Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Who Wants To Spin The Weather Wheel Next?

Hmmm.  Guess we didn't write "High Humidity" into last week's blog post.

Nor hills, but we'll save that story to the end.

Saturday and Sunday's weather conditions at the ABB 5K, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and Chevron Houston Marathon were actually very similar to 2007 when a front was supposed to move through Houston during the race, but stalled west of downtown.

Of course, it didn't affect Ryan Hall that year as he was done in just 59:43 - an American record.

So how tough was it this weekend?

Our Landa Wright, who ran her debut marathon on Sunday, perhaps said it best, "Today was tough - like I would rather birth another child tough."

Yikes.  (Gentlemen, just nod your head - and agree.)

Hope Jimenez led us in the ABB 5K with a 22:20 effort that was good for fourth in her 30-34 age group (which featured top local talent Amanda Cruise and Sara Hudgens in the 1-2 spots.)

In early candidacy for a brand new Volte-year end Sandbag of the Year award, Leanne Rosser turned a 24:21 performance into a third-place 45-49 podium showing.

See, she told Nine Volte in post-race comments, "And, yes, my time wasn't great either."

The rule is:  If you're top three, your time is great.  Automatically.  We're sure Pre once said it.

Jimmy Baker rounded out Volte's Saturday parade in 28:55.

While Jill Tresaugue had to sit out Sunday's Chevron Houston Marathon with an injury, her family ran the ABB 5K.

Thirteen-year-old son Ryan was second in his age group - and ninth overall - with a sterling time of 17:25

Jill's husband Matt ran with their nine-year-old son Jack and they teamed up for a 24:12 mark -- ninth overall in Jack's 7-12 age division.

Matt turned around and completed the Houston Double on Sunday with a 1:54:01 performance.

Volte friend Jon Walk ran the ABB 5K for the fourth time in the last five years and crossed the finish line in 30:24, then was seen the next day leading the parade on the men's marathon press truck.

Twenty-one Voltes ran the Aramco Houston Half Marathon on Sunday.

Two thumbs up from Andria Zapalac.  Bib name says it all, "Me vs. Me"  Nobody else.
(Photo courtesy of Karen Jones)
Their results are as follows:

Derek Bailey - 1:27:01, Skip Moschell - 1:36:02, Sandra Tezino - 1:47:17, Jerritt Park - 1:50:56, Tammy Grado - 1:59:25, Randy Smith - 2:03:01, Sally Buckelew - 2:03:10, Naika Vargas - 2:03:42, Denise Powers - 2:12:15, Jon Braunersreuther 2:12:22, Carrie Hyde - 2:12:26, Leanne Rosser - 2:12:26, Marta Mixa - 2:12:27, Kim Joyce - 2:16:20, Tammy Ninke - 2:17:21, Llana Bingham - 2:24:41, Andria Zapalac - 2:25:00, Paul Vita - 2:30:13, Claudia McMeeken - 2:50:19, Tabitha Young - 2:56:10, Alfredo Gonzalez - 3:09:19

Skip Moschell was 6th in his 55-59 age group, in front of a couple of all-time great Houston masters athletes in Bayou City Road Runners' Rob Walters and accomplished triathlete Roger Wacker.

Jon Braunersreuther and Leanne Rosser worked together to pace Marta Mixa on Sunday.

Eighteen Voltes finished the Chevron Houston Marathon, including five first-time marathoners.

Mike Csikos - 3:44:17, Todd Hunter - 3:47:49, Brian Schultz - 3:53:22, Randy Harris - 3:54:23, Mary Ellen Hay - 3:54:58, Landa Wright - 3:56:00, Yaya Herrera - 3:59:07, Michelle McGill - 4:09:39, Criss Neumann - 4:11:47, Gabby Westbrook - 4:13:51, Layton Gill - 4:44:34, Laura Godfrey - 4:48:57, Susan Marrero - 4:59:56, Faith Craig - 5:07:21, Alan Gastineau - 5:11:51, Laura Hanyzewski - 5:26:54, Brian Hanyzewski - 5:26:54, Desna McDonald - 6:00:04

We like to think that "Sunshine" Mike Csikos, with his lead finish for us, brought out the sunshine after the rain passed through the course.

Five minutes and 38 seconds longer, Randy Harris would not have been able to share this news with us:

Dear Volte family,

I have some great news.  Each year the Chevron Houston Marathon sends two people from the race to participate in the Athens Classic Marathon. I'm happy to say Volte will have someone in Greece this year. I am the lucky recipient and will be racing in the Athens Authentic Marathon, running from Marathon to Athens on November 12, 2017.

Little did Randy Harris know at this point in the race he'd be going to Greece.  Glad he didn't drop!  :-)
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Each year, one male (Randy) and one female runner (Madison Nasteff, who finished in 3:48:17) who crosses the finish line of the Chevron Houston Marathon in less than four hours and lives in the greater Houston area is selected for an expenses-paid trip to Greece and a race entry into the historic Athens Classic Marathon through the Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange.

A nonprofit program founded in 1988 by George Sarantopolous, the Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange creates a link between the historic Greek marathon and modern-day races.

The 2017 Houston-Athens Marathon Exchange marks the program’s 30th anniversary.

A pair of great local female Houstonian runners - Melissa Hurta and Joy Smith - actually won the Athens Classic Marathon in 1997 and 1998 in 2:54:43 and 2:50:52, respectively.

"It was quite a morning," said Landa Wright, the first of the five first-timers to cross Sunday's finish line, doing so in 3:56.  "Thank you to my Volte Family, my coaches Mary Carter and Bill Dwyer, my parents and my wonderful hubby Larry Wright for putting up with my training for the past year!"

Yaya Herrera was not only the next Volte across the line in 3:59:07, but was the second of five debut marathoners.

Yes, that's still technically a smile.  Way to go, Yaya.  First Yaya to ever finish Houston.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
"It was not easy," she said.  "It was that hard that after I was done I decided to retire from full marathons ... but not before running New York City's."

Rumor has it that she'll be toeing the line at The Woodlands.

From the woman that bottles up happy and resells it, Criss Neumann completed her tenth career marathon in 4:09:39.

"I'm so happy, it was not a PR but I don't care, I'm happy!" she exclaimed.

It was Criss' third Houston Marathon to go along with all five The Woodlands Marathons as well as finishes at Walt Disney World and Chicago.

Our third first-timer Gabby Westbrook may be earning a runner's badge of honor to go along with her finisher's medal and 4:13:51 finish.

"I may be losing a toenail, but it was worth it," Gabby remarked, and later seeking advice for its care at track Tuesday night.

"I can't even begin to describe the experience starting in the corral all the way to finish line," she added.  "What a relief it was to see you all and the signs were awesome.  My Coach Bill, he's pretty special. He taught me a lot and prepared me for the worst. Always believed in me.

"And my VoLTE friends, I should say family really, you all helped me get to the end. I love how you care for another and you want the best. Seeing y'all in the chute brought tears. It stinkin' hurt, I'm not gonna lie, but seeing y'all there waiting for us was an overwhelming feeling."

Aww, I think we're going to cry too.  Great job, Gabby!

Our fourth first-timer has a possible, special future target race this year so when the day wasn't going to be everything he might have hoped for, Layton Gill did what some do on a rough weather day:  have a little beer on the course!

The beer came later.  Until then, the Marines helped Layton along.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
It certainly washed down and created a memorable moment to his 4:44:34 debut marathon effort.

One result that might have been a little out of place on a tough day was Laura Godfrey's.

But instead of pushing through muscle cramps, as she continues to set up well for her debut Boston Marathon in April, Laura ran 20 and walked six in her 4:48:57 time.

And if you're able to share that first marathon with somebody, you do.

That's what Laura Hanyzewski did for her husband Brian, who completed his first ever 26.2-mile effort in 5:26:54.

Still smiling is Brian and Laura, even though the race had gone to "Red Flag" conditions.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
As with such a diverse group as ours, Volte also represented in Louisiana and California this past weekend.

Will Ott and Ruth Perez competed in the sixth annual Louisiana Marathon and The Half at the Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge on Sunday.

Will finished the half in 1:51:21, while Ruth posted a 5:02:12 marathon finish.

"Rock Star" Ruth on the Louisiana Marathon red carpet after her finish.
(Photo courtesy of Ruth Perez)
"No PR.  Just happy to finish with a smile," Ruth said.  "This was a hard race due to the weather, hot and humid.  Happy to be with my hubby and him being there at the finish line."

Ruth and her husband celebrated their 31st anniversary late last month.

And we close with hills.

Yes, those things that we call overpasses here in Houston.

And Gabby Brockett, who actually ran The Half at the Louisiana Marathon three years ago in 2:03:32, actually found plenty of hills in Carlsbad, California on Sunday.

"If you love hills, then this is the race for you - the Carlsbad Half in California," she said.  "Every mile has a hill and if you're really lucky, sometimes those miles have multiple hills.  A hill lover's dream!"

She noted that the marathon had steeper hills than the half, by more than 300 feet.

Gabby added, "Sadly, I saw no whales. But, I finished (in 2:17:29) & got over all those *Beep* hills."

And shared this picture to perfectly close another great weekend in Volte, USA.

No caption needed.
(Photo courtesy of Gabby Brockett)

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