Saturday, July 4, 2020

Firecracker 5k

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Date/Location:

7/4/2020 Auburn, CA

Distance:

5K (just under)

Time:

26:04

Place:

7th? (Male)

Teammates:

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

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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.

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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

Date/Location:

7/4/2020 Auburn, CA

Distance:

5K (just under)

Time:

28:32

Place:

6th (Female)

Teammates:

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

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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.

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Firecracker 5K–Anna-2020

Date/Location:

7/4/2020 Auburn, CA

Distance:

5K (just under)

Time:

19:38 (New Female Course Record)

Place:

1st (Female), 5th OA

Teammates:

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.

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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.

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

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Firecracker 5K–Robin -2020

Date/Location:

7/4/2020 Auburn, CA

Distance:

5K (just under)

Time:

22:19

Place:

3rd (Women)

Teammates:

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!

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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!

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