Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Volte Delivers Lean Cuts to Texas10 Fort Worth

Volte took a lean crew of 18 to Cowtown in an effort to keep its lock on the Texas 10 Series' Ten-Gallon Club Cup Competition lead.

It might be said that Volte's squad at Texas10 Fort Worth was the "Friends and Family" team.

Three families.

Ten age-group winners.

Five post-race cash drawing winners.

Sounds like a good day to you, right?

Looks like a good day to me!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Volte founder Bill Dwyer called Texas10 Fort Worth a "must do" event with its "beautiful course" that comprised a good portion of the Trinity Trails system.

Great weather didn't hurt either.

Third overall, Chris Layman became Armadillo Cup prize money eligible with his fourth race and a season-best time of 54 minutes, 33 seconds to lead Volte.

It was also a personal best for Layman, but the PR's didn't end with the second-place age group finisher (behind the overall winner Jacob Phillips from Dallas).

Next up was Curtis Hooper's 1:05:31, which was his best showing in six Texas 10 races to date.

Most impressive, though, was his 23-second negative split - the most narrow gap of all of his Texas 10 appearances -- and the first race that he'd go under 33 minutes on the first loop.

It would be good for second overall masters behind Snook's Jose Garcia.

Race director Willie Fowlkes goes over the course before the start.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Four runners nestled in under the 1:20 banner, including the two Boswell boys -- Bryce and Brighton.

Both won their respective age groups (15-19 and 1-14) in times of 1:14:01 and 1:17:18.

Jerritt Park was third in his 35-39 age group with his Texas10 best time of 1:15:49 while Mayra Caamano led Volte's women with a second place 35-39 showing of 1:16:13.

Caamano has been first or second in her division in all six of her Texas 10 races.

Remaining as one of five to have run every single Texas 10 Series race, Randy Smith checked in with a time of 1:25:06.

Tammy Grado was third in her 45-49 age group in 1:29:27 -- her fifth podium finish in seven Texas 10 races.

Putting her feet behind her money was Llana Bingham, who upgraded to the 10-miler at packet pickup, with a nice showing of 1:32:15.

Llana Bingham and Tammy Grado:  Both happy with their efforts in Fort Worth.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
And it was Grado who was most excited for her friend, Bingham, said Dwyer.

"At five miles, Tammy passed by yelling, "Look at Llana, look at Llana," and pointing to Llana who was 50 yards behind her," he said.  "She was so excited that her friend was having a great race."

Brent and Kathie Boswell -- Bryce and Brighton's parents -- ran together to finish in 1:39:16 and 1:39:18.

Then somebody shot Stephen Griffin out of a cannon as he posted a 10-minute PR by breaking 1:40 -- in 1:39:48.

He was 2:11:12 and 2:05:40, respectively, earlier in the year at Texas10 College Station and Texas10 Huntsville.

Stephen Griffin (#63) leads Alfredo Gonzalez (red shirt) out of Farrington Field.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Alfredo Gonzalez made it to the finish line four seconds faster than Payton Bolton, but the 13-year-old young lady eeked the two-second chip time win in 1:55:41 -- good for second in the women's 1-13 age group.

Gonzalez's 1:55:43 was his Texas 10 Series PR and put him third in his 55-59 age group -- his sixth podium finish in seven Texas 10 races.

The Bolton family ran together for nine miles until the youngest took off.

Payton Bolton and her Dad, Andy, are all thumbs up after five miles.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Dad and Mom -- Andy and Leah -- finished together in 1:58:41 -- their second Texas 10 Series race of the year.

Like Smith earlier, Mary Carter kept her "Last Woman Standing" streak (all nine Texas 10 races) alive with an age-group winning time of 1:00:08 -- her fastest of seven Texas 10 five-milers to date.

And Letty Gonzalez's 1:05:58 in the 5-miler was her best time of the year -- just one spot off the 40-49, five-mile podium.

Payton Bolton, Hooper, Caamano and Kathie Boswell all won $100 in the post-race cash giveaways while Carter grabbed another $50 from Texas 10 Series race director Willie Fowlkes.

For the second time in as many days, the group was supported by Dwyer and Dave Odom with an extra assist from Sam -- Dave's dog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Volte Puts A Big Exclamation Point on Ten For Texas

Not every Ohio State graduate or fan can "dot the I".

They can -- and did, however -- anchor the exclamation point -- of the team's fine showing at this year's Memorial Hermann Ten For Texas in The Woodlands.

One of four marquee events -- including the Chevron Houston Marathon, The Woodlands Marathon and GE Run Thru The Woods -- that Volte is very well-represented at every year, 37 runners were in the starting chute of this year's 9th annual running of the event.

West Virginia native (and our resident Buckeye - see the temporary tattoo on the right cheek below) Skye Taylor led the way with a women's second-place overall time of 1:07:17.

Skye is all smiles with her first-place age group award:  almost bigger than her native West Virginia.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
She wasn't the only lady to take home hardware though.

Patty Williamson won her age group in a time of 1:23:55 while Jennifer Rowe and Geri Henry were third place in their respective divisions in times of 1:16:36 and 1:54:19.

Rowe did so while helping Sandra Tezino forge a 10-minute personal best -- one of nine Volte PR's on the morning.

Jennifer Rowe glides to an impressive finish.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
The muggy day at the start - which lasted about an hour into the race before a somewhat cool breeze and light rain descended on the course -- dampened PR plans of many, but certainly didn't the spirit of our runners.

Five runners got under the 1:20 barrier including Alex Picozza (1:11:21), Justin Bui (1:12:57), Will Ott (1:17:48), Reggie Bruhn (1:18:25) and Brandi Herrera (1:19:21).

Six averaged less than nine minutes per mile as they broke 1:30.

They included Yaya Herrera (1:22:39), Pam Owens (1:24:25), Alan Ramsey (1:25:50), Lenore McDonald (1:28:32), Leanne Rosser (1:28:40) and Lauren Hoffart (1:28:46).

Sandra Tezino was on her toes with a 10-minute PR!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Meanwhile, Jill Tresaugue was right on the money -- 1:30:00 even.

The guys dominated the 1:30-window as Alan Gastineau led a group of six in 1:30:22, followed by John McDonald (1:31:08), Rob Myers (1:31:54), Mark Zimmer (1:31:55), Paul Vita (1:38:32) and Debra Myers (1:39:51).

Nine runners had times within three (3) minutes of each other.

They included Dayna Longnecker (1:40:10), Michelle McGill who paced her daughter, Amanda Williams to a time of 1:41:01, Michell Bradie (1:41:24), Rich Cooper (1:41:30), Sean Lagunas (1:41:48), Lori Carter (1:42:05) and Marta Mixa (1:42:32).

Rich Cooper's (right) pre-race prayer for cooler temperatures ... brought rain!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
JC Morrell finished in 1:45:22 while Kate Jackson and Sandy Jones followed in 1:47:38 and 1:51:15, respectively.

Todd Snider paced Tabitha Young as they both cheated two hours out of winning -- Todd in 1:59:57 and Tabitha in 1:59:44.

Volte, of course, has awesome friends -- and they did awesome as well.

Jill Treasaugue's son, Ryan, age 11, took his age group in a blazing time of 1:05:59.

Volte's massage therapist, Ray Arroyo, a multi-time Ironman, glided through the course in 1:13:14 while Finish Strong Racing's Gabby Coates, who's training for next May's Ironman Texas, and Jeanette Hagelskaer, who was getting ready for the Marine Corps Marathon, finished in 1:26:52 and 1:27:39, respectively.

Buoyed by Rich Cooper's pre-race team prayer, Volte athletes got support from Bill Dwyer, Dave Odom, Mary Carter, Juliee Sparks, Keith Wiley and Adrienne Langelier.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Frankfurt, Washington, Houston, Austin and Lynchburg

Yes, yes, we're back posting again.

Volte -- as well as our FOVs (Friends of Volte) -- is always training and racing.

This past weekend was rather light - as a group - as Volte gets ready to roll into this Sunday's Texas10 Katy.

First in the cool factor department was Leanne Rosser's BMW Frankfurt Marathon.

Some of us don't like going 15 miles away from home to race, let alone 5,246.

Leanne had a little German crick in her neck race morning.

Word is, they're harder on your body than being 6'4" and trying to get out of the back seat of a VW Beetle.

But the race's motto was "This is your day" and Leanne still owned it in a neck-cricking time of 4:36:42.

Speaking of marathons, the Marine Corps Marathon was also in session on Sunday in our nation's capital.

2014 Marine Corps Marathon Swag
(Courtesy of Gabby Brockett)
Volte friend (and 2013 Ironman Texas finisher) Jeanette Hagelskaer, who trains with Finish Strong Racing, finished her first marathon since the 2013 Chevron Houston Marathon with a group-leading time of 4:25:42.

And, yes, she was faster than Oprah, who finished the 1994 edition in 4:29:15.

Alan Gastineau and Gabby Brockett posted finishing chip times that were 16 seconds apart.

It was Alan's third marathon since January 2013 (Houston and the Texas Marathon being the other two) as he finished in 4:52:13.

Gabby picked up her second armed services marathon finish in 4:52:29 to go along with last year's 4:47:37 Air Force Marathon showing.

Gabby and her son, Nicolas, flanked by a couple of Marines
(Courtesy of Gabby Brockett)
After returning home from serving our country in Afghanistan, Melissa Poole is back to racing and she checked in at the Marine Corps Marathon 10K.

Her 47-minute even time was good for 8th in her 30-34 age group -- a pace that was smack in the middle of her 2012 Air Force Marathon and 2013 Air Force Half Marathon finishes.

Closer to home, Volte represented at the Houston Half Marathon and 10K in downtown Houston.

Bob Looney and Ruth Perez finished in 1:32:35 and 2:19:24, respectively, while Dave Odom was first in his age group in 42:50 in the event's brand-new 10K.  (For years, back even when it used to be a 20K instead of a half marathon, there was a two-person relay.)

Volte friends -- and one of the area's most gregarious couples -- Bert and Krista Blevins both completed the Ironman 70.3 Austin in respective times of 5:11:17 and 5:31:11.

Despite a hillier course, without the canyons just east of Lubbock -- and the stifling west Texas heat, the couple improved their times 24 and 41 minutes, respectively.

Krista was 10th in her 40-44 division.

Smiles bigger than the M-Dot from Team Tri Express
(Courtesy of Todd Snider)
Team Tri Express competed at Ironman 70.3 Austin as a relay with Tom Newcomer in the water, Todd Snider on the bike and Mayra Caamano on the run as the trio combined for a 6:39:18 finish.

About three and a half hours southwest of Washington, D.C., Volte friend Waverly Walk -- a sophomore studying elementary education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia -- got the weekend started with a huge personal best in the 5K.

Two more left hand turns to the finish for Waverly Walk
(Courtesy of Jon Walk)
Four weeks removed from her debut 10-miler at the Genworth Virginia Ten Miler and a week from a previous personal best 5K time of 32:57, she took advantage of sub-50 degrees temperatures and a surprise visit from her father to post a 30:02 time at the 7th annual I Am Woman 5K in Lynchburg.

Bill and Dave's Excellent Adventure: Houston Half


Some of you know that I am interested in going back to New Orleans to run the Crescent City Classic 10K and relive some old memories in 2015.

My goal for today was to run fast enough to qualify me for an elite master entry.

But about six weeks ago I hurt my back and pinched a nerve.  No running at all for four weeks and I knew that I was going to just run this easy and try to not hurt myself.

Saturday:  Drive downtown to pick up my packet at Luke’s Locker even though I live only two miles from the Luke’s Locker store in the Woodlands.

Sunday:  Since I-45 South was going to be closed, I discussed my trip with Bill. The theory was to drive down the access road until I could meet him at Cypresswood.

Unfortunately the Texas Department of Transportation had other ideas and had the access road closed on 45 at the new Exxon campus, so a BMW, a taxi, me, and two other cars all turned towards Exxon. It was the only direction we could go.

And we drove, and we drove.

At some point we all realized that we could not get to any road that actually got us to anything except back to the freeway.

Dave (calling Bill):  “Bill, I’m not going to make it. I’m going to turn around when I can.”

Bill:  “Go back to the freeway and see if it opens up.  You still have time.”

When the car-train rearrived, the two pickups blocking the road with DOT workers just looked at us and moved away and let us through.  Hmmm ...

The 10K Race

The half marathon started at 7:00 but had far too many runners for the course and runners were still starting until two minutes before the 10K started.

The 10K started at 7:30 with a 2-mile loop downtown first – then the rest on Allen Parkway.

Dave's all smiles:  Sign of a happy runner
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
I went out running the pace that I hoped to run – 7-minute miles – which was slower than I wanted to run a few months ago but that sounded pretty lofty to me today. The pace felt tough but I kept grinding them out and noticed by three miles that my times were gradually getting faster per mile.

At that point, I was starting to catch some of the elite women and eventually passed all but one – finishing in 42:51.

It was fun. Not too warm. The pace felt good. I got a bit psyched at five miles and pulled over thinking that I was going to quit, and didn’t.  It happens to everyone.


I was second overall master and first in my age group, but more important than any of that was the time, bonding, and companionship that I experienced at the race.

Tie-dye and more smiles!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
My buddy Bill and I had a great morning out.  Talking with friends each of us knew from the old days.  Meeting new friends.  Drinking free beer.  Watching people in the crowds.  Listening to amazingly loud music.

10K’s are special races.

I know that everyone loves marathons because they think those are special, but take it from me:  a well-run and organized 10K run hard and properly trained for can be just as special.

It doesn’t beat you down. And if you run it hard enough it will sort of squeeze that marathon effort spread out over 26 miles into an intense six miles!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Volte Maintains Texas 10 Series Lead in Plano

Volte rolled into the inaugural Texas10 Plano with a 10-point lead in the Texas 10 Series’ Ten-Gallon Club Competition over the Cypress Running Club.

And with a strong 16-member showing in the initial race in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Volte should retain that lead heading into the back half – and last three races – of the Series this fall.

Although the team dealt with a strong wind much of the race that traversed a two-loop course just west of the Dallas Tollway, Volte ran well heading into the summer 5K season.

Hope Layman runs nice and steady (Photo Courtesy - Bill Dwyer)
Chris Layman picked up his second win of the Series with a commanding 5-minute, 47-second over Trinity’s Jose Torres in a time of 58:01.  He now also possesses the sixth, seventh and eighth fastest times in the Series’ short 8-race history.

Of the nine remaining who ran the marquee 10-mile distance, seven finished on the podium.

Geri Henry captured the 65-69 division with her 1:56:01 finish.

Curtis Hooper (1:09:16), Hope Layman (1:14:15) and Mayra Caamano (1:21:50) all finished second in their division while Tammy Grado and Alfredo Gonzalez took home third place honors with respective times of 1:34:40 and 2:12:57.

Tammy Grado and her trademark "thumbs up" sign  (Photo Courtesy Bill Dwyer)
Randy Smith kept his “Last Man Standing” streak alive as he finished his eighth straight Texas 10 Series race with a time of 1:22:11, while Mary Carter did so as well in the five-miler.

Mary ran the first two 10-milers of the Series, but has run every single 5-miler since.

She took third in her age group in a time of 1:09:19.

Gabby Brockett led all of Volte's 5-mile finishers with a time of 48:34.  It was her fourth 5-mile finish in a Texas 10 Series event while Llana Bingham recorded her fifth finish – as she crossed the line with Debra Myers in 52:43.  (Both were smiling, of course.)

The trio went fourth, fifth and sixth in their age group – in the most difficult division in the small five-mile field.

Llana Bingham, Debra Myers and Bill Dwyer  (Photo Courtesy Bill Dwyer)
And Letty Gonzalez and Bill Dwyer were in the “coming back” division.

They both finished the 5-miler in 1:55:55 as Letty is coming back from having surgery done on her foot while our founder pinned a bib on for the first time in nearly three years.

More from everybody the rest of 2014.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Volte's Jingle Bells to Southern Smiles

With most running clubs or training groups in southeast Texas focusing on the Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon each year, the last few long runs, tapering and fewer events produced after the first weekend in December generally limits opportunities to "race".

Volte is no different, though, than many clubs or groups with diversity in its mix.

Each athlete has a different ability for -- as well as desire in -- what gets them to one or many start and finish lines.

The first week after the B-CS Marathon and Half Marathon, Volte had a handful of runners who were able to enjoy their own brand of competitiveness.

Justin Bui and Geri Henry supported the second annual Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis 5K, held from Northshore Park in The Woodlands, on Saturday, December 14 and turned in performances of 19:35 and 30:18, respectively.

Geri's time was good enough for first in her age group.

While Volte coach Rich Cooper and Paul Vita were going long at the 26th annual Sugar Land Finish Line Sports 30K - in tuning up for the Chevron Houston Marathon, one of our newest runners, Alfredo Gonzalez, and father and daughter, Jon and Waverly Walk, were enjoying the Total Jingle Bell Run 5-Miler in downtown Houston.

Rich and Paul crossed the finish line in Sugar Land's Town Square within four minutes of each other in 3:07:44 and 3:11:28, respectively.

Alfredo, Jon and Waverly made their finishes even closer!

After turning in a PR performance at Run Thru The Woods 5-Miler on Thanksgiving Day, Waverly was taking this race a bit easier -- especially after finals at Liberty University and that she and her Dad had just finished driving from Raleigh, North Carolina the two days before.

And Alfredo's turning up the pace was more of good things to come the following month.

Alfredo Gonzalez, pictured with his grandson, after a stellar Jingle Bell Run performance.
(Photo courtesy of Leticia Gonzalez)
The trio actually ran physically close to each other near the second underpass on Allen Parkway returning back to downtown -- and their three chip times were within one second of each other.

Dad got in a second ahead of Waverly and Alfredo in 57:16, but it was a great day for all.

Kelley Davis celebrated too -- in New York City on New Year's Eve!

And what's a runner to do there then? Watch the ball drop? Not hardly!

She was in Central Park running the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Midnight Run 4-Miler when the clock struck midnight into 2014!

Knowing that she wouldn't be there to run with Dad the last three miles of the Chevron Houston Marathon, Waverly ran The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K with her Dad on his birthday, Sunday, January 5.

Even though she hadn't done much cardio work on the break, the plan was to run the course easy - and have fun!

The chilly temperatures, though, helped produce an even pace that netted her a 37-second 5K personal best of 33:41.

And while everyone else was running Houston, Volte had one runner in Georgia and two in Louisiana.

We don't know if Leanne Rosser shops at Wal-Mart, but her times are falling faster than their prices.

The Woodlands, Philadelphia (PR!), Big Sur, Chicago (PR!) and now Warner Robbins, Georgia - at the Museum of Aviation Maration on Saturday, January 18 - is where the third personal best in as many years has come for her.

That's a new PR time for Leanne Rosser.  She was flying so fast she had jets behind her!
(Photo courtesy of Jim Rosser)
Leanne was the tenth overall female in a age-group winning time of 4:19:29 -- slicing nearly 13 minutes off of her Chicago Marathon time from last October.

At the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge, the next day, Sunday, January 19, Will Ott and Gabby Brockett took on the marathon and half marathon distances, respectively.

Will turned in a nice performance in Cajun Country with a 3:37:17 marathon that was in the top one-third (38th) of his 35-39 age group's 118 finishers.

And we've been saying this a lot lately, but it doesn't seem to ever get old, "Brockett rocked it!"

With a smile like that, Gabby's son knew she would rock the Louisiana Marathon course the next day.  No doubt!
(Photo courtesy of Gabby Brockett)
The half marathon, that is, as she ran the half in 2:03:32 -- good for 42nd in a 222-woman 40-44 division.

Bring on February and the rest of 2014!

Cooper's Corner: Sugar Land Finish Line Sports 30K

(Chalk up this delay on Nine Volte's processing systems! -- NV)

30K sounds a lot better than 18.6 miles.

At least that’s what I told myself heading into the Sugar Land Finish Line Sports 30K on Sunday, December 15.

The last time I had run this distance was over three (3) years ago so I was very nervous, but Coach Bill (Dwyer) and Coach Mary (Carter) told me to focus on the moment and take one step at a time.

A good coach gives you confidence and encourages you to focus on the positive. Still, I wasn't sure how things would turn out.

Fortunately a visit to my doctor on Friday turned out to be my saving grace.

He instructed me that there were two things I needed to do in order to avoid the cramping I had experienced in previous long distance races.

First, for breakfast, eat a banana and drink some Gatorade to fuel up and second, he encouraged me to up my dosage of electrolyte tablets from two (2) to four (4).

Bingo! That was the secret.

Race day morning was a brisk 36 degrees, but I knew once the sun came out things would warm up quickly.

It was a perfect day.

My strategy for this race was to treat this run as if I was running the marathon which would take a lot of discipline.

The 1st half of the race I maintained a 10:13 pace and in the second portion my (minute per mile) pace improved to 9:58.

I really felt like I had to hold back because in the second half of the race I really wanted to let it go and run hard.

I kept telling myself, however,  "stick with the plan."

The end result?  A 3:07:44 finish and -- a very relieved runner.

I will add this though, Saturday night I went to church and prayed that God would be with me every step of the way, that he would put all his power in me to do my best and to keep me physically strong and free from cramping.

Wouldn't you know that the message at church was a.) Don't be afraid to push yourself and b.) when you complete your goal, give all the glory to God.

So on that note, God is great.

I am so lucky that He has given me the ability to run and I know He will continue to be with me until I complete my goal of finishing my 11th Houston Marathon on January 19, 2014.

See you on the road friends!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our Volte Got Charged at Houston

Here at Volte, yes, we strive for results, but it is never ever at the sake of another teammate or competitor.

We celebrate our accomplishments, yet with the largest shaker of humility we can get our hands around.

If you’re a runner in these parts, the Chevron Houston Marathon and the Aramco Houston Half Marathon are what you focus on.

You want to perform well on your home course – and, of course, in front of friends and family.

Great organization, great crowds and an overall solid experience await a participant in all three events, including the ABB 5K.

And the new courses played to pretty favorable reviews.

Hard to believe that all of those prayers on the Elysian Street bridge over the years – regardless who was actually casting them -- were finally heard.

So, we sent 34 of our athletes to the combined start line – and we saw 22 marathon and 12 half marathon finishes on a great day for racing.

Twelve of our runners – seven in the marathon and five in the half marathon – were making their first appearances at Houston in their respective events.

Leading the first-timers (at Houston, that is) – for the men and the ladies – in the marathon were Randy Harris and Mayra Caamano – and both did so in impressive fashion.

Mayra Caamano's toes point to Boston
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
They ran the new routes in 3:17:37 and 3:27:22, respectively, to earn one of six (6) trips to Boston from the group on the morning.  Both also scored personal bests.

It was Jill Tresaugue’s first marathon ever.  She received some team assistance for about six miles from Anita Werner and posted a very well-done 4:12:47 debut effort.  Jill had run three previous Aramco Houston Half Marathons.  The day before, her son, Ryan, 10, won his age group in the ABB 5K with a sub 20-minute showing of 19:45.

Other first-time Chevron Houston Marathoners included JC Morrell (5:04:58), Juliee Sparks (3:45:43), Naika Vargas (4:09:16) and Nicole Mikelonis (5:25:26).

When Tony Allison crossed the finish line in 4:06:02 – for his 30th Houston Marathon finish – he was rewarded by not having to ever pay to run the race again!  Congratulations!

Joining Allison in the Veterans category was coach Rich Cooper as he covered the 26.2 miles in 5:15:26 for his 11th Houston Marathon.

It was Cooper's 16th Chevron Houston Marathon event overall as he has also completed five Aramco Houston Half Marathons.

Volte friend Andy Brock made his 10th straight Chevron Houston Marathon a successful one with his 7th sub 4-hour finish in 3:58:53.

If you had taken 12 minutes off your time from the year before, you'd be responding like Michelle McGill was too.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Two races away from Veteran status are Michelle McGill and Joe Martinez as they both finished their eighth straight Houston Marathon in 3:34:59 and 4:29:37, respectively.

Michelle lopped off more than 12 minutes from her time last year – 12:37, to be exact – and more than an hour from her first Houston Marathon in 2007.

That 4:43:05 finish was pretty far from her BQ – and PR – seven years later.

Also making an arduous journey from his debut Houston Marathon of 3:43:53 four years ago was Derek Bailey.

No port-a-can in sight, just a sub 3-hour finish - his first - for Derek Bailey.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
And he was finally rewarded with his first-ever sub 3-hour marathon finish of 2:59:09 to lead Volte on the morning.

Joining him in the BQ category – also with huge improvements over their previous Houston Marathon finishes – were Mike Coleman and Kate Looney.

The duo recorded personal best finishes of 3:13:26 and 3:17:08, respectively.  It was Mike’s fourth Houston Marathon and far from his previous times of 3:37:14 last year and 4:04:35 in 2011.

Kate’s first of three Houston Marathons came two years ago in 3:40:19 – now improved by more than 23 minutes.

Three of our ladies also posted personal bests.

Kelley Davis lowered her 2013 time by more than eight (8) minutes with a time of 3:51:31.  She was followed by Amber Brock and Ruth Perez in 4:25:29 and 5:03:51, respectively.  It was Perez’s third Houston Marathon (to go along with five halves) while Davis, Brock and Kacey Bryant were completing their second CHM.

You might as well call it a "Touchdown" with that snazzy time, Kelley Davis.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Bryant swallowed nearly 19 minutes from her time last year as she nailed a time of 4:25:32 – down from 4:44:20 in the cold and the rain a year ago.

Tom Ninke finished his second CHM in 4:24:28 – five minutes and 27 seconds better than 2011, while Paul Vita and George Roffe both finished their 4th CHM.  Paul took a little over 23 minutes off of last year’s time for a showing of 4:47:42 while Roffe broke the tape in 5:31:28.

Volte friends finishing the marathon included South Coast Endurance’s Bert Blevins (3:37:09; 2nd Houston), Team in Training’s Chad Giardina (3:53:05; 2nd Houston and first since ’05), Gary Kroll (3:58:47; 3rd straight Houston and 16:47 off previous Houston Best) and The Woodlands Running Club's Jim Braden (4:32:30).

Jim won his 75-79 age group while becoming the 5th male ever to finish the marathon at the single age of 78 – and second fastest behind Tyler’s Harold Wilson who finished in 4:17:49 two years ago.

It was also Braden’s 11 straight Houston event finish – 8 marathons and 3 half marathons – and his 16th career Chevron Houston Marathon finish.

In the Aramco Houston Half Marathon, five of our Volte athletes were doing the race for the first time – and Juan Flores led the way for us all.

Juan posted a solid 1:27:40 to lead both our men and women.  Randy Smith followed in 1:41:49 -- his third straight Aramco Half finish.

Todd Snider paced Tabitha Young – both first-timers – the entire way as they crossed the line in 2:23:26 – a new overall PR for Tabitha.

Like Tabitha, Kelly Green ran the Aramco Half for the first time and posted a personal best – of 2:49:34 – in the process.

Colleen Sager was the remaining first-timer with her 2:13:50 finish.  (Her husband, Brandon, who races under the Finish Strong Coaching colors, was also running his first Aramco Houston Half after four straight CHM appearances. )

Leading the ladies was Rachael Wilcox-Pereira in 2:01:04 (her third AHH finish) followed immediately by Katie Marshall (2:07:36; a personal best and almost five minutes better than last year) and Michell Bradie (2:15:28; 4th straight AHH).

Tracy Raborn, Tom and Tammy Ninke get dialed in before their respective races.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Tracy Raborn and Tammy Ninke both finished their third Aramco Houston Half Marathon, doing so in 2:19:43 and 2:22:18, respectively.  Raborn shed nearly 20 minutes from her 2:39:05 finish a year ago.

The “Wow” factor belonged to Alfredo Gonzalez as his 2:36:18 time was light years better than his 3:04:49 and 3:22:48 finishes in 2010 and 2009, respectively.  Well done, Alfredo!

Our Volte friends were busy getting after it in the Aramco Houston Half too.

Obsie Birru high-steps her finish in the USA Half Marathon National Championship.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Obsie Birru competed in the USA Half Marathon National Championships and posted a time of 1:21:59.

Kate’s husband, Bob Looney, followed in 1:27:24 – his third straight AHH finish and six minutes and 17 seconds better than last year.

South Coast Endurance’s Krista Blevins was second in her 40-44 age group for the second straight year as she ran 1:29:42 as she is focusing on late June's Ironman 70.3 Buffalo Springs Lake.

Krista also won her age group in 2011.

Finish Strong’s Jeanette Hagelskaer ran her second AHH in 2:08:03.

Barry Blanton’s group is full of seasoned Aramco Houston Half Marathon veterans, all except Ginger Chiles.

Ginger debuted at the AHH in 2:21:37 while Hollie Quigley was running her fourth – and first since 2010 – as she covered the 13.1 miles in 2:12:42.

Jim Chiles led the way with a time of 2:10:38 for his ninth finish.

Barry’s wife, Fran, followed in 2:11:25 for her 8th AHH finish while Barry himself ran his best of five Aramco Houston Half Marathons in 2:17:43.

Deena Johnson got her seventh Aramco Houston Half finish in 2:32-even.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Volte Support Drives Houston Marathon Event Success

Sure, athletes – including ours -- do well because of their commitment, effort and all of the tangibles and intangibles that go into putting together a great performance.

Coaching, in many cases, has a little to do with it – and, arguably, for some more than others.

The Volte common denominator, though, to all of our athlete’s race day performances is our team support.

Providing on-course support for Volte was Carrie Hyde, Julie Pearce and Tammy Grado.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Successful teams support their fellow athletes not just in training, but also on race day.

While there were 33 Volte athletes who challenged the new Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon courses on Sunday, January 19, 14 team members, including founder Bill Dwyer, served others in the following fashion:

+  Moral support at the George R. Brown Convention Center before the race.

+  Cheer support at various places along the course.

+  Pacing, where the athletes had a bib for the race, but weren’t racing themselves.

With that, we’d like to thank the following Volte team members for being there for their fellow athletes – as well as various friends of Volte that we’ll share in our race write-ups.

They are as follows:

Tammy Grado, Julie Pearce, Carrie Hyde, Anita Werner, Brian Jackson, Adrienne Langelier, Curtis Hooper and Mary Carter helped Dwyer keep athletes off their feet in the Convention Center prior to the race.

Providing cheer support on the course near Memorial Park through Allen Parkway was Ellen Kurtz-Hammond, Geri Henry, Sandy Jones and Volte friend Chris Weir.

Starting at mile 4 before moving their way around the course and ending up back at the Convention Center was Traci Jackson as well as Langelier.

Hyde and Carter cheered on our athletes at mile 6 before retrenching back to about mile 25.9.

Grado and Pearce were at the half marathon finish line before joining others at mile 25.9.

Jackson, Hooper and Weir jumped in for a mile or two with a fellow athlete or two near Memorial Park, while Werner, who had a half marathon bib, ran six miles with Jill Treasague.

From all of our athletes to all of you, thank you!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Volte's Wishes in 2014 For Our Communities

So, yesterday, Volte shared its goals for 2014, but we also posed a more probing question to our group, “What is your number one wish for the running and triathlon communities this year?”

The key, though, for us – Volte – is how do we go about converting those wishes into actions.

Let’s see what on the hearts and minds of our folks … and the pace is set by founder – and coach - Bill Dwyer.

“As we (Volte) expand our training group, (I want to) keep the focus on having fun and supporting the running and multisport communities,” he said.  “My wish is for everyone to have a great 2014 and have success as we’re all doing what we love to do.”

Fellow Volte coach Rich Cooper has a factor of two in his vision of expansion.

“I’d like our group to double in size,” he said. “But to also double what we do for the community.”

So how does Volte provide more support?

“Encourage and cheer to ya’ll – and volunteer more,” says Naika Vargas.

“To give back and support others as they have supported me; be the consummate cheerleader for all,” adds Erica Cahill.

Kelly Green is right there too.

She said, “I want to be able to “pay it forward” and support and encourage others the way I have been supported and encouraged this year.”

“To promote running by (race) directing the BMI Run (5K), introducing others to running and helping people to see around the world,” says Brian Jackson.

“To get more involved in the running community and to encourage others to start,” shared Justin Bui.

“To encourage others whatever their abilities are,” is the desire of Kelly Whiddon.

This is also a theme that struck the hearts of Michell Bradie and Marta Mixa.

“I wish that the running community continues to stay inclusive and supportive of all runners and athletes,” she said.  “Regardless of their abilities – and that folks avoid injuries and find joy in whatever they do.”

“And to inspire and support each other through our challenges and successes,” Mixa added.  “This is in addition to embracing other athletes, at whatever level they are and share with them our passion for the sport.”

To be inclusive, it is wise to have – and practice – humility, something that both Adrienne Langelier and Tabitha Young picked up on.

“Keeping sport in its proper perspective while achieving goals and having fun,” says Langelier, one of Volte’s coaches.

Young was a bit more direct in wishing “that people stop taking themselves so seriously and learn the power of embracing others’ victories.”

Victories do come in many shapes and sizes.

Carrie Hyde, our resident Canuck (term of endearment – Ok, Canadian!), desires that “we continue to learn from our teammates and celebrate achievements no matter how great or small.

“That’s what makes a running community feel like one big awesome family.”

Something that Melissa Poole, stationed stateside in or near Newport News, Virginia, says she misses.

“I wish ya’ll the joy of fellowship and team unity,” she added from her current location somewhere in Afghanistan.

Randy Harris believes there’s a way to do that.

“I wish we would race together more often,” he said.  “Train in groups with a goal to run together as long as possible.  Kind of like a cohort.”

That all goes back to heart.

“Volte runs with great heart at its center,” says Mary Carter.  “My wish is that the running community makes as great of an impact with helping others as it does with running alone.”

Having moved frequently in her adult life, Anita Werner knows the importance of not having to run – or workout -- alone is.

“I wish for the running and tri communities to have more people who need friendship and fitness to find their perfect group,” she said.

With Volte, Hyde – like Werner – feels like she has and wants to grow it, but also collectively as an athletic community.

“Mine is that we (the communities) remain fortunate enough to build onto the bond that many of us feel from being part of this fellowship,” she said.

And speaking of a bond, Tracy Raborn and Randy Smith both channeled the same sentiments.

“That everyone stays healthy, injury free, flourish as athletes and meets their goals,” the two teammates said.

Including David Odom finding a few more 8K and 10K races this year.

The children’s Sunday School song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine,” comes to mind when Curtis Hooper hopes that “Volte would be a light to our communities.”

And if that happens, Volte desires that it doesn’t return void.

Not only do those within Volte get a chance to “know everybody better”, as Cooper envisions, but everyone surrounding us as well.

And to Derek Bailey, a win over teammate Anita Werner at Ironman Wisconsin would be fun, but his desire is to help others come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

While Cooper would also like to see those who know Christ to grow in their personal relationship with Him.

If you're new to this blog, check in throughout 2014 to see how we’re doing with our goals and wishes – and we’d appreciate your help in achieving them as much as we’d like to help you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Volte Asks (And Shares), "What Are Your Goals for 2014?"

“I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air” says I Corinthians 9:26.

We all have and set goals in our lives, but it’s that focus – and self-discipline – that allows us to achieve them.

We asked our group members two questions recently:

1.) What is your number one personal goal for 2014?
2.) What is your number one wish for the running and triathlon community this year?

While we didn’t limit the first question to athletic performance only, it’s only natural that in any running or multisport training club or group it is the first thing off the top of our heads.

Above all of those, though, comes from somewhere in Afghanistan where Melissa Poole is currently stationed in her service to our country as part of the United States Air Force.

It was simply to, “Come home.”

We couldn’t agree more, but Melissa’s personal caveat was to be able to set a personal best at the Marine Corps Marathon in late October in Washington, D.C.

To be – and perform -- at our best, we have to aim “to run healthy and happy … one week at a time,” according to Volte coach Adrienne Langelier.

Kelly Green wants to stay on the healthy trail too, but added “… to get stronger and a little faster.”

Yet others just need a push, even our founder, Bill Dwyer.

“Start running races again.  It’s long overdue,” he said.

Meanwhile, you have to appreciate Kelly Whiddon’s honesty.  She said she just wants “to be motivated to exercise again.”

Tracy Raborn isn’t far behind saying that hers “is to get back to my running; 2013 was a roller coaster.”

Keeping her “running strong” is where Naika Vargas aims to be at and also “free of injuries and joyful”.  Either the Chicago Marathon or New York City Marathon awaits her later this year – and maybe a 50-miler in 2015.

Some common themes emerge too.  Can you identify them?

“I have many personal goals, but my running-related goals are to remain injury free, train smart and smash my BQ time,” said Carrie Hyde.

“Mine are to train smarter and more consistently while staying injury free and to keep my focus – moving ahead one day at a time,” added Marta Mixa.

Anita Werner attaches a qualifier to hers.

“Stay healthy and train consistent all year and race to my capability at Ironman Wisconsin (in September),” she said.  “Beating Derek Bailey would be a bonus.”

Continuing “to train hard, get stronger both physically and mentally” is the desire of Erica Cahill in addition to running a personal best in her next marathon.

That is what Michell Bradie is focusing on for March’s The Woodlands Marathon – let alone her sub 4-Boston qualifier, but she says, “Realistically, it is to run faster without injury and enjoy myself and the company of my fellow runners.”

Enjoy seems to be the operative word with Mary Carter too.

“Getting fit and healthy and enjoying running at whatever level my body allows” is her primary focus, she said.  “This year is about taking care of myself so that I can continue my passion for the sport and helping others pursue the same.”

And, then again, some goals are impending – as in this weekend:

Randy Harris?  “A really good time at Houston.”  He’s running his first Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday.

Volte coach Rich Cooper’s main goal is to complete his 11th Houston Marathon – and first in the 50-54 age group.  (After that, he says his aim is to break 1:25 in the 10-miler and also post a sub-1:50 half marathon.)

Two weeks to follow is Curtis Hooper’s adventure at Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville.  But after he recovers, his focus is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

It is the desire of Derek Bailey’s heart too.  (Well, not the 100-miler, but rather to requalify for Boston – and with his long sought after sub-3 hour time.)

Brian Jackson’s was in agreement with the 100-miler aversion, but he aims for personal bests in all of the Dopey Challenge distances – 5K, 10K, half marathon and the marathon.

Yet not all in one setting.

Justin Bui did all of those distances last weekend at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but the former Valparaiso Crusader cross country and track and field athlete wants to complete his first triathlon this year – and go under 1:20 in the half marathon.

Much like Jackson, Jerritt Park, though, has specific numbers taped to his refrigerator door:  “run under a 19-minute 5K, break 41 minutes in a 10K, 1:31 half marathon and maybe, just maybe, a sub 3:25 marathon.”

Those will make you go “Wow”, which is the type of race that Randy Smith is shooting for in 2014.

We’ll have to get Tabitha Young and Gabby Coates together as they both want to go sub-2 hours in the half marathon as well as marked achievements in the marathon.  Tabitha is shooting for a PR while Gabby presses towards the 4-hour mark at The Woodlands Marathon on Saturday, March 1.

Then the wheels literally move in to motion for Coates as she embarks on a triathlon journey this year that she aims to realize a sub-1:25 performance in early May at the already sold out CB&I Triathlon in The Woodlands – and a half Iron distance race in 2014.

Somebody in our group will receive a real treat in 2014 as David Odom desires to “help someone run a really fast road distance (10K, half marathon or marathon)”.

And finally, a goal we all should possess, but verbalized by one of our recent Volte additions, Hope Layman.

“To have faith in myself because God gave me a talent that I have never questioned,” she said.  “I love running, no matter what has happened (in the past).”

Those talents, of course, to be used and worked are much, much more than just putting one foot in front of the other, as Matthew 25:14-30 suggests.

Today is for our goals.

Tomorrow, we’ll reveal our wishes for the running and triathlon community in 2014.