Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Years Day Challenge (Robin)


1/1/16 – Auburn, Overlook Park


Hill Climb #1 – 3m Old Foresthill Rd
Hill Climb #2 - 1.2m Raley's Hill
Resolution Run - 10m Trails


Hill Climb #1 - 18:14 (PR 16:48, 2014)
Hill Climb @2 - 6:12 (5:52, 2014)
Run 1:22:50 (PR 1:16:04, 2011)


Hill Climb #1 – 1st woman (non-age graded)
Hill Climb #2 - 1st woman (non-age graded)
Run – 2nd W40-49


Hill Climb: Charity Marshall, Farah Avasarala, Richard Kane, Trixie Bradley, Troy Soares
10Mile: Bryan Hacker, Christine Val, Gary Carpenter, John Dootlittle, Manouch Shirvanioun, Rachel Doolittle, Richard Kane, Scott Eckardt, Sena Minshew
10K: Cal Val, Chris Sands, Mo Bartley, Roni Jones
5K: Anna Soares, Ariel Soares, Emerson Booth, Debbie Booth, Leah Booth, Suzanne Hartley

Part 1 - The Bike

I drop the girls and van off at Karen's house. Unfortunately Karen cannot race today because of her calf injury )=. She kindly has agreed to record our times and drive the girls around! What an awesome and selfless friend!

Troy, Richard Kane and Farah Avasarala bike by and pick me up. After a quick prayer, off we go on our warmup ride! Farah and I turn early and do a bit shorter loop.

We all regroup at the Confluence where Charity and Trixie are waiting for us. After we’re ready, it's time to climb Old Foresthill Road! Karen sends off Farah and Trixie first, followed by Charity and I. Richard will soon follow and then Troy.

IMG_5823Right away my legs are screaming! It's going to be a tough climb! IMG_5835Charity and I push each other along. Farah is right there and Trixie is pulling away. Let's push!

I soon catch Farah but Trixie stays ahead. My goal is always to make it to Mammoth Bar before Troy catches me but he catches me just before...I was close! He bridges the gap between Trixie and I. Trixie hangs with Troy as he goes, she's so strong! I dig deep on this last bit of climb before it dips down.

I hit the down part and Trixie is gone! I'm hoping to catch her as it goes back up. I am able to close the gap but she alludes me! I see the sign for the upcoming stop and it's not enough. Trixie makes it to the top first. After I catch my breath, I ride over and congratulate her on a great ride!

Richard comes next, Charity and then Farah. We regroup and head over to the Foresthill Bridge.

IMG_5848Last climb! We line up on the Foresthill side of the bridge in order of our Old Foresthill Road finish. Ready, set, go! I'm right behind Richard and start loosing the draft over the bridge so I have to push hard to keep up.

We all cross the bridge and it's on up the hill! Man this climb is so unassuming but it hits back hard! I have no idea where the girls are behind me. It's too hard to look back so I just keep digging. This second climb is definitely going better than the first!

Almost to the top. I finally work in a quick glance and see that I've got a gap. Let's go! I push to the end...done! Yeah, part 1 done! Everyone finishes well and is glad to have that ride under their belt! Time to go home and recover for the run!

Part 2 - The Run

After the ride I chow down on even more sweet potatoes! Yummy! I hope they pull me through...but my greatest hope is in Christ and I want to race hard for Him!

We get to the start and check in. We run into many friends from the track, our neighborhood and around that about this race! Ariel and Suzanne meet up and get ready to race together. Just before Troy and I start, Anna's running buddy, Leah, arrives. The girls start their 5K 30 minutes after we start our 10 miler. Maybe Troy will catch up to Ariel and Suzanne at the tail end of his race...we'll see!

Troy and I warm-up. My ankle is sore and it's actually hard to run. This happens briefly from time to time on long runs so it's odd for it to be acting up now. Troy's Achilles is sore. Things to pray for!

We group up with the girls, Suzanne and few others from the track before we head to the start to pray. Hoping that we all feel good out there!

We line up. Ready, set, go! The top runners are fast off the line and pull ahead of me quickly...including 3 women. Two of these gals are Fleet Feet runners. I can see Troy's yellow FCA shirt for now. This first mile is downhill which is not my strong point. Two other women older than me fly!

Mile 1 is 6:52. I'm pretty sure that is faster than last year! I feel better than last year!

Mile 2 is 7:16. I'm passed by some guys going down to the start of Cardiac Bypass. My track running partner, Gary Carpenter, and I are going back and forth. I'm hoping my climbing legs will help me catch back up to those two gals in front of me.

We hit Cardiac Bypass and I find my climbing legs and pass one of the girls. The other gal in gray seems to have her climbing legs too! My heartrate has gone up to 175 so I try to maintain my effort instead of try to catch that gal.

I think the sweet potato is helping my mind stay clear. Last year my head started to get cloudy from fatigue here...not yet so far!

Mile 3 is 8:39. Now it's over to the DAM Road. It's almost 1:30pm so the top 5K runners and I will probably merge around there.

Mile 4 is 8:01. We climb up out of the China Bar side of the canyon. I grab a water at the top. The aid station workers are playing their guitars instead of handing out water.  I have to grab one...oh well, at least they set out the cups...don't complain Robin.

Down, down, down we go! Sure enough I hear the footsteps of the top 5K guys coming and they are flying!

Mile 5 is 7:19. What a shock to go from such a steep downhill to climbing back up! This definitely ranks as one of the hardest races around, even if just for the dramatic shifts in terrain!

Mile 6 is 8:43. A young girl in pink goes by and I'm wondering what race she is in. There is a turn off for the 5K ahead so I'll soon find out. We get there and she's not turning off. Wow, she must have been just cruising back there. I get some encouragement when I can see that same gal in grey and one of the Fleet Feet girls.

We make it around Robie Point and I start looking for Troy. I see our friend Bryan Hacker coming and tell him good job. There's Troy and he's looking great!  We tell each other that we have no discomfort...thank you Lord! I actually had totally forgotten about my ankle until now. So glad it's not an issue...and that the hamstrings are not an issue today for us!

Mile 7 is 8:21. I get passed by another girl! I start to get bummed out and discouraged that I'll make any headway with all these girls now in front of me. This is a bad attitude and shows my lack of appreciation for the ability to be out here. My buddy Karen has a hurt calf and wanted to be doing this. I pray and ask the Lord for encouragement and to transform my attitude.

The turn around is coming up! We have to run all the way to Murphy's Gate. I see all the four girls ahead of me heading back. As I make the turn, I feel excited to chase them down! Thank you Lord! I also notice that my head is feeling clear and my energy is perfect despite the tired legs...thank you Jesus.. and sweet potatoes.

Mile 8 is 7:53. I power up the Robie Point hill. I pass the last girl who passed me and move closer to the other 3 girls. There are still some hard yet short hills ahead and I think it might be enough to catch a few of them! On the backside I lose the girls because of my poor descending skills but I’m not out of it yet!

Mile 9 is 8:37. I catch the Fleet Feet girl! Yeah! 2 more girls ahead! With each hill, I gain on the grey girl.

IMG_6014Mile 10 is 9:17. I pass the grey girl just before the last climb out of the canyon! I dig deep and sweet potato energy is there.  Thank you Jesus for renewing my attitude. I fly up the last hill and push hard through the lower dirt parking lot. I see my sweet family, Suzanne and Karen cheering! I smile and push as hard as I can! Up the road and into the upper lot to the finish!

WP_20160101_001As I cross the finish line they are announcing the 5K winners for the 0-10 girls age group…"first Leah Booth, second Anna Soares and third Ariel Soares" to my ears. Thank you Lord! What a day! WP_20160101_005

I find out later I got 2nd and the girl in grey was 3rd by only 8 seconds. I didn't catch the girl in pink but I am very content with today's effort. Now it's time for pizza!WP_20160101_006

Resolution Run 5k (Anna)


1/1/16 – Auburn, Overlook Park


5k Run




2nd (under 10 girls)


Robin, Troy, Ariel, Leah

Helped Mom and  Dad in the bike challenge while babysitting a cute dog…


Start of the race…..

I and my dad and sister were stretching for the race. Some from girl came over and said ‘’I work at the Auburn Journal, can I take your picture?’’ We said yes. She asked us are names and we told her. I was so existed because I could be in the paper. I told no one except my mom who had just missed the chance of being in the paper.

My mom and dad started their race for the ten miles.  Ariel and I were left behind with Suzanne who was running with Ariel in the race. I do not need to run with any one because I am grown up. We were wanting for the 10k race to go so the 5k race can go. I saw my friend Leah who was walking to race. She is doing the 5k race to. She is so fast that I cannot bet her. Leah also wanted to be in the paper because last year we both got in the paper because we were in the front of the starting line first when Auburn Journal person asked us are names and so we got in the paper. Ok back to the race Leah gets here and she tells me that she does not see any one from the Auburn Journal. Ariel told Leah that she had saw the Auburn Journal. 

The 10ks went and it was almost time to start the 5k race. When it was about 15 minutes to start I took off my jacket and started walking to the starting line which is the finish line too. When I was walking over the people who talked on the microphone said ‘’start heeding over to the starting line. So I started to jog because I wanted to be in the front. When we were at the starting line they gave out instructions which I do not need.

Then they said ‘’10……..5, 4,3,2,1, GO! I take off but try not to go to fast. We kept running up hill downhill. When we are coming down the steep hill my foot starts to hurt. When we get the trail my foot still hurts. We start climbing.  When I thought it was over, the hill kept going. I got to the aid station there was water but they were not handing it out. I did not get water I was fine.

I kept running then my knee cramped up and it was hard to move it. I stopped and prayed. I started to run and I needed to push thou it. I started run and it went away but my foot still hurt. I kept running and running. I ran up the hill into the sunlight. I got onto the concrete and kept running a girl said ‘’don’t let boys behind you bet you.’’ I tried to bet them but I could not. But I finished. I saw Ariel, my dad and my mom finish. I got 2nd place!


End of race…


Resolution Run 5k (Ariel)


1/1/16 – Auburn, Overlook Park


5k Run




3rd (under 10 girls)


Mom, Dad, Anna, Leah

Suzanne (Hartley), Leah, Anna and I got ready for the race. We heard the announcer say "10, 9, 8..3, 2, 1, go!". I noticed three guys started when she said 3. I was surprised.

I started running. I felt really good until all the hills started coming and I started getting cramps. I was watching the virtual runner on my watch and trying to stay ahead of her. On the second mile, I couldn't see the virtual runner anymore. Suzanne tried to help me fix it but it did not work. So I had to run without it.

I found a boy ahead of me to chase. So I started chasing after him. I couldn't beat him but I was close behind.

WP_20160101_001I saw the finish and started racing fast. I heard Suzanne shout, "Ariel, your dad is coming!". I looked behind me and I saw my dad chasing after me! My dad couldn't beat me so he asked if we can finish together and we did! And, I got third place! I was surprised! Thanks to Suzanne who helped me get third place!

New Years Challenge 2016 (Troy)


1/1/16 – Auburn, Overlook Park


25 Mile Bike - 10 Mile Run


22:17 (age-graded hill-climb combined) - 1:16:34 run


2nd combined individual (2nd 40-49 in run)


Robin, Trixie, Charity, Anna, Ariel, Suzanne

Other Teammates:

Farah, Richard, Bryan & Mo, Christine & Cal, Chris, Lupita, Gary, Roni, Manouch, John & Rachel, Scott E, Debbie & Leah

It’s a clear day. Slightly chilly. Glad to see  Farah Avasarala and Richard Kane ready to start out at the Overlook.  We start the Challenge - Bike Hillclimbs followed by the Resolution Run. We pick up Robin as she drops our kids off at Karen’s house.  We pray for our ride and we’re off.

Richard and I take the men’s route around Newcastle while Robin and the women take the Power House Rd loop.  We hit the “practice climb” on Glenview Rd and I push it.  Feels great the first 1/2 but this rode always get surprisingly difficult.  I see Robin & Farah up ahead already finished with the climb.

Richard and I cruise through Auburn and down to the Confluence, enjoying the awesome views along hwy 49 on this crisp beautiful day.  Surprised to not catch up to Robin and Farah.  We meet up at the bottom and Trixie Bradley and Charity Marshall join us there.

IMG_5851Karen & our girls are also there in the van and Anna is babysitting a dog from Karen’s neighbors.  They take our jackets and gloves and Karen sends us off on 1 minute intervals for the 3 mile climb.

Go!  Trixie, Farah, Robin, Richard and then me.  As I round the first corner, the steepest grade, I’m reminded that this is not going to feel good.  Racing up a hill seldom does.  Rounding the next corner I can see the road far ahead and the riders ahead spread along it. It’s motivating trying to catch your friends.

IMG_5826I go by Charity who is always smiling, even on a steep hill.  Then Farah, who is also a cheerful athlete.  I catch Richard who raced with me at Ironman Tahoe last year.  Standing up to make a push to the flatter section, I pass Robin.  We always support each other.  I can’t help but push harder whenever she encourages me.  And finally I catch Trixie on the flat section.  Trixie is also a cheerful appreciative rider.  And always pushing hard.  She jumps on my wheel and picks it up quite a bit.

Getting near the end I want to break 16 min.  Finally, the last 200 yds, it’s a steeper section and always harder than I think.  16:39.  Finally finish with Karen timing and my girls cheering for me.  Awesome.  Lungs hurting, breathing hard, but feels so good to be done.

We group up for the mellow ride down to the Foresthill Bridge.  Karen is there to send us off for the 2nd hill climb.  We get in order of fastest up the first climb.  This puts us in a paceline across the bridge.  I’m leading.

IMG_5848Go!  It’s really cool riding across the tallest bridge in California. We’re in a good line.  Richard’s right behind me.  When we hit the beginning of “Raley Hill”, Richard goes by and starts pushing hard.  I don’t have much but push steady.  It’s only a 5min climb but it’s tough.  Soon our speeds are matched.  I think I’ll be able to catch him.  About 500 yds from the top I stand up and really push.  I pass Richard and see Karen at the top as I finish.  5:52.  This one hurt pretty good, too, but after a couple minutes I’m ok and able to cheer the others to the top.

The hill climb challenge incorporates age/sex grading.  After calculations, I’m 5th.  Robin won with 20 min total time age-graded.  Then Trixie, Charity, Farah, myself, and Richard.  But now it’s on to the Resolution Run where I have a chance to move up..


Resolution Run 10 Miler (Troy)

I’m excited about Anna and Ariel’s 5k Runs.  I set their Garmins to their previous 5k PR before they broke it easily at the Turkey Trot 6 weeks ago.  They think they can beat it again even on this hilly course.  We’re all warming up and stretching, Anna & Ariel are copying me, and this prompts the Auburn Journal reporter to take pictures and notes (but we didn’t make the paper).

Suzanne Hartley has nicely volunteered to run with Ariel.  And Anna will run on her own, chasing her friend, Leah.

Robin and I line up with many friends from the track and surrounding Auburn.  Weather is great, not too cold, and the trails are a little muddy.

Go!  Along the street and then down the gradual road towards Oregon Bar.  I’m running with Richard.  The leaders are way out there.  I count about 10 ahead of me and hope to move up to about 5.  I see our friend Brian Hacker and a young guy in red that I raced against at the Rebel Rebellion XC Race.

I can’t seem to gain on them on the way down but I hope to make a move going up the Cardiac Bypass trail.  We hit the trail, I shake out my arms and get to work.  Trying to be light on my feet as I negotiate the rocks.  I pull ahead of Richard and 1/2 way up pass 4 other racers.  Brian and the guy in Red are still together farther ahead.

Mile 3: 20:55.  About 7min pace. Good.  Along the road I think of how much better I feel than 2 years ago when I started bonking here.  Again I did a good job of fueling before todays race.  I take water at the aid station and then head down the steep road.  I see Dan Tebbs and his 4 boys cheering at the turn!  Down the hill and I see the guy in Red hitting the trails with Bryan farther ahead.  I hit the trail and work hard on the steep climb to the fire road.  I get water again at the next aid station and start pushing to catch the guy in red.

Mile 6: 43:14. Over 7min pace now.  But I catch the kid in red.  We talk a bit.  He also remembers me from the XC race.  Lots of mud in the shady spots but I find ways around it. Now just have to get to the green gate and it will be easier coming back and I’ll get to see Robin behind me.  I pray for her hamstrings to be feeling well.

I make it to the green gate and think I’m in 5th place!  Bryan is still far ahead so doubt I can catch him.  Right after the turn, a rock flips into my shoe.  I’m doing well and don’t want to stop to get it out.  It’s small and I hope it’ll work it’s way out or somewhere in my shoe that doesn’t bother me. 

I try to run without landing on it… I feel it working it’s way down the side of my foot, into my arch, and now towards my big toe.  There’s Robin!  We’re so glad to see each other.  She says her hamstring is doing well and asks about my Achilles which is also doing well.  Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to push our bodies without injuries to hold us back.  Even if only for today, it’s a great gift.

Mile 8: 58:00. About 7:15 pace.  Time to climb up Western States to Robie Point.  Really muddy, careful not to pull a hamstring. I pass another guy.  Really out of breath at the top but no time to recover, gotta stay alert for this steep descent!  It goes well and I’m back on the trails.  I grab 1 last water and then hit the mile climb to the finish.  Whew!  This is tough.

I come around the corner and exit the trail system.  I can see walkers up ahead from the 5k.  And there’s Ariel and Suzanne!  How exciting to be finishing the same time as Ariel.  I get enough air to yell to Ariel, “Hi Ariel, I’m going to catch you!”  I see her look back and smile and immediately go from a walk to a run.  I push hard and catch up to her with 200 yds to go.  “Do you want to hold hands?”  We hold hands and finish together.  Me 10miles and her 3.1miles.  Thanks God for such a cool finish.

I finished 1:16:34, a little faster than last year.  7:32 pace, and 2nd in my age division.  Richard Kane was just 2 behind me.  And Leah, Anna, and Ariel finished 1-2-3 in the 5K kids division.

WP_20160101_005A great way to start the New Year.