Thursday, December 31, 2015

CIM Relay #17 (Robin)

Date/Location:

December 6, 2015 - Sacramento, Ca

Distance:

Marathon Relay - 26.2m (My leg is just under 13m) – Legs #3 & 4
Note: The CIM Relay Races started in 1991.

Time:

3:32:27

Place:

8th, Female Open

Relay Teammates:

Leonie Alesci & Megan Sebra

Other Teammates:

Relay

*Catch Us If You Can: Leonie Alesci, Megan Sebra & Robin Soares

*FCA Endurance: Trixie Bradley, Karen Nickel & Stephanie Holloway

*Good Job: Janell Peterson and Friends


Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Melissa Johnson, Lee McKinley, Jamie Frink  & Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Annette Korn, Christine Val, Dave Campbell, Elizabeth Kastura, Helen Martin, Jason Shykowski, Ken Campbell, Melissa Penwell, Todd Osterberg

This is my 17th year in the CIM Relay. It's great to have such a long streak going. I cannot stop now! This time my teammate Liesbeth cannot make it so I'm attempting to run the last two legs of the marathon.

I drive our girls to the 2nd relay leg to meet Leonie finishing her leg and Troy finishing his 2 legs. Troy and our friend, Troy Outman, are each running a half of the marathon as "Team FCA Troy Squared." We meet up with Troy O and his wife, Sarah. Troy O and I warm up and watch the top runners come through. They are amazing athletes! I know I cannot even do one lap at their pace.

My phone rings and it's my friend Karen! I'm surprised because I know she's in the middle of running the 2 middle legs of the race. She tells me her calf is really hurting and she won't make it past her 1st leg. She wants to know what to do. If her team forfeits, at least her final teammate, Stephanie, may be ok with it since she hasn't left home yet. After some deliberation, in an effort to keep her team in the race, I tell her Troy can most likely finish her final leg after he finishes his.

I run into our friend Lee McKinley. He is helping the 3:00 pace group on the second half.

Troy comes in at sub-1:30 and Troy O heads out. I tell him the story about Karen's team and he feels like he can continue for one more leg...at a much easier pace since he gave it his all to finish his part of the Troy Squared relay.

While waiting we see Melissa Penwell fly by. And soon, Tim Twietmeyer comes by pacing the 3:35 group.

Twenty minutes later we see Karen AND Leonie running in together...cool! Troy and I start out together for a moment but then I have to say goodbye and pull ahead.

I feel pretty good starting out. I hope to be able to run 7:30 pace. We'll see!

Mile 1 is 7:29 (around 14th mile). Feels good!

Mile 2 is 7:27 (around 15th mile). Still feeling strong! It's nice to race hard again after many months off!

Mile 3 is 7:26 (around 16th mile). Going good! I rarely get to run this part of the relay and it's a nice change.

Mile 4 is 7:33 (around 17th mile). My body seems to feel the strain now but the sweet potato I had earlier this morning seems to be fueling me well. I can still push despite the fatigue.

151206_cimrelay_robin_thumb14_thumbMile 5 is 7:29 (around 18th mile). I can see the 3:40 group ahead. Cool!

Mile 6 is 7:28 (around 19th mile). Mentally getting harder but catching the 3:40 group helps! I start to plan out the last few miles... Keep up 7:30 pace until the 22nd mile. Then go 7:25 pace until the 24th mile...and then sub-7:20 pace.

Mile 7 is 7:30 (around 20th mile). At Mile 20, they actually have the "wall" set up with foam bricks. I tap it as I go through.

Mile 8 is 7:35 (around 21st mile). Wow, I feel like I'm running faster than 7:30 pace. Can I really pick up the pace?

Mile 9 is 7:38 (around 22nd mile). Running across the H St. bridge is cool though it is a bit uphill. Got to pick it up the last miles now. The legs are tired but the energy is still good..sweet potatoes!

Mile 10 is 7:28 (around 23rd mile). I'm a little slower than expected but good to be under 7:30!

I see a familiar stride ahead. It's Jason Shykowski! I catch up and say hi. He's ahead of his PR pace but feeling like everything is seizing up. "I'll pray for you then" and have the privilege to do so. We part ways.

I push it and start to see the pace drop more...yeah.

Mile 11 is 7:23 (around 24th mile). Okay, let's go! I dig deeper and my legs have a bit more to give!

Mile 12 is 7:19 (around 25th mile). Less than 1 mile to go! I've caught up to Tim Twietmeyer's 3:35 pace group...yes! I say hi and keep pressing on! I then pass his pace partner Jamie. Go, 151206_cimrelay_robin_finish_thumb14[2]go, go!

I can see the capital building! I can hear the cheering! I round the last corner and see the finish! I give it all I have and finish at just under 1:37. Alright! I hear the announcer and friend, Eric Gilsenan, tell me good job and ask about Troy. I give him a thumbs up and am unable to communicate that Troy is racing, too.

I don't see Troy and the girls and know they are on their way. The sacrifice of him not being here so he can help out Karen was so worth it! Thanks God for working it all out!

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RELAY HISTORY

Year

Team Name

Relay Div

Place

Time

Teammates

2015

Catch Us If You Can

Open Female

8 3:32:27 Megan Sebra (Leg #1), Leonie Alesci (#2), Robin (#3 & #4)

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

Coed

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

California International Marathon Relay (Troy & Troy)

Date/Location:

December 6, 2015 - Sacramento, Ca

Distance:

Marathon Relay - 26.2m (My leg is over 13m) – Legs #1 & 2
Note: The CIM Relay Races started in 1991.

Time:

2:58:52

Place:

TBD

Relay Teammates:

Troy Outman

Other Teammates:

Relay

*Catch Us If You Can: Leonie Alesci, Megan Sebra & Robin Soares

*FCA Endurance: Trixie Bradley, Karen Nickel & Stephanie Holloway

*Good Job: Janell Peterson and Friends


Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Melissa Johnson, Lee McKinley, Jamie Frink  & Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Annette Korn, Christine Val, Dave Campbell, Elizabeth Kastura, Helen Martin, Jason Shykowski, Ken Campbell, Melissa Penwell, Todd Osterberg

I've been excited to do this race as a relay with my good friend and running partner, Troy Outman.  We are "FCA Troy Squared". My goal is to break 1:30 for the 1/2.  Troy will also try to break 1:30 for a total time of sub 3.  However, I had some achilles pain on my last long run, and Troy also had some foot pain a few weeks back, so anything can happen.

At 5:45 I drive to the start with our neighbor, Tim Twietmeyer, who is keeping his tradition of pacing others to Boston Qualifying.  I drop off Tim and part at Beale's Pt and jog to the start.  It's dark and sprinkling.  Thankfully Robin reminded me to take a headlamp.

Running slowing to the start I immediately feel the tender achilles. This is not good.  I go real easy hoping it will warm up.  I do some stretching and take in the surreal site of 2000 runners, 100 porta potties and just as many trash-bag make-shift rain-jackets.

Eric Gilsenan is announcing as usual.  The National Anthem is sung wonderfully.  Then the mayor of Folsom, who is running the relay as well, jokes and tells us all to leave Folsom as quickly as possible.

I shed my rain jacket, just as it starts raining harder, and re-tie my shoes tighter, hoping it will help hold my Achilles together.  The wheelchairs and blind-runners have been sent off.  Now it's our turn.

Go!  We're off.  I'm about 15 rows back.  It's pretty packed and already feel the pressure to run everybody else's race.  I see our friend, Dave Campbell, on the other side of the road.  He looks like he'll do very well today.

Mile 1. 6:42. My achilles is already hurting.  We make the rt turn and climb Oak Ave and I have to ease up as the pain gets sharper.  I feel a little helpless. I might have to limp along and show up late and my partner will be stressed and wondering where I am.  Relays are really fun, but when something goes wrong, they become doubley stressful.  I may also risk serious injury jeopardizing my March marathon.

Mile 2. 6:55. In this helpless situation I'm again reminded by God to completely rely on Him.  He comforts me.  Gives me things to try, like pushing off on my big toe.  And reminds me to run appreciative, like He's already saved the day and I'm finished and thanking Him.  Amazingly, and unlike my training run last week, the sore tendon is feeling better, not worse.

151206_cimrelay_troy_thumb1Mile 3. 6:39. I continue to push off the big toe and thank God and encourage others around me.  Especially the wheel chair racer and the blind runners.  Blind runners rock!  With all the people darting around, it's hard to imagine running almost 10mph with the constant fear of tripping and falling hard.  Or worse, running into something.  Their guide partner has a big resonsibility.  Like a relay runner trying to get to the exchange on time!

Mile 4. 6:47. I look forward to seeing Karen Nickel at the start of leg 2.  She's running as another FCA Endurance team (Trixie, Karen, Stephanie).  She has an injured calf, but a great attitude.   It seems to take forever to get there.  I keep thinking we turn at the next light.  I see a kid running with his shoe untied. Fortunately he's a relay and will chance it.

Mile 5. 6:47. Finally we round the corner.  I see Karen.  Great seeing a friend to take my mind off of this difficult pace. 

Mile 6. 6:50. How am I going to keep this up for another 7 miles?  I can't complain, the Lord is allowing me to run despite a sore Achilles!  I remain appreciative and keep watching the pace.

Mile 7. 6:54. It's going great!  Right on 6:46 pace.  But getting tired and the pace is slowly deterioating. 

Mile 8. 7:01.  The rollers are getting to me.

Mile 9. 6:54.  Pretty good for a little bit of a climb.

Mile 10. 6:46. On each roller I try to make up the time I loose climbing.  On a long gradual downhill I dig deep to try to get my pace back below 6:50 again.  Yes!  It works.  Thank you, Lord, this is becoming exciting.  I talk to a guy from Reno who does this race as a yearly tradition with other Reno teammates.  He's going for a sub 3:00.  I don't think I'll ever be able to do that again, but I do think I can shoot for a 3:10 one of these days.  I think back to '95 when I got my first sub 3:00 on this same course.  He pulls away on a hill.  I'm already pushing it and know that the loss of pace on the hills has to be made up on the downhills.

Mile 11. 6:51.

Mile 12. 6:59. Only a mile to go to the 13.1 mi mark and I'm right on the 1:30 pace.  It's going to be close.  The relay exchange is another 1/2 mi farther but I've got to try for the 1:30… despite a big push, I go under the clock at 1:38.

Mile 13. 6:54.  I want to rest and recover but I've got to get to my partner.  The achilles is hurting now but I'm almost done and so happy for the gift to run a great race. 

Mile 13.4. 6:48. I come in with a big smile and tell Troy "8 seconds over" so he'll know what to shoot for.  I tell him to "go have fun. God is with you!"

Whew!  So glad to be done, and to hug Robin and my girls.  Just when I'm glad I don't have to run anymore, Robin tells me bad news.  Karen's calf has flared up and she will have to drop out unless I or someone else can run the next leg on her team.  Immediately I feel like this was all planned out and I'm excited to do it.  We also realize how difficult it would be to quickly find someone to run 7 mi to the next town.  And that it would be unfair for Robin to run with 2 chips.

Here comes Karen!  And right next to Robin's partner, Leonie.  Leonie exchanges to Robin and Karen exchanges to me.  I can see the pain in her face every step she takes.  I take off, but much slower now.  About 9:30 pace.  After 1/2 mile my achilles hurts bad and I think maybe this was a bad idea.  I might have to walk the whole thing and Stephanie will be very confused.  But it gets my focus back on the Lord immediately.  I stop and stretch and tie my shoe tighter.  As I start again, it's getting better.  I feel like maybe this was to confirm that these shoes are too loose for me.  I got injured in them before IMLT and now injured again.

151206_cimrelay_troy2_thumb1I'm focusing on God and keeping my toe down and my pace is getting faster.  Under 9:00 now.  I set a goad for 8:40 by mile 16.  Yay, I get it!  Now I shoot for 8:30.  And I get there, too.  I really want to help Karen's team and set a goal to come in at 8:20 average.  At 19 miles I'm down to 8:27.  I want to stop so hope the exchange is at mile 20.  But I also want to get 8:20 so hope I have farther to run.  We pass by the "Wall" at mile 20 and no sign of the exchange.  8:23!  This might happen..  Finally, there it is, I pick it up and, wow, 8:20!

I see Stephanie's well-known smile, make the exchange and she's off.  Wow, thank you Lord for not only getting me through the first run and keeping me from letting my team down.. to getting me through 2 runs and being able to help 2 teams!  I really felt God's hand in the race today and am so thankful for His grace, and for the lesson that I need different shoes.

Troy went on to accomplish both goals, a sub 1:30 for him and a sub-3 for us.  We all reunited at the Christmas tree at the Capital and got to catch up with some of the amazing Auburn marathoners from our track group.  It was indeed a special day.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Davis Turkey Trot–Anna & Ariel

Date/Location:

November 21, 2015 – Davis, CA

Distances:

5km Run

Time:

  • Ariel – 33:07, PR! (Previous Best 37:18)
  • Anna – 27:57, PR! (Previous Best 29:39 – ;Previous DTT ‘13 - 31:25)

Place:

  • Ariel - 5th out of 10 (1-7 Year Girls)
  • Anna – 6th out of 30 (10-11 Yr Girls)

Teammates:

5K: Dave Campbell
10K: Dave Campbell, Leonie Alesci, Troy Soares (Daddy)

ARIEL’S RACE

I was with Daddy before the race. The starter said go! People were running past me. Daddy and I ran and ran and told stories. We also talk to a couple older girls and Daddy says, "see you made some friends already."  Then Daddy left me to go to run in his race. I was little scared to be running alone. After that, I saw my Mom crossing a bridge above me. She called my name and waved at me. I said "Hi Mom!". I knew I was close to the bridge. I finally got to the bridge and saw a lot of people below. I ran through a pretty park. There was a man playing weird music. Then I saw Mom waving at me and calling my name. Mom helped me finish the race. And I got a medal! I was glad to do the race and I was okay running alone. (No race pictures of Ariel appeared to have been taken =/).

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ANNA’S RACE

151121_davis_turkey_5k_annaStart

I got in my place at the starting line and started doing exercises.

Then they said, "on your mark, get set, go!" I started off running. I felt good. I saw different kids as I passed them. We turned and turned as the course went on. I saw the 1mile sign. I kept running and saw the 2mile sign. I got some water at the aid station. Then I kept running and saw my mom running towards me. She gave me a high five. I saw a girl and a boy running with their dad I tried to stay in front of them. I heard them say that we were close to the finish line. Then I saw the finish line and 151121_davis_turkey_5k_anna_finishsprinted. I finished!

The end

2015 Davis Turkey Trot 5K–Robin

Date/Location:

November 21, 2015 – Davis, CA

Distances:

5K

Time:

21:24

Place:

1st, F40-44 (Out of 30)

Teammates:

5K: Dave Campbell; Soares Girls: Ariel, Anna & Robin
10K: Dave Campbell, Leonie Alesci, Troy Soares

Wow, this is my first race since Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June! This is definitely the longest break in racing I’ve had in years! Doesn’t matter the fitness I have or distance I run, I always feel nervous and with high expectations. That is why I look to Jesus and get into my Bible the first thing this morning. He is my peace and confidence so I need not stress out or worry!

Today, Ariel will be running the 5K mostly alone. Troy will start out with her and then head off to the 10K start. Then, once I finish, I’ll run back to her and run her in. I pray that she will have fun out there and make some friends. Anna is now a veteran running alone. Hard to believe she’s already 10 years old!

This race is always great because we get to see the Alesci family and the Campbell Family. Leonie Alesci is running the 10K. Dave Campbell is pushing his small grandson in the 5K and his 2 older granddaughters in the 10K. Troy, the girls and I pray together before we part ways at the starting line.

As I line up for the start, Dave tries to get me to take him on. I decline knowing he will leave me in the dust even with a stroller in hand. I run into a college running friend, Kathy, and we catch up after many years. The race is delayed for 15 minutes. I get the chance to spot Troy and the girls lined up a bit behind. I hear the course has changed and try to communicate that with hand gestures to them but they don’t understand…oh well, they will understand. Just praying that Ariel will have fun and find her way!

Okay, ready to go! We are off! I’m running hard but feeling good. The half marathoners are starting with the 5K and a bunch of them are ahead of me! I’m running side by side with the 1:35 pace group. I check my watch and the pace looks fast. It’s still early on though! A lot can still happen.

Mile 1 is 6:48. Alright! I’ve pulled away from the 1:35 half marathon race group and slowly moving up in the ranks. I hoped to be able to run just under 7 min pace for the whole race. Looks like that is a real possibility because my energy is good for once. My new sweet potato breakfast inspired by my good friend Trixie Bradley is really working well. I tried it last weekend when I paced Anna in the cross country race and I felt well fueled and not the more common sluggish feeling. The girls and Troy tried it too so wondering how it is working for them.

151121_davis_turkey_5k_robinMile 2 is 6:52. Alright again! Interestingly my quads are feeling sore likely because I haven’t run this fast or hard in a long time! Still feel strong though! My energy is great! Thank you God!!

The half marathoners go left and we go right to an overpass. I can see the other racers coming and wonder and hope to see Ariel. Sure enough, as I cross over I see Ariel below. “Ariel, it’s Mommy up here!” She looks up and her face lights up. “Great job Ariel!!” Thank you, Jesus, for the opportunity to encourage her!

Through the park next to Davis High we go! I’m running alongside a boy whose Dad is telling him where his competition is at. I encourage him to use the downhill for speed and to keep going.

Soon we turn right on B Street and it’s a straight shot to the finish! There is a girl right in front of me and I push hard to catch up. It’s as if she senses that and picks it up too! I’m hammering all the way down the long stretch and still cannot seem to make ground!

Mile 3 is 6:26. Can I break 21 min? I can see the clock and it’s just over 21. No matter, I’m happy to be able to go this fast. The girl continues to elude me and then suddenly she pulls off course. Oh, she wasn’t an official racer. Wow, she really helped me a lot and I’m thankful for the that.

I cross the finish line and am glad to be done. My legs are tired and sore but the rest of me feels great! Love those sweet potatoes! 151121_davis_turkey_5k_robin_finish

I run back on the course and see Anna coming in! She looks strong and is smiling! “Go Anna! Nice job!” I continue on for a bit more and see Ariel! We have a fun time running together. She tells me all about her race in between deep breaths. What a girl!

Thank you Lord for my wonderful family! I feel blessed!

2015 Davis Turkey Trot 10K–Troy

Date/Location:

November 21, 2015 – Davis, CA

Distances:

10K

Time:

40:50

Place:

1st, M45-49 (Out of 24)

Teammates:

5K: Dave Campbell; Soares Girls: Ariel, Anna & Robin
10K: Dave Campbell, Leonie Alesci

It's looking to be a perfect day for running.  The fog will lift to sunshine.  I'm doing the 10k while the rest of the family does the 5k.  Robin parks us in our usual Davis secret parking lot (from her college days). I show the girls how to watch the "virtual partner" on their Garmins in order to tell if they are ahead of their PR.  We register and see friends, Dave & Francie Campbell and Leonie & Rich Alesci.  Also there was Dave's daughters and their daughters.  Dave always makes it a family affair and pushes his grand-kids in joggers during the race.

First, before the 5k, we all pray together thanking God for this opportunity and that we will use it for His bigger purpose and a safe race for all.  Dave (with his single-jogger) and Robin are up front. Anna is at the 8min pace and Ariel & I are back at the 10min pace.  The 5k starts 15min late. I run with Ariel for the first 1k.  She's doing great and already making some friends with others around her.  I peal off and head back to the start for my 10k.  It serves for a great warm-up.  I start stretching when Dave shows up after his 20min 5k (while pushing a stroller) and now is equipped with a double-stroller and 2 more grand-kids, lining up for the start of the 10k.  A TV crew is interviewing him.

Weather is perfect.  I've been sick lately but feel good now.  Go!  My goal is sub-41 minutes.  The course loops left instead of right this year.  I can see Dave ahead, both hands on the big double-stroller, wearing work gloves to help his effort steering the big thing.  Despite all that, he's far ahead of me.

Mile 1: 6:29. I finally catch Dave after a 6:29 mile.  Impressed with the double-stroller, even more impressed knowing he just did this mile 30 min ago at 6:10 with the single-stroller!  He pulls ahead again, but at 1.5mi I see a sharp left turn over the sidewalk curb.  Dave has to run around a longer path up a ramp and that allows me to get ahead.  I yell back, "Will give you an extra 4 secs for that detour, Dave!"  He pressed on through the winding paths with that big double-stroller, amazing (I could hear his grand-kids laughing and singing behind me. Dave went on to finish the 10k in 42:05, winning his age group by almost 6 minutes, after pushing a single-stroller in the 5k in sub-20 and winning that age group by 3 minutes!)

I'm feeling pretty good but sensing my hamstrings getting a little tight.  They've been great for the last month, but this is a fast effort and always poses a risk for the hammies.  I try to smooth out my stride to reduce the abrupt leg-swings.  It's helping

Mile 2: 6:39.  I'm ok meeting my sub-41 goal.  Just got to keep the pace below 6:36.  The course is flat but interesting and very pretty and green.  Around me are a number of high school kids and a couple even younger.  I encourage them while trying to keep up with them.

Mile 3: 6:45.  Uh oh. Getting slower.  Gotta dig now. Getting tired but set a goal to make my next mile my fastest yet to undo the last slow mile.  I get sports drink at the aid station.  I accelerate down and up through the tunnel.image_thumb

I'm thinking of our last race, the XC 6k, and how good it went.  I think about track and modeling my form during the fast intervals.  But the biggest help is thinking of the Lord and how all this is possible through His grace.  I've been through many injuries and am able to enjoy pushing myself without pain right now.  Hard work but a great reward at the same time. Thank you, Lord!

Mile 4: 6:24.  Perfect.  Great to meet a goal.  I even think I can do it again!  I focus on the tangents of the many curves along this pretty course. 

Mile 5: 6:23. Wow, thanks, Lord.  Now over the pedestrian crossing bridge, a hard left, and then through another park.  I'm starting to feel the fatigue really setting in.  But it's the last mile, gotta keep it going.  There's a 5th grader running near me and looking so relaxed.  I make the effort to tell him he's doing great and he, more calmly, looks at me and tells me I'm doing great also.  Clearly he's more relaxed than I am.

image_thumb1Mile 6: 6:32.  Soon I'll see Robin and the girls and that's a lot of motivation.  Despite my body wanting to, I could never slow up in front of them. I hear them cheering.  I smile.  The kid & I encourage each other once again and then give one last push to the finish. 40:50. At every finish I am immediately reminded of where my strength and joy come from.. the Lord.  It's become a great connection - finish lines and the Lord.  Couldn't get there without Him.  This race went great, met my goal, but it is only a small taste of the bigger "race of life" and I only hope I can stay focused on that ultimate "finish line" where the joy will be unsurpassable.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rebel Rebellion 6K - Anna

Date/Location:
November 15, 2015 – Ancil Hoffman Park, Sacramento, CA
Distance:
6K
Time:
32:36
Place:
5th/7
Teammates:
Daddy & Mommy
WP_20151115_001 Start Not too many people were racing with us. But there was one girl who was older than me and I think she was in my age group (10-19). Ok back to the start. On your marks, go! I started off. Mom said to tack it easy in the beginning. I maybe went too fast in the beginning. We ran rounded the field. It was ok. Then we stared on the trails, ‘’My favorite’’. It was muddy though. The girl how was older than me got off course. But we helped her get back on track. Then I kept running and trying to keep up with my mom. I lost her for a moment but found her again and again. My mom yelled out we only have to run one lap rounded the track. When we got close to the finish line I sprinted and beat my mom. I got a medal! The end
(NOTE: Mommy ran with Anna)




Rebel Rebellion XC Run (6K) (Troy)

Date/Location:
November 15, 2015 – Ancil Hoffman Park, Sacramento, CA
Distance:
6K
Time:
23:30
Place:
1st/7
Teammates:
Anna/Robin Soares

It's pouring rain and the Soares family is headed to nearby Ancil Hoffman Park in Carmichael, Ca.  After watching McFarland, the great movie about H.S. Cross-Country running, and then Anna during her XC season, we were inspired and signed up for this XC race.

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XC racing is usually about 5 km across open fields (a park) and through winding trails (single-track & fire-roads).  It's different from trail running because it's a sprint. Racers typically wear racing flats with or without spikes. It's different from city 5k races in that the start is very wide, giving everyone the same chance to dash to the front for the best position when the course narrows.  And the coolest part of XC racing is the team scoring.  Your team's top 5 finishers achieve placing points and combine for an overall score.  Then you continue at different parks & campuses in the region for season standings.

However, we weren't able to get an FCA team registered, so Robin, Anna and I entered the "Community" race held before the actual XC race.  Ariel is watching us from the Medical Tent where she is "helping" write names on the list.  It's wet and the trails are getting muddy and we realize these conditions, although appealing to the Pacific Athletic racers, is a detractor to the Community runners.  There's only 7 racers!  And that include the 3 of us.

Start

I help rip off Anna's rain jacket.  The lead mtn bike is ready on the open field.  Go!  A young man bolts out front and I wonder if the mtn biker will keep ahead of him.  Robin is closer behind me and Anna is running alongside!  This is too cool!  I'm running side-by-side with my daughter in the same race.  It's one of those special moments, like 4 weeks ago when she asked if she could wake up early and go running with me before school.  A dream come true.  A blessing from the Lord.  But then reality hits.. I've got to tell her to slow down. "Anna, slow down and pace yourself or you won't make the 4 miles".  "4 miles!  You didn't tell me it was 4 miles."  This gets a laugh out of the few others that are running near us. "Well, almost 4 miles… longer than the usual 5k".  She's a great sport and adjusts her pace.

I pull ahead, keeping an eye on the young man and the lead bike ahead circling the large field.  The turns around the trees are slippery!  I try to run as tactical as possible, watching my footing but staying close to the tangents as possible.  I still slip a couple times but nothing pulls.

Through the start area again I wave to Ariel and love seeing her big smile.  Now we head out onto the slippery trails.

Mile 1: 6:19.  Splashing through the puddles I feel the cold water chill my feet. My body is feeling good and enjoying the hard effort.  My breathing is good.  Around the field I saw that the leader wasn't gaining ground on me.  And now I'm clearly catching up.  I've got to give it it my all, it's rare to be racing in 2nd place with a chance to win!

At 1-1/2 miles I feel my shoes getting lose and say a quick prayer that God will keep them tied.  Before 2mi, I make a move. I’m right behind him and my shoe comes untied.  As I prepare to make a quick shoe-tying-pitstop I realize 1) I should have double-tied my shoes and 2) I really think God has an even better plan.  I stop and tie my shoe.  I feel psyched up, excited to see how this plays out.  I start running again faster than before.

Mile 2: 6:31. I catch him and pass.  But he locks on.  We've been running along the American River and now turn in, rounding a beautiful park and golf course area.  The lead bike stops and points to continue on the trail.  Amidst my hard breathing, trying to stay composed so 2nd place doesn't sense weakness, I see a steep short hill covered in slick mud.  I gather strength and shorten stride.  I don't want to slip and fall and have him go by with new confidence.  Whew!  I make it with only a little slip.  Up and down and around slippery corners, it's going great!  Right when my lungs and legs are ready to give up, we cross the road, one more little hill, and then, ah, I see the finish field coming in to view!

Mile 3: 6:36.  Onto the grass I can no longer hear his footsteps behind me.  I don't know if he's catching up or falling back.  I run as smooth as possible.  Around the trees, even more slippery, I'm glad to make the final turn and head for home.  I listen to the loud course monitor shouting instructions and I can tell I have about 3 seconds on the young man.  Thank you, Lord, what an exciting fun race.  I look to God and cross the finish line glad to end the quick pace.  23:30 (6:26 pace).  This is better than I expected. Surprising.

Ariel joins me and we run back to look for Anna and Robin running together.  Ariel tells me about hearing on the walkie-talkie of a runner that fell and we wonder who.  We see Anna and Robin doing great and cheer for them and then hurry back to the finish to bring them in.  Even with a few racers it was a fun family experience of Cross-Country running!  Then we watched the teams line up, about 80 women for the first race, fast shoes and many wearing spikes.  Very fast!  Next time we'll race with the teams, and be sure to be humbled. Smile

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Ironman Lake Tahoe (Troy)

Date/Location:
September 22nd, 2015 – Lake Tahoe, CA
Distances:
Swim 2.4m – Bike 112m – Run 26.2m
Time:

12:49:55 (1:00:29-10:16-5:54:06-5:25–5:39:39)

Place:

53rd/329

Teammates:

IM- Brad Cooper – FCA, Dave Leroy, David Tarkington, John Wilson – FCA, Justin Rose – FCA, Katy Rosane - FCA, Lee McKinley, Richard Kane, Sara McKinley, Sherwick Min, Stephanie Artis, Tana Jackson, Tomas Navarro, Warren Mine (Click here for results)

70.3 - Caryn Galeckas - FCA, Flor Hodges – FCA, Jami Min, Suzanne Hartley – FCA (Click here for results)

Wow, it's here!  Last year the race was cancelled so I trained again this year.  I didn't train as much but I did focus more on running.  After swimming and biking the course unofficially last year, and getting good times, I was no longer afraid of those events, so put everything into the run.. although I still didn't do enough miles.  The running was going well anyway until I got injured 4 weeks before the race.  I came to the conclusion that my shoes were the problem.

Now we're here at the start!  There was some smoke again earlier in the week due to another forest fire but it completely cleared out.  The weather is perfect. Morning temp is over 50 deg which I know I can manage with the layers I have.  Water is low 60's so I have booties and a rash guard.  They may slow me down but the important thing is to keep from getting chilled to the point of shivering.

I have my family, my friends Troy & Sarah Outman, and other friends who are racing the 70.3 and will be done in time to cheer for me as well.  The kids sit-guard near their sand castle they made the day before.  Robin and I pray.

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I remember Brad Cooper's talk using the Fruits of the Spirit as a guide to ironman.

The 1st fruit: Love.  I remember my family and friends that love me and sacrificed to get me here and get me through the race.

With difficulty, I move through the crowded start chute to get near my 1:10 starting area.  National Anthem.  A prayer. 

029The Swim

Go!  Off to a smooth start.  I run a long way until it's deep enough and then embrace the cold.  I focus on breathing deeply the minimal oxygen and being relaxed.  It's hard to focus on a draft.

Peace -  the SWIM is chaotic and hard to breathe. Focus on God and find the Peace "that surpasses understanding"

After a while I'm more relaxed and start to look for a draft.  The booties are keeping my feet warm.  My kick is slower, which means less propulsion, but the added neoprene may help them float higher which decreases drag.

A 1000 yds out in the deep water, we make the big turn.  A 1/4 way done and happy to see 15:00.. great pace!  On the way back my sighting is good and getting some draft. Still concerned if I'll get too cold on the 2nd loop.  Remembering Brad Cooper's talk at Iron Prayer Friday about the fruits of the spirit and how they match up with triathlon.  "Peace" - the perfect focus for my swim.  I'm thankful it is peaceful and going very well.

045A 100 yds from shore we turn again for lap #2.  I try to throw an arm up while I'm swimming in case Robin & the girls can see me. Again, a great split, 30:00.  It's calming to know my swim goal of 1:10 is most likely met.  Getting more tired now. Counting the buoys to the turn-around.  The 2nd lap, just like Vineman Aquabike, isn't as bad as I think it will be.

The final turn in the deep water.  45:00.  Wow.  This is great.  I try to pick it up.  Planning for the exit.. (get up and running, despite being tired, up the sand, grab my bag, through the wash pool, into the change room.)  I come out in 1:00:29!  Had to be short, but still it's a boost.  (29th in my age)

T1

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The temp isn't bad so no sweater or 2nd gloves. wool socks, leg warmers, bike shorts, jersey, arm warmers, jacket, gloves, & beanie. Grab the bike, put shoes on at mount line and I'm off.. ahead of schedule.

055The Bike

Layers are perfect. Focusing on the next fruits of the spirit..

Patience - It's a long BIKE don't go out fast, be Patient
Kindness - The BIKE provides chances to share a word with fellow competitors and volunteers. Show Kindness and encourage them all
Goodness - Important on the BIKE to fill yourself with nutritional Goodness, fueling for the rest of the race

With "Goodness" I also remember I must not break the rules.. represent the Lord well in how I race.  Robin also reminded me not to break the rules since I got a 4min penalty at the Vineman Aquabike for riding too far to the left.

Mile 13.  21mph. This is the "extra clothes" drop but it's still chilly so I'm keep them on.  The Hwy 89 stretch to Truckee is great. I average 23mph.  Then through town with people cheering.  Then East on Glenshire Dr (new part of the course) which is mainly flat.  A short hard climb up and then onto the Truckee River Legacy Bike Path apparently just opened up this year.  It's great. Scenic. But only average 18.5mph along it. I'm looking forward to seeing my support group at mile 40 at the start of the Brockway climb.

062Mile 40.

I see Troy & Sarah Outman.  I pull over and shed jacket, leg warmers, gloves and beanie.  I throw them in the trash pile at the aid station and take off.  Troy Outman goes over and picks them out of the trash.  This is allowed.

The climb goes well.  I pass Sherwick and Tomas.  Knees hold up (thank you, Lord).  Robin and the girls have the FCA Endurance flag set up 1/2 mi from the top.  The perfect place!  So encouraging.

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Coming down into Lake Tahoe is wonderful.  Now back around for the 2nd loop. 

Mile 60. This time along Hwy 89 I'm more comfortable in the aero position and feel like I'm making really good time.  Still, Sherwick goes flying by me!  On River Rd through Truckee I think about how he really likes this section (he road it a lot when they lived here).

Mile 73. Along Glenshire Dr out to the bike trail, I'm pushing pretty good when suddenly my left hamstring pulls!  Hurts pretty good so I dig into my glute with my fingers to try to release the tightness.  It works some and I'm back to riding.. more cautiously, though.

Mile 76. Along the Legacy Bike Trail, still impressed by its beauty, but not by my slower pace.  I get passed by many riders.  Getting tired.  Back on the streets and I see my family at the corner to Hwy 267! Yay.  066

Mile 84. 2nd climb up Brockway!  Troy Outman told me earlier that I get to climb it twice so appreciate it.  With that attitude I settle into the climb.  It goes well. Partly because I'm scared of my knees giving out so I want to get it over soon.  I pass Sherwick and some others again that I've gone back-n-forth with.  Over the top I try to stretch my leg back onto my seat when suddenly my rt hamstring pulls!  Ow!  Thank you Lord that I didn't crash.  At this moment I see our friend, Lee McKinley, fly by wearing the Victory Velo jersey.

Mile 93. I pass Lee along the hwy by Lake Tahoe and encourage each other.  I've got to push the pace if I'm going to make my goal of 6 hrs.  I'm right at 18.6 mph now.  I get into some good grooves where I relax, put my head down and let the miles fly by. I thank the Lord for this because I know the pain I could have in these last miles.  Going good as long as I keep looking up to keep from crashing into something.

084Mile 108. Riding up into Squaw Valley, Charlie & Melissa Cazin are driving alongside at the same time!  They cheer for me and give a lot of encouragement.  It's great timing. They're alongside quite a while as traffic and bikes are going the same speed.  I come in at 5:54:06 (under 6 hrs!) But the course appears a mile short. (36th in my age)

T2: Ok, I want to have a good transition.  Where's my bag?  Can't find it.  Finally ask for help and someone hands me it.  In the changing tent, with Lee McKinley and Sherwick right behind me, I realize I don't recognize anything in my transition bag… because it's someone else's! I run back and get the right bag.  Change into run shorts, shirt, hat, and keep the thick wool socks (maybe they'll take up room in my loose shoes which I've never run over a mile in). Get sunscreen at the table.  I don't have my Hammer drink bottles on me because I didn't think they would last sitting in the heat.  The plan is to wait till 13 mi to get my needs.

Fruits of the Spirit for the Run..
Faithfulness - Transitioning to the RUN there are a lot of crazy feelings, ideas, and negative thoughts.  Have Faithfulness to follow the plan for pacing & fueling and have faith God will get you to the end.
Gentleness - Start too fast in the RUN and you'll blow up. Start Gently. After a few miles, if feeling good, Gently touch on the gas
Self-Control - In the RUN the race doesn't start until mile 20. Exercise Self-Control and hold back until then. You'll make up the ground in the last 10K!

Run

I'm not really thinking too far ahead.  It's going to be tough but I'll deal with it when it comes.  I'm just trying to maintain my goal pace of 9:00/mi.  I notice that it has gotten hot but I don't think about the effects of it.

Mile 3. 8:59 pace average.  Left hamstring pulls! Forces me to stop and stretch.  Sherwick runs by.  I knew the hamstrings could become an issue later, but this sudden attack is still surprising.  I get going again, up and over the steep resort path.  Now it's fortunately all downhill to where Robin and the girls and the Outmans are waiting for me. 100 It's so great to see them.  It's downhill and they say I look good.  But when I hit the flat hwy, I can feel the legs are starting to revolt.  WP_20150920_14_34_33_ProBut there's the girls again on the highway.. picks me up!.. if they could be at every mile..

Mile 5. 9:33 for the last 2 miles.  Despite the prior downhill the pace is climbing.

Mile 6. 10:17.  I'm not doing well.  Something is missing. My stomach isn't feeling too great.  I ask for my needs bag early but am told if I get it now I can't get it later.  I choose to wait.

Mile 8. 10:13 for the last 2 miles.  But both hamstrings are hurting a lot.  I stretch them for a while.  My body is screaming to just walk but I promise to not walk until the turn.  Knowing I'll see Lee McKinley and Sherwick Min coming back soon is motivation to keep looking strong.  I try some grapes, some water, some pretzels, nothing is appealing at all.  I just want my Hammer Sustained Energy.. but it's 5 miles away.  At Mile 9 I see Lee and Sherwick go by.

Mile 9.3. I'm walking!  1/2 mi before the turn!  I've never felt this bad before.  My hamstrings and my rt. peronial tendon injury.  I can't believe I'm walking.  It's a hollow, foggy feeling.  And the worst part is that it still hurts.  It's just not the sharp pain when I try to run.  I walk the turn-around even with the encouraging presence of volunteers.

I had hoped it might feel better but I'm sure now I'll be walking until I get my needs bag.  Rich Kane runs up and starts walking with me.  His stomach is nauseous, too.  Although I would love someone to talk to about all this, the last thing I want to do is encourage them to slow down so I try to get him going again.

Mile 11. 13:18 for the last 3 miles which is good for mostly walking.  I'm trying to keep the walk pace below 18 (double my run pace plan) and it's working.  But still the review of the whole situation is depressing.  My goal was to run the whole marathon.  I told Robin & the girls I'd be done at 6pm.  And, worst of all, it hurts so much I really want to drop out.  DNF.  I've never felt this before and it's scary. 

Robin & I try to encourage everyone not to quit.  I have never found a time the Lord's will was to quit.. not when it was His will to start.  And we just talked about this in our last Bible Study.  Quitting is followed by continually having to explain to people why I quit.  And 2 days ago at Iron Prayer I specifically talked about when things go wrong, they can actually be the makings of the best inspiring story ever. 

I'm praying about it.  And remembering my own words.  And remembering how the Lord has so often surprised me with results I couldn't see coming.  But right now, as hard as I try, I can't see any way the Lord can make this better.  I had a great swim and bike and my body is spiraling downward on the run.  It's a matter of time before my legs seize up and I fall down not able to get up.  That would be such a relief to get carted off the course.  But my kids.. they can't see Daddy quit.  I can't spend the formable years to come constantly explaining why it was ok for me to quit that time. 

But if I collapse, that's a different story. That would be ok.  I start crying involuntarily.  But immediately stop.  My fellow competitors are running towards me and by me.  We are Ironmen and crying has never helped any of us get to the finish. 

My teammate, Katy, comes up on me and puts an arm on me and prays for me.  John from the Iron Prayer who doesn't even know me comes by and stops to pray with me.  Tana Jackson also stops sympathetically to walk with me for a moment.  This makes me start to cry again.  I can see in her eyes, like my other friends, that they are sympathetic, and know what it's like. 

They respect me a lot.  Enough that the amazing Tana Jackson, during her strongest leg, would stop to walk with me.  But I can't let that happen.  I encourage her on and ask that she tell Robin that my new finish time is 9:00pm.  I hope that her and the girls can go get some rest instead of standing out in the dark later.

Mile 13. 16:19 ave for the last 2 miles.  Desperately, I get my needs bag. I down 1 flask of Sustained Energy and start on the next.  I've got gels, too, but not appealing.  Nothing is changing and the pain in my legs is spreading to my arms even.  I even fell like my ears might be hurting. 

Mile 14. All I want now is to see Robin.  She's the only one I can share all these emotions and feelings with.  As I walk towards the entrance to Squaw Valley, I see Robin.  Thank you, Lord, she came down to the highway at the right time.  Thankfully the girls are back up at the cheering area.  I tell Robin everything and how I don't think I can go on anymore.  She prays first, then gives me the hard love and tells me I have to start drinking and eating!  But I've already tried that.  Nevertheless, I admire Robin greatly and I know she's been praying and when she's been praying and then gives me advice, it has never been wrong.  I grab soup and water at the aid station and then compose myself to see the girls and Troy and Sarah.

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Mile 15. 17:46 ave for the last 2 miles.  The girls know I'm hurting but that I will push on.  Troy massages my hamstrings while I try to stretch them on a rock.  Now I try running again up the hill while Robin runs ahead shouting the repeated command to eat, to drink, and to fill up my water bottles.  After a hundred yards the pain gets intense and I'm walking again.  At the next aid station, with Robin still yelling at me, I reluctantly fill up all my bottles and down a few cups of water and broth.  I grab a clear trash bag and make a poncho to keep me warm.

Mile 16. 17:32.  I thank Robin as she heads back.  I'm still walking but also drinking more.  It's a slight climb up to the Village at Squaw Valley.  Trash bag is keeping me warm.

Mile 17. 19:10.  My slowest mile yet. If I could just lay down for a 10min nap, maybe I could complete the rest of this course.  I look for a cot, a blanket, a hiding place. There are Tri Club tents all along here but if I laid down in one of their chairs surely I'd be attacked with questions and prodding to continue.  I see my Teammates, Suzanne & Caryn and I just lie down on the pavement near them.  My legs are twitching all over but ahhh, it feels so good to close my eyes.  I really think I'll fall asleep.  Caryn starts praying for me.  I fold my hands and listen to every word of truth.  I know the Lord hears all these prayers and can turn things around, but I just can't imagine what it would look like.

"You're going to be DNF'd if you don't get up", I hear from a race official.  "I can't stop for 10 min ?" I ask.  "You can stop, but you can't lay there like that.. it makes medical concerned."  WP_20150920_17_58_43_ProHe had a point.  Lying on my back with my arms spread out didn't look good. I lift my legs, rub them, shake them out, thank Caryn, and then get up and try running again.  It feels different.  I run all through the village.  Someone interviews me in my trashbag while I run (click here for link).  I tell him my body is shutting down.  008But actually it appears I'm doing better. 

Mile 18. 12:35.  After laying down and being prayed over, this is my fastest mile in the last 2 hrs!  I shed the trash bag as I now heat up more.  Robin & the girls are excited to see me and are cheering loudly at the fact I'm running.

At the steep path behind the resort I meet my friend Warren Mine.  I walk it with him and we recite stories from our past.  Then I'm running again.  Down to the highway.  I start to walk again, but realizing that my legs don't hurt as bad, start running again.  I see our friend Steph Artis on her way to finish her first Ironman. I'm getting new hope.  I long to see the turn-around.  I make the turn and am heading back.  Just as the lights are coming on, the trail is starting to get dark and runners are getting glowsticks.  Back to the Squaw Valley entrance.  More broth, more water.  Starting up the path again, I walk the steep hill.. this will be my last walk!

Mile 24. 11:03 ave pace for the last 6 miles!  Now I'm pushing harder than ever.  I'm so thankful and excited that I'm actually coming back, going faster instead of slower. 

Mile 25. 11:04, even with the uphill.   1 mile to go and everything starts becoming clear.  This is how a disaster run becomes an even more exciting finish than a race gone perfectly.  My goal was to finish 1-1/2 hrs ago and it would be a good time, but it wouldn't have qualified me or made the podium.  It would have been a well-followed-plan with the help of the Lord.  But I spiraled to the point of wanting to quit.  The plan became dropping out or walking to a 9pm finish.. and dropping out looked more doable.

Now I'm 1-1/2 ahead of 9pm, not walking, but running so much faster at sub-11 pace.  Not having to explain for months to come why I quit.  Not confusing my kids about why I would drop out.  And being amazed with the power of friends' prayers and the wisdom from my wife.  And when I see that finishers medal, T-Shirt, and hat.. it will be in a whole new light… prouder than ever to receive those tokens of accomplishment.

Mile 26. 9:16.  I finish through that spectacular corridor of lights.  5:39:39 marathon. 12:49:55 overall. (53rd in my age). Thank you, Lord, for this finish.  For putting wonderful people in my life.  For taking a failed plan and turning it into a victorious memory and satisfaction.150921_imtahoe_troy_finish2 

017

Rom 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

018

Sunday, August 23, 2015

2015 Lake Tahoe Triathlon, Half–Troy

Date/Location:
August 23, 2015 – West Shore of Lake Tahoe at Ed’ZBerg Sugar Pine State Park, CA
Distances:
Swim 1.2m – Bike 56m – Run 1/2 Mara
Time:

5:20:46 (33:54 - 3:37 - 2:59:26 - 1:14 - 1:42:36)

Place:

2nd/11 M45-49; 9th OA

Teammates:

 

Prep

WP_20150823_07_04_31_ProThe family and I arrive at Sugar Pine Point Part at 5am. It’s dark and cold. Yesterday we had a fun family time arriving in Tahoe City and going out to dinner. I was exhausted, but managed to get a 4mi run in even thought it took 2mi just to loosen up. I slept good.

The memories from last year’s race here at the Lake Tahoe Triathlon are really helping me this time. I’m prepared for the cold, the hills and the run, at least mentally.

Last year I was so cold just preparing my transition, this time I have many layers. On the beach with Robin and the girls, I don’t do a warm-up swim this time. The course talk is 10min and last year after my warm-up, I stood there and froze.

With a prayer, and kisses from my family, I wade out to the starting line.

Swim
150823_laketahoetri_half_troy_swimGo! I know it will be hard to breathe so I try to remain calm. I’m not feeling much energy to pick it up and therefore miss many drafts. In fact, all the way to the far buoy I don’t really get any draft. As usual, the water is perfectly clear and it’s fun to watch the sand and occasional boulder go by underneath. After the turn it’s difficult to make out the best path to the finish. I finally stop and clear out my goggles. I’m away from anyone so, again, no draft. I’m thinking this is going to be a very slow swim. I’m tired. Finally, near the exit and see others trying to balance on all the smooth “ankle-breaker” rocks getting out. My head is disoriented with lack of oxygen, fatigue and just getting older probably. Finally I make it over the rocks and start a slow run up to transition (33:54, 13th). No pep at all and breathing hard. But just do what I can. Transition doesn’t go smoothly. Wetsuit gets stuck on timing chip and Garmin. Struggle to get shirt and jacket on (my sleeve-trick back-fires). And I put my helmet on over my swim cap and goggles. Finally all straightened out and off on the bike! (3:37 transition)

Bike

WP_20150823_08_08_12_Pro - CopyI pull my jacket sleeves over my numb hands and look forward to where the road breaks out of the forest to get a good dose of warm sun. I start counting the riders already coming back. I’d like to be top 10 at the end. At the turn-around I see Anna on her scooter and Ariel, too! It’s so heart-warming (and I can use the warmth) to see them cheering for me. There’s Robin right at the turn. She such a great support. I’m warming up, a lot sooner than last year thanks to not freezing before the swim start. I’m 15th on the bike. After the 2nd loop of the same course, I’m up to 13th.

150823_laketahoetri_half_troy_bikeNow we head south to the hills around Emerald Bay. Knowing what to expect helps. At the first hill, I pass another guy and one more on the big hill. At the top (I’m currently in 1st place in my age) I’m getting psyched up for the treacherous hair-pin turns on the descent. A truck passes me and starts to slow for the turns. Right when I start to get frustrated that I have to slow for this truck, bang! I hit a crack in the road and pop a tire.

Ok, I’m going to make a quick tire re-pair. I jump off (and notice my right ankle is sore), rip off the front wheel, but just before letting the remaining air out I notice that it’s not flat at all. It’s the rear tire! Ok, pull of the rear tire, let the air out, take off the tire, grab a new tube… wrong stem size, won’t fit. Ok, patch the tube instead. It’s a snake-bite, 2 holes. I patch it and hope it holds. Put it back on to pump it up.. except I have the wrong non-threaded cartridges. I can’t puncture it by just pushing hard. Staying calm. I will need help from another rider. I ask a couple Olympic Distance athletes heading to the finish. Finally a woman says she’ll help. So nice of her! However, we’re on a dangerous section with cliff’s on both sides so she has to ride another 200 yds before stopping. We both waddle towards each other in our bike shoes and I thank her for the cartridge.

I pump it up, praying that the speed-patch will hold during the treacherous descent. After 15min, I’m off!

I push hard, hoping to gain ground on my competition. I’m drinking my Vitargo. Coming back, I remember gaining ground on others in the last few hills so that is motivating. I finish up as fast as I can, in just under 3 hrs. (2:59:26, 27th bike)

Run

After a 1:14 transition, I start the run and notice my right ankle is really sore. I must have rolled it coming out of the swim. I have to favor it quite a bit and the soft trails cause it to roll out WP_20150823_11_01_38_Pro - Copymaking it worse. At 1 mile I see Robin, Anna and Ariel! They are such great supporters. Anna runs with me a ways. I ask for prayer for my ankle. It seems pretty bad but I will keep doing whatever I can and trust the Lord that He has a plan.

I’m tired and the thought of 13miles is daunting. But just 1 mile at a time. We head into the beautiful state park, onto fire roads. Weather is perfect. I felt God give me strength last year in the out-n-back we do so I’m looking forward to that section. That helps lift my spirits.

On the out-n-back, I see some of the leaders coming back, including a girl that started with me and now is a mile ahead. Another guy, Dan Streetman, who I’ve raced against multiple times, sees me and says, “Was bummed about your flat, but see that it’s not going to make a difference” That is really encouraging and makes me feel I’m coming back strong. I ask the official at the turn what place I’m in but he 150823_laketahoetri_half_troy_rundoesn’t know. With the other races going on and multiple loops it is impossible to tell. I get motivated and push and hope to eventually catch up to Dan.

Again the Lord is helping me, giving me goals to shoot for and good thoughts to get me through 150823_laketahoetri_half_troy_finishthe long miles with exhaustion creeping in. But now it’s only 2 miles to go. It’s a really fun trail but hard to enjoy as my body is barely holding together. Just trying to keep from falling off the trail. With ½ mile to go, Anna runs with me and pushes me “come on dad, push the hill, you can do it!” She really makes me dig deep and I do push to the finish. Race announcer, Courtney Cardenas welcomes me home. (1:42:36, 12th run)(5:20:46 overall, 3rd place a/g)

Thank you Lord for getting me through the race! I suddenly realize that I forgot to do quiet-time (spending time with God before getting ready for the race). That’s a promise I need to keep. I’m exhausted and sore all over. The ankle really hurts. Robin and the girls take care of me and we also get to hang out with World Champion, Jamie Whitmore and Courtney Cardenas. My swim and run times were similar to last year and the bike probably would have been faster. I got 3rd place. Very encouraging performance leading into Ironman Lake Tahoe next month. A SO thankful to the nice woman that stopped her Olympic Distance race to walk back and give me a $5 cartridge so that I could continue my race!

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