|Timers setting up for the race
Official Time: 24:52
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 54
Race Website: Here
Weather: 29F no wind.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years:          
|Gentle downhill at the start. Slightly congested, holding back a little
|Felt like I was running faster
|Always tough to run the final stretch here. Hilly
|Didn't press stop on the watch.
|Total Miles: 3.10- 25.11
|Chilly Morning with Snow Capped Mountains
One of my annual traditions is to run the South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - a Valentine's Day themed race. I've done the race over 10 times now and it is an annual tradition for me.
There aren't many races in the winter months in the Salt Lake area but this one always falls on my radar. It is cheap, well run and I know the course. I use it to test my fitness at the start of the year to see where I am at.
This year, I got a nice deal on the race and once again showed up in Bountiful, about 30 minutes north of where I live, to toe the line for yet another winter 5K.
|Calm before the race
The race is held at the local recreation center. I showed up at 8 AM for the 9 AM start and quickly snagged my bib. I used the restrooms, socialized a bit, before commencing on a 1 mile warm-up prefaced with some drills.
My 5K fitness has been in question -- I haven't felt particularly fast and while my half marathon races have been fabulous so far this year, I had sincere doubts about pushing a fast 5K. My goal was to run pretty close to last year's time (24:13). My suspicion was that I was going to get close to it, but probably not surpass it.
The race started just a hair after 9 AM and I quickly took off. It was congested, as usual, but it thinned out pretty quickly. Despite, the cold, I was completely comfortable in short shorts, thin gloves and a short-sleeved t-shirt. I had ditched my hat and thin warm-up jacket moments before the race.
The first mile is mostly downhill. It isn't a screamer, but everyone hits that one fast. It went by fast and it was effortless -- if only the entire race was like this. I ran it in 7:38, a little slower than I felt like I was running, but I felt like I was conserving energy for the second half of the race.
|Gentle downhill to the start
Around mile 1.25, the races veers east and that is more or less where the fun / easiness comes to an end. It is a gradual climb for the next mile that only gets worse throughout the race. My legs suddenly felt like leg as I saw the gradual climb. I knew it was coming, though, so it wasn't a surprise.
I felt like I was running strong and zipped through the aid station at the half way point. I wound up passing a few runners and despite the fatigue, I felt like I was having a good race. I didn't want to discourage myself by glancing at my watch every 30 seconds.
|On my cool down, but the gentle uphill is like this.
Mile 2 rang up in 8:08. Not where I wanted to be, but by all measures, about where I expected to be. The problem was though, the final mile is always the toughest. The hill summits up Main Street and it is just a slow steady grind.
I was working with a few other runners and I managed to pass by yet a few other ones. I didn't see anyone in my age group, but with a fairly large start, I figured there had to be someone in my age group ahead of me.
|The grind to the top
I kept pressing on and when I finally jumped on the sidewalk to make my way onto the final quarter mile, I told myself to push -- hard.
There wasn't much left and I looked over my shoulder and there wasn't a soul that I could see. And there wasn't anyone in front of me that I felt I could catch.
|Last 100 meters or so to the finish.
I did tear into the final tenth of a mile and flew under the finish line. Before finishing though, I looked up at the time -- knowing it had probably taken me 5 seconds to start -- and saw a 24:4x. What? Could I have been mistaken? I had no idea what I had run but I suspected it was around 24:30.
|Post race photo
So my disappointment reigned supreme at the end. 24:52 was my official time -- a full 40 seconds slower than Thanksgiving and last year.
I got my medal and congratulated those around me. I managed to quickly recover though and despite the freezing temperature, I was completely comfortable for some time.
I sauntered over to the refreshment area and grabbed a hot chocolate (which I must admit wasn't too smart after a 5K) I found a QR results scanner and found myself solidly in 2nd place. The first place runner in my age group is a local legend and managed to run a speedy 18:15 (or so).
I did a cooldown and grabbed some photos of the course. Part of me was happy that I had placed and placed reasonably well overall, but at the same time, I wasn't happy because I didn't hit my goal. I quickly got over it as I enjoyed the cool morning air.
Awards were dolled out in reasonable order. I grabbed an overly green banana before leaving. For post refreshments they did have water / sports drink, fruit (bananas and oranges) and some baked good. For the price I paid for the race -- about $25, I was happy with my experience.
For age group awards, they had the traditional Teddy Bears. I love them and have a small collection of them.
I liked the shirt and medal -- both high-quality and the vibe of the event was fun and low key. Despite the cold in the air, the weather was actually quite enjoyable. The course, while open to traffic (and a fair amount of it) was marshalled well and there was on aid station on the course.
Being that this is an annual tradition for me, I'll be back next year. The price is right and the timing of the event is perfect for me. I just hope to turn in a better time.
02/25: 2024 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2024 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/30: 2024 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/20: 2024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/27: 2024 Apple Blossom 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
05/27: 2024 Run of Remembrance 10K - American Fork, UT
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
07/24: 2024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/05: BLOCKED OUT WEEKEND
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
02/23: 2025 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)