Mike and I headed up to Denver the day before the race with hope that our race would go well after an extremely stressful week for both of us. We did all the things that would help us have a successful race the next day. When we got to the drop off point and headed on the bus to get to the starting line, we quickly realized that the bus driver didn’t know where he was going. We eventually made it there but not without some anxiety. That should have been a sign to me that the day would not turn out like I had expected. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for a running race. I started at the front with all of the other fools and when the gun went off I went out at my intended pace and was able to hold that even through the crazy first 2.5 miles of rolling hills. The uphills were not insignificant and by the time I made it to mile 4 I was already a little tired. It was the first time that I had no umph or energy at the beginning of a race. It was all I could do to hold a 7 min pace. As I descended down the course, I noticed how horrible the road was with a bank at every turn. This did not pose well for someone like me who already struggles with a testy SI joint. Despite all of this, I gave it my best and just tried to hold a somewhat decent pace so I could finish. Somehow I still managed to place 2nd in my age group even though I only ran this race in 1:33.37. It would have been easy to be disappointed in my time that was 6 minutes slower than my last revel half marathon, but I knew deep down that my efforts were truly the best I could have done that day.
PERSEVERANCE is the word I would use to describe Emma’s race at Garmin Running Lane XC Championships in Huntsville, Alabama. She came into the race sick. She was coughing, had a sore throat, and was very congested. It was already not an ideal situation, but she was still positive about being able to push herself despite that deficit. We picked up her race day kit (which included a cool hat, sunglasses, and backpack), bought a few fun things at the Expo, and then she did her shakeout run with some of her club-mates that were also there to run in the Gold Division. Coach Lisa was there and gave the girls a great pep talk about the course and strategy for the race. After their shakeout run, Emma and I headed back to the hotel for a relaxing day of rest and stretching. We headed out later that night to eat at an Italian restaurant called Mazzara’s to carbo load before race day. It was already slightly raining but what we weren't expecting was the overnight downpour. The course that is normally a fast course where most girls get their PRs, was a hot mess with mud and lots of water. The girls had to tape their spikes so they wouldn’t come off in the mud. And yet, she went to the starting line without one complaint. Since she was running unattached from a team or club, she just did her strides and warm up drills on her own. Never wavering. She knew what to do. She started and finished that race with her head held high. She didn’t PR, nor did she get close to what she is used to getting, but she came away with the knowledge that she can do hard things and what a character-building moment that was for her. I am prouder of her for what she did in this race than I have been for any other race she has competed in. It takes real guts to run a race like that feeling the way she did. When the race was over, we just looked at each other and smiled even though we were both covered in mud…her more than me. What a crazy experience this race was for the both of us and a memory we will never forget.
traveling and Pre-race stuff
Traveling and being able to hang out in the Centurion Lounge is pretty awesome. They still were making Thanksgiving type sides which we loved!
This race had awesome swag...especially for those running in the highest Gold Division which Emma was entered into. The backpack was especially cool and also the winter running hat!
Coach Lisa from Emma's club team was there with the Coronado boys team but she took the time to talk with Emma and some of the other club girls from Palmer HS. She gave them a great pep talk and talked about strategy and told me to grab 3/4 inch spikes which I did immediately at the Expo.
Carbo loading at Marazzas
One of my favorite all time photos of Emma running
Nike Southwest Regionals (NXR) was Emma’s last race of the season, and we couldn't be prouder of how she finished her 2021 XC season. She was 47th out of 181 in the coveted championship race, 2nd for her team, and finished the race in 18:39 on a hot, dusty course after battling a week of being congested. While her time is impressive, what is even more impressive is the fact that she ran the 5K on a crappy course that ended up being longer than an official 5K (3.10 miles). Many logged it as over 3.20 miles which means that her true 5K time was about 30 seconds faster. Some overhead several of the Nike officials talking about how they really messed it up this year. Well isn't that nice...looks like we may be looking at Footlocker for next year's regional race. On a positive note, the Pine Creek girls team placed 9th out of the top 22 teams from Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. The girls decided to race as a team this year and to just have fun and that is exactly what they did. It was fun to watch them run out to the starting line as a team holding the flag with their team's name written on it. This truly was a great way to end an awesome season.
Mike and I ran in the Revel Big Bear Half Marathon, and it was quite the adventure. We both PR'd which is amazing. I finished in 1:26.47 (6:37 avg pace), placed 1st in my age division (40-44), 6th female out 690, and 43rd overall out of 1101 runners. Mike finished in 1:48.41 (8:17 avg pace), placed 27th in his age division (45-49), 152nd male out of 411, and 259th overall out of 1101 runners. He only trained for 3 weeks since he had been injured and his longest run was 9 miles. That's incredible. I wasn’t injured so I spent the last few months training hard for this race including many severe downhill fast paced runs to get my legs ready for the pounding. My first 7 miles were between 6:16-6:22 pace and when I hit mile 8, I got the worst side stitch ever. I'm inclined to think I drank too much water when taking my gu at mile 7. It completely threw off my game and I had to really dig deep for that next 2 miles to get my head back in the game and to keep running sub-7. It was a mental suffer fest for the rest of the race, but I knew if I could just hold on I could still PR so that’s what I did. It just goes to show that sometimes even when you train smart you can still hit hurdles along the way. It’s how we face those challenges that determine how strong we really are.
AUGUST 28, 2021
CHERRY CREEK LOHMAN INVITATIONAL
CHERRY CREEK HS
5K - 20:30.20
The first meet of the season was up in Denver at Cherry Creek HS. Emma was a little nervous to run the course since it was all pavement, and she prefers to run on the dirt trail. I'm afraid she got in her head a little bit about the course but still was able to run a good race despite the weather being a little too hot and her calves being a little too tight. She wasn't too thrilled with her time as she wanted to be under 20 minutes. The first meet is not always going to be the best meet, but it is a good time to work out the kinks. Emma's motto after this race was to shake it off and move on.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2021
5K - 19:17.42 (PR)
Emma went into this meet with nerves as always and a stomach that wasn't feeling quite right. At the beginning of the race, she was in the front pack with five other girls. I yelled at her to stay with the pack. I was really hoping she would be able to do it. As I waited on the trail for the girls to do their out and back, I was floored when I saw the lead bike and the first-place girl come down the trail with Emma right behind. She was in 2nd place!!! She was only a few steps in front of her teammate, but she was able to maintain her position. As she ran up the last hill, Mike was there to encourage her and to tell her how far the girl behind her was. Emma took off like a bullet, running into the track at a 5:30 pace and rounded the last corner to the finish line at a 5:05 pace. She finished the race in an all-time PR of 19:17. She was beyond excited and surprised by her performance. This was a really good meet for Emma. After this meet Emma was ranked #8 in CO for the sophomore girls.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2021
LIBERTY BELL INVITATIONAL
5K - 19:35.20
There was so much pressure going into this meet as it is the highlighted meet of the season at elevation. Liberty Bell is a fast-paced course with both pavement and trail sections. It is the one meet where the athletes usually get their elevation PRs. Emma was super nervous today and her calves were still a little tight. Her goal was to break 19 min. She was seeded to be 2nd on her team at the starting line but at the last minute one of her teammates who is a senior, decided that she was going to take the 2nd spot. Emma was so nervous that she let her. After the gun went off Emma was tripped by the girl next to her but luckily didn't fall. She ran hard and even though after she told us that all she wanted to do was stop because she was hurting so bad, she kept on running. She finished the course in 19:35 which was still faster than any of her times from last season. She ran through the finish line and saw the clock which said 22 something and was so upset. What she didn't realize was the clock was the correct time for the boy's race which was 3 minutes before the girls Sweepstakes A race. She was somewhat relieved when I told her that she ran in the 19 min range. Her sweet teammate and friend Lauren grabbed some ice for Emma's legs. There is always something to learn from each race...stand up for yourself, give it all you have even when you are not feeling 100%, and be kind to yourself when you fall short of your goal.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2021
QUEEN CREEK, AZ
5K - 18:08.10 (NEW ALL TIME PR)
Desert Twilight XC Festival 2021 in Arizona was a BLAST! This was the MOST exciting race I’ve ever watched Emma run. It is the most coveted race of the season because it is a place where these kids who train at elevation can PR big time. And that is exactly what happened tonight. This race which is run late at night is so unique and so fun. Emma came in 1st for her team, 27th overall in the elite Sweepstakes race (23 teams from all over the Southwest) crossed the finish line in 18:08.09 (5:50 pace) and took 1 min and 9 sec off her previous best time. I believe her girls team also came in 4th overall. I’m in constant awe at her abilities and her sportsmanship. She is humble and kind to all her teammates. My favorite part of the night was turning around at the finish and watching Peter just hug her and jump up and down with excitement. He flew in just to watch her run. It was so fun to have Peter here to witness such an exciting time in Emma’s running career.
mandatory study time
warming up before the race
OCTOBER 1, 2021
DOHERTY SPARTAN INVITATIONAL
BEAR CREEK PARK EAST
5K - 18:42.00 (NEW ELEVATION PR)
Emma had another great meet running at the Doherty Spartan Invitational. This course was new to our team, but it ran along some of the same sections as the State meet course. With a few more hilly sections, this course has been deemed as one the hardest courses of the season. After coming off an extremely successful meet in Arizona, Emma was full of positive energy. With 1K into the course she was sitting where she normally does which is right next to her teammate Madelyn. She ran in line with her until the grind up the long hilly section where she pulled away. By the time she made it to the top and started her way downhill and on the flats, she was well ahead and in 3rd place. Running a 5:15 pace on that last flat section (I only know that from zooming into her watch) she closed the gap between her and the second-place girl. She finished strong in 3rd place, only 2 seconds behind the 2nd place girl. Emma managed to pull out an elevation PR of 18:42.00 on a really tough course. The Pine Creek girls team placed 2nd at this meet. Heritage HS from Denver took 1st. Currently, Emma is ranked #9 in CO for Sophomore girls.
OCTOBER 8, 2021
PPAC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORTH MONUMENT VALLEY PARK
5K - 18:59.36
With three weeks in a row of racing, no one really knew how this race was going to play out. Emma seemed to be in good spirits all week and even when we were strategizing about the course, she said she wasn't all that nervous. We have been doing everything we can to keep her legs in tip top shape such as Grastron scraping, manual therapy stretching and pressure point therapy with Jenna who she and I see weekly for PT. The new thing as of late has been active release therapy (ART) with Dr. Wood. She has been able to run without super tight calves which has been awesome. He also makes sure her hips are in alignment since she tends to get out of alignment like her mom. Having done all of that, there is never any guarantees how an athletes legs are going to feel. At the beginning of the race Emma was in the same position she usually is in at the beginning of her races. She was in the front pack but never out in front. She tends to hang to the back of that fast pack and between mile 1 and 2 she usually makes her move and starts passing those in front of her. Just before mile 2 she had moved from 6th to 2nd place and held that position until the finish line where she pushed hard enough that last stretch to give herself a sub 19 minute finish time. With only 18 seconds behind her friend and club teammate Tessa, Emma finished in 18:59. It is worth noting that Emma has been consistently at least 40 seconds behind Tessa the entire season. So, this was quite a run for Emma on tired legs. The Pine Creek girls varsity team placed 1st for the fourth year in a row. The girls were quite excited by this huge accomplishment. I love this girls team so much and we will truly miss the seniors who are leaving next year as well as Alexis and Mikayla who will most likely be doing some serious biking.
OCTOBER 21, 2021
COLORADO 5A REGIONALS 5
NORTH MONUMENT VALLEY PARK
5K - 18:59.30
There was lots of excitement heading into Regionals. Emma seemed excited and a little nervous about an upset tummy she had been having all week, which made me all the more nervous as I watched her get ready to run this race. The beginning of the race was like most races she runs. She was out in the front pack but not out in front. She was sitting nicely in between four of her teammates as they pushed each other along the course. At mile one she was right where she usually is and by mile 2 I was expecting to see her further ahead but she was trailing by almost 10 seconds behind two of her teammates. I cheered her on at this point and told her to go and catch them. When she got to the top of the hill she told me that she just sprinted to catch up. By the last 800m stretch she and Maddie pushed each other to the last stretch of the race. Emma came in 3rd, only 2 seconds behind Maddie for an amazing finish to a somewhat mentally tough race. Emma ended up finishing in about the same time as last meet but was just ever so slightly faster. All the girls on the Pine Creek varsity XC team ran an amazing race and their team came in 1st for Regionals for the 4th year in a row. All 5 of their top scoring girls on the team came in the top 15, each earning an individual spot in the State meet. What an amazing accomplishment for these super talented girls!
OCTOBER 30, 2021
COLORADO 5A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
NORRIS PENROSE EVENTS CENTER
5K - 19:07.80
It is always exciting to make it to the State Championship race and all the more nerve racking to run this race in Colorado. Colorado has some of the best female runners in the nation. In fact, two of the high school teams that are in the 5A category are #3 and #6 in the nation (Cherry Creek and Arapahoe). That being said, the Pine Creek girls team held their own in a competitive field of runners. Emma ran this tough course in 19:07.80 which is a new state course PR for her. She cut over a minute off of her time from last year which is amazing. She tied with her teammate as they crossed the finish line as the first two girls on their team. Emma came in 27th place overall. Even though some of her teammates struggled on the course, their team was still able to take 5th place which is the best their team has ever done at a state meet. This truly was a great season for Emma and one in which she will never forget.
I’m so happy with how I did on my first ever bike only race. Today was the Pikes Peak Hill Climb race which is 12.14 miles and 4721 ft of climbing. It was a different feeling racing up this mountain rather than just riding up it. The competitive women’s categories all started together except for the 2 professional women who started after us (10 women in my heat). I placed 2nd in my age division and 5th overall woman for the competitive category. The first 2 professional women came in 30 min ahead of the rest of us. It was so amazing to watch them as they passed us. I didn’t break 2 hours which was my goal, but I got pretty darn close. I crossed the finish line in 2:00.30 which was a new PR. Now I just need to come back next year even stronger so I can destroy that 2-hour time!! It was fun to meet a new friend at the race. She and I were in the same age division!! She just moved from Yokosuka, Japan which is where I lived 8 years ago. We had so much fun talking about Japan the entire way down!
This was the heat for the competitive women ages 20-60
This is the leaderboard for people I follow on Strava for the Pikes Peak Cycling race. Wow, my dad rode this race fast back in 2017!
I just finished my 3rd XTERRA triathlon and I couldn’t be happier with how this race went. Although I didn’t have as much time to train for this as I had wanted after my half marathon, I did have some quality workouts that really set me up for a good race. The most important of those were my tempo runs up Barr trail towards Pikes Peak and my 3 open water swims. I came into this race with more nerves than my half marathon 6 weeks ago, but I knew I was prepared enough to do well. With my sweet and supportive husband and fellow triathlete and friend, Dionne, I was nothing but calm race morning. My hope for this race was to not stop at all and to push hard the entire race. At Wave 5 of the swim I felt comfortable enough to swim without stopping. I finished the swim a tad slower than last time, but I didn’t stop and freak out. I did get kicked in the face by a swimmer swimming in the opposite direction who clearly crossed into traffic. It was a good thing I double capped like my friend Harley had told me to do. I was out of the water in the mid 18’s and had a much quicker transition to the bike. The bike was fun and tough. I was breathing hard 90% of the time. I got passed a few times by some faster male bikers on the first lap but then I passed quite a few people on the second lap. That was a clear sign that I should’ve been in a faster wave group. I ended up getting stuck behind a slower biker in a line of 7 people because this lady refused to let us pass for almost 5 min. That was really frustrating. Even still, I finished the bike 4 minutes faster than last time. My second transition was also faster off the bike. My run went surprisingly well, and I didn’t stop at all the entire run even on the steep switchbacks. All that training on Barr trail gave me the confidence to keep pushing slow and steady. I finished the run 4 minutes faster than last time as well, putting me in 3rd place for my age group. I was only 10 seconds behind the 2nd place girl. I couldn’t be happier that I overcame my fear of the lake once again and didn’t stop pushing hard the entire race. These XTERRA races are grueling and they push me to my limits, but I love it so much I will keep coming back until I get a 1st place finish in my age group.
Mike and I were so excited to do a half marathon together in Las Vegas. We flew into Las Vegas on Friday evening and my parents picked us up at the airport and had our numbers waiting for us. Since we came in too late for the Expo my dad picked up our numbers when he picked up his own. Mike and I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria hotel since it was kind of a race/birthday weekend. We got into the hotel, made our massage reservations, and ordered the most fabulous chicken and spaghetti dinner to our room. We got up at 2:30am and were out of our hotel and into an Uber by 3:00am. We met up with my dad at the bus pickup and then we all rode the bus up to the starting line. The weather was perfect. We got to the starting area in enough time to go to the bathroom and warm up. With 10 minutes before race time Mike and I headed to the starting line. When I realized that the start was further down the road than I thought I started to jog. I made it to the front of the startling line with 2 minutes to spare. I was going for a PR today of sub 1:30 so my miles needed to be no slower than 6:50/mile. I started out running in front of the 1:30 pacer group. They kept going ahead of and then behind me for much of the race. I eventually tagged onto the tail of a really tall guy who was running the pace I wanted to hold. We didn’t talk but it was good to have someone to run next to. The first 9 miles were all at 6:40 pace and I felt awesome. As we made our way further down the canyon and sun started shining on our faces, I used my tall friend to block the sun from my face for 4 miles. It would have been perfect if he hadn’t stopped to use the bathroom at mile 8. Still, my body felt good and I wasn’t breathing hard. I made sure to thank him after the race. I continued on with a fantastic pace until mile 10 when the course took a turn upwards. That mile and the two after were a bit slower than they should have been. Miles 10-12 were low to mid 7’s. I had banked enough time that I knew I could still break 1:30 so I mustered all the energy I could and started to pick up the pace for the last mile of the race and clocked a 6:56 pace for the 13th mile. My official time was 1:30.19 for the Revel Mt. Charleston Half marathon but myself and several others clocked the course as long by .10 so my adjusted time is 1:29.43!!!! I placed 2nd in my age group, 7th woman overall and an overall 47th out of 1988 runners! This was the fastest half marathon I’ve run since I was 20 and pre 5 kids. Mike and my dad both ran great races considering they were both injured. Both came in under 2 hrs. Mike finished in 1:56 with an injured knee. He amazes me! This was his first race in over a decade. Afterwards, Mike and I went back to our hotel to eat, sleep, get a massage and sit by the pool the remainder of the day!