Saturday, January 1, 2022

FCA New Years Day Challenge–Robin-2022



PART 1: Bike- Auburn, Overlook Park

PART 2: Resolution Run -Auburn, Overlook Park


Hill Climb #1 – 3m Old Foresthill Rd
Hill Climb #2 - 1.2m Raley's Hill
Resolution Run - 10m Trails


Hill Climb #1 – 20:12 (PR 16:48, 2014)
Hill Climb #2 – 6:49 (PR 5:52, 2014)
Run 1: 1:33:39  (PR 1:16:04, 2011)



1st Hill Climb #1
1st Hill Climb #2


1st (W40-49); 2nd OA


1st New Years Challenge


Hill Climb: Anna Soares & Troy Soares

10 Mile: Anna Tortosa, Arash Ghorbani, Craig Rienbolt, Diana Arteaga Falconi, John Justus, Manouch Shirvanioun, Michelle Nall, Rosie Del Sarto, Troy Soares
10K: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Wyatt Hamiltonb
5K: Ariel Soares, Ashley Glass, Elizabeth Katsura, Hunter Glass, Seely Fam (Jon, Ardelle, Adalynn, Alice)


It’s always hard to wake up early on New Year’s Day that’s what makes today so great!  It’s been 2 years since we’ve done our FCA New Year’s Challenge which consists of riding and racing up 2 hills (Old Foresthill Road and Foresthill Road from the bridge to Raley’s) on the bike followed by the local Resolution Run. Before I head out, I post our race stories from the CIM Relay.  I am struck by what Troy says and I really feel the same way right now…

However, I am so grateful for the Lord’s blessings in these race events.  He always does something wonderful when we truly give the effort to Him.  For me that means continually look to His guidance for how to race and act and serve others.  Although at times I may have thoughts of “this isn’t fun”, “what’s the point”, or “do the minimal”, over the years I’ve learned that is wrong and that Jesus can take a simple run and use it for His glory if I give Him my all.  That is my goal and desire.

There is always a blessing if we look for it!  And one of the blessings is Anna is joining us this year on our ride for the first time.  Her goal is to do a Half Ironman Triathlon in 2022 so this is a good early test.  Also, Anna’s hip and ankle are good. Praying for no rolled ankles today on the trails…and also for Troy’s foot to feel good.  It’s been bothering him for months now.

No one else shows up at the Overlook to join us so we do our usual warm-up ride that gives us some practice hills like the steep Glenview!  Then it’s down to the Confluence for the first race climb up Old Foresthill Road. Burr, it’s cold out here.  So glad Troy and I have our zip-up wool sweaters from last Christmas.  I loaned Anna some warm weather gear.  Time to get her some of her own warm bike clothes!


This year the road is closed to cars due to rock slides caused by fire damage and heavy rain.  It’s quiet and safe riding for us!  I get a 30 sec lead on Anna and a 1:30 lead on Troy.  It is staggered in the hope that we will all be finishing around the same time at the top of Old Foresthill Bridge.  It will also determine the order we climb to Raley’s


I start but it takes me a moment to get situated on my bike.  I haven’t been riding much so things are little out of whack.  I get into a good rhythm.  I would love to finish at 20 minutes but not sure that is possible this year.  After about 5 minutes I look back and I’m doing well holding off Anna and Troy.  I hope to make a it to Mammoth Bar between 10-12 minutes. On my fast days I can get there in about 10 minutes and I don’t think that is happening.  It’s just about the half way point.  And just beyond it the road flattens out and you can really get moving!

As I approach Mammoth Bar I can see Troy is approaching me!  I make it to Mammoth Bar about 12 minutes.  Troy catches me soon after and I hold on for dear life.  If I can just stay with him to the flat part, I can easily draft off him.  I have always wanted to do that but never could hold on.  Praise God, I am able to stay with him!  Once on the flat part, it’s awesome to be going fast with not much effort.  Just maybe I can get 20 minutes!  I feel sad though that Anna is back there doing all the work by herself.  But she’s one tough cookie and I know she’s giving it her all!

Troy pulls me along to the last 500 meters.  I take a big chance and pull out and ahead of him. That’s all he needs to get motivated to sprint to the finish ahead of me.  I’m going to be so close to 20 minutes!  I push and get over the line!  20:12!  Alright!

We bike back and cheer Anna on.  She finishes and bursts into tears.  Not from disappointment, but from the pain of pushing your hardest for God and the overwhelming thankfulness to be done.  What an effort for Christ!

Now, we ride easy to the Foresthill Bridge.  Anna tells us she’s starting to understand what we go through in our Ironman training.


At the bridge we get in the order we finished.  I’d like to finish under 7 minutes.

Ready, go!  We stay together well in a pace-line over the bridge.  Once over the bridge, where the climb starts, Anna makes a great effort to stay with us but is unable to match the pace.  I am able to stay with Troy for about a 1/3 of the climb but he pulls away.  There are 6 signs at the top of the hill that are all evenly spaced out.  I count them off.  Almost done!  I think I can break 7 minutes.  It’s so hard to push but I am able to give a little extra to the top…under 7 minutes!  Thank you Lord!  Anna comes soon after and finds a nice piece of grass to fall on. 

Now we rush home because the 10 mile run race starts at Noon.  It’s 10:45am and 5 miles to home!


We get to the race start 35 minutes before the start.  After we start, Anna starts 15 minutes later in the 10K and then 15 more minutes for Ariel in the 5K. Good timing especially since we are all warmed-up from the bike ride and short run from our parking spot.  We find our FCA teammates Caryn Galeckas and Suzanne Hartley.  We spend time in prayer for each other, for things going on in life and for the Lord’s Glory in our racing.  Our Father in heaven is what really matters!

Troy and I get to chat with friends from track, the girls chat with friends from school, and we all get to visit with others we haven’t seen for a while.  I love our little community! 

Troy and I line up for the start.  Today’s field seems little smaller than previous years.  Some of the heavy hitters are not present but there are some great competitors out here regardless.  The race starter let’s Troy give a shout out for our team FCA Endurance. 

Ready, set, go!  I feel great starting out. The first few miles are mostly downhill so hard to assess my energy. Troy pulls away.  He looks strong.

I hear a familiar voice behind me.  It’s Rosie from track. She’s chatting away with another track friend Arash.  They pass me and I tell them good job. 

Mile 1 is 8:18.  I can still see Troy and Rosie in the distance.  I’m the third woman right now.  There is one other girl between Rosie and I.  She’s not that far ahead of me.  I pass Arash and tell him good job.   

Mile 2 is 7:59.  Almost to the bottom of the downhill.  I get to climb one of my favorite hills, Cardiac Bypass.  It’s never easy but a fun challenge.  And I generally am able to pass folks on this trail.  I pass the girl early on.  Now I find myself all alone going up which is weird.  Fewer runners means fewer to pass.  I feel strong going up and my pace seems pretty good.  Not sure how this compares to my past races.  Thank you Lord!

Anna’s race has started.  I hope to see her!

Mile 3 is 9:13.  I make it to the top of the hill and get a break from climbing.  I cannot see any runners ahead.  Once around the bend I can see Rosie and others in the distance.  I’m still feeling pretty good. The test is coming once I hit Robie Point.

Ariel’s race has started.  She has been running really strong so I probably won’t see her once I merge with the 5Kers. 

Mile 4 is 8:25.  It’s downhill again.  Better enjoy before the real fun begins.  I merge with the 5Kers.  There are lots of kids.  I love to see that!  I look off in the distance for Troy and Ariel’s yellow shirts but don’t see them.

MIle 5 is 7:53. Now, it’s time to climb.  I see our friend Jon Seely running the 5K with his daughter Alice.  I catch them at the top of the hill and tell them good job.

Mile 6 is 9:42.  Thank you God for a break from the hills!  I’m starting to feel the fatigue.  I see Caryn and tell her good job.

Here comes Wyatt.  It looks like he’s leading the 10K. We exchange high fives.  A bit later I can see Anna!  I tell her she’s first woman.  I assume Wyatt was ahead of any other females.  She looks good.  I’m impressed especially with the hard effort she put into the ride this morning!

I pass Suzanne and tell her good job.

Mile 7 is 9:14. This is the long and flat out and back.  I should see Troy soon.  It’s quite muddy along here.  The 10kers go this way but they turn around earlier. We have to run all the way to Hwy 49. There is Troy!  He looks strong and is smiling.  I soon see Rosie.  She’s looking strong too!

It’s a trek out to 49.  I finally make it to the turn.  On the way back I get to see where everybody is at.  I still have quite a lead on the 3rd girl.  I see Arash and Manouch from ARD.  There is Suzanne again.  She’s just about at the 10K turn now.

Mile 8 is 9:07.  Up Robie Point!  I am feeling tired but I keep pressing up the hill.  This is another opportunity to pass runners.  It’s muddy here too as expected. Up and over. Going down the other side I feel unsteady.  My legs are feeling wobbly. 

Two more miles!  Ugh!  Thank you Lord. I find myself focusing a lot on the discomfort.  There are four more hills!

The trails get narrow these last miles and there is a lot of walkers to pass.  I try to politely say “on your left if you don’t mind”.  Everyone is really nice but I am sure it is annoying to have all these runners passing.

Mile 9 is 10:33.  Come on legs!  Just a little more.  In years past this can be my strongest section. Usually it’s because I’m racing someone to the finish.  This year I don’t have any competition around me so I’m wondering if that is why it’s hard to push.  It probably is also because the biking took more out of me this year.  I have done very little cycling so this morning was a shock to the system.   I “just keep running”.

One more hill!  I struggle up.  I hear Troy and the girls cheering in the distance.  Come on legs!

Mile 10 is 11:05. I still have a little more to the finish.  I get to the parking lot and push to the finish.  So good to be done!  Thank you Lord for getting me through another year!  So good to be back with my family!  We all had great races.  Ariel was 2nd Female and 6th Overall, Anna was 1st overall in her race and Troy was 5th overall.

Resolution Run 5K–Ariel-2022


1/1/22, Overlook Park, Auburn


5K (Actual about 3.23 mi)


29:45 (9:12 pace)


2nd Overall Female, 1st in Age Group!


10 Mile: Anna Tortosa, Arash Ghorbani, Craig Rienbolt, Diana Arteaga Falconi, John Justus, Manouch Shirvanioun, Michelle Nall, Robin Soares, Rosie Del Sarto, Troy Soares
10K: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Wyatt Hamiltonb
5K: Ariel Soares, Ashley Glass, Elizabeth Katsura, Hunter Glass, Seely Fam (Jon, Ardelle, Adalynn, Alice)

10, 9, I get into my race starting position, 7, 6, 5, I move my hand to the start button on my Garmin, 3, 2, 1, Go! I take off running a half sprint to get ahead of the part of the crowd. The crowd of people and I run out of the park, Overlook, and onto the road. Then, we turn onto a rock pavement path that merges onto Goliath, a hill that my family have personally named and have been quite familiar with. This hill has always been tough, but this race goes down it which is nice. The road flattens before going down again.

My feet pound on the asphalt. I know that after a while they will start hurting because of the pounding. I let myself go because it is harder to try to go straight down a hill slowly. I pass a lot of people going down. I go around a turn and the downhill gets steeper and steeper. It is getting harder to run down the hill. In the distance, I see my friend from the track, Nicolette. I can know her form from a mile away and I recognize her hair. I also see Daddy in the distance going up the first hill. Oh no! That means I have to go up the hill soon. I go down the last part of the downhill before the hills start. My Garmin beeps one mile. One down two to go.

My pace immediately slows down when I reach the start of the hill. No more wind brushing through my hair. The hills were harder than I expected, but I still give my best. I push on even though my body wants to walk. After the first big hill the trail evens out a bit and I go over some big rollers. The rollers were nice, but soon I had to get back to trekking up hills again.

220101_resolution_run_5K_arielv1220101_resolution_run_5K_ariel 2

I see Nicolette ahead, but every time I try to get closer, the gap does not change. I soon lose her because I can’t keep up with her on the hills. I go through an intersection where they point 5k straight and the other races right. The trail is very rocky. I go up a hill and down on the other side. This downhill ought to be named ¨Ankle Breaking Hill¨ because it is super steep and a ton of rocks are stationed throughout the downhill. I start catching up to a girl that passed me earlier. I try to catch up. Soon I pass her as we go up another hill. She turns and says good job. I realize she´s about my age. I say good job back.

I keep going through tough uphills followed by flats or small downhills. She stays right behind me. Someone yells watch out so I quickly step off the path as a super-fast 10k runner runs by. It isn´t long before he disappears around a corner. I go up another hill that she stops to walk dand I run it and pull away. I dodge a puddle of mud and then another one. This part of the trail is muddy. After a while, I hear footsteps quickly gaining on me. At first, I think it was the girl that I had pulled away from, but when I went to look I see another 10k runner. Since I turned around so quickly I didn´t see who it was. ¨Good job Ariel” said the 10k runner. Then I realized by the voice that it was Wyatt. I told him good job back and it wasn´t long before he too disappeared around the corner.

As I turn the corner, I remembered the trail from the last time I raced it. I am almost there! I run down to a creek, but the mud starts to make the path slippery. I literally have to grab onto the weeds and plants next to me to stop me from slipping. I jump over the ditch and run up the hill. I keep running. I´m almost there! I run around and corner and then begin my run up the hill to the finish. I hear people cheering behind me. I turn around and recognize a kid that was doing the 10k, who was probably in elementary school still and he was finishing 3rd! I try to stay ahead of him, but at the top of the hill, he passes me. I sprint giving my all for Christ and finish 2nd woman. I got a PR and under 30 minutes thanks to God. I was asking for His help throughout the whole thing and the credit is to Him for this race.


New Year’s Day Challenge-Anna-2022



PART 1: Bike- Auburn, Overlook Park

PART 2: Resolution Run -Auburn, Overlook Park


Hill Climb #1 – 3m Old Foresthill Rd
Hill Climb #2 - 1.2m Raley's Hill
Resolution Run - 10K Trails


Hill Climb #1 – 21:53
Hill Climb #2 – 7:14
Run: 48:50


Bike: 2nd Hill Climb #1 & #2

Run: 1st Overall Woman, 1st W 10-19

Overall: 2nd New Years Challenge


Hill Climb: Robin Soares & Troy Soares

10 Mile: Anna Tortosa, Arash Ghorbani, Craig Rienbolt, Diana Arteaga Falconi, John Justus, Manouch Shirvanioun, Michelle Nall, Robin Soares, Rosie Del Sarto, Troy Soares
10K: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Wyatt Hamiltonb
5K: Ariel Soares, Ashley Glass, Elizabeth Katsura, Hunter Glass, Seely Fam (Jon, Ardelle, Adalynn, Alice)

25 Mile Bike Ride Summary

This year I decided to join my parents in their New Year’s Challenge bike ride. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, but I knew I would be proud of myself when I finished it. The bike ride is supposed to be all about hills and especially the hill up from the Confluence. I’m still not perfectly sure if I can handle it, but I have already started the bike ride and there's no turning back now. After biking over to the Overlook to see if anyone has shown up to join us, we head onto the ride. This year it’s just my parents and me. I’m excited that I’m the youngest kid to do this bike ride of theirs. We bike down Auburn Folsom and turn onto Power House road. My Dad goes a different route in order to get farther mileage. We end up biking towards Glenview road, which is where the first hill climb starts. My Dad has caught up to us by now. After biking up Glenview Rd, I’m tired. I originally thought this was supposed to be a race, but no one was trying to beat me as I finished first up these hills. We then bike through Auburn towards the Confluence.

I have fun biking down towards the confluence, but it is always scary going around turns fast on a bike. I get to the bottom safely, thanks to God, and bike towards the uphill. That’s when I learned that it is an all uphill race to the top of this hill. I try to prepare myself for this hill climb. My Dad pulls out his racing sheet which has me going last. He is nice enough to change the order, but I still have to go after Mom which is going to be hard. We start the race and I race uphill chasing after my Mom. It's a long hill so I pace myself well. The road is blocked here because some boulders fell, but bikes can still bike on the road. It's nice that I get a whole lane to myself. As I continue to try to catch my Mom, I try to count the seconds between us. If anything I'm not really catching her. My Dad said that we should all end up biking together at about the halfway point of the hill where it gets flat for a section. Then we can draft off each other. I can already see my Dad and I hope I can stay ahead of him. My legs are hurting but I keep pushing up the hill. My Dad passes me and tells me good job. I feel like I can almost see the flat section so I try to hang with him but my legs can only do so much. He pulls ahead and I keep on pushing, doing my best for God.

The place where I thought would be flat is actually still more climbing. I keep climbing hoping for the flat to come soon so I can catch up. I finally get to the flat and push through it. My parents are nowhere in sight. I start biking uphill again and keep pushing even though my legs are hurting. I can see the upper road above me to my left and I know I’m close. I then see my parents come down the hill as they're cheering me on. I guess they got really farther ahead to have time to come back for me. They tell me the finish is just ahead and I push really hard around the corner. I see the stop sign and even though my legs don't want to, I stand up on my bike and push through the stop sign. It hurts so bad. I finish the bike and just stand over my bike crying. I'm not upset about my time or my pace, but it just hurt so bad. I push myself really hard and it just hurts. My parents congratulate me for getting under 22 minutes. I'm very happy about that. That's when I find out we have a second hill climb to do.


We bike down to the tallest bridge in Auburn and get ready to start the second race. The goal is to race across the bridge and up the hill to the road by the highway. We start off and I’m already falling behind a little bit. I pick it back up and stay with them to the hill. We start the hill and I then remembered how hard I pushed my legs. They are still tired. I stay with my parents for a little bit, but then drop back. As I’m biking up, I count the signs till the road. There are supposed to be 7 signs. I keep pushing up the hill and around the corner. I can see the top and my Dad waiting to cheer me on. I continue to push and stand up in the last section of the hill. I then collapse on the grass, which feels so good. I’m happy I finished, but I still have the bike ride back home. We bike together to the house and quickly change for the Resolution Run. The second half of my parents' New Year’s Challenge. I’m glad I did the bike ride, and will enjoy waiting a long time, till I do it again next year.


Resolution Run - 10K - Anna Soares

I’m getting ready to do the 2022 Auburn Resolution Run. This year I’m doing the 10k instead of the 10 mil beacuse I did my parents 25 mile bike ride challenge before. I’m pretty wiped out and my goal is just to make it through the race, at this point. I get to the starting line and hear the director countdown. He then starts the race. I start off a little fast with Wyatt and another fast guy setting the winning pace. I back down the pace and enjoy the run. A little boy about 8-10 years old runs fast to stay up with the leaders. I don’t know if he will be able to hold that pace. The course then starts to curve and go down Goliath hill that we normally run up for Cross Country. It’s really steep and I'm careful not to slip. After Goliath, the downhill continues as everyone runs down Placerado Road. I’m running next to a guy and I tell him I really don’t like going down hill and that it’s almost as bad as running up. He laughs. We stay together most of the way down the hill. So far I am in 2nd place overall for the women. Up ahead of me is a little 11 year old girl. I’m really impressed that she is still ahead of me. We then make a turn onto the trails and the long uphill to the finish. I’m at one mile. Only 5 to go! We run along the trails and get to the first aid station. I don’t get water though beacuse it is a cupless race and I forgot a cup. I think I should be fine .I make a turn and start the long out and back portion of the race. I know this area pretty well though because the cross country team runs it a lot. It almost feels like an advantage to know exactly how much farther I have to go. I now pass the 11 year old girl and tell her good job. She is still running at a great pace. I'm now running mostly downhill but I know it will eventually be uphill on the way back. We get to a section of the course and I remember doing mile repeats and 400 sprints here during Cross County. At least I don't have to be sprinting now. I continue to run the course easily up and down knowing every turn. I just keep my eye out for the top 10K runners now. They should be coming back very soon. After running a little farther I see the the first place 10K runner come around the corner. I tell him good job and look for Wyatt who I hope should be right behind him. Not too long after, I see Wyatt come by and I cheer him on. Hopefully he can get closer to the top runner. Now I keep my eye out for the turnaround. I see a few more people coming back from the turn around, including the young boy! Every time I do the Resolution Run I always seem to get beat by a little kid! It’s crazy. As I’m running on the trails, I realize that they are much muddier than normal. I have to be very careful not to slip. I do quick feet on the slippery areas and try to run on the driest sections. I can't remember what socks I wore today, hopefully they're not white. Up ahead I finally see the turnaround and head on back. I look for the little girl that I passed and I see her not too long after. I cheer her on. She has a really good pace for an 11 year old. I'm very impressed. I also saw a guy right in front of her that I was originally running next to. My goal is not to let him pass me. Hopefully I can stay ahead of him till the end. I'm starting to feel my legs now but at least they are looser than the start of the race. Now I have the uphill to climb. Inside this long out and back, there are little loops you have to do. For instance, right now I have to climb up this hilly section. The hills are not too long and eventually I reach the top and start heading down the other side. For most people the downhill on the other side would be the best, but not for me. This downhill is the downhill that I originally fractured my ankle on. I go slow and watch every single rock that I see and I pray that I won't twist an ankle. I get to the bottom of the hill and turn back onto the out and back. I thank God for keeping my ankles firm and I have new energy to keep running. I see my Mom go by and I tell her good job. She's heading out towards the turnaround for the 10 mile. I know I must have missed my Dad. He's probably ahead of her.


I know I'm getting closer to the original course that I left to do the turn around. Once I get there all I have left is about a mile and a half. Maybe I'll even see Ariel who is doing the 5k. She'll probably be way ahead though. I run down a hill and get back onto the course. I know I have about a 1.5 miles left and I also know this like the back of my hand. I try to tell people on their left as I run through the stream of 5kers. After running for a little bit I  get to a steep uphill and start pushing up it. I know this uphill so well. Every time we run it for cross country, I always push everyone to run as hard as they can up it. I keep my focus on the top of the hill and run hard just like in cross country practice. At the top of the hill I pass a friend Elizabeth from my parents Tuesday night track. I tell her good job and keep running. I now head down towards a little creek. I pass two runners walking down the muddy section and forget to say excuse me. I also gently brush pass by one of the runners as I’m going by them. She tells me to say “excuse me” next time I go by. I quickly say “yes mame, I’m very sorry.” I feel bad about forgetting to be courteous in a race, especially when I’m representing Jesus. I try to get back on a habit of saying excuse me, on your left.

I’m almost back to the Overlook now! I have one long hill left now. During XC practice I also encourage everyone to push this hill, so I push hard up it. I know it’s not too long, but there is a steep section at the end. I get up half the hill to the flat section and gain speed for the last half of the climb. I pass by a crying 5 year old, and encourage her to keep going. I get to the hill and push up it. It hurts bad and I want to stop, but I give my best for God. After doing a bike ride and almost 6 miles, the only thing left is God to help me finish this. I get to the top of the hill and push onto the sidewalk to the finish. I sprint around the corner and point to God. I thank him for keeping me safe and giving me energy. I say hi and good job to Wyatt, Ariel, and my friend Hunter who finished before me. I then collapse on the grass.

Praise The Lord For He Is Good, His Love Endures Forever!


Auburn Resolution Run–10mi–Troy



PART 1: Bike- Auburn, Overlook Park

PART 2: Resolution Run -Auburn, Overlook Park


Hill Climb #1 – 3m Old Foresthill Rd
Hill Climb #2 - 1.2m Raley's Hill
Resolution Run - 10K Trails


Hill Climb #1 – 18:21
Hill Climb #2 – 6:31
Run: 1:23:03 (8:15/mi pace)


Bike: 3rd Hill Climb #1 & #2

Run: 2nd M 50-54, Overall 5th

Overall: 3rd New Years Challenge


Hill Climb: Anna Soares & Robin Soares

10 Mile: Anna Tortosa, Arash Ghorbani, Craig Rienbolt, Diana Arteaga Falconi, John Justus, Manouch Shirvanioun, Michelle Nall, Robin Soares, Rosie Del Sarto
10K: Anna Soares, Caryn Galeckas, Suzanne Hartley, Wyatt Hamiltonb
5K: Ariel Soares, Ashley Glass, Elizabeth Katsura, Hunter Glass, Seely Fam (Jon, Ardelle, Adalynn, Alice)

It’s a beautiful day!  We started off doing the bicycle portion of the Soares New Years’ Day Challenge.  It was Robin, myself, and Anna this year for the hill climbs.  Anna descended into the Hwy 49 canyon like a pro.  I was proud of her in her first time up the hill challenge.  It was probably the hardest biking effort she’s done.  Robin and I were happy with our times.  Not the fastest but respectable.  It’s great to be at the top of a mountain with your family.. a little closer to God and so appreciative of His blessings. 

After the bike it was a quick change into run clothes, refueling as fast as we could, and then using the 1/2 mi jog from our car as our warm-up.

At the starting area!  We see our dear FCA Endurance friends Suzanne & Caryn and take a picture.  We all pray together for our run, for God’s strength, for God’s blessing and, most importantly, to run for God’s glory.

The race announcer allows shout-outs so I take the opportunity to mention FCA Endurance of Auburn in the microphone. 

We also see a lot of our Tuesday Night Track running friends! 


At the starting line Robin and I get ready.  Anna is sleeping on the grass in preparation for her 10k in 30 minutes.  I meet a triathlete named Craig at the start line.  No one really wants to stand on the start line which means there aren’t many competitive racers today.  But still a pretty good turnout.  Last year it was virtual and many people express their appreciation to just be running together again.  It really feels like a family of runners here.

Go!  It’s a mellow start.. which is good because I have to fiddle to get my Garmin going as we negotiate leaving the park.  The 25 mile bike ride with hill climbs really took it out of my legs and I wonder what the running hills will feel like.  Well, the first 3 miles are mostly downhill so, for now, having some fun!  I run next to a guy named David.  We talk about pace and think we’ll be similar.  But he pushes the first short hill and leaves me far behind.  Now I have a goal to catch back up.

Mile 1 7:17. I have a right heel that has often given me problems, but I’m so thankful to the Lord on days like today when it feels terrific!  I appreciate running so much more when I know it could easily be miserable but isn’t thanks to God.

Mile 2 7:19. I try to be as efficient as possible on the long descent.  It’s hard to go fast and still maintain good form.  I can see David ahead now running next to 2 boys.  Wow, these kids are holding a fast pace for a hard 10 mile race!

At the bottom I get my first taste of the tough, rocky climb.  It’s definitely harder for me this year, I’m really breathing hard.  By the top I see I didn’t really gain any ground on David and the kids.  That’s ok, my foot is feeling great and I know my job, as always, is to give God my best effort, following His instructions and reminders of how to run a smart race.

Mile 3 8:46. I love this flat section. then a tough gradual climb

Mile 4 8:03. I hit the steep descent down the Dam Rd.  I’m trying to swing my arms quicker to increase my turn-over.  I think it’s working as I pass David and encourage him on.  I also pass the 2 kids briefly as they stop for a moment to pick up something they dropped.  I eat a gel in preparation for the water station coming up.  It’s a “cupless” race so I have my water bottle ready to fill.  The 2 kids go by me but they pause at the water station perhaps figuring out how to use their foldable cups with the water jugs.  I just go to a volunteer with a pitcher of water and get a quick fill.  Great pit stop and I’m off.  But the kids pass me again quickly.

Mile 5 7:17. This is the section that I usually see Ariel who does the 5k but she’s gotten so fast that I expect her to be far ahead.  I start the switch-back climb where I’ve passed her before.  I really miss having that short meeting as we pass.  She’s always so cheerful and encouraging.  But instead I see Suzanne and Caryn on the grueling short climb.

Now onto the rollers.  I’m doing good thanks to the Lord and maintaining 8 min pace which I mentioned to David in the beginning as a possibility but wasn’t sure at all about it.

I see the top 10k runner coming back, a familiar face as one of the faster runners in our region.  But not too far behind him is the local-legend cross-country runner, Wyatt Hamilton.  He’s always happy running and gives me a high 5. 


Mile 6 9:16. Anna is somewhere behind him and I would love to see her but I now head around Robie Pt while I expect she’s going over it.  I hope her legs aren’t too beat from the bike ride.  And I pray she doesn’t sprain an ankle.  She’s probably near the spot where she broke her ankle less than a year ago.

I catch the kids and start talking to them, telling them how impressed I am that a 13 and 11 year old can run this course so well.  They latch on behind me and I try to help their pacing and show them some tips.  I love being able to encourage young runners and it makes me run better as well.  I show them how to ease up on the climbing and take full advantage of the descents.

We see the lead 10 milers coming back and I count them to find out I’m in 4th. 

Mile 7 7:58. It’s a tough climb up to the turn-around and I’m so relieved to start back down, even with wobbly legs.  I see David, and then Nicolette, from Tuesday Track, leading the race for the women.

I look forward the most to seeing Robin… and there she is.. smiling, as usual!  I tell her God is helping my foot feel good and that I love her.  I see Suzanne and other familiar faces.

Mile 8 7:59. I start the tough, muddy, even icy, climb up Robie.  I’m really using my arms more to quicken my turn-over.  I’m breathing really hard but God has taught me over the years that I wont die Smile

Down the steep backside of Robie Pt I go by the spot Anna broke her ankle and pray that she’ll be ok this time (I forget that she already went through this section).

I’m at 8min pace still but the hardest mile climb is still to come.  My hope is to keep it from climbing about 8:10 or 8:15 average. 

Mile 9 8:43. Here we go.. steep single-track.. legs are hurting.. a lot of 10k and 5k walkers.. but they’re really accommodating moving to the side to let me pass.

At the final stream crossing it’s slippery and crowded but somehow I get through really well.  My legs are like mush, I thank God they’re able to hold me up in these technical sections.

Finally, with 1/2 mile to go, I feel the energy completely go.  My legs are screaming.  I have to walk a tough section.  But I push through the burn and hearing the announcer know I’m close.  The last climb is lined with supporters.  I hear Ariel, Anna, Wyatt and others cheering.  At the top Anna says the finish line is so close but that last section of sidewalk feels so long. 


Thank you, Lord, it’s so good to be done and I’m so appreciative of the good race performance you gave me!  My foot never hurt which is an incredible blessing.  It’s a thrilling feeling to be done and I can’t wait to cheer in the others and celebrate the races God allowed us to have.