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.