus!

Michael Cook’s 3:15 group catches up.  I tell him about the hamstrings and he encourages me to get some electrolytes.  I thank him and try to get some aid at the next station.  I'm unable to get through the many runners and miss my opportunity.  At least I’m almost done!

141207_cim_relay_robinMile 13 is 7:21.  Better!  Thanks Jesus!  I make it through the half marathon. I can see now that the relay finish is after the 1/2 Marathon…and it’s still down the road!  I’m giving it my all to catch Karen but she is strong.  I see her head into the exchange area and hand off to Troy.  I hope she tells him.  I wish I can talk to him but I’ll see him at the finish. 

I finally get there and see Leonie ready to go.  She grabs the chip and I tell her she can do it!  She takes off and I find Megan Sebra my other teammate.  Time for her to head to the last exchange.  I then find Karen and the girls.  I’m in major pain but am so glad it’s over!  Thank you Jesus!!

Go Leonie!  Go Megan!




Year Team Name Relay Div Place Time Teammates
2014 Catch Us If You Can Open Female 8 3:27:15 Robin Soares (Leg #1 & #2), Leonie Alesci (Leg #3), Megan Sebra (Leg #4)
2013 Catch Us If You Can Open Coed 10th 3:31:23 Liesbeth Magna (Leg #1), Kevin Magna (Leg #2), Robin Soares (Leg #3) and Megan Sebra (Leg #4)
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







Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Dick Kirkpatrick (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4) (?)



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Megan Canova (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Liesbeth Magna(Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)



Troy-Robin-Leonie Wynhoven-Liesbeth Brouwer



Kevin Magna (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)



Robin Soares (Leg #1 & 2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)



Robin Soares (Leg #1 & #2), Leonie Alesci (Leg #3), Megan Sebra (Leg #4)



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Courtney Loveday (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Liesbeth Magna (Leg #1), Kevin Magna (Leg #2), Robin Soares (Leg #3) and Megan Sebra (Leg #4)



Troy, Robin, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven (?)



Leonie Alesci (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Kevin Magna (Leg #3) and  Liesbeth Magna (Leg #4)



Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt



Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt (?)



Robin Heidt, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven



Robin, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Brentwood Turkey Trot

November 27th, 2014 – Brentwood, CA
Anna – 32:17
Ariel – 36:17
Robin – 20:42
Anna, 1st in 0-9 Girls
Ariel, 2nd in 0-9 Girls
Robin, 1st Woman

(Race Stories below…_)

ANNA’S RACE (Written by Anna)

We went to the five k.  They said ''get set go.''  I ran but my legs started to hurt.  I got to the aid station I could see my dad and sister running on the other side.  I talked to a girl 11 years old or 12 years old. I started running but my feet started hurting.  I saw mom up a head.  I finished the run.


We got ready to go.  Mommy is at the front.  Anna is in the middle and I’m farther back.  The race person said go.  I was running.  I started passing people.  Daddy came back from running with Anna and said “Wow, you’re already here!”  I was running with him for a while and started getting a side cramp.  It was hurting.  Daddy said keep going.  Finally there was an aid station.  I slowed down and got some water.  Daddy said, “start going”.  I said “it hurts even more”.  I started running again.  Stopping and going.  Daddy said that when we get to the sign we will stop and stretch.  When we did, then I started running again.  Then I fell I cried.  Daddy said, “Do you want to quit the race?”.  I said, “No” and then took off. Everyone was saying “Good job, Ariel!”  Then I started running and Daddy couldn’t catch me.  My side still hurt.  I was almost there.  Then I saw Mommy standing at the end.  I finished the race.  I saw Mommy.  I got some water.  I got pancakes.  It was so fun.


The four of us wake up early at Nana Sue and Papa Ray’s house. We had a great, late night hanging out with them and Aunt Tracy and cousins, but it did make it hard to get up. Amazingly we still leave on time. We turn on a funny song from “Muppets Most Wanted” (I Can Get You What You Want) and sing our way to the start. Today, the girls are racing and Troy is supporting. Troy will start out with Anna and then finish the rest with Ariel.

Once registered and the correct race bibs are on the girls (had to double check to make sure I never make that mistake again!), I warm up. It’s a crisp morning and I’m glad to have on my FCA Endurance long sleeve and beanie! I come back and racers are lining up! We all pray together. It’s important to remember that Christ is first. I give big hugs and kisses and find a place on the starting line.

Ready, set, go! The top guys are off the line and seem to be down the road before I know it! Wow! I remind myself that this is going to be tough to go fast…but the good news it will be over soon! I see 3 girls ahead of me and I pull past one of them. The top guys are long gone!

Mile 1 is 6:41. Oh boy, that is going to be tough to hold but I’m going to try. I pass the 2nd girl who is wearing turkey legs on her head…cute! I see the top girl ahead and push harder to close the gap.

Mile 2 is 6:31. Thank you Lord for that mile! I’m now very close to the top girl. I might be able to win a prize for the family with this being an inaugural year. It’s only going to hurt hopefully less than 7 minutes now! I pass the girl and say “good job”. She’s a young gal…probably still in high school…impressive! I try to go by as fast as I can to make the pass stick and hope my legs and lungs carry me home. Thank you Lord that the hamstrings don’t hurt much and are not holding me back!

We are now coming back the way we went out. Like a horse returning to the barn, I want to get this over with! I cannot go faster but I’m just trying to maintain and not blow up.

Mile 3 is 6:41. Hang in there! I round the corner and push hard to the finish. Yeah, first girl! Ah, so glad to be done. It’s hard to take off the chips (yes, there is one for each shoe) while being out of breath. I see the young gal finish and hurry to get them off. Finally after a few minutes I’m able to congratulate her.

Thank You Lord for this race! Now it’s time to help bring my girls in!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Morgan Hill Marathon (Troy)

Today's marathon is serving as the final leg of my Ironman Tahoe.  I was very happy with the swim and bike at Tahoe, but it was too smoky to complete the run.
I'm excited about this course in Morgan Hill because it winds around the South Bay reservoirs, very memorable training grounds for me.  Most memorable is when Pat Farrance and I ran around these reservoirs training for our first Marathon in 1994.
Last night we stayed at the Ridders and were joined by the Jacksons, and re-counted some stories from our many training adventures in the South Bay.
My training leading into today wasn't perfect but I am in better running shape now than I was before Tahoe.  Not having to keep up with the bike and swim really helped.  Today I'm going to try and maintain good form even when the legs start hurting.  I've been working on running faster on longer runs and staying more relaxed and positive.  Focusing on the Lord has helped the most.

Robin and girls drop me off and find a perfect parking spot near the start.  After a good warm-up I stretch and then we pray together.  Although the race said 2000 entrants, most of them appear to be in the 5k, ½ marathon or walking division.

Go!  It's a brisk clear morning.  I'm glad I went with the short-sleeve because it looks like it will get warm later.  Leaving Morgan Hill and heading towards Watsonville Rd, it's a small pack, about 50, around me.
My goal is 7:30 pace for a 3:17 (same time as the last 2 marathons I did, but more difficult with the hilly course today).
Mile 1: 7:03. My pace is fast, but there are hills ahead.  The ½ marathoners turn right and we turn left, leaving only about 10 ahead of me!  This is quite a change from the Napa Marathon in March with hundreds of runners ahead.
Mile 2: 7:10. Aid stations at 2mi a part.
Mile 3: 7:17. Still pretty flat. Trying to be relaxed as possible.  A few guys pass me and I encourage them.  One guy has headphones on.  A car is coming along Watsonville Rd and I have to yell "Car Back!" for him to hear me and move over.  He's running really smooth but I wonder if I'll be able to catch him later on.
Mile 4: 7:32. Starting to need 2 cups at aid stations.
Mile 5: 7:18.  We turn towards Uvas Resevoir and start the rollers. All alone now, but happy to be on these old stomping grounds.  Quick nature break.
Mile 6: 7:46. According to my Garmin I'm at 7:22 pace, but then according to mile markers, I'm at 7:35 pace!  I've got to pick it up and the hills have just started.  At the top of the first climb I can see Uvas Resevoir.  It's very low.  I think of fond memories of Robin's Survivor challenge we had on the island.  A tall guy (Doug) goes by and says he likes my FCA shirt that says Competing for Christ.  I understand that to mean he reveres the Lord as well, and possibly a brother in Christ.  I happily encourage him on and also hope that I can catch up to him later and have more chance to talk.
Mile 7: 8:06. Not bad for a hill.
Mile 8: 7:25. Getting more thirsty. Gatorade and water.
Mile 9: 7:21. It's beautiful running along the reservoir and the hillside pastures. 
Mile 10: 7:48. My legs are getting a little sore but actually feel better than a great 10mi run I did a month ago. That was the run that I first started trying to run without noticing the soreness.  I focussed on the Lord and pretended that each pounding of the road was actually a massage for my legs.  Jeff Landauer is great sports masseuse and would shake out and rub out the soreness from my legs.  So I pretend the road is doing that.  That run was a PR with less soreness at the end.  So to have even less soreness now is very encouraging.  But I'm still behind pace.
Mile 11: 7:25. This is the toughest hill yet, but I'm excited to get it over with.
Mile 12: 7:33. Great! The last 6mi in 7:38 pace. Now downhill for a bit. Another nature break.  Aid station at the bottom is very enthusiastic.  More water.  Hard right turn.  Can't wait to get out of these canyons now.  Off-camber roads increase the soreness, but I try to ignore it. Run strong, with a smile.
Mile 13: 7:00 That downhill helped me get closer to pace, but not enough.
Mile 14: 7:25.  I remember riding this road with Robin in training.  The off-camber is tough.  I'm pushing harder now.  I hear a large aid station ahead.  I wonder if Robin and the girls will be there!  I wave and smile to the spectators.. but no family yet.
Mile 15: 7:43.  Now for the last big hill before descending into the valley for the last 6 flat miles.  I'm breathing hard.  If I can keep the pressure on, I will hopefully catch back up to my pace on the big descent.
At the top!  The last 3 miles were 7:32 pace. Good job.  Thank you Lord.  But the descent is the most painful part of this race so far.  It's a steep grade. Each pounding landing sends shocks through my sore legs.  But I ignore it best I can.  A woman ahead is also flying down making up time.
Mile 16: 7:25 I catch the woman at the bottom and head towards Santa Teresa Blvd.  There's my family! 

  The girls have made posters and Robin's got the camera.  I'm so glad to see them.  I tell them I'm about a minute off my pace but will make it up soon.  It's getting quite hot now and I chug 2 cups at the aid station.
Mile 17: 7:06. Still a minute behind.  If I keep the pressure on a couple more miles maybe I'll catch up and be able to ease up.
Mile 18: 7:33.  Still a minute behind.  Even with pushing harder to catch up, I'm actually only maintaining pace.  This is going to be harder than I thought.  Up ahead I see the tall guy in yellow.  Robin and the girls go buy and I tell them to cheer for him and that he might be a Christian, too.
Mile 19: 7:24 After pushing hard for 3 miles, I'm still a minute behind.
Mile 20: 7:26.  I see the lead man coming back.  He looks like a Kenyan.  And the female pro is not that far behind him.  I notice them running by the 23 mile mark and I long to get to the that marker.  Over the freeway to the big loop.
Mile 21: 7:39. Running in the wind has been hard.  I passed a guy and another guy passed me.
Mile 22: 7:34. It's really tough now but I got a 2 mile straight-away ahead.  I long to get over that bridge and pass the 23 mile marker
Mile 23: 7:25 Yay! I smile and thank the Lord.  When I was here going out it seemed so distant.
Mile 24: 7:32.  My family gives me one more big cheer.  They seem to be having so much fun.  They tell me I've gained on the tall guy in yellow.  Part of me has wanted him to weaken and slow down so I could catch him but instead I've actually been praying for him to feel good and maintain.  Now I'm catching up to him.  I find out his name is Doug.  He heard my family cheering for me and tells me he has a 6 yr old daughter that's waiting for him at the finish and he has to stay strong in order to run with her.  I say a pray out loud for him and I to get strength and run well to the end.  We both hurt, but we both want to overcome it and know we gave it our all.
Mile 25: 7:56  I pulled ahead of my friend, Doug, on that gradual climb.  I was hoping so much that the mile markers were wrong all along  and that I would see the finish only a ½ mile ahead.

But instead see more mile markers.  I think, "really, we're going to run the whole 26.2 miles according to the markers?"  Of course, I'm surprised I even though that.  A final slight downhill pounding.  My legs hurt but not nearly as bad as my Napa marathon in March.  There I ran 6 miles with cramps and strained muscles.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me such a different experience, and keeping my legs from giving out on me.

Mile 26: 7:23.  Ah, the finish line! 

The run was much less painful, but afterwards it feels just as painful.  At least I can lie down and wait for it to go away.. and appreciate what a wonderful family I have to support me so enthusiastically.  I was a minute over, but it was a very successful race!  Thank you, Lord.
Finish: 3:18:04, 2nd / 120, 12th overall.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Women’s Nike Half Marathon

October 19, 2014 – San Francisco, CA
13.1 Miles
Betsy Davis, Cerissa Patterson, Courtney Loveday

I leave Belmont at 5am.  I stayed with an FCA teammate, Michelle Ladcani, and her family last night.  Troy and I met Michelle at the starting line of the Boston marathon in 2012.  She joined me at the Napa Marathon this year to celebrate my 40th birthday.  What a great night hanging out and enjoying their amazing view of the whole bay!  It is different to be doing a race alone without my family but I know they are supporting me from afar!

My plan is to park between the starting line and the finish at Lafayette Park.  Thankfully, I find a spot without much circling.  With my headlamp on, I run to the start.

It’s crazy!  There are 25,000 people here and it’s a mad house!  I find my way to my starting gate and it’s much calmer here.  I see Betsy Davis of Tri-California and we get a chance to catch up and pray for each other. 

Soon Joan Benoit Samuelson comes out and gives us some words of encouragement.  I remember watching her run in the first women’s Olympic marathon.  My mom took me to Los Angeles to watch that historic day.  Very cool to see her out here!

Okay, ready to go!  The air horns sound and the mob begins it’s way down Post St.  Even though I’m one of the first starting gates, I still have to dodge a lot of folks before I can really get going.  I’m trying to stay with the 1:40 pacer.  That’s about 7:38 per mile.  I haven’t been putting in the mileage usually needed to go fast but I did run a 1:44 a few weeks ago in the Challenge Rancho Cordova half iron distance.

I finally catch up to the pacer a half mile later.  One gal is dressed as Buzz Lightyear.  Amazing to watch her “wings” bounce around as she runs a quick pace!

Mile 1 is 7:20.  A downhill first mile with adrenaline makes for a fast split.  I imagine the pacer is looking ahead to the many hills and needs to stay ahead of pace. 

Mile 2 is 7:22.  We go through the first aid station and the pacer doesn’t grab anything.  I sure hope she’ll get to drink something.  I think about trying to grab her something down the road.  I’m loaded up today carrying my own drink along with my car keys and phone.  Although a lot to carry, it is very convenient to be self sufficient!

Mile 3 is 7:48.  I’m starting to fall back from the pacer.  The fast pace she is setting is just something I am unable to hold especially with my hamstrings tightening up.  I just need to keep her in sight.

Mile 4 is 7:22.  We are running through Golden Gate Park.  The sun is starting to rise, it’s mostly quiet and very beautiful.  It’s hard though to soak it all in with the discomfort.  I can still see the pacer, yeah!

Mile 5 is 7:27.  There are all kinds of folks entertaining and cheering along the way.  The aid stations are well manned.  I wonder what these spots will look like after most of the runners have come through.  Thanks, God, for these folks that volunteer to help and clean up!  Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.

Mile 6 is 7:25.  I’m hanging in there.  I am at my max leg speed.  My hamstrings are very sore and I’m thinking of tricks I can do to ease the pain. 

Mile 7 is 7:25.  Man, this park is massive!  I’m running by the cross country course I did here several years back.  I remember the great shape I was in back then and running the Women’s Nike Half in 1:30.  I would love to be there again…but I’m totally content with what I can eek out today! 

Mile 8 is 7:46.  Out of the park now.  The bigger hills are coming!  I can barely see the 1:40 pacer but I know that I am still on track to run 1:40…it all depends on the hamstrings.  Please Lord help me to persevere!

Mile 9 is 7:44.  We’ve been getting some more rollers now…time to prep for the BIG hill coming!

Mile 10 is 7:34.  And the BIG hill is here!  Usually I run down this hill…in the first Women’s Nike I did and the SF Marathon.  Coming from Auburn, I hope to have an advantage climbing.  I soon see a sign that says 1000 meters to go.  Oh, I can handle that, right?  In the next quarter mile I find more girls are passing me and I’m struggling.  Wow, I totally underestimated the difficultly of this hill!  When is it going to end?!  I hear a girl shout an explicative about the hill…we all deal with these things differently.  I just want to put my energy into getting to the top.

Mile 11 is 8:32.  Done!  Phew, that was hard!!  I look at my watch and see that it’s going to be close.  I have a goal to be the passer as much as possible and not be be passed.

Mile 12 is 7:12.  I’m really trying to push it now.  I’m surprised by how limited I feel.  I feel like I’ve maxed out on the speed my legs can go.  I just gotta push.  A few girls have passed me but mostly I’m keeping my goal.  Thank you Lord for sustaining me!

Mile 13 is 7:19.  The finish is near!  I cannot speed up anymore but I am able to maintain.  As I’m about to cross the finish I look up to the sky and thank God for getting me here.  I hear the announcer, Sean English, well known from Wildflower, say “and here comes FCA Endurance”.  It’s nice that our team gets a shout out!  I cross the line at 1:40:53!  Yeah, I did it with Christ!  So great to be done!

I get my Tiffany’s necklace and walk towards the firefighters in their tuxes.  I could open the blue box and get my picture with them but I decide to take it home and open it with the most handsome man in my life, Troy.  I call Troy and the girls and we celebrate!  Time to drive home and give them some hugs!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Challenge Rancho Cordova–Robin

October 5th, 2014 – Rancho Cordova, CA
Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1

5:06:07 (32:25-1:36-2:46:20-1:53-1:43:53)




FCA Teammates: Harvey Soule, Relay Team: Pete, Tim, Troy Outman
Other Friends: Brad Seng, Rocket Men Relay: Dave Campbell (runner), Stephanie Artis, Todd Osterberg

Not sure what to expect today.  Troy’s Ironman prep and organizing the girl’s school jog-a-thon left little time for training.  But fortunately I did still get some training in.  Hopefully it will be enough not to suffer too badly.

We are up early and on our way to the start.  We arrive and are able to park right next to transition.  Sweet!  It’s pitch black out here.  I have to carefully make my way to my bike which stayed the night in transition.

Soon it’s time to head down to the swim start for the FCA pre-race prayer.  It’s starts off as a small group, including two gals from our swim team, and grows by the end.  We finish and I chat with some folks and encourage them to enjoy the day. Troy and I pray with a gentleman who is grieving the tragic loss of his son.  It was a rainy night 2 years ago.  His little boy ran out in the street.  He unknowingly hit him with his truck.  It was an accident that lives with him everyday.  My heart breaks for this man and as we part ways, I turn to Troy and cry.  I cannot imagine being in his shoes.  It puts the day in perspective.  Life is precious!  Lord, thank you for my family!  Thank you for this life and what you’ve given me!  Help me not take that for granted!

I jump in and get a nice warm-up.  I swim to the start.  I feel surprisingly good and the nerves are flowing…all good signs!  It’s hard to believe since I’ve only been to the pool barely once a week!

Ready, set, go!  I get off the line well and am right behind the top girls.  I focus on keeping my form together so that with each stroke I’m moving forward better and faster.  It pays off and by the first buoy, 20x30-RCAB0256I’m holding my position in 5th.  There is a girl that’s been slightly ahead and though I’m not right on her toes, I am in her slipstream. 

At the next buoy, I’m still on track and head back towards the start.  Another girl comes alongside and we stay neck and neck until the last buoy.  I’m surprised how good I still feel.  I’m working hard but not loosing steam.

On the last turn, I dig deep and pull ahead slightly.  I can see the finish!  I’m home free!  I surge to the ramp and run out ahead, still in 5th.  I pull over and take my wetsuit off.  It comes off with no problems!  Thank you God!  I high five the girls and run to my bike.

I make fast transition and run out.  I still struggle a bit putting my feet into my shoes already mounted on my pedals.  I do better but it’s still something I need to work on…or I’m going to take someone (or myself) out one of these days if I don’t.  

Mile 5: I make it out of Folsom and am now on the back country roads.  It’s hard to tell what place I’m it but so far I’ve passed a few under 40 gals…and no gals have come past yet.  I feel pretty comfortable but my hamstrings are already talking to me a little bit.  Troy lowered my seat in hopes that it would provide some relief.  We’ll see how the next miles go.

20x30-RCAE0341Mile 10: I’ve been passed by a few gals that are not in my age group.  One was 57 years old!!  I am in awe!  She leaves me in the dust!  Another gal, Muddy Water’s team, I’m able to keep in my sight. 

Mile 20: My hamstrings are pretty sore now and I find relief in holding a few different positions on my seat.  I’ve lost sight of the Muddy gal and a few others have passed me.  This last handful of miles have been on Latrobe Road and it’s mostly flat…a weakness of mine.  The negative thoughts start creeping in.20x30-RCAD0320

Mile 30: Finally I’m off Latrobe.  Hwy 16 is another long stretch of road.  I’m slowly starting to reel in a few of the gals including Muddy’s girl.  My hamstrings are really sore and I find a position that helps some and try to stay there. 

Mile 40:  So ready to get off the bike…but not totally excited to run yet.  Though my hamstrings are still hurting, I seem to be ganging some momentum.  I should be sub 3 hours…sweet!

Mile 50: The end is so close!!  The run is sounding better and better with every mile!  I have no idea where I stand among my competitors…must 20x30-RCAH0307push hard to the end no matter what!  I’ve been able to re-pass some girls but the Muddy girl alludes me!

Mile 55: Homestretch!  I can see the finish and folks already running. 

I get to transition and hand off my bike to a volunteer. Okay, it’s go time now!  Whoa, I’m tight and sore! 

I make a quick transition but as I’m just about to exit, I realize my Garmin is still on my bike.  I run back to the racks and have no idea where they put my bike.  A few super volunteers lead me to it and then I’m off once again.

Here we go!  Once out of transition my running legs start to kick in.  A half mile later I’m running past the Expo/Finish area where Troy and the girls are camped out at with the FCA tent.  Anna and Ariel stop playing at the water play area for a moment to join me for a little bit.  So great to see their smiling faces!  Troy takes a break too to cheer me on, too.

This is a 2 loop run.  It’s warming up quick and seems to be in the low 90’s already.  It will become more challenging as I go along!

Mile 1 is 7:51.  I’m surprised that I can go under 8 min pace since my hamstrings were bothering me on the bike and I haven’t been able to run much lately.    I feel like I could push harder, too, but I decide not to risk it.  I just focus on holding here.

A few guys have passed me but I get a big surprise when this pro goes by me like a flash…wow (he went on to run 1:14 for the course!). 

This section of course has a little bit of shade…I’m guessing the only shade I’ll see for the rest of the loop

Mile 2 is 7:56.  Still feeling strong and slowly catching folks ahead of me.

Mile 3 is 7:52. No shade makes it tough but I’m still feeling great!  A girl with a “Tri 4 Him” jersey flies by.  We encourage each other.  Soon after a few more girls pass by and I realize they are all pro women on the 2nd loop of the run.  I sure hope the Tri 4 Him gal can hold them off!

Mile 4 is 7:54.  Still feeling solid and my hamstrings are good!  I take a Hammer gel.

Mile 5 is 8:00.  Not sure why I slowed down but my pace bounces back.  The plan is to try to hold this until Mile 9 and then try to pick it up.

Mile 6 is 7:57.  Another pro lady passes me.  How I wish this were the end of my second loop!  Soon enough I’m back to the Expo/Finish.  I see our friend and pro Brad Seng cheering for me!  I am so surprised.  I stop and give him a hug.  Sarah Outman is cheering and I wave.  I see Troy and he asks me how I’m doing.  This next loop will be very telling!  I might be able to break 5:10…maybe even 5:05!  That would be super awesome and a PR I think!

Mile 7 is 7:51.  Wow, maybe I can really turn it on at mile 9!  This is going great!  I see Todd Osterberg and tell him great job.

Mile 8 is 8:05.  Oh boy, still feel good but doubting holding the pace.

Mile 9 is 7:54.  Okay, back to normal.  I take a Hammer gel.  Time to start pushing…but it’s hard…maybe I’ll wait another mile.

Mile 10 is 8:04.  I finally can grab some Coke at the next aid station.  I don’t feel as energetic and it’s almost as if my body is spending energy digesting the gel instead of giving me energy.  Hopefully the caffeine will kick in. 

Mile 11 is 8:15.  Oh boy, loosing energy!  The next aid station doesn’t have Coke…oh dear!  Forget speeding up, don’t slow down!  Lord help me hold it together.

Mile 12 is 8:15.  Hanging on!  I’m not totally falling apart but I’m definitely going downhill. 

Soon I can hear the announcer at the finish line. Yeah!  This is almost over.  I’m really wiped out now and it is so hard to keep moving.  I tell myself that I can lay down at the finish line.  The excitement of being done helps me pick up the pace.

20x30-RCAG0377Mile 13 is 7:58.  Alright, there is the finish chute…wait a second…I have to run around some buildings first?  What torture.  I smile anyway because it’s almost over and I’ve got a great time going!  I round the corner and there are the girls waiting to run in with 20x30-RCAA0187me.  I see Troy and ask him if this is okay with the race officials to finish with the girls and he gives me a thumbs up…yeah!  Most races don’t let you finish with family anymore.  I miss running in with my girls!  This is awesome!  We grab hands and run in together.  What a great way to end the day!  THANK YOU JESUS!

BTW, to top it off, I did get to lay down and Anna took really great care of me!

Hot day out there.. Anna administering fluids. Robin did great.




Age Group





4:15:21 MRELAY 1st 28:37 2:20:40 1:24:36
BRAD SENG 4:15:57 PRO 16th 30:39 2:24:37 1:18:27
STEPHANIE ARTIS 5:01:34 W35-39 4th 32:34 2:43:39 1:42:21


5:06:07 W40-44 1st 32:25 2:46:20 1:43:53
5:27:48 MRELAY 2nd 29:15 3:20:12 1:37:04
HARVEY SOULE 6:51:50 M60-64 2nd 47:48 3:21:44 2:30:08
TODD OSTERBERG 6:55:26 M40-44 41st 37:25 3:12:59 2:57:26