Friday, May 11, 2018

Volte's 2018 Road to Boston: Michelle McGill

(Note:  One profile is left to catch up on from prior to the race.  We apologize for not having the writing mojo for a little bit.  Rather do it well, than do the effort a disservice.  ~NV)

When you fear you may lose something, you invariably work harder to hold on to it – especially if it is something worth keeping.

Or better yet, experiencing.

Heading into this year’s Boston Marathon – and why it is so important to her, five years ago Michelle McGill had almost made her mind up not to another 26.2-mile race.

“I think what brings me back to this race is 2013 – “the bombing year” - being my first Boston,” she said.  “As I thought it would have been my last marathon, it makes me work harder to get there every year.”

The group’s co-leader with 32 marathon finishes heading into the race, it was marathon #28 – the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York – that gave her the golden entry ticket.

“I loved the course.  It was beautiful,” Michelle said.  “It was the first race of the season and the first one coming back from an injury.

“I was so happy to run pain free.”

Just about a mile from the finish at Wineglass; making it look easier than most!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Which is her goal every time she puts her shoes on to run 26.2 miles, including her fourth Boston Marathon.

“It is to try and enjoy – as much as you can in a marathon it, run pain free and feel good at the end,” she noted.

At Wineglass, Michelle came away with a 3:50:01 reward for her effort.

Pretty good when you consider that she chose it “because a big group of friends were doing it.”

And this year’s Boston will be no different.

“I look forward to sharing this experience with my friends and being there to cheer on the first timers,” she exclaimed.  “I’m so excited for them.”

Her advice for them – which she got from her coach, Volte founder Bill Dwyer - is to “enjoy every second as you did the work and now is the time to celebrate.”

Dwyer celebrates what McGill adds to Volte.

“Michelle is the heart of our group,” he said.  “She's steady in training and in her approach to running races.

“Her "bad day" is just a hand full of minutes off of what a good day would be; so she pretty much always has a good day.”

Michelle's way of affirming that she had a "good day" at Wineglass.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Other than a few minor aches, McGill admits that training has gone well that she appreciates “all (of my) running friends and family (who) have helped” to get ready.

While she’s not certain what the remainder of 2018 holds from a running perspective as she continues to work on a race schedule, one thing she did say that she was looking forward to:  “A bit of rest!”

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

53 Voltes Notch A Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Half Marathon or ABB 5K Race Finish

The Chevron Houston Marathon and its two companion races – the Aramco Houston Half Marathon and the ABB 5K – are some of the most heavily participated in by Volte runners each year.

And 2018 was no exception.

Volte had 53 runners – including two overachievers, Mike Kuykendall and Leanne Rosser, who both ran the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday – cross a unified finish line.

A half-dozen racers got things started on Saturday, January 13 in the ABB 5K.

Illustrating that it is not always about how fast you can go; Amanda Cruise paced her husband Jeff for most of the race and then joined Leanne Rosser down the stretch to aid her to a 24:44 finish.

Amanda’s time was 24:25 while Jeff stopped the clock in 28:31.

Mike enjoyed the morning with a time of 31:55 while Jimmy Baker paced Christine Falzon to a 36:26 finish.

In the marquee race, 29 Volte racers pinned a bib on and included eight PR’s, three debuts and two Boston Qualifiers.

Judith Albarran led us alphabetically with a 4:19:31 finish, which took 14 minutes and 22 seconds off of her previous best marathon finish of 4:33:53 at last September’s Tunnel Light Marathon.

Her debut marathon a stone’s throw from a Boston Qualifier, Keri Amador literally got some last-minute help from Volte’s first homegrown Ironman, Landa Wright.

Another day and Keri Amador will secure her Boston Qualifier.  So close!
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“I gave it my all out there and couldn't have asked for a better first marathon,” Amador said of her 3:40:18 finish.  “I went into the race calm and cool – well, except for about one minute before the start when my watch failed.

“Without hesitation Landa pulled off her watch and gave it to me. She had her own race to run and her own PR to chase, but literally didn't even give me a chance to refuse, just took it off and gave it to me.

“Because of her, I was not totally blind to my paces, and could ensure I didn't go out too fast.”

We’re certain that there’ll be more days for Keri to pick up the pace even more.

Larry Batton was also quick to credit some Volte race day assistance in helping him slay the “one tough hombre” that was the Houston Marathon.

“A special thanks to Wil Cole for helping to motivate me the last few miles,” Larry said.  “My coach Mary Carter was also out there at mile 22.  Just two of all the wonderful people in Volte who push me and make it all a joy.”

He added that while the 3:55:52 wasn’t “the time I wanted” he added that he was happy to break four hours.

“(I) think the lingering impact of a flu, poor sleep, cold weather, and a shoe that was tied too tight -which irritated the nerve and tossed off my stride - all had a contributing impact,” he added.

Mike "Sunshine" Csikos gives a two Gig 'Em affirmation that all is well with his CHM effort.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Faith Craig and Mike Csikos crossed the finish line in 4:40:25 and 3:26:04, respectively.

Our second debut marathoner was Megan Eastin.

Megan following Mike's Gig 'Em lead, but that's only natural for the Aggie grad finishing her first marathon.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“For the longest time I have wanted to run a marathon, but it has always been one of those ‘one day’ ‘bucket list’ type goals,” said the recent Texas A&M graduate.  “After hundreds of training miles, many early Saturday mornings, and much preparation, I finally accomplished that goal in a slow and steady 4:50.37. This is an indescribable amazing feeling, and I feel truly blessed for the ability to run.”

Laura Godfrey was ecstatic over her 3:37:59, which bettered her initial Tunnel Light Marathon effort in September 2016 by a minute and 36 seconds.

Laura Godfrey made Houston her best marathon effort ever and will head back to Boston yet another time next March.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
“PR and a 2019 Boston Qualifying Time!” she exclaimed.  “Thanks to my amazing coach Bill Dwyer and a special thanks to my running bestie Sandra Tezino for a great training cycle.”

A year ago, Randy Harris, by virtue of finishing under four hours (3:54:23) was in the pool to be selected for the Chevron Houston Marathon’s giveaway of a free trip to one male and one female runner to the 2017 Athens Classic Marathon in Greece.

This January, Randy was two minutes and 39 seconds shy of lightning possibly striking twice by completing his fifth consecutive Houston Marathon in 4:02:39.

Writing about the Hanyzewskis is always fun.

We always envision Laura and Brian battling out each race against each other till death do they part.

Last year, Laura ran with Brian every step of the way for his 5:26:54 marathon debut.

Brian Hanyzewski puts the hammer down on a 50-minute PR with his 4:36:21 finish.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
And while Laura covered the distance four minutes faster than Brian did this year, he dropped more than 50 minutes off last year’s time with a showing of 4:36:21.

How does it happen that two people next to each other alphabetically – Yaya Herrera and Todd Hunter – both had to recover from the flu to make it to the starting line?

Todd completed the course in 3:55:26 while Yaya did in 3:59:32.

Each time out, Monse Louimeus keeps chipping away at her marathon time – with a little help from her friends.

“The Houston Marathon is a beast, but we did it,” she said alluding the to total teamwork of her Volte teammates, coach and family.  “A special thanks to my family for being so supportive and keeping up with the cold weather this morning.

“It really made a difference seeing each of you and it really helped me push through the pain with a smile.”

Of course, a smile that has seen Monse go from a .8-mile shortened time of 4:29:20 at last March’s The Woodlands Marathon to 4:23:25 at the Tunnel Light Marathon this past September to a nice even 4:09.

Michelle McGill led our three pack of M&M’s – including Mack Miller and Monica Moreno – with her 12th consecutive Chevron Houston Marathon finish.

She finished in 3:52:03 – her seventh sub-4 at Houston in the last eight years.

Mack and Monica came in at 4:42:02 and 5:33:35, respectively.

In baseball, they call it a walk-off home run.

Greg Nettleton may be calling the marathon a done deal with a walk-off PR perhaps?

“Marathon two is in the books with a respectable 4:05:29.  Room for improvement, but I score it as a win,” he said after bettering his 4:50:02 marathon debut last year at the Chicago Marathon.  “That makes it Marathon 1 - Greg 1.”

“Not sure if there will be a rubber match,” he added.  “To be honest I love the journey - my running group Volte Endurance Training -is awesome, but not too fond of the race.”

Jerritt Park and Tim Russell both completed their second Houston Marathon in respective times of 4:15:16 and 4:20:33.

Brian Schultz notched his best time of five straight Houston Marathon finishes with a 3:53:12 showing.

Andrew Smith finished his first Houston in 4:38:40 while Jen Smith returned from England to complete her fifth Houston in the last six years in 4:04:34.  (Jen had also complete Aramco Houston half marathons in 2011 and 2012.)

The only “Juliee” ever to post a finish at Houston – in either the half or the marathon – had the curve of food poisoning thrown at her, Juliee Sparks finished her third Houston Marathon in five years in 4:23:38.

Amber Speers, who shares the same hometown (Groves) as Sparks, stopped the clock in her fourth Houston Marathon (and 11th overall) in 4:40:04.

Saying it wasn’t her best time, Sandra Tezino still could have used her Houston effort to qualify – and be able to sign up too – for the Boston Marathon if she hadn’t already off her Tunnel Light performance.

“It wasn’t the time I desired but it was the race I ran,” she said of her 3:50:01 time.  “Sometimes finishing has to be enough for me … and it was today.”

Four marathoners left – three PR’s and a debut.

Richard Tong beat last year’s Houston Marathon time by just more than 20 minutes as he punched out a 4:14:32 finish, bettering his 4:34:55 showing from 2017.

Jill Tresaugue made her fourth career Houston Marathon finish her best marathon time ever as she crossed in 3:51:44.  It is her third straight sub-4 at Houston.

She and her husband Matthew have combined 10 marathon and six half marathon finishes since 2007.

For the most of her father’s nine Houston Marathon finishes, Waverly Walk would run him in the last one to three miles – just depending on the year.

And Dad ran along with her every step in 2006 when she completed her first half marathon at Houston in 2:54:06 as a 10-year-old.

A smile and an effort even Sparky - #goflames - would approve of as Waverly Walk challenged Dad's family PR in her marathon debut.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Now 22, with her four years at Liberty University behind her, she decided to make real a dream that she had by completing his first marathon in 4:51:23.

“It was tough, but God was so faithful to give me strength and place people perfectly throughout the course to give me the extra ounce of encouragement I needed in that moment,” she said.  “Two of those people were my Mom, who saw me along the course, and Dad, who ran part of the race with me.

“I couldn't have asked for a better coach, Bill Dwyer, to train me and running partner, Megan Eastin, to complete the long runs with. Thank you to every person who encouraged me and prayed for me on race day and throughout the training process.”

The final PR of the group came from Gabby Westbrook.

And like Waverly, she echoed the hard work.

“The marathon is a beast,” she said.  “Bill Dwyer reminds us to respect the marathon for what it is.

“So many miles are spent on the road training, many hours running, but the best part is building relationships at crazy early hours in the morning.”

Those crazy hours almost turned into an 11 a.m. celebration at the finish line.

“I tried to beat sub 4, but came one minute over at 4:01,” she exclaimed of her official 4:01:44 time – 12 minutes better than last year’s 4:13:51 at Houston.  “(It was a) personal best for this momma and I am happy considering the foot cramps that came and went and those hills at the end.

“Thank you to my Coach who has faith in me, to Todd Hunter who helped me with my nutrition plan, and to my running peeps who make this journey fun and teach me so much.”

Our Volte friends finished this year’s Chevron Houston Marathon as follows: 

Chris Weir - 2:46:32, James Reed - 3:05:22, Tim Griepp - 3:09:25, Ronnie Delzer - 3:10:39, Sarah Tyler - 3:34:06, Brandi Herrera - 3:41:09, Tina Saims - 3:41:24, Juan Murillo - 3:43:27, Sabina Lorca - 3:47:27, Griselda Borrero - 3:49:16, Mandi Fowlkes - 3:51:22, Reggie Bruhn - 4:04:34, Susan Rouse - 4:25:31, Gary Kroll - 4:26:31, Allyssa Smith - 4:26:34, Tom Tomson - 4:40:25, Vincent Attanucci - 4:43:50, Hector Lopez - 5:21:29.

In the half marathon, our team of 20 had two debuts at the distance, five personal bests and a sixth sacrificed their race to help another break two hours for another PR.

Derek Bailey led the way in 1:25:38, bettering his best by a minute and 33 seconds from his Aramco Houston Half three years ago of 1:27:11.

Rip Reynolds followed with a 1:30:14 while our top two females were Kimberly Simmons and Landa Wright, who finished in 1:43:42 and 1:45:28, respectively.

Randy Smith completed his seventh consecutive Aramco Houston Half in 1:52:16.

Eight seconds.  Tammy Grado might call her running career as wild as an eight-second ride in that her debut Aramco Houston Half Marathon came in 2006 when she ran a 2:33:28.

Twelve years later, she shaved eight seconds off her previous 13.1 personal best – set at Aramco in 2016 – with a 1:52:39 effort.

Grado has now completed the half marathon or marathon at Houston 11 of the last 13 years (six marathons and five halves).

Sally Buckelew finished her third consecutive race at Houston with a 1:53:08 half marathon – ten minutes and two seconds better than last year following a 4:15:28 marathon in 2016.

Pacing Volte friend Cristina Gray, Leanne Rosser helped her break two hours with a 1:59:37 time that was a 4-min, 28-second PR for Cristina.

Completing his fifth Aramco Houston Half in the last six years – and with a new best time to boot, Mike Kuykendall lowered his PR by three minutes and 42 seconds to 2:02:16, shedding the time from his effort two years ago.

Lauren Hoffart ran her first Aramco Half ever in 2:08:37 while Tiffanie Haidar completed her first half marathon ever in 2:11:49.

Paul Vita completed his third straight Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2:19:58, extending his streak of half or marathon finishes at Houston to eight (five marathons from 2011-2015 and half marathons the last three years.)

One finish shy of 20 between the marathon and the half, coach Rich Cooper made it a 2:24:25 finish for his eighth half marathon to going along with 11 Chevron Houston Marathon finishes.

Marta Mixa and Naika Vargas ran their second and fourth consecutive Aramco Houston Half Marathons in 2:28:49 and 2:30:25, respectively.

Posting a 14-minute, 22-second PR from her The Woodlands Half Marathon time two years ago, Julie Spain used a 2:31:09 for her second straight Aramco Houston Half finish.

Nilay Dinc debuted at the half marathon distance in 2:32:57, while Jeanine Price’s 2:44:22 was a minute and 19 seconds better than last year’s Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

Lisa Johnson’s first Aramco Houston Half Marathon was executed in 3:10:44 as Alfredo Gonzalez finished his fifth straight Aramco Houston Half – and seventh since 2009 – with a time of 3:20:23.

Our Volte friends did it this way in the Aramco Houston Half Marathon: 

Kate Looney - 1:27:04, Tiffanie Hauerwas - 1:32:41, Rob Rodriguez - 1:38:52, Sonia Dhodapkar - 1:44:52, Pam Owens - 1:54:25, Kim Hamilton - 1:56:47, Dan Jordan - 2:07:49, Jamie Kuder - 2:15:43, Fran Blanton - 2:28:10, Barry Blanton - 2:32:47

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Volte's January Efforts Still Noteworthy In May

Writing well sometimes takes a little longer as well as gathering all of the right material that goes into it.

So, yes, that’s our excuse for writing in May about January.

Pulling out Volte’s efforts at the Chevron Houston Marathon, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon and the ABB 5K, we still opened the first month of 2018 with some stellar efforts.

There’s really no other way to kickoff the New Year than to run one of Steve and Paula Boone’s races at the Metal Sawing Technology Texas Marathon in Kingwood on New Year’s Day.

Our own Waverly Walk for years – since middle school – has sung the National Anthem right before the race, except for this year when participants agreed upon a group sing as our soon-to-be debut marathoner was visiting friends from college in Virginia.

Dana Formon navigated the equidistant four-loop course on Kingwood’s Greenbelt Trails to drop her marathon personal best by more than six minutes with a time of 4:52:06.

Dana Formon can fry eggs on that medal this summer in Texas' heat after finishing the Texas Marathon on New Year's Day
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
She had previously run 4:58:12 a bit more than two years before at the 2015 Honolulu Marathon.

Volte friend Erika Park finished the marathon in 3:37:18 – a Boston qualifier, even with missing a turn on one of the loops – and the venerable Ken Johnson completed his 1,001st race, his 95th half marathon and had run on his 2,997th consecutive day of running with his time of 3:21:14.

You think that’s something?

Cassandra Roschen and her father, Len, completed Disney’s Dopey Challenge between Thursday, January 4 and Sunday, January 7 when they ran a 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and marathon on Sunday.

If you call Cassandra and her father, Len (pictured left), a little Dopey, they won't be offended at all after completing four races in four days at Walt Disney World.
(Photo courtesy of Cassandra Roschen)
And for Saturday’s half, they even got some additional family members involved.

The father-daughter team’s times were as follows:

Thursday, January 4 (5K) – Cassandra 53:31, Len 53:29
Friday, January 5 (10K) – Cassandra 1:50:13, Len 1:50:11
Saturday, January 6 (Half) – Cassandra 3:28:47, Len 3:28:49
Sunday, January 7 (Marathon) – Cassandra and Len, 5:48:50

She took more than an hour off of her previous marathon best from 2013 of 6:49:25, which was also at the Walt Disney World Marathon in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Cassandra’s mom, Jana, joined them for the 10K on Friday with a time of 1:58:13 and the half marathon on Saturday in 3:28:47.

Nephew Payton LaSota finished the half in 2:50:47 while her niece Alexis Alsesen covered the distance in 3:11:28.

Closer to home at The Woodlands Running Club Sunday Night 5K on Sunday, January 7, Brayden Park outlegged his father, Jerritt, by five seconds to lead all Volte runners with a time of 24:54.

Layton Gill posted a time of 26:32 while Katie Gill and Amanda Becker ran together, recording a 36:35 effort.

Layton Gill will a bit of Cajun swagger at the TWRC Sunday Night 5K finish line.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Volte friends who competed included Curtis Barton (26:07), Leah Koester (27:59), Vincent Attanucci (28:21) and Ken Johnson (41:07).

Just a couple of streakers -- running streakers, that is - in Ken Johnson and Vincent Attanucci.  Vincent's race at the TWRC Sunday Night 5K was wrapping up year 15 of running at least a mile every day.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Dwyer)
Vincent was celebrating his 15th year of running at least a mile every single day.

One week after the Chevron Houston Marathon, Juan Flores and David Campbell took on the Downhill to Downtown 3M Half Marathon on Sunday, January 21.

One of Volte’s bad hombres – running hombres, that is -- led us with a time of 1:34:34, while David followed in a great time of 1:40:26.

Volte fanned out across Texas the following weekend.

Lauren Hoffart participated in the Lone Star Cystic Fibrosis Tower Climb in San Antonio on Saturday, January 27.

She was third in her age group in 18:32, which included a one-mile run of 7:31 and then running up 952 steps of the Tower of the Americas in 11:01.

The climbing was even more real within the confines of Tyler State Park, just north of Tyler.

That’s where a few Voltes and some friends took on the inaugural Running The Rose trail races.

The always tough Mayra Caamano led the way as the second overall female in the 33-mile sufferfest with a time of 6:17:02.

Our ultra-loving Bonnie Scholz had signed up for double the pleasure – yes, the 66-mile race.  She called it a day after 33 miles in an unofficial time of 7:37:26.

Yes Sir, that's Bill Dwyer's own medal for finishing the 7K at Running The Rose as he's joined by Bonnie Scholz (left) and Mayra Caamano (right).
(Photo courtesy of Random Athletic Supporter)
Pinning a bib on for the first time since a Bush was in the White House, our founder Bill Dwyer did the 7K in 2:25:22.

“Well, that didn’t go very well,” he said.  “Except that it was a finish and I didn’t die.”

Volte friend Jon Walk went that distance in 1:05:36 while the Murillo boys got in a little Trail Racing Over Texas action as Luis covered the 11-mile race in 1:25:14 while Juan did the 66-miler in 17:16:05.

Further west at the first race of the 2018 Texas 10 Series in Boerne on Sunday, January 28, Mike Csikos won his age group with a time of 1:11:01.  Jerritt Park was not far behind in 1:15:07.

Volte friend Ken Johnson finished in 2:20:42.

In the five-miler, Leanne Rosser dropped to the five-miler while running the 10 for an unofficial finishing time of 42:10.

Volte friends Dianna and Ray Sarno of Huntsville posted times of 1:05:02 and 1:05:04, respectively.

Brayden Park won the 5K race in 28:20 then later participated in the Lil’ Texas Kids’ 1-mile.

In downtown Houston, with Volte friend Jon Walk on the microphone, we had runners in the inaugural Hot Chocolate 15K and 5K.

Amanda Williams, Michelle McGill and Tammy Grado crossed the 15K finish line together in 1:30:46, 1:30:47 and 1:30:55, respectively.  Llana Bingham also did so in 1:41:29.

Volte friends Allison Urvan and Pam Owens completed the single loop course in 1:04:00 and 1:19:23, respectively.

In the 5K, Nilay Dinc and Cassidy Grado recorded times of 31:04 and 38:29, respectively, while Volte friends Barry and Fran Blanton stopped the clock in 33:04 and 34:34.

And we wrapped up January in a big way as Shelby Williams was the second overall female of the USA Fit Marathon in Sugar Land on Sunday, February 28.

She won her age group as well with an easy Boston qualifying time of 3:21:50.

Our own Erica Coleman was a former winner of the race in 2014 with a time of 3:24:52.

Volte friend Kim Mac Namee was the women’s top masters in the 5K with a showing of 21:01.