Sunday, June 26, 2016

California Sprint Triathlon - Anna


June 26, 2016 – Shadow Cliffs Park, Pleasanton, CA


Swim .5mi – Bike 9mi – Run 5km


1:31:01 (24:41 – 1:55 – 35:11 – 1:45 – 27:28)


6th (73rd Overall)


Robin Soares (FCA, Sprint), Troy Soares (FCA, Int’l), Clyde Floyd (FCA, Sprint), Dan Smedley


As the first wave started, Women 39 and under, were still trying to figure out if we should do the first or last wave. The race director suggested we do the last wave. Daddy tells us to go now so that the time is most accurate. Mommy and I start swimming even though we are behind a little. I feel great but it’s kind of hard to swim with my shortie wetsuit on. It feels like it’s pulling on my arms but it does not hurt.

160626_catris_Anna_swimWe keep swimming and we see kayaks. I watch my mom underwater so I don’t get lost from her because I love her and we are doing this together. Finally we get to the first yellow buoy. I’m so happy because I feel great. I’ve been able to swim freestyle most of the way. We turn and I feel fine and the water is warm.

Halfway to the next buoy, I think I see a small fish. I start getting scared of what is under the water because it’s hard to see. Finally we get to the buoy and I’m not scared. We turn and head for shore. I’m feeling okay. We see people fishing on the side and I don’t think they are going to catch much fish because we are scaring them all away. I also see a boat parked on the side. I start seeing seaweed on the ground and the ground again. We are almost there.

Finally we get to the finish of the swim. I start to run up the ramp, unzip my wetsuit and pull it down halfway. I keep running to my bike. I get to my bike and take my wetsuit off. I put on my shorts, shoes, race number, helmet and glasses. I take my bike and run out. Mom is right behind me.


160626_catris_Anna_bikeI get on my bike and starting going up a hill out of the park. I pass some people. We get onto the road and I stay to the right while Mom bikes behind me. People pass me. One girl passes me but I pass her back. My watch beeps for the first mile. We go a little farther and we turn right. We bike down a short road and turn left.

160626_catris_Anna_bike2I see black smoke ahead and I tell my mom that I think there is a fire. As we get closer and closer to the black smoke it starts to turn white. The fire must almost be out. We keep biking and up ahead we see a lot of bikers huddled up. As we get closer and closer, the bikers start going again. We have to go the left side of the road to pass the fire truck. When I go past the truck, I smell smoke even though the fire is out. It was a car that was on fire. But, it was all burnt except for a little bit in the front. So it really was a fire! Too bad for the people ahead that had to stop!

We keep on biking and turn right. We bike and bike and bike. There is a small but steep hill. That’s where I pass some more people. Then it was a downhill. It feels great going down! We turn again, bike a little bit more and turn once more. Up ahead I can see the turn to the park/transition.

When we get into the park, we have to get off our bikes at the dismount line. We run our bikes in. I run past my bike rack on accident. I cut through some dirt to get back to my spot. I take off my helmet and glasses and put on my running hat.


We run out of transition and I hit my watch to start. We both have to go to the restroom so we quickly go. We then are off on our run!

I love running! We are side by side. We run on the dirt, then on pavement and then back on dirt in a bike park. I was about to run one of the jumps there but I realized that was not part of the course. Too bad!

160626_catris_Anna_run2We come to an aid station and my mom tells me to walk and drink. That’s the first mile.

Then we keep running and there is another aid station already! We don’t grab anything because the course loops back to this spot. We go down a hill and up a steep hill. We run out to the turn around and head right back. So we go down the steep hill and up to the aid station. Now we walk and drink.

We keep running and I see a 13 year old girl at the top of a hill. I pick it up and pass her on the downhill. That’s pretty cool!

160626_catris_Anna_finishIt’s flat for a bit and then we come to a hill. My mom says this is the last hill and I charge it. There is a downhill on the other side. My mom says “don’t wait for me, go for it!”. So, I fly down the downhill. We are close to the finish my mom says. I keep running and I feel like I need to go faster to stay ahead of my mom. I go on a small and twisting path. I almost didn’t see the left turn to the finish. I turn and rush into the finish and pass someone on the way.

I cross the finish line ahead of my mom. I feel happy! Thank You God!

My time is 1:31:01.

California International Triathlon–Troy


June 26, 2016 – Shadow Cliffs Park, Pleasanton, CA


Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 10km


2:17:36 (26:56 – 1:31 – 1:05:28 – 1:09 – - 42:32)


7th (31st Overall)


Robin Soares (FCA, Sprint), Anna Soares (FCA, Sprint), Clyde Floyd (FCA, Sprint), Dan Smedley

We wake up about 3am to drive down to Pleasanton.  The last time I did this race, I was recovering from broken ribs.  It was a great experience even though I had to go slower.  However, my bike was actually very good.  Today, I’m healthy, but I’ve been working long hours and not able to train much.  Like last time, I’ll do the best I can.

We arrive and get transition spots together.  It’s a full house!  An hour early is not going to be enough.  Anna is doing her first Sprint Triathlon!  We’re so excited, and concerned, for her.  Robin is doing the Sprint also but will hang back with Anna to keep her safe.  We head to the beach for the FCA Pre-Race prayer which Nick Tuttle announces.

There’s 8 of us praying.  It’s so great to meet other Christians before the race.  And too realize there are others concerns besides my own.  The race is starting and the plan was for Anna & Robin to go last.  But Anna’s wave is first.  Not wanting to cause confusion, I send them off now trailing the first group.  Anna has a smile and starts calmly.  Hoping it goes well.

I have the clear goggles again.  Didn’t pack the dark ones.  I did learn from the last race and apply slick spray to my wetsuit.  I start about 4 rows back.  Go!  It feels hard but I do my best to stay smooth and efficient.  Sighting is really hard with these goggles.  I don’t even try to draft, all my focus is just trying to swim.  Around the buoy, now I can see better.  The water is very warm which is what Anna wanted with her spring suit.  But I have to let cool water into my suit sometimes to keep from overheating. 

160626_catris_Troy_swim1This swim feels so long.  It’s a good course, though.  Finally around the 2nd buoy I can hammer home.. but my hammer doesn’t seem any faster.  There is a girl alongside me that I’m trying to pull in front off.  She really pushes me.  The bottom starts coming into view and I prepare for the exit.  160626_catris_Troy_swim2Up, run, goggles, cap, wetsuit off… oops, Garmin is in the way. Back on, Garmin off, wetsuit off.  It comes off great with the spray slick!  26:56, about 3 minutes off but to be expected.

Grab my bike and go!  But I see I don’t have any shoes in the pedals.  I run back to transition, get my shoes from my bag and head back out.  Rookie mistake.  Heading out I see the Chavez family, here supporting today.  160626_catris_troy_bikeOnto the course I’m excited.  There is a long gradual climb which went so well last time I’m looking forward to it.  I wonder where Anna & Robin are.  When I see a smaller rider way ahead I wonder if it’s them.  My form feels better on the bike.  Focusing on pressure on the seat and lifting my knees forward.  I feel like I’m flying.  It’s fun.

We go on some new streets, but we eventually get to the road up the canyon.  Cool!  I keep the same position and it feels great for the gradual climb.  I’m passing a lot of people.  I wonder if I’ll go faster than last time.  Around the turn at the top and now descending, my favorite.  However I’m not really feeling the groove on pushing the descent.

Onto the big boulevard, we have a whole lane to ourselves.  It’s a cool course, both urban and rural.  Good roads.  Onto the sprint course now, which I used to do a lot when I was starting in ‘92.  Great memories.  On a climb along the back of the park, there are 5 challenged athletes struggling to get up it.  Some are grunting and all are working like crazy.  Awesome.  So impressed.  A guy in my age group passes me.  Maybe he’s 1st?  I pick it up, catch him on a corner and push all the way to the park.  He pulls ahead again.  Tall.  Could be a good runner.

Swooping into the park, I have a good dismount into running.  But my shoe unclips.  Someone says they’ll get it so I keep running to my transition.  All the way to the end.. when it starts to look unfamiliar… someone yells, “You’re over here!”   It’s Anna!  She’s already done and taking her bike out of transition.  “Dad, what are you doing? You’re over here, come through here.”  This is such a great moment.  I was hoping she would get through the race ok and seeing her done is a great joy. Thank you, Lord, for making it great.  And then to have her help me in my race, when I’m supposed to be helping her, is funny!  1:05:28, a little faster than the last time.

I head out on the run and see Carrie Chavez and think of how I’m trying to run like her husband, Steve.  He’s so fast and always smiling.  Quick steps, powerful, and having fun.  That’s what I’m trying.  I have doubts like, “How long can I keep this up with minimal sleep and training?”  But I know I have to give God my best and adjust when needed, always staying positive.  I get some calf pain, but I don’t let it concern me.  Just see if it goes away.  The tall guy that passed me is no where to be seen so I must be ahead.  But a younger guy passes me and I make a goal to stay with him.

160626_catris_troy_runOnto the flat bike path my calf feels better.  I try to just “fall foward”, getting more speed with same effort.  We run right through a pump-track with bike waiting for us to cross before they careen into the jumps.  Onto the trails along the levy and creek I think about how much Anna probably like this after running trails in Auburn.  I drink as much water as I can at every aid station. It’s nice and cold.  On the descents I try to open up.  Down across the river I pass the young guy and then shorten my steps for the climb.  Back n forth, I finally pass him for good the next time we drop down across the creek.  Along the levy I see our FCA tent in the distance and think I hear Robin & Anna cheering so I wave.  I’m pushing well but it’s hard to think of doing this loop again. 

I come through the finish area to start lap #2.  The announcer cheers me through.  I see Carrie Chavez again and say, “Do I look like Steve yet?”  She says, “Yes, you do!”  That’s motivation.  Ok, I can do this lap again.  On the 2nd lap I do everything the same.  160626_catris_troy_finishFalling forward.  Pump track.  Push the descents.  The tiredness really sinks in with 1/2 mi to go.  But the finish line is there and it’s great to be done!  42:32, about a minute slower than Folsom Tri but better than expected. Thank you, Lord, for a super fun, exciting race.  Even though I came into it unprepared and slower, you make it so much fun, protecting me as I push myself beyond the comfort zone.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

San Diego Rock n’Roll Marathon–Robin 2016

June 5, 2016 – San Diego, CA
Run 26.2

Doing the SD Rock n' Roll Marathon for the second time. My very 1st marathon was this one in 2002...just before Troy and I got married. I'm here on my own this time. My parents live in SD so they are my support crew. My mom drops me off early at a strategic spot...near a secret set of porta potties. The secret to every great race is finding a secret pit stop. I call Troy and the girls and pray with them. Troy is racing the USA Production tri in Folsom and the girls are volunteering. I meet up with FCA teammate, Sierra Snyder, at the start for prayer. So awesome to find a familiar face and sister in Christ. My goal today is to run 3:30. That time in the past had been doable but not sure if I'm quite trained up for that. Gonna try. My hamstrings were cramping on my last long run so not sure how they will do. My Garmin tends to register the miles earlier than the actual mile markers so I'm adjusting the pace accordingly. Instead of putting the virtual runner pace at 8:00 (3:30 marathon pace), I set it for 7:56. I get into my corral, #3. I see the 3:30 marathon pacer in Corral #1 and the 1:45 pacer for the half marathon in Corral #3. Well, that is a dilemma. I decide to go onto Corral #2 as a compromise. Corral #1 starts and they hold #2 for 30 sec. Okay, here we go! I feel great as usual starting out and make myself slow down. Mile 1 is 7:49. Slow down! The great Olympian Meb goes by with a "Meb" pace stick in hand. Huh? He's pacing a group? Wow, that's nice of him to pace folks! And he has the Olympics coming up soon. He flies by looking like he's jogging. Mile 2 is 7:56. Perfect! Mile 3 is 8:01. There is a bit if a hill here. On pace. Mile 4 is 7:54. Feeling strong! A long way to go yet! There is an "Elvis" running just behind me. It's cool because of all the constant cheers for him and because he responds with a "thank you baby" or "thank you man" in the voice. Mile 5 is 7:53. Up ahead I see small a-frames of pictures lining the street. As I get closer, I can see that they are pictures of military men and women killed in the line of duty. It lists their name and age they passed. It's so overwhelming that I start to cry. A little further down the street are people holding large American flags. I am sad, appreciative of the sacrifice and inspired to keep pressing on. A few guys go by with a M70 Champs bib on their backs. Whoa! These guys are in their 70s and running past me like I'm standing still. This must be a half marathon champs race versus my full Marathon...yet, still extremely impressive no matter their distance. I hope my racing career continues for that age! 160605_rnrmarathon_robin_Mile 6 is 7:47. The 1:45 half marathon group catches up to me. Hum, I think I'm still on pace but better stick with them now. Mile 7 is 7:49. Great to have this pace group! Thanks God! Keeps me focused. I see a sign that says "If Trump Cam Run, So Can You". Ha, good one! Mile 8 is 7:32. Downhill...weee! The pace group pulls off and I'm alone again. I still have Elvis! There are runners going all directions now. I see half and full marathoners coming the opposite direction and am confused. I just separated from the half folks. I figure out that I'm running back the way I came and these folks are heading out to where I came from. Mile 9 is 7:56. Here comes a hill! Mile 10 is 8:09. Still feeling alright. Mile 11 is 7:54. I'm feeling strong and hoping that I'll actually be a bit a ahead of pace at the half marathon point. Mile 12 is 7:58. So far I've finished a pack of Clif Bloks and a gel. I have 3 more gels to go. Mile 13 is 7:53. I cross the half marathon point at 1:45. My average pace appears to be 7:53 so I set my virtual partner to that pace and hope I can hold on! Mile 14 is 7:43. Elvis passes me and I try to stay near. I can already see the top guys heading back. Wow! Mile 15 is 7:56. Approaching Sea World. Still feeling like I can hold the pace but I'm definitely feeling more fatigued. Mile 16 is 8:01. Getting harder. We run through a row of screaming cheerleaders. They are handing out leis and I think of grabbing one for the girls but I'm not willing to carry it. A gal runs by in a wonder woman dress and tells me she likes my jersey. Mile 17 is 7:55. I see Sierras' hubby, John, and their kiddos cheering. So great to finally see a familiar face!! I see them a second time as we loop back. So helpful! Thanks God!! Mile 18 is 8:04. It's really getting tough now. I take my 3rd gel. I'm surprised I've eaten so much...already more than I ever have in a straight marathon! 160605_rnrmarathon_robin_seaworldMile 19 is 8:08. Oh boy! Want to be done! Slowly starting to fall off pace. Mile 20 is 8:20. Just trying to minimize the damage. My heart rate is now hovering around 170. I know from many past races that that's the danger zone for bonking. I'm fueling well this time so that hopefully won't happen. Mile 21 is 8:23.  Okay, I’m still loosing ground.  Still hoping to finish close.  Pretty soon I’m heading onto Hwy 163.  I hear there is a hill around here.  Oh my!  That is a steep hill up ahead!  A much older gal passes me and I try to stay with her but she surges.  I pass a bus that is for athletes to take a break if they overheat.  Sounds nice but I want to get this over with! I hit the hill.  Oh boy, I’m hurting!  I don’t know how long this is.. I cannot see the end!  I look at my watch.  3:30 is clearly out but maybe I can do under 3:35? Mile 22 is 8:58. Almost to the top I can see now.  I really dislike this freeway!  It was kind of cool at first but now I just want to see real streets again!  Yeah, the hill is over but the damage is done.  I’m just trying to survive.  I am now realistically looking at 3:38 to 3:40 now. My heartrate is above 170 and I know and feel that I’m giving a good effort. Mile 23 is 9:06.  3 more miles, 3 more miles! Mile 24 is 10:21…and this is with a downhill.  Lord, help my attitude!  Help me not be so frustrated. Mile 25 is 9:19.  One more mile!  I can do this!  Finally we take an offramp!  I’m headed straight down to the water and downtown. Yes!  I will finish, I will get that jacket…all because you are sustaining me Jesus! Mile 26 is 9:07.  I see my Mom and Dad as I come towards the finish.  I cross the line with such relief and in such pain.  Thank you Lord for helping me get it done! 160605_rnrmarathon_robin_finish

Folsom Triathlon (Troy)

June 12, 2016 – Folsom, CA
Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 10km
2:17:50 (24:58 – 2:01 – 1:08:24 – 0:52 – 41:34)

1st (20th Overall)
Flor Hodges (FCA), Elise Winter, Dave Campbell, Trudi Hughes
After doing the difficult Olympic distance Auburn Triathlon, I’m looking forward to a flatter, faster Folsom Triathlon.  But more than that, I’m preoccupied with thinking about Robin’s Rock-n-Roll Marathon which she will be starting about the same time!  After the girls and I jump in the car at 5am we get to talk with Robin on the phone as she is being dropped off at her start by her parents.  We get to pray for her race.  I wish I was there to support her.  But she has the Lord and hopefully I can help some athletes at my triathlon this morning remember that they, too, have the Lord with them.  Racing under FCA Endurance has been so rewarding, being encouraged and being able to encourage others through Christ.

Our girls are so helpful in moving FCA gear when we arrive.  Also, they are volunteering at the athlete’s food tent today.  Very proud of them.  I set up my transition, get a little run in and we make our way to the start for the FCA pre-race prayer.  Race announcer Nick Tuttle lets everybody know.  About 8 of us join together in prayer.  Some have concerns about the swim.  Some just want to give God their appreciation and their race before the huge effort before them.  I want to be focused on Him throughout the race because I realize the risks of injury, frustration or self-centeredness and I want to be on guard against them.  A few people pray, including my daughter Anna.  There’s so much to do before a triathlon, but this always feels the most beneficial.

TeamMate, Flor Hodges, is here and will be exciting to watch. Her husband, coach, and my good friend, Rob Hodges, is here volunteering.  He tells me there’s a pastor here doing his first triathlon and that he knows Pastor Lincoln Murdoch.  I’m hoping to meet him and also think about how much I’ve learned from Lincoln.  He is an exciting pastor and triathlete from Omaha, Nebraska.  If you ever get a chance to hear him, you’ll never forget it! Here’s a recent interview he did.

I jump in without much warm-up. The water is cold in Lake Natomas.  The sun is directly at us for the 1st 500 yds.  By mistake, I have clear goggles.  It’s so bright it hurts to look.  But, as long as there is sun shining at me, I should be going the right direction.  I start a few rows back this time which is more my speed. Go!

swimAs we go, I notice an underwater cable stretched the length of the course for the rowing races they have here.  That’s great!  But does it go the same direction as the course.. as the sun?  I’m hesitant to rely on it even though it sure is comfortable to just swim with my head down.  I imagine swimming right past the turn bouy.  But I do see the buoy and boy is it great to swim a different direction.  The water is clear and brisk.. actually very cold in spots.  It’s a great day for a race!
Coming back I find a guy slightly faster to draft behind.  Even though he swims off course a few times I set myself to go wherever he goes.  (Later I see my Garmin path shows the zig-zags of this section).
The last stretch I try to push my arms and kick more.  Don’t know what my pace is but I know in a race every second can count.  I never want to see that I missed a place by a seond or 2.  24:58. (I’m in 4th place, 4 secs behind 3rd. And a few more secs behind Elise Winter. A minute behind Sena.)

My swim was good.  But my transition isn’t.  I get hung up on my wetsuit.  Need to start using the spray slick again so I don’t give up time.  Despite the hang-up, I actually get out before the guy ahead of me (and am in 3rd).  Being on the bike always feels good when you start. Over the highway, down Folsom Blvd, and up into the more rural roads.  136046-066-006hI’m pushing hard, breathing hard, drinking a lot, trying to be smart and give my best effort to the Lord.  I encourage others. 

After 8 miles I see a familiar bike.. it’s Sena Minshew on her green machine.  She’s always smiling.  Then I see a familiar kit.  it’s Elise Winter from the Freeplay team.  She’s a good rider so I’m glad to have caught her.  We encourage each other as I go by. 

There’s not much wind.  About 13 miles I pass a guy in my age group (and move into 2nd). We’re on an out-n-back which is great to see other racers.  I see Flor coming back and cheer for her.  I turn and then see Elise behind me.  We go onto the canal bike trail.  A guy in a different age passes me. I try to pick it up to keep him in sight.  I’m staying with him and really working hard.  We go through the tunnel with the bump and then onto familiar American River Bike Trail.  I pass a rider while coming into the park.  At that moment I think, “This might be a no-passing zone..”  Next thing I realize I’m going the wrong way and have to turn-around.  As the guy I passed moves back ahead I have a feeling that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  (Later found out it was a no passing zone).  I come in with a good dismount into running and rack my bike quickly. 

136046-008-002hHeading out, our friend, Dave Campbell, who has finished his Aquathlon race, yells to me to try to match his time of 40 min on the run.  It’s great to get a challenge like that.  Even though I don’t think I can beat him, I’m going to try my best now to get close to 40min!  Rob Hodges is working the run course and cheers me on. 

My achilles is feeling good.  136046-008-003hThank you, Lord!  My legs are stiff but should loosen up soon.  I try to run really smart, anticipating the turns and inclines of the trail.  The wooden bridge.. can’t wait to get back to it.  It’s warming up.  I drink water at each aid station.  I eat 2 Hammer Gels along the way. I pass a guy in my age group at about 2 miles (and move into 1st).

I start seeing the Every Man Jack racers already coming back.  Wow, they are so fast!  I don’t know what place I’m in and just figure with those guys I probably won’t place at all but that it doesn’t matter because I feel like I’ve really raced well today for the Lord and am just excited about performing well. 
136046-061-013hFinally, the turn-around.  I’m tired but know it’s slightly down hill and I’ve got to keep the speed up.  WP_20160605_007My pace is good, hopefully will be under 42 min.  I cheer for Elise again.  With a couple miles to go I think about our track workout where we practiced Surging and Settling.  I better try it out.  At the wooden bridge, despite being pooped, I surge all the way across and then settle back into pace.  It hurt but felt rewarding.  I chase down another guy before the main finish area and finish very happy with my race. Thank you, Lord.  Run was 41:34.  Was surprised to finish 1st in my age.

WP_20160605_002Anna and Ariel did so well in the food tent, kindly preparing plates of post-race nourishment for the athletes.  Ryan Coehlo puts on a great race, and creates a great atmosphere.  You can tell it is a passon of his.  Announcer Rick Tuttle is awesome and seems to know everyone.  I loved talking with some athletes at the FCA Endurance tent.  WP_20160605_004So many people are trying out the challenge of triathlon.  Some have to borrow bikes.  It doesn’t matter what gear you have or how much you know.  It seems to be a race against oneself in many instances.  It’s great to see people challenging themselves.  I think it’s the biggest challenge we face.  I know I couldn’t do it without the Lord Jesus in my life.
Name Place Time
Flor Hodges 1st 2:18:33
Troy Soares 1st 2:17:50
Elise Winter 1st 2:26:38
Jesse Moore 1st 2:02:18
Trudi Hughes (sprint) 5th 1:58:05
Dave Campbell (Aquathon) 1st 1:05:30