Sunday, February 20, 2022

Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon (Troy) 2022

Date/Location: 2/20/22 – Davis, CA
Distance: 1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles)
Time: 1:39:18
Place: 8th age-group, 57th overall
Teammates: 1/2 Marathon:  John Justus, Martin Sengo, Melissa Penwell, Anna Soares, Robin Soares, Rosie Kracher

This is an important run before my marathon in 2 weeks.  I am extremely grateful to the Lord for the last 8 months of being able to run well again after a year of a painful foot injury.  However, the last week I’ve started to develop hip soreness likely due to not stretching and getting enough sleep.  It’s been a really hard month with needs of our families taking priority.  So I go into this race a little concerned.

Ariel sacrificed her race today to stay home and take care of my Dad because one of his caregivers moved on.  We’re thankful she was willing to do that.

Robin and Anna drop me off over a mile away so I can warm-up to the race start.  We see our friend, Courtney Cardenas, announcing the race and we give each other warm greetings.

We line up and pray at the start.  I would never want to take on a challenge like this out of God’s will because I know how much can go wrong because I’m not in control, the Lord is.

Melissa Penwell, from track, is running.  Anna’s top-running friend, Natalie from Ponderosa is going for a sub-1:20.  Our Auburn friend, Martin, is also running.

Anna’s goal is 1:38 (7:30 pace).  Mine is 1:45 (8:00 pace). Robin’s is 1:51 (8:30 pace).

Go! Conditions are great even though it’s chilly.  Field is full.  I’m trying to run very efficiently, but it doesn’t feel that easy.  I see Natalie near the front, then Anna, then Melissa.

Mile 1: 7:33.  Pace is faster than planned but I’d like to keep Anna in sights as long as possible.  I join up with the 1:40 pace group.  We go over the overpass and I’m immediately heating up.  Down below I cheer on Anna who is already over and running below.

Mile 2: 7:25. Ok, I think I’ll try 1:40 pace.  I focus on the Lord and remember to be joyful, even though I have concerns that my hip will start hurting.  Up ahead there’s an in-and-out section.  I see Anna ahead and air high-5 her.  Then coming out of it I see Robin behind me and air high-5 her.  I love racing with Robin, her smile is so encouraging.  And I love racing with Anna and seeing what God is doing through her success.  She’s had many injuries and has remained joyful.  And now it looks like she’s running better than ever.

Mile 3: 7:43. I’ve fallen behind the group some but have joined up with Natalie’s dad, and coach of Ponderosa HS XC, Brian, who I’ve met at the races.  He tells me about Natalie’s training and plans for college and other top young runners who are leading today’s race.  He’s also helping a friend run their best 1/2 marathon.

Mile 4: 7:37. We continue chatting which makes the miles go by [currently 63 overall].

Mile 5: 7:42. We’re weaving through greenways.  Davis has so many paths and beautiful areas to run and stroll.


Mile 6: 7:44.  The gravel section which I love is coming up.  It’s funny that it’s Robin’s least favorite part of the race.  Brian and David slow for water so I go ahead.

I start thinking of some of the problems of the month.  Some things people said to us that weren’t nice.  I start feeling more energy and wanting to run faster.  “On your right” I pass the 1:40 group on the narrow path because I love this section.  And then I feel like “that guy” who doesn’t want to keep the pace but surges ahead just to get caught later..  I also realize the Lord doesn’t want me running angry and using that for energy, He is all the energy I would ever need. 

Mile 7: 7:34. But I continue on thinking “now I’m in front, I better make it stick”.  But it’s getting harder.  I eat some chews.  Drink water.  At a turn I see Brian and David behind me and cheer them on.

Mile 8: 7:48. We run down a long road before looping back onto the beautiful greenways. [currently 38th overall]

Mile 9: 7:27. Somehow that was a pretty fast mile.  Through more parks.  I run by a kid doing the 1/2 marathon with an arm in a cast.  That’s pretty tough.  I’m feeling more pain now in my hip.  It makes me think of Anna and Robin who have had hip injuries, too.  I pray that Robin is feeling good and that her hip is keeping strong.  I pray that I can take the injury rather than her.  And I realize my surge back at Mile 7 wasn’t smart.  The Lord has blessed us so much, there’s no reason to ever run angry.

Mile 10: 7:34. We run through the industrial area and Martin Sengo catches up to me, almost at the same spot as he did 2 years ago!  Up ahead on the overpass I see Anna crossing over a 1/2 mi ahead of us.  Martin is always cheerful and seems to have a way of negative-splitting this race each time.  I push but can’t keep up with him.  The overpass is tough but descending is also tough for my hip.

Mile 11: 7:46. 2 to go.  Everything is sore but trying to keep the pace.  The out-n-back section allows us to see each other.  Martin, the kid with the cast, and Brian and David.  Brian and David catch me and I try to stay with them.

Mile 12: 7:58. I fall behind.  The hip is hurting.  Trying to lean forward and be efficient. I can hear the 1:40 pace group catching me..  reminding me of my hasty move miles back.  I see Anna and she cheers for me to sprint to the end, but all I can do is smile and try to pump my arms more.


Mile 13: 7:35.  Good mile.  Good to be done.  Thank you, Lord, for your blessing and grace and forgiveness.  He answered my prayers anyway.  Anna had a great race, Robin didn’t have hip pain.  God is good and the best race strategy is always to just trust in Him.


Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon- Anna- 2022


2/20/22 – Davis, CA


1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles)




2nd (16-19 Females), 7th Female Overall


1/2 Marathon:  John Justus, Martin Sengo, Melissa Penwell, Robin Soares, Rosie Kracher, Troy Soares

Today I am at the Davis stampede race to run a half marathon. A friend of mine from cross country and track is also here. Her name is Natalie and she is super fast. I probably won't see her during the entire race. As we get ready to start I try to stretch out. I’m a little nervous for this race because I haven't trained that much.

They count down and start us off. I take it easy and try to relax. I'm already going way too fast, about a 6 minute pace. I'm always so surprised how in the beginning of a race the pace is so easy but halfway through you could barely hold it. My goal is for a 7:30 pace for this race. I let people pass me and try to count off all the girls ahead of me. There's about six girls ahead of me right now. I'll try to catch them about halfway through the race.

I now turn on to a dirt road and I look back to see my dad. I try to make eye contact with him almost to get confirmation that my pace is okay. I know I'm supposed to be running faster than him but he won't be too far behind. I'm still feeling very comfortable at the pace I'm at, but I try to keep it at a 7:30 and not anything faster.

I loop back around and go through the finish area. Now I head out for the real big and long loop. After running through a parking lot, I start to run on a long straight away. After running for a little bit, a family friend, Melissa, catches me. I enjoy running with her and talking with her. She's running a faster pace then I would like to run, but I stay with her to enjoy the company. Up ahead there's an inlet we run into that loops back out to the main road. When coming back to the main road I see my dad as he starts the inlet. We do air high fives.

Melissa and I then continue on the long straight ahead. We both then start to realize that we have to use the restroom. I hope I can hold it and I look for a bathroom. After a while we turn onto a small bike/run path that takes us through the park. As we run around baseball fields, I keep my eye open for a bathroom. I finally see a bathroom run over to it. But both of them are locked! Two people must already be using the restroom! I pray God brings me to a bathroom and keep running. I wish I could enjoy being with Melissa more, however, I really have to go. After running for a while I see an aid station come up and a porta potty on the side! I second-guess if I should use the restroom or not. I asked the volunteers if it's open and they say it is. At least I'm ahead of pace so if I stop I shouldn't get behind. I quickly dart over, make a record pit-stop, and head back to running.

I'm very glad I took that bathroom break. I try to see if I can catch Melissa. She's way ahead, but I keep a steady pace. I now have a fast lady in front of me who's going about my pace. I decide to stick with her and see if I catch Melissa towards the end. The lady is shorter than me but still really fast. It just reminds me how powerful a turnover can be in a race. I try to make my feet move faster and continue running with her.

220220_davis_stampede_half_marathon_anna After a while we cross some streets and get to a gravel section. I remember my mom telling me that the gravel section was her least favorite part in the entire race. So far the gravel section is not too bad and I'm enjoying it. It's kind of cool to enjoy something that other people don't like. I also try to run on the edge of the gravel path in order to have a more sturdy path to run on. I also try to run flat-footed because that gives you the most traction on

sand or gravel. I catch up to the girl ahead of me and pass her. I hope I'm not pushing too hard. I continue to run on the gravel path and realize that it encircles a golf field. Hopefully it won't last too long. However, after a mile, I'm still running on the path! At least now the gravel path is circling behind some neighborhoods, hopefully it turns into a bike path soon!

As I'm running I pass a younger boy who was ahead of me. He's doing the half marathon with a cast on! I am very impressed and tell him good job. I continue running looking excitedly for pavement. After about a half mile I finally hit the pavement! I run by the aid station I earlier took a bathroom break at. As I’m running on the pavement, instead of my legs being more energized on pavement instead of gravel, they're much more tired. I quickly grab my gel and give myself a boost. After slowing down for a second to eat my gel, I have energy to speed back up to my pace. Up ahead is a blind runner with his friend. I try to catch up to them. I find it really cool that a friend would take his time to train with his buddy in order to help him race. Also during the entire race the blind man's friend was telling him exactly what the path looks like so he wouldn't trip. I pass the running pair and tell them good job.

I'm then back to running on the bike paths behind the neighborhoods. I'm around mile 8.5 and I'm starting to feel pretty sore. I have around 5 mi left and that encourages me to keep pushing on. I keep trying to look for something up ahead on the race course that will bring me closer to the finish line. Up ahead I see two girls I remember from the start. Maybe I could slowly catch them. I try to keep a consistent pace while keeping my eyes on them. After a while I pass an aid station and only see one of the girls ahead of me. Her friend must be using the restroom. I catch up to her pretty easily and tell her good job.

I'm tired but I keep pushing even though it hurts. I just hope that I can keep this pace for about four more miles! Now I'm running closer to the main road. That's got to be a good sign. Before turning onto a side road from the bike path, I see a race sign that's been spray painted. It's sad that the people didn't respect the race officials' property. I then turn onto the side road. Up ahead I see a really big bridge that overarches the highway. I wonder if I’m going to run over it. I look for runners to see if that's where the path is. I don't see any. However as I'm running, I realize the course is going to take me right over the bridge. This bridge is really huge and long. I also remember my parents running over this bridge in the half marathon a few years back. I know I must be getting closer to the end. I have about 3 miles left. I start running up this bridge and I'm just in awe of how big and how high I am. There's no one but me on this bridge and it's such a cool experience. I look down and see other runners getting ready to run up the bridge too. I see the two girls that I originally passed and they're looking strong. I'll try to keep up my pace to stay ahead of them.

I then start running down the other side of the bridge after crossing over. I then run onto a bike path in the park. As I’m running, the inside of my foot is starting to hurt a little bit. I know I need to be careful not to injure it, so up ahead at a station, I quickly stop just to feel my foot out. I feel no sharp pains when I push on it, so I continue to run. While I had stopped for a second, the running pair with the blind man passed me. I then decide to try to stay with them. I'm really tired from running so fast, but I jump onto their pace and hold on. I know I have less than 3 mi to go and I just need to hold onto this pace. I'm so tired I can't pass them, but I can stay with them. I do give them enough room though, because I do not want to trip the blind man.

We then run deeper into the park and do a small out and back. I see Melissa coming back from the turnaround. I wave and tell her good job. She says good job too. Up ahead the running pair and I turn around and head back the way we came. I know it's straight back to the finish line now. I also know there's an underpass that leads straight to the finish line. I keep my eye out and know I'm really close. After running with the pair, I slowly pull ahead and I’m excited for the finish line. I'm about a mile and a half away and can't wait. As I'm running up ahead I see arrows pointing left, however, cones are blocking the way to go left. I run left anyways because that's where the chalk says to go. I see runners up ahead and know I went the right way. I yell back just in case and ask the pair behind me why the race course monitors put cones there. Little did I know that they didn't even notice that the arrow said to turn left but when I yelled back at them, they were able to make the correct turn. I thank God afterwards for giving me this opportunity to help others not get lost.

I then continue to run under underpasses towards the finish. I'm down to a mile to go and I know I'm so close. I'm passing people and trying to keep a good pace. I know the running pair is right behind me. I'm sure there's only one underpass left and pass under it. I don't see the finish line so I know that there's just one more underpass to go. I can almost hear the announcer and I know I'm close.  I pass under one more underpass and see the park ahead of me. I pick up the pace knowing the finish line is right there. I also know that I'm probably going to have to run around the finish line before finishing like last year. However, as I run towards the finish line, I realize it's just straight through. I run through the finish line and give credit to God who kept my foot and hip stable. I also tell the runner pair behind me good job. It's so impressive how they worked together and finished hard. Also my friend Natalie did amazing and was the 1st woman overall and 4th overall. I was 7th woman overall and was 2nd in my age group, behind Natalie. My time was also 1:35:13, an average 7:19 pace! Thank you God! I then celebrated with my mom and dad and we enjoyed the rest of the day after racing hard.

Praise the Lord for He is Good, His Love Endures Forever!


Davis Stampede 1/2 Marathon–Robin - 2022


2/20/22 – Davis, CA


1/2 Marathon (13.1 Miles)




3rd (45-49 Females)


1/2 Marathon: Anna Soares, John Justus, Martin Sengo, Melissa Penwell, Rosie Kracher, Troy Soares

It’s been two years since they’ve had this event because of COVID.  It’s been 4 years since I’ve done the 1/2 Marathon.  I was supposed to do the 1/2 in 2020 but I was injured and had to switch to the 5K.  What a blessing from Jesus to be back here uninjured!  It will be a challenge because I’ve been lagging behind in my training.  I’ve been subbing full time since January and with many family activities/situations I have had a hard time finding time to put in the miles.  My training is taking a backseat right now anyway.  The priority is really Troy’s and Anna’s 1/2 Marathon race. Troy is getting ready for the Napa Marathon in two weeks and Anna is training up for a 1/2 Ironman in July.  This race has pace groups or runners who lead runners to a certain time if they can stick with them.

It’s just Troy, Anna and I this time. Ariel was going to run the 5K this morning but she graciously volunteered to take care of her grandpa this morning since we couldn’t get a caregiver to help.  We get to Davis and get our bib numbers and t-shirts.  There are several familiar faces. Our friend Courtney Cardenas is announcing the race today.  FCA teammate Rosie Kracher and her husband are also here.  Anna’s competitor and friend from Cross Country, Natalie Wieland, is here too.  She just might win this race!

Anna, Troy and I pray together.  We then seed ourselves according to our ability.  I did close to 8 min pace at the CIM relay back in December but I was in better shape but today I’ll go for 8:30 pace. That puts me at a 1:51 for today’s half.  I decide to go with the 1:50 pace group.

Ready, set, go!  Off goes Troy and Anna.  Martin Sengo goes by me and we chat.  He’s from Davis and tells me he knows this course well.  I say goodbye as we part ways.  The first mile does a loop right back to the starting/finish line. Better to pass the finish line in the beginning then just before the end. 

Mile 1 is 8:15. I am feeling good and staying with the pace group.  We climb the pedestrian overpass across Hwy 80.  Overpasses are the only hills in Davis.  Coming from Auburn, it seems like nothing but later in the race I’ll probably feel different!

220220_davis_stampede_half_marathon_robinMile 2 is 8:14. I think the pacer is ahead of pace but I stay with him.  I’m feeling comfortable so I’m not very concerned.  We do a strange out and back in a cul-de-sac.  I get to briefly see Troy as he comes out and I give him an air high-five.

Mile 3 is 8:19. I start chatting with the pacer, Kelly.  I find out he’s a local ultra-runner and that we have a lot of friends in common.  It’s a nice distraction and passes the time.  I still am feeling good.

Mile 4 is 8:20. We continue to meander through the green-belts of Davis.  I know my least favorite part is coming.  It’s the back half of the course that goes on a loose gravel road.  It’s really hard for me to run on.  I ask Kelly if he minds it and he says it’s just like trail running for him.  I know Troy likes it too.  Kelly and I talk about road biking.  He says he doesn’t like the danger of the cars.  I tell him that I pray every time I go out. 

We cross under Covell Blvd and then run along it.  I realize that the pacer is not ahead of pace but right on pace.  I’ve been thinking about running 8:30 pace which is a 1:51

Mile 5 is 8:25.  Still feeling good.  A girl passes me and says hi thinking I’m someone she knows. I find out her name is Megon. I tell her good job.

Mile 6 is 8:17. Kelly stops at the porta-potty and tells us he hopes to catch up.  I try to catch up to Megon who is just ahead of me.  Here comes the gravel! 

I read in my story from 2018 that I tried to run on the patches of grass along the path.  I try that again.  There are not many spots to do this but it’s enough to get by. I hear footsteps behind me.  There must be another runner adopting my tactic. 

Mile 7 is 8:09. The gravel is not the usual torture for me.  It probably helps that I’m trying to do a more conservative pace. I am still following the same girl.  I try to use her as a wind break. 

I can see the end of the gravel section!  That went by faster than expected!  Thank you Lord!

220220_davis_stampede_half_marathon_robin2Mile 8 is 8:23. I can see Kelly coming along as I loop to go under Covell Blvd. again. He’s got some ground to cover yet.

A gal comes along side me and tells me she was the one right behind trying to run the grassy sections too.  We both agree the gravel is not fun.  I notice her Boston shirt and ask her about it.  Her name is Sarah and I find out she’s trying to run a marathon on every continent. She also trains with the Chavez Fam in the bay area.  Small world! 

Mile 9 is 8:11. I’m feeling strong and am staying with Sarah.  We have pulled away from Megon.   

Another gravel section comes up and Sarah and I cringe.  It’s a short section thankfully!

Mile 10 is 8:23.  Things are getting noticeably tougher. When I want to press the pace, I cannot.  Sarah starts to pull away from me.  I cross Hwy 80 again and this time the overpass feels like a steep hill!  I try to use gravity on the backside to catch Sarah but she continues to pull away.

I hear someone call out my name.  I look over and see Beth Bourne.  I wave and say hi. She tells me good job and tells me she got my recent race story.  So nice she came out to cheer me on!

Mile 11 is 8:28.  We do another weird out and back.  Sarah looks strong.  I keep trying to pick it up but I feel stuck.  On my way back I see Kelly.  We cheer each other on.

Mile 12 is 8:22. I actually am able to pick it up! So close now!  I see Troy and Anna ahead cheering for me. They must have finished over 10 minutes ago!  It’s nice to see them and get encouraged.  I push as hard as I can. 

Mile 13 is 8:13. The finish line is so close!  I cross the line and look up to God.  Thank you Jesus!