Sunday, June 14, 2020

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!