Tuesday, October 10, 2017

IM 70.3 Augusta Peachy Keen For Mike Kuykendall

Writing the Volte recaps is a lot like race announcing:  You’re thrown a diverse set of data (or people running towards you at the finish line) and the challenge is to make it as good or better than the effort that everybody exerted.

Always a fun challenge to accept, though.  It’s why we’re here, right?

Augusta, Georgia is home of the Masters golf tournament. 

For you non-golfers or sportsmen even, it is the most prestigious golf tournament in the world. 

The winners are given a green jacket to wear after they win.

They get to choose the meal for all of the participants at the next year’s Tournament.

You want fried chicken?  You got it.

Pretty heady stuff, huh?

Of course, for most triathletes, the holy grail of the sport is the Ironman World Championships in Kailea-Kona, Hawaii.

For our Mike Kuykendall, he’ll be the first to tell you that – for the time being – IM 70.3 Augusta was his Kona.

Yes, Mike, you gunned out the IM 70.3 August course.  Congratulations!
(Photo courtesy of Mike Kuykendall)
He approached his most arduous race with the same type of preparation, skill development, training and pre-event race selection that many of triathlon’s professionals do.

We’ve certainly been impressed with our front row seat to Mike’s journey.

While Augusta sits just 135 feet above sea-level, Wikipedia states that Augusts has a “humid subtropical climate”.

Mike said that he would be the first one to attest to that.

Having done a half marathon in Augusta to check off Georgia myself, I can attest that Augusta is laid out – elevation-wise – a lot like Huntsville State Park:  the elevation change is fairly constant.

It is why Mike faced 1,700 feet of elevation gain on the bike.

However, for somebody that was told that many years ago that he wouldn’t be able to physically accomplish all that he has today, his description of the day was even more worthwhile.

“What an awesome Ironman experience,” he said.  “Trusted my training and beat my anticipated time en route to a personal best on the swim and the bike legs.

“Too hot and humid (91 degrees) for me to do much speed on the run.”

He covered the 1.2-mile swim in the Savannah River in 37:55 and knocked off the 56-mile bike portion in 3:15:20.

Mike’s half marathon time was 2:36:35.

“The three mantras of the day became ‘Work on the mile you’re in’, ‘Be in the moment’ and Philippians 4:13,” said Mike.

The day before, Saturday, September 23, our runners faced hills and turns.

Waverly Walk drew the hills card at the 44th annual Virginia 10-Miler in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she studied Elementary Education at Liberty University.

Waverly Walk finishing her fourth straight Virginia 10-Miler.
(Free courtesy race photos from triduo.com)
It was her fourth time to run the race, but the first time she traveled to it – and not as rested as she had been previously.

Despite a quick start down Farm Basket Hill, a result of getting positioned in front of (instead of behind in previous years) a string of 10 runners that were running the 4-miler abreast carrying the flags of the different branches of military, she would be the first to admit that it also wasn’t her day.

She still finished in 1:50-even, better than in her sophomore and junior years but about two minutes off last year’s time as a senior.

The turns, featured in the Woodforest Charity Run 10K in Conroe, were managed well by Rip Reynolds.

He captured his age group in 40:42, while Volte friend Vincent Attanucci was second in his in 52:45.

The next morning started in Blackfield, Hampshire, England where the Smith family – Jen and the kids – participated in the Solent Half Marathon and a companion 800-meter dash.

This may be a candidate for Volte Race Photo of the Year as Hope Smith brings her Mom in from a tough half.
(Photo courtesy of Jen Smith)
“Good news and bad news,” Jen said.  “Respectable finish in 1:43:11.  Bad news was that I got nauseous at mile 4 and walked/ran the last nine.”

She reported that Grayson was first in the 800, Hope was fourth and Michaela was sixth.

On this side of the pond, Penny Garza made the trip to the Run Houston Race Series event at the University of Houston and finished the 5K in 42:11.

The bulk of Volte was at Texas 10 Series Huntsville.

Twelve ran the marquee 10-mile race, three ran the five-mile and Brayden Park doubled up running the 5K and the one-mile race.

All alone - even with an untied shoe - is Brayden Park.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
After posting a second in his age group time of 25:09 in the 5K, Brayden put the burners on for a first place, 6:20 personal best in the mile race.

Our five milers ran fairly close together.

Katie Gill completed the course in 54:41 while Naika Vargas and her niece, Maria Rivera, who was visiting from Venezuela, both finished in 57:07. 

Naika Vargas running with her niece, Maria Rivera.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Maria took home a second-place age group award for her efforts.

Kimberly Simmons was our only first place age group winner with a 1:20:10 time.

A group of four took second in their divisions – Rip Reynolds in 1:10:38, Keri Amador in 1:25:18, Dana Formon in 1:30:41 and George Rux in 1:32:00.

“I was very pleased,” said George.  “The race plan went well.  I had a negative split and finished strong.”

Only 26 of the 181 finishers ran a negative split – and 15 of them ended up on the podium.

George’s negative split was 59 seconds while Kimberly was the only other Volte to do so with an eight-second improvement on the back half of the course.

Jerritt Park finished in 1:23:55 while Layton Gill got ready for the Medtronics Twin Cities Marathon with a time of 1:30:10.

Denise Powers led the rest of Volte’s women with a time of 1:34:16 with Laura Hanyzewski in chase, finishing in 1:36:12.

Desna McDonald raced Lisa Johnson to the finish and got the better end – this time.  Desna stopped the clock in 2:03:38, while Lisa had Desna in sight in 2:04:06.

"Too much fun; no such thing!" is the motto of Desna and Lisa as they finish Texas 10 Series Huntsville
(Photo by Bill Dwyer)
Mr. Steady, Alfredo Gonzalez, took on the hills in 2:29:15.

Alfredo put 23 seconds on one of our friends, Ken Johnson from Huntsville, who finished in 2:29:38, while Mike Menster was the first overall men’s master finisher in 1:05:30.

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