Sunday, June 27, 2021

Ironman Coeur d’Alene–Robin-2021


June 27, 2021 – Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


Swim 1.2 Mile – Bike 112 Miles – Run 26.2


12:28:19  (1:08.33-6:35:15-4:33:16)


10th, W45-49


Beth Ulibarri, Jane Pilger, Julie Visger Keith Hansen, Richard Kane, Tami Ralston, Tiana Rockwell

Going into this race, my goal is to be joyful, appreciative and smile the whole day and especially in the suffering. I did a family/friend supported marathon recently in prep for IMCDA.  When it got tough I got grumpy and frustrated.  When reflecting on all the sacrifices everyone made to help me that day, I was ashamed.  I told God never again do I want to be that way.  The Bible promises us who have a relationship with Jesus that we can have real joy and strength even in suffering.  And that is what I shared with others at the FCA Iron Prayer Service 2 days ago.

Troy gets me up at 3:30am on race day.  Here we go! He’s got breakfast ready including coffee!  The girls are up & getting ready.  Troy is going to get a spot on the concrete steps next to the Swim Exit.  He and Ariel drive me to the start.  Anna will follow on foot.

We park the car in our "secret" spot close to transition. I realize my Bike Special  Needs bag is leaking all over the place (this is my bag of nutrition for 60 miles into the race)  I froze each of my two bottles and snacks in 2 freezer bags filled with water. One of these bags has a leak.  One of the frozen freezer bags is breaking through the needs bag itself. I carefully carry this heavy load a ¼ mile to drop it and my run needs off with volunteers.

I say goodbye to Troy and Ariel and head into transition to put finishing touches on my bike. This is a “traditional transition area” where you actually put all your gear next to your bikes.  Before COVID, Ironman would have you pack gear for each discipline in separate bags and pick one each time you came into transition.  And there were changing tents, one for guys and one for girls, where you would take your bag and change. There are also no wetsuit strippers to help you get your wetsuits off. Not sure how this will go but I’ll make the best of it.

I realize I need to fill up my hydration bottle between my aerobars.  I remember seeing a water fill up station.  I head over to it and see Jane Pilger who I met at Iron Prayer, along with her husband Todd, who is also racing.  She and a friend are praying.  I get water and come back to say hi. Jane introduces me to the woman she was praying with, Beth Ulibarri. Beth has MS and is concerned about the hot conditions.  I am immediately drawn to her sweet spirit.  It is so clear the Lord is shining in her life!

I finish getting ready and head out to find a quiet spot to pray and read the Bible.  I realize it would have been nice to put on a pair of old socks once I give Troy my flip-flops to keep my feet warm and keep my body core temp up. Oh, well, I can live without them. I see Julie Linn Visger who I’ve trained so much with over the last year. And she supported me and another friend, Karen Bonnett Natraj, in our Agony (Family/Friend Supported) Ironman   She’s racing this morning, too.  I ask her what her concern is and she says the run.  I hug her and tell her I’ll pray for her. 

 I tuck myself into a play structure near the swim start. I pray for my goal. I pray for my new/old friends such as Beth, Jane and  Julie.  I pray for my husband, my girls and to meet my attitude goal so He can be Glorified.  I read about Paul’s imprisonment at the end of Acts. And I read Psalm 149: “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation” (v4). Help me be humble today Lord.

I finish my quiet time and Troy finds me.  I sit down on a bench to put on my wetsuit and I look down on the ground and see a pair of abandoned socks!  Oh Lord, you care about the littlest of things.  I’m reminded of the Agony Ironman again where, on the run, I really wanted a sock to fill up with ice for my neck and moments later found a clean white sock just lying on the ground right in front of me. 

Troy and I agree I should line up in the 1 hr to 1:10 group of swimmers. The best case scenario is to go under 1:10.  We stop to pray together for the race.  While praying I feel someone put their arms around us to join us in prayer.  It’s Tami Ralston!  We met her on the plane to CDA and she’s from Folsom.  She and I have many common friends. We are going to start in the same swim wave.  As I say goodbye to Troy, Anna comes over. She hangs out with Tami and I until they let us on the beach. 

Once on the beach, we have a few moments to get in the water for a warm up or whatever. I give Tami a hug and tell her to have a good race as we each get ready.  I then get in line and wait to start.  They are sending off 2 swimmers at a time every 5 seconds.  I feel a tap on my shoulder and it’s Tiana Rockwell!  She’s another local friend from Grass Valley.  We have fun chatting until it’s time to go. I see Anna has climbed up into a tree near me.  I wave to her and point her out to Tiana. 

Ok, it’s almost go time!


I get to the front of the line. Go! I jump in and feel great. It is spread out so I pick it up to find a draft but it’s too hard to catch anyone ahead of me. Soon a guy catches up to me and I jump on his feet. It’s one of the best drafts I’ve had in a long time in the race. I glance at my watch and am pleased with the pace. Thank you God! My first 500 split is under 8 minutes. Awesome! I’m coming up on the deep water of the course which scared me the other day while training here. I start thinking about the bike ride ahead and what my plan is for nutrition. Suddenly I realize I left my 2 bottles of Hammer Perpetuem at home. I turned in the other 2 bottles in my Special Needs for later in the race but never put the other two on my bike! That's my main nutrition.  There is Gatorade on the course but it often leads to nausea.  I actually feel a great sense of peace and calmness. I tell the Lord I am content without them and that I know He will help me manage. I keep going along following my draft and before I know it, I am well into the deep water and almost at the turn buoys to head back. Yay!

A large pack is hitting the first turn buoy and I lose my draft. Bummer but not a big deal. I will search for another friend. As I’m heading back, an idea (from God) pops into my head. I could try to let Troy know about the bottles somehow when I finish the first loop. I have to run up onto the beach to jump into the water again. There are hundreds of spectators but I know generally where he’s at.  Maybe I can wave him over and tell him. if he gets the bottles, a volunteer can then take them to my bike..  before I finish the swim.  Again, it’s in the Lord’s hands and I accept whatever the outcome. This attitude of peace I have is supernatural. I would normally be fighting stressing out but there is no stress. It’s amazing! I am thinking back to my Iron Prayer talk about His comfort. It’s really helping keep my eyes on Him!

I am close to the shore and I look out at a huge crowd. It won’t be easy to signal Troy. As I swim, I wave and motion “come here” Maybe he'll see me. I come out of the water and there is Anna! Right in front of me! Oh my gosh Lord. Thank you! I run over to her and quickly pass on the message. She calmly smiles and says no problem. Wow, that was so easy! I jump back in the water and get going again. As I look at my watch, I can see my pace hasn’t dropped off after all that! Ok, I’ve done all I can and will have to wait and see about the bottles.

I try to get into a new draft going out. It’s really hit and miss. There are more folks out here now starting their first lap. A few times I stop when a swimmer is about to side-swipe me. Most of my 500yd splits have been under 8 min or a bit over 8 min which is a minute plus faster than training. Yay! I make it to the turn buoys. It’s a bit chaotic but I have no incidents. I notice that my pace slows out here. It must be the deep water is unprotected and choppy. I do manage to tag onto the feet of a few other swimmers on the way back.

As I am heading back, I see that I can finish under 1 hour and 10 min! Instead of ripping off my wetsuit in the water, I decide to run into transition first so I can get an accurate swim split. I push hard all the way until I touch the sand. I get up and race out. I hit my watch and get a 1:08! I got 1:08 last time I was here in 2017. So awesome to be able to be under 1:10!

I pull my wetsuit off as I run into transition. I sit down on the grass and pull the rest of it off. I get to my bike and see my bottles on the back! I immediately look for Troy and see him. I point to the Lord and shout thank you! I am so overjoyed that it worked out! Praise you Jesus!


I finish getting ready to roll: down a go-go squeeze, bike jersey on, 1/2 sweet potato  in my back pocket, helmet, glasses and socks. I run out with my bike shoes on my pedals. It makes the run much easier but will I be able to get my feet in my shoes? Lord, help me safely get on my bike.


I cross the mount line and find a spot to get on. Once I get one foot on my right shoe I can get moving. And, I get the other foot on top of the other shoe. Phew! I see Troy and I smile. One at a time I get my feet in my shoes. I’m good. Thanks Lord!

It’s exciting going through. The crowds are hyped! I head up through town. I can see a large Gold Country Tri Club (GCTC) crew. They are from Grass Valley which is next to Auburn. Tiana is a beloved member of the club and I’m sure they are excited to see her. They see me and cheer enthusiastically: shouts, horns and cow bells. It gets me amped!

My concern today is my lower back. It really bothered me on my last long ride. And I struggled on that ride to stay joyful and focused on Him. I’m determined for that not to happen today!

Along the lake road I go. It’s quiet, shaded and cool here right now. I ride by the run course and see the aid stations take shape. It won’t be long until the pros get there. I expect to get passed a lot today. My plan is to try to do 17.0 to 17.5 mph average speed. I’m also trying to keep the cadence up to at least 80. The time can range from 6:30 to 6:35. I would love to be at 6:30!

Not much climbing so far on the course. The first hill takes me up to the end of the road where the Special Needs bags for the bike are located. I’ll get my extra bottles when I come back here the second loop. I grab one water. The plan is to get water at every aid station. Water to drink and water to douse myself. As I continue on, I think next time it would be a good idea to grab a water to put in my lower bottle cage and then grab another to pour into my hydration bottle.

At 10 miles I’m averaging 18.3 mph. This is good. There is a big climb ahead which will change my average.

I head back into town see Tiana’s husband Sean. He cheers me on. A little further I see the GCTC crowd and they go wild. I just love the fog horn. It gets me going. Soon after I see Troy and the girls. Troy asks if I’m okay and I give him a thumbs up and a big smile.

After 15 miles, I’m averaging 18.43 and I’m heading out Hwy 95. This is the challenging part of the course. The first time through should be ok but it feels much harder the second time. Tiana catches up to me and cheers me on. I return the cheers. I hit the first big climb. It is like Indian Hill at home. I catch back up to Tiana and tell her good job. I catch several other riders. I know many of them will pass me on the flats and downhills.

Aw, downhill! At the next aid station, I forget to throw away my water in the lower cage as I approach. I throw it to the side and grab a new one for the cage. I am able to grab another and get most of it in my aero bottle before the last trash drop spot. Got to coordinate it better next time! I eat a salty chocolate RX Bar. The salt tastes so good!

After 25 miles, I’m averaging 17.6. I am on another long climb but less steep. It’s coming back to me that this course has a lot of rolling hills. For the second loop these hills are going to feel like mountains! Most riders seem quite happy so far. Suffering is to come!

I see the 90-mile marker. Next time I’m here it’s only 22 miles to go! I pull out my sweet potato and eat half of it. Troy put salt on it. Yum!

At Mile 35, I’m averaging 17.39. I hope to get that back up on the way back and along the lake. There is an aid station here. I get the water I need. Just a little further is the turn around. Yay! Thank you God!

I turn back and get into a good groove. I finish my potato. Yum!

Pretty soon Tami goes by. I cheer her on and she cheers back. She’s looking so strong!

At Mile 45, I’m averaging 17.67. Average is coming back up! I see the100-mile marker. Next time here I’ll be so close!

The top pro goes by with a motorcycle with camera just behind. The motorcycle honks to let the riders again know they are coming. He’s finishing up his second loop. I’ll see the pros when I ride along the run course. It’s so impressive how fast the pros can go!

I make it back to the big hill. Now I get to go down. There is a no passing and no aerobar zone here. There is no one around me right now which is good. It’s pretty steep in the beginning and I’m flying. The rest of the downhill is not bad at all but I have to stay out of my aerobars anyway. I look back and see some riders getting closer. I don’t want to hold them up so I push hard to stay ahead of them. They catch up just as we reach the bottom. The no pass zone ends and they fly by.

I eat my other peanut butter chocolate RX bar. Usually my favorite but not today. It’s probably because it’s not as salty. I pull out some Hammer Endurolyte salt pills and take 2.

There is a small hill and then flat to the bridge back towards town. Another no pass and no aerobar zone here coming back. Good thing it’s not that way going out! I catch up to a slower rider but they are still moving pretty good. I take the off ramp and go back towards transition.

At Mile 55, I’m averaging 17.7 mph. Great! I turn up Lakeside. I see Troy and the girls at the corner ahead. I wave and smile. Troy asks how I’m doing and I smile and give him a thumbs up.


I pass GCTC again and get great cheers. I am sure Tiana is coming very soon after me!

It’s nice riding along the lake again. I pass Mile 60. Special Needs bag ahead! As I’m thinking about getting new bottles, I think about get rid of the empty ones. I should have used old bottles and not my favorites! Oops! I didn’t think that one through. Maybe I’ll throw one and try to carry the other in my back pocket.

Up the hill and to my special needs! The volunteers call out my bib number and another volunteer is waiting with my bag. I pull over and he’s got the bag open. “My idea worked!”, I tell the volunteer. There is still ice in each freezer bag and the bottle still feel slightly frozen! I eat a go-go squeeze and grab 2 more RX bars and some more salt pills. My bike starts to fall between my legs and I grab it. I look down and see a huge rookie mark (grease from the chain rings) on my calf. “Not a rookie mark!” The volunteers says, “I thought that was a tattoo”. I giggle. I grab a chunk of ice and try to get most of it off my leg. I put one empty bottle in the trash and put the other in my back pocket going to save it. I say thank you and head off. Later I realize I should have said God bless you!

At Mile 65, I’m at 17.6 mph. I lost just a little bit going up and stopping at the Special needs. Yay!

I get back into town and wave to the GCTC folks. I see my wonderful family again. I smile and wave. I tell Troy the back is sore but I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to get into my aerobars as much as possible. I’m also continuing to keep an eye on cadence and it looks good. The heat is cranking up! Those hills are going to be hard!

At Mile 75, I’m at 17.7 mph. Back up the steep hill! I catch some riders going up again. I decide to get rid of the bottle because it’s making my jersey ride up. I don't have sunscreen on my back so this will cause a burn. Even after I toss it at an aid station, my jersey is still riding up. When I had that heavy sweet potato back there it kept it down.


I enjoy the downhill on the back side but it’s short lived. The next hill, though less steep, is long and really is tough. It feels and looks like it goes on forever. My back is more sore at moments but it seems to calm down. Thank you Jesus! You are keeping me in one piece!

I eat another salty chocolate RX Bar. It’s not tasting as yummy but the salt is nice. I finally get a bit of a break with a downhill but the uphills just keep coming like continuous waves.

I have been doing a good job of drinking and pouring water on myself. The aid stations are so great! I can always count on getting two water bottles. I’m seeing more riders stop at the Aid Stations. I am seeing a few pull over to stretch out. That could be me. I knew I would have to stop and stretch if my back started hurting. Thank you Lord!

At Mile 85, I’m averaging 17.31. It keeps dropping. I am trusting God and not panicking. In the past I would be. He just keeps sustaining and equipping me to continue. I’m reminded of that promise I shared at Iron Prayer.

It finally flattens out again and I’m so relieved. I chat with another rider as I pass. He says he’s feeling so tired. I tell him “when we are weak, we are strong” and “keep pressing on”. He seems eager to keep talking but I’m afraid we’ll get drafting penalties so I tell him to keep it up and pick it up.

I reach the aid station next to the turn around. It’s Mile 90 and I get to head back and get the downhill benefit! What a relief!

At Mile 95 I’m averaging 17.22. I hope to get more speed on the last steep descent. I trusting it’s going to work out just fine. God’s in control! There is still some climbing but it’s not bad. I pass a familiar girl in black going up.


I reach Mile 100! Downhill! Yahoo! The girl in black flies by me on the downhill. I catch back up when it starts to go back up. She asks me if I’m ready for the steep downhill. I say I hope so. She says “no, really are you ready for the no pass zone?” Oh, I see. I tell her good point. Need to start getting past some riders so I don’t get stuck behind someone. We chat a moment more. I tell her great job and she takes off.

At Mile 105, I’m averaging 17.26. I catch up to Tami and tell her good job. “The downhill is our reward! Get in a good position”. I try to push it so I can get past as many riders as possible. I can see a few girls here walking their bikes uphill. That is tough!

As I approach the top of the hill and see the girl in black pass a rider far in the distance. It looks like the other rider is far enough ahead that I won’t catch up on the downhill. Here I go! No pass, no aerobar zone. I start flying down. I should gain some mph down this. Pretty quick I can see I’m going to catch that rider. He’s breaking a lot! It is so hard not to get frustrated but I ask God to help me. Tami catches up to me. I can see more and more riders piling up behind me. I gently try to encourage him every few minutes that he can do it. When it gets less steep, he’s still riding the breaks. Lord, help me. The no pass zone ends and I pass him. I give him a wave and he says “sorry!”. I shout back “no problem”. I remember I used to be terrified of descents like that.

I try to push hard to the bridge. That is another no pass zone. I cannot quite make it past a few riders in time. I get stuck behind two slower riders. A guy passes me from behind. Not good! Tami comes up behind and asks if it’s a no pass zone. I tell her yes. It takes so much patience from God not to get frustrated. I’ve got a mile or so to go! I’m almost there. The zone ends and I hammer to the transition. Tami flies by and I tell her good job.

I start pulling out my feet one by one and put them on top of my shoes. I hear Troy cheering and he says I’m 5 min ahead of schedule I pedal to the dismount line and jump off. I run (actually shuffle) to my transition. My bike average is 17 for a time of 6:35. I’ll take it!


The girls and Troy are watching my transition and cheering me on. Time to change into my run clothes. Since there is no changing tent, I have a swim towel handy for changing my shorts. I try to gobble down another go-go squeeze. It’s so hot but I try to force some down.

I get ready and run to the porta-potty. I set down my water on the outside and tell myself not to forget. But I do forget and have to turn back to grab it. Out of transition I go!


The crowds are thick as I run out of transition. It’s so exciting! I have 3 laps ahead of me. The plan Troy and I decided on was to run 5-hour marathon pace for the first 13 miles (about 11:30 pace). If I felt good at that point, I could try to negative split the marathon. I did that at Napa Marathon 2020 when I had a hip injury so I know it’s possible. The plan is to also drink a half of the water bottle w/ a half Hammer Fizz every mile. In all of my marathons in the past (including Ironmans) I never hydrated enough. This is going to take diligence and focus. I should be able to “have to go” at least every loop. I’m also have a sock for my neck that I will fill with ice at aid stations. The most important part of the plan is joy! I want to smile and show that my strength comes from the Lord…especially when I’m suffering!

I head out to McEuen Park. I pass my special needs as I head into the CDA neighborhoods. The coolest and most unique part of this race is the people. When running through the neighborhoods, people are out cheering, giving out food/ice/water and holding hoses to spray us down. It’s beautiful expression of sacrifice. I asked God to remind me to enjoy this. In the past I was often too focused on the suffering that I really didn’t appreciate the encouragement. I am reminded of my recent family/friend-supported marathon where Troy had supporters out all over the course that meandered throughout Auburn. It was so special but the last 10 miles I was so negative and focused on the discomfort and missing my goal. I never ever want to be that way again. Today starts a new chapter with God’s help!

Mile 1 is 9:54. Too fast. I try to slow myself down. No rush! I get through about half of my water bottle.

At the first aid station I grab a wet towel. I miss the ice table to fill my sock but will get some at the next station. I continue to force myself to drink. I remember that I need to also keep eating too. I pull out a Clif blok from the pouch I put on my race belt. I tried it out yesterday on a mile run. They say don’t try anything new on race day but I didn’t want to wear my running vest in this heat. The pouch is from a hydration belt that I don’t like. I have to pull the pouch down over my hip to keep it from moving around. Seems to be working well. Thanks God!

Mile 2 is 9:48. Still too fast. Troy and the girls keep popping up at various places on their bikes. It’s so great. I walk through the next aid station and make sure to get ice in my sock and fill up my bottle. Dousing, drinking, eating and smiling. I’m carrying the towel and using it to wipe my neck and face when needed.

Now I turn away from the neighborhood and run along the shadiest spot on the course next to a fancy golf resort. Troy and the girls pass me on their bikes. A woman on the side of the road flags Troy down. I can see now she’s trying to get him to help a runner in bad shape violently dry-heaving on the grass. I look with concern and wonder if I should stop and help. Anna tells me it’s ok and to keep going. I tell her “be careful with outside assistance”. Only volunteers & fellow racers can help those in need without penalty…but this might be a case of someone who is unable to continue anyway. I can see volunteers ahead coming to help.

I see Jane heading back towards me.  She looks great!  Praise God!  She was concerned about the run especially after breaking her pelvis in a bike crash last year.  I know right now she's praying for people.  At Iron Prayer she shared that she spends the whole marathon praying for people. I pray for her.

Mile 3 is 11:20. Better. Now it’s along the lake. I see Keith Hansen coming back towards me. He looks strong. We’ve been doing TBF Races with him for years. I tell him good job. There is sun and shade. Getting hot! A local triathlete from our area, Richard Kane, passes me and looks strong.

I catch up to Tami and give her a friendly pat on the shoulder. “Great job!”

Mile 4 is 10:17. Dousing, drinking, eating and smiling. As I make the turn to head back, a couple that have been cheering all day ask me which lap I’m on. “The first, I’ll see you guys 2 more times”.


As I head back, I see Tiana coming. She’s smiling and looking strong!

Mile 5 is 10:37. there a hill ahead. Troy bikes up beside me and tells me I’m doing great. He asks me if I need to p-- and I say no. He tells me it’s critical I do and I need to drink more. He also reminds of how in 2015 I would surge on this hill. He challenges me to try to do that here. I surge all the way to the aid station at the top of the hill.

Mile 6 is 10:05. Yay! I fill up my bottle and add Fizz. The bloks are tasting too sweet but I’m able to gobble one down. I find a salt pill in my pouch that is almost dissolved but it works.

Troy and the girls have found a nice tree to sit under on the grassy area next to the golf course. Anna is playing worship on her trumpet for me as I go by. Love it!

Just as I enter the neighborhoods again, there is a woman with a hose. With my approval, she completely soaks me. That is so refreshing. “Thank you so much!”

Mile 7 is 10:21. I am truly taking in the great support in these neighborhoods. I’m actually having fun! I actually need to use a restroom to p--! A first! Next aid station.

Mile 8 is 10:30. I find an open restroom finally. Concerned though as I finish up that something might be wrong with my intestines. Just pushes me to keep drinking! I tell Troy the mostly good news when I see him. He tells me that I should get my special needs now and I agree. I’m actually almost done with my bloks that I am carrying.

As I run through McEuen park, the GCTC folks have a tent and are cheering loud. I can hear race announcer Eric Gilsenan announcing athletes coming through. I smile and wave to him. He gives me a lot of attention which is fun. He’s from Napa and we always run into him about once a year. He used to announce at CIM.

I stop to get my needs. I eat a go-go squeeze and stuff my pouch with bloks, more Fizz tabs and some Extreme Endurolytes. I also fill up my bottle before I leave the area.


Mile 9 is 13:33. I’m averaging around 10:43 pace right now with the stop. I enjoy all the folks who seem to line every inch of grass around the park.

Mile 10 is 11:06. Pretty soon I will determine if I can pick it up. I feel like my energy is low so hard to know. I get a blok in me. Dousing, drinking, eating and smiling is going well but it’s getting harder. Lord, help me to remain joyful.

Mile 11 is 10:18. I’m feeling better. Thanks Lord! I see a girl telling her guy in blue that he’s in 5th place. He seems to be running a good pace so I try to latch on. Love the shade of the golf course! I see Troy and the girls in the same spot cheering and playing music. I smile and wave. Troy tells me I’m in 12th place. Thanks God!

A little further is the aid station. I refill my sock with ice.  

Mile 12 is 11:02. I pick it up to catch up to the guy in blue. I see Keith coming back. We exchange encouragement. Soon I see Jane again just plugging away and looking strong.

I continue to follow the blue guy down to the next aid station. I can see Tiana coming back. She must have passed me when I stopped at the bathroom or an aid station. She looks great and smiles. We exchange encouragement.

Mile 13 is 10:04. I hit the turn and come back through the aid station. The blue guy pulls off. I’m continuing to manage my hydration. About a half bottle per mile. I try to keep Fizz in it but I’ll run out soon.


When I leave I see Troy. He reminds me to surge this hill. He also tells me 11th place is a few minutes ahead.

Mile 14 10:21. I surge up the hill again. I push through the aid station since I have water but I do grab a cup to douse myself and my towel. I pass Richard and tell him good job. He should be on his finishing lap now.

Along the way I catch up to Keith. I ask him how many more loops and he says 1 more. I tell him “same”.

Mile 15 is 9:55. Alright! Troy tells me I’ve moved into 11th! Wow. God is good! Best part is I am truly smiling and enjoying this even though it gets harder every mile! The gal with the hose soaks me again as I enter the neighborhood. Refreshing.

I need to go p-- again. This is the best hydration I’ve done ever! Thank you Lord! I stop to get water at the aid station. Bathrooms are full.

Mile 16 is 10:55. Dousing, drinking, eating and smiling. As I take my blok, I want to throw it up. I force it down and feel fine. I am soaked which is really helping me stay cool.

I see Julie Moss, a beloved Ironman triathlete. I tell her hi and she tells me I’m looking strong.

Mile 17 is 11:01. My average has been dropping and I’m at 10:38. I run around the park. Still a lot of energy here.

Mile 18 is 10:25. I’m almost done with my bloks. I’ve used all my Fizz and the few Extreme Endurolytes. I’m doing very well drinking and staying soaked.

Mile 19 is 10:46. I see Troy and he tells me that I can pretty much just switch to Coke for the rest of the race. I grab some salty chips at the next aid station to keep the electrolytes strong.

Mile 20 is 11:08. I see Troy and the girls. Troy says, “You’ve got to pick it up. You are closing in on 10th place. You’ve got to run a 1-hour 10K. You can possibly get up to 8th place in the last 6 miles.” I tell him I’ll try. So, I need to basically run 10 min miles for the rest of the marathon. That’s cool to be closing in but I really don’t know if I can do it. It really is up to the Lord! But I’ve got to stay joyful, keep smiling.

As I pass the next aid station, I decide to get rid of the water bottle and sock to lighten the load. I grab coke and go.  There is Jane again!  She's doing great!

Mile 21 is 10:03. Great! I grab Coke at the aid station and get to the turn around. Last time here!


Mile 22 is 10:19. Troy comes alongside and tells me I’m getting closer to 10th. He reminds me to push the hill one last time. I push it as much as I can. I’m barely able to grab a coke as I pass the aid station.

Mile 23 is 10:16. Still keeping around 10 min pace. Anna is playing her trumpet as I pass. Last time here.

I get soaked one last time by my favorite soaker and head into the neighborhood. Troy tells me I’m moved into 10th place and that I’m gaining on 9th. “Keep pushing Robin!”. I tell him “message received”. This is very exciting!

Mile 24 is 9:40! Wow! I grab more Coke. Lord this is incredible.

Mile 25 is 10:01. After passing the 25-mile marker two times before, it’s so great to know it applies to me now! One more mile!

I make it to the park. I catch up to Beth and ask her how many laps she has and how she is doing in the heat (it's 101). One more and the heat has been tough. I slow to pray for her. I say goodbye. I’m so happy to actually be turning towards the finish line finally. No more laps. Lord, you are so good! With your help, I met my goal! I remained joyful and kept smiling. This is the “best” race I’ve ever executed and it’s all because of JESUS! I get to Sherman Ave. It’s a straight shot to the finish. This time I’m going to put up my arms and point to God all the way to the finish. And that’s what I do. I smile and point to Him. I joyfully cross the finish line. Done! THANK YOU, JESUS!

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We really see God’s hand in this race because of how many prayers were answered.

194 women were registered to train up for it but only 63% actually started.  Because of the training load, there are many injuries that occur during training and sometimes sickness the week leading up to the race.  Robin struggled with injuries last year but this year was spared.

123 women started but because of wind, heat (101°), and nausea only 62% were able to finish.  Robin has had trouble with dehydration before but this time hydration went great!

Of these 123 women in the 45-49 age group, they would pick the top 8 or 9 to compete at the World Championship in Hawaii.

When Robin moved into 12th place early in the run we realized things were going well and changed the plan to try to move up to 9th.

It was so exciting as God gave her the energy and the ability to regulate heat and we were able to watch her pick up the pace from the planned 12 min per mile to eventually 10 min per mile!

At 15 miles in the run she moved into 11th.  I told her at 20 miles she needed to run the last 10K in an hour.  She was 10th by 22 miles.  And then around 24 miles a woman in front just “blew up” which was a surprise and Robin was now in 9th!

Then, a ½ mile from the finish Robin stopped briefly to pray for someone that really needed it.

After that, close to the finish, another woman passed Robin to take the 9th place by 8 secs.

Asked afterward if Robin regretted stopping to pray for someone and losing 9th place by 8 secs, she said, “no, even if it means not qualifying, it was completely worth it”.

It was amazing to see the contentment in that statement.

Robin finished 10th in 12 hrs, 28 min.  She did run the last 10K in an hour too!

Then, surprisingly, we found out they were actually taking the top 12 in Robin’s age to go to Hawaii, so she qualified to go!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Tri for Real #1–Robin-2021


June 6, 2021 – Herald, CA


Swim 1.5K – Bike 40K – Run 10K


2:41:05 (26:45-1:22:27-51:53)


4th, W45-49 (12th Female OA)


Dana Haldeman, Keith Hansen

Last race before Ironman Coeur d'Alene!  Troy and Ariel are home today attending a baptism at church in support of one of our Bible Study kiddos.  Anna is driving me to this race to support and get some more driving practice.  We have a quiet drive to the twin towers (retired nuclear towers).

Anna is a great help getting my stuff unloaded and me registered .  I am able to do a little cycling to warm up.  When I get to transition, it's already pretty full but I find a pretty good spot.  It's fun to see familiar faces again! 

I get down to the water and meet up with Anna. We pray together and then I jump in the water for a warm up. 

It's almost time to go!  As I'm treading water, I see Dana Haldeman.  I tell her "have a great race!".  I know she'll be a top contender today!


Ready, set, go!  It's a bit of a crowded start.  I'm a bit concerned about getting hit in the head but it all smooths out. I get into a good rhythm going out to the first buoy. 

At the buoy, I turn and head right into the sun. For a bit I follow the swimmers in front of me until I can see a guide buoy.  I hit 500 yards in under 9 mins.  Great!

I continue the long stretch to the next buoy. Just before I get there I hit another 500 under 9 min! I also see the first swimmer from the wave behind me pass me like a rocket!

I make it to the final buoy.  Another swimmer from the wave behind goes by and I get on his feet.  It's a nice ride to the beach!  I get out and get my wetsuit off.  I can see Anna has been recruited to help with taking tags from swimmers.  I think she sees me but not sure.  I appreciate her willingness to help!

As I run into transition I see Dave Campbell wandering around which is odd because he should already be out on the bike.  I ask him what's going on and he says his bike was damaged by another athlete on accident and cannot be ridden.  I encourage him to run at least for a good workout but at the moment the wind seems to be taken out of the sails.  I tell him to hang in there and then I get on my bike.


195067785_10159308247384437_1248521774751432517_nThe first few miles in the park I get my bearings. The speed bumps throw me off a bit. I realized I stopped my watch in transition instead of hitting the lap button.  Bummer!  I get it started again.  Fortunately I started my bike Garmin so I will have the info I need.  But I soon realize that I failed to get the settings just right when I recently changed some things.  I don't have average mph visible so I have to look at my watch which is now behind.  Oh well, will get that fixed for IM!

I finally get out on the open road and settle into my aerobars.  The road is bumpy the first 5 miles.  I am getting passed by a bunch of men and a few women too. It's humbling to say the least.  I have to remember that this is for God's Glory, not mine!

Soon the pavement gets smoother and much more comfortable.  I am catching some riders now from the previous waves.  I see the top riders flying back.  I look for Dana but don't see her.  It's really hard to recognize people today for some reason.

I make it to the turn around.  As I head back, I pass a guy.  He latches on to me and drafts for a bit.  I try not to get mad but do try to look back to make a point. Soon a woman passes me and he latches on to her.  Oh dear! 

I start to gain back on the girl.  She's dropped the guy now.  As I pass him, I pass fast so that he doesn't latch on.  I soon pass her and tell her good job.  

I'm a little uncomfortable because I need to go.  I decide I'll do a quick bathroom break right before transition.  Despite it all,  I feel like I'm finishing quite strong.    

Back into the park I can see the top guys running out to the halfway point of the run. These guys are so fast!

I stick with the plan and pull over to use the bathroom.  I probably lose 3 to 4 minutes.  I enter the course where I left.  I dismount and rack my bike. Time to run!


196284836_10159308292709437_2896497851633397687_nAnna cheers me on as I leave transition.  I really hope to maintain sub-9 min pace. 

Heading out I feel good surprisingly! The course has no shade and is mostly dirt road/trail.  It's warm but not a hot day fortunately!  I do have a small towel to put around my neck that I wet going out. I also am carrying a water bottle.  

Mile 1 is 8:38.  Wow, that's great!  I wonder if I can maintain.

I'm catching up to runners who passed me on the bike.  I encourage as I pass.  I feel great and am having fun!   Mile 2 is 8:27!  Thanks God!

I get water at the aid station and head out to road for the out and back.  At the turn around I see a gal coming towards me fast!  Mile 3 is 8:15.

The girl passes me and I'm motivated to pick it up. I wonder if she's in my age group. She pulls away. 

For the next few miles we run along the trail by the water's edge.  It is very winding and the footing is not always even.

Mile 4 is 8:36. I can tell another runner is catching me which gets me focused again and gets my pace going faster.  I tell the guy he can pass at any time but he says he's good at the moment.  It just helps keep me pushing.  There are some other runners ahead I hope I can catch.

Finally the trail ends and I'm back the dirt road. The guy passes me and I tell him good job.  I pick it up and try to stay with him. Mile 5 is 8:18!  Wow Lord, I am amazed!

I see a familiar racer ahead walking.  I offer him some Clif Bloks but he thanks me and tells me it's a calf injury that has creeped up.  The guy has pulled away but I push hard to close the gap.  This push helps me to pass a few more runners.  There is a older woman ahead of me that I might be able to pass. Mile 6 is 8:15!  I could sprint all out and possibly pass her but I let her cross the line first.

Anna is there waiting for me.  I can see Dana on the podium as they announce the top women of the day. She's second. Glad to see her do well.  And our old friend Kathy Winkler is on the top of the podium.  Cool!198267436_10159308352474437_7472828982100883290_n