Sunday, July 24, 2016

TBF Tri For Real Triathlon #3 (Troy)


July 24, 2016 – Rancho Seco Park, CA


Swim 1.5km – Bike 40km – Run 10km


2:26:49 (27:17 – 1:11:42 – 47:50)




Anna Soares (FCA), Ariel Soares (FCA), Connie Wilson (FCA)

Always excited to go to this race because it means watching our daughters do the Tri-For-Kids!

As for me, I’m under-trained, which is becoming a trend this season.  But I need opportunities and motivation to train so today will be a forced, hard training day.

We arrive in the shadow of the reactors, otherwise known as Rancho Seco Park.  We’re glad we didn’t camp like in previous years because you can tell it was a rowdy night in the campgrounds.

TBF Triathlons 160724 2016-07-24 002We all get set up in transitions.  I’m proud of our girls who are very organized and ready to race.  Although lacking in the training department, I am proud that I’ve fixed another problem… race preparation.  I’ve got my shoes on my bike, towel on the ground, the right goggles, and spray for my wetsuit.  I’m in the water 30 min ahead of time!  Well, that was so I can be with the girls as they get ready.  Their race starts first and they swim great and I see them both off on the bike before I need to start my race.

The “Under-40” group takes off. It’s very small.  My “Over-40” group is bigger. Go!

I know I need to pace myself so no sprinting at the beginning.  I do try to get on a few feet but they slowly pull away from me.  The water is very warm in my 5mil wetsuit so I let water into the neck area to cool myself off.  This Aqua-man wetsuit from Patty Stokes of Wetsuit Rental has been awesome for the past 3 years!  But today I need more than a fast suit… I’m falling back.  But I’m really trying hard to keep good form, good direction, and stead pace.  It’s a long back stretch but we finally turn for the 300 yd finish leg.  A guy on my left making for good competition.  I’m determined to beat him to shore.  Every once and a while I get a surge of energy, but then followed by fatigue.  Considering my training, I’m really happy to come in at 27:17, only a couple minutes off my usual pace.

WP_20160724_08_29_13_ProI scramble up and kick-off my wetsuit great!  Anna is finished with her race and likes my kicks, “Way to go, Dad!”.  Even though the picture of me looks like I’m walking to transition, I feel like I’m running pretty fast.  Helmet on and off I go.  A great mount and now rolling quickly.

Even out of shape, it feels good to be on the bike.  I try to relax into a deep aero position and spin as effeciently as possible.  I enjoy the view of the lake as I cross the bridge.  Out on the road, the wind is behind us and all is good.  I’m drinking a lot after getting a bit dehydrated in the swim.  I catch up to an older rider and try to pass but he surges so I have to go back and try again.  This time I get by with a big effort and tell him, “Good job.”  He says, “not really, just not feeling it today”.  I get to the turn-around, around 12th place and try to get pysched up to go back into the wind.  I’m feeling tired but determined to not let the wind get to me.

Starting back, the older guy passes me saying, “I don’t know where I got it, but I’m feeling a boost of energy!”  I tell him good job again.  And then I also start to feel a burst of energy.  Like I haven’t been using my glutes enough.  I kick them in and start to motor better.  I pass him back and he says, “I thought I’d see you again.”  “All of sudden I’m feeling better now” I say.  The rest of way goes great.  I’m moving better than the first 1/2 and hope I can break 1:30 for the swim and bike.

I’m glad to see the nuclear reactors but they’re so big I know the finish is still a ways off.  I also look forward to the smoother road, which also means we’re close to the park road.  Finally I turn onto the road.  I push the slight hill even though I realize I won’t get the goal.  But it’s been a good bike, better than expected, and the return time was the same as going out.  Anna & Ariel are cheering for me on the way in. Bike 1:09:40 (About 7 min slower than normal).

Transition goes great.  Shoe didn’t fall off.  And I know where to run.  So far, despite being slower, race execution has been perfect.

The cheers at the start are great.  I see Robin off in the distance.  Anna & Ariel have run to meet me before I head out onto the fireroads.  Now I hit the dusty roads.  It feels like 100 degrees.  Practically seeing heat waves ahead of me.  This is the hardest first mile I’ve felt all year.  But I know I can get through it, and looking to God and staying positive makes it so much more enjoyable.  I see no one ahead.  It’s bleak.  I unzip my top.  It’s really hot.  When I started I overheard someone say, “they’ll be dropping like flies”.  I don’t know what it was about but it makes me think that there will at least be some walking out here.

Mile 1. Aid station!  Teammate, Cliff Appleby, is there and asks how I’m doing.  I say “I’m hot!” I jokingly think how he knows CPR & First Aid so if I collapsed in the heat, I’d be safe.  Ha!  I eat a Hammer Gel and take water.  Now up ahead I see a runner.  I start running better.  I have a goal.  I see another runner coming back towards me even though the course doesn’t come back this way.  I yell, “Go the other way!” and get him back to the turn he missed.  I pass the guy I saw earlier and encourage him.

Mile 2. I pass another guy struggling with cramps and starting to walk.  I encourage him.  And then another guy.  It’s a downhill so feeling good.  But after the turn, I have to dig deep.  I’m catching people and want to keep it up.

Mile 3. I catch another.  At the top we turn and head onto the trails.  I raise my arms to God, just happy that I can run.  And the trails offer some shade.  The legs are really tired but I have a feeling if I keep up the push, I’ll catch someone else towards the end.

Mile 4.  So glad to get more water and another gel.  I see a guy ahead and slowly am gaining on him.  The dry grass all around seems to radiate it’s dryness into me.  I keep pushing, thinking about God and all He provides in our daily lives.  The guy ahead starts to walk.  I tell him to look at the 5mi aid-station in the distance, “We’re going to get there.  “Cold water waiting” I tell him hoping it’ll lift his spirits.  I can’t wait to get there myself.

Mile 5.  I see Cliff again, take 1 water and 1 sports drink.  He also pours some on me.  That really helps!  I think about track workouts.. just a 1600 on the track left!  And there’s another guy ahead.  I think I can catch him.  It sure helps to have these little goals.  Thanks, Lord.  I do catch him and now can see the grassy park ahead. 

Mile 6. Around the corner and I’m home free.  A great feeling.  Robin, Anna & Ariel are at the finish.  And I’m done.  Slower, but smarter :)  Run 47:50 (about 6 min slower than last time).

I needed that.


Tri For Kids #3–Anna & Ariel 2016


7/24/16, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, Ca.


Swim 50meters – Bike 4m – Run 1m


  • Anna 23:25 PR! -Last year 28:32
  • Ariel 32:47 PR! – Last year 34:33


Anna – 1st – Age 10 Girls

Ariel – 1st  – Age 7 Girls




Swim: I got ready for the race. Then I went into the lake and warmed up. Then they said “Swimmers, take your mark, go!” We swam to the buoy. The water is cold. I make it to the WP_20160724_07_35_38_Proshore and I come out of the water and run up to transition. I see mom and Dad along the way.

Bike: I get on my helmet, bike shorts and shoes. I grab my bike and start running out of transition. Then I go out and I see my mom again cheering. I pass 3 kids and one kid passes me. Then I go out past the entry gate. There’s Anna. She tells me “goWP_20160724_07_57_10_Pro in a bigger gear”. I get to the turnaround and start heading back. I pass the gate again. I come back into transition.

WP_20160724_07_58_56_ProRun: I take off my helmet and I take a sip of my sports drink. I head out. I see an aid station and got a drink of water. Ryder Cardenas is right in front of me. I catch up to him and pass him.

I realize that I accidentally forgot to put on my race number. I feel WP_20160724_08_05_19_Prokind of embarrassed because everyone around me has their number on. Then I see the turnaround. I make it there and I head back. I see Anna and Mommy. I tell them about my number. Mommy it’s okay and to finish. I run as fast as I can to the finish. I see Anna running with my number. I finish! I feel good. Later I find out WP_20160724_08_59_49_Prothat I got first in my age group.









WP_20160724_07_35_15_ProSwim: 3.2.1 GO! We were off. I stared swimming but it felt like I was going slow. I kept on swimming and I finally made it to the buoy. I went around it and started running up on shore. I ran fast all the way up to transition. WP_20160724_07_49_45_Pro



Bike: I got on my shoes, helmet, and race belt. I got my bike off the bike rack and I was off. I peddled hard and I caught some people but some people caught me. We biked across a bridge and then it was downhill all the way down to the turn around. When I turn around I start biking up the hill. On the way up I see Ariel! I tell her to get in a hard gear because she was going downhill. I finally made it to the bridge which I crossed. I kept biking and I see transition.

WP_20160724_07_51_13_ProRun: I get off my bike and take of my helmet and put on my hat and start running. I get on a dirt path and run straight. Then I go down a small hill then up a big hill. At the top of the hill I turned around and went down a big hill and up a small hill. I kept running and I see the WP_20160724_09_07_37_Profinish line. I sprint in and finish. Thank You god!







Sunday, July 10, 2016

Vineman 70.3–Robin-2016


July 10, 2016 – Windsor, CA


Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1


5:19:42 (32:13 – 3:03 – 2:53:43 – 3:30 - 1:47:13)




FCA TEAMMATES Dan Perkins, Carrie & Steve Chavez, Jon Cartmell, Mike Pirnat

OTHERS Jesse Moore, Sena Minshew

So excited to race here after many years! The first wave starts at 6:25am and my wave is #20 at 8:22 am. I have a long wait so lots of time to set up, talk and pray!

I run into FCA teammate, Mike Pirnat, and his wife, Donna. At the same moment I see Troy and I wave him over. We all pray nice! I also run into Steve Chavez and tell him we've been praying for a pain free race for him. His wife Carrie is already off. She had a great Napa Marathon so today should go great I'm sure!

Time to get going. The four of us pray. My prayer is for a strong run;  where my body feels good and my mind is joyful. In my last few races both have been a struggle!   5:20 is the goal (32 min swim, 3 hour bike, 1:45 run).

Troy and the girls walk me to the swim corral. We run into an old teammate, Dana Haldmen. She's in my wave and doing her first half Ironman. We pray with her too...awesome!

The corral is filled to the brim with 40 to 44 year old women. I have a lot of company. Eric Gilsenan, an old racing friend of Troy's, is announcing. I run over and give him a hug. He then tells the crowd about race experiences with Troy.

Time to go! Our wave gets in the water. I get in a quick swim and find my way back to the right front. There is Sena Menshaw! She's a master cyclist! I tell her "have a great race!".

Ready, set, go!  I get a great start.  Within a minute, I notice my goggles are filling up with water.  Hmm, I quickly try to fix that while still kicking hard.  I’ve fallen back now on some of the girls and fight my way back.  Soon the goggles are filling up again. I let it go for a moment.  It’s not completely filling up and I can live with it. I again go to fix it and telling myself this is the last try.  It fills up again…oh well!

I see two girls ahead of me and I push a bit harder to catch up.  By the time I reach the turn-around point, I’m right on their toes.  The water is so swallow and all of a sudden my hands start scraping the bottom.  It seems to slow up those two girls and I’m able to get around them.  Heading back, my hands continue to scrap the bottom for another few minutes.  

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_swim_bridgeI see another girl and pull right behind her.  This is a good draft.  She’s swimming mostly straight and pulling me through crowds of swimmers in other waves.  I can see the 2 bridges ahead and know that Troy and the girls are on one of them.  When I’m pretty close, I wave as I’m taking a stroke.  Wonder if they saw that (pic – middle).

The finish is ahead!  Yeah! I’m still with that girl until the last few feet.  I get out and I pull over t160710_vineman_70_3_robin_swimo pull off my suit.  Sena runs by.  My wetsuit comes off beautifully and I run into transition right behind her.

It’s not really cold and the sun is out, but I opt to wear my jacket.  Last time I rode here, I froze the first third of the race.  I’d rather get hot than be cold!

My goal is to ride 3 hours or a little less. That’s a 18.7mph average.  The first five miles are flat and fast so I start out at 20.7mph.  There are 51 more miles and hills so I try to enjoy the speed.  A few girls pass me, like Sena, but I’m not stressed or worried.  The Lord has given me a confidence and peace lately.  He’s allowed the daily yoga to make a big difference and my legs feel amazing!  Thank you, Jesus!

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_bikeMile 15 finds my average around 19mph.  It’s not terribly hilly but there are enough little hills and turns to slow me down.  I start wondering if this trend will continue.  A lot of guys from the last two waves are going by including my friend Jesse Moore from the Everyman Jack team.  He just seems to float on the bike!  A few more girls have passed me too.

Mile 25 finds my average right at 18.7.   I’m about to hit the long hill on Canyon Way.  There is a nice downhill on the other side that I hope to find some speed!  As I turn and go up, it’s not that bad and seems shorter than in years past.  Considering I’ve done a few years of the full aqua bike here, one loop of the bike course seems short…bonus!

I am able to get moving on the back side!  And the nice surprise, because I totally forgot, is that the terrain flattens. I’m able to start bringing my average back up…yeah!

MIle 35 my average is just about at19mph!  A gal passes me and I see she’s in my age group, 41 years old.  We go back and forth a bit and I’m able to pull ahead.  Another gal in black goes by and we also go back and forth.  It’s a pain to get passed because I have to fall back 6 bike lengths before I can pass back.  I just need to push and stay ahead and not have to be a yo-yo.

Mile 40 and here comes Chalk Hill.  This is the hardest hill on the course and I anticipate some agony. Again, I’m completely surprised that it’s over pretty quick and it wasn’t too bad.  I get some great speed coming down the backside.  Yeah!

Mile 45 and I’m at 19mph!  Here come those two gals again.  They each pass me.  I pass them back and push hard once again.  I’ve got to keep the pressure on now to hold them off.  It is a bit of a gamble with the run coming up but my legs continue to feel great!

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_bike2I see Troy and the girls in a driveway ahead!  Wow, so great to see their smiling faces.  I smile and wave.

Mile 55 and I’m above 19mph!  I’m going to break 3 hours for sure but I’m not sure by how much.  I’m not focusing on splits right now anyway just keeping my effort controlled. 

Windsor HS is ahead. Time to run!  As I navigate my way to T2, I’m able slide my feet out of my bike shoes and keep riding with my feet on top.  At the dismount line I’m off and running!  Thanks God!

I get my gear on and hit the bathroom before I’m out of transition.  I’m loosing some time but seems worth it.  I also hit the sunscreen application station and some great volunteers apply it!  Let’s go!

My legs are wobbly but feel great!  This is awesome…hope this continues! The goal is to run 8 min pace for a 1:45.  Feeling hopeful that I can do that!  After the first mile, as in my last race, I’m only going to look at my watch once a mile and go by feel. 

Mile 1 is 8:02.  Good start!  I catch a girl in my age group. 

Mile 2 is 7:56.  Alright!  I’m feeling so relaxed.  I’m having fun encouraging others around me! 

Mile 3 is 8:10. There have been some good hills so I’m not too worried about my pace. I’m starting to eat a Clif Blok every mile.  I’ve got 9.  Seems to keep the energy constant.

Mile 4 is 7:58. Back on track!  I have yet to see another girl in my age group.  There is a gal with a 56 on her leg…very young looking legs!  I tell her that I think they wrote her number wrong.  She laughs and says it’s because she has no kids…ha, ha!

I see Troy and the girls waiting ahead! Yeah!  I tell him it’s going great and feeling great!  “Okay, we’ll see you when you come back!”. 

I’m praising God for this run!  It’s been so long I’ve felt this good and I’m actually having fun!

Mile 5 is 8:03.  Still feeling great!  This stretch I can see folks coming back and start looking for some familiar faces.  I see a few girls coming back who look like they could be in my age group.  Wow, amazing.  I see Jesse coming back too.  He’s passing folks but looking beat.  I hope he still wins his age group!

Mile 6 is 7:59. I see a gal, Charie, in my age group heading back. I don’t think I’ll catch her! 

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_runInto the winery!  I see Mike running slowly out. I ask him how it’s going and he says he’s having some pain. I tell him that I’ll pray for him.  I actually see a girl in my age group and pass her. It’s that 41 year old!  She must have gotten ahead while I was in the bathroom.  I tell her good job. 

Mile 7 is 7:45.  Nice! I continue to feel strong and have energy to continue encouraging others.  I pass another girl and her young legs say 53. I tell her that her numbers are mixed up and she laughs.

Mile 8 is 7:54.  I can see Sena ahead.  She makes it to the turn around before me.  And we smile at each other as she heads back.  I catch up and we tell each other great job.  Sena is always smiling and supportive!

Mile 9 is 7:58.  Feeling more tired but on track!

Mile 10 is 8:26.  I’m still passing people and feeling pretty good but my body is tired.  I take my last blok and will take a gel next…then Coke. 

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_run_girlsI see Mike ahead.  He’s doing a great job!  I also see Troy and the girls so I wave.  The girls are so happy to see me…what a boost!  I ask Troy if he has seen any girls in my age group and there was one 6 minutes ago, Magumi Masada.  Okay, doesn’t matter. I’m having a great day finally!  He tells me that I can get 5:20 if I keep pushing!

I catch up to Mike and we pray for each other. Another great boost!

Mile 11 is 8:23.  Okay, keep fighting!  Troy and the girls drive by and I give them one last wave. I grab Coke at the next aid station.  Ah, hits the spot!

160710_vineman_70_3_robin_run_finishMile 12 is 8:18.  Picking it up and passing folks.  It’s getting hard phyically to move but with the end near and being able to keep passing others, I’m motivated.

Mile 13 is 8:06. Heading to the finish! Thank you Jesus!  What an amazing run…been waiting for this for a long time.

I cross the finish and look to God! Thank you!



Monday, July 4, 2016

Crown City 5K–Anna & Ariel - 2016


July 4, 2016 – Coronado, Ca




Anna 26:00 PR!

Ariel 33:45 PR!


Anna 4th (60 Total), 1- 14 Girls

Ariel 28th (60 Total), 1- 14 Girls


Robin Soares (FCA), Troy Soares (FCA); Detrik, Anika, Jan Heidt, Dan Cadriel

Anna’s Story – Crown City

Detrik and I start lining up. We try to get as close as we can to the front. Finally they count down and we are off! We are running under this humongous American flag. I jump up to touch it. We kept running unto a little sidewalk. We go under a big bridge and then onto a bike path.

Detrik and I pass each other back and forth. We kept running until we come to the end of the bike path onto a road next to a golf course. After a while we see a sign that says 1 Mile and has an aid station.

Mile 1: 8:10.  We grab water and keep running. I throw my cup on the ground.

160704_crowncity_5k_detrik_anna_finishingWe keep running until we finally get to the turn-around. I’m feeling good. We turn around and on the way back we see Anika and Ariel. I thought that the aid station was closer but it isn’t. We finally make it and we walk through and get our drinks. We start running again.

Mile 2: 8:10. Soon we are running on a path that seems lower than the bike path we ran out on. We keep running and go under 160704_crowncity_5k_detrik_anna_postracethe bridge. We are back on the sidewalk and we are almost done! Detrik starts complaining that he feels like an old man. And he says he has a cramp and that he can barely breath. He stops running and I tell him “come on, you can do it!”.

Mile 3: 8:31. He starts running again. As we turn unto the finish line, we hold hands and finish together! We wait and see everyone else finish.


Ariel’s Story – Crown City

I’m with Anika and Grammie at the starting line. They count down from 10 and say “go”! We run out under a big flag. Anika and I pass Grammie and head out together once under the bridge. I start getting a side cramp. Then we see this family cheering.

We get on the bike path. We see this golf course with people playing on it. Then we got off the bike path and see more people cheering. We get on the road. We keep running and its one mile!

Mile 1: 10:40. We run a little more and we see Anna and Detrik running back. Anna and Detrik cheer us on as they go by.

We see the turnaround point. My cramp is gone now…yeah! We turn around and get to two miles.

160704_crowncity_5k_ariel_finishingMile 2: 10:58.  I feel good. We get on this other road. Then I see this man wearing a Victory Velo jersey. I tell Anika we might know him.

After a little bit we are going under the bridge. I think we are close to the finish. Anika says “let’s try not to stop”.

Mile 3: 11:23. Then I see the finish line! I run as fast as I can and finish. That was a good race!

Later Daddy told me that we did know that Victory Velo guy!

Crown City 12K–Robin-2016


July 4, 2016 – Coronado, Ca






1st (73 o/a)


Troy Soares (FCA), Anna Soares (FCA), Ariel Soares (FCA), Detrik, Anika, Jan Heidt, Dan Cadriel

This is my sixth year doing this race. Troy has missed the last two years due to broken ribs and work. It's so great to have him back. Grammie and our cousins, Detrik and Anika, have also joined us in this tradition the last few years.

I run into Dan Cadriel, a friend from Arizona and Christian Tri Camp. He's here on vacation with his family. I find out from him that the course is a 12K and not a 15K as it used to be. I'm actually relieved that I'll be running less.

After a prayer with the kids and quick selfie with everyone, Troy and I race over to the start. We have to slowly work our way through the crowd to get in a good starting position. There is dramatic music playing and one of the race officials is giving a goofy dramatic speech..."we don't run just for freedom from tyranny but freedom from exhaustion". I wish I had my camera to record this!

The gun goes off and we run under a huge American flag...awesome! Troy has instructed me after the first mile to not look at my watch in-between the mile markers. I've become so used to constantly looking at my's going to be weird! Since the race is shorter my new goal pace is 7:20.

Out we go, under the bridge and over to the golf course. I see a Victory Velo jersey and immediately know its our teammate, Bill. "Hey, Bill Vaughn, good to see you!". He smiles and tells me he's waiting for his daughter and son-in-law to come through.

Mile 1 is 7:19. Okay, good start. Now I need to feel my way through the next mile. There is a gal just ahead of me that I've been following. She seems to be picking up the pace a bit. I feel okay so I go with her.

Mile 2 is 7:07. Oh wow! I'm surprised! That gal continues to push it so I do too. If I back off now, I might slow down too much.

Mile 3 is 7:26. Glad I didn't slow it down too much! That gal seems to be slowing down so I pick up the pace. We pass the Navy base instead of running into it like in years past...bummer! I like the base! Running down the "strand" is boring...oh well!

I see the fast folks coming back including Troy! We high five each other. I see a pace group coming back. Maybe I can catch them? I see a girl with an American flag shirt heading back. I'll start with catching her. I make the turn as well and start the chase.

Mile 4 is 7:01. It has been quite a while since I've run close to sub 7 minute pace. Thank you Jesus! I've been doing yoga everyday since just after the SD Marathon and it's helping.  My hamstrings still hurt but my mobility has improved greatly. I actually am enjoying running again!

I seem to be getting closer to that gal. I catch another girl along the way and a few guys.

Mile 5 is 7:18. I'll take it! I'm back to the far edge of the golf course. This is much prettier to look at! A Forward Motion guy goes past and I cheer him on. Another local from my neck of the woods. I cannot catch that gal but I'm not giving up hope! I reach the 5K turnaround and have to start dodging walkers. It's not too hard and actually a nice distraction.

Mile 6 is 7:02. Getting tired but still trying! That gal continues to elude me. As I try to push, she is pushing just as much. I can see the bridge is ahead. Let's make a move at the bridge!

Wondering how the girls, cousins and Grammie are doing. Maybe Troy caught some of them on the way back?

160704_crowncity_15k_robin_finishingMile 7 is 7:03. So pleased to see another fast mile! I'm moving good but cannot catch that gal. Is she in my age group? It doesn't really matter what the result is as long as I'm doing my best. This race is going great and is a gift from God!

Under the bridge and to the finish. Dig deep! I round the last corner and there's Troy, Papa, Aunt Kristin and the kids cheering. Go! I push hard to the end. I get passed by a young girl and I smile thinking of Anna sprinting pass me. Thanks God for a great race!

Crown City Classic 12k (Troy)


July 4, 2016 – Coronado, Ca






3rd (27 Overall)


Robin Soares (FCA), Anna Soares (FCA), Ariel Soares (FCA), Detrik, Anika, Jan Heidt, Dan Cadriel

It’s tradition to visit Robin’s family for the 4th of July and to do this race.  I couldn’t come the last 2 years so it’s good to be a part of the action again.  Our family and the cousins and even Grandma does the race (5k or 12k).

I haven’t been running much so again I’m not expecting anything dramatic but I do want Robin to have a motivating race as a prep for her Ironman coming up.  It’s crowded on Coronado Island.  I part the car 1-1/2 miles away and run back to the start where Robin has already registered us all.  I’m nicely warmed up and do some stretching.  Our friend Dan Cadriel is here.

We sing the National Anthem, then pray together with the girls, and then Robin and I line up for the 12k, which we thought was a 15k.  Glad to run a little less than we expected.  After a terrific pre-race speech by the director, we’re off!

First we run under the shade of a giant American flag held by volunteers.  Then along the water and along the golf course.  Robin is doing 7:20 pace.  I pull ahead and see that I’m doing 6:40 which is about what I did in recent triathlons.  It feels good.  Thanks, God.

I see a Victory Velo jersey and it’s our friend Bill from Auburn!  Up ahead I see Dan Cadriel.  I wonder if I can catch him. 

Mile 1: 6:51. At 1-1/2 miles I feel really good and pick up the pace a little. 

Mile 2: 6:34. Dan continues to pull ahead.  He’s way up there but since he’s not wearing a shirt I can still pick him out.  There are also a couple women just ahead I can try to catch.  It’s flat streets.  Weather is beautiful. 

Mile 3: 6:38. We pass the Navy base.  Always looked forward to running in the base and seeing our military personnel and being able to thank them.  But this year the course keeps going straight.  I feel like I’m gradually picking it up but still haven’t caught the 2 women.  I wonder where the turn-around is.  I can’t do the 12k-to-miles math in my head so don’t know the distance to the turn.  Finally I see them coming back.  I’m 20 yds back.  Beyond the women is a man carrying a giant American flag. 

Mile 4: 6:31. With great effort I pass the women.  I’m trying to run smooth and efficient.  Everything is working fine, just feeling really tired now.  Only 2 miles to go, I can do it!

Impressed with the guy carrying the flag at this pace.  Althought looks like he’s getting tired and the flag is getting close to touching the ground.  But he constantly raises it high again, waving it to the spectators. 

Mile 5: 6:35. I’m pushing hard so I can catch him and encourage him in the last mile.

Finally I catch him and compliment him for running so fast with a big flag.  The 3 guys around him explain however that they are sharing the work.  I encourage him nonetheless and press on myself for the last mile.

Mile 6: 6:36. I’m not expecting to be in the placing but I know I always have to push the last mile, always give a great effort.  It is a race afterall.  I negotiate the 5k walkers/runners along the path to the bridge under-crossing.

IMG_0825Mile 7: 6:29. Coming around the file corner I see Anna & Ariel cheering!  Such a boost.  And then their cousins, too.  I finish after a great effort and thank God for blessing me with good races and the ability to run and exercise.  And I actually get 3rd in my age!  What a bonus.

Robin finishes 5 min behind me and even wins her age group.  But the best thing was that her run felt good and was a big boost for Ironman.  Thank you, Lord.