Saturday, October 2, 2021

Troy’s Tour-of-Auburn Marathon


10/2/2021 Auburn, CA


26.2 M Run


3:56:47 (9:00 pace)

Ever since Robin’s Tour-of-Auburn Marathon in May, I’ve been mentally preparing for this.  The Tour-of-Auburn Marathon is a course I made up for a mock marathon for Robin to do to prepare her for her Couer d’Alene Ironman.  Normally, the Napa Marathon is the race we use to prepare but it wasn’t available this year so I tried to simulate it in Auburn.  The Napa Marathon has 560 ft of climbing but the best I could design in Auburn was 1,640 ft of climbing.  The Napa Marathon also has 860 ft of descending.  In Auburn, the best I could do was have the end of the course finish down in the canyon for a total of 2,230 ft of descending.  This made the Tour-of-Auburn course have 3 X more climbing and 2.5 X more descending than the Napa Marathon course… pretty close.

It’s basically a pretty tough coursse and watching Robin persevere through it to the end convinced me that I needed to show the same perseverance and do it myself.

So this morning at 6am I’m doing the Tour-of-Auburn course!  Robin and the girls are supporting (they’re so awesome!) and Jon Seely is going to run the 1st 1/2 with me.  I’m mentally ready because I’ve been thinking about it for almost 5 months.  I’m also physically ready and that credit goes to the Lord.  I’ve dealt with significant foot injury for a year and early on couldn’t imagine running a marathon.  But the Lord is faithful and little by little He would keep me encouraged to press on.  He’d give me a little help, I’d get excited, and then I’d need more help.  In this way He kept me relying on Him weekly.  And the more I relied on Him, the more success I experienced.  My foot pain isn’t gone, but with the form changes and experience of seeing God get me through so many training runs, I have great confidence that I will make it through this marathon!

It’s been a hot summer but now the temperature is perfect.  It was hot when Robin ran it in May so I have a big advantage.  I jog to Skyridge School in the dark.  Robin and Jon are there waiting.  We gather together and I pray for the day.  I’m so thankful to be here, but I also know I desperately need God’s help in this run.  Without it there’s no end to all that can go wrong.  Including getting injured just 3 weeks before my Ironman California race.

I have a pace chart calibrated for the hills so I’ll know if I’m behind or ahead.  The goal is 9min pace and a 4hr finish.

Go!  We start off circumnavigating the school grounds.  It’s been a special place for Robin and I as our girls attended 6 years here.  Daddy Daughter Dances and jelping with Jog-a-thons, XC races, and Movie Nights are special memories.  Jon is a great pacer and keeps the conversation going to make the miles go by fast.  We pass by Vic and Cheryl’s house, great friends of ours that we see twice a week at church and Bible Study.  Then along the flat part of Indian Hill.

Mile 4.35 Maidu Market.  I’m a couple minutes ahead of pace as we pass our local South Auburn market.  Then behind the Nickel’s house.

Mile 5.17 Railhead Park.  I’m drinking well.  Robin is biking alongside with water and my Vitargo drink.  it’s important to drink a lot.  I stop at the bathrooms (but the time keeps going).  Railhead Park is the site of Cross Country races for the girls now that they are in Jr High and High School.  It’s a place we frequent often.

We continue on the canal trail, past McGregor’s Garden, and by Wyatt Hamilton’s house.  Wyatt has been an inspiration, he was the 16yr old that we supported as he set the 100mi World Record last December.  He’s at a cross country meet this morning.

We also cruise by the Carnahan’s house.  Glen has put on probably 100 races in our community over the years and we appreciate so much what he’s done for the local athletes.

We cross Hwy 49 and start up the big hill of Lincoln Wy.  I’m feeling good and focusing on running form.  My foot is doing pretty good and I’m loving these new Saucony Guide 14 shoes.  Robin and Jon encourge me to the top.

Mile 7.75 Top of Foresthill Ave.  yay, at the top and still 2 min ahead of pace.  We enjoy the jog around Aeolie Dr overlooking Auburn and old Olive groves.  Jon has never seen the views from here.  I’m glad he’s getting a chance to see new parts of Auburn.  Robin is keeping me on track drinking.  I’m 1/2 way through 1 of 2 bottles of Vitargo.

Mile 9.15 Placer High Track.  1 Lap around the track where we have enjoyed Tuesday Night Track for the last 12 years or so.  So many friendships made here.  And great times of prayer afterwards.  Now we tour through the campus, up by the band rooms where Anna participates and into the rustic neighborhoods behind.  We pass by the Glass Family house, more good fiends, and owner of Shear Perfection if you ever need good landscaping work done.

Mile 10.48 Overlook Park.  This is the site of many race starts/finishes, especially the past Resolution Runs.  1 time around the park and then we drop down onto the Placer High and E.V. Cain Jr High cross-country course.  Robin and I have spent a lot of time on this course and have thoroughly enjoyed watching amazing runners from schools all around race on it.  After a loop through Railhead Park again we continue on old cross-country trails and then onto the NID canal.  This canal is hugely popular and probably the ground I run the most.  Usually with Oscar, who is at home right now.  He would have loved to join us but a little too complicated.

Mile 13.6 Home. 2:02.  2 min ahead.  After the climb up to our neighborhood we’ve hit the 1/2 way point!  Anna has an Aid Station waiting for me.  Ariel joins me on her bike.  Jon has been great and will pull off soon.  A surprise pace, Karen Nickel shows up and runs with me!  I’m so fortunate to have such great support. Thank you, Lord.  I know the hardest part is ahead but my energy feels good.  My foot is hanging in there and I know God is the one holding it together.

Mile 15.9. Skyridge School. I use the porta-potty here.  This is the high point of the race again.  The next few miles will be nice but then one more time to the high point.  Circling through the Skyridge Neighborhood streets there are many memories and houses of friends we cherish.  I remember the Slater family that moved – Scot’s goal was to be an Air Force Chaplain.  We all remember Brad Kearns’ family that used to live here.  I go by the Peterson’s house and by Karen Nickel’s house.  A great neighborhood!

Mile 18.1 ARD Park.  We circle the park which has our local pool – site for many Robalos and High School swim meets.  It’s a beautiful park with a .7 mile walking loop.  Now we cruise through Race Track St. and go by the Warda house and our special friends, the Lane’s.  Lots of underluating hills now.  I remember how tough this was when Robin did it.  And because of that I’m extra mentally prepared.  Up to Auburn-Folsom, and into the Fair Grounds parking lot.  Legs are getting sore now.  This parking lot was the site for some track workouts when the High School was closed.

Mile 20.3. Railhead Park. 3:02. 4 min ahead. I made it back to the park.  Another bathroom break.  20 mile is a great milestone.  Thank you, Lord, for blessing this run.  Up to Auburn Folsom for a long stretch.  And now a tough climb back up to our house.  The good news is it’s the LAST climb before miles of downhill!

Mile 22.3 the Korn’s House.  Annette Korn ran a daycare our children attended when we first moved here.  More great memories.  As I round the corner near our house, Anna has her car with a mobile aid station in the back.  I grab some oranges and push on. Robin goes to get the car.  Ariel is supporting me. 

Running up Maidu Rd I feel amazing!  I pushing each leg down with new vigor.  I have plenty of energy.  It’s quite amazing.  I also realize that my pacing chart was for a 4 hr finish, but not a 9:00 pace finish.  I’m at 9:10 pace and will need to pick it up to break 9:00.  I don’t know that it’s possible but I’ll try and will be happy with whatever I get.

Mile 22.7.  Maidu Top! 3:26.  4.5 min ahead. It’s all downhill now.  Ariel has Robin’s phone in her back pocket placying worship music.  It’s so wonderful.  This definitely “makes running great again”  as Ariel sometimes jokes.  I’m pushing the pace downhill.  I feel like I’m sprinting but the pace barely comes down.  9:07 now.  Continuing down, the top of my right foot is getting sore.  I try to relax some while keeping up the pace.  Along the Dam Overlook road, it’s a beautiful view.  Robin is waiting with Oscar!  Yay, he gets to do that last couple miles.  Ariel turns in her bike and runs with me.  For the last mile Robin also joins the run.  Now 4 of us run along a flat deserted road.  Pace is 9:02.  Is it possible?  I’m running like crazy.

Down into the parking lot.  1 more short loop around the gravel pit.  And to the finish!

Finish 26.2. 3:56:47. 9:00 pace.  Done!  Thank you, Lord!  Exactly 9:00 pace which is a great bonus.  I’m tired and sore but don’t feel like I damaged anything too much.  Praying everything feels better in a few days.  Today was better than expected and the support was amazing!  I really feel ready for the Ironman now.