Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon Race Recap - Boulder City, NV

Official Time: 2:02:23
Placement: 205th place overall (out of 350), 100th male, 28 in the 45-49 age division
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Sunny, some wind from the south, about 45 - 50 degrees
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018]

Mile TimeComments
18:10Just coasting down the hills
49:00A bit of a hill here took the starch out of my pace
68:54Last of the down hill... unfortunately
79:22On to the dirt trail. I knew this was going to be a sufferfest
910:09The finish can't come fast enough. Had to pause here to remove a rock from my shoe
119:47A little bit of a downhill to the lake
1210:03Not much last here
1311:22A bit of downhill then up. I had nothing left here.
Total Miles: 13:11 2:02:56

Me after the race enjoying the views of Lake Mead


Last year, I did the Saints and Sinners half marathon and generally had a good experience.  It is in one of my favorite places to run: The Lake Mead Hoover Dam Train Trail.  I don't think I was going to do it this year on account it is a destination race for me and let's face it, I've done it before (as well as another race, the St Patrick's Day run) along the course.

But sometime around Christmas they had a flash sale and their semi-steep price turned into a good deal.  I think I squeaked in for around $60, which isn't too unreasonable for a race (for whatever reason Vegas-area races tend to be expensive).

So sometime around the new year, I got my ducks in a row, booked a hotel and got excited about the race.

The Race

Well, the problem is I didn't get excited about the race.  A few days before the race, I got my annual cold.  This cold wasn't one of those blow your nose / whine in bed colds.  It was very mild but it did leave me out of breath easily and coughing like a 2-pack-a-day smoker.

To compound matters, I jumped a curb a few days before the race (while running of course) and pulled something in my groin area.  I was literally limping around 24 hours before the race: step with the left, drag with the right.  So I was taking anti-inflamatories and cold medicine. Not a good combination.

And finally, I had to deal with some emotional issues early in the week (a post forthcoming on that).

So to say the least, I did NOT feel like running -- at all.

I woke up Saturday morning and my groin had resolved itself -- miraculously.  I was coughing but I felt reasonable.  I figured I might as well run it.  The Saints and Sinners organizers have good medals and I paid for the race.  I knew it wasn't going to be pretty though, but sometimes miracles do happen. and the running Gods smile down upon you.

I got dropped off at the race and I milled about for 40 minutes before the race talking to people and psyching myself out that I could actually run 13 miles while feeling like crap.

Pre-race orientation

The race started a few minutes late (it took a while for everyone to make their way to the starting line from the runner assembly area).  And soon we were off.

The first quarter or half mile I was hemmed in.  There were a ton of runners and we were on a paved standard issue bike trail (about 7 feet wide).  Most people had lined up according to speed but there were some that clearly hadn't gotten the message.  It wasn't the end of the world... .I was sort of feeling myself out and after a few initial twinges, my groin behaved itself.  I told myself that if I felt like crap early on, I could just walk off the course and call for a ride or hoof it back to the hotel.

The first 3 miles are a delicious downhill.  I wasn't working too hard and I let gravity pull me down.  My breathing was controlled and believe it or not, I felt okay.  My head, although was cloudy and humming from a week's worth of cold medicine and my legs just felt tired despite having nearly 4 days of no running.

The air temperature was warming up too.  While it never got over 55 that day, it did feel warm and it seemed like I was working up a good sweat.  I looked around and a lot of runners were wearing winter clothing -- they would pay for that later in the race.  I was in short-sleeves, shorts and throw away gloves, which I pocketed a mile or two into the race.

The first reality check is around mile 4.  There is a decent hill and suddenly you have to actually "run" instead of coast.  It was at this point I knew it was going to be a rough race for me.  While the hill is only about 40 feet, it definitely took its toll.

There is an aid station at the top and luckily the run goes downhill for another two miles.  The descent at this point is much more mild, and I was able to return to a normal half marathon pace.

The bike trail zigs and zags its way down the main drag of Boulder City and you are treated to some awesome views of Lake Mead.  Traffic was well maintained and while the course was steep at times, you were never running out of control.

About the 10K, when the downhill stopped, I knew it was going to be a grueling run to the finish.  I just felt really off, demoralized and out of energy.  I tried to cheer myself up by looking at the views, but simply put, I didn't feel like running.  

Also at this point you change from the bike trail to the dirt "rail trail".  The footing is easy and while technically a trail, it is as smooth as can be.  It is also a little hard to get any traction and get a bounce from the rebound, so my pace suffered here.

You are still treated to some stunning views of Lake Mead and the surrounding cliffs.  You also get to run through the tunnels, although unlike last year's race, you only got to run though two of them.  The park service decided that one of the tunnels needed repairs and closed it to public access.  

I couldn't wait until the turn around, which happened around mile 8.5.  There were still plenty of people to run with so I was never entirely alone during the race.  Although it was humbling to be passed as my pace suffered with each mile.

I kept telling myself, I was finally in the homestretch.  My legs just felt like lead and I really didn't have anything going for me.  While my Garmin was chirping at 9:30+ miles I felt like I was running 10-11 minute miles.

After getting off the trail, I could see the finish line -- way in the distance.  I still had a solid 4 miles to go, but at least the next two were a gentle, paved downhill as we resumed running on the bike trail.  

This is from about mile 6.75, the starting line is to the upper left hand corner

The final mile I was mad at myself and I was going over in my mind how much I hated running.  I don't really, but that is the way I felt as I shambled along.  I just had nothing left.

Due to the tunnel closure we had to run past the finish line for about .53 of a mile (downhill) and then turn around and make our way back to the top.  It was so frustrating to hear the announcer saying everyone's name and the finish line music.  There used to be a day when I would've been long done by now.  To be honest, I longed to just cut the course.

I pretty much dragged myself back and made the left hand turn towards the finish line.  Around mile 13, I dug deep and made a bit of a sprint to the finish -- you know -- so it would look like I wasn't dying when I crossed.

You get to cross under one of two finish lines, a white saint banner or a red sinner banner.  Of course, for the second year in a row, this heathen ran through the sinner banner.


After the race I walked off the post race nausea and looked around for anyone I knew.  Being I was nearly 400 miles from home, I didn't.  But I grabbed some water / gatorade.  I couldn't stomach any food but they had fruit, cookies and typical post race food.

On some level I was happy that I had "survived" the race.  Shari was begging me not to run it and in all honesty, I sort of excited my expectations -- I sort of felt like I was going to be doing a fair amount of walking.

The original plan was for me to run back up to the Lake Mead Park's pay entrance and Shari was going to pick me up.  That was about a mile run / walk.  I didn't have much left and my motivation to run was nil.  Luckily they did have a shuttle that ferried people back to the starting line (where 99% of the people parked their cars).

I hovered near the shuttle until it was nearly full and grabbed one of the last seats.

The finisher's medal is a gem.  It is heavy duty and large.  Plus it is in the shape of my favorite state.  This one will likely go down as one of my favorites.

The shirt's colors were kind of a mish-mash (I am wearing it in the second photo).  It is hard to read but overall a standard issue tech shirt.  I will definitely wear it.

I like the course but disliked it this year on account of the grueling half mile out and back at the end.  This wasn't the race organizer's fault by any means but it was my least favorite part of the course.

The mile markers seemed to be off a bit at the start of the race and about half way through started to sync with my Garmin.  Not the end of the world though.  The aid stations were properly manned with enthusiastic volunteers.  I think there were more aid stations than advertised, so that is always a plus.

This was definitely not the race I wanted to have (again no fault to the organizers).  When I registered for this race I was going to use it to really get a decent time.  The course is fast, especially with the elevation profile.  I think given the conditions and motivation to run, I could've done a LOT better here.  But with all kinds of variables stacked against me, I got the expected outcome.  And worst of all, I was significantly slower than last year.

Will I race this next year?  Perhaps.  I like the race a lot and especially the course.  If they send out another special offer to save I will likely do it again.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K Race Recap - Bountiful, Utah

Official Time: 24:48
Placement:  5th in the 45 - 49 Age Division, 50th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 30's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013]

Mile TimeComments
17:45Fast first mile. Slight down hill here
28:15Course levels out and then a bit of a hill climb
38:24Grind until until about a quarter mile to the finish. Mild uphill
3.050:24Push it the finish
Total Miles: 3.05- 24:48


One of the best bargains in town is to do the South Davis Recreation Center races.  They are very affordable, well run and it would seem like you get way more for your money than other races.  I got a special deal to run this one and I took advantage of it.

This 5K course is the same one used for their Handcart Days 5K and Thanksgiving day 5K.  I've probably raced this course at least a dozen times by now.

The race is located about 25 minutes north of my home.  There is ample parking and best of all, a recreation center to hang out in before the race, so you can stay warm and use clean / warm restrooms.

The Race

I arrived at the race site about an hour before race time.  I quickly got my bib and killed some time waiting for the race to start.  About 20 minutes before the race I did a very brief warm-up and some dynamic exercises to get ready.

The weather for the race was ideal.  Virtually no wind and with temperatures in the low 30's -- probably 32F.  When I had arrived it was 26 but it warmed up somewhat nicely.

I was dressed in shorts, long sleeved shirt and heavy duty gloves (I hate cold hands).  As I was waiting for the race to start I decided to ditch the jacket.  I just tossed it behind the starter's area and said I'd get it after the race.  Smart move on my behalf since I heated up quickly.

The race started on time and the first 100 yards or so it took away to find some running room.  It is a bit of a family event and and there were some folks there that were fairly new to racing.  It wasn't a big deal but it is something to expect.

The race starts at the recreation center and runs north for about a mile along a residential street.  It is a gentle downhill at this point and I wasn't too surprised to see myself clock a 7:45.  I was a little worried about it because I know the race gets more challenging on the way back.  Either way, I felt good about the first mile.

After about 1.25 miles, you hang a right and you are greeted with a quiet road that gradually goes up.  The hill isn't awful but it definitely takes a bit of the wind out of my sails.

You hang another right and you are brought out to the main drag of Bountiful.  There are some houses and a fair amount of traffic on this road.  Luckily for a Saturday morning, it wasn't that bad and they had the larger intersections manned by volunteers or the police to ensure you could get through.

This mile is always the toughest.  The hill is way more noticeable and at this point in a 5K, you are hurting.  I felt like I was running faster than an 8:15 when my watched beeped at mile 2 but it was right on target in terms of what I figured I was going to get.

As I climbed the hill, I remained focused on maintaining good form and knowing that the sooner I got up the hill, the sooner I could get to the flat section and cruise to the finish.

The final .20 of a mile is flat and as you round the final corner you can see some the spectators cars and you can almost smell the finish line.  I had a lot left at this point and really dug deep to knock off a few seconds off of my time.  No one was behind me and there were a few in front of me, but they were turning on the jets too.

As my Garmin chirped at mile 3, I looked down and figured I'd have a shot at a mid 24 minute run. This would certainly meet my stretch goal of 24:30.  Maybe I could do it.

You make one final right hand turn and the finish line is just a little ways away.  Here it turns into a sprint and while I pushed it to the finish, it wasn't like anyone was going to pass me or I was going to pass them.  

The finish line time wasn't working and as expected, the finish never comes soon enough.  My goal of a 24:30 wasn't met, but I wasn't too far off.


After finishing the race I grabbed a finisher's medal and did a cool down back to the starting line.  They were cleaning up the starting area and thankfully, my nice jacket was laying just where I left it.  I put it on and got to my car and grabbed a camera and went back to the finish line.

They had typical post race food: slices of muffin-like cake, fruit (oranges / bananas) and hot chocolate and other cold beverages.  I grabbed a little food and got my official result from the timer and took off soon afterwards.

I paid $15 (I think) for this race. With the service charge, I was in for about $20.  I got a nice finisher's medal, an opportunity at some slick prizes, a supported course and a cool t-shirt.  One of the few bargains in the running community.

The course was marked well and started on time.  Results appeared accurate as well.

Overall, I was pretty happy with my time.  I didn't have very many great 5Ks to wrap up 2018 but it was nice to start off with a fairly decent time (for me) to kick off 2019.  I felt fairly strong but my overall raw speed wasn't there.  Probably because I am a bit heavier than in my hey-day.

This race is well suited for beginners and those looking for a nice, low stress 5K.  It is a great community event and I always appreciate what the South Davis Recreation Center does for their races.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

This Month in Running - January

St George Half Marathon 2019 Race Photo

Miles Year to Date:  172.5

Running Update

Well I am off with a new year and some new resolutions for the year.  Normally I don't make any resolutions on new years and look at any given time as a chance to make improvements on my life.

This year, my goal is to train a bit smarter and get my mojo back.  I pretty much say this every year but I am taking some actual steps in order to improve my times:

1) I am working with a coach.  I've been around the block a time or two. I know the difference between a repetition and an interval and the difference between a fartlek and a tempo run.  I just need someone to make a few tweaks to my routines.  For now, it will likely be a one time consult.  I live too close to the bike trail and driving anywhere after work just won't do it for me.

2) I've cut my long run down a bit.  This should keep me a bit more fresh during the week instead of constantly recovering from 16 miles.  So far, despite some decent weather, I've been holding it back to 13 miles.  It keeps me ready for a half but I am not burned out the rest of the week.

Hill I run up

3) I am actually doing speed work: at least once or twice a week.  This past week I did a series of quarter mile repeats and weekly since the start of the year I've been doing 6 - 8 hill repeats up that hill you see.  The first week I did I thought I was going to die.  Each week, it has gotten progressively easier.  My weakest thing for running is uphills and maintaining a consistent pace from start to finish.  

Snow Run

Part of the joy of running is doing weird / fun things.  Sometimes it even proves to be useful.  On Martin Luther King day it snowed in Salt Lake City.  Not a lot -- maybe 3 - 4 inches, but it made driving treacherous.

I had the day off and I was going stir crazy.  Unfortunately, we also had a package that HAD to get out overnight.  I certainly didn't want to drive there given the yucky weather, so what was a runner with cabin fever going to do?

Run there of course.

So I put the parcel on my back in a waterproof sack and ran the 3.1 miles to the Fed Express Office.  I was a site to see for sure.  I didn't care about my pace.  I just needed to be safe in regards to watching for people who were driving too fast given the conditions.  I made it there and back.

The things we do out of the ordinary are always the most memorable. While the conditions weren't exactly life threatening or even dire, it was an adventure.

Cat Update

I continue to feed the cat every day.  Even when I leave town, I try to accommodate for her.  She is there every single day.  So on days I don't even feel like running, I know I have to get out there and feed this cat.

We have tried a total of 5 times to gather her and bring her home.  We learn something every time we try.  But this cat doesn't really want to go home and sadly you can't explain that you are offering her a better life where she won't have to fend for feed, hide from predators and have someone to care for her.  Also, her hiding spot is about 200 - 300 yards away from the parking lot, so just getting her to the car is a battle.  I am hoping to get her soon as I have a road trip to the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon in mid February.

Taking her in, still would be a bit of a trial run.  She'd have to be house broken and get along with our existing cat.


Upcoming Races

02/09: 2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/16: 2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 SLC Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
05/18: 2019 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
11/17: 2019 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)

Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 Saint George Half Marathon Race Recap - St. George, UT

Official Time: 1:56:47
Placement: 204th out of 580, 117th out of 253 male, 11th in the 45-49 age division
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 30's, slightly overcast. No wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:42Fairly conservative start. Some uphill here.
38:31Mix of up and down here. Feeling like I might have a good race
48:32Into the residential section.  Holding steady
69:08Start of the hills here
79:09More hills
88:38Finally crested the hill and head a nice down hill section. Should've gone faster
98:45A little more downhill but on the bike trail now.
119:33Felt like I was running much faster than this. Mentally fatigued.
129:16Forced myself to really give it all I had...
139:19You can see the finish line, but oh so far away
13.050:27Press towards the final
Total Miles: 13:05 1:56:47


For the fourth year in a row I made the roughly 4 hour journey down to Southern Utah.  There isn't much in terms of races in Utah in January and any opportunity to get in a race I'll do it.  

Southern Utah is like a totally different world from the northern part of the state.  It is fairly touristy as there are a bunch of national parks in the area and it is also on the way to Las Vegas.  It also tends to be about 10 degrees warmer and has cleaner air.

I believe the race is also billed as the longest continuous running half marathon in the state.  It does not share the same course as the St George Half Marathon but I believe the race organizers are the same.

I use the race as an early indicator of my current fitness as well.  The half marathon course has a mix of up hills and downhills and while I wouldn't call it a super fast course, it is an honest course in terms of elevation gain and loss.  My race here is usually a clue as to what I need to work on and where I am succeeding at.

The Race

I rolled into the expo on Friday night.  I said hello to my favorite race director people and poked around the various vendors.  They were selling some older shirts from previous races so I snagged a pair for $5.  Why not.... 

I was staying at the Red Lion this time... it is about a mile away.  I could've walked to the race site as a bit of a warmup but had Shari drop me off.  Pretty low stress... some of the roads were closed but she got me close enough.

I went to the Dixie Events Center and socialized with some of the runners for about 30 minutes before the race started.  They had clean (and plenty) of toilets and the time flew by quickly.

Waiting area for the race to begin
The race started at 9... a bit late in my opinion but it makes for a super casual morning.  I can sleep in a bit longer and I even manged to eat a little at the free breakfast buffet at my hotel.  This wasn't my usual pre-race meal, but had a bit of waffle, oranges and black tea.  It worked... I felt like I was sustained throughout the race.

The race started at 9 AM and I made my way down hotel row and hung a right to go east towards the residential part of the city.  It has some rolling hills and I felt okay.  The 1:55 pacer was near me and I figured I'd hang with him and then gain some ground on him. I've run well in the past here and I felt like I could do another 1:53 like last year, or better.  I also felt like the 1:55 pacer started out a bit too fast so I was content to let him lead.

The first 3 miles are a little bit uphill.  I was holding a very steady pace and I was feeling good.  Like this good actually be a nice race.  A lot of memories were coming up at me as I remembered all the times when I ran this race in the years prior.  I was also excited to be running.

For a half marathon, they have pretty decent crowd support and the volunteers at the aid stations were pumped to see us.  I can't say enough good things about this race as the organization is rock solid.

After the 5K point, you enter in a subdivision of some pretty nice houses.  Some of the morning risers will sit on their lawns and cheer you on as you pass by. I like seeing the little kids as well.  

My favorite stretch of the course is near the golf course.  Unfortunately, here, some of the folks didn't get the memo that there was a race and there is a bit of a traffic jam here as the bulk of the runners pass by.  Not fun inhaling diesel fumes but it is fairly short lived.  Although the desert smells of sagebrush were a true joy.

I was really happy with my pace and still felt rock solid.  I was hitting the paces I wanted to and I felt good.  I thought about taking a picture of the course, but wanted to focus on my running.

I've been doing some hill repeats and physical therapy-esque and so at the half way point when you are hitting the hills, I didn't exactly feel like I was dying.  In fact, I thought  I was handling the hills a bit better than I did the year prior (turns out that wasn't entirely the case).

Fortunately, the hills end at mile 7.25 and from there you are greeted with a joyous downhill.  I wish the rest of the race was like that.  I unfortunately was sort of out of gas.  I ate a gel in hopes that the caffeine would help.

Another favorite part of the run is hitting the bike trail.  There is a beautiful view of the city that one will miss from taking the I-15 north.  The bike trail has a slight rise here and you can see the Virgin River, the surrounding nature area and the LDS Temple and city in the distance.  It is really a beautiful site.  

Normally there is a bit of ice here but there wasn't any this year.  In the past I've had to tread carefully.

I was sort of sad to see a 9+ minute mile pass  here.  I felt like I was running fairly strong.  I wasn't in desperation mode in terms of my pace but I knew I was working harder.  I sort of figured that might be the case because I haven't done many over half marathon distance training runs.  So my endurance was going to be suspect.

Also at this point it is a bit mentally tough.  You can see the buildings of the finish line across the field, but you have to go east and loop back -- so you clearly have at least another 3.5 miles.  I imagined the elite athletes already having finished doing their cool downs while I still had a long 5K to go.

I really dug down deep here.  But try as I might, I couldn't get below 9 minutes again.  There were parts I gained a bit of ground and time, but I couldn't really sustain it.  Mentally I wanted to be done and the 1:55 pacer was slowly disappearing from my view.

It is a nice area and the bike trail has a similar profile to my local bike trail.  I kept breaking down the final stretch -- imagining myself running an easy 3 mile training run.  

As usual, there was a sense of desperation as I looped the final corner to the finish.  You are so close to the finish line but they make you run this crazy little loop....


I was happy that my race was largely successful.  It wasn't a crash and burn situation like Las Vegas and while it wasn't my best race, it won't go down in the record books as a horrible one for me.

I was dismayed, however, to find myself about 2 minutes slower than last year.  Ugh, Father Time and the Internet are my worst enemies.

I was able to walk off the race fairly quickly.  Shari was there and she had a Coke for me.  A Coke always settles my stomach and tastes great after a run.  Sad to say it isn't exactly health food though.

The race finish zone had typical after race stuff.  Muffins, bagels, some incredible tasting oranges, cheese sticks and other snacks.  They also had sports drink and chocolate milk.  

The medal is a big one and heavy-duty.  Pretty much the same design as last year's medal, but very nice and clean.  The shirt this year was a nice blue one with a zipper front and long-sleeved.

Overall the race was well done.  The route was clearly marked were to run and the volunteers were enthusiastic and helpful.  One intersection near the top of Brigham Road was unmanned and could've been trouble for cars passing through.  Also, I think the mile markers were a little bit off.  My Garmin is always hit and miss and the final .1 of a mile to the finish seemed to be an eternity.

I paid about $55 for this race.  Well worth it and professionally done.  I really enjoy this race as the course is scenic and usually I see a few people I know there.  Definitely a good indicator of how my year will go.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Year in Running

Miles Year to Date:  1939.5 (as of Dec 30)

Running Update

Well this year was mixed -- as usual.  I saw my times stay about the same and I was certainly racing a lot.

I had a shot at 2000 miles this year but I sort of realized I was getting close a little too late.  It was a soft goal of mine to hit it, but I wasn't really training for a marathon at all this year.  I started to try and run a 1000 mile week about 8 days shy of the year's end and I did about 2 days of 17 - 18 miles a day and I was like, no way -- not happening.  So I did the smart thing and just settled with coming up fairly close to 2000.  

Right now, I am just trying to stay fit, enjoy the cooler weather and burn some calories.  I need to be ready for the St George Half Marathon in about 3 weeks.  I really enjoy that race and am looking forward to doing it this year.

So without further ado, let's look at last year's goals and what I accomplished in 2018:

Race Totals

I ran the following race distances:

Marathons:  0
Half Marathons: 13
10 KMs: 6
4 Mile: 1
5 KMs: 19

Race Miles: 270.4 in 39 races.

I really took my racing up another notch this year in sheer volume.  It was fun...  I tried some new races as well and I really did a ton of racing in the spring -- particularly the half marathon distance.

I did discover that the half marathon is starting to wear my down more than usual.  In the past, I could mail them in.  This year, they seemed a lot harder.  My hunch is that it was a bit of fatigue as well as the fact that I am getting old / heavier and going that kind of distance is going to need more recovery as well as understanding my new pace.

Cat Update

I still have my beautiful cat I found on the bike trail from last year.  She is beautifully behaved cat and we love her to bits.  

However, this year I have befriended another cat.  My history with this other cat goes for just about 3 years.  I started seeing her across the field and I'd drop food for it.  Eventually I figured out where she hung out and I'd drop food for it there.... and every day the food disappeared.

As time went by this "feral" cat would allow me to look at her and feed her (I am presuming it is a her) but not actually pet her or touch her.  She'd back away if I approached.

When I moved to Arizona this past summer I arranged to have her fed.  And when I came back and spotted her she came running up to me, meowing and rubbing against me.  It was awesome.

Since then, she lets me pet her and waits for me every day.  

I've tried twice to take her home but she has escaped my efforts.  I am hoping soon to see if she'd be happy living with us. She is a bit ragged looking now, but I bet she cleans up nicely.  Nice thing is that she is well fed and no longer looks hungry all the time.

Goals from End of 2017

Here are my goals that I made at the start of 2018.  How did I do?

Get Faster -- Take at least 1 minute off my 5K time

Mostly fail on this one.  I didn't drop the weight and my speed workouts were much on hiatus most of the year.  I started off the year running about 24:30 and finished around 25 minutes.  I did, however, do some speed work from time to time and I did a lot of shorter races.  I also did NOT lose weight this year.

Do at least 3 races I haven't done before and at least one new state

Score on this one.  Since I moved to Arizona in the middle of the summer, I was easily able to do new races.  Even if I hadn't moved, I would've done new races.  However, I did not explore one new state. 

Have some restraint at buffets

For the most part, success.  I did do better in showing restraint and I rarely left buffets feeling so terrible I thought I was going to be sick.  I also watched calories, but as I age, my metabolism is slowing down, so this year I wound up gaining a pound or two.... which further slows me down.

Cross Train

Mostly success.  I did a lot of hiking this year.  I did not join a gym -- although when I was living in Arizona I had access to a gym at work and I definitely took advantage of it.

Run Numbers

I wanted to run 2000 miles, I'll hit close to 1950.  Close enough...  I think if I really had set my mind to it, I could've worked in a few extra miles and accomplished it.  But it wasn't super high on my list.

Run a marathon:  I just didn't have the heart for it this year.  Even going out and running 18+ miles didn't seem to interest me.  I think the longest I ran all year was about 16 miles (in one shot).

Race Performances

Favorite Race: Ruby Mountain Relay  I really enjoyed this race.  It was beautiful and held in one of my favorite places in the world.  I didn't necessarily run well and the race was grueling, but I really enjoyed it.  When I think back on 2018, this race comes to mind.  2nd placeSaints and Sinners

Best PerformanceSaints and Sinners ... Naturally this race was downhill, so I am going to turn in a good time.  Overall though I felt like I ran really well and wasn't dying too badly near the end.  2nd Place: Night Fury #2 -- Surprisingly, I had a good race in 100 degree temperatures.  Looking back, this was kind of fun and a new experience.  

Worst Performance:  Too many to mention.  Some of the worst include: Jordan River 5K, Green Eggs and Ham 5K, and the Riverton Half Marathon.  I just remember suffering through them and just barely being able to finish.  Not a good day for sure.

Life in 2018

Life in 2018 was "interesting".  

I started off the year with life as normal.  However, at some point I felt like switching jobs.  I don't remember exactly what my motivation was at the time.  I think I was getting pushed to move to Arizona 

The job market for software developers (which is what I do for a living) is pretty hot and I was surprised at how quickly I got responses.  I felt like I did an okay job interviewing and actually had a few prospects.

I wound up taking the job in Arizona.  At the time, I kind of didn't want to move.  But I was trying to make other people happy with my decision.  I really LOVE Utah and I loved my life and the setup I had.  I had a job that I am pretty well respected at and for the most part I enjoyed going to work.

My experience in Arizona wasn't that great.  The job was more or less a mismatch for me and once the "hot as hell" summer kicked in, I decided that life got worse for me.  I love being outside and sitting by the pool and burning my feet off just wasn't happening for me.

Luckily, I was able to move back (I still had my house here) and my job was thrilled to have me back.  So in theory, it was a 60 day "leave of absence".

It certainly made me appreciate all the fun things I have here going on.  Yeah it gets cold here but generally I can find something to do all year and it is nice to have a strong community of runners / racers.

The other fun thing I did in 2018 was I finally did the Highway 50 drive.  I didn't do all of it, I am missing a stretch from the Utah border to Ely (which I have never driven) but I can say I've driven from Ely, NV to Lake Tahoe on Highway 50.  And I loved it. 

At the time I drove it, I kind of knew I was leaving and it was sort of a farewell to Northern Nevada.  To appease me, I was told we'd take vacations in northern Nevada, but I knew that wasn't likely to happen.  It would be a hard sell to get Shari to go and I just didn't see it happening as much as I'd like to have.  In fact, it was one of the things I really longed to do when I was sitting in an air-conditioned apartment in Phoenix in the dead of summer: visit Northern Nevada.

The Highway 50 Trip was a trip of a lifetime and it seemed to trigger my interest in seeing more of it -- in more detail.  

Other than that, 2018 didn't have any major revelations for me.  I still have the same job, live in the same place and I still run nearly every day.  

Life is pretty good right now.

Upcoming Races

It is nice not to have any races in the queue right now.  I am still training somewhat hard and need to keep my miles up for some spring half marathons.  I certainly wish there was an occasional 5K to keep sharp though...

01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/09: 2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/16: 2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 SLC Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
11/17: 2019 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

This Month in Running 11/8 - 12/8

Miles Year to Date:  1786

Running Update

Well as I write this, I think I am done running races for 2018.  I did a quick count and I figure I have run 39 races, which is likely a new record for me.  I started off 2018 with a bunch of half marathons. And once I moved to Arizona (albeit briefly) I rekindled my interest in doing 5K and 10Ks.

So as I start the winter months I am torn.  Do I continue to train hard or do I dial it back a bit and recover?

In years past I've dialed it back and I come out flat in the spring.  Plus running, is more or less my life, so when I do "rest" it usually leaves a bit of a void in my life.  However, in looking back at a few of my weekly totals, I have reduced my mileage about 50% -- hitting about 20 - 30 miles per week.

I do have a half marathon in January -- about a month away and I need to keep some speed as well as endurance to finish that.  So that is my key race and one I like doing well in.  It sort of sets the year off on the right foot when I can run well there.

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a year end wrap up.  

Marathon Dreams

2018 was the first year since 2009 where I did not do a marathon.  Since 2009 I've done about 27 marathons (I've lost count, but more or less it is in that range).  

After 2017's Las Vegas debacle I haven't really felt the need to do another marathon.  But part of me doesn't want to end my marathon "career" on that note.  Will 2019 have one?  Perhaps.  I am not feeling a super strong desire to do one, but we shall see how my training is coming along.  I don't think I'll do a giant race -- but more or less a small more intimate feeling marathon.

As they say, stay tuned...

Looking forward to some destination races this spring.

Upcoming Races

I've definitely been taking advantage of the race discounts.  Cyber Week and of course the upcoming Christmas "deals" means I should be able to save a few dollars   I am being mindful not to run too many half marathons in a row.  I truly burned myself out last spring...

01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/09: 2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/16: 2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 Slc Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Gardner Village Santa Run 5K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT

Official Time: 26:19
Placement: 1st in the 45 - 49, 26th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 30's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New to me

Mile TimeComments
18:14Off to a slow start. Crowded and a little icy. Did virtually no warm-up
28:28Definitely feeling it.
38:31Ugh. No second wind on this one.
3.091:05Just cross the finish already....
Total Miles: 3.13- 26:19

Me before the race in the required running outfit


Well, I should point out I rarely do themed run -- let alone fun runs.  But with the race calendar winding down (this should be my last race of 2018) I decided to put this one on my calendar.

It wasn't a super cheap race, but it seems to be all the rage to do these dress-up races and run.  For your entry fee you get a Santa suit, a supported 5K and refreshments at the end.  In addition, the race was practically in my backyard -- a mere 2 or 3 miles down the road.

I think I got in right before a price increase and got a guarantee of a medal.

Packet pick up at Gardner Village

I wound up picking up my bib on Friday night, which was probably a pretty decent idea.  It gave me ample time to try out the suit and see what would need to be tweaked before running it.  I found that the pants did NOT fit right at all and that the best option was for me to wear my shorts over them.  I know this is kind of a fashion faux pas, but you know what -- it kept my pants up.

The Race

The race started at 9 AM and I rolled in sometime after 8 AM.  It was chilly and I found myself there WAY early.  Luckily time flew by pretty quickly and I managed to use the bathroom and do a few drills to get semi warmed up.

I was hoping for a decent race, but given the potential for ice on the bike trail and running in a bulky Santa outfit, I sensed that this was going to be a fun run in the truest sense.

I've run this race's route several times and if memory serves correctly it was my first 5K in Utah when I moved here in 2012.  I only wish I could run what I ran back then....

It was chilly but the Santa suit kept me warm.  Under it, I had underwear and a regular shirt.  I also wore sunglasses because it was intensely bright out.  

The race started at 9 AM and immediately I regretted not doing a warm-up.  Almost from the get go it seemed hard to run.  Usually once a race starts my adrenaline kicks in and I am able to take it up a notch, but this morning ... no such luck.  

It was crowded at first and I think there were some folks that were jammed up at the front that probably shouldn't have been there.  Also there are a lot of turns at the start and it was icy under a bridge.  So I lost a few seconds to that.  But 95% of the Jordan River Bike Trail was in decent shape.

The first mile felt hard.  Nothing was responding very well and I was hurting too much at the start.  My legs just didn't feel fast.  I hadn't used any beet juice before hand and I was using a heavier shoe on account of potential ice.

I wasn't surprised to see the first mile go by in 8:15.  It clearly wasn't what I wanted because I was hurting.  On the plus side, I didn't see too many folks my age around me.  There were a few younger folks leading the pack, but very few middle-aged guys.

About 1.25 miles into the race the trail got shady and there were some slick spots.  I had to turn it down a notch to make sure I didn't fall on my face.  There were a few spots where my shoe literally skidded a bit.

Also it was at this point I realized I was warm.  The cotton material of the Santa suit certainly didn't breath and I was feverishly trying to roll up the sleeves.  I was also wearing a Santa hat which also capped the heat.

The turnaround was marked by a water stop and there were about 20 or so runners in front of me.  There were a few other runners behind me, but the majority of the race were what appeared to be casual runners and families.  It was cool getting lots of cheers and greets from everyone as I returned back to Gardner Village.

Santa Finish Line

I was hoping I'd get a second wind on the way back but there really wasn't any luck.  I was chasing down some of the top female runners.  Occasionally another runner would pass me, which is always heartbreaking.

I kept looking at my Garmin hoping the distance would magically be short, but this course always measures accurately on my watch.  In fact this time it ran a little long (strange).   Either way, I didn't have a lot of speed left as I ran through the finish line.


I was really disappointed with my time.  26:19 is one of my slowest times ever for a "normal" 5K.  Granted, though, I was wearing a bulky Santa suit and the conditions were less than ideal but still, I was hoping for at least a 25:30.

In the long run, it really didn't matter.  I placed first in my age group, but there weren't any age group awards, so sadly this was a fun run in the truest sense.  

There was water, cookies and candy canes at the end.  Since I had registered early, I managed to snag a finisher's medal which was kind of cool.  It is nicely designed.

The race was fun.  It got me out of the house and the weather conditions were mostly good.  You also get to keep the Santa suit, so I am sure at some point I can put it to good use somewhere else.

I was disappointed with my race result.  It was a flat course and from the get go it was just a tough race for me.  While I wanted to run hard, it just wasn't there.  More than likely I sort of had written the race off mentally on account of the bulk outfit and less than desirable trail conditions.  Also, another minute or two wouldn't have made any difference other than to my ego.