Sunday, February 23, 2020

Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon (Troy)


2/23/2020 Davis, CA


13.1 mi




7th (50-54)


1/2 Marathon: Dana Haldeman, Martin Sengo

10K: Melissa Penwell
5K: Ariel Soares, Anna Soares, Robin Soares

I was supposed to be running with Robin, helping her get a 1:45 in preparation for her marathon.  But unfortunately she has an injured hip and had to switch to the 5k today.  It won’t be the same running without her, even with 350 people around me.  One of those people is Dana Haldeman.  I tell her she’ll be way ahead of me like she was at the Manda Run a year ago but she says her coach has her going easy, but picking up the last 3 miles.  My plan is 8:20 pace because Anna just told me that is what she got at her 1/2 marathon.  Robin, Anna, Ariel and I pray and my prayer is that Robin won’t feel pain during the 5k.  If she does, it could mean the injury is worse than we thought.  I’m trusting the Lord.

Go!  I watch the 1:45 pace sign move ahead and am surprised that it is pulling away.  I go a little faster as we cross onto the bike paths.  I finally realize that 1:45 is 8:00 pace and I want 8:20 pace which is a 1:49.  Ok, I can settle back down.  Good thing, too, because even this pace feels hard.

Mile 1. 8:16. Up the overpass a guy who looks like a pro goes by fast pushing a kid in a stroller.  Weather today is perfect.  Bright and sunny.  On the long straight-away I try to go into the zone.  The hardest part right now is my sore achilles tendon.  it’s been a problem for a long time now.  I’ve learned to use my hips more and less up-and-down so I’m sure I’m going to make it, just will take a lot of focus.

Mile 2. 8:02. That was a pretty fast mile.  The 1:45 pacer is about 20 secs ahead. 

Mile 3. 8:05. I better ease up, too fast.  I think about Anna, Ariel, and Robin running the 5k right now.  I pray for each one – Anna and Ariel going for PR’s and Robin running slow hopefully with no pain.  A gal next to me comments that I’m holding a good pace and it’s helping her.  She also says she likes the verse on the back of my hat.  Phil 3:14 “Press on towards the goal..”  “It’s my favorite verse”, I say, “reminding me to focus on God even when it gets tough, like the end of the race will be for me!”

Mile 4. 8:14.  I learn that the gal running with me is doing her first race since breaking her femur.  I get her name (Tami) and pray for her and her femur.  I imagine Anna, Ariel and Robin done at the finish line now.  Dana starts to pull ahead.  Cloud cover has rolled in.

Mile 5. 8:11.  Ah, onto the dirt path.  Feels good and looking forward to the dirt/gravel path around the golf course.  I feel like picking it up.  I encourage Tami and tell her I hope the soft path is easy on her femur.  I increase pace a little.  My achilles hurts sometimes but I try to find a form that feels good on it.

200223_davis_stampede_half_troy_2Mile 6. 8:09. A guy next to me hates the path and asks how much longer it goes.  “About a mile”, I say, “I like the different terrain.  And there’s a wooden bridge up ahead which is going to feel nice and springy”.  Sure enough it feels like a little boost and I comment that it’s what those new Nike shoes probably feel like all the time.  He says he’s wearing them now, but they don’t give you spring on gravel so he’s looking forward to the bike path again.  I pull ahead, use the porta-potty quickly and catch back up again to my Nike friend.

Mile 7. 8:30. Cutting back onto the bike path I cheer for Tami a ways back, which leads to meeting another gal next to me who also says she’s doing her first race since a big injury.  These injury stories remind me of Robin who I pray will also have a great come-back from this injury.  I stop and tighten my shoe to help my sore achilles.

Mile 8. 8:07. Getting pretty sore now. Eating Cliff Blocks.  Average pace is 8:12.  Want to keep it until Mile 10 and then push it a little.

Mile 9. 7:58. Now it’s really tough.  A long straight-away.  But excited to see Mile 10 soon.

Mile 10. 7:55. I didn’t see a Mile 10 marker.  We’re sent around an industrial park loop.  I see the overpass and the 1:45 pacer.  And then Dana 10 secs behind.  And then Martin Sengo, race director from Auburn, comes up behind and says, “Hey, Troy, do you want to see if we can catch the 1:45 group!?”.  I tell him no way for me but he should try.  He says, “Little by little I’ll give it a shot”.  He pulls ahead on the overpass.  I start doing math in my head and realize that it wouldn’t be too hard to catch up..

Mile 11. 7:56.  Only 2 miles to go and I just need 2 7:30’s to catch the 1:45 group!  I feel pumped.  I’m going to try.  I steadily pick it up more and more.  On an out-n-back I see my Nike shoe friend and then Tami.  We cheer for each other.  Now I pray that Robin isn’t hurt from her run and if one of us is going to get hurt, that it would be me, right now, instead of her.

Mile 12. 7:07. Wow, thank you, Lord, this is exciting. Martin is 8 secs ahead.  The 1:45 group is 10 secs ahead.  Through the tunnel I try to make up the gap on the descent.  Martin catches the group. Then I catch the group.  Robin, Anna, and Ariel are cheering for me.  I look at Robin and she says she felt ok.  Thank you, Lord.  One more loop around the parking lot…

Mile 13. 6:53.  Final stretch with my family cheering.  Great finish.  I feel so blessed to learn Anna and Ariel set PR’s and are very happy and Robin didn’t have any sharp pain.  And my race was a surprise to break 1:45.  We pray and I tell them about the gal who liked my verse.  At that moment her and her husband find us and we all get to meet and thank each other for the motivation out there.  Dana and Martin also join in and there’s a lot of joy all around.

Also ran into the guy with the stroller.  He ended up running a 1:25 with stopping a few times for his kid!