Saturday, July 9, 2022

June Lake Half–Anna-2022

July 9th, 2022 – June Lake, CA
Swim 1.2miles – Bike 52miles – Run 13.1miles

6:05:06 (38:25 – 4:18 – 3:20:11 – 3:34 – 1:58:36)


1st W15-19 (out of 1); 5th/13 Overall


HALF- FCA: Robin Soares

OLY – FCA: Troy Soares

SPRINT – FCA: Ariel Soares

Today I'm doing my first Half Ironman! I'm feeling pretty ready for this race, but I have a hip injury. The farthest I have been able to run is 7 miles in one week before the race. I'm praying that God will sustain my hip through it. My mom is also doing the Half Ironman and she has a hamstring problem. We're praying that both mom and I can get through it without our injuries. I show up on race day with tons of time so I'm not rushed. I head down to the water to start the race. The water is freezing! I’m getting used to it slowly, as I walk through it. The race director starts the race.


I dive into the water and feel the shock of the cold water on my face. I was not expecting it to be this cold. The beginning of the swim is very chaotic. I see people all around me trying to swim even though it's really shallow. I try my best to remain calm and focus on God. All I have to do is get into my rhythm and I will be fine for the rest of this swim. It is a square course and so far, not choppy at all. I get to the first buoy and know that I'm 1/8 of the way done. We have to do two loops. On the second stretch, I draft behind a swimmer in front of me. I enjoy this while it lasts but then they start swimming off course. I realize that I'm starting to burp more, and throwing up a little bit. I hope this won’t last long. I feel fine, maybe it's the altitude.

I get to the next buoy on the backstretch. The water is really choppy, yet there are no boats. I guess it's just the wind. I try to think of myself like a kayak, as dad always tells me. This stretch takes a little bit more of my energy. I finally finish the stretch and head back towards the shore. I'm almost done with my first loop! It feels like the waves are pushing me along but also dragging me back a little bit at the same time. As I get closer to the shore, the land comes up to meet me really fast. I am careful not to touch the ground with my hands because it's so shallow. Finally, I reach the buoy and I turn around and start on my second loop. I try to wave as I’m swimming to see if Daddy or Ariel will notice.

I’m now on my second loop and its colder. I guess it's colder closer to the shore than when you're out in the deep parts. I try to focus on my strokes more and get into a good rhythm for this last loop. So far, I'm not feeling very tired and I’m swimming at a consistent pace. I’m coming up to the buoy. I notice something under the water. It scares me. Oh, it’s just a tree stump. I wasn't expecting anything to be in lake. I turn around the buoy and head out towards deeper water. I’m still burping a lot, but a least it’s not getting worse. I notice the beautiful landscape around me. June Lake is really a beautiful place with green trees, bright sun, and rolling mountains. It is quite stunning.

I turn at another buoy to do the last fourth of the swim. This is the choppy part. I prepare myself for this and use extra energy to kayak as best I can through the waves. Every time I come up for air, I try to raise myself up high so I get no water in my mouth. I can feel the waves slamming against me a lot, but that's okay. I finally get to the last turnaround and head towards the shore! It's not that far away! I try to give a good effort as I near the shore. My feet are super numb. I hope I can warm them up somehow when I finish the swim.

The water gets shallow quickly, but I'm determined to keep swimming. Swimming is faster than walking and I'm already in a rhythm. I see a lot of adults ahead of me standing up and walking the long way to shore. I keep swimming. It gets shallower and shallower and I’m not even to the shore, but I keep swimming. I'm swimming like a frog with my hands out to the side of me because I'm an inch from the ground. It still feels faster to swim than to walk though. Now that I’m close to the shore, I stand up and take off my wetsuit. I'm done with the swim! I see Daddy and Ariel cheering me on. It makes me excited to see their excitement. As I'm taking off my wetsuit, I take my Garmin watch off to make it easier. It's a little bulky and the wetsuit doesn’t slide over it well. I put the Garmin in my mouth and take off the wet suit. I finally get the wetsuit to come off my feet. The crowd on the beach starts cheering for me. That’s really funny. I grab the wetsuit and run towards transition. My feet feel really numb and it's a little awkward. As I run up to transition, I tell Daddy to warn Ariel about the choppy water because I don't want her to have a hard race.


I’m close to transition. A race director tells me that I'm the 10th woman out of the water. This is pretty amazing, because last time I was really slow at the swim. Thanks God, for giving me a great swim! I go to my transition spot and put on all my warm clothes including a jacket. I'm still really cold from the swim, but I'm not shivering.


I jump on my bike and head out for the two-loop bike course. Everything is two loops today, and if I had to do an Ironman, it would all be four loops. That would take me a long time! It helps me appreciate the two loops more. I know that at the beginning of the bike course, you bike through the town and the forest before heading out to the long sunny stretch. Right now, all I want is sun, so I'm not really looking forward to riding my bike through the forest. I bike quickly down the hills looking for all the sun I can find. I know I need to stay hydrated on the bike, but I'm too cold to drink or eat anything. All I want is to get in the sun.

The shade lasts longer than I like and now my stomach is hurting. It feels like a huge stomach cramp, but not like I’m nauseous. I know I should probably eat or drink something, even though the cold makes me not want to. I pull out my favorite peanut butter bar and scarf it down. That should last me to the end of the shade. I reach the sunlight and I enjoy soaking it up. All I want now is it to get warmer. I don't care how hot it gets, as long as I'm warm.

I start to drink my water and my electrolyte drink. Dad says I need to stay really hydrated because we're at altitude. I'm not very good at drinking water, but I'm going to try my best today. The main problem right now is that my stomach still has a cramp. Not only does it feel awful, but it makes biking in aerobars very uncomfortable. Despite the fact that I am not feeling well, I do enjoy the pretty scenery around me. These mountains are huge and there seems to be a lake at each turn. I enjoy watching people and boats hang out around the water as I bike by. I see all these cute little chipmunks that keep running across the road. I really want to take one home and make it my pet. I could even walk it on a leash even though it's only an inch tall.

I hit a shady ravine. I bike through it quickly because I'm still cold. I can see the highway in the distance! When we first drove here, I thought the highway would be a horrible, hot and sunny stretch. Now I think it's going to be the best bike stretch ever.  And even better I have my jacket on so I shouldn't get sunburned. I stop right before the highway, use the restroom, and get some water. I start biking again and turn onto the highway stretch. I catch up to a biker ahead of me and pass him. He passes me back. Whoops, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. I try to continue to keep a steady bike pace. My dad told me that on the first lap, I need to be consistent and on the second lap I could push more if I want.

The highway is becoming a slow incline. This incline isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I bike to the top easily. Up ahead I realize that there is a bigger hill to come. I have to travel up switchbacks! I remember this from 3 years ago when I did the Olympic Distance. The switchbacks are hard even in my easiest gear. I focus on the top and push up the hill steadily. I pass the guy who originally passed me before. I tell him good job.

Praise the Lord, I finally get to the top of the hill! The flat at the top seems slow and tiring. I turn up ahead and start to head back to June Lake. I’m almost onto the second loop! I bike right towards another hill! Where did this hill come from? I tiredly bike up the hill. I get to the top and start the second loop of the bike course. This time I'm not very cold and I enjoy flying through the town in the shade. It’s easier to enjoy the scenery of the trees! There are a bunch of Olympic distance racers who join the Half Ironman racers on the course. I look for my Dad but he might be too far ahead already.


I zip through the trees and arrive at the next aid station. I use the restroom again and get more water. I'm glad I'm staying hydrated. I continue biking through the trees for a little longer. Now the sunny mountain stretch up ahead doesn’t seem that nice anymore. This time I take off my jacket and gloves. I’m at perfect temperature now. I continue to enjoy the view and watch the chipmunks run back and forth. My stomach is feeling better now and thanks to God for that. I notice that my bike shorts are too tight. I'm wearing bike shorts over my tri shorts to make the bike more comfortable. I'm planning to take the bike shorts before the run. Instead of making the bike more comfortable, it’s actually putting pressure on my stomach. My calves are starting to hurt really bad. Normally the pain fades, so I ask God to help the pain go away. The pain leaves completely. Thank you, God!

I keep biking knowing I'm almost done. I got closer to the highway, which doesn't sound as enjoyable as it did earlier. I hit the aid station again and use the restroom for the third time. I also get more water. I’ve been drinking a lot of water. I hope that I'm not drinking too much because I don’t want to flush out my electrolytes. As I turn onto the highway, I notice a sign that I didn't see earlier. It says that June Lake is 6 miles from here. I thought the highway was a lot shorter than that. I guess I have six miles till I get back to June Lake. The sign also says that Los Angeles is 326 miles away, so by the time I get to June Lake, if I want to, I can bike 320 mi to Los Angeles! However, I don't think I'll do that today. I start the long tiring stretch on the highway. Up ahead I see someone in yellow and I think it's my mom. But it’s actually a competitor that passed me not too long ago.

I start the slow incline. As I'm biking up it, I pass a girl in my race. I tell her good job and we go back and forth. I pull ahead. I've seen her a lot during this race. She's a great athlete. Now I just have about three more hills left of this Half Ironman bike course. As I start the switchbacks, I pass a guy that passed me before. He is wearing a gray t-shirt. I make it up the hill! Thanks to God giving me energy and I got up the hill pretty fast! I reach the flat and I savor it. The guy in the grey t-shirt passes me back. I stay near him and pass him back again.

I turn towards June Lake. The man and the guy with the gray t-shirt and I continue to go back and forth. We start climbing the hill up to June Lake and I tell him I'll see you on the downhill as I pass him. I get to the top. The man turns towards transition, so he must be doing the Olympic. I keep going to complete a small loop before I finish the bike. I bike through town for a third time. Now I see no bikers because there are very few half athletes. At the bottom and try to use the bathroom again, but someone's in it already.

I continue on and turn at a different turn for the last, small loop of the course. This hill is really steep and it is like Virginia Road in Auburn. I bike up it and cruise down the other side. It's kind of annoying how the course goes up and down. The course flattens out and I can see runners at the head who are running next to the bike course. I try to look for Mom or Dad. I don't see them running yet. I see the guy in the gray t-shirt who passed me on the bike earlier running. I tell him great job and encourage him to keep running. I cruise down the downhill towards transition. I think the bike miles are going to be a little short. Maybe I should bike extra. No that's a bad idea. I'm already very exhausted. I ride into transition and hop off my bike. I'm done with the bike.Yay!


I take off all my warm layers and notice that there is a sunscreen bottle that wasn't there before. Mom must have put it there so that I wouldn't get sunburned. I put some on my face before I head out. Surprisingly my legs don't feel numb at all! I exit transition, I see Ariel waving at me that I'm going the wrong way. I realize that I went through the swim exit not the run exit. Whoops. I'm glad Ariel waved me down. I turn around and head through the run exit. I wave to Ariel and throw her my water bottle. I hope she had a good run and I appreciate all her encouragement.

Before I start a long, sandy hill, I quickly use the restroom. I head up the hill. Since I'm doing my first half distance, I've decided to walk the hills and run everything else. I run part way up the steep hill and walk. Finally, after a while I get up to the road. There are bikers riding down the road. I start running. The road is a nice downhill. I reach one mile and take my first gel! I've never tried it before, it's supposed to be apple pie flavored. It tastes exactly like apple pie. However, I don't really want apple pie right now, but I slurp it down for energy. As I'm eating the gel, I don't notice that the guy with the gray t-shirt is running back towards me. He tells me good job and I yell great job back to him. It's cool to see someone familiar during the entire race.

I get close to the bottom and see that the run course curves onto a sandy trail. I look in the distance and see someone in yellow. I bet it's my Dad. As I get closer, I see him running. I have to use the restroom, but hopefully we'll meet before I go so I don't miss him. We run into each other and he gives me advice to keep drinking during the run. He’s been so supportive the entire race. I tell him good job as he takes off to the finish. I quickly use the restroom and head out. I'm running pretty fast on the flat and enjoying it. I get to the first aid station and drink some water. Even though it's a small amount, it seems like a lot. I should be drinking two small cups to stay hydrated. I will do that at the next aid station.

I continue running on the sandy trail. I don't like that it's very unstable. I'm used to running on hard packed trails, not sandy, uneven ones. There are a few more hills. I run to them and walk them. On my second loop if I still have energy, I'll try to run more. As I descend a hill, I see Mom up ahead running towards me! We check to make sure that our injuries aren't bad. I continue running to the next hill, which I walk. I get to the top and enjoy the downhill. The trail continues into the forest. I t's nice to go in the shade. Sadly, the downhill ends and the sun returns. I'm praising the Lord for letting my hip is feel great, even with uneven ground.

I finally see an aid station up ahead! I drink two cups of water and have some chips. They tell me I have to run over to a mat and then come back. I run over the mat and come back to the aid station and grab some oranges. They're delicious! I also grab a sponge for my back. I head back on the sandy trail. I fast walk through the shady forest and then jog down the hill. As I pass runners, I try to see if any of them are in the half. I see mostly Olympic runners. I finally notice a half distance girl racer that I had passed. I climb another hill and now it’s flat. I go by the aid station again. I get two cups of water and a banana. Before I turn onto the road, I use the restroom. I wait because someone's in it. After I'm done using the restroom, the girl in the half has passed me. I run up the hill and catch up to her.

I reach the top of the hill and see my mom running towards me! I’m not sure if I've gained on her. She tells me that I'm in six place and she's in 4th. She mentions a girl in green ahead of me is in 5th. I see the girl mom was talking about. She is quite a ways ahead. It doesn't seem very likely, but I'm not going to give up. Dad always tells me not to give up, no matter what. Even if I don't pass her, it'll be a good challenge to get me through this race.

I start heading down the sandy trail. It's really steep. I see Dad and Ariel. They're cheering me on very enthusiastically. I appreciate their support. I tell them that my goal is to catch the 5th place runner. I try not to twist any ankles or pound too much for my hip, as I go down the steep downhill.


I get to the bottom and turnaround at the aid station. I get two cups of water and another orange. I head back up the steep hill. I walk the hill and run on the flats. I see Ariel and Dad again and they cheer me on. It's my last time up this crazy hill. I don’t want to eat my gel, but dad says I should eat at least half.


I walk on the pavement and I pull my gel out. I head down the pavement road and sip my gel slowly. Both of my gels have strong flavors, but it's fine if I eat them slowly.

I get to the aid station at the bottom of the hill. I only take water. I realize that if I look right, I can see the turn around. I see my mom over there by the other aid station. I think I'm gaining on her a bit. I'm also gaining on the 5th place runner. The next two hills that I normally walk I try to run halfway up. I keep up a strong pace. I’m not giving up. By now, my ankles are hurting really bad as if I twisted them. I think it's from all the uneven grounds. I stop and walk to see if they'll feel better. I also pray that God will heal them up because this injury will slow me down.

I make it to the forest and run down the hill towards the aid station. I reach the flat section and see my mom running towards me. I tell her good job. I see the fifth-place runner and smile at her. She waves back. I realize I probably should have said good job while smiling, or it could have been taken with bad intent. I finally get to the turn around. I turn and run back to the aid station. I head out at a fast pace. I run through the forest with a few walking breaks. I leave the forest and run fast down the hill. I think about what God wants me to do at the end of this race that he is blessed me with. I feel he is telling me that whether or not the girl is close, give it my all by running up the entire pavement section all the way to the finish.

I run over a hill and see the aid station. With my goal in mind, I run towards it. I get to the aid station and take only one cup and keep running. I can see the girls ahead and keep up the pace that God has allowed me to run. I start running up the pavement hill. I know it won't be too steep for long. I pass the girl and tell her good job. I continue running for God. It's a blessing that I could be in 5th place, but the main goal is running for God. Even though it hurts, I make it up the entire hill without stopping. I get to the steep, sandy hill. I want to run down it fast, but I don't want hurt my ankle or hip. I ask God to keep them steady. I'm try to run flat-footed on the sand area so I don't twist any ankles and not pound that hard.

I finally get to the bottom of the hill and hit the sandy stretch to the finish line. This part is hard because I’m not good at running on sand. God makes it feel easier. I run towards the finish with all my effort and finish for God. I'm blessed that he didn’t let me get injured and gave me an amazing half Ironman. I finished at 6 hours and 5 minutes, only 5 minutes behind my mom! This is only possible work God.

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



5th overall, 06:05:06, Club:  FCA Endurance

Swim:  00:38:25

T1:       00:04:18

Bike:    03:20:11

T2:       00:03:34

Run:    01:58:36

Youngest athlete, 17th