Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Calm Before The Storm

And thankfully, we're not talking about the weather.

The first of "it" arrived Saturday morning for our group run!

"It'll get pretty busy the next few weeks (though)," says Volte founder Bill Dwyer.  "We have several in Run Thru The Woods on Thursday and a few running out-of-state Thanksgiving Day races.

"We also have the Montgomery County Triple this weekend followed by next weekend's Texas10 Conroe, B-CS Marathon and Half Marathon, MetroPCS Dallas Marathon and Half Marathon and the Texas Trail Endurance Runs."

First, though, came the sweltering.

Kacey Bryant, Katie Marshall and Gabby Brockett took three for the team at the Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon on Sunday, November 17.

Kacey and Katie ran their own races but put down identical times of 2:08:29 while Gabby, the triple fall marathoner, paced a friend to a 2:20:54 finish.

Some ladies that we hope to see in the Volte ranks soon also were in the Alamo City.

Patty Williamson and Lauren Hoffart covered the 13.1 miles in 2:07:55 and 2:22:27, respectively, while Kate Thomas paced a friend to a time of 3:39:09.

Other Volte friends running the half marathon included Hollie Quigley (2:24:44), Denna Johnson (2:34:57), Fran Blanton (2:34:57) and Barry Blanton (2:42:02).

Of course, Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.

However, somebody forgot to tell Will Ott's stomach that.

Our Volte friend and Woodlands Fit coach went to the Pennsylvania city without a Super Bowl win in search of a 3:25 marathon, but instead switched to the Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon and put down a 1:46:01 time that was better delivered than a Phily Cheesesteak sandwich.

And then, there was shivering at the HMSA Classical 25K last Sunday, November 24 in downtown Houston.

But it should haven't bothered Paul Vita, the Penn State graduate, too much.

"I felt pretty good," he said.  "The temperature was fine, but the wind was tough on the backside so that cost me some time."

Yet, Paul still conquered the triple-loop course from the Wortham Center to Shepherd and Memorial to post a finishing time of 2:26:40.

Volte friends Keith Wiley, who trains with us periodically, and 50 States marathon finisher Tony Allison also went loop de loop with respective times of 1:43:28 and 2:09:07.

Keith's time was good for eighth in his 35-39 age group.  Tony was 19th in his.

And like Allison, one of our long-time friends at Volte, Strive Performance Coaching founder and current Finish Strong Coaching coach Kim Mc Namee was the third overall female in 1:41:56.

Mc Namee, 42, said she used the race as another step in her preparation to run the Chevron Houston Marathon in January for the first time in 10 years, where she qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Marathon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nine with Nine Volte: Anita Werner

We led in on the first Nine with Nine Volte on Curtis with the following message:

"I am very blessed to have everyone that we have in our group," says Dwyer.  "One isn’t any more important than another. Everyone brings a personal strength to the table. We compliment each other very well.  And it isn't about running speed, but rather the positive encouragement to reach personal goals."

To be honest, I really feel this way about anyone in the group.  Everyone is a blessing in my life.

Anita is an accomplished athlete who has some new goals on the horizon.  She, like everyone else in our group, is totally self-less:  she cares about everyone.  It doesn't matter if they are running for time, running to finish, or just running for fitness.

She is very motivating and understanding of the training process, both physical and mental.

-- Bill Dwyer, Volte Founder, on Anita Werner

Anita is for "A" - Always with a smile.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Nine Volte:  We started Curtis off by asking him what his "A" race was.  But right now, you're just looking for "a" run.  Tell us a little bit more about what is sidelining you from running?"

Anita Werner:  Oh my goodness!  I have to follow the fun and beloved Curtis?  Oh, the pressure!

As far as being sidelined, I had a small meniscus tear that I tried to recover from first with rest and anti-inflammatories, but it didn't work.  I had meniscus repair surgery almost three weeks ago.

I am supposed to try to run a little this coming Thursday, November 7, which will be exactly three weeks after surgery.

I am recovering very well, even better than I expected, so I am hoping that I won't be sidelined much longer.

NV:  You've been an active - and competitive - endurance athlete, with a run start and focus - for at least the last ten years.  How hard has this setback been for you, especially as you looked to maybe tilt your activity more in a run-focus as opposed to a tri-focus?  And what have you learned from it to share with fellow adult athletes?

AW:  While my setback was disappointing, especially at first, this time around, it really hasn’t been that difficult.  My Volte teammates have provided such support and compassion for what I was going through, and that has kept me positive.   It also helped I was still able to cycle, swim and strength train.   And my new awesome friend, Allison Urvan, who has been sidelined at the same time, has also helped me get through, as we were able to call and cheer each other up if one of us got down.

Although I was trying to re-focus more on running, I believe this has made me realize I have some unfinished business with endurance triathlon.

What I have learned that I would share with any interested adult athletes, aside from the obvious of trying to find out what caused your sideline and figure out how to remedy it, is to try to take the time to see if God has another door waiting for you to open and check out for a while, take the extra time you now have to enjoy friends and family, support your teammates and volunteer and give back to the running community.

Giving back:  Getting ready to cheer runners on at Rocky Raccoon earlier this month
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
I also find that when I return healthy, I can use the fact I am healthy and nothing hurts as motivation and to help me mentally focus and push through the discomfort of a tough long run or speed workout.

Ok.  That wasn’t brief, but it was the best I could do.  You should see how much I erased!

NV:  Wow.  What an answer.  With that kind of energy, one day I could put off as much energy as a D battery!  Erase?  I think the new programmers of healthcare.gov know all about that word.

We'll come back to triathlons.  Talk about your start as an athlete.  Did you compete in high school or college or were you an adult onset athlete?  The first result that pops up out there on the Internet is the 2003 Houston Marathon.

AW:  Ha!  No one told you I was an endurance talker too, did they?  Volte athletes have so much energy, that if you combined it all, you could light up the state of Texas!

As for being an athlete, it depends if you mean running or other sports.  I did the cheerleading stint from sixth through eighth grade and gymnastics in seventh and eighth.  I had my first track season in seventh grade, in which I ran the 440 (yep, back when it was 440, not 400).  For some reason, the school didn't have a track team in eighth grade, but I joined the track team once I entered high school.

I ran the 440 again freshman and sophomore year.  I didn't like the coach, so I decided to take up dance and joined a dance club in high school.  Dancing to this day is still one of my favorite things to do.

As far as the running goes, I didn't like the track coach so much, I decided I didn't like to run and didn't run for almost 20 years, which is when I trained for the 2003 Houston Marathon.  I did a Susan G Komen 5K and a duathlon - which was called a biathlon at the time - completely untrained that I just thought looked like fun a few years before that marathon, but I could never find those results.

NV:  Alright, now the song, "Dancing Queen", is ringing between my snaps!

That initial Houston Marathon finish was in 4:20:31 and then there was a marathon finish in San Diego in early 2005 that was 4:32-even and then that fall is when things - perhaps looking from the outside -- started to change and you really invested a lot in your running -- and it paid off, leading to a Boston Qualifier (BQ) in Houston followed by a trip to Boston later that April.

AW:  Great!  Now that song will be stuck in my head all day!  I'm going to have to make my son do dishes tonight so he puts his iPod on his country music so we can sing and two-step between the pots and pans to get that out of my head!  One of our favorite mother/son things to do.

Anita at the track with her son
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
So there's a question in there somewhere, huh?  Yes, my first two marathons, I trained to finish, and I had a great time doing it that way.  Although, being true to the majority of marathoners, even if it's only to correct a time about seconds (in my case two minutes or less), I don't know why that marathon in San Diego reports the gun time and not the chip time.  It was 4:30, but I do not recall the seconds.

Yes, I decided I could improve my time, since I hadn't been training for time up to that point.  I had never truly done any consistent and real speed work before then, including high school track, and didn't realize the impact it had.  I moved back to Houston from San Diego at the end of July 2005 and started speed work the beginning of August with Katy Fit's ATP group and had dramatic results.

At the beginning of the season, my goal was four (4) hours and then try to qualify for Boston the following year.  Within a few months, I was extremely surprised at the Warm-up Series results and had been encouraged by more experienced runners to adjust my goal for a Boston BQ for Houston's 2006 marathon in January.

NV:  Take us through the next stages of your running.  Was Chicago - with an impressive 3:16:35 -- later that fall your PR race?  You came home, you ran 1:51:31 in the 25K and 2:14:43 in the 30K (just seven minutes shy of your 25K the year before), but Boston and New York the following year were in the mid 3:40s (still very impressive, but not this new level that you had recently achieved).

AW:  Yes.  My 2006 Chicago Marathon was my PR.

Multiple things took place to hinder my race times and training within the same time frame.  First, I did have a minor injury a few weeks after the 30K.  I took a risk running so many long distance races so close together, and I fared well until I failed to take recovery time and continued with speed work and high mileage.  This also caused me to DNF in the 2007 Houston Marathon, which was a race I wanted to do well.

After Houston 2007, I finally took some time to recover and fell behind for Boston training.  I decided to enjoy it, not worry about time and high five every kid with a hand out.  For New York, I felt recovered and felt I was trained for about 3:30, but I made the mistake of wearing not well-tested new shoes that didn’t work well with the concrete hilly bridges of New York.  My tailbone was in severe pain by mile 15.

For my 2005 and 2006 seasons, my husband had a rare period of not traveling.  Being the great, supportive husband and father that he is, he afforded me the luxury to focus on my running those years, as we have two kids and they were pretty young at the time.

When he began to travel again towards the end 2006, I wanted to spend more time at home and tone down my running efforts.  During training for New York 2007, we also started making plans to move to Cairo, Egypt, which added to a change in priorities.

I train hard when life permits, but when it comes to my family, they will always come first.

NV:  Egypt.  Wow.  I don't think Athlinks was able to crack the Sphinx for your results there!

Seriously, discuss your opportunities to stay physically fit while in Egypt.  And when you came home, the shift was on to multisports.  What - or possibly who - was the motivation for that athletic transition?

AW:  No, Athlinks is neither all inclusive nor 100% accurate, but they do a pretty good job.  And my son says the Sphinx is smaller than you would think.  I personally thought it was the size I expected.

I want so much to try to give a short, concise answer, but to explain my fitness opportunities overseas and introduction to multi-sport isn't a simple answer for me.  So here goes…

The Wadi
(Photo courtesy of Anita Werner)
Some of my most fun running memories were in Egypt.  There was this place called The Wadi.  It was a small canyon with a dried up riverbed that people used as a trail, and it was located very close to where most expats lived. Being a canyon and away from the general public, it provided me a little security, and I felt free to actually wear shorts and bare my shoulders in a running tank.   Many of the expat women would also walk their dogs there every morning.

Hill running in the Wadi
(Photo courtesy of Anita Werner)
I would usually get up early and run with my Lab and time it so I would meet the other women with their dogs back at the entrance.  I would have someone bring my little dog, who couldn't run with my Lab and me, and I would go back out with my dogs and walk with the other expat women.  I also had access to the American school track, which I used a few times, but I was really focusing on the enjoyment of running in The Wadi with my dog as the sun rose.  It was spectacular!  So I actually kept up my fitness pretty well there.

There was also a group of very strong cyclists that rode early morning Fridays, which was "Prayer Day" in Egypt and not much traffic on the roads.  Drivers in Cairo seemed to view the dividing lines in the road that divide traffic (if there were any lines) as optional.  Even with little traffic, I found it not worth the danger after riding twice.

As far as swimming, there were options, but I found the restrictions of making sure there were no men around before or after you get out of the pool, as you shouldn't be seen in a swimsuit, a bit overwhelming.

Although I did meet one incredible American woman in Cairo, who trained there and has qualified for Kona several times.   She was able to push through those training barriers that I found difficult.  So it is possible to train for triathlon in Egypt.

Before moving to Egypt, I already had it in my mind to try triathlon.  I was in the Cinco Ranch Triathlon in the relay as the runner two years in a row, and it piqued my interest.  I also did a duathlon in Webster in 2007.  I had been cycling once in a while as cross training for about a year before my move and even did the Katy Flatlands Century in 2006 or 2007, I don't recall for sure which year.  My interest piqued even more when I moved to Singapore the year after moving to Egypt.

Singapore is an excellent place to run, but I unfortunately got a bad case of plantar fasciitis and was only able to run a couple months until it got so bad I was completely sidelined from running.  I again found an amazing cycling group that had many triathletes and began cycling more seriously there.  Some reading this may even know one of the people I met in my cycling group in Singapore, as he moved to The Woodlands a year after I moved back to the Houston area.  I met and rode with Winston Cervantes in my cycling group in Singapore (along with Todd Whittemore, now from Katy), who have both done many triathlons in the Houston area.  We even had a little Singapore reunion at the inaugural Ironman Texas, as we all three did the race.

Just before moving back from Singapore to the Houston area again, literally days before, I tore my meniscus lifting weights and then proceeded to do hill repeats on my bike the next day.  This again affected my running, and I again joined a group of triathletes that rode their bikes near my home in Fulshear, and the triathlon influence took hold once I had my meniscus repaired and finally got rid of that plantar fasciitis.

NV:  Three questions left.  So you really hadn't done anything more than a sprint triathlon when Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas was announced (which, of course, you signed up for and completed).  If Ironman Texas wasn't immediately on the horizon, would you have waited a little longer to bite off that challenge?  Did you sign up day one?  Obviously the pinnacle for a triathlete is to compete in Kona as Boston is for a runner; however, describe the emotions of finishing Ironman Texas versus running at Boston twice.

AW:  Yes, my intention was to wait a little bit longer to do the Ironman distance.  The plan was a few of us from our riding group were all going to sign up and train together, and I thought that sounded like fun.  So yes, I signed up the first day.  Then I ended up moving to Pennsylvania January of that year.

The move caused me to not be able to get consistent with my training until the beginning of February, so I was a bit worried about being ready.  I had done a total of three sprint triathlons before moving, but two were pool swims.  The one triathlon with an open water swim was only 300 meters (which I panicked and doggie paddled across the lake), so that was a great concern since there were not going to be any triathlons up north before Ironman Texas because of the time of year.

I ended up coming back for Kemah Olympic and Galveston 70.3 to get a little open water experience. I also had to do the training by myself with all my rides on the trainer because of the cold winters in Pennsylvania. It was not what I had planned.  If I had known I was moving, I would not have signed up.  So I'm happy I didn't know I was moving, because I am glad I did it.  It was a really fun race.

I know it may sound kind of odd, but I have never really been one to be super emotional at the finish line.

There is no doubt there is always the feeling of accomplishment, and I am always very happy after a major accomplishment, like a PR, Boston qualifying or completing Boston, and Ironman Texas was no exception.

For me, it is the experience of the race and reflecting on what got me there.

I am extremely happy my first Ironman was Ironman Texas. I had forgotten just how many people I know in the running and triathlon community in Houston.  Not only was my family there to cheer me on, but I saw someone at every turn in Ironman Village and on and along the course. I had so much joy having so many people all over the event that I knew, because I have been a part of the truly special and amazing running and triathlon communities in Houston.  I felt like I was with friends and family the entire event, and I never went long before a friendly face I knew was cheering me on.  It is a day that I will never forget.

NV:  Fantastic.  We're in the last two innings of the baseball game, so to speak.  You've accomplished much.  You've seen a good bit of the world.  Great family.  Great friends.  Any unfinished business athletically?

AW:  I feel like I have yet to do "my best" at the Ironman distance.  I am signed up for Ironman Wisconsin next year, and will perhaps do one more after that, but I am not sure yet.  After that, I will probably keep running, perhaps add some trail running, possibly an ultra.  I plan to focus on the fun of the run.

Fun, yet focused
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
If the competitive side of me gets ignited again, then I may train for time again on the run, but unless that happens, I will just enjoy my running and my fellow runners.  Bill has done a great job of keeping the run fun for me, so I am just happy to be with Bill and Volte.

NV:  You've shared so much with us and we're very appreciative of you and your time. Final question is:  "You're asked to speak to newer athletes, regardless of discipline. What three things would you tell them to keep in the forefront of their mind about life and sport."  Thank you again for participating in Nine with Nine Volte!

AW:  It was my pleasure.  I am honored to be asked about my athletic history.

Three things I would tell new athletes if asked, in no particular order, are:

Never let others define you or tell you what you should or cannot do because of your background, age, body type or anything else.  Others can only stand in the way of your dreams if you allow them.  You are good enough and you can do what you set your mind to if you have the desire and mental focus.  It really is true that the mental aspect is 90% of your game.  But don't forget, you need to train for the 90% mental focus as well.  It doesn't just show up and take over on game day.

Once you have some experience in your sport or any aspect of life and maybe even become accomplished, don't forget to get inspiration from beginners.  Sometimes starting is the hardest part. Acknowledge that bravery and drive.  Never forget how much courage it took just to start and how much work it took to get to your level, because they are now pushing through all those barriers.  By the same token, while you are beginning and working hard and perhaps suffering through the awkwardness of beginning stages, do not diminish others' success, who are perhaps more accomplished.  Remember, even the most talented have to work hard to be at the top of their game.  Don't tell them that "It just comes easy for you."  It doesn't.

Have fun!  We already have too many things in life to make us anxious or try to bring us down.  You can be competitive, but keep it friendly competition.  Only make competitive friendly wagers if you know it won't bother you if you lose and really just serves to motivate.  For example:   Derek Bailey won't mind when I beat him in Ironman Wisconsin.  The beer he will buy me will be the best tasting beer ever.  Although, the best competition is to compete against yourself.  The only one you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Volte's Brockett One of 25 Texans to Run Both Chicago and New York City

We'd like to congratulate our own Gabby Brockett for being one of just 25 Texans this year to finish both the Bank of America Chicago Marathon and the ING New York City Marathon!

Below is the complete list of runners -- 16 men and 9 women -- who finished two of the World Marathon Majors:

Combined Time - Name, Age, City (Chicago, NYC)
11:11:22 - Allen, Greg, 51, Lewisville (5:40:43, 5:30:39)
06:57:49 - Arencibia, David, 43, Laredo (3:36:49, 3:21:00)
07:56:47 - Braate, Eric, 43, Houston (3:59:05, 3:57:42)
08:23:29 - Clark, Stewart, 43, Houston (4:24:12, 3:59:17)
08:54:06 - Dierkes, David, 40, Dallas (3:56:54, 4:57:12)
10:03:27 - Garrido, Sergio, 43, Sachse (4:55:23, 5:08:04)
09:19:14 - Garza, Felipe, 34, Hidalgo (4:21:47, 4:57:27)
12:07:44 - Hatton, Daniel, 49, Dallas (5:32:40, 6:35:04)
09:18:01 - Hope, George, 46, Houston (4:14:12, 5:03:49)
10:08:44 - Olsen, Andrew, 29, Plano (4:42:59, 5:25:45)
09:26:26 - Robinett, Kelly, 64, Carrollton (4:49:17, 4:37:09)
09:26:03 - Rubio, Fernando, 45, Dallas (4:46:07, 4:39:56)
10:38:12 - Russ, Andy, 33, San Antonio (5:17:38, 5:20:34)
06:24:28 - Takacs, Greg, 36, Willow Park (2:50:53, 3:33:35)
08:25:46 - Velasquez, Hector, 54, Laredo (4:18:23, 4:07:23)
09:45:33 - Velazquez, Luis, 33, Kingwood (4:48:46, 4:56:47)

09:42:36 - Arencibia, Noemi, 43, Laredo (4:49:43, 4:52:53)
09:29:49 - Bennett, Robin, 47, Dallas (4:11:42, 4:18:07)
11:06:25 - Brockett, Gabriella, 41, Spring (6:22:54, 4:43:31)
12:42:40 - Brown, Patricia, 53, Dallas (6:07:36, 6:35:04)
10:08:44 - Dullum, Breanna, 29, Dallas (4:42:59, 5:25:45)
08:13:22 - Hernandez, Lisa, 33, San Antonio (3:51:39, 4:21:43)
09:30:02 - Nieto, Laura, 41, Dallas (4:43:37, 4:46:25)
08:07:11 - Pini, May, 37, Houston (3:53:12, 4:13:59)
08:19:01 - Sessums, Kara, 37, Sugar Land (3:55:39, 4:23:22)

Gabby, that just leaves Berlin, Boston, London and Tokyo (the remaining four World Marathon Majors) for you to complete!

Congratulations and best wishes on Sunday with the Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Half Marathon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jackson’s Journal: A Runner’s Reality Check

Volte Coach Traci Jackson
A little over a month ago, I woke up one morning with back pain.

It progressively got worse to the point I had to get an MRI done.

The results?  I had three bulging discs and osteoarthritis in my spine.

And my chiropractor’s initial response?  “You might want to give up running, especially on hard surfaces, and buy an inversion table.”

As you can imagine, I didn’t find that an acceptable option.

Living in this small east Texas town has been quite a challenge to find the right doctors (there is only ONE orthopedic spine doctor here) and the right course of therapy.

I’m sure most of you feel the same way:  If something is “broken” and its impeding your running in any way, you want to, HAVE to fix it and fast!

While dealing with phone calls, insurance and appointments, I kept thinking to myself, “What IF I never ran again?”

That question brought up so many different emotions and I was a little surprised what came up.

Was I satisfied with what I had accomplished?  Yes, I am proud of my past race performances but what I remember and cherish the most are the runs leading up to them.

What bothered me most about not being able to run was the training being taken away -- my “therapy” sessions with my running partner(s), the Saturday morning runs and getting to hang with my favorite friends who understand this crazy runner’s world.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love race day and the energy surrounding it, pushing yourself to your limits and testing your training. The feelings you get after completing a race are amazingly indescribable.

But really what I love most are the daily runs -- group runs, solo runs, runs in the heat, humidity, cold and rain, etc.

The runs where memories are made, secrets are shared and things are learned about oneself.

When it came down to it, all I wanted was to be ABLE to run.

Running is so much more to me than racing.

And that was what I was faced with when I did entertain the thought of the “What if?”

A good friend gave me this quote in a beautiful frame:  “Life and running are not all about the time, but about our experiences along the way.”  So true.

My running hasn’t been defined by races or hitting certain paces, but about the people I have met and trained with and learned from.

Are there any races you just *have* to do?

Or a new training method/approach you’d like to try or challenge yourself with?

Is there someone in your life that you want to share your love of running with but have been putting it off?

On that note, I do also have to add that in my “What if?” thinking I was having, it absolutely crushed me to think I wouldn't be able to coach anymore.

Sure one can coach without being an active runner but for me and my coaching style, I draw on all areas of running including my own current experience as a runner.

I LOVE coaching and sharing my love and passion for running.

So in closing, ask yourself this, “If your running days were over tomorrow, are you satisfied with the runner you are today and what you have accomplished?”

What would you change? Or would you be completely at peace not running another step?”

Unless, of course, there was a zombie apocalypse. That is what those “non-runners” say why they’d ever run, right?

Happy, HEALTHY miles to you all,

Coach TJ

Monday, November 11, 2013

Volte Pauses For Veterans Day

After a flurry of mid-fall marathons, the majority of our runners – who are preparing for January’s Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Half Marathon – are currently in a cycle of increased mileage.

Therefore, this weekend’s racing activity by Voltes and friends is significantly less than in the weeks since the Texas10 Katy in late September.

Especially as Run Thru The Woods, the Montomgery County Triple, Texas10 Conroe, the Texas Trail Endurance races and the B-CS and Metro PCS Dallas Marathons approach.

Dave Odom improved his post-surgery 5K time at Saturday’s Run The Woodlands as he covered the distance in 20 minutes, 50 seconds.

Meanwhile, a trio of Voltes celebrated Veterans Day early on Saturday at the Team Red White & Blue Veterans Day 10K, which was held from Northshore Park in The Woodlands.

Rob and Debra Myers at the Veterans Day 10K in The Woodlands' Northshore Park.
(Courtesy of Rob and Debra Myers) 
Jerritt Park led the way with a second-place age group finish of 45:35 in the 10K while Rob and Debra Myers also ran in the longer distance race.

Rob, who served in the United States Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Gulf War, was eighth overall in the Veterans Division in 52:21 while Debra finished in 1:01:56.

Volte Endurance Training would like to thank all who have served our country for their service as well as honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in giving their life for our freedoms.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Volte Wraps Up Busy Weekend on the Roads

Trails, ultras, triathlons and then there were just road racers.

Voltes and friends were busy chewing up courses from New York City to Chicago and Aggieland to Tobacco Road.

Volte’s Todd Snider and Volte friend Laura Comeaux kicked off the weekend with Saturday races in College Station and Chicago, respectively.

Snider, 43, bested his 10-mile personal best – set at last December’s Texas 10 Conroe -- by just over five minutes with a 1:23:51 showing at the BCS 5 and Dime, part of the BCS Marathon Race Series.

Meanwhile, Comeaux, 35, who has been running on Saturday mornings and just started track workouts with us last week, ran the Hot Chocolate 15K at Chicago’s Grant Park in 1:33:22, finishing in the top half of her division.

Mike Csikos, Tammy Ninke and Gabby Brockett were three of the over 50,000 finishers – 50,304, to be exact -- of the ING New York Marathon, making it the world's largest marathon ever.

It was Csikos’ second trip to the Big Apple for the marathon.  Two years ago, he ran the iconic race in 3:48:40.

This year, his goal was in the mid-3:20’s, but leg cramps had other notions.

Yet, they don’t call Csikos “Sunshine” for nothing.

“On a positive note, I did run a 4-minute NYC PR,” he said.  “The finishing time (3:45:31) wasn't close to what I thought I could do, but I want you to know that I gave a good honest effort.”

Csikos said that he started to experience the cramps after mile 20.  He had rolled through the 30K mark nearly 12 minutes better than he had two years earlier.

“I knew after the 21st mile that it was going to be tough to maintain any type of normal pace, (but) I just had to get to the finish line,” he said.  “I was hurting but I tried to be smart about managing the cramps.  After mile 23, there were times that I couldn't run more than a minute without cramping again.”

Tammy Ninke making the turn off the bridge just past the halfway mark of the ING New York City Marathon
(Photo courtesy of Tom Ninke)
Running in her first marathon in approximately two years, Ninke, 38, crossed the finish line in 4:35:23.

And Brockett, well, it was her third marathon in three months – and second personal best.

“It was a hard race to PR in.  For me, it was the hardest race ever,” she said after experiencing headwinds all the way to the Bronx, near mile 20.  “It was the most challenging, but the most fulfilling race as well.”

Brockett’s 4:43:31 bettered her 4:47:37 previous best set in late September at the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio.

Volte friend Jon Walk, 46, snuck off to not only see his daughter, Waverly, at Liberty University in Virginia, but also picked up a marathon finish in his 33rd state with a time of 5:21:38 at the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, North Carolina on Sunday.

It was his 51st career marathon – coming just seven days after recording state number 32 in Massachusetts.

Wrapping up the day back home at The Woodlands Running Club’s Sunday Night 5K were steady showings from Justin Bui, Jerritt Park and Randy Smith.

Justin Bui and Jerritt Park head out to Crown Ridge the same way that they'd come in
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
In a race with 19 total finishers, after more than 80 children completed miles (some as many as three) as part of The Woodlands Running Club’s Juniors program, Bui led Voltes with a time of 19:35.

Park and Smith followed in 20:49 and 21:51, respectively.

The next The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K is set for Sunday, December 1.

Volte Triathletes Wrap Up 2013 Season at Oilman

For the majority of triathletes, the Oilman Texas Triathlon in Montgomery – a half iron distance race -- is typically either the culmination of one’s season or is a final tuneup for year-ending Ironman Arizona or Ironman Cozumel.

And for a small few, it is neither.

For all, though, it is the celebration of hard work – and a lot of fun with crowd support that seems to grow each year.

Volte triathletes, runners and friends had nearly every category of Sunday’s race covered – with the exception of an Aquabike competitor.

Joey Ishee and Colleen Sager were our triathletes who completed the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.  Both debuted at this distance on Sunday.

Joey Ishee is all systems go halfway through the run on Sunday.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Ishee, 32, is a first-year triathlete and completed the swim in 42:12, rode the bike course in 3:32:22 and ran the half marathon in 2:46:08 for a 7:11:45 finishing time.

Colleen Sager midway through her run as she runs next to Finish Strong's Jed Beck
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Just nine months from giving birth to her and her husband, Brandon's first child, Sager, 30, meanwhile, finished the disciplines in 41:41, 4:00:45 and 2:43:12, respectively, for a 7:36:17 finish.

Three of our runners ran the half marathon portion as parts of relay teams.

Derek Bailey went 1:30:12 to help “Finish Strong and Friends” finish sixth overall in the male relay division.

Gina LeFavour and Kelly Whiddon ran 2:07:41 and 2:01:37, respectively, to help “Yay Us!” and “Church Project Chix” finish fifth and tenth overall in the female relay division.

Our friends, including our partnership with Southcoast Endurance, had successful days as well.

Southcoast Endurance coach Christi Moore, 42, led the way with an age-group winning time of 5:31:58 – a 41-minute, 35-second improvement from a year ago.

Moore finished Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas in May in 15:00:24.

Just four minutes and four spots behind was one of her pupils, Krista Blevins, in 5:35:59.

The 43-year-old produced the fastest half-marathon time in the age group with a 1:47:11 split, followed closely by Moore’s 1:50:10.

Chad Giardina, 38, and Todd Lacoste, 47, rounded out our Southcoast partners with times of 6:04:03 and 6:42:57, respectively.  Chad also runs with The Woodlands Team in Training group.

Volte friend Jeanette Hagelskaer, who trains with Finish Strong Coaching, completed the course in 6:47:52.

It was her second career half iron distance finish for the 47-year-old Hagelskaer, who finished Ironman Texas in 15:08:46 earlier this year.

Volte athletes and friends were supported by Bill Dwyer, Mary Carter, Curtis Hooper, Tammy Grado, Michelle McGill and Tabitha Young.

Volte Rumbles Pine Needles at Rocky Raccoon

In a field that included finishers of Badwater and some of the toughest 100-milers in the United States, Volte Endurance Training runners carted home a little hardware from a beautiful day to run in Huntsville State Park on Saturday at Rocky Raccoon 10K, 25K and 50K.

“Trail runs are my first love,” says Volte founder Bill Dwyer.  “So I do get a little overboard with enthusiasm when anyone in our group does one.”

Loving trails at the Park with Curtis Hooper, Naika Vargas, Mike Coleman, Kate Looney, Erica Cahill and Bill Dwyer
(Photo courtesy of Ricardo Vargas)
And eight (8) Volte athletes – and a trio of friends, with support from Volte’s “Nifty Nine”, capitalized on “perfect weather and course conditions (which) were very good”, according to Dwyer.

All four 50K finishers were making their ultra-distance debuts.

Paced for the first 23 miles by teammate Curtis Hooper, who was running his first trail race at the Park since a 25K finish (7th, 2:04:17) at Hog’s Hunt in 2009, Kate Looney drew an experienced 31-year-old trail and ultra-runner from North Carolina, Phyllis Tsang.

Debra Myers coming in for the 10K finish while Looney and Hooper finish their first 25K loop.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Tsang, who was in the Austin area this past week for work, had already completed four 50K’s, one 30-mile, one 35-mile and a couple of marathons to boot so far in 2013.

The two were in close proximity the entire race and Looney finished second with a debut time of 4:53:43 – just 19 seconds behind Tsang.

You can read Tsang’s blog post on her win here.

In the midst of training for his inaugural attempt – in February - at the 100-mile distance, Hooper, 44, was comfortably in sixth while pacing Looney through the first loop.

Rolling through the first 25K in 2:30:45, Hooper passed Seven Hills Running Club’s J.C. Guzman, Daryl Blink and James Wright on the second loop with a negative split time of 2:28:26 – for a third overall finishing time of 4:59:11.

He was pretty pleased.

“Best race I have ever run mentally,” said Hooper.  “Paced Kate through the first 23 miles, then dropped the hammer the last eight (8).”

Houston’s Kelly Ramey opened up a large, early first loop lead on the entire field going through the first 25K in 2:20:46.

And while Tsang and Looney passed Ramey and finished comfortably in first and second, Volte’s Erica Cahill, 48, nearly wiped out an almost 20-minute deficit to Ramey and finished a minute and six (6) seconds out of third with a master’s winning time of 5:25:07.

Erica Cahill and Mike Coleman start their second 25K loop.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Only a handful of runners, besides Looney and Hooper, ran the two loops with a negative split.

One of those – Naika Vargas – did so while celebrating her 41st birthday.

Just two weeks off her personal best marathon finish in San Francisco, Naika was 16th overall in 6:54:49.

A pair of Volte friends who run with us on Saturday mornings, Mike Coleman and The Woodlands Running Club’s Gary Kroll, completed the 50K in 5:25:07 and 5:42:44, respectively.  Coleman ran the entire way with Cahill.

“I was very excited that everyone stayed patient early and executed their plans perfectly. Everyone ran very well,” said Dwyer.

Including those running in the shorter distance races.

Volte’s Ken Rieger and Jennifer Rowe, both 45, were the second fastest overall masters runners on the day.

Ken Rieger airing out his fifth place overall finish in the 25K.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Rieger was fifth overall in 1:49:12 for the men while Rowe was ninth overall for the ladies in 2:39:35.  Rob Myers, 48, rounded out our group in the 25K with a time of 2:51:54.

Running at Huntsville State Park on Saturday brought back a lot of childhood memories for Rowe.

Jennifer Rowe 200 yards from a 25K finish
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“I felt like a kid running through the woods,” said Rowe.  “The house I grew up in literally backed up to a national forest so I really did do a lot of running through the woods when I was a kid.

“I'll definitely do another trail run - that was great, great fun.”

Debra Myers, 45, finished the 10K in 1:06:46 while one of our Volte friends with Strike Force Racing, Dawn Spoljaric, 32, was seventh overall for the ladies in 1:01:18.

Rob and Debra Myers
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“And our support crew was off the charts,” Dwyer added.  “Very blessed to have so many amazing people in our group.”

The “Nifty Nine” on Saturday included Dwyer, Anita Werner, Carrie Hyde, Dave Odom, Bob Looney, Nicole Schoppe, Mayra Caamano, Mary Carter and Ricardo Vargas.