Sunday, August 11, 2019

TBF Tri For Real #3–Robin-2019

Date/Location:
8/11/19, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, CA
Distances:
1.5km S – 40km B – 10km R
Time:

2:36:37 (26:16 – 1:22:21 – 48:01)

Place:

3rd, F 45-49

Teammates:

TeamMates/Friends: Anna Soares(Aquabike), Ariel (Kids Tri),  Dave Campbell, Keith Hansen,


Up early with the girls, their friend Ruth and Troy. It’s so nice that the girls are old enough now to get chores done and ready to go.  They are in the car ontime!  At the last minute this morning Troy gets Anna’s bike ready to go.  She was going to do the Aquathon (Swim-Run) again but a sprained ankle has caused us to change her to the AquaBike (Swim-Bike). 

We get to the race transistion in time for Ariel and Ruth to set up and head down to the water.  I’m having a hard time with being joyful.  It seems like little things annoy me like my aero bottle not going on right and having to keep returning to my transistion site for gear/things I keep forgetting. 

I am able to catch Ariel finishing up her swim and transistion to the bike.  She looks strong even though she’s further back since she aged up to the big kids 100m swim.  I am able to see Ruth come out the her swim wave.  Though there are a lot more kids, she holds her own and is in the top 1/3.

I get to the water and realize I forgot to bring my spray (to help make wetsuit come off) and Sportslick (to help prevent chaffing).  I run back to transistion and make it back when the last men’s wave is about to go.  I get in the water and decide to adjust my goggles.  The strap comes undone and I hear “one minute to go”!  I see Anna on the shore.  I know her wave starts about 10 minutes after mine.  I can grab her goggles and give mine to Troy to fix for her to wear.  I run up to Troy and put the mess in his hands and ask Anna if I can take hers.  Without hestitation she gives them to me and tells me that I’m really going to enjoy them.  I jump back in the water just in time!  “Go!”

I get a good start and fall in behind the top 3 girls.  I start thinking about Anna and I am concerned that I have messed up her swim start.  Maybe I should have gone without goggles.  I pray and ask the Lord to let my goggles be fixed in time and for them to work on her face. 

At the first turn buoy our group has dropped by one.  The two remaining girls split off and I stick with the one that seems to be swimming a nice straight line towards the next buoy.  I have a nice draft for a bit until she drifts over to the right a bit far.  I go it alone and try to see if I can get ahead.  The other girl is to my left and back.  I seem to remain in the same position for a while and realize it’s best to have a draft.  I veer right and get back in the top girl’s draft.  It seems like the next buoy is still way out there.  My mind wanders back to Anna and I wonder again if she’s doing ok with my goggles.  I like her goggles and find them very comfortable.

Finally the turn buoy is here and we are swimming around it.  I am right with the top girl and accidentally touch her foot.  I know how annoying that is so I pull off to the left a bit.  I try to pass again but she’s swimming strong and I notice the fatigue setting in.  The shore is close!  She’s out and I’m right behind.  I pause to hand off my swim tag to a volunteer and then I take off my wetsuit.  I’ve been struggling for many races now to get the wetsuit off from around my ankles.  Finally, it’s off and I’m off!

Once I get to my transistion area, I struggle to know what to do first.  I pick up my arm warmers.  I do feel chilled but are they needed?  I put them down and put on my helmet, shoes and glasses.  I pick up the arm warmers again and attempt to put them on.  Forget it, too hard!  I grab my bike and go! 

Right away, there is a series of speed bumps and Bott Dots. It’s hard to get into a rhythm.  As I’m about to leave the park and get on the main road, I start to notice that my pedal stroke is not smooth and there is jerking on the chain.  This often happens when I’m in an easy gear on a flat road. I shift to a harder gear.  Same thing.  I shift up again and again but no change.  This is weird.  Something is wrong!  It feels too hard pedaling.  Troy had replaced a chain wheel on my bike yesterday.  It must not be compatiable with my set up.  I’m so frustrated that I consider turning around to show him and basically demand him to fix it.  I think back to his Ironman race story where he recalled quitting mentally in the past and didn’t want to do that again.  I don’t want to “quit” and show our girls and Ruth that when things go wrong, just stop.  I decide to live with it and continue on.  So on with the next 24 miles!

I turn and head out the long stretch to the turnaround.  The jerking continues and I try to focus on pedaling smoothly.  Cyclists seem to just be flying by me and I am so frustrated with this situation and Troy.  I know Troy didn’t do this on purpose   I should have rode my bike yesterday to test it.  I just feel mad and I don’t feel like cheering anyone on. I know this is simply selfish behavior.  Lord, I’m having a bad attitude and I’m sorry.  Please help me get through this.

I get passed by several women and I fight each time not to let them get far ahead.  It takes so much effort to maintain this pedaling!  I wonder if Anna will be able to catch me.

I finally make the turn around and head back. I’m looking for Anna.  I’m still getting passed by other riders and just keep on praying for my attitude. 

There’s Anna!  I wave and I hear her call out my name.  She looks great!

Further down the road another rider comes by.  He actually tells me good job and smiles.  It wakes me out of my selfish stupor a bit and reminds me it’s about Jesus, not me!  Thank you Lord for using that man to help me!

Finally I can see the nuclear stacks.  I am almost done!  I start thinking about what I’ll say to Troy about the bike.  I want him to know there is a problem so he can look at it but it’s too hard to explain it all.  I’ll have to wait until after the run.

I turn back into the park.  Once again Bott dots and speed bumps. 

I pull my feet out of my bike shoes as I pull into transition.  I see Troy and blurt out “Something is wrong. The pedalling is a doozy!”  Suddenly a wave of negativity comes over me.  I get to my spot and I feel unmotivated to run.  I make myself get ready and head out.  I see Troy again and say the bike didn’t go well.  I hear him say “Have a great run!  Try to go 43 min.”  I give a thumbs-down.  Immediately I feel convicted.  What a bad example!  Here I am wearing an FCA jersey and here I’m not being an ambassador for Christ.  I am sorry Lord!  That was wrong.

I regroup over the first mile.  I pass that nice guy from the bike and he says “there she is!”.  It is another encouraging boost.


Mile 1 is 8:22.  I start to feel relaxed and am able to pick up the pace.  I was expecting my legs to be trashed from the bike so this is a gift.  I starting to pass more folks but few are women.  I can see runners coming back on the trail along the lake.  I see Keith Hansen and cheer.

Mile 2 is 7:40.  I grab water and electrolytes from the next aid station.  I can see runners coming back from the out and back on the road.  I see four women in row.  Three look hard to catch and one looks like a possiblity.  I say good job even though part of me is envious of their position.  Natural human nature is not nice but selfish.  Today is not really a battle with my body but really with my attitude.  The physical challenges just help to fan the flames of my bad attitude.

I hit the road with one guy in front of me, Vern Holthouse.  He’s 79!  It takes me almost the entire out and back on the road to catch him!

Mile 3 is 7:28.  I’m surprised with that split since there is a slight incline.  I can hear another runner behind me.  I saw him on the way back.  I try to keep up the pace. This curvy trail is a fun part of the race but it’s hard because I’m getting tired. I can see the one girl I thought I can catch in the distance. 

Mile 4 is 7:35.  That guy passes me and I tell him good job.  I try to keep up.  I pass the girl.  I’m geting worn down by the winding trail.  I just want to be back on the main fire road.  I start to notice there are large rocks painted orange all along the trail.  It’s a nice distraction looking for the next rock!  Finally, I can see the entry back to the fire road!

Mile 5 is 7:25.  Great!  Just one more mile. I try to keep as close as possible to the guy.  I grab water at the last aid station.  Getting close!

MIle 6 is 7:42.  I can see Troy and I wave.  He tells me to push it to the end.  I dig a bit deeper and find a little speed.  I see the finish!  I am so glad to be done!  I cross the line and look up to God!  Thank you!

I spent the rest of the day continuing to fight my flesh.  Without Jesus I would be just a selfish mess and lost.  Lord forgive me and help me to overcome these challenges. I love you!


(follow-up from Troy: “After the race I tried to spin Robin’s pedal by hand and was shocked how hard it was.  The chain had wedged between the hangar and the jockey pulley!  It was literally scrapping metal off of the hangar on each pedal stroke!  As the mechanic I felt so bad, but hopefully won’t happen again “)

TBF Tri for Kids #3-Ariel-2019

Date/Location:
8/11/19, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, CA
Distances:
50m S – 4mi B – 1mi R
Time:

26:50 New PR for 11+ Course

Place:

5th Female (11 +), 2nd in Age Group (11);

Winner for 11 year Girls Tri Series

Teammates:

TeamMates/Friends: Ruth Boatwright

Swim

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 go! I start swimming as fast as I can. This is my first-time swimming the long course with the older kids. It feels like but I should be ahead of everyone because I'm swimming super-duper fast, but I'm not. I am in the back. The sun is so bright I can hardly see the first buoy. I finally see the first buoy when I am 10 feet away from it. I go around it and keep swimming. I'm still not in the front, but I am in the back with a lot of other kids. I can't see the next buoy, it's the last one. I swim as fast as I go around it and keep it up until my knuckles touch the ground. Then I start to run out when to transition. I get on my bike helmet, my socks and my shoes. I get my bike and go out.


Bike

I run out of transition and get on my bike. We go up and down up over speed bumps. I do not like them. I try to bike around the bumps, but some you can't so I have to bike on them. I bike across the bridge. I can see the first person in the distance, but I can't tell who it is. I'm pretty sure it's a girl that I know named Shantelle, but I'm not sure. I keep biking trying to get as close as I can. Usually, when I was in the younger group, I would have started five minutes later and the first person would be coming back already, but now I'm in the older group so I'm closer to the first person. I bike my best trying to get close to Shantelle. I keep biking and biking finally, I see kids turning around at the turnaround. I go around it and start biking back. I look for Ruth but she must of already past because I couldn't see her. I keep biking and looking for Ruth. I go over the bumps and up and down the hills. I keep biking. Then I see the transition. I dismount off my bike take off my helmet and start the run.


Run

I start running. I run to the first aid station. I can see Shantelle coming back. I grab some water from the aid station. I figure out its not water but its electrolytes which tasted like sugar. I throw it the to the ground. I keep on running the right onto some gravel and then onto the dirt. I run straight then turn. I go up a hill and cross a tiny bridge.

I go around the turnaround at the top of the hill. There's a kid behind me and I don't want him to pass me so I keep trying to run fast. I run back down the hill over the little bridge and on the flat dirt. I get back to the gravel. I see Ruth going out on the with her water bottle that my mom made with juice in it. I get back on the gravel and start running. I see the finish line. I go back by aid station. I'm not taking any water just in case I get that electrolytes water. I run across the grass. I finished at the finish line.

TBF Tri for Real AquaBike#3–Anna-2019

Date/Location:
8/11/19, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, CA
Distances:
1.5km S – 40km B
Time:

1:55:03 (32:08 S – 1:21:55 B)

Place:

2nd overall women

Teammates:

TeamMates/Friends: Robin Soares, Ariel (Kids Tri),  Dave Campbell

Tri For Real Aquabike

I get to the race and get set up. I was originally going to do the swim-run distance but I hurt my ankle and switched over to the swim-bike (Aquabike). After I set up, I start to walk down to the swim start to watch my mom. I see my mom running up because she forgot her spray, which helps you out of your wetsuit. I’m a little worried because her race is starting very soon. I get down to the beach and start putting on my wetsuit. My mom comes back and gets in the water with barely time to spare. She now runs out again because her goggles are broken.  She asks to use mine. I give her mine and tell her not to worry and that she’ll like them. She gets in the water just as the announcer is counting down. After she takes off my dad fixes her goggles for me to wear. The announcer says we're starting soon, but I thought it would be later. My dad finally finishes the goggles and starts to help me finish with my wetsuit. The announcer says “40 seconds!”  I get my wetsuit zipped, my dad sprays my ankles and I run down to the water as the announcer counts down, 6,5,4,3,2.. splash!. I dive into the water right as it’s time to go.

I had no time to be nervous or worry about the temperature. My dad said to get water in my wetsuit, but since I didn't have time I get water in it as I am swimming. I feel great and I feel the wetsuit somewhat lifting me on top of the water. I find someone who is going my speed and draft behind them. I make sure not to hit her feet because it can be annoying. After a while, she sort of drifts to the side. I stay in the same spot and see if she will come back. She doesn't come back but stays in the same spot aiming towards the buoy. We are going the same speed so I decide to drift over to her and draft and save energy.

I continue to draft and after a while, we get to the buoy. The buoy came faster than I thought. I go around and continue drafting off her. After a while, we start to drift but we correct ourselves. She starts to drift, but this time I don't follow her. She drifts pretty far out. I am swimming and see mountains of seaweed. Sometimes I notice it and sometimes not. I keep looking up but then I start to drift the other way. I aim towards the next buoy and try to stay straight. There's a guy who is drifted very far out. I feel bad for him. I see a man up ahead and I make it my goal to catch him. I catch up to him and pass him. By now I am closer to the buoy.

I get closer and turn around it and head back to shore. The sunlight is shining down into the water. It is very pretty. I try to grab the sunbeam in the water, but I can't grab it. I continue swimming and get closer to shore. Sometimes I am scared in the water but I feel confident because I have God. I draft a little bit, but I mostly swim on my own. As I get closer to shore I see my dad waiting for me. He doesn't seem to see me yet. As I get closer I see some seaweed, then it suddenly stops and turns to sand. I stand up and start running. At shore I stop to take off my wetsuit. It is hard to stand still and pull it off. A guy comes over and grabs my tag on my wetsuit and I then take off. I run up to transition with my dad cheering me on. He says I'm in 2nd. I throw my wetsuit down and put my helmet and glasses on. I run out of transition and hop onto my bike.

I bike out fast. I slow down a little bit when I come to the speedbumps. I bike across a bridge and look at the water. I keep biking and a girl passes me.  I try to stay up with her but can’t. She bikes ahead. There is a turn up ahead and I start to go wide and forget to look back. A friend had just come up on my side when I started to go wide. I said sorry and moved more in. I bike onto a flat road and it goes for a while. The road is bumpy and isn't smooth. The road curves and continues. A red bike passes me and I then pass it back. After a while, a girl in a green jersey passes me and I then pass her back. I try to stay ahead of both of them.

Later the green jersey bike and the red bike pass me back. I pass the red bike but I can't pass the green jersey back. Up ahead we turn again and there is some downhill. The land is all yellow and dry, while the trees are all green. I'm starting to think that I should see the first people doing the Olympic coming back. Sure enough, I see them. I continue biking and after a while the road gets smooth. I start to bike faster. Up ahead now see the green jersey girl. I continue biking and trying to gain ground. I get closer and closer and finally I pass her. I continue ahead thanking God for being with me.

Up ahead I see railroad tracks. As I get closer I take it wide and go parallel across the tracks. After I go over I realize I should have looked behind. I check behind and there is a biker and then a motorcycle behind me, but not close. I thank God for keeping me safe and remind myself to always look behind. I continue biking and sometimes go over too far and hit the bumpy part in the road that is for cars who go over to far. I start to go down a hill and see mom coming up it. I wave to her, but I don't know if she saw me. I bike down the hill and keep up my pace. I see the friend up ahead that is biking back. I know the turn around must be close. Sure enough I see the turnaround. I slow down and make a turn. I see the green jersey girl not too far behind and keep up the pace. I pull out my gel and try to go the same pace while eating it. I put the gel in my mouth and use my teeth to rip the top off it. With one hand I put the gel in my mouth, put the top piece in my pocket, and steer with the other hand. When I'm done I put the gel in my pocket and continue biking. I bike back up a hill that I saw my mom go up. A different girl passes me from behind and I try to stay up with her but can't. I watch her and keep biking.

I have a few hills which I stand up a little bit. I see a sign up ahead that says something about the line between Sacramento and the county. After that sign, the road gets bumpy again. I keep biking and the road curves again. I guess I'm about 5 miles away from the finish. I don't have my Garmin because it died. I'm biking along and see the girl that passed me up ahead. I try to start gaining on her. There's a headwind but I feel God pushing me and giving me energy. I know I'm racing for Him. I slowly get closer to her and when I get 6 bike lanes away, another girl passes me. I wonder how many more girls I have to pass. The girl that passed me passes the other girl and continues on. I pass the other girl and try to stay up with the new girl. She gets ahead a little bit but I can still see her. The road curves and I know that soon we will turn back into the park and I'll be done.

I’m not letting her get farther ahead. I make the turn and gain a little bit on her. It's uphill but I don't notice. I slowly gain and get closer. I see runners now on the side of the road for the Olympic and swim-run distance. I get closer and pass her and say good job. I get to the bridge and push it. There is a speed bump and I slow down but the girl behind me didn't slow down. I decide that I won't slow down either. I keep going and make it across the bridge. I get to the road and slip my feet out of my bike shoes and keep biking. The girl behind me pulls ahead. I don't worry because I know I can pass her in transition. The girl then pulls off by a campsite and I wonder if she is even in the race. Later I found out she was in the Olympic and probably was going to use the restroom. I keep biking and get ready to dismount. I get off my bike and try to find my rack. We bike in differently so I have no idea where my stuff is. I put my bike on a different bike rack that doesn’t have any stuff. I then find my stuff and run over and put my bib number on. I run out of transition with no shoes, because I don't need them, and run into the finish. I point to God and am happy it is done.

The funny part is all the people who passed me and then later I passed back were all doing the Olympic distance. All though it was good to have them push me. I got 2nd overall because one lady was far out there and I never saw her.


Praise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endures Forever!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Ironman Lake Placid (Troy)

Date/Location: 7/28/19 – Lake Placid, NY
Distances: 2.4m S – 112m B – 26.2m R
Time: 13:12:00 (1:11:18 – 9:27 – 6:52:18 – 6:05 – 4:52:51)
Place: 71st/224 (50-54 age group)
Teammates: FCA – Robert Palmer

Much concern going into this race.  Learned a lot from June Lake Triathlon 2 weeks ago – to have faith and a better attitude. So even though I have Achilles bursitis on my right heal which has impeded running for months, I’m having a good attitude and trusting God for this race.

My family has been very helpful and supportive in training and the week leading to the race.  Robin got us a great suite near the race site and continues cooking us great healthy meals.

Lake Placid is a great venue!  Ice rink where the 1980 “Miracle” hockey team played.  Oldest (since 1999) Ironman other than Hawaii.  Easy single-transition staging near the lake.  And beautiful dense green forested hills.

Race plan is (physically) relax and conserve until the run, (spiritually) remember “It’s not my race” and trust God that it will get better even when it looks bad (ministry) look for opportunities to share my hope with others, (nutritionally) drink, fuel and salt a lot to prevent energy loss.  The key is to focus on the Lord which ensures everything will work out for good, this is His will for me (Prov 3:6 “in all your ways submit to Him and he will make your paths straight”, Rom 8:28 “..all things work for good for those who love God..” , 1 Thes 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will..”)

Last run: 2mi with Anna out-n-back on the steepest climb into town.  My heel hurts.  I use my speed-walking technique.  It’s tough but June Lake was steeper and, as a result, very encouraging.

Last ride: 10mi to Goldie Locks and the 3 bears hills. At first, I get lost and end up on a golf course and then on a mtn bike trail.  Resist getting frustrated and remember God’s good plan.

Swim.  1.2mi swim with Robin & Anna.  Very relaxed and it goes great!  There is a cable which is wonderful and relaxing to follow.

FCA Iron Prayer:  I get the honor to speak, along with 3 others.  Because I know an Ironman can be full of dark, disheartening moments of wanting to quit, my encouragement was to faithfully give the race to God so you can be assured it will work out for good.  This has played out for me multiple times.  When I give up.. I regret it.  When I continue to have hope in the Lord, surprising wonderful things happen, like feeling better, running faster, or seeing the reason behind something that didn’t seem good at the moment.

Race morning: I spend time reading the Bible. My reading plan, Luke 1, is about the Lord’s instruction for the births of John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ and the angel says to Mary, “Anything is possible with God.” – which is posted on the Ironman signs at the start.. except for key part about God. 

Robin walks with me to the start.  I’m not as clear race-minded as past Ironmans.  I forget what goes in which bags and some things I’m going to need.  But I do remember an emergency trash bag for rain & cold, I feel comfortable with the arm-warmers plan for the ride (water temp about 67 and same for air temp when starting the ride), and I have lots of Vitargo for the bike and run.

**

Goals: 1:12 s – 8:00 t1 - 6:22 b – 7:00 t2 - 4:58 r – 12:47 total

**


The Swim (goal 1:12 and relaxed)

I spot Ariel in pink in the crowd before the start! My goggles are fogged up even though I got a complimentary treatment from a vendor sporting the best anti-fog on the market.

**

I’m in the 1:10 wave and looking forward to a relaxing swim.  However, with 2,500 athletes, I soon find that it is crowded throughout the swim!  I try to get near the cable but everyone wants to be there and it’s crazy.  Despite arms flying on both sides, feet kicking in front and hands hitting me from behind, I try to relax to the turn. 

1100yds.  At the turn I start to think, “this isn’t so bad, It’ll be easier now..” and bam! someone hits my inflamed achilles bursa.  Ow!  The pain lasts for about 5 minutes.  And then bam!  hit in the goggles, but  fortunately they didn’t fill with water.  I have to laugh and stay on guard.  I’m remembering to focus on God and trust that this is HIS race, not mine (because anything God does turns out well).  Looking at my watch I’m right on my 1:12 goal pace.

I’ve been relaxed and conserving.  But on the way back I want to swim the cable so make a push ahead of a group and get there. Yes!  Near the cable and don’t have to sight.  It’s beautiful and relaxing.. the best way to swim.

2200yds. 1st lap done.  The turn around the dock is super congested.  This is where we run (I walk.. my foot hurts plus staying relaxed) across the beach and start the 2nd lap.  Surely I can get near the cable now.  Sometimes I get it but I guess 1:12 pace is just a popular goal.  So many swimmers and it seems none are satisfied where they are at.

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With the rash guard on I’m a little warm.  I let in some cool water periodically.  I continue to keep my legs high, relaxed arms, and take calculated breathes when the coast is clear (so not to get punched).  I follow drafts, which haven’t been hard to find in this crowd. 

3300yds. 15 min to go and I assess: I’ve stayed relaxed, my hands don’t feel strained like the last Ironman, and heart rate is lower.  I’m still getting pushed around by other swimmers.  Suddenly my Garmin watch is feeling loose.  Under the water I look to see the strap is 1/2 way broken!  It had broken in 2 places a couple days ago and I super-glued it.  Now an expensive part of my race is 1 glue joint away from sinking to the bottom of the lake.  Immediately I stroke gingerly with my left arm while pulling harder with my right.  Trying to keep away from the many flailing arms around me… one blow to my wrist is all it would take.  I pray.  I feel content with it.  I’m trying and I feel the Lord will take care of me.  Now just a few more yards to… the Garmin is still there…

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4400yds, Finish. (1:11:18, 49th plc, 500th overall) I’m standing on sand! 

T1 (goal 8:00)

I pull my wetsuit sleeve carefully off and wetsuit strippers yank all the neoprene off of me.  Thank you, Lord for a nice swim.  Many are running but I walk.  My foot does hurt but I’m fine with fast-walking.  A few others do, too.  I lube up, arm-warmers, fuel, sunscreen and take my bike to the mount line.. (9:27 T1)

The Bike (goal 6:22 and fuel and stay limber)

It’s a fast, zig-zag route down out of town.  Pretty technical and exhilirating.  I see my family on the way out.

**

Soon we’re climbing and it’s longer than I imagined.  Robin rode the course yesterday and really liked it.  I feel slow but I remember the same feeling at Boulder.  There will be faster sections later.  Just trust and take it easy.


Mile 7. (63rd plc) I see Winter Olympics sights like the long jump ramp, the biathlon shooting range, and many flags.  Pretty cool. 

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Mile 9.  flying down a descent (270ft) followed by breathtaking views of dark lakes shadowed by lush-green forests shooting straight up alongside granite cliffs.  Beautiful.

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Mile 11.  An even better (1100 ft) descent!   4 miles of 39 mph surrounded by beauty.  Staying relaxed and not trying to maximize speed, just enjoying the ride.  It’s an easy gradual descent along a scenic river to mile 25.  My rt hamstring feeling a little tight but by rocking my hips to the rt more it feels better. 

Mile 26.  (67th plc) As we climb Hwy 86 I’m feeling optimistic about my new riding position.  Suddenly my rt knee starts to hurt!  This happened during a training ride last month and got bad enough where the rt leg was useless. Climbing speed was cut in half.  I pray and remember to trust God.  Having an injury that could flare up any moment and cause misery is a sure way to keep me relying on God!

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Mile 29. The 8 mile out-n-back on Hazelton Rd is cool!  Along a river on smooth rollercoaster-like roads, sandwiched by dense dark forests, with endless bikes speeding in both directions!  The only thing not great is my knee getting a little worse.

Mile 40.  We go through the town of Wilmington.  People out cheering.  I’m supposed to be going easy but am now standing.. that’s because I need a porta-potty and can’t find one.  Good news is I’m drinking a lot of fluids!  Temperature is great, when it gets too warm, a dark cloud comes over or a cool breeze. 

Mile 43. (84th plc) I get my break at an aid station and also stretch both legs.  Now for the 12 mile climb back to town.  The highway is beautiful, along the West Branch Ausabie River.  Wind is picking up in our face, trying to bring thunder clouds with it.

Mile 51. Goldie Locks and the 3 bears (4 little climbs to town).  On Momma Bear I comment that I’m glad there’s only Pappa Bear left.  The guy next to me blows it off, “Momma Bear, Pappa Bear, they aint nothing”.

Spectators are crowding the top of Pappa Bear, it’s a tunnel of encouragement!  Soon after I see Robin and the girls cheering.  I ask them to pray for my knee.  They hold up signs with verses reminding be to focus on the Lord and be lifted up on wings like eagles.  Amen.

**

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Mile 56. 1/2 way.  (3:13, 85th plc).  A couple minutes behind schedule.  I re-fill with special needs and then zoom down out of town.  I see Robin and the girls again just before leaving town. 

**

Ok, the knee is a problem but trusting the Lord and knowing that everything could get better the next loop.  I’m optimistic and envision pushing a little harder along the descents and flats to make that big climb at the finish doable.  But the knee is really slowing me down. 


Mile 61. (92nd plc) I stop to stretch on a guardrail.  A woman I’ve ridden most of the course with today says hi and goes by.  She’s same age as I but makes the bike look so easy.  I see her a few more times but she gets farther ahead as my bike ride gets really uncomfortable now..  the scenic hills aren’t so appealing anymore, the easy pedalling of the first loop is now a struggle, and the little hills are now punishing.

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My attitude remains good. I tell the Lord that it is His race and I trust Him.  Even if my leg completely goes or I crash right now for some reason… I will still praise You and be glad for the opportunity to persevere.  It is hard to say but I mean it.  Nothing can ruin the Lord’s race.

Mile 85.  I start the cool out-n-back and imagine how much fun it would be to fly through it.. but I’m just struggling to keep some kind of pace.  And now the bottom of my left foot hurts - a “hot” spot – perhaps caused by the extra pressure compensating for the knee pain.  While coasting I try to massage the bottom of my foot.  All the while calculating how much off the pace I am.. 10 min, 20min, …

Back through Wilmington and along the river.  Suddenly, the thunder clouds open up and dump a few hundred yards ahead of me.  I bike right through what feels like a car wash.  Then it happens again.  After a while the heat comes back, the headwind stops and the roads are steaming with rising mist.  Crazy. 

Mile 98. On the final 12 mile climb, I have to stop a couple times to stretch.  I also notice my brakes rubbing a bit.  Picking up grit during the rain made the rub noticable.  And I can’t adjust this type of brakes on this bike.  I try to ride very still because a little rocking makes these carbon wheels flex and rub.  But God has a reason and I will press on!

Mile 110.  I see my family again!  I’m so glad to be almost done with the bike, they ask how the knee is doing and I say it’s fine. 

**

I finally coast into T2 and dismount. 6:52:18, 113th plc (60 passed me), 31min behind schedule.

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T2 (goal 7:00)

Before they take my bike they ask, “Do you need anything from it?”  My mind is foggy and I come up with “No”.  My legs are painfully stiff and I can’t even jog!  I walk through the long transition.  The hope was to finish limber, but with 1 leg hurt and the other doing more work, I’m really tight.  Volunteers are great!  They put sunscreen on me as I secure my shoes. (6:05 T2.)

The Run (goal 4:58, drink, walk aid stations and hills, and remember “it can get better”)

This is one of the most daunting things for me.. to be starting a 26.2 mi run, at the hottest part of the day, when it’s already uncomfortable walking. But the Lord has shown me before that He can get me through it.  On top of that, I realize I put my bottle of Vitargo drink in the wrong bag and didn’t grab a bottle from my bike when the volunteers asked me.   So I have no special drink until 13 miles.  I speed walk.. then I jog. it’s downhill.. the easiest mile.  People are cheering loudly.

**


Following the plan, I don’t think about how far to go, just the next aid station. Most importantly, I focus on the Lord and the song, “Crown Him King of Glory”, which I modified with, “it’s not my race to win.. it’s all His”

I don’t even look at my watch (which is still hanging on by a thread).  My run feels like only a shuffle but that’s not the point, the point is to keep trying… and be a light, a help to others if I can.  I see the 4th and 5th pl men getting near the finish.  An age group woman is running ahead of me.  She drops her nutrition.  In my condition, stooping could pull a hamstring, but I feel it’s good and pick it up for her as she starts running back.  I’m ok, God is faithful.

Mile 2.2.  10:17 pace. we turn onto River Rd.  No cars or bikes.  Along a river.  Plenty of shady spots.  I’m happy I’m able to appreciate the great course that it is, even in the discomfort.  I’m grateful that my rt heel isn’t hurting at this pace, but my other achilles heal, my left calf and my hamstrings are bothering me.  If I try to run faster, then I feel my rt heel as well.   I check my pace for the first time and am pleasantly surprised that it is 10:30.  Even with the walking every mile.  I don’t want to see 17 and 18 minutes splits like I had at Tahoe 4 yrs ago!

Mile 3.  9:53 pace. I hear, “I know that guy!” and see that it is Pastor Jim Koenig from Lake Placid Baptist Church which held the Iron Prayer 2 days ago.  It’s uplifting to see many of the church out serving so happily like they do every year I’ve heard

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Mile 5.  10:57 pace. The church has 2 aid stations!  This one is decorated more and has signs of “Love, Peace, Prayer”.  I see some of the missionaries I had met, an FCA gal from New Jersey and Spanky & Melinda from Maryland.  I fill them in that the Lord is getting me through the run and for them to pray for my hamstrings.

I make the turn-around and continue running for each aid station, then walking, celebrating to the Lord that He got me there, fueling (salt, water, and a Hammer gel, orange or grape) and then running off in search of the next aid station.

All day I’ve gotten periodic shout-outs from other racers that see my FCA “competing for Christ” jersey.  It’s a reminder of another goal, to represent Christ which means to love others.  I’ve see other athletes hurting and have prayed quietly for a few of them, but I haven’t gotten a chance to really talk to someone.  I make an effort to talk to a guy running my same pace.  He sees the FCA and figures out what it is but says he’s never heard of it.  I wait for an opportunity to talk about how important it is to me.. but then an aid station comes and I lose him.  Hmm, that didn’t work.

Mile 8.  11:12 pace. We running towards the Olympic ski jumps.  These things are magnificent and crazy at the same time.  Rising high above a nearby mountain peak, the 90m and 120m towers make me glad I’m doing an Ironman rather than having to ski down one of those!

SkiJumpingComplex

Mile 9.  11:59. (90th plc, moved up 22 plcs) A big hill.  Actually looking forward to it because I get to walk!  I use my power-walk and make pretty good time (14min/mi).  At the top is waiting the best prize… my family!  I tell them God is keeping me going and the foot is ok.

**

Mile 10.8. 12:00.  The bigger hill.  Another power-walking section (14min/mi).  There’s crowds of spectators yelling loudly and kids giving high-5’s. 

Mile 11.4. Needs bag.  Bottle of Vitargo.  I ignore the 2nd bottle which was supposed to be in my run gear bag.  Vitargo is very easy to digest and never gives me stomach problems.  It’s plain but I flavor it with Hammer Fizz electrolyte tablets.  And this time I froze it before the race to help keep it fresh.  Taking my first gulp I realize freezing was a mistake!  It must have crystalized and turned into a disgusting warm slush.   I force it down anyway because to fuel with anything else is a risk..

Mile 13.4. 11:21. (84th plc) Ah!  So glad to be going downhill out of town.  On the flat section, it’s hot.  There are spray stations set up on the other side of the road.  I refrain from crossing the road and interfering with athletes coming the other way. 

Soon I hear the wonderful Superman theme from a trumpet down the road.  It’s Anna!  It really lifts me. 

**

Robin checks in with me.  Ariel runs along effortlessly getting me on video.  And now the 2nd, and last, descent for me to River Rd.


Mile 15.2.  11:57. (82nd plc)  At the bottom I stretch on the guard rail before starting on the scenic road.  “This race is not mine to win…. all that I have is His…Crown Him King of Glory”  Everything hurts but I’m focusing on the Lord and know, for that reason, that “All things will work for good” Rom 8:28.  To be realistic, I consider the worst.. a calf or hamstring pull forcing me to limp along, or an upset stomach and vomiting, or twist an ankle and collapse.. I pray and commit to God that even if that happens, I will praise Him for I trust it will still work out.  In fact, I’m doing pretty well in the run and possibly because the rt knee pain which slowed my bike, but then disappeared for the run, saved the strength I needed for this leg.

Mile 16.  12:25. I say hi to Pastor Jim and others.  I also pass FCA TeamMate, Robert Palmer on his first lap.  He is encouraging to see.  I’m also encouraged to see big numbers on the mile markers.  On each out-n-back I’ll suddenly hear, “Hey’s 50’s guy!” and look up to see the 50-54 woman who biked so well, now miles ahead on the run.  It’s helpful.

Mile 18.  10:54. I say hi to those at the LP Baptist Church aid station and tell them prayers are working.  I make the turn and come back to the same aid station. 

Running is very difficult now which makes the celebration even greater when I see an aid station. I put my arms out a bit and just worship each time, thanking God for another mile done and the chance to walk soon and fuel up. 

In this moment I hear a voice next to me, “I like the verse on your shirt”.  Without even looking I reply, “I’m thanking the Lord for getting me to another aid station, I couldn’t do it without Him.” I feel prompted, get her name (Logan) and then ask her if she’s dealing with any pain or difficulty that I could pray for her about.  Still running, she looks at me and just stares for a while.  Right when I’m thinking I was too forward and offended her, she says sincerely, “that would be so wonderful”.  Her expression is so full of appreciation.

She goes on to say that the difficulty she deals with is mental illness of anxiety and depression.  This makes the typical ailments of calf strains and nausea, which I expected her to say, seem childish.  Without mental illness I know how dark the moments can be on an Ironman run.  My thoughts prior to the race of this run section haunted me with bad memories of Tahoe 4 years ago.  I can only imagine how much more disheartening it would be if I was already battling depression every day.  I pray that God will calm all her anxieties and give her peace.  And that she can be sure that God’s in charge now and promises joyful moments ahead. “Hope does not disappoint..” Rom 5:5

Mile 20. 11:00. Her pace is a little faster and helps me.  I tell her about FCA and the Iron Prayer and how I’m trusting God with my race so that whatever happens I know will work for good.  She enjoys the conversation and the miles go by faster which is a huge blessing for me.

Mile 21. 10:21.  A big hill is coming.  I’m looking forward to it because it means I get to walk!  As we turn onto hwy 73 we see the climb.  Logan walks the hills, too, but says, “we walk at the sign”.  The sign is part way up the hill. 

Mile 22. 11:29.  At the sign I power-walk the rest and, as I crest the hill, I hear the trumpet playing!  There’s my great family.  I’m so glad to see Robin and tell her God is holding everything together for me.

**

Mile 23. 11:21.  Walking the hill doesn’t change my pace much.  As we anticipate the coming descent which begins the climb into town, Logan says, “I can’t get my head around the fact that we’re going to be done soon!”  Such an exciting thought.

Mile 23.7. The final climb!  I walk strong.  Surprisingly it looks more and more like I can break 5hrs for the marathon.  This makes me go faster but I feel I owe a lot (like an extra 10min) to my running partner and I feel the Lord leading me to ignore the time goal and be a support to her.  Logan sees her loved ones cheering and says for me to go ahead.  I feel released to go now and try to push.. but the feet both complain when I go too hard. 

Mile 25.  10:37. I can’t believe it, only a mile left!  I make the turn-around and am excited that the final stretch is not a mile like I thought.  Thank you, Lord!  I’m really going to finish this thing which loomed over me for months.  Not just finishing, but accomplishing the goal of truly giving the race to God and trusting Him.  It’s a great feeling.  The crowd is loud. 

Mile 26. 9:56.  As I round the speed-skating oval track, Logan taps me on the shoulder and runs by.  I’m so glad she stayed strong and caught me so she can finish proud.

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Finish!  (4:52:51 run, 13:12 total, 72nd plc) Ah, the finish, compliments of the Lord.  A joy that reminds me more and more how faithful God is despite the momentary struggles.  All the hardships during the race just made this extra special.

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Robin and the girls take care of EVERYTHING for me and I lie down on the grass recalling Ps 23 “The Lord is my sheppard, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures..”

Sunday, July 14, 2019

TBF Tri For Kids #2-Ariel-2019

Date/Location:
7/14/19, Rancho Seco Park, Herald, CA
Distances:
50m S – 4mi B – 1mi R
Time:

23:49 PR! (Previous - 25:12)

Place:

2nd Female, 1st Femaile in Category

Teammates:

TeamMates/Friends: Casey & Ruth Boatwright

Written by, Ariel Soares

(This is a girl’s race story about finishing the 2nd Tri for Kids. Age 10.)

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! I start swimming through the water trying to get ahead. I keep trying to swim straight towards the buoy but the sun is in my eyes and it's hard to see. I keep swimming finally I get back on track I go around the buoy and come out of the water. I run as fast as I can to transition.

I put on my and shoes race belt and my helmet and bike out. I start biking out, but then my pedals stop moving. I don't know what's happening but it is not supposed to happen. People are trying to fix my bike. Finally, they fix it, so I jump on my bike and bike as fast as I can.

As I bike I sing a Christian song that keeps playing over and over in my head. I pass some of the kids. I bike down and up and down and up hills. Then I bike over a bunch of speed bumps until I'm on the bridge. I see Ruth. As I pass her I say "good job." I try to keep my pace. I see Shantelle coming back (she's really fast). I pass a lot of people as a go across the bridge. I keep biking. I pass the place that we pay at before we came into the park. I keep biking until I get to the turnaround.


I'm still singing the worship song. I see a boy ahead of me. I try to pass him finally, I pass him. I go pass the paying booth again. I bike to the bridge. I go across the bridge going as fast as I can. I see these little kids, I say "good job." I bike over the speed bumps again and then up and down and up and down the hills. I can see more kids in front of me but I don't know if they are in my age group. I bike to transition.

I take off my helmet and run out onto the run. I can see kids ahead of me. I try to pass them. I see this boy that I remember that my family used to call Lego boy because he used to wear a Lego outfit. I pass him. I get some water and keep running.

I start running down a path. I keep running straight then I turn then I go up and then I can see the turnaround. I go around the turnaround and then head back I see this girl but I'm not sure if she's in my age group or if she's not. I start to run faster. I keep trying to catch her but she's kind of far away from me so it's going to be hard to catch her. I see Ruth going out. I run faster and faster. I quickly go faster and finally, I pass the girl.


I go back onto the grass right past aid station. I sprint into the finish. I was the 2nd girl in my whole race and first in my age group.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

June Lake Olympic Tri-Robin-2019

Date/Location:
7/13/19, June Lake, CA
Distances:
1.5km S – 40km B – 10km R
Time:

2:55:49 (28:13 – 1:54 – 1:19:37 – 2:11 – 1:03:53)

Place:

1st, F 45-49 (Out of 9); 1st Overall (out of 69)

Teammates:

OLY – FCA: Anna Soares; Sharley Simpson

KIDS RACE – FCA: Ariel Soares

LONG COURSE – FCA: Troy Soares


This is our first time at June Lake Triathlon in June Lake, CA.  The long drive was tough and longer than expected due to a wrong turn so wondering if it’s all worth it.  But as we arrive I see it was worth it.  The first person we see when we exit our car is Whit Raymond.  Whit is a long time race announcer and well known in the Ironman circuit.  It’s great to catch up and introduce him to the kids. We attend the race meeting which is well run and very informative.  Clearly the run is going to be tough…hilly, sandy and at altitude!  Next, we set up camp at Oh Ridge campground right next to the lake.  It’s beautiful and windy!  It’s hard to set up the tent but with all four of us working together it’s a success.  The forecast shows little wind tomorrow.  We pray for good sleep.  It's usually noisy at campgrounds and hard sleeping on the ground.  I’m thanking God for giving me peace this week for Anna’s race.  I was questioning whether it was going to be a good experience as her first Olympic distance tri because of concerns of altitude, car traffic and health.  After reading past race stories from other triathletes, those concerns were eased.  And Troy felt confident as well about her ability to do it.  Ultimately the Lord made it clear that we had His blessing.

Amazingly the camp is very quiet and we all sleep great!  We thank the Lord for answering that little prayer.  Troy and I get up first and I help him get ready.  Once he leaves, it’s time to get the girls up and going.  I make sure to find the time to get in the Word even if it’s short.  The three of us head down to find Troy and pray.  We see Troy’s small wave of half distance athletes take off.  The water is absolutely still and beautiful.  I’m looking forward to getting in with Anna in an hour. 

THE SWIM

The time flies by and it’s already time to get in the water!  Anna and I walk out to the start in the water.  Anna asks if we should fill up our wetsuits with water to loosen them up.  I don’t feel like it but know it’s a good idea so we do.  Ohhh, that wakes me up.  The men take off first and we are 5 minutes behind. 

I don’t like to train in the pool but I love to swim open water.  I felt calm until now and am starting to think more about myself and less about Anna.  Lord, help me not to get self centered.  We pray together.

Ready, set, go!  As I swim off, I look over at Anna.  She looks good.  I know she’ll do great!

The water is chilly but I quickly adapt.  The water is crystal clear.  I can even see some fish swimming.  I remember that I’m at altitude and take an extra breath every third stroke like I did at Tahoe in 2013.  I seem to be in the thick of it.  Pretty soon I notice a girl in a sleeveless wetsuit just ahead of me to the right.  I pick up and move right.  I get in her draft and it seems to be a perfect fit!  I follow her all the way to the first turn buoy.  The water is deep here and the mountain above is casting a huge shadow.  I feel unsettled by the darkness but know that the Lord is with me.  I continue to follow my sleeveless friend to the next buoy. There is a group of guys turning also so I loose her for a moment.  I’m feeling strong and wondering if I can pass.  I try and almost succeed but she seems to shift into another gear.  I tuck in behind her again. 

The finish line is in sight.  I am amazed how perfect this draft has been.  Not once have I even touched her toes or bumped into her.  My friend picks it up and I follow. I swim right until my hand touches sand.  Then I’m up and running.  I run over a sandbar into a small pool of water.  I take off my wetsuit there.  As I’m struggling to get my last leg out I can hear Whit explaining to the crowd that some triathletes take off their wetsuits at the water’s edge.  I wish I could demonstrate better.  I finally pry it off and slip on my flip flops.  It’s a long sandy and rocky run to transistion.  I’m really glad I had Anna and I do this!

I see Ariel as I enter transition.  She’s been volunteering all morning there.  It’s great to see her smile and hear her encouraging voice.  I make a quick transition and then I’m off. 

(Swim: 1st in AG, 7th OA Females)

THE BIKE

I run out of transition with my bike shoes on.  I haven’t practiced with the shoes on my bike so not going to try.  Out of the campground, up the road, turn and along the lake.  I can see swimmers down below.  I ride through town and see folks having breakfast and coffee.  Suddenly I see a truck in the road backing up.  He’s making room for a car pulling out.  I stop and he stops.  The car we are waiting for seems to be struggling to figure out what they are doing.  Several racers just go around and continue on including a girl in navy.  I decide to follow since no cars are coming in the other direction and this seems to be taking too long. 

The scenery is just beautiful.  Just love these little lakes along the way.  I am feeling strong and get into a good groove.  Several male cyclists pass me.  I go back and forth a bit with a Santa Barbara Tri guy.  I don’t see the girl that passed me.  I am not concerned and am just happy to be able to race today.  I think about Anna and pray she is safe and doing well.  I wonder if Troy will catch her on his 2nd loop of the Half.

I’m getting close to Hwy 395 and the only aid station.  I’m out of water and am working on my Perpetuem.  Two riders fly by.  One might be a female.  As I watch them head down the long straightaway, I can see they are drafting off one another.  Frustrating but nothing I can do.  I pull up on the aid station and ask for water.  I’m going too fast and I knock the water out of the volunteer’s hand and it hits the ground.  I shout “so sorry!”.  Bummer!  I should have done that better.  Hope I have enough fluids to make it to the end!

As I bike along the highway, the riders that were drafting are no longer together.  I catch up to one and pass him.  Soon I catch the other rider who I thought was a female and it’s actually a guy.  I sense he’s trying to stay with me and I pick up the pace.  As the hill gets steeper, he drops off.

This is probably my least favorite part of the day.  The bike lane of the highway has bumps every few feet and the road continues to go up.  My Perpetuem is getting low but I think it will last.  I am passing several riders that passed me.  I can see I’m gaining on some others.  Finally, I see riders turn off the road up ahead.  Looking at my Garmin I know once I turn, there isn’t much to go!

I make the turn and enjoy a downhill.  Yay!  The road is much smoother here and the scenery is much prettier.  I notice that I am catching up to a female rider in orange.  As I make the turn to head back to transition, a volunteer says that the girl is the first female.  I wonder about the other girl in navy.  So maybe I’m the 3rd female?  Exciting!  Lord, this is a gift!  I haven’t been training a lot especially on the bike due to supporting Troy, the girls and my father-in-law at home.  My Perpetuem is gone.  It worked out great.  Better get water in transition!

I continue to catch up to the girl in orange.  As we turn into the campground, I see her pulling her feet out of her shoes.  I do the same.  I am pleasantly surprised how well I get my feet out on top of my shoes. As I hit the dismount line, I am able to jump off easily…but my back is really stiff.  I hobble to my spot.  I quickly grab all my gear and hit the porta potty.  I utilize the “break” to put all my gear on.  I give Ariel a high five as I run out of transition.  I grab water and off I go! 

(Bike: 1st in AG, 3rd OA Females)

THE RUN

As I head out on the run, I can see the girl in orange ahead. I didn't lose too much with my pit stop.

Pretty soon we hit the first big climb that everyone seems to complain about. It's steep and sandy. The top sprint athletes are flying down the hill and I'm passing a variety of racers going up. I come upon an 83 year old woman. She is power walking up and looking strong. I tell her good job. I think about my 80 year old mom and how she's still racing 5Ks and doing great. I also think of my father in law who is turning 86. I couldn't picture him out here!

I make it to the top. Yay! I turn on Northshore Dr. Runners are going both ways and Sprint and long course cyclists are finishing up their ride. I see the girl in orange. We hit the first aid station together. I make sure to get water. She takes off and I follow. I'm feeling strong and make a pass. I tell her good job.

Mile 1 is 10:14. Downhill we go! I see runners crossing the street and heading on a trail. Up we go again!

I start on the trail and run up to the next aid station. Runners are starting to walk here and I pass them. I am able to continue running slowly and plod my way through the sand which makes it much more challenging. I wonder where the top is.

Mile 2 is 11:26. This climb is still going. I look up and it just keeps going. Determined to continue my slow run, I trod on. I am able to pass a few athletes. Close to the top it gets too hard to run so I hike it for a few minutes. This makes that first hill seem like nothing!

Finally the top. It takes a few moments to get my legs used to running faster again. It's just gorgeous up here. I am feeling great and am thanking God! I thank Him for his beautiful creation.

I pray for Anna and Troy. I'm concerned that Troy's foot is really going to bother him. Lord, if it's your will, let him not have pain and enjoy your creation.

Mile 3 is 10:56. After some downhill, it flattens out. I see the next aid station tucked in some shade. Good timing! I get some electrolytes.

I see a guy in my race ahead. I catch up to him but before I can pass, the trail becomes a super steep downhill. I let him lead the way. This kind of terrain is not my favorite and scary. I try to skip down the hill and jump over the rocks. The trail eventually gets less steep and widens. I hear some footsteps behind me. I move over and a long course guy flies by. He must be in first place.

Mile 4 is 10:37. I continue to watch the long course guy continue to fly down the hill. I can see another aid station.  This part of the trail is so much easier to navigate then the technical top. I make it to the aid station.  I appreciate the water! 

The trail turns and it follows along Northstar Dr.  I’m actually gaining on the long course guy a bit.  I feel like I need to go the bathroom…my inside is not feeling good at all.  I’m so close now.  I can make it.  Please Lord help me just push through.

I see that we are going to turn off onto the road again.  And I see that girl in Navy from early on in the ride running up the road!  Can I catch her?  Lord, it’s up to you.  My insides are still feeling bad. 

I make it to the road and I can see that girl walking up the hill.  Lord, I think I can catch her.  I hear Troy calling my name.  I look up and see him climbing the monster hill.   I cannot make out what he’s saying exactly but I know he’s saying encouraging words and something about Anna doing well.

I catch the girl 2/3 of the way up the hill. There is an aid station ahead.  I pass her, tell her good job and grab water.  I don’t look back as I continue up the hill.  I know I’ve got to get down that sandy downhill that i ran up.

Mile 5 is 8:50.  Here we go!  I push down the hill, even though I feel out of control and my insides hurt.  I feel God telling me to not look back and just go for it.  I fly down the hill. It flattens out and I can see the finish.  I’m catching up to the long course guy even more.  It’s great to have someone to focus on ahead of me. 

Mile 6 is 8:31.  Go!  I push as hard as I can and try to smile.  I turn into the finish shoot and look up to God.  As I cross the finish line in the sand I hear Whit saying I’m the first woman.  I am floored.  Lord, that is a gift.  This is all your doing.  Nothing can explain this result other than Jesus.  Thank you Lord!


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June Lake Olympic Tri-Anna-2019 (1st Olympic Distance!)

Date/Location:
7/13/19, June Lake, CA
Distances:
1.5km S – 40km B – 10km R
Time:

3:16:31 (33:30 – 1:07 – 1:32:09 – 1:34 – 1:08:10)

Place:

1st, F 1-14; 9th Overall (out of 69)

Teammates:

OLY – FCA: Robin Soares; Sharley Simpson

KIDS RACE – FCA: Ariel Soares

LONG COURSE – FCA: Troy Soares


I start to walk out to the water. The water isn’t that cold and it looks pretty clear. There is a big rock in the water and I climb it before I start. I look over all the swimmers and see a girl about my age I met yesterday. I go over and talk to her. This is her first triathlon but she is on a swim team and has been running and biking. After talking to her I go over to the start with my mom. We get water in our wetsuits so they will come off better. The announcer starts to countdown. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go!

I start to swim. I feel good in the beginning but I remember that I have a long way to go. I try to draft off people in the beginning, but they are either too fast or to slow. I enjoy the swim. It is very clear and I can see the bottom of the lake. I see a lot of big sticks that have sunk to the bottom. After a while, I turn at the first buoy. The next buoy is a long way away. The water starts to get deeper. I draft off a swimmer ahead of me for a little while. The swimmer then goes to the side. I don’t follow her because I want to go in a straight line. As I get close to the next buoy, I start to see so rocks underneath me. But the rocks aren’t that high up. I get to the buoy and turn around it. A guy behind me goes on the other side of the buoy without knowing and we sort of collide.

There are two more buoy's ahead of me before I turn into shore. As I am swimming, I try to draft but it doesn't go that well. After some time, I start to see the bottom again. I look at the bottom of the lake while I swim. I see something moving and realize it’s two fish swimming together. I have reached the buoy and head for the last one. I feel a little bit more energy and keep swimming. I make it to the last buoy and go around it. I start to swim into shore. I see the rock that I climbed before I started swimming. I use the rock as a buoy and swim towards it and the arch. The bottom of the lake is getting shallower. I wait until my hand's touch to stand up. Once my hands touch the sand I stand up and run towards the arch.

Before I get there, I take off my wetsuit. I run through the arch and put on my flip flops. From there I run on the sand around transition and then into transition. In transition, I put my socks and helmet and take off. As I am running out of transition I remember I forgot my arm warmers. But I am warming up so I continue without them.

I start biking up a hill and put my bike shoes on. I continue biking. I make a turn and start to bike around the lake. I'm biking on the road I saw cars drive on while I was swimming. We go down a long hill and I enjoy it. It's a little cold because I still wet from the swim but the wind is drying me off. I go to another hill and there's a sharp turn. I'm in the bike lane and when I make the turn I skid a little bit on the debris. Praise the Lord I didn't slip!

I continue down the hill and bike through a town. Up ahead I see a car and truck at a stop sign. One of the cars goes and I'm sure the other car will wait for me to pass. The car does not wait though and doesn't even look in my direction when it starts to drive. I have to slow down in order to not run into the truck. I somewhat go around the truck. A biker behind me comes up and says “what a jerk”. I'm pretty sure she got slowed down by the truck too.

We go down another hill and I enjoy it. The hills are nice but I know that uphills will come. I see a waterfall up ahead, it's very pretty. There's water coming out of the rocks and then the waterfall goes right back into the rocks. There are a lot of small lakes along the road and it is pretty. We are biking around another lake now. The lake is not as big as the lake that I swim in. Looking ahead I see the mountains which are very pretty. The road looks like it is going between two of the mountains. I continue at my speed passing some people and others passing me. I make sure to drink my electrolyte water to keep hydrated. As I get closer to the mountains, I finish my first water bottle. I keep biking while switching my two water bottles. Now I can grab my other water bottle better. 

I bike through the mountains and continue. I'm on a flat road and I can see the highway in front of me. I also see an aid station coming up. As I get closer, I try to  decide if I should grab water or not. There is a biker getting water and both people at the aid station are helping her. It wouldn't be a fast transition to get water, so I decide not to.

I keep biking and make a sharp right onto the highway.  I am biking on the side of the highway and it is bumpy. There are a lot of cracks on the road. Up ahead I see a hill. It looks steep but not that bad. I bike towards the hill and start climbing it. A guy doing the long course goes by me and say “I like your handlebars.”  I say thanks and look at my handlebars. My handlebars are orange and his are orange too. I call back “I like your handlebars too”. I keep biking uphill and bike around a turn. As I go around the turn I see the hill continues even farther. I am already tired and I don't want to go up the hill. But I know I will eventually get to the top. I continue drinking my water and biking.

After what seems forever I see the top. There's a lady in front of me and I reach the top as soon as she does. I say “finally we get to the top” and she agrees with me. I thought I would enjoy the top of the hill but it is windy and it's almost like I'm still climbing the hill. There is a small downhill but it doesn't feel like one because of the wind. Up ahead I see one biker climbing up a steep hill and I think, when is this going to end. But I realize other bikers are turning before the 2nd hill, so that must be someone else on their own bike ride.

As I get closer to the turn, my Dad comes up behind me. We talk and I tell him I'm drinking a lot of water. I turn right then onto a road. I know I am close to transition. There is another hill up ahead but it doesn't look as bad as the highway hill. I see my Dad start to climb the hill ahead of me. I get to the hill and start to climb. The hill is a little tiring but it's not that bad because I know the transition is close. A lady and I go back and forth on the hill until we reach the top. At the top, my Dad goes straight because he's doing that half Ironman course and I go right. It's downhill and I start to recognize the campsite area.

I continue biking down the hill and get closer two the downhill to transition. I almost missed the turn because no one's really directing it and I don't know if it's the correct one. But people start yelling at me as soon as I don't turn right away so I turn. I go downhill and take my feet out of the bike shoes. I slow my bike down and jump off. I run into transition and rack my bike. My mom's bike is a little too close to my side so I kind of have to push it over as I'm putting my bike on. I take my helmet off and put on my shoes, race belt, and hat. I grab my gels and start running. I take a quick detour to the restroom and then run out of transition. My sister, who's volunteering, cheers me on as a runout.

I run down some steps and onto some sand. I run across the sand to a single-track trail. On the trail, I take one of my gels. I run on the trail until I see aid station up ahead. At the station, I grab water and turn to run up a steep hill. The hill doesn't look that bad, but it is covered in sand. As I'm running up, I feel like I'm slipping backwards a little bit. It is a calf killer and I walk some of the hill. I see people running down and they are going fast. Too bad I can't go fast upward.

After a lot of climbing, I finally reach the top. I run on the road to the next aid station. I grab water then continue. I go downhill and it is a fun break. As I am going downhill, I see my Dad biking uphill on the half Ironman course. He says good job to me and tells me to drink water and pour water on my head. I smile and say ok. After the long downhill, I go up a short hill which leads to a small downhill. I see a turn sign and turn over and get onto another single-track uphill. This is also covered in sand and does not look fun. I run up it to the next station.  As I get closer to the aid station, a man at the aid station says “wow you're really old” just to be funny. The truth is that I am the youngest competitor. At the aid station, I grab water and an orange. I then continue up the hill. It looks like it's never going to stop. It reminds me of climbing up from the river at home except with sand. I run some but mostly walk it. My calves are really sore. A lady at the front of me is fast walking up the hill. I don't know how she could fast walk when you keep slipping a little bit backwards from the sand.

When it gets a little bit flat I pass her in a man ahead of me. But then it gets steep and I walk a little bit. When I finally get to the top I start to run. There is a pretty Pond and it looks very inviting because I'm very hot. I take a gel to get some energy back. There's an aid station up ahead and I get water and an orange. I go through the trees a little bit and then start going downhill. The downhill is like switchbacks and you have to be careful you don't go too fast or you might run over the edge. It is really rocky and I try not to trip or fall. My ankle hurts a little bit but I just try to relax it. As I'm running downhill I have to stop sometimes because I'm going so fast. Since I got water to aid station I start to have some cramps. After a little bit of running the cramps fade away. It sometimes feels overwhelming because of the pain, cramps, and the heat. But I just go to God and he helps me not to freak out about it.

After about a half-mile going steep downhill the trail widens out and is a gradual downhill. A half-marathon runner passes me he's going very fast.  I see an aid station up ahead and run towards it. The downhill is still steep but not as bad. I grab water at the Aid Station and someone asks if I want water on my back. I say yes and a man puts a water-filled sponge on my back and I feel refreshed. I am at the bottom and I run on a sandy trail next to the road.  After running on the sandy trail I cross over where I crossed before and start heading back. I'm getting excited because I am almost done and I can't wait to be done because it is very hard.

I run up the hill and then get a nice downhill. There's a long uphill ahead and since I already walked a lot, I challenge myself to run all the way up it. As I run up the hill my legs hurt. I don't want that slow me down so I push through. I get almost the top and there is an aid station. I stop just to grab water and continue on. I pour the rest of the water on my head and it gives me new energy to keep running.

I continue running upward and then I get to run down a little bit. Up ahead I see the downhill Sandy trail to the finish line. I'm very excited that I'm almost done. I hit the sandy trail and it is a steep downhill. I run down jumping over rocks as I go. I see others walking up the hill and I know how they feel because I had to walk up it too. As I'm going downhill I almost run into someone who was also running downward. It is a tight turn and I am going very fast. I don’t run into her, but say sorry for almost running into her.

There is a little flat spot and then it's downhill again. I can see the aid station up ahead but don't grab anything because I'm so close to the finish line. I run around the aid station and get onto a small trail. I can see the finish line at the end and my mom and sister waiting for me. I run on the trail and then onto the sandy beach. It's so sandy it's hard to run. I get into the finish line shoot and I am running as hard as I can through the sand. I finish pointing into God. It was a hard race and God kept me stable through it all. My Mom and sister both did well in the races and my Dad did amazing in his Half Ironman with God's help.

Praise The Lord For He Is Good His Love Endures Forever.

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June Lake Kid’s Triathlon-Ariel-2019

Date/Location:
7/13/19, June Lake, CA
Distances:
100m S – 2mi B – 1mi R
Time:

20:17 (3:45 – 1:48 – 7:37 – :30 – 6:35)

Place:

2nd Female, 1st Femaile in Category

Teammates:

OLY – FCA: Anna Soares, Robin Soares; Sharley Simpson

KIDS RACE – FCA: Ariel Soares

LONG COURSE – FCA: Troy Soares

SWIM

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! I start swimming.  I am one of the only ones wearing a wetsuit. I go as fast as I can trying to get in front of the pack. I go around and orange buoy and start heading back. I'm in second place right now. Right behind the first boy. I swim in between the two orange buoys I started at. Then I swim until I touch the ground. I start running in the water. I run on the sand and back into the water to the place where I put mom’s flip-flops she let me borrow. As I take off my wetsuit, kids in my race pass me. I get on the flip flops and run into transition.

BIKE

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I get my shoes on and my helmet on and bike out onto the bike course it’s kind of hard to follow the race course. I keep passing people. I go around a turn around. I pass the transition and go up a hill. I bike faster and faster. I see a turnaround up ahead. I bike around the turnaround and start biking fast again. I can see the people ahead of me and the first-place girl. I bike as fast as I can. I know that transition is close so I bike faster. I see transition so I slow down and I get off of my bike and run with my bike to my transition spot.

RUN

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I take off my helmet and start on the run. I go down some dirt steps with a bunch of rocks. I almost fall. And then I’m on a trail. I can see the first-place girl ahead of me. I run faster through a trail with plants on both sides. I can see the aid station far ahead of me.

There is a boy ahead of me. It looks like he has a cast on his hand. I can also see him holding his side. Looks like he has a cramp. When I get closer, I can hear him crying. As I pass him, I tell him to take slow breaths. I get to the aid station and get some water. I start heading up a very steep hill. I can see the girl walking at the top. I start running faster until I get close to her. I think she heard me coming because she turns and looks at me and starts running. I go around the turn around. I start getting closer and closer. We start going back down the steep hill. The girl starts to slow down on the hill, so I pass her. I go as fast as I can down the hill. I go back to the trail and now I can see the Finish. I hear someone behind me and I know they're close so I go even faster. I start running to the finish. It is very sandy so I can't go that fast. A boy behind me sprints past me. I sprint as fast as I can into the finish. I am the first girl overall and third overall over everyone.

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June Lake Triathlon–Half Ironman (Troy)

Date/Location:
July 13th, 2019 – June Lake, CA
Distances:
Swim 1.2miles – Bike 52miles – Run 13.1miles
Time:

5:51:44 (36:07 – 4:09 – 2:48:57 – 1:36 – 2:20:53)

Place:

1st 50-54M (out of 3); 6th Overall

Teammates:

OLY – FCA: Anna Soares, Robin Soares; Sharley Simpson

KIDS RACE – FCA: Ariel Soares

We arrive at incredibly beautiful June Lake.  And what a treat to run into Whit Raymond, one of our favorite announcers in triathlon.  To have such a lively, talented announcer at a small event is a great privelege.

After the race meeting we set up camp and I start complaining and worrying – mainly about the significant wind blowing, it will surely chill me on the bike, and I don’t have the right jacket, and I didn’t get enough sleep, and my foots going to hurt like last week…

I wake up in the middle of the night and it’s completely still and quiet.  The full moon is reflecting off the water and the snow covered parts of the mountain.  This "Oh! Ridge” campground has been the quietest we’ve ever stayed at (maybe because it’s all athletes and everyone races the same morning).  I sleep very well.  Thank you, Lord.

Race morning, attitude improved, read the Bible, kiss Robin goodbye and head to the 7am start for my race.  (Robin & Anna will start the Olympic at 8am and Ariel the kids’ race at 12).

There is no wind at all.  The water is glass.  The volunteers are cheerful, no lines at the porta potties and everything, including the shuttles of athletes who didn’t camp, seems to be running smoothly.

Although there’s about 250 racing all the events, only 50 of us get ready for the Half.  I talk to a couple guys doing this hard course for their first one.  I jog a little and my foot hurts.  I spend a good amount of time stretching and then down to the water.  It feels really cold this morning!  I wish I had booties… until I go to the start area it feels much warmer, like 65.

I run back to pray with Robin, Anna, and Ariel.  I appreciate their prayers for me and I pray I remember it’s not my race, my life, my goals.. it’s the Lord’s, which should free me from worrying about it and instead focus on Him so others can see Him through me.  I’m reminded of the song “Crown Him” which says,

“It’s not my life, to live. It’s not my song, to sing. All I have, is His For all eternity” and goes on to say “It’s not my weight, to bear..”  worrying is the heaviest weight.

The Swim

I feel ready.  There’s only 30 of us starting.  Go!  I start calm and relaxed.  It’s easy to sight and the water is so clean and clear.  We go around the short sprint course and then head out for the Olympic course.  I’m breathing deeply, and sometimes every 2 strokes instead of 3 or 4 because we’re at 7500 ft.  Racing at altitude is like missing every 5th breathe so have to make up for it.  A woman behind me is swimming backstroke.  Amazingly she’s drafting off me without being able to see me!  That is a good way to get more air.  A guy next to me is swimming with only the lower 1/2 of a wetsuit.  The swim course is wonderful.  The shadow of the mountain blocks the sun so sighting is never a problem.  Most of the course is shallow.  I see a couple fish darting around and lot of rock formations below.  I think about God.  I’m joyful.  I’m calm. Sometimes I feel like I might get cold but I actually stay comfortable to the end.  I see 30 min on my watch and hope I can finish soon.  I push more at the end but mostly the swim was low effort which should help the rest of the race. 36:07. 11th place.

After a jog through the entire transition site (to make it fair for everyone) I put on only my light jacket (I’m not cold and there’s no wind, thank you, Lord!) and am happily off on the bike.

The Bike

Immediately I can sense the thin air by how fast I accelerate downhills.  Biking at altitude is a thrill because the speeds are faster.  But even more so on this course because it’s so beautiful!  Along June Lake, through the cute town of June Lake with people starting to sip coffee under awnings.  Along Gull Lake, sailing under evergreens… It really does feel like a “Tour de France TT below the Alps” as a previous athlete wrote in his race story from last year.

Curving along the base of mountains, I make it through one really sharp turn and hope Anna negotiates it ok in her race.  Then I catch view of Horestail Waterfall above to the left. Amazing!

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Then Silver Lake on the right and the huge Grant Lake which seems to drop off the edge of the hills at the end.  It’s a little chilly but warming up a little.  I think of Anna and hope she will be comfortable in her race suit.

Now onto the shoulder of Hwy 395.  Even though it’s a main freeway, it’s a very wide shoulder and not concerning.  I’m warm and take off my jacket.  It’s a slight climb for 6 miles and I try to be efficient and take it easy.  It was such a beautiful easy cruise along the lakes that I’m looking forward to doing the 2nd loop!  After a short difficult climb to June Lake, and insuring I’ve finished 1 large bottle of Vitargo, I excitingly start the loop again now with Olympic Distance riders to pass.  Through all the scenic spots this time I try even more to take it all in.  I also remind myself “stay calm, stay calm” so as not to push.  The race starts with the run.

I think about Robin and Anna who are somewhere ahead on this loop.  I calculate what Anna’s times might be and then look way ahead and see a yellow outfit climbing up Hwy 395!  Yes!  That’s her!  I yell a couple times but she can’t hear me.  I’m supposed to be going easy but I push more hoping I can catch her before she pulls off to the bike finish.  I catch her right before the down-n-up to the finish.  “So glad to see you, Anna, how’s it been?”  “It’s going great.  But that was a big hill.  I wasn’t able to get water but my 2 bottles will be enough”  Thank you, Lord for keeping her safe in her first Olympic Bike leg.

Robin is probably starting the run, Anna is heading to T2, and I get to go along the Lake and through town a 3rd time (which is so cool) and then turn along the back June Lake to the finish.  It’s very hilly along the back but I didn’t realize it provides great viewing of the run course and runners!  At first the trails don’t look so hard, but then I see a ferocious trail climb and even the climbs on the paved road look hard.  And there’s Anna!  Looking strong despite the heat and hills.  This is a cool bike course!  A big descent to T2 alows me to stretch, finish drinking, and pull out of my shoes.  2:48:57 bike, 9th fastest and now in 9th place.  Dismount.  Lose a shoe, go back and get it, change into my new NB 860’s (since last week’s Crown City Classic run proved the 880’s weren’t helping my injury).

The Run

I start to the trail but remember my plan to take a bottle. I go back, grab a bottle and hope the timing mat doesn’t get confused.  Starting through the spectator area I already notice my foot feels so much better than last week!  Thank you, God!  I see Ariel cheering for me which really makes me smile.  I’m feeling optimistic to take this crazy trail climb they told us about.  But wait, it’s sand!  A steep climb in sand.  The great news is that I’ve been practicing walking steep parts lately.  So I power walk the slippery climb.   Many runners are flying down.  I try not to get in their way.  I’m really happy about the effort and pace I’m able to put out walking and soon am at the top.  I drink my bottle and then fill it 1/2 way up at each aid station. 

The wind has picked up now and I’m thanking God for it.  Imagine that, I was cursing the wind yesterday and now it’s a blessing because it’s cooling me off during a hot, hilly run!  I see more Half Ironman athletes biking and many Sprint and Olympic runners coming back.  Way up ahead I see Robin coming up the road.  I yell but she can’t hear me.  I turn onto the ferocious, sandy hill climb and start my power-walk and then turn-around to see Robin down below on the road, “Good job, Robin!  Anna’s about a mile behind you”  she waves and smiles.

I’m breathing super hard and drinking a lot of water, and pouring it on me.  This bottle is great!  The trail keeps climbing!  I can’t believe it.  I’m passing many that are resting along the trail but my power-walk really allows me to keep going and doesn’t hurt my foot.  Thank you, Lord.  They said this course was like Wildflower but at 8000 ft.  But it is much harder.  It’s almost a joke that someone could run up this, but maybe they can.

It is all worth it at the top!  Running through meadows with low-ground-cover and patches of wildflowers.  Small lakes back-dropped with snowy mountains.  A light cool breeze under a bright sun.  People are happy to stop and let me pass.  I guess everyone wants to rest.  I stop and stretch my hamstrings and try to get a rock or something out of my shoe.

The best part – downhill!  It starts calmly, zig-zagging through beautiful single-track, but then intensifies with steeper sections and almost getting out of control… and then it just drops off!  Some sections I have to carefully step down rocks.  And then back to very steep sandy descending.  This can be very dangerous, but I always love challenging downhills.  I feel excited and trying to descend faster than others gets the adrenaline going.  Wow!  Finally at the bottom.  I take Heed and water and start the run along the road back to the start.

At the spectator / finish area, where we have to go do it all again, I’m actually looking forward to it!  The walking worked so well and the running along the top was so fun, it’s actually appealing!  Thank you, Lord, only you can turn something daunting into fun.  I see Robin, she’s so happy for me and tells me she was able to win her race and Anna did well, too.  I ask Ariel how she did and she laughs because she hasn’t raced yet. 

A good time seeing family and now back up the climb.  Now there aren’t many runners out.  I see some Half Ironman runners coming back behind me.  Others Olympic runners are walking.  I’m also taking Endurolytes which they provide at the aid stations.  I hit the huge climb again.  This time it is more work and the pace slows a little but I push through.  Thank you, Lord!  I stretch at the same rock, take a Honey Stinger and then hit the big descent.  Stomach gets a little uneasy.  Starting on the trail/road back, for the first time, I’m feeling fatigued and uncomfortable.  But I ease up and feel good again.

Now I’m overwhelmed with humility and regret for my attitude yesterday.  I have a great talk with God.  I realize how faithful He has been and unfaithful I’ve been.  I ask for forgiveness for my worrying yesterday and plan to start over and trust Him more next time.  I realize that having a bad attitude beforehand ruins even a good finish because of regret.  So the only way to finish the day completely good is to start with a good attitude beforehand.  It’s a special time repenting and feeling God’s encouragement along that hot and hilly road.

Over the last climb, now I’m excited!  Flat and then down.  I grab a gel and my whole race belt falls off.  I hug my bottle by my side while trying to put the belt on but it falls again and my bottle falls and gets covered with dirt.  Everything is going wrong.  I manage to wash off my bottle top so I can hold it in my mouth while putting my belt on and finally taking my gel.  Ok, re-grouped and back to the fun part… steep sandy downhill.. through the grass.. onto the beach..and painfully quick-step over the sand to the finish!  Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness and provision!  Run was 2:20:53, 4th fastest. 6th place overall.

Not only did the Lord bless my race, but all of our races.  Humbled and grateful.  And a BEAUTIFUL race venue!

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