Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Smiles and Solid Finishes High and Low

Well now.  Let's see.

Marathon.  (And a BQ* to boot.)  Check.

Triathlon.  Check.

Trail 5K, 10K and Half Marathon.  All back to back.  On the same Saturday morning.  Check.

Trail 50K.  Uh huh, check that too.

So how about a half marathon at 6,667 feet elevation?

Yes, Ma'am, Bonnie Scholz checked that one as well.  And in a big way.

Venturing to the beautiful state of Montana with her sister from Pearland, Michele Hogan, the two competed in the Yellowstone Half Marathon in West Yellowstone.

The race is produced by Vacation Races and is one of eight events that are hosted in various United States National Parks.

Packet pickup at this race was like one that you've likely never encountered.

"They had a booth to sell bear spray and a truck with a stuffed bear telling people how to react if you come across one," said Bonnie.

Nope, can't say that we've seen a booth like that at the George R. Brown in January.

There was mud too.

She told Volte founder Bill Dwyer before the race, "It's pouring and about to drop to 35 or 40 in the morning so definitely going to be a "for fun" race!"

If you've ever had the chance to work with Bill, these pre-race kernels of advice - to Bonnie - are all too common:

"It’s a trail run!  Enjoy the day!!! Take what the course gives you - meaning faster on the flats and downhill’s and very easy or even walk on the uphill’s," he said.  "Don’t look at it as pace per mile but rather as a “smart flow” over what the course is at that moment."

With two 100-mile trail finishes to his credit, Bill also noted:

"Rain is the big equalizer," he added.  "You'll probably place now.  Have fun."

She did.

How does second overall masters female finisher sound?

It isn't called Big Sky Country for nothing!  Bonnie brought home big medals too!
(Photo courtesy of Bonnie Scholz)
Bonnie finished in 1:54 even, holding off Springboro, Ohio's Jenny Dandenault by five seconds and a couple of Montana natives another minute behind.

"Second place!  First time I've cried when I found out," she said.  "Mountain races are so intimidating, but I guess the little Conroe hill runs worked out."

And you can click here to see that Bonnie's kick made the difference between second and third.

The You Tube screen capture of Bonnie's five-second advantage between second and third overall masters female.
(Photo courtesy of Vacation Races and YouTube)
Michele covered the course in 3:23:03.

The race featured 1,891 finishers, with 1,266 of them being female.

While we're in Big Sky Country, Volte friend Sabina Lorca was 176 miles to the north in Helena, competing in the Governor's Cup Marathon.

We believe that this was Sabina's 14th state to finish a marathon in.
(Photo courtesy of Sabina Lorca)
The 34-year-old was the 13th overall female, finishing in 3:55:39.

Volte's crack research staff believes that is Sabina's 14th state to finish a marathon in (CA, VA and WA in 2011, IL and FL in 2012, NY and VT in 2013, LA in 2014, NE and SD on back-to-back days in 2015, WI and IN in 2016 as well as Texas and now Montana.)

Also on Saturday, June 10, Gabby Brockett and Naika Vargas ventured out to west Houston - Katy, specifically - for the fourth annual A Step Forward For Hispanic Women 5K.

Naika and Gabby were all smiles, while some of the competitors behind them needed a bit more shut eye!
(Photo courtesy of Gabby Brockett)
They completed the race, which had 186 timed finishers, in 29:36 and 30:03, respectively.

Gabby and Naika were the 20th and 22nd overall females.

On Sunday, June 11, Mike Kuykendall continued his preparation for Ironman 70.3 Augusta this fall by competing in the 12th annual Sylvan Beach Sprint Triathlon.

Mike is all smiles after more work is put in towards a successful IM 70.3 Augusta in the fall.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Kuykendall)
"Such a fun race today. Personal best swim and bike pace. Fast run too," Mike said.  "My first open ocean swim was crazy. 15 mph cross winds, waves and strong current kept pushing me of course and made my 500-meter swim 650 meters!"

He finished the 500-meter swim, 15-mile bike and 3-mile run in 1:43:32.

There to announce Mike's finish was Volte friend Jon Walk, but earlier in the weekend Jon kept up his pursuit of running a 5K in each Texas county.

Tarrant County isn't new to Jon, but he ran in the Trinity 5000 Summer 5K Series #2 in Fort Worth's Trinity Park on Thursday night on the way home from work.

He finished the out-and-back course in 32:56.

He drove Friday evening to Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County to run another out-and-back course in the Milk Run 5K that was part of the Hopkins County Dairy Festival.

Weather conditions were a bit more favorable and Jon stopped the clock in 30:34.

The following morning, he checked off Cherokee County in Jacksonville with a 31:47 finish in the inaugural Tomato 5 - Tomato Fest 5K in Nichols Green Park.

Jon finishing his third 5K in 37 hours with beautiful Nichols Green Park as a backdrop.
(Photo courtesy of Tomato 5 - Tomato Fest 5K)
He has now run a race in 72 Texas counties and at least a mile in 20 other ones to date.

Texas has 254 counties, in case you were wondering.

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