Sunday, December 31, 2017

CIM Relay ‘17 (Robin’s 20th!)


December 4, 2017 - Sacramento, Ca


7.3 mi (Leg #1 of the 26.2 mi Marathon Relay. CIM relay races started in 1995)


3:38:23 (4 person relay)


11th out of 125 Female Open

Relay Teammates:

Leonie Alesci, Liesbeth Brouwer, Megan Sebra

Other Teammates:


*FCA Endurance: Greg Biddle, Anna Soares, Troy Soares & Kris Kennedy

Track/Local Friends

*Pacers: Jim Kepfer, Lee McKinley, Tim Twietmeyer

*Racers: Bryan Twardus, Carrie & Steve Chavez, Cal & Christine Val, Helen Martin, Melissa Penwell,  Mike Pirnat

The “Soares Shuttle” to the start is off at 5:30am!  This year I get to transport pacer, Jim Kepfer; my neighbor, Greg Biddle; and local fitness trainer, Bryan Twardus.  Greg is racing on the FCA Endurance team with Anna, Troy and Kris.  Bryan is racing the full and hoping to beat his PR of 3:22.

I park at Beals Point and we all run the short distance to the start.  I wonder why more folks don’t choose to park here.

Greg and I find a spot close to the starting line.  I do my drills… which I’ve been trying to do at the beginning of every run.  I hear it helps the legs move faster.  I hope it works today and in 3 months at the Napa Marathon!  I hit the bathrooms one last time and drop off my gear.

WP_20171203_06_37_21_ProGreg and I pray.  Suddenly it’s packed with runners!  One of the members of the band, Cake, plays the National Anthem on his trumpet.  The crowd is virtually quiet and seems to be standing attention as he plays…refreshing!

The countdown and then the gun!  As we head out, they play Cake’s famous song, “The Distance”…nice!  Greg is out ahead of me.

My goals is to go out at 7:30 pace.  My Garmin’s splits have been unreliable in the past, giving me a false sense of hope, so I’ll be running at 7:20ish pace according to my Garmin in case it’s off.  I did recently changed a setting and hope it makes it more accurate.

Down Folsom Auburn and a tight right on Oak.

Mile 1. 7:14.  My Garmin reports just 4 feet ahead of the mile marker so it’s pretty close! Cool!   Up the hill and then a long flat. I feel great and wonder if I can keep this up.  Up ahead I can see the beanie that Greg is wearing.  This stretch is the start of the infamous Coffee Republic Coffee Shop ride.  It looks a bit different from the running perspective.

Mile 2. 7:26.  The mile marker again is just about 4 feet away.  So far so good…but still somewhat doubting the watch.  I am getting a little closer to Greg. This stretch is fun.  Many driveways back up to the street and folks are out in their pajamas with coffees in hand.  One house has a nice little fire going in a portable pit.  I am tempted to sit down and get cozy.  But I actually am feeling great so the temptation is less than in years past.  Those drills seemed to have helped!

Mile 3. 7:10.  The mile marker is about the same distance.  Yeah!  I surely am under 7:30 pace.  I feel good and am going to try to keep this up!  Almost to Greg!

Mile 4. 7:19.  Mile marker good!  There is quite a bit of undulations which I like.  I climb and then get some downhill.  I am really enjoying the variety.  I catch up to Greg and we run together a bit.  I see a girl marathoner in blue that passed me the last mile.  I decide to try to catch her. 

Mile 5. 7:16.  Again, marker good!  I have caught up to the girl in blue.  I look further down the road and see another gal in a sports top and a blond braid.  She looks familiar.  I’ll try to get her.  Up ahead is a big crowd.  It’s the 3:12 pace group…and the blond braid is in that group.  Let’s get there!

Mile 6. 7:12.  Lord, thank you for this race!  I feel great!  I also just feel so refreshed…almost like a vacation.  This has been a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life and I’m grateful!  I pass up the 3:12 group and the blond braid is still down the road.  I’m almost done so what do I have to loose.  I push harder and pass her!  I see another familiar girl from the beginning.  I push a little more and pass her.

Mile 7. 7:07.  Go, go, go!  I hear the relay chute annoucer.  I wave and shout “Leonie”.  I see Troy waving and then Leonie jumps out from behind him.  Yeah! 

Leonie takes the chip off my leg, puts it on hers and leaves.  “Go Leonie!”  So good to be done.  I feel recharged…such a nice break!  Thank you Jesus! 

Our team had a good day!  We couldn’t ask for better weather!  And, checking Strava later, it looks like my Garmin was right on!  Yeah!




Team Name

Relay Div





Catch Us If You Can

Open Female



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Leonie Alesci (Leg #2), Liesbeth Magna (Leg #3), Megan Sebra (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Female



Leonie Alesci (Leg #1), Liesbeth Magna (Leg #2), Robin (Leg #3), Megan Sebra (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Female



Megan Sebra (Leg #1), Leonie Alesci (#2), Robin (#3 & #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Female



Robin Soares (Leg #1 & #2), Leonie Alesci (Leg #3), Megan Sebra (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Coed



Liesbeth Magna (Leg #1), Kevin Magna (Leg #2), Robin Soares (Leg #3) and Megan Sebra (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can





Leonie Alesci (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Kevin Magna (Leg #3) and  Liesbeth Magna (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Coed



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Liesbeth Magna(Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)


Catch Us If You Can

Open Coed



Robin Soares (Leg #1 & 2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)



Open Coed



Kevin Magna (Leg #1), Robin Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Alesci (Leg #4)



Open Coed



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Courtney Loveday (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Open Coed



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Troy Soares (Leg #2), Richard Alesci (Leg #3) and Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Open Female



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Megan Canova (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4)



Open Coed



Robin Soares (Leg #1), Dick Kirkpatrick (Leg #2), Liesbeth Brouwer (Leg #3), Leonie Wynhoven (Leg #4) (?)



Open Coed



Troy, Robin, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven (?)



Open Coed



Troy-Robin-Leonie Wynhoven-Liesbeth Brouwer



Open Coed



Robin, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven



Open Coed



Robin Heidt, Dave Funston, Kristin Funston, Leonie Wynhoven



Open Coed



Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt (?)






Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt






Kristin Matthews, Liesbeth Brouwer, Leonie Wynhoven, Robin Heidt

CIM Relay (Anna)


12/3/17 – Folsom


7.3 Greg, 6.2 Anna, 7.0 Troy, 5.7 Kris


54:07 Greg, 45:54 Anna, 49:03 Troy, 49:57 Kris.  3:19:01 Total.


FCA Endurance, Co-Ed Fitness Club

2nd/24 division, 66th overall


Troy Soares, Greg Biddle, Kris Kennedy

Robin Soares, Mike Pirnat

I get ready for Mr. Biddle to hand off to me and I pray right before I go. When Mr. Biddle comes, I take off around 7:30 min pace. I feel great even though it’s hard to not run fast when people are passing me. I keep a good pace and have fun. I see Leonie up ahead and try to slowly catch her.

Mile 1. 7:23. We both said good job when I passed Leonie. The first mile was great I don’t feel anything.

Mile 2. 7:38. The 2nd mile is good.  I get some water and keep going. It is a little hilly, but the downhills are fun. People are playing music which is very encouraging.

Mile 3. 7:53. During mile 3 there is a big uphill.  It’s like we’re in an old town from long ago. There are bands playing and some of them have trumpets. It is cool to see them playing for us. I remember my Dad telling me that I want to feel good at mile 3 and to not feel bad. I feel great which is good.

Mile 4. 7:47. At mile 4, I am happy because I’m not hurting even though I am a little tired. I remember my dad also telling me to feel good on the hills and make up time on the downhills, so that’s what I do. I pass a girl about my age and tell her good job.

Mile 5. 7:44. When I get to mile 5, I am surprised that I did 5 miles already. Part of my foot is hurting and I am tired but I don’t feel super bad. I pick up the pace because I only have ONE MILE LEFT! I run up two more hills and then in the distance I see the relay exchange. As I get really close, I see my dad. I sprint to him and off he goes into the wild blue yonder.

Mile 5.8. 6:54 pace. I finished breaking 8 min pace I was able to stay close to 7:30 min pace the whole race!


Sunday, December 3, 2017

CIM Relay (Greg, Anna, Troy, Kris)


12/3/17 – Folsom


7.3 Greg, 6.2 Anna, 7.0 Troy, 5.7 Kris


54:07 Greg, 45:54 Anna, 49:03 Troy, 49:57 Kris.  3:19:01 Total.


2nd/24 division, 66th overall


Anna Soares, Greg Biddle, Kris Kennedy

Robin Soares, Mike Pirnat

Glad to have a full 4 person team this year at the CIM Relay Challenge.  My friend, Greg, will lead off on the longest leg, then Anna (stepping up from 5.7 to 6.2 mi), then me, and, finally, our faithful Huddle Leader, Kris Kennedy.

I haven’t raced since July!  There have been a lot of busy changes at our house and training has often been the first to go.  But it’s good to get back into the race routine.

I have an Achilles tendon issue on my rt leg.  I stretched last night and hope it helps.

I’m glad to have done some quiet time this morning.  Even though I depend entirely on God for a successful day, my distracted mind doesn’t show it.  I think about so many things I need to do.  But I’m trying to relinquish more and more to the Lord.  This morning I read Ps 94:19 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  I come to a new understanding that He hears me and will console me about my concerns if I trust Him.

Anna and I head out and arrive at Leg 2 right as the race starts 7.3 miles away.  It’s a beautiful clear day, but chilly enough to wear gloves.  Anna says she’s nervous.  We watch the marathon leaders go by at 5:00 pace!!  We are happily reunited with Leonie, runner #2 for Robin’s team.  And we cheer on her husband, Rich, as he goes by at 7:00 pace doing the first 1/2 for his relay team.  Leonie & Rich came down from Oregan to continue the CIM Relay tradition.

Robin comes running in, tagging Leonie.  And soon after Greg comes in and tags Anna.  First exchange is a success!

Greg & I rush to Leg 3 where I warm up before Anna comes in.  My legs are tight and achilles is sore.  But I stretch, focus on form, and pray and soon I’m feeling a little better.  I get in the corral, not expecting Anna for a few more min when Robin yells, “Troy, she’s coming!”  Wow, she’s early.  Thank you, Lord.  I was concerned about her pacing the longer distance in the chilly weather.  After a perfect exchange, I’m off!

I’m running with a lot of intention… duty, I suppose.  Kind of serious I realize.  I notice the spectators and start to remember what an opportunity racing is.. an opportunity to be thankful and show my appreciation for the Lord allowing me to do this.  But my legs aren’t turning over easily and I feel my tight right hamstring already.  It’s hard to smile and be joyful when things are hard.  God is reminding me.. and my focus starts turning from inward to outward.  Encouraging and thanking a few people.

Mile 1. 6:58.  That was hard work for a pace I’m trying to keep for 6 more miles.  And soon I’m falling behind.. 7 secs behind.  I try to improve my form, relax my muscles, and run faster on the downhills.  I notice there are many little declines and I can gain seconds on each.  I’m back on pace… even a little under. 

Mile 2. 7:03.  I’m very thankful and optimistic that I can keep gaining seconds if I work the descents.  I see an ultra runner who has come to our track workouts.  He says he’s feeling beat, but this is probably just another one of his many long runs this week.  I’m passing runners.  I hope to come in a little under my pace to help the team.

Mile 3. 6:45.  It feels good to be racing again.  Working hard to give God my best effort.  I’ll be sore tomorrow but it’s a special time today.  I’ve been having trouble focusing on God lately.. for even 20 minutes.. it’s because I want to do so much and keep so many things from going wrong.  But right now I’m reminded how much I need Him.  Maybe a little bit of pain helps.  He is consoling my anxieties and replacing them with joy.

CIM Relays 171203 (6)Mile 4. 7:01.  I smile and thank the people with the funny signs.. like “You think this is hard? Try growing bangs.” and a woman holding a big sign, “You’re tired?  My arms are killing me”.  I’m thanking the Lord, too.  Everything is holding up really well.  But I am getting tired.  I make sure to drink water at each aid station.  I really need it.  I guess I didn’t hydrate well because of the cooler temps.  I really look forward to seeing the 20 mile marker and knowing the exchange is near.  Up ahead I see a big pacing group.  I hope I can catch him.  I take off my arm warmers.  2 light shirts and a beenie.  Perfect.

Mile 5. 6:49.  I catch the 3:12 group!  The reason they have this odd pacing time is because the Boston Qualifying time of 3:15 is not fast enough to guarantee an entry so they figure 3 minutes faster is.  I wonder if I can catch the 3:10 group but I don’t see them anywhere.

Mile 6. 6:55.  Just a mile to go!  The 20 mile sign is coming soon. 10k done. I think of Anna doing her first 10k this morning.  I see a guy holding a big sign, “Turn to Jesus .. and be Saved”  I’m glad he’s out here every year.  For some, they won’t care for a sign, but there are others for which it may be the perfect hope at the perfect time of their life.  I hope so because Jesus has saved me and blessed me so many times I don’t know where I’d be without Him.  Still no sign of the 3:10 group.  My Garmin says I’m almost 30 secs under my time (later I would find out my Garmin was wrong and I was really right at pace).  Yay! Through the 20 mile sign.  I try to pick it up. Last chance to catch the 3:10 group but still can’t see them.  I pull out my phone thinking it will be cool to get a picture of Kris ready to exchange.. but I don’t see him.  There he is behind a barricade!  He finds a way a through, points the direction to his car, and we make the exchange.  “Have a good run, Kris!”.  My last mile was 6:51.  But actually they were all a little slower.  My finish is 49:03, just 3 secs over my goal.  But a mile into it I didn’t think I could even come near it.  “Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness and grace to bless us even when I fail to focus on you as I should.”  Now it’s off to the finish to see how our team does!

CIM Relays 171203 (5)FCAEndurance_byTreeIMG952904

Sunday, August 27, 2017

IM Coeur d’Alene–Robin-2017


8/27/17 – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


2.4m S – 112m B – 26.2m R


11:46:51 (1:08:38- 6:52 - 6:21:53 – 6:59 - 4:02:29)


6th/38 (40-44 age group)


FCA – Mike Plummer, Ryan Sousley; Faron Reed, Shelby Knutson

This is our 5th trip to CDA for the Ironman.  I did the race in 2004, 2007 and 2015.  Troy did the race in 2005 when I was pregnant with Anna. It's a special race and place for us.  Besides the race itself, special friends like Tod & Patty Hornby also make it great.  They hosted us in 2005 and have supported the FCA Iron Prayer services.  We got to have dinner with Tod a few nights ago.  That was fun! This trip has been nice because Troy and I have had a lot of time alone.  I miss the girls and they are seasoned Iron Spectators but it's nice to get around a bit quicker.

The race starts at 6am so Troy and I get up at 4am.  I spend time in the Bible and read Romans 15-16.  The title to Romans 15 is “Pleasing Others and Not Ourselves”.

Troy has made me some sweet potatoes and has cut up some avocado.  It's easy to eat and yummy too!  I grab my special needs bags, one for the bike and one for the run.  These are the items I need for mile 60 on the bike and mile 9 or 17 on the run.  We head off to the start.  I jog the mile there while Troy follows on his bike.  I get there right at 5am.

I add water bottles and food to the bike. Then I add more stuff in my 2 gear bags.  This is the gear I'll need for the bike and the run.

I run into Catherine from the Iron Prayer and I pray for her day.  She hopes to make the cut offs (time limits) for the bike and run.  I meet up with Troy and we run into Kym from the Hoka booth. We met her at Iron Prayer.  We pray with her and her boyfriend Jeremy.

Troy and I find a quiet spot to put on the wetsuit and get lubed up.  We have a moment to pray.  Oh my, less than 10 min! I give him a hug and kiss.  It takes longer than expected to get on the beach. I get there with 5 min to spare and just in time for the national anthem.  I feel a tap on my shoulder and there's Faron Reed. He's an tri friend that goes way back.  He's doing his 45th Ironman today!!  He's one of the fastest in his age group. I will most likely see him on the podium!


The cannon goes off and the 60-min-or-less swimmers funnel into the water.  A few minutes later my group, 1-to-1:15, get in the water.

170827_imcda_robin_swim_lap_oneI get in and get going.  The water feels comfortable and I don’t feel too crowded.  It takes a few minutes to get into a rhythm.  Once I start getting relaxed, I get squeezed between a couple of guys.  I try to move more right to get away from the buoys but I'm stuck swimming along the buoys for now. 

The water is shallow for awhile but then it gets super deep.  My mind starts to think “what happens if you get knocked out?  Will anyone see you?  Will anyone help me?  You can sink to the bottom and no one would know it.” I pray for the Lord to remove these thoughts and keep me pressing on. 

Once I get past the two turn buoys of the rectangle course, I feel good and make good progress back to shore.  Thank you, Lord!  It's a two loop course so I have to run along the beach and jump back in.  As I make my way out, Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, calls out my name.  I wave hoping Troy and other friends might see me.  I start to stumble as I reach the water so I turn it into a dive…that works! 

I'm dreading the deep water again so I start thinking of worship songs and pray.  I am aware that there are friends from afar lifting me up in their prayers and that encourages me.  The crowds around me have tapered off. I make it out to the turn buoys.  I start to notice a few guys swimming 170827_imcda_robin_swim_exitalongside me so I try to take advantage of a draft.  I look ahead and see just a few pink swim caps (women).  I focus on getting more distance per stroke.

The water gets shallow again.  I pass those guys and jump on another guy’s draft.  I don't see any women.  I finish strong and run up towards transition.  The crowd is screaming.  I cannot help but smile…plus I'm wearing the cross on my jersey…I should be joyful and shine for Him!

I run up to the wetsuit rippers and they yank off my wetsuit…they are good!  I grab my bag and run into the women’s changing tent.  I look around to make sure there are no men in here and then change out of my swimsuit into my bike gear.  It takes 5 minutes to get myself ready…slow poke!


170827_imcda_robin_bike_exitOut to my bike I go!    I see Troy as I head up Sherman Ave.  I’m glad I have my arm warmers.  It’s not cold but cool.  My core temp decreases after a swim so I need an extra layer to feel comfortable. Too many times I’ve suffered being cold the first 20 miles of an Ironman bike - I’ve learned my lesson! 

This course is made up of 2 loops with 2 out and backs.The first out and back is short but very scenic.  I actually get to bike along the lake.  We follow the road until it dead-ends.  This is where the special needs for the bike will be – the items I’ve put together for retrieval later.  Tod and Patty are volunteering here later so I hope to see them.

Heading back I notice a spectator riding a mtn bike with really fat tires.  It’s Derek Garcia!  He’s a pro triathlete based out of CDA.  I wave to him and he waves back.

For the first 10 miles I’m averaging 17.1 miles.  The goal is to go about 17.5 mph.  Compared to past Ironmans, that pace is conservative.  The goal is to hold back on the bike to save more for the run.  

By the time I’m heading back into town, my average has gone up to 17.8.  I hear something metal drop on the ground and look around to see what it was.  A guy rides by and says “something that looks like a ring fell off your bike”.  I tell him thanks.  My bike seems to be working just fine 170827_imcda_robin_bike_lakesideso I chalk it up to something insignificant.  I see Troy and wave.

Now it’s time to ride on Hwy 95.  This out and back makes up the majority of the loop.  I’m drinking a lot more water than ever in an Ironman.  After finishing off my Perpetuem in my aero bottle (attached to my handlebars), I fill it up at every Aid Station with water.  I know I’m extremely hydrated…every 10 miles there is proof.

The work begins as soon as I tackle the biggest climb on the course. By Mile 20 my aveage has dropped to 17.2.  I’m feeling strong climbing and under control.  Almost to the top!

I hit the top and use gravity and leg power to get moving.  Got to take advantage of these moments…esp. with more hills to come!  By Mile 25, I’m at 17.5.

170827_imcda_robin_bike_heading_out_of_townWe hit another climb.  Compared to the first it’s not as steep.  It feels fine going up it now but I know when I hit this part of the course again on the 2nd loop, I won’t feel that way!  At MIle 30, I’ve dropped back to 17.4. 

I’ve been passed by a few 50+ gals.  It’s amazing and inspiring to watch them pedal away effortlessly – so it seems!

Another climb up to the turn around at Mile 35.  Still averaging 17.4. 

It’s nice to finally turn back!  Still feeling strong and comfortable.  This will change as the miles and hills pile up.

I’m not focusing my mind on the Lord as much as I want to so I recite James 1:2-18.  My buddy, Karen Nickel, and I have been working on this one.  I planned on memorizing it months ago, but didn’t.  I promised God I would before race day…and praise Him, I did! 

After all that climbing, it’s nice to get a lot more downhill riding on the way back!  By Mile 45, I’m at 17.8 again! 

The last 10 miles click off fast even despite the climb on the back side of the “big hill”.  As I hit the no pass zone heading back to town at mile 55, I’m at 17.8 average. 

Rolling into town, I don’t see Troy. I’m sure I’ll see him after this short out and back.  I go out lakeside to the special needs area.  As I pull up I see Tod holding my bag!  Yeah!  He helps me get all I need out of my bag. Then he prays for me.  I tell him thanks and head out.  

As I head back to town, my neck starts hurting.  I’m only at mile 68 and it seems too early for this kind of discomfort!  I am averaging 17.8 mph.  I know this second round on Hwy 95 is going to be much harder!

I see Troy as I come back into town.  It’s so great to see him that I forget to tell him to pray for my neck.  As I’m riding down the road, I point to my neck.  I hope he saw that.

Heading back out and up the big hill at Mile 75. It’s harder this time but not that bad. I only loose .1 mph (17.7). I know it’s the following series of smaller hills that is really going to drain me.

I recite James 1 again.  I am able to do it but it takes more work this time.

At MIle 80 it gets hard physically and mentally. This is “the wall” mentally for me on the bike, and literally as there is a hill, too. 

At Mile 85 my average takes a noise dive from 17.7 to 17.5.  Ugh!  I feel God reminding me that the plan wasn’t to push the bike hard. Stay patient, stay strong!

Mile 90!  I’m now at 17.4 but I survived the hills to the turn around! 

170827_imcda_robin_bike_2MIle 95 and I’m still at 17.4.  Will I be able to pick it up before the finish?  I just want to get off the bike but I’m not feeling too excited to run either.  Even though I’m not yet feeling wasted on the bike, I am really unsure if I can run strong and run a 4 hour marathon. 

Mile 100!  OK, 12 more miles, that is do-able!  I’m actually at 17.6!  Nice! Thank you Lord!

Just before I climb the backside of the big hill, I can see LOTS of traffic ahead on the other side of the road.  And then I notice the emergency vehicles at the next aid station.  Uh-oh!  It looks like an athlete might have been hit by a car.  Such a hard thing to have to think about.  I pray for that person…pray for life and for Christ to be in their life.  The police are having us slow down to squeeze through the emergency crew on one side and the traffic on the other.

At Mile 106, I’m at the top and at 17.5!  Yeah!  Just got to maintain this to the end.  I have fun flying down the big hill and back into town.

Still anxious about the run ahead!  I almost forget to pull my feet out of my bike shoes before I have to dismount the bike.  I am able to do it quickly.

As I jump on my feet, I am very stiff.  This is normal but never a fun sensation.

I hand off my bike to another great voluunteer.  I run to my gear bag and back into the women’s tent.  I again look around for men first and then change completely into another outfit for the run.

On the way out of the tent, I stop at the porta potty one last time.  Ready to go now!


170827_imcda_robin_run_4I finally get out of transition and get going.  I re-start my watch now.  I run out to the hotel and see Troy!  I give him a high five and I tell him I was well hydrated on the bike.  I’m feeling great which is typical at the beginning of the marathon.  The question in my mind is when will the struggle begin…it’s inevitable.  Last time here it was at about mile 4.  Since I didn’t hammer on the bike, I hope to make it much farther!  The goal is to run a 4 hour marathon. 

By mile 2, my Garmin says I’m averageing 8:18.  This is the most pleasant and most populated part of the course.  It’s in a cute neighborhood.  It’s warm and there are folks out with hoses spraying us, there are 2 great aid stations and lots of signs and cheering. I need to go to the bathroom but decide to put it off until I get out of the neighborhood.  I make sure to get a cup of water at each aid station and drink it.

I still feel good as I head towards Mile 4 on Coeur d’Alene Lake Dr.  This is mentally the hardest stretch of the course.  An out-and-back on the bike path with little shade and fewer folks.  The out part is downhill to a flat which means the back part is flat and uphill.  I stop at the bathroom at the beginning of the first aid station along this part.  I’m not as hydrated as I expected*.  As I get out and continue on, I’m met with a lot of great volunteers. 

I see Troy and Tod waiting for me.  I smile and give high fives.  I remember my plan of filling up one of my flasks with water at the aid stations.  I make sure I drink up a flask of Vitargo to free one up.  I also start working on another flask.  I need to have only one of 3 flasks left at mile 9 where I’ll pick up my special needs.  I see Faron running strong!

I make it down to the last aid station just before the turn around.  I see a teenage boy at the water table and ask him to fill up my flask.  Like a pro he squeezes each cup in each hand and starts poring both at once.  Nice!  Within seconds, I’m on my way!  I tell him thanks!

I make the turn and hit Mile 5.  My Garmin says 8:42 pace.  A guy in white goes by and I pick it up to stay with him.  I ask him what lap he’s on and he says his first.

The top girls go by us.  They have bikers with them. I ask one of the bikers if they are on the last lap and he says lap 2. 

I see Troy and he tells me my Garmin is wrong.  He says I need to pick up the pace.  He tells me "this is your stretch, you love hills, go for it.  There is a girl in your age group in pink ahead.  Go catch her!”  I tell him “ok, I’ll try”.  I feel pretty good still but I’m concerned the fatigue will catch up.  Amazingly I am able to pick it up.  Thank you Lord!  And as I near the neighborhood, I see the girl!  She’s running slow and almost walking.  I pass her and tell her good job.  She’s the first woman I’ve passed in my age group.  Most of the women have been 35-39. 

I see Troy again and he tells me, “You did it! You picked up the pace and caught her.  You’re now in 6th place!”  I tell him that I’m not sure if I can hold this pace.  He encourages me to keep hydrating.

I’m somewhat ignoring my Garmin now.  I cannot trust the pace so I just try to feel the pace I need to go.  I fill up my flask again at the first aid station.

I love these neighborhoods!  I make sure to get sprayed or run through any spraying hoses.  It’s warm but it doesn’t bug me.  July and August were mostly 90 degree+ days in Auburn so this is normal now.

At the next aid station I ask to get my bottle filled up again. The volunteers struggle to do it so I have to stop and fill it up on my own. 

170827_imcda_robin_run_5Instead of making us run back to T2 they have us run around McEuen Park.  It’s a beautiful and family-friendly…grass, shade, splash park, playground.  That means lots of spectators.  I hear a gal shout out my name.  I look into the crowd and smile but not sure if it was someone I know or someone who read my hand written name on my bib.  All the bibs were printed with our last names on accident. 

I see tape that says for laps 2/3 and then for finish.  Ah, cannot wait to hit the finish.  It’s mile 9 so only 17 more miles! Our friend, Eric Gilsenan, is announcing racers here.  He says my name and cheers me on.  I round the far side of the park and this is where I find my special needs.  I take the last sips of the flask with water.  I hoped to make this stop short but it takes longer than expected.  I have the volunteers put 3 new flasks of Vitargo on my belt and I carry the extra one I have yet to drink.  I ditch the other 2 empty flasks.   I grab another set of Clif bloks and leave the Larabar and Kind bars behind. I grab a cup of water and drink it.

As I head back to the neighborhood I see a guy coming toward me fast.  His wife/girlfriend is telling him all sorts of stats about his place and position.  I’m impressed and reminded of Troy. 

I make myself down the extra flask so I can fill it up with water at the next aid station.  I get it filled up and continue on.  I feel like I need to go to the bathroom once again, but again not #1.  I feel like I’m drinking way more fluids and water than any other past race but I’m still not hydrating well!

I continue through the neighborhood again making sure to hit every water sprayer possible.  I get myself to drink more Vitargo.  And, at the last aid station, I grab water.

I make it back out to Coeur d’Alene Lake Dr.  I stop at the same aid station for a bathroom break.  Again, no sign of good hydration*.  Troy will not be happy to hear this.  I know I need to keep making myself drink.  I catch up to Faron and give him a tap on the back as I go by.  “Good job Faron!  Keep it up!”

I find myself running with a guy.  He’s running the same pace and fun to talk to.  His name is Kilian and he’s from Germany but living in SF.  The funny thing is that he tells me he’s glad to be wearing his wife’s jogbra.  He needed a way to hold ice on his chest to keep his core temperature down and it’s working well.  I tell him he’s got to watch the Seinfeld “Man Bra” episode later on.

I run down to the last aid station & see the same kid.  He and another volunteer help fill me up.   

Heading back, the top girls are heading towards us.  They are just a few minutes apart.  Exciting! 

I see Troy and he tells me I’ve fallen behind pace again.  He reminds me that I love this hill and to go for it.  Kilian is a great distraction.  We chat and motor along up the hill.  The top girl passes us and I tell her to keep pushing.

I continue to pass women in the 35-39 age group.  Where are the girls in my age group?

I see Troy in the neighborhood and he tells me I got back on pace again. “You always make it exciting” he says.  Inside I’m wondering if I can keep pushing like this.  I hope so! 

Kilian has fallen off the pace as I continue through the neighborhood.  I am so glad I had his help! I ask for water but the volunteers are empty handed.  A guy says “I got it!” and in a moment he’s running alongside me.  I tell him “thank you so much!”.  I’m almost to the McEuen park and that top guy passes me.  His wife is there again giving him all the data.  I’m amazed what she’s able to communicate in a few seconds.  As I pass her, I tell her how impressed I am.  She laughs and says it’s a fun challenge. 

Just before Mile 18 I hit the park and I feel like I’m starting to hit the wall.  The same girl cheers for me.  Eric Gilesen is not annoucing anymore but a gal jumps out and says “Robin?”  I nod and she says “I’m Kristi Biddle, Jenn’s mother-in-law”.  Jenn is a new neighbor to us in Auburn.  Greg, Jenn and their 3 kids are a great addtion to our neighborhood.  Kristi lives near the course and I’m honored she would come out and cheer on a stranger.  I tell her thanks for coming and give her a big smile. 

Kristi lifts me mentally and so does the fact that I’m starting my last lap! But my body starts to revolt and my mind doubts.  I start to not care about getting the 4 hour goal.  Lord, I need you!  Please help me keep fighting. I get my water filled up at the special needs water table.  Got to keep drinking.  I take a Clif blok.  I’ve been doing Clif bloks every few miles or so.  Soon, I’ll be down to just Coke!  Cannot wait.

Once back in the neighborhood I see a sign that says “Triathlete, Someone who doesn’t realize one sport is hard enough.”  Ha, that’s a good one.  I got to tell Troy that one so I don’t forget.  

I see Troy and he’s got Grammie and the girls on Skype.  I wave and smile to them and tell them the sign I saw. 

Soon Troy catches back up and urges me to pick it up.  He tells me I’m off pace quite a bit and that it’s time to go.  I want to shout "I can’t!” but instead I say “I’ll try.”  He also reminds me to keep hydrating.  I make sure to grab water at the next station.  I have 1.5 flasks of Vitargo left. I’m still not drinking enough but I’m sort of glad I don’t need a bathroom break. 

At Mile 20 I’m back on Coeur d’Alene Lake Dr. one last time!  Once I get to the turn around, it’s Coke baby!  Troy tells me that it looks like I’m catching up to 5th place.  He tells me he’ll bike ahead and try to figure out my position better. 

I make it down to the last aid station.  I give my red volunteer appreciation wristband to the kid who poured my water.  I tell him thanks and that he was a great help!  I drink up my water and sip my last Vitargo flask.  I go to the turnaround and grab Coke coming back.  170827_imcda_robin_run

Troy tells me to push this hill one last time.  I’m thinking there is no way but miraculously I can!  Praise you Lord! I hear “Robin”  I look up and see Shelby Knudson coming the other direction.  I met her at IM Boulder.  We were both spectating.  We met up on FB and went for a training ride together.  Just after that ride I found out that they were ending IMCDA and I signed up… and she did too!  Fun to be doing this race with her! 

I now feel excitment for the finish and the thought of maybe catching 5th place. Troy thinks I might be gaining on her but still doesn’t know for sure.

As I climb I get faster and then as I run through the neighborhood even faster.  God this is all you!  I get Coke and water in the last aid stations.  I skip the hoses and sprayers this time around. 

I hit the park and finally get to head to the finish!  As I turn off, I hear cheers.  There is no one near me heading to the finish so the crowd is excited…and so am I.  I round the corner to Sherman Ave, I see the finish!  It seems to be glowing in the distance.  I can see the red carpet!  I want to do what Anna does and jump over the finish line and point to God!  I can see it in my mind.  I hear Mike Reilly calling out my name.  It’s all a blur as I run and jump across. Thank you Jesus!  I’m so glad to be done.  I see Troy and give him a big hug!


Other details:
food: Bike: 2-3 x larabar; 2-3 x kind bar; Run: Clif Bloks
bathroom: swim: 2; bike 15; run 2* (*both bathroom stops on run were #2, not #1, surprising since I drank so much on the bike)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

TBF Tri for Real #3–Robin -2017


8/13/17 – Auburn, CA


1.5km S (short) – 40km B – 10km R


2:28:38 (21:59 – 1:15:49 – 45:49)


1st Place, 40-44 (1st Female OA)


Int’l – Dave Campbell, FCA: Caryn Galeckas, Dana Haldeman, Lori Berkenstock, Suzanne Hartley, Troy Outman (FCA)

Kids Tri – Anna Soares & Ariel Soares  (FCA)

I get up early for quiet time.  God puts this Matthew 11:28-30 on my heart…

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I am not supposed to do this race or life on my own.  I feel like this week I’ve been trying to train and get things done on my own strength.  On my own, I am weary and burdened as the verse says.  I needed the reminder to lay all that at Jesus’ feet!

It’s been several years since I’ve raced here.  The tradition is Ariel, Anna and Troy race.  This year I’ve taken Troy’s place literally. 

We get to Rancho Seco Park early.  Troy drops me off a few miles from transition.  I cycle in and get my legs loose.  My legs feel tired from my last long training day.  The fact that I’m in taper mode is nice but I don’t feel it yet.

I’ve got some great FCA teammates racing with me today: Caryn Galeckas, Lori Berkenstock and Suzanne Hartley.  Lori is there early too so the two of us get to pray for one another.

Nana Sue and Papa Ray are here to watch the girls race.  We see Anna go off in a small wave with the big kids.  She looks strong and finishes midpack.  Next is Ariel.  Her wave is packed.  As the race starts, she’s working hard and getting blocked by kids actually walking in front of her.  As usual, she doesn’t mind and just continues to push to the finish.  Just before I have to race, I get to see Anna finish 4th Overall and 2nd girl.  She crosses the line pointing to God and smiling.  Moments later, I see Ariel come off the bike and start the run.  Thank you Lord for letting me be able to witness all of this!

I get down to the swim.  Caryn, Lori, Suzanne and I pray for one another and for each of us to be a light out there.  Dana Haldeman is also racing.  She’s FCA too and racing with the Gold Country Tri Club out out Grass Valley.  I get in a quick warm up and then all four of us are off in the last wave. 

170813 Robin Swim Finsh1I feel good going out to the first buoy.  I think I’m in the top 5.  The water is pretty warm so I try to pull on my collar every so often to let in some cool water.

I make the turn at the first buoy.  I haven’t had a consistent draft yet.  I think I’ve found one but the swimmer keeps going right.  Better stay straight.

At the last buoy, I’m ready to be done!  I push to the shore.  I’m getting myself mentally prepared to karate chop my feet out of my wetsuit.  I hope mostly to impress Troy this time.  On the shore I go, have pretty good success getting the wetsuit down to my feet.  Ready, set, kick!  Nothing!  Ready, set, kick!  Nothing!  Oh well, I yank it off both feet.  I lubed my legs and the wetsuit and it seemed to make no difference.

Ariel and Anna are there as I run up to transition.  I give Ariel a high five.

Ok, time to bike.  I get a good transition and  head out.  It takes a few minutes to get my bearings and comfortable.  A woman passes me just before I get outside the park.  She’s 45.  I cannot match her so I’ll hope to catch her on the run.  I am able to pass a woman in my age group going out.

Ok, tail wind going out and head wind coming back.  Better make this first half count!  A 54 year old gal passes me!  She’s amazing!  I cannot match her pace either! I hope I can be that fast in 10 years!  Gotta keep training!

I rode long yesterday so I’m hoping these miles go by fast like the last race!  This course is just a straight out and back.  It’s a bit boring especially since there are not a lot of racers to catch or that I’m able to catch just yet. At least I’m averaging around 20 mph. 

If I see other riders coming back, I’ll know I’m getting close to the turn around.  I do see some when I still have about 4 miles to go to the turn around.  I remind myself that they are fast and that they started 15 minutes ahead of me. 

Around Mile 10, I see Dave Campbell heading back.  He looks strong but he’s all alone…the field is really spread out!  I hit the railroad tracks and I know I’m almost midway.  I’ve only been passed by a few guys.  I’ll soon see what girls are chasing me.

I make the turn and start heading back.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m still able to keep the same pace…no head wind!  Yeah!  I see a woman coming fast.  I better keep up the pressure.  I don’t see Dana.  I wonder where she is.

That woman flies by like a stealth fighter jet.  I don’t know she’s there until she’s past me!  I try to tell her good job but I don’t think she can hear.  I dig deep and am able to keep her from pulling away for several miles on the slightly hilly sections.

With four miles to go, the gal pulls away.  I push and she continues to pull away.

I turn into the park and head back to transition.  I pull my feet out of my shoes and put them on top.  Phew!  Always relieved when I can do that without knocking off the shoes.  I pull in to dismount and run to my spot.

I get on my shoes and gear and head out.  I can see the stealth gal ahead.  I think I can catch her.  I grab water going out and drink the whole cup. 

170813 robin Run startI hit the gravel road.  It’s totally exposed out here.  I feel tired but can still push some.  I catch the stealth girl at almost a mile.

Mile 1 is around 7:55.    I see another girl in the distance.  Just after the first mile, I see teammate Cliff Appleby working an aid station.  He gives me water and tells me “blessings to you”!  Thank you Cliff!  I drink the whole cup and almost a 2nd cup. 

As I get closer to the girl ahead, it looks like Dana.  Wow, I never saw her on the bike!  She’s moving! 

Mile 2 is about 7:26.  I feel tired but remember Troy telling me that once I get to the trails along the lake I’m home free!  Those trails are still a few miles off. I see the top girl that passed me at the beginning coming back.  She looks strong. I still wonder if I can catch her.

I hit the main park road for an out and back.  I finally catch up to Dana.  She’s so sweet and encourages me.  I tell her the Lord is our strength and to keep pushing.  She says thanks.  I see the 54 year old gal running back from the turn around.  I hope to catch her eventually!

Mile 3 is about 6:56.  Wow, that totally surprises me.  What surprises me more is that I feel great!  I really feel like I can push hard.  Lord, thank you!  This is a gift. 

I make it to the trail!  I think of Troy telling me that this will be fun and like zipping around on the trails at home.  I continue to feel awesome!  I pass a 77 year old guy.  He looks fast and strong!  Wow!  I tell him great job and he says “praise the Lord!”.  I say “yes, praise the Lord!  He is our strength!”. 

Mile 4 is about 6:52.  Wow, this is great!  I pass the 54 year old and tell her good job!  I can see the top girl!  I might be able to catch her! That would be crazy!

Mile 5 is about 6:51.  Just before the trail ends, I do catch her!  Wow, thank you Lord!  We tell each other good job. 

I hit the gravel road and know it’s just a mile to go!  I get to Cliff’s aid station and get more water.  Along the way I see Caryn and then Suzanne.  It’s a treat to give them high fives!  In the distance I can can see Anna and Ariel waiting for me on their bikes.  They are sweethearts!  I give them high fives as I go by.  I tell them to hustle ahead so that they don’t pace me or get in anyone’s way.  They take off to the finish to wait for me. 
I hit the grass and sprint towards the finish.  I’m praising God and thanking HIm for this gift.  I do not deserve it at all. 
I cross the finish and point up to God!  Thank you Jesus!  What a day!

170813 robin Finish1170813 robin Finish3170813 Robin Podium

TBF Tri For Kids #3–Ariel & Anna 2017


8/13/17, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, Ca.


Anna: 150m S – 4mi B – 1mi R
Ariel: 50m S – 4mi B – 1mi R


Anna 24:46  
Ariel 31:35 PR! – Last Year 32:47


Anna – 1st Age 12 Girls; 2nd Overall Girl

Ariel – 1st  Age 9 Girls


I170813 Ariel Start get in the water.  It's warm.  I'm lined up with a bunch of kids. The director says 10, 9, 8,…, 3, 2, 1, go!  Some kids are going fast and some kids are walking!  I'm swimming as fast as I can. 

I go around the buoy and finish on shore.  I run up to transition taking off my goggles and cap.  Then I get on my helmet and dry myself off.  I try to put on some bike shorts but they are too small.  I decide not to wear them.  I get on my shoes.  I try to take my bike off the rack and the rack falls down.  Someone comes over to pick it up and then I'm able to run off with my bike.

170813 Ariel T2I take off biking fast.  I pass a boy with his mom following on a bike.  I keep going. 

I make it to the turn around.  I go back over the bridge and finally into transition.

I start running out of transition.  I see Daddy, Nana Sue and Papa Ray. I grab water at the aid station.  I get to the gravel road.  I keep running.  I see the twins running back together.

I make a turn and see another girl.  I go down a hill and up a hill.  I get to the turn around.  The girl is now farther away.  I try to pick up my speed but my legs are so tired, they can’t go very fast. 

I see the grass so the finish line is close.  I turn right onto the grass and I see the finish line.  I sprint to the finish line as fast as I can.  I finish!  Yeah!170813 Ariel Finish

Later on I find out that I finished first in my age group! Thank you God!

170813 Ariel Podium


170813 Anna Start23, 2, 1 Go! And I am off. My hands hit the bottom of the lake because it is really shallow in the beginning. Some of the kids pass me but it’s ok. One kid passes in front of me and accidently kicks my goggles and water gets in them. 170813 Anna T2

I swim around the first buoy and head back to shore. I get to shore and run up the path to transition. I get to transition put my helmet on and get on my bike and take off. I bike fast so I can catch a girl who is in front of me.

I bike across the bridge. I can see her in the distance. I get in my biggest gear so I can go faster downhill. I see the girl coming up the hill.  I see the turn around. I slow down and go around the turn. I think I can catch her. My chain all of the sudden comes off and my foot hits the ground.  My handle bars twist and I crash. I slowly get up and a volunteer helps me get my chain back on. A boy bikes by and says good job. I start biking and my side starts hurting from the crash. I hold my side and keep one hand on the handle bars.

I see Ariel at the top of the hill and smile. Half way across the bridge I take my hand off my side and can bike normal. I bike across the speed bumps and to transition. I take off my helmet and put on my race belt.

I run out and get a cup of water. I run onto the dirt. I run around the turn and see the girl. I say finish strong. I run up the hill and run dow.  I say good job to others. I have a side cramp and I try to catch a boy. I catch him and then I try to catch another boy. I am right behind him and he sprints into the finish. I feel like I have no more energy left. I run strong though and point to God as I run through the finish line because it could have been worse. I couldn’t have done it without Him!

170813 Anna Podium1170813 Anna Podium2170813 Anna Weird

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Folsom Sprint Tri–Anna - 2017


8/6/17 – Auburn, CA


1/2mi S – 19mi B – 5km R


1:56:54 (22:25 – 2:43 - 1:08:07 – 0:51 -  22:45)


1st Place, 1-15 Female


Int’l – Dave Campbell, Troy Outman (FCA), Robin Soares (FCA)

I step into the water it is very cold. They say 2 mintutes left but dad says 3 minutes. I swim out in the water and it is very cold. They count down but it’s for the kayakers. We have time. I try to stay warm waiting in the cold water. When they start the count down a lot of people come next to me.

Go!!!! I start swimming and it’s crowded. I stick my head up to see where we are going. I swim and sing a worship song in my head. I get around the first buoy and keep swimming. it’s not really crowed anymore. I keep swimming and my feet are numb.  I can’t feel them but I know they aren’t warm. I feell chilly but I keep swimming. Dad said that after a while I will feel faster people swimming by me but I don’t feel anything. I get around the 2nd buoy and it is still not crowded. I swim and swim to the next buoy. I start swimming in. I look ahead and swim. I finally get to the ground and rip off my wetsuit. I take a lot of time but got it off.


I run into transition and get my stuff on. I ask dad if I should tie a long sleeve shirt around my waist in case I get cold. He asks me if I feel cold and I say no. So I run out of transition without it.

I start the bike and go over a bridge. Its flat so I speed up. After a while I look at my Garmin and it says that I am going about 3 miles every 10min. I try to keep the pace. I move my chain up to the big ring on my bike. I turn and keep biking.

I pass some people and some people pass me. There is this long downhill up to a long uphill. I bike hard and fast down hill and then coast up the uphill. I go uphill, downhill , uphill, downhill and up. We turn again.

170806_usap_folsom_sprint_anna_bikeAn a older girl passes me and I pass her. We go back and forth. Miles start to go by fast. At about mile 13 or 14, Troy Outman rides by me and says good job. I am surprised. I think, if Troy is here mom should be close. I turn my head and see mom on the other side of the road. I yell “MOM!” See looks up and says good job.

I bike on to a bike path. I go fast and beat some people. I see a tunnel up ahead with lights inside. I think cool! It’s not really cool because it’s really dark even with the lights. I can barely see the ground. My bike wheels are making noise in the tunnel and make me think that a biker is right on my wheel! I bike and look ahead. I get out of the tunnel and there isn’t anyone close behind me. I bike under a bridge and smile at the camera.  I bike on the path and almost run into a pole. I bike on the road and try to loosen up my legs for the run.

In transition, Dad and Ariel aren’t here, I guess because I’m so early. The annoucer says my name as I go out on the run. Dad and Ariel heard it and realized I’d gone through.

I start running and it’s hard to get my legs going. I see a girl in my age group (a girl I know, Jessica James) up ahead of me.  I also see two girls coming back. I think if I could beat Jessica I could get 3rd in my age group. I run past her and say good job.

I keep running and I run over a bridge. I run through an aid staion and get water. I keep running on the bike path. After a while I’m thinking the turn around should have been sooner. Finally I see it. I turn around and start saying good job to people.  It makes the time go faster.

I look for the girl but I don’t see her. I see mom running and Jessica is behind her walking. Mom and I are happy to see each other. I encourage Jessica as I go by. I keep running. I run over the bridge.  I’m getting closer to the finish line. I run off the bike path onto another path to the finish line.

I sprint in and jump over the finish line pointing to God! When Jessica came over the finsh line I say good job to her and make her feel good. I thought I was going to get 2 hours for the bike but I got under 2 hours for the whole thing! THANKS TO GOD!!! I could of never done that with out Him!

170806 AnnaFinishStarting170806 AnnaFinishSprint170806_usap_folsom_sprint_anna_finish

170806 AnnaDone170806 AnnaPodium

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Folsom Intl Tri–Robin - 2017


8/6/17 – Auburn, CA


1.5km S – 40km B – 10km R


2:34:00 (29:16 – 1:43 - 1:13:50 – 1:20 -  47:49)


1st Place, 40-44 (5th Female OA)


Int’l – Dave Campbell, Troy Outman (FCA)

Sprint – Anna Soares (FCA)

I get dropped off 4 miles from the start and enjoy a quiet and dark ride with headlamp along the Lake Natomas bike path.  It’s very peaceful.

I make it to transition and see FCA teammate, Janell Peterson.  We chat and then I find a spot. I then search for Anna.  We get her a spot in the Sprint area.  I’m a bit nervous for her because the sprint bike is 19 miles.  Her longest race has been only 9 miles!  We’ve done some good training together, though, so i’m confident she can at least complete it.  It just might take her almost 2 hours. 

Troy and Ariel are setting up our FCA tent, gear and kids zone.  Troy will man the booth and later Ariel will help put the awards together for the Race Director.

Anna and I do some running and her knee is hurting.  I sure hope it will go away.  We find some secret bathrooms.  When I come out I hear “boo!”.  I look around and there’s Anna in a tree!  Silly girl…so glad it’s just another fun day for her!

Time to pray and then I get in the water first.  The prayer was announced late so no one meets us at the FCA flag but the girls, Troy and I pray together.  Praying for safety, God being glorified, and Anna getting through her long bike!  Just before I head in for the swim, Troy Outman comes running over.  We pray again with him and then it’s into the water. 

As I swim out, it’s pretty cold.  I start to get more concerned for Anna.  I want to swim back and warn her but my wave is starting in less than 2 minutes.  Lord, please protect her and keep her from getting too cold.  I know the only thing I can do is pray!Ready, set, go!  I get a good start and feel strong. I’m getting used to the cold and there are some spots where it actually feels warm.

I make it to the first turn buoy.  Not too crowded. 

On the way back, I can see the sprint swimmers coming at me on my left.  We are all merging!  Now I get concerned that Anna is going to get swum over or hit in the head.  I think back to the 2013 Ironman in Tahoe.  It was foggy and I was so scared about getting caught in a crowd.  I prayed and it seemed like the Lord made a straight and clear path for me.  My prayer for Anna is that she’ll have a straight and clear path, too!

Final buoy and now I’m heading back to shore.  I’m pushing hard and thinking about Anna.  I want to get out of the water and tell Troy I’m concerned. 

I get out of the water and have some trouble getting my wetsuit off at the shore.  My karate chop kicks to kick out of the wetsuit are not working well today. I actually have to pull the wetsuit off my ankles.  I run up to Troy and whisper, "I’m scared for Anna”.  He says not to worry and tells me to get going. I do but continue to pray for her.

I get on my bike and head out.  I cross Hwy 50 and jump on Folsom Road.  It’s nice and flat out here.  I rode 82 miles yesterday and ran 3.5 miles.  I purposely came into this race with no taper.  So far I feel good!  Anna should be out of the water and biking.  I hope she’s not cold on the bike.  Lord, please be with her and help her.  Please, keep her safe, too. 

I catch up to a gal in pink and pass her.  In a few minutes, she’s passed me back.  Another girl goes by.  She’s fast and I cannot match her pace.  She passes the pink girl and the pink girl soon passes her back.  It doesn’t take long for the other girl to go right by. We turn right onto White Rock Road.  I’ve never been this way on this road.  I’m glad to see there is little vehicle traffic out here and cones on most of it.  Makes me feel better about Anna being out here.  Dave Campbell comes by and says hi.  I cheer him on.  I pass the pink girl again and she soon passes me back.  I see her do this with another gal in black and that gal passes her back.

I’m able to keep Dave in sight for quite a while.  I am amazed how strong I feel.  Thank you Lord!  I pass the pink girl and work hard to make it stick this time.  We head out to do this short out and back.  I’m so focused on pushing that when I hear Anna say “hey Mom!”, I jump on my seat.  Oh my gosh, there she is!  She’s smiling!  “Go Anna!”  Thank you Lord!  She looks great and is doing great!  I realize that the sprint cyclists are riding right past this part of our course. She’s already completed most of the ride.  That just makes my day.  Lord, You are so good!

I complete my out and back with a greater sense of peace.  I’m holding off the pink girl and I catch up to the girl in black.  I wonder if I can catch up with Anna.

I hit the bike path and know I’m getting close to being done.  Down the path and to the tunnel.  I’m sure Anna had a blast riding through here! 

No sign of Anna!  She’s flying!  I’ll have to wait to see her until the run. 

I’m almost done.  Amazed how fast the miles flew by.  Having a long day yesterday makes the ride today seem so short.  It’s nice it feels that way!

Into transition.  I was able to pull my feet out of my bike shoes and ride in…yeah!  I get in and out quick.  I say bye to Janell as I leave.

I feel good starting out.  I feel motivated to see Anna.  It helps me to ignore the normal discomfort of pushing.

MIle 1 is 7:28ish.  No Anna yet.  But then I pass one of her competitors, Jessica James.  She’s moving slow and looks like she’s struggling.  I slow down and ask her if she needs anything.  She smiles and says no.  I tell her to hang in there.

Soon I see Anna coming back and she’s smiling, and flying!  We give each other high 5s.  Lord, thank you for getting her through this race!  I’m amazed!  I hit a nice downhill and try to get my legs spinning

Mile 2 is  7:31.  It’s harder now to push without having Anna to look for.   I soon see the top girls heading back.  They are quite a ways ahead!  Keep pushing, you never know!  I see Troy Outman coming!  I give him a high five and tell him to hold off Dave Campbell.  It’s not too long before I see Dave coming fast!

Mile 3 is 7:16.  Though tired, I can still push and I feel good overall.  I make the turn around and get to see who is behind me.  I see one girl moving quick.  Now I have new motivation to push. 

Mile 4 is 7:16.  Ready to be done but still feeling good.  Gotta keep moving!  I have half a track workout left!  I can do that!

I hit the “big hill”.  I enjoyed the down part earlier but gotta pay for it now.  I am able to push well and get up and over.  The top is where I said I would push so I try to.

Mile 5 is 7:28.  Last mile.  When I hit the wooden bridge, I push harder.  I want to look back but I don’t.  I see a guy ahead and try to close the gap.  He alludes me all the way to the finish chute.  It’s okay, he got me here quicker.  I push hard and look up to God as I cross the line.  Thank you Jesus!  What a great day!

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

San Francisco 1/2 Marathon (Troy)


7/23/17, San Francisco, Ca


13.1mi R




29th AG / 360


Robin Soares

WP_20170722_17_44_06_ProWP_20170723_04_18_29_ProWe wake up to much quieter city (The City is a crazy place!) and job slowly down to the Embarcadero.  Robin and I are celebrating our 15th anniversary by running the San Francisco Marathon together!  Except that I’m injured, and therefore out-of-shape, and so doing the 1/2 Marathon instead.  The plan, Lord willing, is that I can still run 1/2 of the marathon together with Robin.  Robin is strong and will run about 8:15 pace.  Normally not hard for a 1/2 marathon, it will challenge me this time for sure.  But, of course, the excitement of running with Robin in this famous race will mask a lot of the pain.

With 27,000 people in the race, I’m expecting mayhem at the start.  I’m pleasantly surprised to see open streets and easy pickings of the bathrooms.  We stretch and jog and calmly plan eveything out… but then the droves of people start arriving, and the trucks to pickup our gear bags aren’t there, and the entrance to our wave is .3mi away!  People are just piling their bags and leaving.  Instead I chooe to be Robin’s sherpa and wrap our clothes around my waste.

We meet a gal who has done over 200 marathons.  We actually pray together with her which was great.  After the National Anthem, we’re off!

We see our friend, Jesse Ellis, taking pictures at the start.  After a mile, there is no thinning of the crowd.  There are a lot of runners! 

Mile 1: 7:57. Robin’s gotta go so I run a little ahead at each bathrooms checking if there are openings. 

Mile 2: 7:59. We go through Aquatic Park…

Mile 3: 8:17. Marina Blvd…

Mile 4: 7:49. Chrissy Field, and then I find her one.  I’m so glad I did my job, that I forget to use one!  We’re off again and see our 3:35 pacer not too far ahead.

Mile 5: 8:20. We’re looking forward to the Golden Gate Bridge but can’t see it because of the fog.  We start climbing and I know it’s close.  Robin pulls a little ahead on each climb because she’s very good on hills. 

170723_sfmarathon_troyMile 6: 8:43. Finally, we’re on the Bridge!  We have the Northbound to ourselves.  It’s a little chilly and damp but beautiful. Glad to have long sleeve shirts.  I’m watching our pace and it’s slowing.  It’s hard work and I look forward to getting to the bridge center where we can start descending again.  I watch the huge cable structure sloping down, knowing that when it hits street level, it will start going back up and we can start going back down.

Mile 7: 7:51. Now we circle a visitors center before returning across the bridge.  I stop at the porta-potties but it’s too long of a wait so I go catch up to Robin. Back across the bridge now.  I’m trying to work hard to keep a good pace for Robin, check that she’s eating and drinking (which she’s doing very well) and encourage her (which helps me because it’s getting hard and 6 more miles seems long but nothing compared to 19 more miles for Robin!)

Mile 8: 7:58.  Almost off the bridge.  This is my first time doing this part of the SF Marathon.  I’ve done the 2nd 1/2 before and I’ve done the bridge during the Napa to Santa Cruz Relay, but running this part with Robin and hopefully  being able to help her meet her goal has been great!

Mile 9: 8:01. I’m actually looking forward to getting off this incredible landmark.. to be out of the wind.  Now we climb up through the Presideo.  It’s peaceful.  Perfect temperature.

Mile 10: 7:58. Running along the cliffs and ocean is great. Especially with a downhill.  I’m praying for Robin’s hamstrings, quads and toes because downhills are hard on her.  She says she’s doing fine.  We’re on pace.

Mile 11: 8:05. In the neighborhoods now, gradually climbing to the Park.  I’m looking forward to being done but trying to focus on Robin.

Mile 12: 8:31.  No stopping for bathroom breaks now, only a mile to go.  Robin is doing great and says she’s ready for a 10k through the Park.  I will be able to see her enter and exit the park, and will pray the rest of it goes well for her.


Mile 13: 8:31. I give Robin my love and have to split off for the finish.  Robin tells me to sprint the rest of the way so I try to pick it up.  It’s almost a half mile and with .1 left I’m completely drained and my achilles is hurting and I have to slow down which is a strange way to finish a race.. slowing down.  But I’m thankful, Lord, that I made it this far, being able to run with Robin.  Now I get to rest and stretch and wait for Robin to come running out of the park. 

I’m at the 17.5 mile mark and when I do see Robin she says her right side is really tight and painful but she’s still smiling.  I run with her for little bit and then pray for her as she continues on.  I know how painful the last 6mi can be with legs seizing up, I pray for a miracle.

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I catch a shuttle to the end and look forward to seeing her finish!