Saturday, March 10, 2018

Happy Kids Du #4

Date/Location: 3/10/18, Granite Bay
Distance: 1mi R – 3miB – 1mi R
Time: Ariel: 31:53, PR!   (Previous 32:05)
Place: Ariel: 3rd, 9 & 10 Year Old Girls

My Race Story

1st Run

I line up at the starting line for the 4th Happy Kids Duathlon. The race director says 10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go! I start running up I go straight and the enter the trails. I go downhill then up the hill. I try to catch a girl that was in my previous duathlon. She’s not in my age group. I stay behind her. I tried to stay with her but she disappeared into the distance. Every time I go around a corner I see blue {which is the color she was wearing} go around another. I keep running. Dad cheers me on. I start to sprint to transition. I run into transition and put on my helmet. I run my bike to the line.


I get on Anna’s bike and go up a big hill. Then down a little hill and then I go on a long straight road. I keep biking and do a big turn. I see kids going back on the other side of the road. I go up a little hill then turn. Now I see kids coming. I do the big turn and enter the long road again. I see the girl I wanted to pass. I bike harder. I’m getting closer and closer. I pass her.  She says a good job and I say a good job back. But right in when I was going into transition she passes me.

2nd Run

I run out of transition. My legs hurts. I go up a hill and enter the trails. I do a zig-zag. As I run up a small hill and my legs are sore. I cross over a I see a lot of drift wood. Dad is waiting for me. He cheers me on. I see the long stretch to the finish. I feel exhausted as I run down the home stretch. I run around the corner and see the finish line. I sprint to the finish. I’m so glad I finished. I got 3rd in my age group.



Chanoko 31K–Robin-2018


3/10/18 – Auburn to Granite Beach


31K (Approx 20 Miles)




2nd (40-49 Females); 4th Overall Woman

I want to keep my streak going of doing this race since it’s beginning in 2016.  It starts just a couple miles from our house and finishes at Granite Beach.  With it being a week after the Napa Marathon, results could vary.  It could go as well as last year, first overall and a 9:34 pace, or it can be more challenging.  I don’t really have high expectations and just want to see what I can do.

I get dropped off by Troy and Ariel at the Overlook. Ariel is off to do her 4th Happy Kids Duathlon at Granite Beach – the finish of my race.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to see her race.  Anna won’t either as she’s off to the Regional Science Fair.  We will join her later.  We all pray for each other and the competitions we have ahead.  My main prayer for my race is to remain joyful no matter how I feel.

After getting ready, I go to the start.  I don’t recoginize anyone this year.  It’s a bigger crowd this time.  They’ve added a 50K so that has brought out more folks. 

Mark, of TBF Racing, starts us off and takes off ahead on his mtn bike.  This first part of the run is downhill to the river and I start off at sub-8 min pace to capitalize on this.

On our way down we take a detour on Stu’s trail.  It’s a short little loop named after former pro triathlete, Brad Kearns’ dog.  Then it’s down my favorite trail to run up, Cardiac ByPass.  I don’t like running downhill and especially with any kind of obstacle.  But I know there is going to be A LOT of obstacles today so better embrace it!  I think about Troy telling me to jump over the rocks.  I do a decent job moving along though I am passed by a few guys here. 

Continuing on Cardiac Bypass, I make the final descent to the river.  I’m averaging about 8:12 pace here at 3 miles.  The goal is to be between 9:34 pace and 10:08 pace by the end…hoping for closer to 9:34 but with the Napa Marathon just a week behind me, that might be a tall order!  I see Mark taking pictures and smile.

The pace slows to 9:02 as I continue on the next 2 miles due to the up and down terrain.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I’m actually catching some runners going downhill in some spots and it gives me confidence that my skills are improving.  I am able to pass a girl.

I am feeling certain my arch support has inched it’s way down to my toe.  I feel a lump that seems to be moving around some.  I try to ignore it but it’s annoying.  Maybe I’ll stop later on to check.  I also need to use the bathroom so maybe I’ll do both. 

I get a good rhythm going as I continue towards Rattlesnake Bar.  A girl passes me and she looks strong.  I try to stay close.  By the time I get to the PG&E power station around Mile 8, I’m hanging onto 9:05 pace.  I pass a guy who has stopped to rub his knee.  I tell him to hang in there and that I’m praying for him.  I say it kind of quiet so I think he doesn’t hear me.  I need to be bolder and unafraid to share the love of Jesus!

I love this part of the trail.  There’s a pond called Avery’s Pond here.  The trail is wide, the plants are beautiful and you can see the river.  Only 11 more miles. That sounds far!  I remind myself that last week’s marathon was much longer…sounds better but still a long way to go. Wondering if my energy will hold up!

I make it to Rattlesnake Bar.  As the aid station comes into view, I decide to stop and check my shoe. I get my water bottle filled up as I take off my shoe.  My arch support is where it is supposed to be so it must be my sock.  I try to straighten it out and then quickly put my shoe back on.  As I’m leaving, the guy with the knee issue comes up and asks for tape.  I want to tell him good job for persevering but I don’t because I don’t want to interupt.  I decide to take off and again regret not being bolder.

Somewhere in the next few miles is the start of the “Meat Grinder”.  It’s an up and down, twisting and turning section that can be very slow going. 

By Mile 14, it’s apparent that I’m in the heart of the Meat Grinder.  I cannot remember if the Meat Grinder is around 2 miles or more like 5 miles.  I’ll soon figure it out. 

In the last 4 miles my pace has gone from 9:12 to 9:37.  I can see already that 9:34 pace is not going to happen today.  I’m feeling tired and my legs are not feeling strong.  I’ve noticed my legs are threatening to go out from under me and I hit some downhill sections.  I’ve been having a Clif Blok about every mile now.  Now I just need to stay ahead of 10:08 pace!  I feel God reminding me to be joyful and just keep trying.

I catch up to a girl I saw in the beginning.  She’s doing the 50K.  We run together for a bit and chat.  We actually get a nice pace going for a bit when the trail is a bit more straight and level. It’s not long before another hilly and winding section comes.  Ok, the Meat Grinder is definitely more like 5 miles!  The gal stays with me for a bit more but then I pull ahead. 

By Mile 16, I’m averaging 9:56 pace.  Oh boy!  Just keep trying and just keep smiling!  I should be near the outskirts of Granite Beach park.  A girl flys by me.  Oh wow!  I could be in 1st, 2nd or 3rd depending on whether she and that other girl are doing the 50K.  And, who knows, maybe there are more girls out there from the start that I didn’t see.

At the start of Mile 18, I finally know I’m in Granite Beach Park. I see an Aid station and get to run on the paved road in the park.  It’s a short, by nice break from the trails.  I’m at 10:01 pace.  I think I can hold that until the end!  I am able to catch and pass a few guys.

Back on the trail.  I can hear Mike announcing though I’m still 1.5 miles from the finish…so close but yet still more to go.  Soon I hear “first woman”!  Ok, well that confirms it.  I feel God reminding me that I was happy just to be here and keep the streak going. 

I see Troy and Ariel with 1 mile to go!  They are cheering and smiling.  I smile back and wave.  I tell them it was hard but I’m glad to be almost done.  They jump in the car to race to the finish and I keep going. 

I hear fast feet approaching from behind.  It could be another woman so I pick up the pace.  I feel like I’m flying along though I’m probably not going much faster.  Suddenly a guy goes flying by and I breathe a sigh of relief.  I try to keep up as best as I can.  There is another guy ahead.  I wonder if I can catch him.

So close!  I can see the finish area…yeah!  Go, go, go!  I finish as fast as I can smiling all the way.  I point to the Lord as I cross the line.  So good to be done!  Thank you Lord!!


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Napa Marathon–Robin - 2018


3/4/18 – Calistoga to Napa, CA


Marathon (26.2 Miles)




10th (40-44 Females); 16th Master Woman


It’s been a busy week!  Yesterday was Anna’s first of two science fairs.  She did great finishing 2nd in her category!  There have been many, many hours invested and many late nights!  Troy and Anna have been working so hard and I’ve been trying to help by taking on some of their chores and also caring for Al, Troy’s dad, a bit more.  I admit that the stress has been high for me…and it’s really my own doing.  I haven’t allowed the Lord to help me and I haven’t been fully trusting that He can work things out.  This race has almost been an after-thought but it’s still a long race and it’s been looming on the horizon.  I’ve invested in the endurance training but not in speed so I don’t expect any PRs.  I just want to have a good attitude and smile.  The half marathon I did a few weeks ago was a challenge mentally.  I struggled to be positive and I missed my goal by a few seconds.  I was a bit of a grump after.  I just don’t want to go there today.  I want to enjoy this time running and being with my family.  Troy’s Dad spent the night at home with a caregiver giving us some much needed time off!

We spent the night less than a mile from the start.  Very convenient and it doesn’t require a super early start!  I get up and spend time in God’s Word.  I read John 7-9 and see the many ways Jesus proved He was the Son of God, one with God.  What a powerfuly creator I serve.  I want to glorify Him today! I warm up running around the hotel and get ready to head to the start. We pray together as a family

Over near the start, I do some drills and feel much looser!  Troy, Anna and Ariel find me in line for the porta potty.  They’ve brought a hoola hoop and jump rope that were in our hotel room.  Those girls just want to have fun and I love their spirit! 

Troy is confident that I can run 3:34.  I am just hoping for a sub-3:40 marathon like 3:37 which is 8:17 pace.  This is based on my half marathon race and lack of training at faster paces.  Troy set my Garmin Virtual (Race) Partner to 8:10 for a 3:34 marathon.  He actually set it for 8:00 pace based on the Garmin being 10 sec/mi off in the past. Garmin inaccuracies have given me false assurance that I’m running on pace in the past.  It can be pretty discouraging.  I’ve turned off my auto lap feature so it won’t give me mile splits.  Instead, I’ll track my splits by clicking off my Timex watch at the mile markers – Old School style. 

I say goodbye to my wonderful family and give Troy a big kiss.  Here we go!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Start

A horn starts the race and we are off!  Only 26 miles to go!  Just one mile at a time!  It’s foggy and very chilly this morning!  A guy near me complains that this race is supposed to be scenic.  It gets some laughs. I’m thankful for no rain this time!  I’m bundled up and feeling perfect.  I’m carrying my phone so Troy and the girls can track me better.

Mile 4. I’m averaging about 8:05 per mile and staying ahead of my virtual runner.  That’s faster than the 8:17 pace I was hoping for!  There are two girls that come up alongside me and are looking for their significant others.  They see them at the first real spectator spot.  One looks like a natural runner (orange shorts) and it seems like she’s really holding back.  Her friend tells her the pace is too fast so she slows down for her friend.

Mile 6. I get a 8:14 split, I realize that my goal is 8:10 and not 8:17.  It’s fine because I’ve been running under 8:10 according to my Timex.  I’m barely ahead of my virtual runner. 

MIle 7.  There’s another group of spectators (Deer Park Rd).  I don’t expect to see my family quite yet but out of nowhere I hear “hey Mom!”.  I look to my right and there’s Anna with a camera running alongside me!

  180304_NapaMarathon Robin Deer Park 7.5 d

What a nice surprise.  I reach out and give her a high five and a smile.  She asks if i’m feeling alright and I tell her my hamstrings are getting sore.  As I continue on, I hear some gals behind me remark on how moving the scene was for them.  Glad it touched someone!

I have a worship song in my heart just as Anna prayed for.  Thank you Lord! 

My hamstrings are bugging me more but thankfully I’m able to hold my pace.

Mile 9. I’m averaging 8:07.  Great!  Another spectator zone ahead (Pope St.).  There’s Anna again with Ariel getting pics and videos. 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Pope St 9.5 b

Anna takes off running alongside me again and tells me I look fast.  She asks about my hamstrings and tell her they are a bit more sore now.  What sweethearts!  Troy must be dropping them off…or maybe there’s a problem at home with Al and he’s on the phone.  I pray for that to not be the case. 

The virtual runner is ahead of me by less than 100 feet. I hope to catch up but in the least keep the gap minimal.  A guy with bunny ears passes me. 

The sun is out now but it’s still chilly.  I’m feeling comfortably dressed!

Mile 11.  Anna and Ariel appear again (Zinfandel Rd) without Troy.  It’s so good to see them but I wonder if things are ok at home. I prepare myself for the possibility that something is wrong with Al.  I tell the Lord it’s all in His hands and I’m just going to keep going and see what happens.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Zinfandel 11.5 c

I ask Anna as she runs alongside me again.  She says everything’s great with a big smile.  Must be fine then!

At Mile 12 I’m averaging 8:06.  This is great!  I hope to keep it up!  The virtual partner is just under 200 feet ahead and I’ll try to keep it that way.  Catching up is probably not an option.

At the half marathon mark I’m at 1:46.  That would put me at a 3:32 marathon!  That would be awesome but there is still a lot distance to cover!  In 6 miles is a “big hill” as Troy reminded me about this morning.  He also said that should be my favorite since I love hills!  I don’t know if it will really be love at mile 19!

The fast girl in the orange shorts flies by. She’s without her friend.  Wow, look at her go!  She is a real natural!  I have decided that I want to catch the bunny ears guy. 

It’s hard trying to catch up to the bunny guy but I’m getting closer.  I also see a girl with her hair in 2 buns next to him.  Maybe I’ll catch them both!

Just before Mile 16 (Oakville Cross Rd) I finally see Troy! He’s smiling and cheering me on.  I ask if everything is ok at home and he says “I haven’t heard anything”…phew, what a relief!  He says I look like I’m limping. I tell him I don’t think so but my hamstrings are sore.  He says they’ll pray for me.  A little further up are the girls.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 c

They are so focused on capturing the moment on their cameras, that they are silent…but smiling.

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakville Cross 16 f

Anna runs with me again and continues to encourage me.

At Mile 16, I’m averaging 8:04 pace. The virtual partner continues to stay ahead and it’s almost at 300 yards!  I catch the bunny guy.  I was hoping to catch up and rest but he’s slowed down. I look ahead and see another pack of runners to catch.  Must keep moving ahead and not let up!

I catch up to the next pack of runners and they’ve slowed down too.  I latch onto a runner going by and follow him to the next crowd of runners.  The fast girl in the orange shorts is gone along with the girl with the buns in her hair.  I set my sights on a girl with a big heavy sweatshirt on and wonder how she can run with that.

I see the girls again (Yountville Rd) just before Mile 19!

 180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville18 b180304_NapaMarathon Robin Yountville 18 d

Yeah!  But no Troy.  And I probably won’t see all again until the finish line.

At Mile 19, the girl ditches the sweatshirt at a box at the mile marker.  Wow, she must feel free now.  I’m climbing the “big hill” but it’s actually very subtle.  I pass the girl and look ahead to the next pack of runners. 

I think we turn off this road at mile 22.  Then it’s only 4 miles to the end.  I’ll have 2 main straightaways at that point in the race and I visualize myself running each one with focus.

At Mile 20, I’m averaging 8:04 but I’m still behind the virtual runner.  Despite the constant hamstring discomfort, this race is going well.  Thank you Lord!  As long as nothing goes wrong with my muscles in my legs, I just need to keep pushing and see what happens.  I think I can hold this pace. 

The “big hill” just turned out to be a long gradual climb.  By mile 21, I’m heading down.  Just a few miles to the turn.

A blond gal passes me.  I try to stay with her.  Pretty soon, I’m passing her back.  We go back and forth a bit all the way to the turn.  I keep thinking ahead to those 2 straightaways.  It’s going to be hard but again, if nothing is holding me back why not push it. 

Mile 22 comes and I can see runners turning down the road.  The virtural runner is ahead by a lot.

I make the turn.  Ok, stretch #1!  The blond girl is just ahead.  I push and pass her just at the Mile 23 marker. 

Halfway down the road I see our friend Eric Gilsenan.  I wave and he tells me good job. This is good timing because my brain/heart and body are having an argument.  My body wants to let up and cruise in since I’m well below my original goal.  But my brain/heart know that I’ve got to keep going. A 3:32 is looking very realistic as long as nothing goes wrong with my legs.

Here comes stretch #2…and there’s Anna! (Oak Knoll Rd) Wow, that girl is everywhere!  I love it!  Now I’m energized!

180304_NapaMarathon Robin Oakknoll 23.5 c

Stretch #2 looks LONG and it’s because it’s the end of the race. 

At Mile 24, I’m at 8:05 pace and I’m am a bit closer to the virtual partner.  Oh boy, this is tough!  2 more miles of this??  I remind myself that I have less than half of a Tuesday Night track workout left!

There is a guy at the next aid station shouting “how bad do you want it?!”  My brain/heart wants to go for it.  My body is trying to get me to slow down.  I keep pushing and it feels like I’m running all out!  Troy and I have talked about how it always feels like that at the end. 

I make it to mile 25!  One more mile!  Thankfully a woman flies by and I try to latch on.  She’s pulling ahead some but she’s helped me to push harder.  I’m catching up to the virtual runner!

I finish stretch #2 and now i just need to weave my way through a neighborhood.

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 a 

Go!  I’m going to get 3:32!  So close now!  I see Troy and Anna cheering me on! 

180304_NapaMarathon Robin 26 b

Their smiles and cheers keep me going. I can see the finish!  I keep pushing!

Down the finish chute!


I’m so happy and relieved!  As I cross the finish I look up to God and thank Him!  Wow, what a race!  What a undeserved gift!  Thank you Jesus!

180304_napa_marathon_robin_post_race180304_NapaMarathon Robin Finsh