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!