Saturday, July 4, 2020

Firecracker 5k

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7/4/2020 Auburn, CA


5K (just under)




7th? (Male)


Cossentine: Bailey & Matty; Gallo: Emily, Enzo & June; Ganzenhuber: Gannon, Steve, Zachary; Nickel: Ben & Ellie; Soares: Anna, Ariel, Robin; Anna, Bernie, Krista & Julie Sopky; Mona Baughman, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Jennifer Wright


Usually we’re in San Diego on the 4th but because of the coronavirus we’re in Auburn and the blessing in disguise is that we get to participate in Karen Nicke’s Firecracker 5k which gathers food for the Interfaith Food Closet.  Robin and the girls are excited because they’ve never done it like I have the 2 years I wasn’t able to go to San Diego.

The loop is an easy-to-follow, but not so easy-to-run, familiar route around the Skyridge Neighborhood.  The Nickel’s mark the course with lots of personal touches. Registration looks very official and social distancing for coronavirus is in play.

Unfortunately, my right heel is really bothering me and I can barely jog for a warm up.  But I will do what the Lord allows me to do.

Some of us gather and pray, trying to keep our hearts and minds on Jesus, especially when the competition of racing can distract us.

Karen plays the National Anthem on the banjo.  It’s a special moment.

Now it’s time to start.  There will be some fast running ahead with 4 Placer High School runners, 2 HS runners from Stockton, and Baily Cossentine (a national champion pushing a baby stroller). Go!

Oscar and I start off and quickly end up mid-pack.  On the climb up Maidu Rd, I meet the runner next to me, Scott and we encourage each other.  Oscar is annoyed I think that we aren’t running faster, but this is as fast as my foot can go.  Scott and I talk about running, training and run training with dogs.  I pass Ariel and Ellie running together.  Down the long hill, up the other side and now the short steep “50 yds of fun”.  My foot won’t warm up but the Lord is good and I believe I’ll run again without pain one of these days.

In the neighborhood I pull ahead of Scott, but near the finish he’s able to catch up and it makes for a great finish… even though he did beat me by a toe.


We got to cheer a lot of friends today and then afterwards cheered the younger kids in the “1 Mile” race.

God is great, today is great, and we still live in a great country with great heros that gave us our freedom!

Firecracker 5K–Ariel-2020


7/4/2020 Auburn, CA


5K (just under)




6th (Female)


Cossentine: Bailey & Matty; Gallo: Emily, Enzo & June; Ganzenhuber: Gannon, Steve, Zachary; Nickel: Ben & Ellie; Soares: Anna, Robin & Troy; Anna, Bernie, Krista & Julie Sopky; Mona Baughman, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Jennifer Wright


5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go! I start running. I see Ellie a little bit ahead of me, so I catch up to her and start running with her. We turn to the right and keep going straight. Ellie and I are running together still. We run down a hill by the fire station. Ellie points out the chalk signs they made before the race.

We turn to go up a long hill. I hear Daddy behind me. I turn around and see him getting closer. He passes us. At the top of the hill, we keep going straight and pass a different Anna, Anna S, that is Ellie's friend. She starts running with us, but then gets far ahead. We start going down a long hill. Ellie points out some more signs. One says go, Ariel. I tell Ellie I'm going to go fast down this hill. I pick up speed. Ellie catches up with me again.

We pass the green gate and go down the hill. I see Anna S again. She stops and waits for us. Anna S starts running with us too. I go a little faster down this hill and then we start running up a gradual long hill. Ellie gets a cramp. Anna S and Ellie start walking. I keep running.

After a little bit, they catch up to me. We go a little farther. Anna S starts walking and falls behind. We turn up a steep hill and when we get to the top. I tell Ellie I'll see you at the finish. I start going faster. I see another one of Ellie's friends up ahead and I want to pass her. I keep a good steady pace. I run up a small hill and then down a hill. I turn onto a neighborhood road and I can hear cheering. I sprint faster and I see Ellie's friend ahead. I sprint up a small hill. I'm pretty sure I can't catch her but I still try. I turn and sprint into the finish line. Almost. I finished with 28 minutes.


Firecracker 5K–Anna-2020


7/4/2020 Auburn, CA


5K (just under)


19:38 (New Female Course Record)


1st (Female), 5th OA


Cossentine: Bailey & Matty; Gallo: Emily, Enzo & June; Ganzenhuber: Gannon, Steve, Zachary; Nickel: Ben & Ellie; Soares: Ariel, Robin & Troy; Anna, Bernie, Krista & Julie Sopky; Mona Baughman, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Jennifer Wright

I get to the starting line and get ready to race. I tell some high school friends of mine to beat the record. They tell me back to beat the girl's record (19:43). Great, I think sarcastically.


106746463_3167528566699434_2238899081152400137_nI look to God and know that I'm going to do my best for Him. Karen Nickel counts down to the start of the race and it begins. We run along the neighborhood road then turn off heading towards Auburn Folsom. I'm running with Enzo right now at a pretty good pace. I move a little farther ahead though. Bailey, the record-breaker last year, runs past me with her son in a baby stroller. I might have an advantage this year because she has to push the baby stroller up the hill after this downhill. I might even finish with her! I turn on Auburn Folsom and head towards the fire station. There are many different chalk marks on the ground telling which way to go and cheering you on. I see the names of many people on the ground,  I know only some of them. I turn off Auburn Folsom and start heading up Maidu Road. I know it's a long steep hill but on the other side, there is a big downhill. I push up the hill hard in order to keep my pace and to be able to catch up to Bailey. I catch up to her about halfway up the hill and pass her. I keep my eyes on the boys and keep up the pace. I get to the top of the hill and am relieved. On the ground, there's a chalk sign that says 1 mile. Yes, only two to go and I'm feeling pretty good.

I run on the flat ground looking forward to the downhill that I can see just up ahead. I remember to push over the top of the hill like my mom said. I push into the downtown start to feel gravity pulling me down. I continue to see more chalk names and then I see my name and Ariel’s name on the road. It was very nice of the Nickels to write our names down to cheer for us during the race. I get halfway down the long hill and hit the flat section. I'm starting to hurt but I focus on God and push through. I see the boys up ahead altogether. Two boys are from out of town that are the Nickel’s friends and the other two are two Placer high schoolers trying to beat the record. I get to the green gate and start down the last half of the long downhill. I'm keeping up a good pace and I try to stay ahead of my goal Pace 6:40. I know this next long uphill will be hard but it'll be just about the last big hill there is. I pass the mile-and-a-half sign saying “I'm only halfway there”. It's weird, I thought I would already hit mile two by now. I don't let that put me down and I keep running and looking to God. I get to the bottom of the hill and start going up. I can barely see the boys, they're so far ahead. I push up the uphill and know that this is the hardest hill left. I try to cut off the corners as much as possible so I don't add on any extra mileage.

I get to the last corner and know that I'm almost to the road. I turn onto a super steep little road (“50 Meters of Fun”) that leads up to the main road. I get the top and feel relieved. I try to get as much energy as I can back as I go down small downhill. I start heading up another hill again but it's not as long or big like the one I just went up. I get to the top and now I'm at the home stretch. I try to give everything I can and run hard. I get to the stop sign and cross the crosswalk. I am so close and there is a chalk mark that says 400 left. One lap around the track. I got to push it. I turn into the neighborhood and run down a short hill.  Up ahead I see a hill towards the Finish area. I push up the hill hard and it really hurts. I turn the corner and see the Finish Line. I sprint with all my might and give the glory to God. He helped me through it. I knew that if I wouldn't get my time I would still do my best for him and he blessed me with a great time. My two high school friends did beat the old record, but the Nickel’s nephews won the race and set a new record. Thanks to God I got a pace of 6:38. It was only 3 miles, not a 5k.


Praise the Lord for he is good his love endures forever.


Firecracker 5K–Robin -2020


7/4/2020 Auburn, CA


5K (just under)




3rd (Women)


Cossentine: Bailey & Matty; Gallo: Emily, Enzo & June; Ganzenhuber: Gannon, Steve, Zachary; Nickel: Ben & Ellie; Soares: Anna, Ariel &Troy; Anna, Bernie, Krista & Julie Sopky; Mona Baughman, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Jennifer Wright

This is the first real race with people since March.  Thankful for the Nickel family to continue this great neighborhood tradition that benefits our local food pantry.  This is the first time I’ve done this race since we are usually in San Diego racing and watching fireworks.  With COVID that plan changed.  COVID has also changed the Nickel event too with limited numbers and social distancing.  Just so grateful to race.  And even better to race on roads I know like the back of my hand!

We pause while Karen plays the National Anthem on her banjo and we sing along.  The Fourth of July tradition and American pride is alive and well here!  Thank you Lord!


We line up and get last minute instructions from Karen Nickel.  There is a nice mix of kids and grown ups.  Some of Anna’s Placer teammates are here along with some fast kiddos, the Ganzenhubers, friends of Karen’s.  This should be quite the race!

Ready, set, go!  We are off and off quick!  The beginning is a fun and fast downhill which is helpful for keeping a good average going up the big Maidu climb.

Once we hit the hill, the field in front of me splinters and I pass several folks.  Those who took off too fast are paying for it a bit.  This is a tough hill and I’m feeling it and just trying to maintain.

Mile 1 is 7:39. Phew, the hill is done and I have a LONG downhill to enjoy now.  I am now able to pay more attention to the chalk signs the Nickels and Gazenhubers have put on the pavement…”Go Gannon”, “Go Anna”, “Go Ben”, “Go Ariel”… very motivating for the kids for sure!  I’m running with Steve Gazenhuber and the young and talented Enzo Gallo is right behind me.  There is dog poop on the ground with a chalk bomb around it that says “Watch Out!”  Ha, ha!

MIle 2 is 7:05.  Yeah, that is nice to see that pace!  But once again we climb.  Just got to hang in there.  I see more fun chalking that makes me laugh and keeps me going.  Soon, I hit the “50 Meters of Fun” hill up to Pacific Ave…short and terrible!  Enzo goes by and catches up to another boy ahead.  They duel it out for a few strides and then Enzo pushes past.

I’m so close to being done. As I make the last turn back into the neighborhood, I come up on that kid that Enzo passed.  I encourage him to go for it and he takes off. I hold on and push with what is left.  Anna is waiting ahead and cheering.  I’m sure she ran fast!

I cross the finish and look up to God.  Thank you Jesus!  I ran the last mile at 7:35 pace.  I’ll take it!  Now to see Troy, Oscar and Ariel to the finish!


Sunday, June 14, 2020

Rock Tahoe Virtual 1/2 Marathon-Robin-2020


6/14/2020 Auburn, CA


13.1 Miles (1/2 Marathon)




18th (Women)


Troy Soares

This is our 2nd virtual race this season. I’m not a big fan of virtual racing mostly because of the variance of results but today I get to do it with Troy and get help from my friend Karen Nickel and Anna. It is also good practice for my longest and hopefully last virtual race. Next month I’ll be doing a family supported Ironman to raise money for one of our favorite ministries, Christian Encounter Ranch.

The goal is to try to maintain 8:20 pace, which is what I did in the 10k of the Virtual Olympic Distance Duathlon.  I feel nervous but I want to remember that nothing is more important than Jesus and my family. It’s easy for me to the let the stress of racing overwhelm me to the point of neglecting my godly responsibilities. Trying hard to overcome that and I know with the Lord’s help it is possible. And this morning there is a family issue that needs to be dealt with that makes me late getting out the door for a warm up. I don’t pass with flying colors but I see some progress made. I actually find I have ample time to get ready. Thank you Lord! That is your grace and mercy!

We have made a two-loop course that passes by our house so that we can get aid easily. Karen will do the first loop and Anna and Oscar the dog the second loop. The three of us pray for the run ahead. Praying for Troy’s foot to feel good and Karen’s hamstrings.

Ready, set, go! It feels good starting out. We even are able to actually all chat together. I am pleasantly surprised. I know as we get further along that will change! I realize that I again forgot to set my Garmin to show the current mile pace. All I can see is the overall mile pace. That is probably mentally better anyway. This way I cannot micro manage myself.

Mile 1: My watch beeps first for 8:00 .. Troy’s beeps further and says 8:11. Big difference! This watch has always been generous in pace and distance. I know by the end there will be a difference between Troy and I and it won’t be fair. Virtual racing is just hard to manage!

It’s nice not to have Oscar to focus on today for Troy. He is a very competitive dog indeed and loves to lead. He’ll get his chance with Anna. I think it’ll help Troy’s foot stay stable by not having to make sudden movements with Oscar this time.

Mile 2: 8:26  (Troy’s is 8:25). Up along Auburn Folsom it’s nice and flat. We near a section where I took a hard fall a month ago. I actually ended up scraping my chin because my hands didn’t catch me in time. I make it by the spot.

We hit the big hill of the course. It feels good but I know it will get harder next time.

Mile 3: 8:02. Troy’s is 8:00. Interesting!

I continue to feel strong and am able to talk pretty comfortably! Karen is my steady running buddy. She clicks off the miles smoothly and consistently.

Mile 4: 7:49  (Troy’s is 8:09!) Just over two miles until home. The next dreaded hill is Perkins Way. It doesn’t visibly look tough but the grade can reach 6%! This will be torture next time. A little later Troy jokes that Karen can turn off and run to her house. This is the road we use to get to each other’s houses.

Mile 5: 8:41. Karen tells us about a house fire in this neighborhood. Troy and I realize it’s our fellow track runner Tia. We are so sad to see the house roped off. Everyone got out safely…praise the Lord!

Mile 6: 8:09. Almost home! I feel good. I’m still chatting comfortably and we are maintaining just under 8:20 pace.

As we run up to our house, Anna is waiting with Oscar and Ariel has an aid station set up. I stop to get an orange and fill up my water bottle. We say so long to Karen and head out. It was a pretty quick transition but we lost some time. It’s tough climbing up Twietmeyer Hill (steep hill on our street).

Mile 7: 8:55. It’s starting to feel more difficult. Anna’s fresh energy is so helpful and the downhill from home. She takes on the work of managing Oscar and keeping my goal pace. Soon we are climbing what looks like a false flat along the abandoned road along the river. This is tough and I flash back to the Resolution Run where we had to run this section after a tough climb.

Mile 8: 8:17. Troy tells us we are behind pace. Part of me thinks this is good enough. According to my watch I’m running under 8:20 pace which is faster than my 10k at the duathlon. I know I cannot settle and need to keep trying.

Mile 9: 8:17. We hit the hill on Auburn Folsom up to Indian Hill. It’s so tough and I fall behind Troy and Anna. Troy tells us we are still off pace. I am able to surge through the Sawka neighborhood with Anna. Troy stops to stretch. He catches back up as we climb back up to Indian Hill.

Troy is surging ahead now. Anna is with me and helping me to hold on.

Mile 10: 8:18. Anna veers off and heads home to get Ariel. They plan to meet us towards the end. I am trying to pick it up to catch Troy but I feel like I’m maxed out.

Mile 11: 8:17. Ugh, Perkins Wy Hill! I feel like I’m crawling up the hill. Troy is running strong and maintaining his lead. I just keep trying my best and trying not to settle.

Mile 12. 8:33 (Troy’s is 7:58). So close now to being done. I won’t be able to catch Troy but I’m still digging deep. Thank you Lord! Almost done! Now I’m on Maidu and doing our Mile TT course. I think about being fast.

As I turn onto Burlin, I can hear Anna and Ariel cheering behind me. I think they thought we were coming from a different direction. I wave hoping they can see me. It’s too hard to turn around and look for them.

I realize it will be a bit short. As I hit the house I’m at 12.7 according to my watch. I see Troy running beyond.

Mile 13. 7:32. I finally hit the 13.1 but I see Troy still running. He is clearly ahead of me but my watch thinks different. I continue to run until he stops. My time is still faster than his, but he ran further. It’s a bit frustrating for me that my Garmin is unfair, but Troy doesn’t mind. Well I know I ran faster compared to my Duathlon so I’m happy. Thank you Lord!!


Rock Tahoe Rock-n-Roll 1/2 Marathon–Socially Distanced (Troy)


6/14/2020 Auburn, CA


13.1 Miles (1/2 Marathon)




52nd (o/a)


Robin Soares

On Mar 6th, at Robin’s Napa Valley Marathon expo, Ariel spun the wheel and won an entry to a race we’ve never done, the Rock Tahoe 1/2. 

It would be perfect for Robin’s upcoming Ironman prep, and it would be a beautiful getaway race.  So Robin & I signed up.

As we all know, the next week marked the beginning of the end of racing as we knew it. 

So Rock Tahoe became a virtual race that each athlete would do on their own.

We would miss the beautiful gleam of Lake Tahoe, the crisp air of the mountains, and the motivating beat of the bands that play along the course.

But we would still train and push ourselves to the best of our ability.. and see how our results stacked up against a thousand others.

Just as the coronavirus ceased all race gatherings, Robin suffered a dibilitating running injury which allowed her to bike only for 2 months… and since pools were closed, that was the only exercise she got.

At the same time, my right foot heel pain got worse and really limited my running.

By June, though, thanks to the Lord, Robin was back to running well! 

But my heel still limited training.  It didn’t stop me all-together.  Thanks to my daughter, Anna, she continued dragging me out the door to keep up with her training which helped me. 

I got in a couple 10mi runs and, ready-or-not, it’s time for the 1/2 marathon.

Robin created a great 2 loop course in our neighborhood.  Only 850 ft of climbing which is as flat as Auburn gets.  We suit up in FCA Endurance yellow. 

At 6:45am we’re warmed up, fueled up, stretched and ready to start.  Karen Nickel joins us for the 1st 1/2.

We pray.  I specifically ask the Lord to give me, and the rest of us, the appreciation for His goodness even when it hurts.. and I know that it will.  I want to remember and be thankful even when it isn’t going as well as I would like.. because I am so blessed just to be able to train!


Robin is going for an 8:20 pace if possible and that sounds like a good goal for me, too.    It’s a great start, especially being able to run with Karen and catch up on things. The temp is perfect and the 1st mile is downhill.

Mile 1: 8:11. Ahead of pace but hills to come.  I push ahead a bit in anticipation... but then my foot hurts a little so I stop to stretch.  I catch back up at Railhead Park.

Mile 2: 8:33. Not bad for climbing. Average is 8:21.

Mile 3 & 4: 8:00, 8:09. Doing great. Picking it up because of mile 5 hill ahead.  Perkins is a steep hill, I watch my form and my foot holds up.

Mile 5: 8:46.  Glad that hill is over! (although have to do it one more time)  And our average is 8:20. Perfect!

Mile 6: 8:19. Coming down our street I thankfully see a makeshift aid-station setup by our girls.  Cold water, oranges, I grab a Honey Stinger.  Karen is done.  We really appreciated having her run 1/2 with us.  Anna joins us with a very happy dog, Oscar!  Usually I run him but Anna is taking charge so I can focus on just surviving the run. 

Mile 7: 9:03. Even with the faster running on the Maidu Rd downhill, it was a slow mile due to the aid-station stop.

Mile 8: 8:23. Back at Railhead Park. Average is 8:25 which means we’re 40 secs behind.  But Robin’s Garmin has different mileage and says she’s actually right on pace.

Mile 9: 8:30. Foot is hurting and legs are really sore now.  This is where it gets tough to smile and be positive, but I remember my prayer at the beginning and that the Lord will give me the strength to remain positive and appreciative. Thank you, Lord.

Mile 10: 8:20. Really getting tough but only a 5k to go. But being 50 secs behind means it has to be a faster 5k.  I encourage Robin and start to pull ahead.  She’s also picking it up but not able to match.  I hope she’s able to catch me, maybe on the hill.  Anna pulls off and heads for home to be at the finish for us.

Mile 11: 8:13. That helps! 8:24 average… and the Perkins hill ahead!  After the hill I really push hard through the flat neighborhoods, trying to make up time.

Mile 12: 7:58. Great! 8:22 average, 24 secs behind!  Robin is not far behind me.  Some good downhills now so just have to maximize them for a fast last mile.. it’s working.. back to 8:20 pace.. but the distance is short so I have to go beyond the finish line and circle back..

Mile 13: 7:34. Now at 8:18 average!  And finishing..

Finish: 1:49:09 (8:18 pace) Robin and I basically finish together, even though I had to go a little farther to make my Garmin show 13.1.  Thank you, Lord, for letting my foot hold up and allowing me to hit the goal!


Saturday, June 6, 2020

Mock 1/2 Ironman Race–Robin-2020


6/6/2020 Granite Bay, CA


1.2M Swim – 57M Bike – 13.1M Run


6:26:17 (36:36-5:04-3:36:03-5:30-2:03:04)


NA (=


Julie Linn Visger, Karen Bonnett Natraj, Troy Outman

Today is going to be a good test of fitness doing a half iron distance for practice. I'm excited that some of my swim buddies are joining me for the whole event: Julie Visgar and Karen Bonnet. Our friend Troy Outman will do the swim and bike.

We are swimming at my frequent and favorite swim spot, Rattlesnake Bar. This park has been closed but just opened up yesterday. We can actually park by the water now instead of biking in. The boat traffic on the water here should be minimal (compared to bigger areas like Granite Bay). It's cooled off quite a bit which is nice! It's overcast for now.

My Troy prays for all of us and then we get in the water. At 7am we start...3, 2, 1, go! I feel great right out of the gate. Troy O. leads going out and I'm close behind. As I leave the inlet, I look at my watch and see I'm under 1:40 per 100 yard pace. Wow!

I start to catch up to Troy O because he's having to stop to fix his goggles. I pass the trees and get close to the turnaround point. I'm still under 1:40 pace! My watch says it's time to turn now but I'm not sure if I've reached the correct rock landmark that my Troy mentioned. I go a few yards more and then head back. Troy O. is not far behind and he appears to continue up river. I'm going with my watch's distance and not letting that concern me.

I feel just as strong coming back which has not been the norm for me here at Rattlesnake Bar. I see Julie and then Karen. They are swimming steady and strong. I get back to the inlet and glance at my watch. Still under 1:40. Thank you Lord!


I get to the dock and take off my wetsuit and run up to my bike. I take a bit long getting ready since I'm changing into a bike jersey and putting on a jacket (due to cooler temps). I send Anna off to start the bike and I go to the restrooms.  As I hop back on my bike and start I hear a bunch of air leave my front tire. Uh-oh! I ride back to the car and Troy pulls off the tire and we debate whether to change wheels or repair. First we try to repair it but realize we don't have long stemmed tubes that will work with the race wheels. So we opt to switch wheels and readjust the brakes. In the meantime, Troy O. has finished his swim and has headed off on the bike. I tell him to let Anna know I'm coming. Julie and Karen are getting ready to roll. While waiting I switch my jacket to arm warmers. Feels better now.


This is a good heart test. I have found myself easily irritated and frustrated lately and I know it's bad. I feel God saying He's checking my attitude and that this is my chance to turn things around. It takes a lot to focus on Him but I know it's important especially to those watching…like my kids and friends. Finally Troy gets my bike dialed in and I head out. I appreciate his help so much because you cannot get this kind of support in a real race.


It feels good to be on the road even with the tough climb out of Rattlesnake Bar. I wonder where Anna is and pray that the Lord is keeping her safe. I see Troy, and Ariel tells me that Anna is just ahead, and that Troy O is 3 minutes ahead. About 13 miles I see Anna just after I turn on Laird. She looks strong and is doing great on her "new" tri bike. This is first real ride on her new steed. So far, so good! Thank you Lord!!

This is a two loop course with some pretty good hills. I know it won’t feel too bad this first loop but will feel much harder the second time. I stop at Loomis Basin Park for a quick pit stop and then hit the road and head up Swetzer toward Penryn. Halfway there the climbing starts. I climb up to Taylor Road for a quick and steep downhill on Rock Springs. They just chip-n-sealed this road last week and I'm relieved to see only little gravel. I hit the "big" climb and I feel strong.

Finally back to Auburn Folsom and the start of the 2nd loop…ahhhh, love the downhill!! I see a work crew here and am concerned that there will be some obstacles when I get back here.


I start to notice the wind is picking up now and I am feeling some pretty good gusts. This is the downside to the cooler weather. I'm still wearing my arm warmers and totally comfortable.

I stop at Loomis Park again and head out. The 2nd time on the climbs is really tough and I am yearning for the downhill. I know Karen is not a fan of the Rock Springs and will be "enjoying" the climb as little as I am…ha, ha! I haven't seen Troy O and I figure that he is already done riding the 2 loops and on his way home.

I finally get to Auburn Folsom and it's super windy! The side wind gusts are so strong that I cannot even get in my aerobars. I feel like I'm holding on for dear life. At least this is the end of my ride. Seven miles to go! I start thinking that this is about the time that the Coffee Republic group should be coming by. I look back and see a blob. I wait a moment and look again and the riders are right there! I hold on as they scream by. Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to get my momentum up when the rear goes by and I am left in the dust. Wow, that is humbling!

I get to Twin Rocks Road and make the turn towards the park. So close! I get to the dirt trail entrance and bike in. I remember sprinting this section in fear last time because Anna was on my tail. Today there is a group of guys on one-wheel motorized boards coming right at me. I try not to panic and trust they will get around me fine.

I make it to transition yay! I'm glad to get off this bike. The wind has made the last bit unpleasant. I pray for Karen and Julie who are still out there. I spend a lot of time in transition changing into my run gear. I'm really surprised how many people are out here enjoying the lake. Anna patiently waits to start the first of three 4.27 mile loops. Troy warns me that he marked a steep short section on accident but that it still gets me to the right trail.

Finally we are off! I feel pretty stiff and sore but hope to loosen up. I can see that Troy and Ariel have marked the course out here pretty well though there are a few spots that could use a little more clarity. Anna does a great job encouraging me and keeping me occupied.

We run through the boat dock parking lot and it's super busy. There seems to be people everywhere!

Mile 1 is 9:10. I get the pleasure of running up the steep accidental trail. Good times!

Mile 2 is 9:12. Anna and I make it to the shady trail where bikes are not allowed. It's much quieter over here!

Mile 3 is 9:04. We are just beyond the horse staging area. The trail is still quiet here but there's less shade. We see Troy ahead taking pics and cheering us on.


Mile 4 is 9:01. Anna is leading me back to the start. She's a great pacer! We decide to grab a water bottle with flour to mark up the course on the second loop as we run. I get back to the car and Karen is there ready to start her first loop. I grab the bottle of flour and go. Karen starts right behind and Anna stops to use the restroom.

Mile 5 is 10:23. I'm marking the course as I go.  I just don’t want my friends to get lost.  I'll give the job to Anna when she catches up. I hit the accidental trail and man it's tougher this time. I’m barely able to maintain a run up it. Pace has slowed this mile.

Anna catches me. She lets me know she's going another mile for a total of six.

Mile 6 is 9:41. Anna brings me through and then turns off the trail. I thank her for the help. I soon run into Troy who tells me that Karen is now ahead by a mile by accident because she took a wrong turn. I tell him Anna headed back to the car.

Mile 7 is 9:20.

Mile 8 is 9:27. I haven't seen Karen yet. In the distance I see Anna on the trail. She waves the flour filled water bottle at me. I take that to mean she's continuing to mark the course. She's too sweet!

Mile 9 is 9:26. It's hotter now and I'm definitely more tired. Glad that my pace is just under 9:30.

Mile 10 is 9:54. I get to the accidental trail and this time I'm walking. I am wiped out but manage to get running again after the top.

Mile 11 is 9:21. I am on the quiet trail when Troy shows up to run with me!  Soon we see Karen in the distance. She's got a strong pace and it takes me a while to catch up. I tell her great job.

Mile 12 is 9:26. Home stretch now, but I do know I have a big extra even when I get to the car to make 13.1.

Mile 13 is 8:46. I'm like a horse itching to get home. I am surprised I'm able to pick up the pace for the last .1. Yay! Thank you Lord!! So good to be done and have that under my belt!


Saturday, May 23, 2020

TBF Virtual Duathlon–Troy-2020


5/23/2020 Granite Beach, CA


10K Run – 40K Bike


2:15:21 (52:08-1:23:13)




Oly Du: Anna Soares, Robin Soares; Sprint Du: Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley; Super Sprint: Ariel Soares

With Corona Virus, all the races were cancelled.  But, thank the Lord, the virus is under control and racing is starting back up.. at least virtually.

We love the TBF race organization, and we need something to show us if we’re still in any shape after all the shelter-in-place, so of course we’re here doing the TBF Virtual Duathlon!

Robin, Ariel, Anna, myself and Caryn and Susanne are ready to go here at Granite Beach.  It’s Memorial Day Wknd and the park has just opened so there are a number of families coming out to camp.  But no typical race crowd.. you can run your virtual Du anytime, any place.. we just chose to do it at the regular place.

We all pray before our big effort.  I know it’s going to feel uncomfortable at times so pray that I can give God my best effort and let the pain remind me to appreciative being able to do this.. it is a blessing. God is truly good, even in bad times.  We know there are people hurting from loss, illness and unemployment and any day it could be us as well.  Today is a day we’re going to appreciate.



Anna and Robin take off on the 10k run course with Anna leading early.


Caryn & Suzanne on the 5k course. 

They finish the run and once all of them are off on the bike, Ariel and I start our race.



Ariel & I run the same pace for 1/2 mile.  I’m impressed at her keeping up with me.  We say our goodbyes as she turns back for her 1mile course and I continue on the 10k.  It’s getting warm and will be hot on the 2nd loop.  I’m remembering the Lord and happy to be out seeing other people gathering with their families on this special weekend.  I pray Corona Virus doesn’t strike and the extra freedom we’re all experiencing can continue.  I feel like it’s all going to be good.

Mile 1: 8:41. The backside trail is awesome.  I jump to the side when other runners come towards me as it’s a narrow trail.  Robin made this course and it’s great.  My rt heel has been a big problem this last month.  Today it’s pretty sore but I do my best to keep a reasonable pace.

Mile 2: 8:44. Across the road again and now out in the open on the sandy trails.  Back through the beach area, transition is empty as Ariel is on the bike now.

Mile 3: 8:21. Loop #2, getting warmer and I’m getting more sore.  I forgot to get water at transition.

Mile 4: 8:09.

Mile 5: 8:23.

Mile 6: 8:02. I get through the 2nd loop and do another loop around the picnic area to make it exactly 10k in 52:08.

  Ariel is finished and taking pictures of me and cheering.



I get water, put on shoes and helmet, pull my bike out of the van and take off to Ariel’s cheers.  Now I get to see how Robin’s bike course is.


Out the park, onto Auburn-Folsom, then Joe Rogers and Itchey Acres.  This is pretty cool.  Cavitt Stalman, Lair, Wells, Val Verde and Dick Cook.  This is a great course!  Almost no cars and easy intersections.  A little kicker hill on Dick Cook hits me with Reality… I’m out of shape!  Still, it’s great to be racing.  The downhill is cool and cruising Auburn-Folsom in the aero-bars feels great (I haven’t ridden the tri-bike in a while).

2nd Loop brings with it pains in my knees.  That’s ok, I try putting more pressure on my seat and it helps.  Just have to have good form and ignore the discomfort.. and appreciate being able to do this.  Thank you, Lord, for making me remember my prayer.  This is all for you ultimately!

I’m wondering how Caryn, Suzanne, Robin, Anna and Ariel did.  I’ll be done in 20 min and can’t wait to just relax because this is tough!

Up Twin-Rocks back into the park.  I push hard.  Our times will be sent in, even though there’s no one around me, there might be someone right next to me virtually!  Yay, Robin and Anna are on their bikes at the park entrance.  I fly around the camp loop and now make the final sprint to Granite Beach parking.  Anna and Robin are ahead and I try to catch them.  Down into the parking lot and I’m done!  This felt like the “out-of-shape duathlon” for me but I’m glad I did it and gave God my best effort.

Bike was 1:23:20 (almost 18mph average)


We all had fun and appreicate Mark and Bill for putting this event on.

TBF Virtual Olympic Du–Robin-2020


5/23/2020 Granite Beach, CA


10K Run – 40K Bike


2:28:28 (51:55-1:36:33)




Oly Du: Anna Soares, Troy Soares; Sprint Du: Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley; Super Sprint: Ariel Soares

This is my first virtual race.  I’m excited to support a wonderful local race company Total Body Fitness (TBF).  They have given so much to our community and to our family personally and we wanted to show support!  This race is a Duathlon (Run-Bike-Run) but without the Run at the end.  It’s different finishing with the bike instead of trying to run with heavy legs after.


Anna and I will be starting our Olympic distance duathlon with our friends Caryn Galekas and Suzanne Hartley who are doing the Sprint Du (shorter course).  Troy will start the Oly Du after Anna and I leave on bike.  Ariel will start the Super Sprint Du at the same time and hopes to finish around the time Caryn and Suzanne finish.  Praying it all works out!


I hope to go the same pace as my previous effort in a practice Olympic distance tri I did 2 weeks ago on the same course. So going for around 8:30 pace. Anna will get a good distance on me and I'll have to catch her on the bike.  I am concerned about her out on the roads without me.  She seems to understand the route of the course well but as a Mom I am still concerned.


We are off!  This is a 2 loop course on areas of the park that mtn. bikes don’t venture.  It also has a nice amount of shade!

I feel a bit tired from not enough sleep but am able to do under 8:30. 

I run over to the boat parking lot.  I can see Anna in the distance. Next it’s across the main road to a wonderful and shady little trail that is closed to bikes.

Mile 1 is 8:13.  My quads are cramping and really sore.  I’ve noticed this happening in recent weeks when I’m pushing hard.  I have only been running for the past month so it’s not surprising.  No Anna in sight.

It’s really pleasant with just a few walkers/runners.  Suddenly I come around a corner and almost run into some mtn. bikers.  I feel my flesh reacting and I try to tell them they shouldn’t be there.  I realize there are calmer ways of letting them know.. sorry Lord for getting upset!

I make it to the horse staging area.  Mile 2 is 8:27.  Back across the main road to another trail that heads toward the back of the park.  This is an area that Anna and Ariel have a lot for the kids 1miR-3miB-1miR duathlons put on by TBF.  It’s the same course they do. 

As I head back to the start for the 2nd loop, I can see Anna again in the distance.  It looks like she took a wrong turn.  When I get near the same spot I realize that it was correct, phew! 

Ariel and Troy are waiting and cheering.


I head out for the 2nd loop.  Mile 3 is 8:07.  Great!

Once at the parking lot I don’t see Anna this time.  She’s motoring!  Mile 4 is 8:27.  The discomfort in my quads has calmed down some but they are still sore.  I am noticing that the legs are a bit wobbly.  I am also feeling more tired. 

Mile 5 is 8:46.  Ugh, let’s try to finish strong!

I run past the horse staging area and back to the kids mile course.  I am able to pick it up.  I can see Anna in the far distance.  I’m not as far back as I thought but she’s still got a good lead on me!  I want to catch her as soon as possible on the bike so I know that’s she’s ok.

As I run back to the finish/T2, Anna is biking off.  I have to run past my bike to get complete the 6.2 to be official.  I take over a minute to switch to a bike jersey and get the rest of my gear on.  Got to have my blinking lights and bright gear since the roads will surely be full of cars in certain areas.



Besides the beginning few miles and ending few miles, the course is 2 loops.   My legs immediately feel really sore and wiped out.  The run took a lot out of my legs.  If it wasn’t for my “mom fearing for her child” mindset, I would have less motivation to push hard.  Ok, here we go!  Out of the park and up Auburn Folsom to my favorite Joe Rodgers Rd.

By Mile 6, I can see Anna in the distance.  Thank you Lord for protecting her!  Approaching the turn for Dick Cook, I see some riders ahead and wonder if that is Caryn and Suzanne.  But then I see 3 riders and figure it’s not them (but later find out it was them and they missed the turn).  I turn on Dick Cook and finally catch Anna.  I tell her good job and glad she was able to remember the course. I ride ahead but make sure she makes the turn back on Auburn Folsom.

It is a blast flying down Auburn Folsom!  I keep looking back to make sure Anna is still there.

Back to Joe Rodgers and through the loop again.  On Dick Cook I wait a bit to make sure Anna is still back there and she is.

On the way back it’s a left on Twin Rocks.  It’s a tricky and busy spot.  I have to stop for a moment for the traffic to get through.  I am praying Anna makes it safely.

Heading up Twin Rocks I look back an see Anna!  Oh my, she’s really turning it on!  Thank you Lord for getting her through the course!

I get to the park and have to do some gravel riding.  I’m a little nervous about the terrain but it’s not too bad!  I get on the road and turn left.  Got to do a quick out and back and then to the finish.  Anna catches up to me!   On the way back to the finish, I try to surge by using my aerobars.  I am able to hold her off but she surges again as we turn into the parking lot to the finish.  She races past me and gets me at the line!  Wow, that was exciting! (Later found out that the transistion time was removed from the results which made my overall time a bit faster than Anna so my placing was higher.  She had me fair and square though). Ariel, Caryn and Suzanne are waiting for us.  We catch and hear that Caryn and Suzanne missed Dick Cook because there wasn’t a street sign but they got the distances they needed to complete the sprint.  Ariel did great on her du!  Thank you Lord!