|By far my favorite photo of the year|
I was busy this year! I didn't really intend it to work out this way, but I simply couldn't turn down a chance to race it would seem.
I did have some opportunities to run on the cheap -- or even free. It started with some of the Black Friday deals that came out in 2022. I snapped up any bargain race I could. I also know a timer, who would occasionally give me an entry into a race (part of his contract).
|Had higher hopes at the Riverton Half Marathon|
Number of Races Run (35)
- 5Ks: 17
- 10Ks: 10
- Half Marathons: 8
Most of the races were 5K / 10K distances, which was my primary focus for the year. Late in the year and early, I wound up doing a few half marathons as well. I found the half marathon getting a bit harder. A decade ago, I could mail one in and get it done without too much stress. Now, they are a bit more work and take more out of me.
The over-racing did take a toll on me, particularly in the summer. I'd race on Saturday and try to run long on Sunday. Sometimes I could do it, sometimes I couldn't. Usually by Tuesday I could attempt a speed session and then the rest of the week would be prepping for the next weekend's race. I'll be honest, the racing did interfere with some quality sessions and my weekly training.
I love to toe the line and get a t-shirt, medal and see friends. It was fun at times and other times I asked myself why I was putting myself through this. I never felt 100% recovered at most points in the year. I remember standing at the starting line at some of the races and asking myself, "Why am I here?" Mostly the answer came back as "This is what I do and this is what I train for".
Below, I have listed my best and worst race performances of the year. These events are in no way reflective on the race organizer. It is a day where I showed up ready to race and either something good came out or something didn't work out. I have excluded the super fast downhill races, for the most part. While just about any massive downhill race can be considered a great race due to the usually fast times, I don't think they are reflective to how I ran.
Overall, though, I am really happy with the way my race season turned out in 2023. I raced a lot, felt like I ran well and improved. There seemed to be more focus in my training and I really enjoyed the experience throughout the year.
Best Race Performances:
The year started off with a bang on this race. I set out a goal of running sub 24 and despite it being very cold, I ran really well. This race is fast and I believe a measured course that is truly 3.10 miles. While my time was pretty much the same as when I ran it in 2022, I felt like I was on target for hitting my goal of running a 23:30 5K.
I hadn't run particularly well for my inaugural half marathon in 2023 and I've only run "well" in Las Vegas one or two times, so I had my doubts that this race would make it to my list. But for the second year in a row, it did. The race started off without a lot of excitement and I was able to settle into an easy relaxed pace. As the race progressed, my pace got a bit faster. It was aided with a tailwind and a new pair of carbon-plated shoes. I was still running strong well into the race, despite now having a headwind and late in the race I decided to really push. What did I have? I managed to finish with a 1:54 -- not exactly a stellar time, but I felt like I had finished strong and persevered through what is normally "not a good race" for me. Honorable mention goes to the Salt Lake City Half Marathon as well.
This is the one race I put on the list that was downhill. The course was also short, according to my Garmin. However, it wasn't an insanely downhill race and I felt that the way I ran it and pushed hard at the end, gave me a ton of confidence in that I was heading in right direction. I was also coming off a great 10K at the Eggs Legs Race, so I knew my training was going in the right direction. I still remember the young man who paced me in the last mile and made me not give up. Hopefully I'll run into him again.
Worst Race Performances:
So the year started off not so hot. I stepped into the Virgin River Half Marathon and it was a new course. Armed with some decent training, and a lot of confidence, I expected this race to go well. It did for about the first half of the race. After that -- the wheels slowly fell off. My initial pace was fine, but it just wasn't there and I knew it. Perhaps my endurance wasn't the greatest, but I remember the last 2 - 3 miles being dreadful.
This race was a tale of two races. And I really wanted to PR here. I felt rested, well-trained and I knew the course. The weather was cool with only a mild headwind. This the day for a PR.
The first 15K were a blast ... running the downhills at near 10K race pace. The final 6K? There were times were I just wanted to sit on the side of the curb and cry. I got it done and my overall time wasn't bad, but it could've been so much better.
This was a race I had no business racing. I think a friend was going to be there, it was cheap and there was nothing else going on that Saturday. The course was hilly, long, and I had raced a lot in the past few weeks. I remember feeling just awful at the starting line and questioning myself why I was there. From the get go, it wasn't there and it was a race that left me frustrated with myself.