Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Volte Proves You Can Run Home

Many of us that live in and around The Woodlands and Spring have come here from some place else.

For example, Volte's founder Bill Dwyer hails from New Hartford, New York.

As we're in race week for the sixth annual Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon, we all have a tendency to call it and the Chevron Houston Marathon as our "hometown race".

This past Saturday, February 25, Volte's Tammy Ninke proved that you could go home again and run a true "hometown race".

Volte - and Tammy Ninke - is right in the center of a great day in Victoria County.
(Photo courtesy of Tammy Ninke)
An early 1990s graduate of Victoria High School, Ninke wasn't sure what to expect of an area not known for too many races.

It was her mother, however, who lives in Victoria who first saw the announcement of the new event - Run Against Cancer - created by local healthcare provider Citizens Medical Center.

"Since my Mom is a cancer survivor, I thought to myself, "Sure, why not?" she said.

A half marathon and a 5K was available for experienced and new runners alike.

It was 13.1 miles for Tammy as the race started on the downtown square in DeLeon Plaza and was an out-and-back course to Riverside Park, where runners covered just under eight miles of the race within.

The weather, despite some stiff winds, was perfect and Ninke felt her time just about matched it as she finished in 2:03:15, good for fourth in her age group.

"I enjoyed the cool sunny weather, but the wind was a little much in spots," she said.  "It blew me sideways once or twice and was not so nice going up a hill, but what a great day for a half marathon race in my hometown."

The first-year event saw 223 runners cross the finish line in the half marathon and another 529 in the 5K.

Ninke, whose husband Tom enjoyed a round of golf Saturday morning and had other family members into visit during the weekend, wasn't the only Spring native there.

Volte friend Jon Walk ran a race in his 67th Texas county by posting a 2:15:44 finish of his own 14 hours after running a short Ties and Tennis Shoes 10K (5.94 miles) in Kingsville on the campus of Texas A&M-Kingsville in Kleberg County.

His 58:48 overall (1:01:30 equivalent) was good for fourth overall -- out of six total runners.

Actually, Volte and friends made the half marathon distance its theme to close out the month of February.

Derek Bailey got the only PR of the weekend on Sunday, February 26 with a second-place overall finish at the Republic of Texas Half Marathon (the original Armadillo Dash) in College Station.

Bailey ran 13.1 faster than he ever has.  Must have been the Aggie port-a-cans!
(Photo courtesy of Derek Bailey)
Bailey covered the distance - including bonus mileage of approximately 100 yards, which cost him about 30 seconds - in 1:26:02.

"I couldn't have caught first place even if I didn't get lost on the course," he said.

Kind of hard to get lost when the turnaround point of your race is the top of the Fred Hartman Bridge, which brings together the cities of Baytown and La Porte via State Highway 146.

Jimmy Baker was there for the seventh annual Jail Break Run, which started at Lee College in Baytown, on Saturday, February 25.

Part of a record crowd of 771 finishers, Baker, who will be helping Volte founder Bill Dwyer at the finish line of Saturday's The Woodlands Marathon, finished in 2:21:15.

Volte friend Ken Johnson of Huntsville's Seven Hills Running Club was first in his age group in 3:01:01.

Out west, Volte alumni David Odom, who now runs with "The Workout Group" in Arizona, ran the BMO Harris Bank Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon on Saturday, February 25 in 1:37:24.

David provided great support to a member of his new running team.
(Photo courtesy of The Workout Group)
He paced one of their group's members to a second place age group finish and a "huge" personal best by running a 7:44 pace for the first 6.9 miles and then putting the hammer down over the last 10K with a 7:08 pace.

Dave is gearing up for 39th running of the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans on Saturday, April 15.

The following day, Volte friend and former president of The Woodlands Running Club Tony Allison completed the 39th running of the Cowtown Half Marathon in Fort Worth.

Tony made it in under two hours in 1:59:29.

And Volte alum Colleen Sager is coming "home" and she celebrated by getting in one final race north of the Border.

Saturday, February 25, she ran The Chilly Dash 5K in Holyrood, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada and placed third in her age group by stopping the clock in 24:35.

Her husband Brandon's job is bringing their family back to The Woodlands area.

It'll be good to have the Sagers back in our community soon.

If we don't see you at the Expo, on the course or coming across the finish line of Saturday's The Woodlands Marathon, our wish is that you run well, smile often, make a new friend and celebrate your fitness as part of this weekend's activities.

(Oh yeah, send us your pictures -- and your race reports.  Please.  ~ NV)

Volte's The Woodlands Marathon Roster Released (Updated)

Volte founder and head coach Bill Dwyer released today his current roster of 52 athletes that will be running in the sixth annual Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon on Saturday, March 4 or one of its companion events, including the half marathon or 5K - also on Saturday - or the 2K on Friday evening, March 3.

"I'm sure there will be a few more in the 2K and the 5K, but the majority of our group is running it," Dwyer said.  "We'll have others that will be volunteering, many specifically in the finish line area where I've been fortunate enough to serve every year of the event."

Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon  (13)
Mayra Caamano
Wil Cole
Mike Csikos
Penny Garza
Randy Harris  (Pacing his daughter)
Juana (Yaya) Herrera
Todd Hunter
Brian Jackson (Local Elite)
Clark Lara
Monse Louimeus
Criss Neumann
Bonnie Scholz
Brian Schultz

Houston Methodist The Woodlands Half Marathon  (32)
Judith Albarran
Keri Amador
Jon Braunersreuther
Sally Buckelew
Jenny Fonseca
Dana Formon
Tammy Grado
Brian Hanyzewski
Laura Hanyzewski
Curtis Hooper
Mike Kuykendahl
Rapha Machado
Susan Marrero
Desna McDonald
Claudia McMeeken
Marta Mixa
Debra Myers
Rob Myers
Skip Moschell (Local Elite)
Jerritt Park
Denise Powers
Rip Reynolds (Local Elite)
Leanne Rosser
Tim Russell
Sandra Tezino
Jill Tresaugue
Naika Vargas
Ricardo Vargas
Paul Vita
Chris Weir (Local Elite)
Gabby Westbrook
Andrea Zapalac

The Woodlands Marathon Relay (2)
Letty Gonzalez is on a 4-person team
Allison Urvan is on a 4-person team

Pathfinder Pediatric 2K Fun Run (5)
Mike Davis
Mikel Davis
Alexander Hyde
Braeden Hyde
Brayden Park

Stay tuned for future updates to the Volte Endurance Training roster as race day approaches.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hills and Trails Yields Trials

The hills and trails - and some might even say a few trials too - keep coming in Volte, USA.

And it isn't even race week yet for the Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon and its affiliated races.

Volte will have 37 runners represented on Saturday, March 4 in either the marathon, half marathon or marathon relay in The Woodlands.

Many others of our group will be volunteering in various duties to give back to our hometown race.

So while Volte races will be a little light on either side of "race day", we're always pleased to share in our recaps the efforts of our vast array of friends in our community.

One that keeps us continually charged and plugged in.

The trails at Huntsville State Park, meanwhile, will be looking for some relief.

After hosting the Rocky Raccoon 100 and Rocky Raccoon 50M and 50K the two prior weeks, the 2,083 acre Park was the site of the Project Love One - Love Run Trail Marathon on Saturday, February 18.

While the race - which benefits Rescue Pink, an organization whose mission is to bring an end to female infanticide in India through rescue, prevention and awareness - took a year's hiatus from the Trails last year, Mayra Caamano did not.

Caamano is still all smiles after conquering the Park another year.
(Photo courtesy of Ken Johnson)
A year and a week ago, Caamano completed her first 50-miler in the Park as the sixth place female at Rocky 50 in 9:10:52.

On Saturday, the 39-year-old Caamano covered the two-loop, 26.2 mile marathon distance in 4:05:18, good for fourth overall and the second overall female.

She said her Volte teammates kept her focused on finishing.

"When the miles got hard (and they sure did) and the temps were high, one of my biggest motivations to keep going were the memories I have of you, and the lessons you've taught me: the hard and long training runs, your strength to finish your own races, your persistence and consistency week after week and the pain you've endure to accomplish your own goals," she said.

Caamano will be back on the start line in less than two weeks at The Woodlands Marathon.  Saturday's marathon finish was Mayra's sixth.  Below is her complete marathon history:

3:53:56 - Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Marathon, Las Vegas, NV, 12/4/11
3:54:40 - The Woodlands Marathon, The Woodlands, TX, 3/3/12
3:56:13 - Marine Corps Marathon, Washington, DC, 10/28/12
3:27:22 - Chevron Houston Marathon, Houston, TX, 1/19/14
3:44:39 - Boston Marathon, Boston, MA, 4/20/15
4:05:18 - Love. Run. Marathon., Huntsville, TX, 2/18/17

A good group of Volte friends were represented in Huntsville too.

Out to run at the track a couple of Tuesday nights ago, Maria Price was second in her age group in the 10K in 53:42 while Houston's biggest Los Angeles Dodgers fan, Danny Braden, of Fleet Feet, put down the 6.2 miles in an hour and three minutes.

Fleet Feet Sports of Greater Houston was a sponsor of this year's Love. Run. Marathon.

In the half marathon, TexTri's Sandra Sutherland was third in her age group in 2:32 even while Huntsville's and Seven Hills Running Club's Ken Johnson finished his 85th career half marathon in 3:42:43.

It was also Ken's 938th race of his running career.

First came trails.  Then came hills.

Trials came from them both.

As part of their preparation for April's Boston Marathon, two of our five Volte athletes -- Laura Godfrey and Sandra Tezino -- that will be running in Beantown did a bit of measured battle against Austin's hills on Sunday, February 19.

One well-earned medal is showcased by Sandra Tezino.
"The hardest half marathon I have ever done," exclaimed Tezino.  "The hills just kept coming.  I walked three big ones and I probably could have walked more as slow as I was going up them."

Sandra finished the Austin Half Marathon in 1:53:50, while Laura made her way to the finish no more than two minutes sooner in 1:51:56.

Laura Godfrey is just happy that there's not one more hill attached to that medal.
"Nice solid effort considering the hilly course and humidity to do exactly what I came to do," said Godfrey.  "A nice hilly training run."

Back in action - also in Austin - was one of Volte's first coaches and Volte friend Adrienne Langelier.

"I overcame some not-so-great conditions this morning and still finished strong," said 34-year-old Langelier, who finished seventh in her age group in 1:39:31.  "Glad I ran today and the tough ones teach you the most.

"I'm glad to be able to return to the 13.1 distance and finished healthy, happy and with my family in attendance."

Langelier's Bayou City Elite coach - and former The Woodlands Marathon elite athlete coordinator - Doug Storey remarked that she had "a damned fine race under pretty bad conditions."

With his eighth race that's "new to him" in 2017, Volte friend Jon Walk ran the Shannon Trail Series Race #3 15K in San Angelo State Park on Saturday, February 18.

Told during the pre-race trail briefing by the host club San Angelo Road Lizards that the course was likely 9.8 miles, he finished the distance in 2:07:37 that he said was nearly 100% single-track trail which was 40% technical and 60% dirt or packed dirt.

Since 2003, Walk has now run a race in 127 different Texas cities or towns and 65 different Texas counties.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hello, Heat and Humidity

Most of Volte is setting up for The Woodlands Marathon which will be in three weeks.

A few of our folks got out this past weekend, despite some oppressive running conditions for February, and kicked the tires on a couple of newer greater Houston favorites.

Thing about living where we do, you still have to train in all conditions because you’ll just never know what conditions will be on race day.

The third annual Katy Half Marathon’s original date was set for Saturday, February 4.

However, a shortage of law enforcement personnel, which are needed to control intersections along the race route, due to Super Bowl LI caused the race to be pushed to February 11.

Keri Amador and Penny Garza were still in.

Both were rewarded with new personal best times for the distance.

Keri shaved nearly 17 minutes off her previous best, a 2:09:04 at the Koala Houston Half in October 2014, with a 1:52:20 effort, while Penny took more than eight and a half minutes off of hers with a 2:39:40 showing.

“I was a little disappointed with my half marathon time today, but you know what? I should be happy for such an awesome PR,” Keri said.  “So I may not be where I want to be, but I'm not where I used to be!”

“Sometimes, even your slowest times are your hardest efforts. There was no shortage of effort today, even if I hobbled into the finish line.”

The one common theme in both of these ladies’ performances was 98% humidity and 70 degrees weather at the start of the race.

Penny threw in a little pre-race flu for an extra degree of difficulty.

“The past 2 weeks have not been that great. I caught the flu, had to withdraw from my fitness challenge due to complications with my lungs (from the flu) and only ran twice,” Penny admitted.   “Despite the doctor's suggestions I decided to attempt it.  I still finished in 2:39:40, a PR of 8:38.”

The conditions didn’t abate too much on Sunday, February 12 as runners descended on Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive for the Rhythm and Blues Half Marathon and Quarter Marathon.

It is the sixth year for the event and also includes a 5K.

Jerritt Park squared up a new PR - in his debut at the quarter marathon distance.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
In the quarter marathon, Jerritt Park won his age group in 49:16 while Andrea Zapalac stopped the clock in 1:13:32.

Volte friends Allison Urvan and Kerri Snyder took first overall female and first in her age group, respectively, with times of 45:43 and 51:53.  (Like Volte’s founder Bill Dwyer, Kerri is a past president of The Woodlands Running Club.)

The perfect way for a couple - Dirk and Criss Neumann - to finish a race with Valentine's Day fast approaching.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
In the half marathon, Dana-Leigh Formon returned to racing from an injury and scored a 2:13:10 time while Dirk and Criss Neumann ran together and charted a 2:19:19 time.

Dana is all smiles after being able to race again, even on a hot day.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“Man. Did. I. Miss. This. Slow pace, but not bad for my first race back after a three-month injury circus...and 70 degrees and sun,” remarked Dana.

Kerri’s husband, Buck, took his age group in 1:38:20.

After working out of the country for a few years, the couple is back in the area living in Houston.

And always looking to race somewhere and something new, Volte friend Jon Walk ran his seventh new race of 2017 by taking 1:54:10 to run – on a similarly humid and warm day on Saturday, February 11 - from downtown Kilgore to the rodeo arena in Longview.

It was an 11-mile race that existed for 25 years from 1976 to 2001 before road construction forced it to be cancelled.

The Longview Running Club brought it back and Jon reported that other than the need for an extra water stop or two – regardless of the conditions – the race was executed near flawlessly.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Trails, Sand, Potholes and Stairs: All In A Weekend in Volte, USA

As reports from our runners come in each weekend, we're continually amazed at the ways our people challenge themselves in Volte, USA.

The first weekend of February was no different.

Off the bike last weekend and onto the trails this weekend went Bonnie Scholz.

Bonnie Scholz was not only a Piney Woods finisher, but a winner too!
(Photo courtesy of Bonnie Scholz)
 Eleventh overall, fourth female and first masters in 2:54:26, she finished the Piney Woods Trail Fest 20-Miler with a negative split on the second of two 10-mile loops.

Proving her feeling "strong throughout" on the sandy loam soil surface, Bonnie's second loop time of 1:26:13 - after an opening salvo of 1:28:13 - allowed her to pass two runners, including solid local masters triathlete Carolina Carstens.

Speaking of sand, Marta Mixa made her seventh visit in the last eight years to the Surfside Beach Half Marathon.

"I enjoy running alongside the waves," she said.  "Just me, the sand, the windy breeze, the sounds of the waves.  This is why I love Surfside!"

Marta Mixa running strong towards the turnaround despite the gusty winds.
(Photo courtesy of Marta Mixa)
And Surfside seems to love her as she went 2:19:24, good for third in her age group.

She added the temperatures were cool, but the wind was pretty fierce.

Marta's complete race history at the Surfside Beach Half Marathon is as follows:

2010 - 2:09:16 (3rd in 50-54)
2011 - 2:10:44 (4th in 50-54)
2012 - 2:20:38 (9th in 50-59)
2014 - 2:15:07 (6th in 50-59)
2015 - 2:30:35 (7th in 55-59)
2016 - 2:21:54 (10th in 55-59)
2017 - 2:19:24 (3rd in 55-59)

Tammy Grado kept the hardware rolling on Saturday morning as she was the third overall female at the third annual Cleft Smiles 5K at Rob Fleming Park in The Woodlands.

She posted a time of 24:35 - also good for 11th overall.

Andrea Zapalac also ran the race in 30:28 while Andrea's mom, Patricia McLaughlin, also supported the cause with a 56:03 finish.

Volte friend Tiffany Hauerwas ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in Dallas on Saturday and grabbed first in her age group with a 1:05:48 showing.  Tiffany and her husband Brian have recently moved here from Dallas and run with us on Saturday mornings.

Brayden Park ran the Kids Running For Kids 1-Mile at Market Street in The Woodlands on Saturday in 7:23 while Nikki McMeeken, who trains with SelectTri but is the daughter of our Claudia McMeeken, covered the distance in 9:34.

Going to the Big Easy were Brian Schultz and Steven Lopez and a few Volte friends on Sunday to race the Rock 'N' Roll New Orleans Marathon and Half Marathon.

Brian led the group with a 3:47:41 marathon, while Steven posted his 18th career marathon finish in 4:40:12.

"Louisiana is now complete," he said for a marathon finish in his 13th state.  "Nothing fancy with this one.  It was mainly an obstacle course of avoiding potholes and other runners on a very hot day."

Steven's complete marathon history - including Ironman Texas last May - is as follows:

1/11/09 - 4:48:55, Disney World Marathon (FL)
1/9/11 - 4:06:11, Disney World Marathon
1/15/12 - 3:47:05, Chevron Houston Marathon (TX)
3/3/12 - 3:46:18, The Woodlands Marathon
11/11/12 - 4:26:20, Rock 'N' Roll San Antonio Marathon
1/13/13 - 4:02:55, Chevron Houston Marathon
10/6/13 - 4:13:36, Twin Cities Marathon (MN)
1/12/14 - 4:30:25, Disney World Marathon
5/4/14 - 4:07:22, Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon (OH)
10/12/14 - 4:04:11, Chicago Marathon (IL)
11/15/14 - 4:11:32, Richmond Marathon (VA)
4/26/15 - 5:03:37, Big Sur International Marathon (CA)
10/18/15 - 4:20;45, Detroit Free Press International Marathon (MI)
11/1/15 - 4:51:22, New York City Marathon (NY)
5/14/16 - 5:02:36, Ironman Texas
7/16/16 - 5:18:36, Aspen Valley Marathon (CO)
10/9/16 - 5:27:27, Portland Marathon (OR)
12/10/16 - 4:44:15, Kiawah Island Marathon (SC)
2/5/17 - 4:40:12, New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon (LA)

Volte friend Steve Felson ran the marathon in 5:17:32 while friends Susan Marrero and her husband Rafael finished the half marathon in 1:57:40 and 2:35:41, respectively.

Wrapping up the weekend, we had a trio run in The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K on Sunday, February 5.

Finishing tall is Layton Gill at the Sunday Night 5K in The Woodlands.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Jerritt Park led with a time of 21:05 as Layton and Katie Gill covered the course, which starts and ends at Barbara Bush Elementary, in 23:45 and 31:38, respectively.

Volte friend Jon Walk was going to give the Krispy Kreme Challenge (2.5-mile run, eat a dozen donuts and 2.5 miles back) in Raleigh, North Carolina a trial run on a visit to see his daughter Waverly, but he found a race about 45 minutes from Lynchburg, Virginia that they both could participate in.

The duo ran in wazUPwidis, a 3.25-mile urban run and 1,000 stair climb through downtown Roanoke, Virginia.  Up and down parking garage ramps, over a bridge or two and 20 flights up (and down) the Wells Fargo Tower, Roanoke's tallest building, they both went.

One of the few times Volte friend Jon Walk was ahead of his daughter Waverly.
(Photo courtesy of Mountain Junkies, LLC)
Waverly got the better of her father by beating him to the finish line by 19 seconds in 47 minutes even.

Dad noted that she could have expanded the gap a couple of times, but waited on him for a couple of seconds a few times at the completion of various parking garage portions.