Saturday, May 5, 2018

Wildflower Long Course 2018–Robin


May 5th – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA


Swim 1.2M – Bike 56M – Run 13.1


5:47:37 (35:29 – 3:30 - 3:12:26 – 2:21 - 1:53:50)




Long Course

Teammates: Clyde Floyd, Reynold Lewke;

Friends: Dave Leroy, Elise Winter

Olympic Course

Teammates: Caryn Galeckas, Dana Haldeman, Suzanne Hartley, Troy Soares, Sydney Lewis

On-Road Sprint

Teammates: Anna Soares;

Friends: Chase Visser, Josh Cagney

So great to be back at Wildflower after it was cancelled last year!  Most thankful to be serving at our FCA booth at the Expo alongside great teammates Caryn Galeckas, Clyde Floyd, David & Cheryl Kurtze, Mike Cassidy & Suzanne Hartley. 

I’m not sure how the day will go.  There are some things going against me…a strained arch that might make me walk on the run, and some lack of sleep and training from taking care of another family member.  One thing is for sure, it’s up to God and I know, no matter what, He’ll give me a day to remember!  I spend time in Acts 9 and 10 before the race.  In Ch. 9, it reminds me that I am to testify that Jesus was appointed by God to come and die for all mankind so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and have eternal life.  I hope to be a witness of Jesus and show others the love He gave to me.

I line up with the 40-49 ladies.  I meet a very nice gal, Melissa.  We chat about the day ahead.  I find Elise Winter.  She’s doing her first half Iron race here at Wildflower.  That is a hard task, but I am confident that she will have no problem today.  Elise’s husband, Greg, takes our picture.  I give her a hug and tell her she’ll do great!

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_swimI pray with Troy and the girls.  Now I’m ready to go!

Our wave gets a chance to warm-up just after the wave before us goes off.  The water feels great!  Despite not enjoying the early training days at the pool, I really love the swim portion of these tris!  Looking forward to racing!


Ready, set, go!  I start on the far left front.  About 2 minutes in, the field suddenly becomes really tight as we all try to swim left to the first buoy.  I have to stop a few times to move across to the right to avoid being squeezed between swimmers.  Once I get past the first buoy, it gets much better and I can settle in.  I feel a bit out of shape in the water, but it sure still feels nice to be out here!  I cannot find someone to draft off of.  I just keep my line.

It seems like a long while until we turn to head back.  I find a girl in my wave.  I work hard to catch up to her.  I get a nice draft behind her but she soon drifts off.  I’d rather just keep swimming straight than try to stay with her.  She’ll be back!

Sure enough she comes back and I follow her through a crowd of swimmers in the last stretch.  She’s pulling away but I try to keep her near.  Home stretch, go!

Finally, I make it to the boat ramp and pull over to get my wetsuit off.  It’s a bit slow going but finally get it off.  As I run up the boat ramp, I’m distracted by my Garmin. Something is wrong so I try to reset it as I run.  As I make it to the top, I realize I just missed out on friends that could’ve been cheering for me.  Bummer. Ok, people first, technology second!  [In 6th place].


180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_bike2My transition is good but as I mount my bike, I struggle to get my feet in my bike shoes which are already on the bike.  I stop and actually pull off each shoe and put them on.  [I’m now in 5th place]. Finally, I’m off and heading out.  We bike through the finish line right past our FCA booth.  I wave and smile at everyone.

Beach Hill is tough going but bit by bit I get to the top.  I always get a little nervous biking up steep hills with other riders around me…afraid I cannot react in time if someone swerves.

At Mile 5, I’m at 13.8 mph average.  Pretty slow but I’m still excited for what’s ahead.  Anything can happen out here.  I see some of the FCA signs with scripture and encouragement that Troy and Cheryl Kurtze put out.  Love it and hope many others do, too!

I’m getting some momentum now and my average is creeping up ever so slowly.

At Mile 10, I’m at 15.8 mph average.  I cannot remember my past speeds on this course but I do remember Troy’s advice from many years ago…push the downhills and push less on the uphills.  That will come into play more after mile 20.

I start to feel my arms burning a bit and I realize I did a horrible job applying sunscreen.  I didn’t do my shoulders in the morning and was saving that for later.  This is a long day and I’ll need to find some sunscreen somehow.  I’ll try an Aid Station down the road.

At Miles 15, I’m now at 16.9.  Alright, it’s coming up.  I remember another Troyisim, whatever your average is on the bike going into Nasty Grade, you will loose 1 full mph.  Well, let’s see how far I can get the average up!

At Mile 20, I’m now at 17.0.   I finally see an Aid Station and decide to stop and ask for sunscreen.  It’s going to mean I’ll loose some speed but I think in the end it will be worth it!  A volunteer says yes and I ask her to help me put some on my shoulders.  I get plenty to cover the rest of me as some surely came off from the swim.  As I take off, I see that my average is 16.9!  Not bad!  Thank you Lord!

This is were the rollers begin and my downhill push also kicks in.  (B1)

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_bikeAt Mile 25, I’m now at 17.1.  I catch up to Heather who is camping next to us.  She looks strong and we go back and forth a bit.

At Mile 30, I’m at 17.9!  Wow, thank you Lord!  This is a total gift.  I had no real expectation to be really racing today and here I am feeling like I’m racing!

The turn towards Nasty Grade is coming.  I remember that part being slower in the past.  That is probably where the mph starts to go down.

Mile 35, I’m at 18.4.  It would be great to have 17.4 at the end! 

To my surprise I actually maintain my average to Mile 40!  Wow, great!

Nasty Grade begins.  Here we go!  I’m expecting to feel wiped out going up due to my lack of bike miles this season.  I’m pleasantly surprised that I feel great.  Thank you Lord!  This is clearly from Him.

At Mile 45, I’m at 17.6 and finally over the hump and flying down the BIG descent.  It is so steep and it’s hard not to be scared.  I start singing worship songs and asking for His help.  I try to relax and brake minimally.  My flesh says '”be careful!”, “what if your front fork breaks or your front tire goes flat”, “look out!”.  I try to remain calm and trust.  It goes well and I make it down fast and safely.  Thank you Lord!

The next several mile are like a false flat.  I often stuggle here mentally.  Today, I feel great physically and mentally.  Lord, you are awesome!

At Mile 50, I’m holding 17.4.  Nice!

Last turn and I head back in the park.  On the last big climb back to the park entrance, there are more FCA signs.  Lord, may folks really think about you as they fly or suffer up this hill!

Soon, I’m turning onto Lynch Hill and making the 1 mile descent.  The runners on Lynch are most likely pros.  Must be nice to be done!

As I head towards transition, I see 17.4 mph!  Thank yoiu God!  Amazing!  I get the dismount right and am able to pull my feet out of my shoes. Yeah!

Time to run!  [11th fastest bike split, I’m in 7th place now.]


180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_runMy transistion is slow but I get moving!  As I exit T2, I see Troy.  I give him a high five.  We’ll see how this goes!  Will the arch hold up?  [Still in 7th place.]

At Mile 1 I’m averaging 8:35.  I can feel the arch but it’s a little tender.  If it keeps up like this, I can run the entire way! 

At Mile 2 I’m averaging 8:35.  Arch is the same!  Thanks God! Things are looking good!  I’m starting to calculate paces in my mind.  If I can run a 9 min average pace, I can break 2 hours.  I am hoping for that but know that whatever I do today is God’s will…even a 2 hour plus run.

I hit the first hill and see 2 FCA signs.  The scripture encourages and comforts me. 

I turn off the road and onto the trail.  It’s hot and dry! 

At Mile 3 I’m averaging 8:25.  Wow, the arch is doing great and I feel great too!  Thank you Lord!  I encourage a gal that’s in the 50-54 year age group and tell her she’s doing great staying ahead of the competition.  She says she’s doing what she can and that she has a knee replacement surgery coming up.  I ask when…2 weeks. I tell her I’ll pray for her and I do as I continue on. 

A half mile later I come up on a girl that is walking and crying.  I stop and put my arm around her and say a prayer for her.  She is encouraged and I thank God for that!  I ask her name…Naomi.  I tell her she can do it!

At Mile 4 I’m averaging 8:29.  That’s about to change dramatically in the next 1.5 miles…lots of climbing!!  If it’s God’s will, I would love to see the arch hold up and be able to run every hill. 

At Mile 5, I’m averageing 8:53.  Oh boy, 9 minute pace might be hard to get but all I can do is keep pushing!  These hills are really tough, but I’m not walking.  Thank you Lord!!

I notice a girl in blue in my age group ahead.  She’s running strong on the flats but I’m catching her on the uphills.  Every time I catch up though, she takes off.  I’m just going to stay steady.

Here comes the top!  I tell a guy next to me that this is the reward.  He agrees but says “it actually will hurt running down”…so true!!  Down we go!  I try not to break and swing my arms wide to keep myself upright.  Yeah, it doesn’t feel great going down but it’s a short, steep descent that is over quickly.

I actually catch up to the girl in blue and run with her for a bit.  I tell her she’s running strong.

At Mile 6 I’m averaging 8:55.  I’ve got to try to pick up the pace now to get the average back down before the last big climb from Mile 10 to 11.  The girl in blue asks me what the rest of the course is like.  I explain all that she can expect.  She soon takes off.

At Mile 7, I’m averaging 8:53.  I see our friend Dave Leroy ahead.  I catch up to him as we hit the Redondo campground climb.  I tell him good job. 

I’m soon running by my campsite and I see Caryn and Suzanne cheering for me.  I wave and tell them the arch is good.  I am so grateful to be able to say that. 

At Mile 8, I’m averaging 8:50.  I’m gaining back some speed!  Down another dusty trail to the overflow parking.  It’s pretty quiet with few runners in sight.  I see a yellow shirt in the distance and realize it’s Troy!  Wow, he ran all the way up from the finish line area to see me.  I stop to hug him and tell him I love him.  I’m so happy to tell him that the arch is holding up and I’m actually racing!  He tells me Elise is 5 minutes ahead. There’s no way I’ll catch her but maybe I’ll get a glimpse!  “Mile 10 to 11 is your favorite!”  Ok, down the long hill and then push it up!  Got to get excited because sounds hard right now.

180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_run2As I decend, I see Elise coming back up.  We wave to each other and I tell her good job.  A guy comes alongside me and tells me he was just praying before he saw my jersey.  “It’s a sign from God” he says.  I tell him great job as he goes by and remind him that it is an 12 mile race…”the last mile is downhill!” 

I make the turn and start heading up.  I feel great!  I look for the FCA signs for encouragement.  I think of Jesus at each one.  I’m encouraging all kinds of folks that they just need to make it to mile 12. 

At Mile 11 I’m averaging 8:50 still!  Wow, that’s all you Lord! The toughest part of  the hill is done but I still have “one more” mile to go! 

I see a guy up ahead whose legs are obviously seizing up.  I stop and pray for him.  He gives me such a mean look.  I just smile and keep going…sometimes it’s not received well…I pray for his heart to soften.  Mile 12 is just ahead! 

Up and over!  I’m averaging 8:50 still!  I fly down Lynch as fast as my tired legs can go.  I’m just thanking God for a great run. I’m definitely going to break 2 hours and I’m thrilled.  This could have been a long walk today.  This is a reward and gift and I’m going to give Him the glory.

I see the finish chute now.  Time to push.  One last dig.  I see the girls waiting to for me. I give them high fives as I go by.  [5:47:37 and 4th in my age.  1:53:50 and 3rd fastest for the run].  I cross the finish line and look up to Him. Thank you Jesus!!180506_wildflower_long_course_robin_finish