Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dwyer Expects Volte To Shine Its Own Light at Tunnel Light

For many years, “What is the Bayou City Road Runners?” was the answer to the Jeopardy question, “This club takes more runners on a single destination marathon trip than other groups in the greater Houston area.”

Alex Trebek might have even accepted the Bay Area Running Club or The Woodlands Running Club, which the latter usually still schedules a similar trip.

But Volte Endurance Training, based in north Harris County and south Montgomery County, may be the new flag bearer as it will take 20 runners to North Bend, Washington – near the Snoqaulmie Pass east of Seattle – for Sunday’s Tunnel Light Marathon.

A large Volte group at a race is not an uncommon occurrence.
Volte head coach and founder Bill Dwyer was caught by surprise of the large group.

“The initial plan was to have about four do this race - more or less under the radar,” he said.  “People talk and four became six, six became eight and so on.  It was not planned to have a bigger group.  It just happened.”

Earlier this spring, Volte had a solid group travel to Las Vegas, Nevada to run either the Revel Mount Charleston Marathon or Half Marathon.

Three of those runners – Juan Flores, Kristi Chen and Erica Coleman – met their respective age group and gender’s qualifying standard for next April’s Boston Marathon, which opened up its registration this week.

A good portion of Dwyer’s runners have the same goal for Sunday – qualify for Boston -- and put in the preparation as much or more than ever before.

“I usually only post one to three weeks of a schedule at a time,” Dwyer said.  “For Tunnel Light, I posted the whole schedule and everyone got excited knowing what the complete plan was for the end game.

“This group not only embraced the plan but set up additional meet up times to get their workouts in together. The work ethic of this group is off the charts.”

No surprise as six of Volte’s eight qualifiers - Derek Bailey, Flores, Laura Godfrey, Sandra Tezino, Chen and Erica Coleman -- for the 2018 Boston Marathon are making the trip.

Michelle McGill and Leanne Rosser ran Boston earlier this year (as did Bailey, Godfrey and Tezino).

And Bonnie Scholz and Yaya Herrera are seeking vindication after being denied a Boston Qualifier from the shortened course at this March’s Fidelity Investments The Woodlands Marathon.

Todd Hunter, Tammy Grado, Gabby Westbrook, Monse Loumeus, Jon Braunersreuther, Lauren Hoffart, Judith Albarran, Mike Coleman, Marta Mixa and Falon Gunter will also be part of the group of 20 that take a little #TexasStrong to Washington state.

As a coach, Dwyer says he’s both a little nervous and excited about Sunday’s race.

“The group is trained very well and have good plans,” he said.  “We'll send everyone off on a shuttle early and not see them again until the finish.  It'll be exciting to see them come across the finish line.”

Normally, at races such as The Woodlands Marathon and the Chevron Houston Marathon, Dwyer and his assistant coaches Mary Carter, Rich Cooper, Juliee Sparks and Layton Gill can be found at various places on the course supporting their athletes.

As far as making those good plans, Dwyer said he learned both from Tezino and Godfrey’s efforts at Tunnel Light last year as well as his marathoners that ran Mount Charleston in Las Vegas earlier this year.

“I am (little) worried about being accurate with the downhill course, (though) I did learn a lot at Revel,” he said.  “This course is a 2,000 foot drop over 26-miles, 1-1/2% grade so it should be easier on everyone than Revel was.

Many of the race plans will mimic those of Tezino and Godfrey’s.

“I had set race plans for 3:40 finishes for both and they both finished in 3:39 so the race plans were spot on,” he added.  “This year’s group is in as good of shape as Laura and Sandra were last year and the weather is setting up to be favorable.”

And with favorable weather comes a trail that is in excellent condition – especially since the majority of the group aren’t hard-core trail runners.

“It's a fairy groomed trail so I have down played the effect – basically not much different than the surface at Memorial Park,” Dwyer explained.  “I have two runners – Juan Flores and Bonnie Scholz -- that get excited for any sort of trail.  They are extra motivated.”

Volte looks to continue its traveling – as a group - in 2018 as they will return to Revel Mount Charleston in late April.

He added that “there are a few other events being tossed around, but nothing set in stone.”

One thing is for certain, though, Dwyer says that he’s draws a lot from his runners.

“I have stated many times that I'm very blessed to have so many great individuals surrounding me,” he said.  “Everyone in our group, not just this training group, brings a lot to Volte.”

A large part of the reason that caused Dwyer to reflect when asked if he preferred coaching here in his prime – or when he was a runner in his prime (with a BQ, a Boston Marathon finish and a pair of 100-mile finishes).

“Good question.  I would say coaching,” he said.  “Coaching is much more rewarding.  Sharing the experiences I have already lived with others - passing it all on.”

Hard to imagine anyone on Sunday making the trip from outside of Washington state that will have a bigger smile on their face than Dwyer.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Brian Schultz, You're Going To Boston!

Volte is on the cusp of the fall racing season as we're less than a week away from 22 of our runners competing in the Tunnel Light Marathon in Washington state on Sunday, September 17.

It will be a return trip for Laura Godfrey and Sandra Tezino as they both qualified for the 2017 Boston Marathon a year ago at this race.

They will be joined by these other Volte team members:

Derek Bailey, Juan Flores, Todd Hunter, Bonnie Scholz, Yaya Herrera, Tammy Grado, Michelle McGill, Gabby Westbrook, Monse Loumeus, Carrie Hyde, Jon Braunersreuther, Lauren Hoffart, Leanne Rosser, Rapha Machado, Judith Albarran, Kristi Chen, Erica Coleman, Mike Coleman, Marta Mixa, Falon Gunter

Running in the final race of and completing the Under Armour B3 Distance Series was our Lisa Johnson.

Rain didn't dampen the time or the spirits of Lisa Johnson in finishing the Under Armour Charles Street 12
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Johnson)
On Saturday, September 2, Lisa completed the Under Amour Charles Street 12 (miler) in the rain in Towson, Maryland in 2:27-even.

This goes with finishes earlier in the year in the Under Armour KELLY St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K and the Under Armour Sole of the City 10K presented by KELLY.

A light turnout at the monthly The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K on Sunday, September 3, but it was the first masters race ever for Jerritt Park -- and he finished it in 20:49.

Holding off a couple of youngsters from the Salt and Light Homeschool Cross Country Team was Jerritt Park
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
A couple of guys with about 1,500 races between them - Ken Johnson and Jon Walk - ran the course together in 39:28.

Elevating our group with a finish at 5,003 feet above sea level was Landa Wright's sister, Kristee Jones.

On Labor Day in Fort Collins, Colorado, she completed the Fortitude 10K in 1:21:17.

The race was produced by folks who are responsible for the Memorial Day BolderBOULDER 10K and held in conjunction with the opening of Colorado State University's brand new football stadium.

The race had over 6,800 finishers in its first year.

Volte added yet another runner to its roll of Boston Qualifiers on Saturday, September 9.

Please welcome Brian Schultz, who travelled to Geneva, Illinois for the Last Chance to BQ.2 Marathon, in search of 3:40 or better -- and he found it in the tune of a three-minute and 11-second personal best.

His time of 3:36:17 bettered his previous best at the 2013 Chicago Marathon where he finished in 3:39:11.

"Brian had a very good day and maybe just sets the stage for the next few weeks for us," says Volte head coach Bill Dwyer.

He joins Derek Bailey, Erica Coleman, Juan Flores, Kristi Chen, Laura Godfrey, Mike Csikos and Sandra Tezino.

On Sunday, September 10, Volte runner and Seven Hills Running Club officer Dana Formon competed in a mixed relay at the 5th annual Onalaska Half Triathlon in Onalaska.

Couldn't find any bigger smiles than that of Craig Henderson, Volte athlete Dana Formon and Jesse Hart
(Photo courtesy of Dana Formon)
Her team, the Tricyclics, finished second in the division in a time of 6:36:19.

"I had the most amazing experience today with the best teammates ever," said Formon.  "Tri relays are where it's at, yo - and the world better watch out, because no relay is safe from the TRIcyclics."

Jesse Hart led the team into the water while Craig Henderson did the 56-mile bike portion before Dana finished it all off with a 2:16:42 half marathon.

Doing two races he did on the same second weekend of September two years ago, Jon Walk completed the Ticket Lady Trot 10K in Millsap - west of Fort Worth - on Saturday, September 9 in 1:03:14 and the Brain Power 10K in Cedar Park - outside of Austin - the next day in 1:05:44.

In Millsap, Walk was fourth overall and second male overall ... out of six (6) finishers!

Harvey Didn't Wipe These Results Away

So, how are ya'll doing?  Indeed, it's been awhile.

And, no, Hurricane Harvey did not wash your results away.

As they are not only inscribed in your heart and soul, but digitally forever.

In fact, your loyal scribe got these results approximately 24 hours before Harvey made landfall.  Life has just now settled down enough to give your efforts the focus, attention and respect they deserve.

You wait for the good stuff, right?

Tri.  Beer.  Track.  Fun.  Humid.  Hot.  Night.

The seven states of endurance sports?  Maybe!

Those are our themes for approximately four weeks from the last weekend of July to the third weekend of August.

In hindsight, Rapha Machado will tell you that the end of July might have been about as stressful as Harvey was, but for non-weather related reasons.

Both Rapha and his wife needed to return to Brazil to have their visas reapproved in July - and Rapha's wife just happened to take three weeks ... too long.

And it also affected his training and preparation for the Cypress Sprint Triathlon, held on Sunday, July 30.

He covered the 550-meter swim (15:38), 13-mile bike (42:47) and 5-kilometer run (31:37) in an hour, 35 minutes and 18 seconds.

His parting shot of the entire experience was to say, "By the way, I feel like a truck ran over me."

The ladies' field at the third annual Southern Star Brewing Company 5K in Conroe seemed to think our Leanne Dyksterhuis was moving as fast as a big rig  on the interstate.

Just smiling for the camera as she comes in for the win is Leanne Dyksterhuis
(Photo courtesy of Run In Texas)
She defended her title by taking first overall in 21:24.

We had another half dozen run the race as well as a few of our friends.

The first of our runners across the line were the Hanyzewskis.  Brian took his second straight Run In Texas beer run 5K from Laura by beating her to the finish line by about 70 seconds.

Brian stopped the clock in 28-minutes even, while Laura crossed in 29:10.

We're certain that Laura is just biding her time for a win at a time of her choosing.

Waverly Walk has been doing a very diligent job with her training in getting ready to run her first marathon in January.

Southern Star was a race that she was to run with her youngest niece; however, she had other plans get in the way.

Running on the same course as a year ago, she finished in 31:29 -- a one minute, 47-second improvement over 2016.

Christine Falzon and Jimmy Baker ran the entire course together as Jimmy was able to put a bib on for the first time in a few weeks.  They went the distance in 36:12.

And as steady as he can be, Alfredo Gonzalez finished in 39:32.

Mary-Ellen Wilderman-Hay led our friends with a 23:26 second-place age group finish while her husband Brad came in at the 28:12 mark.

Tina Saims made it in 25:10 while Ken Johnson took some hardware back home to Huntsville with a 39:48 second-place age group finish.

Later that afternoon, Juan Flores coordinated another fundraiser for the Aldine MacArthur High School cross country and track programs at his alma mater.

Former Rice Owl (far right) Luis Armenteros leads some MacArthur Generals alumni around the school track on a hot Saturday afternoon  (Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Because of construction taking place around the high school, he made it a 3,200 meter run on the track, which brought out one of Houston's best road racers, former Rice Owl, Luis Armenteros.

El Organizador on the far left keeps pace with the youngsters.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Juan was fourth overall in 11:56, while Rob Rodriguez posted a time of 14:40 and Marta Mixa was the second overall female in 18:25.

Marta Mixa making it look easy like on a Tuesday night at the track.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
The next evening, Sunday, August 6, was The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K and Volte v. Friends put another win in the Volte column.

Volte was led by Jerritt Park in 20:55.  Mayra Caamano was our first female in 24:13.  Monica Moreno and Chloe Kramer finished in 36:11 and 39:03, respectively.

Jerritt Park gets a little airtime in the Barbara Bush Elementary School parking lot during the TWRC Sunday Night 5K.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Leading the Friends team was Edson Jones in 23:08, while Vincent Attanucci followed in 29:23 and Ken Johnson and Jon Walk ran the course together in 39:18.

Our jet-setting racer, Leanne Rosser, took off to Vancouver, British Columbia for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon on Saturday, August 12.

"I'm already plotting and scheming on how I can get to go back next year," she said.  "This was seriously a three-day party with a half marathon stuck in the middle of all of the fun ... not exaggerating.

"This race was only second to the Boston Marathon."

Leanne would stick out a time of 1:52:55 in one of north America's great and culturally diverse cities.

We're not done yet.

Humidity made itself known on Saturday, August 19 as it always does at the Lake Houston 5K and 10K.

"Very, very warm and humid conditions," said Volte head coach Bill Dwyer.  "Great job by everyone."

Great to have a young woman who has worked as hard as Amanda has to get where she is in her running - and life - today as part of Volte.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Making her Volte racing debut was Amanda Cruise and she did so in fine fashion with one of her fastest 5K times ever of 18:46 (three sub 19's), which won her age group and was second overall.

Rip Reynolds was second in his age group in the 10K in 41:18, while Alfredo Gonzalez completed the course in 1:24:37.

Bonnie Scholz's friend Julie Spain ran the 5K in 59:13 while Brooke Perkins, Leanne Rosser's stepdaughter, ran her first 5K ever in 41:06.

After doing the last Trinity 5000 Summer Series 5K on Thursday evening in Fort Worth in 32:38 and the Sabine Causeway 5K in Port Arthur the night before in 32:48, Jon Walk ran the 10K in 1:07:38.

Hot belonged to the Habanero Hundred in Cat Spring, Texas.

"They don't call it Habanero for nothing," said Juan Flores, who ran the 30K distance in addition to Bonnie Scholz.  "The heat and humidity was no joke."

Dwyer gave the green light to race to the duo - as they're both part of the group doing Tunnel Light Marathon on Sunday, September 17 - under one condition:  they managed themselves well.

"Everyone doing Tunnel Light was scheduled for an 18-miler," he said.  "The 30K was close enough in distance ... and they managed themselves well."

100 degrees.  Noon start time.  30K.  All no problem for Bonnie Scholz.  We're guessing the jalapeno jelly might be a little hot too.  (Photo courtesy of Bonnie Scholz)
Juan finished in 4:55:21, but Bonnie was the first overall woman in 3:32:33.

"We are all a little crazy in the trail running groups to be excited about starting an 18-mile run without cover at noon in Texas," she said.  "Thanks Juan Flores for telling me about this."

Juan's reward?  Bonnie said she'd share with him her winning prize:  Jalapeno jelly.

The Murillo family split the distances up with a pair doing the 10K and another two running the 50K.

Gustavo and Luis went 1-2 in the 10K in 47:03 and 52:35, respectively, over the sandy course.

Jose and Juan ran together in the 50K where they both slipped under eight hours in 7:59:55.

And we close the stretch with our night race -- the El Chupacabra de Houston 10K, which was held at the Lake Houston Wilderness Park near New Caney.

Well, they have a 5K too, but all of our folks and friends ran the longest distance.

Monica Moreno took first in her age group in 1:30:04, while her daughter - and Volte friend - Sabina Lorca finished in 1:10:35.  Frank Lopez took third in his age group in 1:27:45.