Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wildflower Long Course–Robin-2016


April 30, 2016 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA


Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1 (2.2m + 11m)


5:29:08 (35:33 – 4:28 - 3:21:40 – 2:00 - 1:51:15)




TeamMates: Karen Nickel, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Hartley, Caryn Galeckas, Scott Hodson, Stephanie Ganzenhuber, Kris Soderstrom, Doug Soderstrom,  David Fraser, Jon Cartmell, Robin Soares, Reynold Lewke, Brandon Lewke
Friends: Tana Jackson, Mark Pietrofesa, Darrin Gil

This is my 18th year attending Wildflower and my 16th year racing it.  Can you guess what happened two of those years? (=  Anna and Ariel have literally grown up here!  They are so grown up now!  Amazing on how time flies!

Thanks to FCA teammates Stephanie G and Lori Bergenstock watching the girls, Troy and I are able to once again both race the Long Course.  We ride out early to rack our bikes and catch the shuttle to the swim start.  This is the third year there is no water at T1 and we have to swim on the other side of the park and run to T1.  Once Troy and I arrive at the swim start we find a quiet place to do our quiet time with the Lord.

Troy has the great Julie Moss annouce our FCA prayer time.  We have our FCA Teammates (Karen Nickel, Lori Bergenstock, Reynold Lewke, Scott Hodson) and Tana Jackson join us.  Now, let’s get this party started!

A last minute bathroom break almost makes me late to the start of my wave.  I’m able to jump in and swim a little bit before lining up with the amazing Kathy Winkler and Gold Country Tri Founder, Tiana Rockwell.  It’s a long straight swim out and back.


Ready, set, go!  I get a great start and am able to tuck in behind what seems to be the first pack of girls…pretty sure that Kathy Winkler is long gone though.  I follow them out to the first buoy. 

It’s really hard to see the buoys because of the sun.  I soon get separated from the pack and look up for the buoy.  I see it and head towards it.  Soon I see a kayak pull up alongside me and I see the person is pointing towards my left.  I look over and sure enough there is the correct buoy.  I was swiming to the opposite side of the course!  Oops, that could have been bad!

I’m now trying to chase the girls from that pack.  They are spread out from one another.  At the final buoy going out, I almost catch up to one of the girls.  The turn around is short and we are heading back.  I’m thinking about pushing the water and keeping my head mostly down to maximize distance per stroke.  Unfortunately I bump into 2 male swimmers as I’m doing this.  I Robin_Swim_1try to say sorry to them but they cannot hear me.  Okay, I better pay attention!

V__97BB - CopyI catch one of the girls and make an effort to catch another.  Almost done and so close!  One last push and I’m getting out of the water right with that gal!  I take off my wetsuit at the bottom of the ramp and head up to my gear.  Betsy Davis runs over to give me a quick hug.  So grateful for Terry and Betsy and their wonderful race!  Karen is nearby and takes my picture.  I give her a thumbs up.


The boat ramp is long and steep!  This is a fun run for me.  I will miss it once the water comes back…but I’d much rather have the water!  I get into a good groove once on the trail.  Soon we dip back down into the “lake” and loose sand.  It’s hard to move here but I’m still able to make some ground on a few folks.  I see a girl in the distance.  Maybe I can catch her before transition. 

I’m feeling a bit of a chill and wondering if I should put a jacket on for the bike.  Hmm, not sure.

Keeping my heart rate at or below 160 is a bit of a challenge here but I still try.  Getting closer to that girl and the bike.  I hit the boat ramp and my heart rate soars.  I slow it down and the girl pulls away.  I get to my bike and decide to skip the jacket…cannot be that cold out there with the sun shining.  Off I go!


I struggle to put my feet in my shoes which are already on my bike.  One falls off and I have to stop to put it on.  I pull the other shoe off and put it on as well.  It seems like wearing socks and doing this technique just doesn’t work for me. 

Robin_Bike_3Going up Beach Hill I see the scripture signs Troy put out.  These remind me this race is for the Lord’s glory and not mine. 

As soon as I make the right turn out of the park, I’m hit with a head wind.  Oh boy, this is going to be tough ride!  I absorb the great messages from the scriptures Karen put out on the bike ride.  It helps me continue to keep my eyes and head on Him!

Mile 10.  The wind is howling in my head and my legs feel like they are climbing even when on the flats.  I really wish Troy had taken my front deep rim wheel before the race.  This wind is going to make things unstable on downhills.  If Troy comes by and offers to swap, I will definitely stop!

I find myself feeling discouraged…”you are slow”, “Troy is going to pass you earlier than last year”, “you didn’t train hard enough”… yet in all of this, I hear the Lord’s voice whispering encouragement.  Thank you Lord!

Mile 20.  The wind still seems to be pushing on me but the annoying howling has improved.  Troy passed me here last year but he hasn’t yet…I’m sure he will soon and then we can switch wheels!  I’m starting the five rollers and remember/implement Troy’s advice to push the downhills and recover on the uphills. 

Mile 30.  Finally feeling like I’m in a good grove and my average speed ticks up.  Still no Troy.  I imagine negative things like he has crashed or had some sort of technical issue.  God says, maybe he stopped to help someone…could be!

I make it to the end of Jolon Road and see a bunch of Cal Poly students.  There is no aid station, they are just cheering…and doing push ups to keep us motivated.  These kids are so awesome!  Once I turn I can feel the wind a little bit at my back…yeah!

Mile 40. Time to climb!  Here comes Nasty Grade.  I’m so very glad I didn’t wear the jacket.  It would have been very hot on this hill!  The hill doesn’t seem as hard and long as years past…maybe it’s because of a tail wind?  

Robin_Bike_1I make it to the steep downhill.  I’m a bit nervious decending with this front wheel.  I just hold on tight and recite scriptures of God’s promises to rescue me, protect me and keep me from all harm… and He does!  I make it to the bottom with only a few squirley but not very scary moments.  Thank you Jesus!

Mile 50.  Home stretch now!  And the best part is there is a slight but noticeble tailwind!  No Troy but I’m not worried…just hopeful I’ll see him on the run.

Into the park I go.  I enjoy the scriptures and get my brain ready for the run.  Just before descending Lynch Hill I see the Gold Country Tri Club cheering for me.

Down I go and into transition. I’m feeling ready to run!


Okay, just 11 miles left to run!  Sounds a little less daunting!  I really hope to see Troy on the run.  Glad he didn’t meet me here at T2…that would mean his race is over.

As I head out on the road a gal shouts “don’t worry you’ll get those running legs!”  Yeah, the legs don’t feel great yet.

Mile 1(3) is 8:50. A decent start.  This is a B race so I’m going to be careful not to burn up all my energy and suffer.  Where is Troy?

Robin_Run_1Mile 2(4) is 8:36.  Feeling better!  A guy goes by with a 52 on his leg but doesn’t look it.  I tell him that there is no way he’s 52 and that he must be in his thirties.  He smiles and thanks me for the compliment.

Soon I’m hitting the heart of this run which is off road.  It is hot and dusty here.  I look back for Troy but don’t see him.  Within a minute I hear him shout “Robin!”.  Yeah!  I wave, smile but keep going.  Now it’s all about staying ahead so we can see each other longer and to make him work for it (=

Mile 3 (5) is 8:26. Great!  As the trail juts in, I can look over and see him. I’ve got a good gap…gotta keep it!

Mile 4 (6) is 8:51.  Feeling good and staying ahead!  The first big climb is here.  I go through an aid station and get splashed…nice!  All I need to do is keep running even if it’s slow.  The first climb isn’t too bad.  I see Tiana’s husband, Sean, at the top waiting for her.  He tells me good job and I tell him I’m impressed he mtn biked out to this remote spot.

Here comes the second hill.  Ugh, this is tough! 

Mile 5 (7) is 10:20. Still holding off Troy.  I hope we can finish together like last year!  Up and over!  I run down the steep hill and try to let loose but it’s hard.  As I hit the bottom, I hear Troy encouraging me.  I look back to see him at the top of the hill.  Got to stay ahead!

Mile 6 (8) is 8:41.  Still feeling strong and motivated to push!  I see the scripture Troy put on the trail.  I know Troy is going to read it out loud which is so cool!

MIle 7 (9) is 8:44.  Heading into Redondo Vista which is the main camping area.  I’m surprised I’m still holding off Troy.  I push up the hill and down past our campsite…no one is there as expected. 

Mile 8 (10) is 8:11.  I’m off the trail and heading through a college team’s “aid station” consisting of alcohol shots.  I nicely say no and know Troy’s response will be the same.  He is so close now!

Mile 9 (11) is 8:05.  I make it to the road.  One more tough mile and then the last mile is a freebie!  I see two girls ahead of me. Another thing to motivate me!  I pass one, go after the other, and am able to pass her, too.  Troy is soooo near now!  It looks like we’ll be meeting right before Lynch and finishing together like last year.  Wow God, what a nice treat!

Mile 10 (12) is 8:28.  And Troy catches me!! Yeah!  “So we meet again, Soares!” I say.  Last mile!  We see a girl ahead…”let’s try to catch her Troy!”  We push hard down the hill..what a thrill.  At the bottom she is long gone but we keep pushing anyway!  Here comes the long finish chute.  Will the girls be waiting?  We round the last corner and there they are!  Yeah!  We run in together and join hands right at the end.  Thank you Lord!  What an awesome day!

Troy_Robin_down the finish chute1Troy_robin_finish_2

Wildflower Long Course (Troy, 2016)

Date/Location: 4/30/16, Lake San Antonio, Ca
Distance: 1.2mi S – 2.2mi R - 56mi B – 10.9mi R
Time: 5:44:54 (S 35:51 – T1a 3:37 – R1 16:53 – T1b 0:45 – B 3:09:44 – T2 1:22 – R2 1:30:22) (run total: 1:48:13)
Place: 11th AG / 93rd OA
Teammates: TeamMates: Karen Nickel, Lori Bergenstock, Suzanne Hartley, Caryn Galeckas, Scott Hodson, Stephanie Ganzenhuber, Kris Soderstrom, Doug Soderstrom,  David Fraser, Jon Cartmell, Robin Soares, Reynold Lewke, Brandon Lewke
Friends: Tana Jackson, Mark Pietrofesa, Darrin Gil
I feel calm going into the race.  Coming to Wildflower, I was really tired and tight.  But the last 3 days of camping and light workouts helped rest and loosen me up.  The best part is that our friend, Karen, arranged to have our kids watched so that Robin & I can race the Long Course together!
6:20am - Robin & I ride our bikes to transition.  It’s a beautiful day.  Transition is smaller than previous years.  I see Darrin Gil and Derek Liou.  7am - Robin & I get on the shuttle for the swim start at Harris Creek.  This is the 3rd year having the split transition due to low water levels.  In fact, Lake San Antonio Park is now only opened for Wildflower each year.
7:30am – Robin & I spend time reading the Bible and praying.  We realize how important it is to give God our time before we give our time to racing.  Especially at Wildflower since we’ve seen Him so much at work here every year.  I  have great anticipation for what He is going to do in our races.  Our FCA Endurance team has been gathering in our campsite each evening to pray for all the prayer requests collected at the booth in the Expo each day.  My prayer request has been that I remain aware during the race to the opportunities God gives me to help.  I don’t know what that looks like, maybe praying for someone during the run or helping someone prepare in transition.
After the National Anthem, and a pre-race prayer (invocation) by a pastor, the announcer, Julie Moss, alerts all to the FCA pre-race group prayer at the top of the ramp.  V__4C82(1)About 9 gather together, including a friend, Mark Petriefosso, that I recently reunited with at Copperopolis.  We pray for the race, athletes, and concerns we have.
8:15am - Robin heads off for her start and I’m 10 min behind her.  The pros are coming out and I cheer for Derek Garcia, a great humble guy that we would sure like to see win some money here.  I warm up.  The water isn’t too cold.  I line up in the middle and surprisingly in the front.  Usually a couple rows back, but I notice everyone else is reluctant to move up so I take the position.
Go!  I run in, high-step a few times and dive.  I try to stand again to take another dive but it’s too deep.  This mistake slows me down.  I sprint best I can but the fast swimmers behind me start pushing through.  I can’t stay ahead and soon they swim right over me.. pushing me down.  I’m not surprised.  What was I thinking starting in the front-middle at Wildflower?  I regain my pace but can’t stay on anyone’s feet.  There they go.. looks like the whole pack is swimming away.  I felt like I could hang at HITS Napa, but I’m getting dropped here.  I try the glide-stroke, but doesn’t feel good this time.  My arms are just weak.
Troy_SwimAround the buoy I turn too sharp and head for the return-bouys momentarily.  Now, back on the right path, I look for a draft.  1/2 way out I finally find a guy.  He’s swimming crooked but at least I can hang with him.  I try to keep my feet high and relax my breathing.  The water has a slight chill but very comfortable.  I’m sure this next bouy is the turn-around.  No, another one.  My watch already says 17min.  I know I’m slower, but this course also feels long.
Around the turn, I still have my draft guy and he’s carving a path through other swimmers.  Soon the relay swimmers come motoring by.  Man they are fast.  Can’t even get a draft.  I think about our friend, Lori, doing the relay and hope her open-water experience is going well even though the course is long.  I keep working hard and with a couple bouys left see 1.3mi on my Garmin.  The swim is long. That’s ok, not really looking forward to a steep run up the ramp anyway.. rather keep swimming.
I stand up, rip off my cap & goggles, hit “lap”, pull off the top part of my suit.  Now the whole thing.  And up the steep ramp to my stuff.  Heart racing.  Socks & shoes on.  Arm-warmers.  Stuff in the bag.  Troy_Run1_1Now the rest of the way up the ramp.  What a climb.  Get water, and off onto the trails.
I like this run for getting warm before the bike.  I picture Robin getting on her bike now.  While running the “lake path” I watch the bikes going out and turning up Beach Hill, looking for Robin.  The sandy sections I take small quick steps and works well.  Already I realize I need food.  The final climb up the 2nd ramp is tough!
At my bike I grab Clif Bloks, helmet and glasses and run to the exit in my socks.  As I mount, the volunteers are yelling at my friend, Keith Hansen, who dropped his Cliff Blok.  He’s a powerhouse on the bike.  I’m thinking there’s no way he’s coming back just for that but he hears them and calmly turns around to retrieve them.
It’s great flying through the finish chute and out onto the road as people are cheering.  Keith catches up pretty soon and motors ahead.  On Beach Hill I try to climb well, remembering a recent practice ride on the Auburn Tri Course where I climbed out of Bear Creek Campgrounds well.  I read, somewhat out loud, the FCA Endurance Bible verses on the signs that we placed yesterday.  Hoping they will help others put their thoughts on God.  Also wondering if they will make some mad.  Can’t be worried about that, God is good and His Word is always good to hear even if we don’t want to hear it.Troy_Bike_3
On the open road, but I’m not feeling comfortable.  Saddle position seems all  wrong.  Will have to make the best of it.  We’ve also got a head-wind.  Boy this is going to be tough.  I read more of the signs that other TeamMates placed.  They remind me that God has plans for me I don’t even know about and my prayer earlier that I would be ready to be used by Him.  Some signs build on each other, “Have you ever wondered..”  “About the meaning of life…”  “Life is a journery..”  “Where are you in the journey of life?…”  But the next sign is blown over by the strong wind.  For a moment I think about picking it up but know I should save my stop for something more important.
I do the best I can despite not feeling comfortable.  I go back-and-forth with a couple guys.  Some go blowing by.  My swim was slower so most of the fast ones are already ahead.  I still have a big goal… catch up to Robin!  At 18mi, into aother tough headwind, I see a guy with a messed up bike.  Immediately I feel prompted this needs my help.  It’s a weird feeling to be stopping when every part of your body is saying “What are you doing?!”  If it was a tire change, I’d be long past, but this looks major.Troy_Bike_1
His derailer has disentigrated.  Pulley pieces scattered on the road.  Derailer hanger is bent so far it is rubbing against the cogs.  The chain doesn’t go through the derailer anymore, but it’s not broken.  The guy is calm and good-natured.  He hands me the pieces but there’s no way we’re re-building this.  I get the one allen key I have and use it to pry the hanger on his frame away from the cogs.  It’s now like a fixed-gear bike, with a slipping chain, in almost the hardest gear.  At least he can pedal slowly and get to the next aid station and call for tech support.  Thanks, God, for allowing me to help in some way.  As I push on into the wind I see race support coming the other way.. hopefully he’ll get to finish his day.
Mile 20. With the 5min stop and Robin being well trained on the bike, it’s going to be hard to catch her but I’ve got to try.  If I don’t, she’ll think something happened to me.  I’ve been drinking my nutrition quickly and getting water.  I can’t eat or drink enough today.  Unfortunately they don’t have food here at mile 20.  I know there are bars at 26.  Can’t wait.
Mile 22.  Through the rollers.  This is where I caught Robin last year but no sign of her now.  I’m still having trouble pushing power.  I get a little groove going fast down the hill at 25, past the gas station and the, now-closed, North Shore Inn.  It’s sad to see the effects of the drought and lake closure.  I also, unaware, passed TeamMate, Jon Cartmell, on that descent.  On the climb, Bob goes by but I don’t recognize him. “Remember me?  We camped next to you 2 years ago.. you inspired me to do this race!”  I tell him, “Terrific, now look at you, you’re riding better than me”.  Finally, at the full aid-station.  I take everything.  Banana, orange, cliff bar, another banana.  I scarf down the bananas and settle in for another fast descent.
On the back-stretch. Usually my favorite section.  But struggling with comfort.  Saddle problems are leading to knee problems.  I stand up for some relief.  I eat the rest of my food.
Mile 36.  Into the canyons.  Finally out of the wind.  Peaceful.  Get more water, eating Clif Bloks.  Ok, gotta try to move up.  Average is 17, way below my usual goal of 20 at this point.  I need to catch Robin before the end of the bike or I may never catch her (she’s a fast runner).
Mile 41. Arm-warmers off.  Up Nasty Grade.  Getting warm.  I push the hill well and look for Robin at the top.  I think maybe I see her...  I push hard on the next 2 as well.  I look down the hill at bikes zipping by in the distance and think I see Robin.
Troy_Bike_2Mile 46.  The long crazy descent.  Trying to get away from a guy trailing me so tuck the best I can.  The wind gusts have been treacherous on descents.  I’ve been thinking of Robin and those 60mm rims she’s riding.  If I could have caught her earlier, I would have swapped front wheels with her.  I wish I had checked the forcast.  I thank the Lord I haven’t seen her crashed because the wind blew her wheel out from under her.  1/2-way down I see Tiana Rockwell.  She’s a good rider so Robin must be doing well.  A gust blows me almost over the double-yellow.  Should’ve known, this spot has had many wrecks over the years.
Mile 48.  Feeling tired after that adrenaline rush downhill.  Gotta get in a groove and push.  I think I see Tana Jackson up ahead.  “Hi Tana!”  She always has a smile and looks like she’s having fun.  Now I know Robin is doing well.  Inside the park, up the final hill, I push it, pulling away from Tana, one last try to find Robin.  Around the hot-corner, the Gold Country Tri Club is always cheering loudly.  Drink all my fluids.  Down Lynch.  No sign of Robin.
A good dismount.  Hard running across the rough asphalt in socks.  Shoes, hat, gels and off.
Getting hot.  Legs stiff.  Feels difficult.  Don’t draw conclusions until at least mile 1.  I make a plan to praise God in celebration after each mile (the old course miles, not the “continuation miles” from the first run).  Thank you, Lord, for another mile!   I get water at every station.  The volunteers are amazing.  Full of energy and plenty of cold water and splashes.
Mile 2.  Down to Harris Creek.  Looking up the hill I wonder if I see Robin far ahead.  I’ve got to catch her.  Thank you, Lord, this is great motivation and you know how I need it.  Down through the campgrounds onto the single-track along the dried-up water-way.  Across a canyon I see her!  “Go Robin!”  Terrific, now, to gain on her.  Each curving section I can see her.  Her run looks great.  She’s passing guys.  I’m praying for her hamstrings, that they will feel loose.  I’m gaining slowly.
Troy_Run2_1Mile 4.  Yay, time to eat first Hammer Gel.  I need it.  Now into the steep trail sections.  It’s tough but I’m not going to walk.  The hills bring us a little closer but still too far to talk to her.  I periodically yell encouragement so she knows I’m still back here.  My hamstring suddely twinges.  I have to push and be careful at the same time.  Finally, over the top and down the steep path into the pasture.  Robin looks back while descending which is hard to do if your hamstrings hurt so I take that as an answer to prayer that her legs feel ok.
Mile 6.  Another gel and lots of water.  She’s 40 secs ahead.  She’s helping me have a better run than I could do on my own.  6.5 mi, the first FCA-E Bible verse.  Helps.  Almost to the campgrounds.  The cheering is helpful.  Through the hot corner and now up the paved road.  After pouring lots of water on me I feel good and power up the hill.  Great push!  Down through Redondo Vista, Robin is only 25 secs ahead.  People cheer for her and when I come through they tell me, “catch your TeamMate!”  I tell them she’s my wife and they say, “Catch her!  Wait, don’t catch her!  Let her win!”  It makes for a lot of laughter.
Mile 8.  Into the overflow camping area, I see another woman 30 secs ahead of Robin.  I yell to Robin and she motions that she knows.  I zip it and prepare to see if she can do it.  Boy, this is exciting.  Onto the main road with 2 miles to go, I’m only 10 secs behind and feel like I’m in a media car watching 2nd place prepare to pass 1st place.  And there she goes… she’s up alongside, they both look at each other, I imagine Robin says something encouraging.  She pulls ahead.  But the other girl matches pace.  What’s going to happen?  Robin picks it up some more and looks like it’s going to stick.  A 1/2 mi later I go by the girl, still trying to catch up to Robin.
Mile 10.  Finally, starting up the last hill before the descent down Lynch, I catch Robin!  At the same place that she caught me last year.  Amazing!  God, you are so clever and wonderful.  I can’t describe how joyful it feels to be running together.  I’m almost completely out of breath, can barely talk, but I know we both feel the same way… this is so cool!  We start flying down Lynch and she sees another girl far ahead.  I tell her, “Give it your best shot”.  The pace picks up and now the quads are slamming down the hill.  So glad when we get to the flat and stop the torture.  The girl remained far ahead.  Now we enter the chute and enjoy the finish.  Anna & Ariel jump out and join us with big smiles.  For the 2nd year in a row, thanks to God, we finish as an entire family!Troy_Robin_down the finish chute1Troy_robin_finish_2

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Happy Kids Du#4–Anna - 2016

Date/Location: 4/17/16, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: 29:41 (7:54 – 13:17  – 8:33)
Place: 1st overall girls
Teammates: n/a


WP_20160417_08_28_54_ProGo and we and off. I see a tall girl in front of me and some little kids too. I kept running and got to the turn. I turned onto the trail and kept running. I past the kids in fount of me and I knew that I was the first girl. It was a little easier to be the first girl because the fast girl was not here.

I kept running and stayed in front of them. I crossed the road and then run on the dirt. I could see the transition area now. I run fast and get my bike. I jump on it and go. WP_20160417_08_39_54_ProWP_20160417_08_40_13_Pro

I bike across the bridge and turn and keep going. I am the wind. Finally I get to the turn around. I turn around and go up hill then downhill then on the path then bake on the bridge. When I get WP_20160417_08_52_33_Proto the end of the bridge I see a person and when I bike by him he said ‘’I love the jersey go Christ.’’ I keep on going with the lord it was the first time I had heard that.

I go down the hill bake to transition. I hop off my WP_20160417_08_53_46_Probike and put it down and take off my helmet and I am off! I start running it is the same run and I now it well. Turn uphill downhill uphill flat keep running. Fast straight then cross road now I am on the dirt. I keep running I see my dad and mom up ahead. I keep running and I run into the finish and I am done!!!!!!!



Saturday, April 16, 2016

CEM Rescue Run 5K-Ariel & Robin-2016


April 16, 2016 – Grass Valley, CA




Ariel 44:15

Anna 44:16

Robin 23:59


Ariel, 1st in Age Group

Anna, 1st in AG

Robin, 1st in AG


Anne & Brad Thilges, Ben Thomas, Eden Rock, Ken Campbell, Lauren Langhofer

Ariel’s Story (Anna Paced)


I line up with Anna on the start line. We all pray together and then they say “go!” We run around a cone and start to climb up a hill. I tell Anna I’m already tired! When we got to the top we then ran down. Then we see these girls. Two of them look about my age and another is young and looks almost my age. Anna encourages me to catch them and I do. We climbed again and then went down across three bridges. One of the girls is right behind me.

We got on a canal and a girl was playing a ukulele. I like that the canal is flat. We met up with some grown up runners. We pass some and some pass us. I have gotten further ahead of that one girl. I feel so thirsty and get some water at an Aid Station.

The course turned off the canal and we went up more hills! I start complaining that I feel so weak. Then Anna says what if you see the smiley face (which means the race is now downhill and almost over) and I say I won’t be as weak. Right then I see the smiley face…yeah! I run as 160416_cem5k_anna_ariel_finishfast as I can down the hill and soon we come back to the Aid station. I hear my Mom calling our names. I look through the trees and see her. I start running faster.

We meet up with Mommy and Anna pretends that she and Mommy are chasing me like burglars. Soon I can see the finish line! I run very, very fast and I finish the race. I feel great! I’m so happy I was able to stay in front of those girls!  Anna and I win our age groups too!

Robin’s Story


Feeling a bit tired this morning but still excited to support this awesome ministry.  As I’m warming up, I run into an old childhood friend of Troy’s, Ben Thomas.  He and his wife Jen are training for their first marathon.  He looks like a natural runner and I”m sure will do well!

We line up and the director of Christian Encounter Ministries says a prayer.  This is a treat and unique part of this event.  To God be the Glory today for sure!

Ready, set, go!  I and my virtual partner (aka Me last year) start the race.  I hope to beat Me or at least run the same pace.  After a short flat section, it’s uphill!  This race is probably 70% climbing which makes it challenging physically and mentally.  It does flatten out and dips down to one of the CEM’s ponds.  Over a few bridges and it’s up to the canal.  One of the CEM students is playing her ukulele.  Its nice motivation!

MIle 1 is 8:19.  I’m already behind Me but not giving up hope yet!  Aw, love the flat canal!  It’s a nice break but it’s still tough.  I can really feel the fatigue!  I grab some water at the aid station.  It’s warm already out here and I’m thirsty!

Mile 2 is 7:26.  I’m still behind Me but working back until we turn off the canal and go up again!  I forgot about this part.  Ugh!  Well, just got to make it to the downhill!  I’m am able to see folks coming up the canal road as I’m running across the way and parallel.  I hope to see Ariel!  Anna is pacing her sister today since she has her Happy Kids Du tomorrow.

We again connect with the canal and I know I’m home free now!  Downhill, here I come.  I pass the ukulele, get off the canal and hit the downhill.  Woo-whoo!!

Mile 3 is 7:20.  I see the finish line and finish strong.  My time was slower than Me but not far off.  I’ll take it!  Thank you Lord!  That was very tough!  It’s so good to be done.  I turn around and head out to see Ariel and Anna in.  I hope it’s going well!



Sunday, April 10, 2016

HITS Open Tri–Anna ‘16

April 10th, 2016 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 100 yards – 3 Mile Bike – 1 Mile Run

1st in Age group 11-12 Girls
Go! I jump in the water it is cold. But I kept swimming to the red buoy. I start to follow two girls but then they start going the wrought way so I followed the group. I go around the red buoy and it is still cold. I start doing breaststroke and free style. I get out of the water and start to run up but I cannot get my zipper to go down but dad helps me. I get to transition and get my stuff on and jump on my bike. I bike fast and try to beat girls. I come to the turn around and turn. I am almost done with the bike. I pedal hard and get to transition. My friends cheer me on. I switch to the run and go. I take a juice box with me because dad told me to. But when I got out of transition dad told me to give him the juice box because I do not need it. I go on the run. Uphill, flat and turn around. I started to run back and I felt happy because I was almost there. When I started running down the hill I saw a girl in front of me. I chased her and tried to get her but I could not catch her but I finished with the lord.

HITS Olympic Tri–Troy

April 10th, 2016 – Lake Berryessa, CA
Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K

2:25:53 (27:05 – 2:44 – 1:11:26 – 1:29 – 43:09)




FCA TEAMMATES – Troy Outman, Peter Huber, Carl Haken
Other Teammates – Dave Campbell, Stefano Carletti

Berryessa Lake looks beautiful.  I love camping, but not in the rain because everything can get muddy.  But we learn some tips from our friends Susanne & Caryn and rearrange the fly and tarp on our tent and now everything stays dry and I had a great night’s sleep last night.

Yesterday we supported Robin, Caryn & Susanne.  I felt so bad because I told Robin to go without another layer and she ended up being cold – for 6 hrs during the bike!  That’s my most dreaded racing condition, being cold.  But they toughed out the elements and today is my turn.

It’s clear this morning as Troy Outman and I warm up and set up our transitions.  There’s 1500 athletes in the Olympic and Sprint races.  Our good friend, Dave Campbell is here.  He’s had a bad back lately and hopefully will be able to race ok.  Another FCA Teammate, Carl Haken, that we met yesterday is here.  And we meet another FCA Teammate, Peter Huber, in transition this morning.  We gather, along with Teammates from yesterday and have a great prayer to get our races started.

WP_20160410_07_38_38_ProIt’s an Olympic distance but I’m still intimidated.  Training has been less than it should.  Yesterday I was feeling tired.  Wonder if my achilles will hurt.  And just knowing that every race requires full effort which means it’s not going to be comfortable.  But I’m comforted knowing that the Lord has always been with me during races and has given me strength, joy and protection so many times that I know it’s going to be a great experience!

A little warm-up in the water.  Even at 66 deg it’s a shock for me getting in.  But it’ll be nice after we get going.

Go! Adrenaline going.  I sprint out fast.  Great start, up with the front line.. maybe too fast?  As they pass me I try to find a draft but doesn’t work.  I notice a swimmer struggling to tread water and reach for the lifeguard surfboard.  I feel bad for the anxiety he must be feeling but he gets to the board.  Hopefully he’ll be able to continue.  Around the first buoy and trying to get into a groove.  Feet up, smooth stroke, calm the breathing, site the bouys.  Heading back to the start for loop 2 things are going well.  Water is clear. Watch says about 12.. min.  Good.

I try to wave to Robin and the girls as I round the buoy for lap 2.  I’m really having fun now.  I’m feeling comfortable.  I’m doing a “big stroke, glide, and then fast strokes” routine which feels easier.  Temperature is great.  Sighting good.  I thank the Lord for being able to have fun in the middle of a race.  There’s a lot of congestion getting through the slower swimmers but I do a pretty good job of navigating without hitting them.  Breaststroke, backstroke, I’m impressed with their steadiness despite other swimmers going by all around them.  I know it would be nerve-wracking.  They’re awesome!

V__6AECThe final stretch takes forever.  Watching my watch and hoping for a great time.  Finally I touch ground and come up running the best I can.  WP_20160410_07_39_55_ProVery happy with my swim.  I  hear cheers from my friends and family.  I’m so blessed.  Up the ramp in my suit… keeping it on to keep warmth for the ride.  It’s raining now.

My clothes were protected from the rain in my bag but organized well.  Shirt, jacket,  socks, helmet, glasses.. long transition but ready to go.  I will be comfortable with my jacket.. still wishing I would have let Robin wear hers.. I’ll remember next time how much a long swim chills you.

Everything feels good.  Hard to see with the rain on dark glasses.  Lots of riders with the sprint field still out here.  Using Robin’s front race wheel from yesterday that flatted.  She said it was a pinch flat so I just made sure to pump it up more to prevent that.  Another lesson learned.  Rear wheel is training wheel because didn’t have time to change out 11sp to 10sp.

The course is rolling hills, out-n-back 2 times.  The Every-Man-Jack team is out in force and I see them flying back.  I watch as my average speed climbs up.  It’s only 20mph now but hope for 23 or 24 possibly.  Again, after my breathing is calming and I get into a groove.. I’m really having fun out here!  Thanks, Lord.  I fly down the hills around the corners and try to keep speed up for the climbs.  At the turn and coming back.  I see my Teammates, Troy Outman and then Peter Huber.  Troy is all smiles and also looks like he’s having a lot of fun.

A young guy with no triathlon gear, just a T-shirt, regular road bike and unshaved legs, is catching back up to me repeatedly.  I’m trying to keep up with another racer (Paul) who is very aero.  We both notice this “kid” passing us repeatedly and start encouraging him.  I tell him how strong he is and he’s doing awesome. 

On the 2nd loop, I see Troy again, still smiling, and I know the hills better, and the turn-around. All goes smoothly.  The kid (Harrison) is still keeping up!  I’m using all the “tricks” I know to power up the hills while staying aero and takes the corners as fast as possible.  And still this “kid” catches up and powers ahead.  He doesn’t have glasses and wipes his eyes with his T-shirt when he needs to.  I think, “Maybe he’s a relay racer and therefore can use all his energy on the bike”…

WP_20160410_09_23_31_Pro__highresI get ahead of Paul, race across the bridge in the rain still, but Paul passes me before the entrance to the park.  I coast in,  have a great dismout, into T2..

goes quickly and I’m out.. legs feeling great!

WP_20160410_09_27_36_Pro__highresI feel terrific the 1st 1/2 mile.  Friends cheering.  My family at the park entrance.  Thanks, Lord, again feeling blessed to have support and thankful that the Lord sees fit to give me a good race despite not being completely ready for it.  Out on the road, over the beautiful bridge, with the lake glimmering in the light rain, we start up the gradual hills.  It’s Up then down to the turn-around and then back. WP_20160410_08_55_00_Pro That “kid” Harrison is running strong!  Not a relay, just an overall strong athlete.  My left hamstring starts hurting.  My achilles is ok.  I’m trying to catch Harrison and keep Paul behind me.  I have to ease up for the hamstring.  I’m not disappointed, I know it could go away any time now, just trusting God and doing the best I can at the moment.  Sure enough it sometimes gets better, and other times really smarts.  The downhill is the worst but I keep pushing what I can.  I stop quick to fix my laces.  Both knots below the lace-locks came undone.  I also stop for a “break”.  But I come back strong, make the turn and now ready to power back up the hill.  I think of the top as the finish.  I want to be completely spent at the summit.  3 guys have passed me, but now I’m catching 2 of them.  I see Troy Outman go the other way.  He’s doing well.  I see another Auburn friend, Stefano, coming the other way.

At the summit, whew!  Thank you Lord.  I put my hands up momentarily.  Feel so humbly thankful for God helping me push and endure discomfort.  All down hill to the finish!  A guy with a beard who passed me is still out there.  I’m really flying now but not catching him.  “You never know what might happen” I tell myself.  I do catch another guy that had been ahead most of the run.  Coming into the park, my family and Teammates are cheering.  V__873CAnna says, “push hard to the finish”. I hear someone else say, “It’s going to be close!”.  Maybe someones’s coming up on me.  I push even harder.  And through the finish!

V__DF58Thank you, Lord, it was a fun race that I was able to give my all in.  And I feel good after the finish.  Thank you for energy and an awesome supportive family.




Troy Outman had the same run time as me and came in soon after.  Peter had flat tires but still came in later having enjoyed the race.  Dave Campbell also had a good time despite back pain on the bike. Good times Smile


.  and before transition.