Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Team Soares 2014 Christmas Letter

It has been a great year and Anna & Ariel are growing up too fast!

Anna enjoyed 2nd grade and finished the school year performing in the school play, "Character Counts." In the summer she swam, competed in some races and enjoyed British Soccer camp. She really dropped her swim times and excelled at the breast-stroke. She is now 9 and in 3rd grade at Skyridge School. She loves finger knitting & crocheting, something her teacher taught her. Her favorite pastime is reading, and the books are piling up. She's still playing piano and recently performed at a recital. She's also good at cooking and has often made us pancakes and eggs.

Ariel was sad to leave her friends from pre-school. She loved the Kinder Ready program. During the summer, she enjoyed art, playing with her teddies and dolls, riding her bike, helping her parents, and swimming. It was her first season on the Robalos Swim Team - together with her sister. She improved so much. We were amazed that she and Anna both received the Coach's Award at the end of the season.

Ariel lost 3 teeth at once and had quite a large, but cute, gap. She loved getting a new bigger bike for her birthday - she jumped on and took off. She is now 6 and in Kindergarten at Skyridge School. She has become one of the leaders & helpers in her class. At home she's very organized at times, but also can be very messy. Ariel recently did her 2nd 5k. She also likes singing.


The Skyridge Jog-A-Thon was a big success. Robin was the lead again and Troy's "Lap Tracker" mobile app was used again. It was a lot of work but well-worth it to see the kids excited about their accomplishments. Both girls did a great job raising money and Anna made it to the Ironman Circle for running the most laps in her grade.

Racing is a big part of our family. The first big event was the Napa Marathon. Robin turned 40 this year and her goal was to get 40 friends ("40 at 40") to also do the Napa Marathon (or any marathon) with her! It was amazing seeing a group of 19 at the starting line, and then hearing the stories as others completed their marathons throughout the year.

Wildflower Triathlon was a huge success and we were able to share the reason we race, Jesus Christ, with many athletes and supporters. Our local Auburn Triathlon was a special event, especially with World Champion and Challenged Athlete Champion, Jamie Whitmore, speaking at the Iron Prayer. Our church and local FCA Endurance huddle volunteered at aid stations on the course. Robin, the defending champion, was 3rd overall this time. Troy was 4th overall in the shorter Olympic distance race.

At the end of May, Troy was doing great in the Victory Velo Omnium circuit race at Montserrat. With 3 laps to go, he made too fast of a move through a sharp corner and crashed! No one else was hurt but he broke 6 ribs and punctured a lung. Praise the Lord that the healing was fast and he was back racing in 4 weeks and fully recovered in 8 weeks.

In August, Ariel did her first triathlon, the Kid's Tri at Rancho Seco. It was Anna's 3rd year and she showed her little sister all the things she would need to know. Anna clocked her fastest time, finishing 5th in the 9 yr olds. Ariel, despite being knocked around in the water, had a smile throughout the swim and did terrific getting 4th in the 6 & under age group.

The big race of the year was Troy's Ironman at Lake Tahoe. With its hills and potential cold, it concerned him more than his other 10 Ironmans ever did. After watching Robin endure sub-freezing temps last year, he was pre-pared with many layers! Robin and the girls supported him all season in long training rides and many hours running. He wanted to conquer his fears and show God he was ready to give 100%. But, minutes before starting, it was cancelled. The wind had blown in smoke from the wildfires. As every-one headed home in shock, Team Soares prayed together and then started the Ironman anyway! Troy completed most of it. Fears conquered, goals met, family and friends bonded together and we both felt the Lord's guidance throughout it. Later, Troy raced a marathon in Morgan Hill to complete the Ironman effort.


Troy's work has been quite stressful but he loves what he's doing. He just wants to be less busy and at home more. He loved going to the Father-Daughter dance with Anna and Ariel. Robin organized his Tour De Troy birthday bike race for the 5th year in a row.

continued doing an awesome job managing the Auburn Tuesday Night Track, Thursday Night Life Group (Bible Study), kids events and, often, Troy, himself! She enjoyed her Survivor 40th birthday party competing in challenges with friends.

Anna & Ariel spent a week at Discover Bay while Robin & Troy enjoyed the FCA Triathlon Camp in Tucson. For their birthdays, they had another Wipe-out party and enjoyed a day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. They also went to San Diego with Robin for the 4th of July.

There was also bad news, although not near what some friends have suffered. We lost our kitty, Tracker, despite a big search effort. We still have our cat, Sierra. She's adventurous and loving. Also, our town, Auburn, was rocked by a manhunt that locked-down schools and scared all of us as parents. It made us realize more how fragile life is and we cherished having our girls back in our arms.

God has blessed our year and also has reminded us for our need of a Savior. This world is unpredictable and fallen and we get caught up in it often. Thankfully, Jesus Christ was born, sent from God, and with Him we can trust our fragile lives and get strength to resist our greedy tendencies. So, at this most wonderful time of the year (which can also be the saddest), we pray that you and your family can find comfort and peace in Jesus and have a very Merry Christmas indeed!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014


[for volunteers: Lap Tracker App]

It's that time a year again!  Happy to be a part of the Skyridge Jog-A-Thon. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unofficial Partial Ironman Lake Tahoe

The Ironman was cancelled. 10min before the start. You can imagine the looks of disbelief. 2000 athletes from every state & around the world. But it was the right call. The air quality was hazardous.  However, the smoke covering the course hadn't reached Kings Beach. It was clear.

We thought there was a chance the winds would change and blow the smoke away later in the day.  So we decided I'd race anyway!  I wanted to put the training to the test.  Others were also swimming the course unofficially.  Although the official race venue was quickly disassembled, the swim support staff left the buoys in place and remained in the water to look over the dozens swimming the course.

At 6:50am I started.  The water was calm and clear.  I didn't get too cold and was able to push well.  I was happy with my time of 1:06 (although I didn't beat Robin's time last year).

I organized my clothes well so they went on fast.  But transition was still 10min.  Robin handed me a painter's mask and Anna handed me my phone.  I was off! 

Temperature was good.  Air was good... until Tahoe City.  There was quite a bit of smoke so I quickly put on the mask.  Other than my glasses fogging up, it worked well.  I breathed through my nose and out my mouth to help with filtering the air. 

At 20mi, Robin and the girls had an aid station where I shed clothes and got water.  By 30mi, I had seen about 4 other riders, but they weren't wearing masks.  I was concerned for them as the air seemed pretty bad without it.  My Garmin stopped working so I had to guess my average speed at about 21mph. 

At 40mi, I started up Hwy 267.  I tried not to breath too hard climbing through Northstar.  One thing that was impressive was how fast Ironman removed traces of the course. All the arrows, mile markers, and aid stations were gone, but the porta-potties remained.  I had to jump the locked cable at the top of Northstar.. and then it was all downhill.. until the big climb up Brockway Summit.  Fortunately Robin and the girls were cheering which really helped.

Over the top I flew down and looked forward to the clean air in Kings Beach.  I breathed freely without the mask for the next 10mi.  At 50mi, Robin and girls gave me my needs bag.  Such great support!  I put my mask back on at Tahoe City, but in the distance it looked like the skies were clearing up. 

At 60mi the rain came!  This was an answer to prayer.  At 70mi I was wet and a little cold.  Unfortunately, the rain didn't help the smoke like I thought.  I forced myself to fuel up and drink every 5 mi but it meant taking my mask off momentarily. 

At 80mi I turned into Northstar.  Robin, the girls, Troy & Sara, and Flor & Carson were all there cheering me on and handing more water!  So great!
Now for the final climb up Brockway.  Like Robin said, it's a whole different climb the 2nd time.  I tried to focus on good cadence.  It took forever but finally, at mile 90, Team Soares, Outman, and Hodges were visible at the top.  Happily I tell them I'll be done in an hour, hoping to break 6hrs.

This time flying into Kings Beach didn't bring with it clear air.  The West winds picked up and now smoke covered the entire course.  I realize now that the air isn't getting better and the marathon won't be possible.  The last 10mi were tough but I did manage to finish in 5:58.

After a reuniting with family and friends at Squaw Valley, a 5 minute transition, I started my partial (10k) marathon.

Oh, the legs were awkward for a few hundred yards.  Then it looked more like a run.  By 2mi I was doing better at 9:15 pace.  This pace, probably not good enough to qualify with, was all I had while also trying not to breathe too hard.  At 4mi, at Hwy 89, the team was there, the girls were dancing and cheering loudly. 

I turned around and headed back and Troy joined me (outside assistance pacing) for the last 2.2 mi to the makeshift finish line in the parking lot.  Managed 9:15 pace back up the hill for a 10k run split of 57:32.  Total time 8:17.  The girls put on my finisher medal and hat (these were available to everybody).

It was a great feeling to accomplish part of the race and I'm thankful that I was able to push well, that the nutrition (using Vitargo) worked well, and that the mask worked well.  I'm very thankful for my family and friends cheering me on in the unofficial partial Ironman Lake Tahoe!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ironman Tahoe Coming

Ironman Tahoe is right around the corner and Troy is ready to go especially after applying a special "rib rub" Ariel obtained from our friends the Nickels ;)
Here is a quote from Troy...
"Have to remain focused on God.  Qualifying for Hawaii seems like a far reach but I have to remember anything is possible with Christ!  I just have to give 100%.  It doesn't seem like it is going to be as cold this year but I'm bringing a lot of clothes including my wool sweater if need be."

We will keep you all posted here starting this next weekend!

God Bless,

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Troy's Bike Crash Update: #3

Troy is finally home!  No more oxygen!  No more hospital!  I do have to say we were super impressed with Sutter Roseville.  They took great care of him and us!  Thanks to all of you who prayed and are continuing to pray!  The lung has 5% more inflating to go to get back to normal.  This means no plane rides for a month.  Hoping we can still fly to San Diego for the 4th! The ribs will continue to heal over the next 4 to 6 weeks. 

Here are pictures Ariel took of him leaving the hospital...with her bear. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Troy's Bike Crash Update: #2

So the prayers are working! After 3 days waiting for his right lung to inflate on its own (since it was punctured and deflated some), it finally did! This morning's xray showed great improvement so they will not put a tube in! The downside is that it is there is not enough improvement to be released from the hospital yet. The doc has not given us a time projection so it's going to be a day by day wait. So please pray for the lung to completely inflate and for Troy to come home. He continues to train hard (see pic) to get out of the hospital. He can take visitors. Just text or call me and I'll let you know if he is sleeping or not.

Troy's Bike Crash Update: #1

Some of you might have heard that Troy crashed at the Loomis Basin Criterium on Saturday. He broke 6 right ribs (#4 through #9) and punctured his right lung. He has been in the hospital since Saturday and the doctor is keeping Troy for at least another day. The lung puncture isn’t worse but it isn’t better. Basically the air that leaked out of his right lung has not been absorbed so they will have to put a tube in the lung tomorrow if the status is the same. If they put a tube in lung that is 2 more days at the hospital. Our prayer is that the puncture will improve on its own so that won’t have to happen and he can come home. We both are confident that the Lord has a great plan and that this is a big opportunity to grow closer to Him and be a light to others.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Hot Triathlon Season Finished on Icey Note

Team Soares had a great time this year racing triathlons as a family.  Many hot weekends found us around California putting our bodies to the test and trying to smile at the same time.  Even Anna stepped up her triathlon training to put her best effort yet at the TBF Kids Triathlon.

The main training effort was seen in Robin as she diligently found ways to squeeze the miles in in preparation for hardest triathlon effort - the Ironman.  After 6 years off from her last one, she picked a challenging one to come back to.  The inaugural Lake Tahoe Ironman was the goal and her difficult trainng sessions were critical to meet it.

We supported Robin any way we could as a family.  But much of her support came through friends watching the kids for her.  It was worth it as we saw her improve.  The San Francisco Marathon, the Vineman Aqua-Bike and the Folsom Long Course were all great indications of her readiness.

One of the remaining training difficulties was a bought with mild pneumonia 3 weeks before the race!  But God is good and kept her spirits and hope up.  She hit the start line fully ready.

But there was one final surprise.  Ice!  A cold front came through and dumped snow on Brockaway Pass the night before.  How would the triathletes handle leaving the chilly Tahoe water just to ride through an icy bike course!?

It was a thrilling day, with serious concerns along the way for many athletes, but Robin emerged victorious at the end in 12hr 29min.  It was the toughest thing she'd done.  And it was an ironic icy finish to a hot exciting summer.

We hope your fall brings with it great celebrations and visits with family and friends.  We'll see you around Auburn!

God Bless,
Troy, Robin, Anna, and Ariel

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Track Meets are Fun!

Robin got the family to try out an All-comer's track meet at Rocklin High School.  It was exciting, exhausting and eye-opening all at the same time...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Never Give Up Praying for your Heart's Desire

In 2008, after 9 yrs of heel pain, I agreed to surgery.  After a long recovery it then got worse.  A year later, I still had the problem.  But we kept praying about it.  And then 1 day, Oct '09, I prayed and started running, without doing my usual stretching beforehand.. it felt better and got better & stronger every week until Nov '10 when I ran 17mi, my farthest in 5yrs.  I recently finished the '11 Napa Marathon.  It's been a great answer to a long-standing prayer.  And it doesn't seem like 10 yrs looking back.  Never give up praying for your heart's desire!
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Rom 5:3-4