Sunday, March 12, 2017

Barianni Road Race (Troy)


March 12th, 2017 – Zamora, CA


3 x 14loops


DNP, Masters 45+ Cat 4


Chris DeMattei, Hugh Janney, Jay Garrard, Jeff Brooks & Paul Brown,

I got a ride with Victory Velo teammates and we talked strategy on the way there… well, mainly they did, as I’m not feeling confident about being a contributing factor.  Haven’t been riding a lot.

After arriving at the Barianni Olive factory, and registering, I tell the guys I’m going to go read so I can find a quiet place to spend some time with God.

I can’t help but hear many riders in the earlier races talking about the crashes. Really bad crashes.  Maybe due to the winds today, or the damaged roads from the rainstorms.  My fear is a crash in the middle of the pack caused by another rider.  Or I imgagine getting bumped to the outside and going head-over-heals into the pavement or, hopefully, onto the softer shoulder, or, even better, grass :)

What I don’t want to happen is going down without a fight, like I did at Montserret when I casually careened off the road breaking 6 ribs.  I wish I fought for it, wrestling the bike, risking a slide out rather than complete impact.

I find a warm spot against the back of the building. I pray that the Lord will give me and my team alertness and clear thinking.  Most of all, I want to be thinking of the Lord throughout the race so that I can hear from Him quickly.  It could be an instruction to encourage another rider, or a warning against making a risky move, or encouragement to push harder than I think I can.

I warm up and then run into high school classmate, Scott Fonseca.  I forgot bike gloves and considered riding without but realized if I crashed, my hands would regret that.  I borrow some nice new Victory Velo bike gloves from Garin who had finished an earlier race.

I find my teammate, Chris, another Christian, to pray with.  He’s a really strong rider about to cat up to the 3’s and we want to help him win today if possible.  It’s an encouragement to be able to pray together.

At the start, I’m next to my friend, Bill Vaughn, who is now racing on another team but we’re still looking out for each other.  We pray together as well.

As we start, my first goal is NOT to get dropped unexpectantly like last year!  I stay very alert to every move.  We fly through the first miles with a tailwind and then turn and head north on the deteriorated roads into the wind.

Jeff & Chris are up front. Hugh, Paul & I are close to the back.  The pack stays together and the narrow roads don’t have many opportunities to move up.  A couple guys go off the front but it’s not serious.  I think about God watching over me and it’s a reminder to do my best, encourage my teammates, and work together.

I was warned before the start about a bad pothole.  1/2 way around the loop and I hit it!  Hard blow but I know these Ravelo wheels are strong enough so I don’t think anything of it.

[The impact, combined with lower tire pressure, actually caused a pinch-flat that was slowly leaking.]

Up through the rolling hills I move closer to the front.  This is where we will push the pace on the last lap to help Chris.  I goes well and gives me confidence.

Going South now past the finish with a tailwind we’re cruising at 30mph.  Soon I find myself at the very back of the pack.  I stand up to move forward and hear a rough sound from my front wheel… like it’s flat.  But I look down many times and don’t see the typical bulge of tire against the road indicating low pressure.  I imagine stopping to check only to find it perfectly fine (which has happened before) and therefore convince myself that it’s all in my head and to trust that it’s good.  Maybe it’s these carbon wheels and the road texture that is making that terrible sound when I stand.

[I didn’t pray about the decision, nor ask another rider to look at my tire. The terrible grinding sound was the carbon rim against the road without the usual cushion of air]

I stand up, with the grinding sound, and move near the front.  We turn West and I see Chris up front doing a lot of work as the group seems content to slow the pace.  I rotate back a ways and then push along the edge of the road to get back to the front.  I ride right on the edge of the pavement fraught with jagged drop-off’s to the shoulder.  At one moment I feel something soft under my front wheel and assume I got too close to the soft shoulder.  I pull in front of Chris and plan to pull him a while.  A right turn is ahead.  Within the pack, turns are always a little tense, tracking the lines of riders all around you.  But the easiest place to take a turn is in the front.  At 20 mph I feel very calm and pick a nice tangent through the corner.  20 mph will be a little hard for mid-pack which will be good for Chris and I to make them work to catch up.

I lean gradually more and more.  Right at the apex of the corner the front of my bike dissolves out front under me.  My front wheel gracefully sliding out like it was never meant for traction at all. Followed by a hard hit and then sliding over cobbled broken asphalt. All the while thinking, “What just happened?”  As I stop, I picture a whole peloton tumbling over my back.  I instantaneously grab my bike and toss it to the side while crawling towards it.  I hear the yells of “bike down!” and, thank the Lord, don’t feel anyone run into me.  I couldn’t see them and don’t know how they avoided me but I’m thankful they did.

I had a flat tire for at least 3 miles!  I feel stupid.  I realize that these race wheels have wider rims so that the tire doesn’t bulge out to the side when flat.  Inexperience with flats on these wheels caused a dangerous situation.  If I was in the middle of the pack, I surely would have taken multiple guys out.  Fortunately, the Lord was also protecting Chris who was directly behind me.  He went way to the outside, almost off the road, but was ok, although flatting later himself.

My derailer was broken off, my elbow hurt pretty bad and my ride was over.  The sag car took me back to the start where I found Robin and the girls and got cleaned up.  The bike gloves I borrowed from Garrin were ripped up, but they protected most of my hands.


A hard lesson but I thank the Lord for His protection of the rest of the group.  I would feel so much worse if I knocked others out of the race.

Bariani Road Race–Robin–2107


March 12th, 2016 – Zamora, CA


2 x 14mi loops


Cat 4, 15th (out of 24)


Brandi Cleland, Charity Marshall, Trixie Bradley

What a beautiful day this year in Zamora, Ca…especially compared to last year’s raining day race!  I get to race with my buddies, Charity Marshall and Trixie Bradley too!  I don’t know how it’s going to go especially with running the Chanoko 31K the day before.  I’d like to help Trixie place in the top 3.  She won the Land Park Crit the day before which was part 1 to the ominium event.  Bariani is part 2.

Troy has started his race already as the girls and I pull in to set up a viewing spot on course.  As we head back to race headquarters to find Charity and Trixie, I see Troy pulling up in car and he’s waving me down.  Uh-oh, that’s not a good sign.  As he steps out I can now see some blood on his right arm.  He pulls his bike off the rack on top of the car and the derailer looks demolished.

On the drive back to the headquarters where we can get medical attention, he tells me what happened.  His front tire went flat without him realizing (the wide wheels with thin tire made it hard to tell) and he slid out on a corner.  Fortunately he was in front so he didn’t take out other riders with him.  My heart is sad for him especially with the tough week we’ve had with his dad…very perplexing all of it!  Yet I feel God giving me a peace…and I think back to the verse God gave me at Chanoko yesterday…

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

The medic says Troy is ok but one wound looks like it might need stitches.  I offer to skip the race to get that done now but both Troy and the medic think it can wait.  I really don’t feel like racing now but feel God telling me to go ahead.  I tell Troy I’m going to be extra cautious out there and he says don’t.

17155557_10154914281066675_2659974206335993817_nI warm up on the road with Charity and a new Victory Velo teammate, Brandi Cleland while Trixie spins on her trainer.  Charity and I check in with our families one last time and we all pray together.  Praying for safety and also that I can help Trixie today.

To the start we go!  It’s a big group, Women’s 4 and a new Women’s 5 category.  Trixie’s teammate, Sara, is also racing and looking to help Trixie.  We are sent off down the road in neutral which means not racing yet.  Once we turn left.. it’s on!  It’s 2 x 14mile loops!

We turn and you can feel the tension rising.  I find myself in the middle of the pack.  This always feels dangerous to be lost in the crowd.  It seems like there is more braking and hollering than usual but maybe I’m just extra sensitive.  Brandi, Charity and Trixie are all near the front looking good. 

We turn right and go over the freeway.  The next turn is what I’m paying attention to.  Two of the three times I’ve raced here, the group takes off there.  It’s a series of rough little roads with many little potholes and gravel.  It makes me a bit nervous because Troy went down somewhere around there. 

I’m in a really bad position, stuck almost in the very back, as we turn on the rough roads. I pick it up and move past some girls.  Girls are shouting “hole” constantly but I don’t know where to look.  Everytime I panic a little and frantically look around.  Please God, no flat tires or crashes.  I move up close to Brandi and Charity.  Trixie and Sara look good up close to front.

By the time we get through the sketcy parts, I’m in a good position just off the top of the pack.  I know Trixie talked about possibly breaking away and I watch to see if she goes…maybe I can help block some other girls from chasing.

We turn right and head back towards the start/finish.  Nice tailwind here. A girl goes by on my left and so I go with with her.  I get pulled up to the front and with Trixie and Sara.  I smile at Trixie.

We turn right again and ride through the finish.  One more lap.  I wave to Troy and the girls.  I’m actually feeling more strong and confident in my ability to be an asset to Trixie somehow.  Thank you Lord for that!

17240023_10212320594591344_7386066499448885433_oTrixie, Sara and I are in the top 5 heading into the sketchy stretch.  I’ve gotten a bit tired of just hearing “hole” get shouted out and not knowing where to look so I just start to point out the holes since I’m up front.  I lift my right elbow way in the air and point my finger down so the pack can see.  I hear some giggles…surely it looks ridiculous but it’s worth it. 

Trixie takes the front and I come alongside her.  I look at her and she looks at me and we both give each other a nod.  We take off and try to make a run for it.  Immediately I can tell my legs cannot sustain this kind of push for long.  The group also responds and catches up quickly.  Oh well!  Will wait to see what she wants to do next.

Two girls get in front of us and we let them do the work. Sara comes alongside and asks if we have some sort of plan.  We say no.  I don’t want to say much to draw attention to us.  I’m just trying to figure out what to do and I try to get clues from Trixie’s expressions.

We turn and are heading back to the finish. If there is going to be some sort of move made, the time is now.  A girl with a plain jersey sneaks by on the right and takes off.  We make chase and catch her.  We are really flying with the tailwind behind us!

I get an idea to push the pace hard and get the other girls tired.  If Trixie could sit in on my wheel she could get a break.  I whisper to her to sit in and try to hold back.  I then take the lead and push the pace.  It seems like a good idea but the risk is that Trixie will work too hard…and I will totally explode…but I have nothing to loose!  I feel really strong as I push.  This is really crazy and unlike me to do such a move but it’s fun!

The final turn is coming!  I know that this means I’m going to get creamed but it was still fun leading the group!  I make the turn and try to keep up the tempo. Girls are screaming by me now including Trixie, Sara, Brandi and Charity.  “Go Trixie!  Go Charity!  Go Brandi!”.  Legs are dying!  Trixie is trying to push hard but girls are still ahead.  I shout again “Go for it Trixie!”  She picks it up some.  I have nothing to loose so I dig deeper and find I’m actually catching people.  I pass Sara, Charity and Brandi.  I cannot believe there is something left!  I dig deep at the finish and just inch by and get one more girl.  Wow, Thank You Lord!  That was fun and safe!  You rock! 

I congratulate all the girls for their efforts!  It was a good end to a tough day! 


Now, it’s time to help Anna get in her 5 mile run and get Troy all fixed up!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Chanoko 31K–Robin -2017


March 11, 2017 – Auburn, CA






1st, F40-45 (Out of 20)

I get dropped off by my wonderful fam at the Overlook. Anna and Ariel are off to do their Happy Kids Duathlon at Granite Beach.  I’ll be running towards them as they start but will miss all the action…but I’ll get filled in for sure.

It’s been an emotionally hard week in caring for Troy’s dad who was recently diagnosed with dementia.  It’s hard to think much about anything else including this race.  This scripture comes to mind and it encourages me to hold onto the Lord…

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

I also haven’t done the necessary long runs recently because of some toe pain.  Fortunately switching shoes/brands has made a difference!  So thankful for the trail runs my friend Elise Winter let me tag along on!  Hope that’s enough to redeem myself today.  Last year, the race was longer then expected so it was mentally challenging and I also fell and jammed my finger.  Today, I know what to expect and I’m more prepared to take on the technical parts of the course.  Troy helped me recently practice jumping off rocks and hopping around rocks…should help!

We all walk to the start a half mile away. It’s an absolutely perfect day!  I actually have on shorts!  I have a water bottle with a Hammer Fizz and 2 packs of Clif Bloks.  Bill Driskill, one of TBF’s owners, is racing too today!  He’s preparing for a 40 mile race in the fall.  Cool!  Ready, set, go!  Mark Shaw, the other owner, sends us off and leads us out on his mtn bike.

I feel good as I head out but try to hold back and not go crazy.  This is the only spot we run on the roads and the rest is trails.  A handful of guys take off.  A girl who reminds me of my friend Ellie Verdi runs by with her friend.  I overhear her say “we got to get past these guys” and she takes off.  I am able to pass her friend and tell her good job.

A mile and a half in, we hit the trails…first “Stu’s Trail” which is a short little path around an old workyard.  Then down Cardiac Bypass…my first test.  There are some nice round boulders coverng the whole trail.  Don’t be afraid of falling!  I make it through pretty good.  I didn’t slow down much which is an improvement!

We continue down to the river and start heading down to Rattlesnake Bar.  I cross over a washed out section of trail…surely will see more of this because of all the rain.  Fortunately it has been dry for a bit now so at least the trails won’t be sloppy!

At 3 miles I’m averaging just under 8 min…cool!  I do know there are hills and obstacles to come to slow me down.  My goal is just to stay under 10 min per mile.  I’m running pretty comfortably behind two guys.  I take 2 Clif Bloks.  I decide to take 2 every 3 miles.  With 2 packs, that should get me to mile 18.

Around 5 miles, I’m averaging 8:43. I pass that girl that took off earlier. I tell her good job.  I also get past those 2 guys…  The trails are beautiful and mostly obstacle free so I feel like I can move along well.  We come across a few downed trees that are pretty easy to go around especially since the rangers have been cutting through them and clearing them some.  On one of them, a guy ahead of me starts to go right through and I start to follow.  At the last second, I see a trail going up the hill to the right.  I jump on it and get around.  The guy in front of me sees me go and follows me. 

Around 7 miles, I’m averaging 8:50.  This must be faster than last year already!  Thank you Lord. I feel good…better than I remember!  We head past the PG&E plant. The trail is nice and wide here.  One of the guys behind me passes.  The trail narrows again as we approach Rattlesnake bar.

Around 9 miles, I’m averaging 8:53…creeping up but slowly!  At Rattlsnake Bar and close to halfway…11 more miles sounds far!

Around 11 miles, I’m averaging 9:01.  My last mile was 9:51…getting hillier and more technical…which means I’m hitting what’s known as the “meat grinder” zone.  That guy is still ahead.  I see him come up to a downed tree and just crawl through.  I look all around for another way but this time there is not!  I creep and crawl through 6 feet of debris!

Around 13 miles, I’m averaging 9:10.  My last mile was 10:02.  Really putting my skills to the test as I climb up rocks and try to jump down rocks.  I make it to the aid station and they fill up my water bottle and I pop in a new Fizz tab.  I’m all alone now.  The guys behind me have dropped off and the guy head of me is gone.

Around 15 miles, I’m averaging 9:28.  My last mile was 12:06.  Feeling TIRED!  I take a Rhodiola root pill as an experiment to see if it helps my adrenal system as someone recommended trying (totally legal).  Wonder if I’ll feel anything!  Still alone.

Around 17 miles, I’m averaging 9:37.  The challenging part of the race is done and I’m already picking up the pace.  I even feel pretty good too!  Last year at this point my brain was fried and I knew the end was not near.  My brain is good and I remind myself to keep picking up my feet!  Still alone.

Soon we are in Granite Beach park and they have us run down the road instead of the trail.  I see another runner ahead of me and I pass him. The forefoot on booth feet feel like they are burning!  I just try to ignore it.  At least my toe feels fine! A half mile down I turn back on the trail.  This is where I ran into a lot of mtn bikers last year.  Wonder if it will be like that again. 

At Mile 18, I’m still averaging 9:37.  It’s really quiet and I only come across 1 mtn biker!  I’m getting close!  I hope to see Troy soon!

17239994_10212305769180718_5066574601459433879_oAt Mile 19, there is Troy!  I proudly tell him I didn’t fall.  I am pretty shocked how strong I feel.  Thank you Lord!  Maybe the root made a difference a bit but overall I just feel God’s pleasure as I run…last year I felt discouragement because honestly I had a bad attitude because I was frustrated with the extra miles. 

One last stretch of trail and the finish line is there.  I pass one more guy.  He’s wearing pants and long sleeve and it’s all black.  It probably is for protection from the poison oak but it sure looks hot! 

I can finally see the finish line through the trees.  I realize that Anna and Ariel ran this part of the trail for their race too this morning.  I come around the last corner and there is Anna and Ariel waiting for me!  I grab their little hands and we run to the finish. I look up to God and thank Him for this amazing day!  Such a sweet surprise and great to finish it with my girls!  Praise the Lord!  My watch says 9:34 average!  Under 10 min per mile!  17191781_10212305775900886_605076843199688935_o

Happy Kid’s Du #3–Ariel & Anna (2017)

Date/Location: 3/11/17, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: Anna: 29:59
Ariel: 40:25
Place: Anna: 1st age/1st Overall
Ariel: 3rd in age group






10, 9, 8,…,3, 2, 1, go!  I start running up a big hill.  Then I come to a trail and run, run, run.  I come to a sandy area and fall down right on my knees.  I get up and start running.  I go up a sandy hill.  Then I go up another hill and hear people cheering.  I go down a hill and see Daddy.  I run over the creek I fell down on with no problem. 

17192374_10212304039377474_554562579322936118_oI get to transition and get my helmet on.  I run out with my bike and bike up the big hill from earlier.  We turn right at the top.  Then this boys comes up behind me and says “on your left”.  So, I don’t want him to pass me so I speed up as fast as I can.  He sees me doing that and picks it up too.  And, he passes me!

Then I see Anna and she says “go get him!”.  She's in the lead!

Now, I want to pass him back.  So I try to pass on right (mommy tells me later only on the left is allowed) and he blocks me.  I try to pass on the left but he blocks me again. 

17240456_10212304715354373_9011450514657814980_oThen we come to a hill so I able to pass him because he starts walking up.  Then he gets back on his bike and passes me on the next hill.  We turn around and start heading back.

Then I see the sign that says “no passing”.  I think “oh, no!”.  At the pass zone, I try to get by him again.  He actually stops to drink water so I am able to pass him and get a big head start. 17192321_10212304715914387_3559035119261084458_o

Then I come to the big downhill back to transition!  As I'm leaving transition and heading up the hill, the boy is biking in!  I get on the trail and see another boy, Kai, in front of me.  We call him Lego boy because he wears a Lego jersey. I pass another boy as I'm trying to catch Kai.  At that time, the boy from the bike comes out from this trail that was not on the course and gets ahead of me.  17218405_10212304041657531_7662488655473733704_oSo I try to pass him again. He's sprinting because he knows he's close to the finish.  Then we go up the sand hill and down.  There's Dad!  He cheers me to the finish!  I didn't beat but I'll try to get him next time.



Before the race, I was nervous because my right knee is bothering me.  So Dad massages it right before the start.  And, he tells me to not go too fast if it hurts. 

When they say go, I start running fast and it doesn't hurt!  I keep running and get on the trail.  I'm running along the trail and I'm imagining that right now is the swim in the Ironman (2.4 miles).  I run through some puddles and jump over some.

I run across the road to another trail.  I keep running and I see a big sand pit up ahead.  I can't wait to get to it because it means I'm almost done with the run.

17191684_10212304036977414_2671724201237148737_oWhen I get to the sand pit, I run across it and through some trees.  And run into a clearing and jump over a little creek.  I see Daddy cheering me on.  I run to transition and get my helmet on.  Then, I run to the bike start and jump on my bike. 

I start biking up the hill.  I cross a bridge.  I bike around this loop.  I'm imagining I'm biking 112 miles in the Ironman. 

I finish the loop.  I head back to the bridge saying good job to everyone along the way. I see Ariel too.  I tell her good job too.  I cross the bridge and drink some of my sports drink.

17218343_10212304714114342_2778138742171613678_oI get back to transition and park my bike.  I start the run.  My legs feel numb from all the biking but my knee feels good!  I run to the same trail and do the same route.  I again jump over puddles and in puddles.  I look up and see Ariel heading back on the bridge.  I shout “good 17191858_10212304714594354_242700418047591807_ojob!”. 

I run across the road onto the trail.  I keep running and get to the sand pit.  Through the trees and out to the clearing once again.  I don’t see Dad.  I jump over the river, run around the corner and see Dad.  I sprint into the finish line and point to God as I finish.  17239896_10212304035137368_4968056519484960616_o

Afterwards I realized I didn't have to jump over the creek because they built a bridge that blended in. 


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Napa Marathon (Troy)-2017


3/5/17, Calistoga, Ca


26.2mi R




18th AG / 120th OA


Carrie Chavez

I have a left hip injury.  Came on suddenly 5 days ago.  After a lot of stretching, massaging and resting this week, I wake up with it bothering me more than ever.

40 min before the marathon, I go out in the dark and run up and down the street in a cold, windy downpour.  The hip is really limiting my stride.  30 min before the start, I go out and it’s wonderful light, no rain, no wind.  I jog .8mi to the race start with a slight limp. The hip feels very tight.

Normally I would do strides (short sprints) to loosen up and stretch out.  This morning there won’t be any quick running.  I spent time in the Bible this morning and finished with Acts 2:25,

“'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Despite the unknown, I won’t be shaken as long as the Lord goes before me.  I also prayed that I would find someone I know to pray with.  I do – Carrie Chavez.  I pray with her and her friend Davide. Carrie says she really wants to be available to help someone this morning if they need it.

WP_20170305_06_54_27_ProRobin & the girls find me before the start and pray for me.  They are such a great support group.

There’s a strange “invocation” again like the year before.  And then the meaningful National Anthem.  And we’re off!

Starting the run, I feel the strain each step in my left hip.  Normally a very bad way to start, but I’m comforted by recollection of Robin’s 2015 Napa Marathon where she ran well despite hamstring pain from the beginning.  I’ve already done everything I can, now is actually the hardest part, trusting in what the Lord is planning to do.  It could get worse and I will have to walk… a long way.  Or maybe it’ll stay together..WP_20170305_07_03_09_Pro

Mile 1. 7:47. My watch is set for 7:45 pace, even though I think 8:00 is more realistic.  Last year I ran 7:30 pace.  I am feeling more relaxed, as I don’t have a hard-set goal.  The miles are actually going by fast even though each step is slightly strained.  A guy is dribbling (slow-bouncing) a basketball.  He’s trying WP_20170305_08_08_56_Proto break the Guiness Book of World Records.  We had a friend try that here years back but he hurt his knee during it.  It’s very tough.  I hope this guy can do it.  He pulls ahead of me and seems very steady.

Mile 2. 7:44. Yesterday my friend, Melissa, reminded me to “run the tangents”.  That means cutting the corners (within the rules) to run less distance.  I do that normally somewhat but other runners are usually in the way.  The difficult part of tangents is the steep slant on the sides of the road.  They strain your ankles and stabilizing muscles.  But since I feel strangely at ease this race I decide to run the tangents – completely.

Mile 3. 7:28. Some runners are discussing why the mile marker isn’t tracking with the GPS.  I tell them about the course being a little long – about 2 minutes.  This is why I want to run the complete tangents, to see what this course really is.  I go all the way into the deep slant.  And runners are never in the way this time.  It works out great.  Maybe I’ll shave another minute off the course?

Mile 4. 7:16. I’m drinking every aid station (2mi apart).  I need water to fend off cramps, plus I didn’t drink enough before I started.  It is a glorious day now!  The sun is bright in our eyes sometimes and everything is sparkling.  Similar to last year.  Just perfect.  I have a base layer, arm warmers, tech shirt, gloves and a small plastic bag (in case of rain).  My fingers are cold but after a while I won’t need gloves.

Mile 5.  7:22. I think of my 5 mi loop at home.  Just 4 more of these.  There is a woman a minute or 2 ahead, about the same pace.  Maybe I can eventually catch up to her.

Mile 6. 7:43. The 10k mark is a welcome distraction.  47 min.  Not bad. The hip is not getting worse.  Maybe a little less.  I’m actually 30 secs ahead of my 7:45 pace and very happy about that.  My breathing is calm.  It feels much better than last year.

Mile 7. 7:38. I thank God for the experiences of the past.  First, Robin’s 2015 run showing me how God gave her a peace about just running through the hamstring issue and doing well.  If not for that I would be worried right now.  Instead I’m strangely calm.  Second, my race last year when the Lord showed me I could run faster through the dreaded last miles when the entire legs hurt like crazy.  All very encouraging.WP_20170305_08_13_05_Pro

Mile 8. 7:24. I’m looking forward to Mile 10.  I still feel good, no fatigue.  I want to compare my  last 10 mile training run at the same pace with today.

Mile 9. 7:34. At Pope St., I see Robin and the girls! I tell Robin I think the hip is getting a little better, praise God.  I wasn’t expecting to see them until 1/2 way.  A great surprise.

Mile 10. 7:47. I definitely feel better today than my last 10 mile training run!

Mile 11.  7:32. I see Davide struggling with a calf pull.  It came on suddenly this week and has been hurting since the beginning.  I ask if I can pray for him.  I pray that the Lord will make it better or give him a comfort that it won’t impact his Boston Marathon next month.  As I pull ahead, I’m hoping it starts improving for him.

WP_20170305_08_37_14_ProMile 12.  7:35. I see Robin and the girls.  Actually I hear them first!  Awesome.

Mile 13.  7:26. At the 1/2 way point I’m 1:40.  That’s about 3:20 if I can keep this pace.  But that is asking a lot.  In previous marathons I sometimes stop to stretch or pee.. but today I’m planning on no stops!  So far it’s working.. just have to be creative sometimes.

Mile 14. 7:49. I eat a Hammer Gel.

Mile 15. 7:36. A long hill now.  I like having a task at hand like working up a hill.  The sun feels warm.  I’m surprised how long it feels, like it has grown since last year.  It’s tough and my calf is starting to tire but I remind myself how great the downhill will feel.

Mile 16. 8:08. I eat another Hammer Gel.  I’m thinking a lot about getting to Mile 20.  I like that hill and I really need another goal.  The miles are getting longer.

Mile 17. 7:55. I thank God as I pass the mile marker.  2 more miles and I can start the hill.  WP_20170305_09_20_23_ProReally helps to have a goal.

Mile 18.  7:38. Thankfully I see Robin & the girls again!  I take water but I don’t feel like eating a gel.  My stomach feels funny.  Legs are hurting now, but not really the hip.  Just another mile.  The woman ahead is getting farther into the distance.

Mile 19. 7:59. Wow, the mile went by pretty fast, thank you, Lord!  Now I’m excited to get to work climbing the “Wall”.  A strong tail-wind comes up and it feels like God is doing it just for me.  It feels so easy!  I celebrate to others that we have a tail-wind but no one seems excited.  Towards the top it’s harder but also more exciting to get past this big milestone.

Mile 20. 8:01. At the top I’m less than a minute behind the woman.  Now I get to descend – something I’ve been looking forward to.  I run as tall as possible, making efficient use of my long, but very sore, legs.  These next 3 miles are always brutal.   Suddenly, in the middle of the road, a rock jumps up into the back of my shoe.  It feels big and I stop to get it out.  I start to reach down and the stiffness seizes me.  It will take forever to get down there.  I’m going to trust God and keep running.  The rock works down the back of my heel, under my heel, down to the arch and then off to the side!  Whew!  Thanks, God!

Mile 21.  7:50. There isn’t a mile marker where I think there should be one.  Or I lost track.  After a while I see a marker.  If it’s 21, I’ll be bummed. If it’s 22, it’ll be awesome.

Mile 22.  7:48. Yes, it was 22!  2 down, 1 more until the turn where I had a good run last year.  My right calf is sore, the whole right leg is sore.  A cold rain starts coming down.  I put my gloves back on (so glad to have them).  Suddenly it’s hailing!  A photographer gets a picture of us bracing against the sideways hail.  I can’t wait to see that.  Then, as expected, it suddenly WP_20170305_09_56_53_Prostops and is peaceful again.  Way up ahead I see flashing lights for the turn. Yay!  And there’s Robin and the girls.  They say there’s a rainbow behind me.  I’m so glad to see them.  But I tell Robin that the pain is really coming on now.  She says to stay focused on God! 

Mile 23. 7:57. Last year, I had been slowing more and more as the pain built up.  On this section, I felt God telling me to keep running at pace and the pain won’t get worse.  It went great and I look forward to that again.  I push forward, looking at the stop sign far in the distance.  Push, push.  I’m gaining on the woman who has been in front since the beginning.  There’s a headwind.  Just gotta get to the turn..  finally, the turn, and it’s peaceful again with some tailwind.

Mile 24.  7:42. I catch the woman.  She tells a friend her calves are cramping.  I’ve been listening closely to mine as they complain.  3 other women come through, at different speeds.  I want to stay with one of them but my calf says no.  I’m still running well and so amazed that nothing has failed yet.  God, you have totally answered prayers!  I could still break-down so I try not to do anything crazy, just keep the same pace.  I think I see the flashing lights for the turn, but I’m wrong. Ugh, another 1/2 mile!

Mile 25.  7:31. Finally, we turn and it’s a straight shot until the neighborhoods.  Just focus on God, ignore the pain, ignore my legs, just God.  It’s these moments that I reflect on in life.  If I 170305_napa_marathon_troy_finish3could do this all the time, just focus on Him and ignore the struggles or frustrations, I know he’ll get me through.  And He gets me through this section and now the neighborhoods!

Mile 26.  7:28. I’m getting exciting. Suddenly my rt calf hurts WP_20170305_10_33_06_Proand I have to slow it down.  But it’s right around the corner.  “Thank you, Lord, we did it.  You made it work, and I trusted You”.  I’m so tired and sore but I smile and come in thanking God.  I’m done!  Wow, that was a great day!