Sunday, May 19, 2019

This Month in Running - April


Miles This Year:  512.5


April wasn't a terribly productive month.  Just before April started I was doing a routine tempo run when in the final stretches I pulled / tore a hamstring muscle.

It hurt -- a lot.

I figured I was going to be down for a day or two, 72 hours tops.  But this injury took me out for about 3 weeks of April. 

About the 3rd week in, I was able to resume running and it wasn't until about the last week of April that I could put in a serious week of training.

Most of April was spent walking the bike trail and rubbing CBD oil on the injury.  Not very fun.  With every runner that passed me on the bike trail, I tried to look them in the eye as if to say, "I am on the sidelines, but I am one of you."  I really just wanted the freedom to run again, despite in March being mildly burned out on it.



I did manage to get in one race and dropped out of a few others.  Normally, I drop out of one race a year: mostly due to conflicts, an injury or sickness.  So far this year (I am writing this in May), I've dropped out of 4, including deferring to next's Salt Lake City Half Marathon.



Jordan River Updates


Regular readers know that I really enjoy running along the Jordan River.  Daily, I run on the Murray City stretch.  They've been making some significant improvements to the trail, including new signs and general clean-up.

Since moving back from Arizona last year I noticed a steady decline in the trail.  More trash, more people camping and just signs of riff-raff.  In some areas I was feeling distinctly "not safe".  In fact, I was warned a time or two that it might not be a good idea to go too much further north than my usual turn around.

But Jordan River Commission has been making a lot of changes.  The addition of the signs, clearing brush (making it harder for people to hide along the trails) has made the trail a bit more exciting as well as safer.  This trail was one of the things I truly missed when I lived in Arizona last summer.

Look closely for a feral cat


I am also working on a new cat. This cat is in the same location as my old feral cat and in the past this cat ate whatever my old cat didn't finish.  This one isn't as regular but it is slowly starting to trust me.  It gives me a sense of purpose to come out and feed this cat.

In closing, though I am glad I am running better now.  I still have some tightness / not "one hundred percentness" in my hamstring, but for the most part I can start logging some miles again!

Upcoming Races




05/27: 2019 Race for Grief 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
07/20: 2019 Handcart Half Marathon - Bountiful, 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)
04/18: 2020 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/16: 2020 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)

2019 Ogden Half Marathon Race Recap - Ogden, UT




Official Time: 2:00:52
Placement51 out of 124, 450 out of 1140 men, and 754 overall.
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's, mild wind from the south and west. Rain
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2016] [2015] [2013]

Mile TimeComments
19:07Some up hill here but just settling in
28:53
38:47Hilly stretch here. Did way better than I thought I would do
48:55Finally reach the top of the canyon
58:40Let the downhill begin
68:44
78:58
89:03Fairly consistent.  Would've expected faster considering downhill
99:02
109:03
119:36On to the bike trail here.  Have to propel myself now
129:46Legs are tired. Just want to be done
1310:30Shambling along
13.171:43A whole lotta of nothing left.



Total Miles: 13:17 2:00:52




Introduction


Well, it's been a while since I've done the Ogden Marathon race.  I've done the full marathon 3 times and since I've been on a marathon hiatus of late, I decided back in February to jump into the half marathon.  

The race is an extremely well run race that starts up in a valley at the top of Ogden canyon.  The half marathon starts in a park in Eden Utah.  From there, you wind around Pineview Reservoir until you get to the top of the canyon's entrance.  From there, you descend through the canyon until you get to the bike trail ... and from there you wind up in downtown Ogden.

For a point to point race, this is one of the prettiest and most fun courses to run.  And it is also mostly downhill...

The race also supports a lot of youth community activities in Ogden.  So it is rewarding to know that you are contributing to that.




The Race


I took Friday off and wound up heading up into Ogden late in the afternoon for packet-pickup.  The pick-up was held at Weber State University and it was an easy in and out.  However, the Expo is definitely worth checking out.  There were at least two dozen vendors promoting races or selling running stuff.  It was also social hour for me as I ran into a bunch of folks that I knew.

After getting my bib / shirt, I headed over to the Sleep Inn on the north side of Ogden.  I probably could've skipped the hotel, but it gave me a little extra sleep and saved me another trip to / from Ogden (about an hour away).  With a 7 AM race start and a 5:15 bus loading deadline, it was going to be an early morning for me.

I wound up eating at Black Bear Diner in Ogden.  It tends to be a good choice for me and I've eaten there before.

I didn't sleep very well and was up before my 3:45 AM alarm.  I ate and prepped for the race and left the room by 4:25 AM.  I've parked in the same parking lot since 2013 and I got there with plenty of time to spare.  In fact, I had some time to drink a little more in the car.

Like each year in the past, it was raining.  I seem to bring the curse to the Ogden marathon.  When I run, it races.  Every year I've missed it, the weather has been decent.  When I had woken up it was raining hard, but by the time I got to the bus loading, it was a very mild drizzle.  

I was loaded down with just about every piece of running equipment needed for bad weather.  I intended to run it with a long sleeved shirt, a hat, gloves and shorts.  But I had with me a warm jacket, umbrella, tights, etc.  

It took a while to get on the bus due to there being several thousand half marathon runners.  But I had my umbrella and good conversation.  The bus ride from downtown Ogden to the race start was about 25 minutes.  By the time we got to the top of the canyon, it was pouring...  hard.  Everyone was anxiously looking out the windows of the bus and volunteers frantically set up their stations.

In another 15 minutes, in Eden's city park, the rain was coming down in a light drizzle.  Everything was wet and damp.  I found myself shivering while waiting in line for the bathroom.

I cycled through the bathroom a time or two as I debated on what to wear.  I didn't have a lot of confidence in my hamstring and the last thing I wanted to do was have a hamstring issue and have to walk 6 miles of a half marathon in the rain.

So I opted to keep on the tights I was wearing and the heavier jacket that I use when it is below freezing.  I also crammed a 33-gallon garbage bag in my pocket.

As soon as the race started I knew I had made a mistake.  I was warm and felt confined.  It's been years since I've worn tights.  I told myself I wasn't really racing this on account I've been injured for so long but at the same time, this course is fast.

The first 3 miles are mostly uphill.  There are some rolling hills so you get some downhills.  Arguably, this is the toughest part of the course (even for the full marathon).  Luckily I was fresh and I was feeling pretty good.  I fully expected this to be the slowest part for me, but I turned in some decent times.

The rain had stopped and for the most part the weather was ideal for running.  Although occasionally the rain would start again, but it was never very serious.

By the time I reached the top of the canyon, I felt very warm.  I was debating if it was worth stopping, re-pinning my bib to something else and discarding my tights.  I loved my running jacket (you can see my attire at the topmost photo) and I definitely didn't want to "donate" it.  I unzipped my jacket and did the best I could with my clothing.

The downhill part is the fastest part of the course.  You are running by the Ogden River and the pace at this point becomes easy.  It isn't a crazy fast downhill, but you can certainly coast a bit here.  This is also the most scenic part of the course, as you'll enjoy the sites of the surrounding rock and even pass an occasional waterfall.  

At mile 10 you are done with the canyon.  There is usually a crowd at the bottom cheering on various runners.  They didn't let us down despite the cold wind blowing through the mouth of the canyon.  

But at this point I was running on fumes and I knew the crash was coming.  While I was thirsty, there had been water stops every mile.  I hadn't packed a gel and I was wondering if my sugar levels had crashed.  Also, it was possible that my lack of training was costing me.  I was also insanely warm....

The final three miles were awful for me.  I was just tired and wanted to be done.  I was dying to ditch my jacket but my car keys were inside and I wondered how feasible it was going to be for me to go and drive back out and get it (a lot of Ogden is shut down for the race).

My pace grew to a shuffle and I became irritated with every runner who passed me.  I was kicking myself for overdressing and my hopes of running a 1:55-ish were growing dimmer.

I tried to enjoy my run along the bike trail.  There were stretches of it that were really pretty and ideal for running.  But when your legs feel like lead, it is hard to enjoy.

Finally, we turned down the main street and you can clearly see the finish line -- but it seems so far away.  I kept looking at my watch hoping that the final quarter miles would just melt away.  I saw the 2:00 hour pacer fly by me but I knew she was ahead of schedule.  To make my pace seem even slower, there was a decent headwind seeming to thwart my every effort.

Mercifully, I reached the finish line.  I tried to put on a brave face for the spectators but I was hurting.  This is one of those races that definitely have decent crowd support -- from fans to the volunteers.



Conclusion


I snagged my medal from one of the volunteers and gulped down some Gatorade.  I normally carry my hydration for a half marathon, but I had skipped that due to the colder weather.  Being insulated from the element though, made me sweat a lot more and I was dehydrated.

I grabbed some more food / beverages as I made my way out of the long finish chute.  I chatted with some of the other runners before making my way over to the baggage drop.



Unlike previous years, I didn't freeze the minute I stopped.  Actually, I could've hung out a bit longer as the sun had come out (finally).

The gear retrieval was super efficient.  I got all my stuff back in no time at all.  And I was able to get out of the parking lot in short order too as most of the runners were still running.

I was mildly disappointed with my performance.  I was on target for a really good race, but due to a lack of training and being overdressed, I didn't run well at all.  Granted, before the start I told myself I wasn't racing it and this was mostly a test to determine whether my hamstring could tolerate hills -- and for the most part it did.

The medal is a work of art.  It is heavy duty and the lanyard is of high-quality.  Definitely a keeper.  The shirt is a long sleeved shirt.  It is similar to the medal in design.  

Post race refreshments included soda, beer (a first in Utah, I think), fruit, Gatorade, water, chocolate and milk.  There also were Popsicles and protein drinks.

I paid a fair amount for this race.  I registered in February I think, right before a price increase.  It is definitely one of the most expensive races I'll do.  But it does support a worthy cause, it is a first-class event, and the course is one of my favorites.  I took advantage of the early-bird pricing and have already signed up for 2020.

I bet it will be rainy.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

2019 Starr Valley 10KM Race Recap - Starr Valley / Deeth NV




Official Time: 56:49
Placement: 1st in the 45-49, 2nd overall male, 4th overall
Results:  Soon
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 60's, strong winds from the south and south west
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New To Me

Mile TimeComments
19:20About a quarter of a mile flat then a gradual hill
210:30Toughest section of hills. Thought I was faster here
38:44Come on turn around... 
410:17Got a break from the hills at mile 3, time for payback
58:17Push it hard here, mostly downhill
68:41Hamstring twinged on me, so I definitely dialed it back.
6.120:59Cruise through the finish
Total Miles: 6.12 - 56:49




Introduction


I've wanted to do this race for a very long time.  It has showed up in my race searches year after year, as I've done other Ruby Mountain Relay races and this one just never fit on my calendar.  It always seemed to collide with the Salt Lake Marathon.

This year I was really excited to see that they moved it after the marathon, and with nothing on the race calendar, I opted to cross this one off my list.

I am glad I did, because apparently this will be its final year of being run on account of low attendance.  Deeth Nevada is just a hard place to draw a lot of people.

The Race

The race's headquarters was at the Starr Valley Community Center.  This was an ancient building, built in 1913 by the settlers in the area. Packet pickup was a snap on account that the race was very lightly attended.  I think they probably had about 50 - 60 people all together for the 5 and 10KM.

I had driven in from Wendover and with a 10 AM Pacific Time (Wendover is on mountain time) I was afforded the luxury of sleeping in and relaxing a bit.

The race ran along a rural road on Route 230 NV.  I have never driven the road, but it is basically a stretch of road that is an artery for the ranches.  It is very scenic with the eastern Humboldt Mountain range being the backdrop.

This race is also hilly!

I warmed up about 2 miles before the race, since I got there a good hour early.  I also wanted to give my cranky hamstring a chance to get loose and have some confidence that it was going to hold.  I had zero problems with it as I made my way north along Starr Valley road.  I don't think the cows in the area had ever seen a runner before, because they retreated the minute they saw me run by.

The race started promptly at 10 AM.  The first half a mile or so is fairly flat but the hills begin soon.

My breathing was actually pretty good despite running at 5500 elevation.  My goal was to run about 9:00 - 9:30's for the hilly section, get to the turn around and crush the final 2 miles.

I was a little disheartened to see my first mile come in at 9:20.  I felt like I was running a lot faster.

I was happy with my position though.  Several young women were ahead of me and no one my age was ahead of me.  While I didn't think I had a realistic shot at winning, I figured with a lightly attended race they might not go very deep for age group awards.

Mile 2 was more hilly than mile 1.  I made a mental note that I'd really enjoy tearing it up along this stretch on my way back.  While I was climbing, and the pace was painful, I did realize I had a slight tailwind.  Mentally it helped, but I also feared that it would hinder me on the way back.

I loved the course.  There was very little car traffic and I was more or less running solo.  It was so peaceful and surprisingly warm.  So many desert smells, and occasionally a babbling brook could be seen.  Just a very agrarian area.

Mile 3 had some downhill and I didn't even both to look at my pace.  Looking at it now, I am a bit shocked.  The tailwind I suspect really kicked in and I realized I was the second place male overall.

The one young man ahead of me had about a quarter mile lead.  And I felt like I had a chance of tracking him down because he looked like he was going to be sick and breathing hard.  Did he go out too hard?

The turnaround was a bit of a double whammy.  The wind hit me hard -- it had to be a good 20 mph wind.  Did I really have that much at my back?  It was crazy because it didn't seem that bad.  Also the steep hill that had propelled me to a fast mile 3 time needed to be climbed.

I looked behind me and there was no one really chasing me down, which gave me some solace as I shambled up the hill.  I couldn't wait to hit the mile 4 marker.  It just seemed to take forever.  I wasn't too surprised to see another 10 minute mile roll by.



Finally at the top of the hill I could see the valley below and I had enough endurance to really start to pick up my pace.  While I had some head wind, it seemed a lot less and I was killing it with gravity's assistance.  There were probably only about 25 runners for the 10K and we were all supporting each other with cheers and encouragement.  That is one nice thing about out and back courses -- the camaraderie.

At mile 5, disaster struck.  My hamstring, which has been bothering me for the past month, let itself be known that I had pushed it too hard.  I glanced behind me and didn't see another soul except for a young man who was at mile 4.5 waiting to hand out water.  There was no one in sight.

I tried to see the lead male, but he was gone too.  My hopes of winning the race were dashed.  I dialed my pace back a bit.  I didn't want to hurt myself and I didn't need to push myself very hard at this point.  I am glad I listened.

Luckily the injury calmed down and definitely wasn't as bad as it was when I first injured it.  Sitting here, some hours later, I don't feel it at all.  So hopefully the hurt isn't going to derail my plans.


Conclusion


I crossed the finish line with little fanfare.  I grabbed a water and socialized with some of the other runners.  Believe it or not, a lot of people recognized me from other Elko-area races.  I drive 3+ hours for these races and it is nice to know I have connections in this town.

I walked off my hamstring issue and I realized I didn't seem to be in that bad of shape.  I wasn't too surprised with my time.  The course is challenging, the elevation / wind set me back and I haven't been training for speed for a while.  I've probably put on a few pounds too.  All of this took its toll on me.

I did thoroughly enjoy the race though.  I paid around $30 for it so it was quite cheap.

Age group awards were a simple ribbon.  The t-shirt was a cotton one that advertises the joy of running.  Not race specific.  I didn't expect much.  The race is lightly attended and is not billed as a big-time event.

I did talk to the race director afterwards and she told me that this would be the final year of the race.  She is from Salt Lake as well and the effort of putting on the race with just a low turn out wasn't worth it for her.

I am just happy I got an opportunity to run this race.  I would've regretted not having done it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

This Month in Running - March

Year to Date Miles: 434


March


March started off kind of rough.  I had a sub-par race in Las Vegas which was a result of having bronchitis.  That bronchitis carried into March and by mid March I was largely over it.

I'd still have coughing fits at the end of most of my runs, but at least I wasn't horrible ill.

However, about a week before the end of March I was trying to work up my motivation to start running long again. My plan for Sunday was to go 12 - 14 miles or thereabouts.  However, the weather man had other ideas.  

It was rainy and kind of chilly and while I could've done a nice long run it was just at that time of day where I didn't feel like doing a long run.  So I went out and by-golly, my pace was solid.  I ran about 5K to my turn around point at 10K pace.  I was flying!

I used the bathroom and slowly worked my way back up to 10K pace for the final segment of my "hard" run.  I was ecstatic.  I was hauling and the weather was perfect and the running Gods were smiling upon me.  It happens but someone of my age, not as often as it once did.



Then, just about 100 yards before I finished I felt a little tug on my hamstring.  No worries, I thought.  In over 20 years of running, I've never had a day of problems with my hamstring.

I slowed down a tiny bit but kept running.  My hamstring was definitely upset after warning me and decided to erupt in a ball of pain.  Almost like getting stung by a bee.

I came to a screeching halt.

I rubbed it and sort of walked it off, but it hurt.  I limped / hobbled home, iced it, took some Aleve and called it good.

The problem was, it wasn't good.  It hurt to walk, it hurt sitting there watching TV, it hurt using the bathroom.  I figured a few days worth of rest, and I'll be as good as new.

Well, I am typing this in mid-April and it took a whopping 3 weeks before I could even think about running.  I used KT tape, sports rubs, ice, anti-inflamatories, compression, but I couldn't run on it.  And if I did think about running on it and it hurt, it'd be like starting at day 0 again.  What I *think* I did was pull a hamstring muscle and it took 3 - 4 weeks to resolve.  I did not stretch it.  My hunch is a torn hamstring is not going to respond to stretching. In fact, stretching made it more angry.

I am typing this April 25th and I just started to run last week.  I still can't do a lunge to save my life but I can run and finally I can run at a good clip.  My confidence is coming back that I can race a bit.



I continued to maintain my sanity by walking -- and I walked just about whatever miles I would've run.  And I was suddenly VERY envious of all the other runners who were enjoying their endorphins while I trudged along.  I knew, however, that my injury wasn't a career killer and I'd be back at it soon enough.


Missing Races


March also turned into a killer for missed races.  I was too sick to do the March Madness Half.  I even got the okay to drop down to the 10K but the morning of the race I felt like garbage.  

I also was supposed to do the Riverton half.  I pretty much paid full price for it and I thought I could work my way through it.  However, when I went to the race that morning I ran about 150 yards and called my hamstring unfit for half marathon duty.  So I dropped to the 5K (super cool for them to do that for me on the day of the event).  However, about 30 minutes before the 5K I did a very easy warm-up and I lasted about half the length of a football field before it felt like a gunshot went off in my hamstring. I was just about in tears on that one as I drove off.  So I have a $50 t-shirt.

Finally, I was borderline ready to do the Salt Lake Half.  I am so glad I didn't.  The course is point to point, so if my hamstring died on my on my 2, I'd have to wait to take the sag wagon or just hoof it the next 11 miles.  They have a fantastic deferral program, so I basically deferred my entry until next year.  It set me back $30, but that's the price.  I did run that morning and lasted 3.75 before my hamstring stopped me in my tracks.


Final Thoughts


As I write this, I am running.  I ran 37 miles last week.  This week, I feel even stronger.  It is late April though and I don't want to steal April's thunder but March -- and for that matter, the start of 2019 has been kind of cruddy:

  1. I lost my feral cat I was feeding.
  2. I got bronchitis
  3. I knocked the mirror off of one of my cars -- cost: $500
  4. I got injured.
  5. Work and home life certainly have had their challenges.
  6. Just haven't been super motivated to do super cool, new things.  As evidenced by the lack of blog posts.
I try not to dwell on the past, but man, I could use some good fortune.

I am just happy to be running again and I get to push myself to some new limits and enjoy what the world has to offer.  Staying positive!




Upcoming Races



04/27: 2019 Starr Valley 10K -- Deeth, NV (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
05/18: 2019 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
05/27: 2019 Race for Grief 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
07/20: 2019 Handcart Half Marathon - Bountiful, 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)
04/18: 2020 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/16: 2020 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 Lucky 13 10 KM Race Recap - West Jordan, UT




Official Time: 50:31
Placement: 1st in the 45-49
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 30's at start, low 40's at finish. No wind, sunny
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2014]


Mile TimeComments
18:23Really hemmed in at the start. Surprised at the overall result here
28:11Zooming along here
38:22Come on turn around... 
48:22Very consistent
58:21Another surprising mile. Figured I'd be slower
68:31Running out of gas
6.040:18
Total Miles: 6.04 - 50:31




Introduction


Around the start of the year I got sent a blast e-mail which offered some pretty good discounts on various OnHillEvents for the year of 2019.  I had done the race last year and it is just a short 2 mile drive from my house.  So it was a pretty easy decision to do this one.

Last year, though, I had dug myself into a bit of a racing hole.  I had done WAY too many half marathons.  I think in the early spring I did about 6 or 7 half marathons in the span of 7 weeks.  Mid way through I was feeling beat up and this year I didn't want to have a repeat.

So I've dialed it back a bit this year and opted for the 10KM this -- and boy I am glad I did.  I definitely don't feel as run down as I did last year.



The Race


I had picked up my bib the night before, so the whole process of getting ready for the race was as easy as it gets.  I got there just shy of 8:30 for the 9 AM start.  I circled around and took some photos, used the rest room (funny how I have to go even after a 2 minute drive from my house) and then did some drills to warm up.

It was kind of chilly and I opted to run in shorts, 2 shirts, and throw away gloves.  I also ran with sunglasses and a hat.  It was perfect, although I got a little warm mid way through the race despite the upper 30's / lower 40's running weather.

The race started a little late, but no biggie.  Joseph the race director had said he had a big turnout and he wasn't kidding.  Last year, the number of runners were kind of thin.  This year, he had a good contingent of them.  

I inched my way to the front but not too close.  From previous race experiences on this course, the race gets pretty jammed at the start but opens up soon enough.  It all depends upon how many newcomers there are that sort of start up at the front.

I hadn't done much of a warm-up before the race so I sort of eased my way into the first mile.  In some ways I was glad to be hemmed in because it forced me to ease into the race.

The race is held on the Jordan River Bike trail, which is my stomping ground for training.  However, I live about 2 miles north of the starting line and I almost run north when I run on it.  This race goes south and the bike trail is largely flat with no significant hills.  There are plenty of twists and turns but generally speaking -- you run south for 3.1(-ish) miles and then turn around.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the first mile go by fast.  I felt like I was running hard but not that hard.  I was worried I had started too fast and that the last 3 miles would be a crash and burn scenario.  Having just run a half marathon a week before, I knew that I had plenty of endurance.



The 10KM is such a nice distance.  It is a mix of hard running (speed) while still you need endurance to finish.  I was again surprised (and happy) to hit mile 2 even faster than mile 1.  I could feel a little bit of lactic acid building up in me but overall I felt good.  I was wearing my Saucony Fasttwich shoes and I actually felt light on my feet.  And, I was still working with other runners.

Just before the halfway point of any race -- particularly one with an out-and-back profile, I desperately can't wait to hit the turn around point.  It is a mental relief as well as I know how much more I have to go.

I do suspect that the 10KM runners were supposed to run through the 2nd age station and then turn around, but the aid station had their turn around sign there -- at about 3.02 on my Garmin.  I asked if we were supposed to turn around and the volunteers said yes.  Also, I noticed a few other runners turn around, so when in Rome....



I figured I was going to top 10 the race.  I didn't see anyone in my age group and there were only a handful of other runners ahead of me.  The leader of the race was well ahead, but I had a few people to work off of in front of me and a few chasing me from behind.



I was hurting by the time I got to mile 4 but still felt good.  I looked behind me and there were a few runners behind me but not lots.  So I wasn't too worried about losing my age group lock.  At 4.5 I went through the first aid station again and I was still holding a pretty solid pace.

The last mile did eventually catch up with me.  I had two runners trailing me and I was doing my best to hold them off.  One was a woman and the other turned out to be much younger man.  I think they were using me as a pacer and in the last .2 of a mile they both gunned by me and I had nothing left to give.

Also the final mile involves a lot of zig-zagging and tight turns.  There is also a very short but painful hill as you get into the parking lot of Gardner Village -- the boutique shopping area that hosts the race.

I tried catching them but they clearly had another gear in them.

I crossed the line in 50:32 (on my Garmin).  I talked to another runner who said he ran 6.10 miles.  The race was most likely short, so I am guessing on an officially measured course, I'd be just shy of 52 minutes.




Conclusion


I was pretty happy with my time.  I ran well and with the exception of the last mile, my splits were more less very consistent.  Usually I start out WAY too fast and then shuffle through the finish line.  With all my endurance training, it is nice to step down to a shorter distance.



I grabbed my finisher's medal and I wasn't too surprised to see I had won the 45 - 49 age division (last year the half marathon in my age division was super stacked).

I wound up socializing with several runners after the race.  We were all commenting about how nice the weather was.  I kind of wish the weather remained this nice throughout the year.  It was absolutely perfect for a fast run.

The post race refreshments included sports drink, candy, oranges, sandwiches, bananas and of course Fat Boy Ice Creams.  I wound up loading up on those... they taste absolutely heavenly after a race.

I don't remember exactly what I paid for the race, but since I was early it was pretty cheap.  I definitely got my money's worth.  The shirt was nicely designed although it was another cotton / polyester blend.  I am not sure what to make of them as I definitely prefer the 100% polyester shirts for training.  I'll wear it, but probably not for racing.

While the course isn't unique or new, it is a fast one and I enjoy it.  There is something comforting about knowing just about every twist and turn on a course.

I am just pretty happy with the results and I hope this streak continues.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Fast and Flat) Race Recap - Hurricane, UT




Official Time: 1:54:02
Placement: 18th male overall, 3rd in the 45 - 49
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 30's to mid 40's.  Slight wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2016] [2015]

Mile TimeComments
18:51Easing into the race. Let's see what I've got
28:56
38:52Talk about consistent
48:44Picked up the pace ever so slightly
58:45
68:53Begin climbing a lengthy hill. Sort of surprised this wasn't slower
79:31Crested the hill. Now for some down hill. Sort of surprised this mile wasn't slower.
88:26Delicious downhill
99:02Back to the flat section.
108:56
118:35Sense the finish line is coming. Actually holding up really well.
128:53Really digging deep here. Still very consistent
12.857:20Cruise to the finish line



Total Miles: 12:85 1:54:00




Introduction


I am a repeat customer to the Sand Hollow Half Marathon.  It is one of my favorite and quite affordable.  With the race season just starting off, this is an opportunity to race in better weather (i.e. warmer than Salt Lake City) in a part of the state I'd like to visit more often that I do: Southern Utah.

There is a lot to do down in Southern Utah.  It also usually kicks off a weekend in Mesquite, NV where I can get my Jacuzzi and buffet on.  Southern Utah also offers a bigger contrast over northern, as there are a bunch of national parks and beautiful red rock formations.

It was quite an adventure down to Hurricane when I left on Friday.  I ducked out of work a little early.  I had heard there were warnings of some snow flurries but none of the weather sites seemed to be too alarmed by it.

Well by the time I got about 90 minutes out of the city, it started to snow.  It wasn't necessarily sticking but it did make driving a little more nerve wracking.  The central part of Utah doesn't have a lot of civilization and I was really worried about driving into a ditch.  I saw at least a dozen cars, some of them in really bad shape, off in the ditches.  I didn't want that to be me.

All told, it probably took me an additional 45 minutes to get to my destination.  I was so stressed from the drive that my muscles almost hurt.


The Race


I stayed at a hotel down the street from the race and rolled in about 40 minutes before the start.  I nabbed a really good parking spot.  I had picked up my bib the night before so I was all set to run.

I was a bit apprehensive about this race. My last half marathon didn't go very well and to be honest, I wasn't feel "on".  Also, my training hasn't really gone very well.  I've been sort of slacking on long runs.

So I wasn't expecting much as I toed the line for the 7:30 start.

I started off cautiously and decided to run by feel.  The first two miles are run in a residential area.  There are a few turns as we make our way through them.  The course was well marked and marshaled.  I wasn't leading by any means, so I was just following the pack.

It was a little chilly at the start.  I had two shirts on, shorts and throw away gloves.  I sort of regretted wearing two shirts, but overall I don't think I was overheating.  When the course was shaded I wound up wearing the gloves and later I stuffed them in my pocket.  They were a nice accessory to have.

I wasn't too surprised to run my first 3 miles at about a 9 min / mile pace.  I felt okay but I was wondering if my lack of endurance training would bite me and I'd start my crash and burn around mile 6.

Eventually the course takes you out of town and you are surrounded by pastoral scenes. An LDS church spire, cows and horses baying in the background.  It gets rural and bucolic.

There were some rough sections of road and I twisted my ankle in a pothole.  Luckily not damage was done.  People were more spread out, but I was always within shouting distance of someone in the race.

Just shy of mile 5 you hang a left.  You go about another mile before you get dumped into a well-to-do neighborhood.  This was my favorite part of the course last year.  The smells of the desert are amplified here.  Also there are a lot of modern houses that reminded me of New Mexico: the boxy desert house that were nestled on hills.  It was tough going here but all the sites helped distract me.  

Finally just shy of mile 7 we reached the turn around.  I couldn't be happier.  I was still feeling good and I knew I had a solid of mile of downhill.  It was nice to blast down that stretch.

Instead of an out-and-back course, you continue to go down a stretch of road.  There was a fair amount of traffic on the road, but we had a good shoulder to run on and I think drivers were aware a race was going on.  I never felt like I was in danger.  

This mile seemed to go on for an eternity.  I didn't have anyone behind me and I was working off a guy who might've been in my age group.  My goal was to hang with him as long as I could.  However, during this stretch he started to fade and I found a second gear.  I made my move and I think that sort of dropped his spirits.



At some point, you rejoin the course where we had started.  I had made mental notes of the first 3 mile markers from the distance from the start.  I knew they were off.  It was nice to know that when I passed the mile 3 marker, I really had about 2.9 miles to go. I got another second wind here as I was pushing myself in the final 5K.

I wasn't dying and was actually pretty happy with my pace.  I knew it wasn't going to be a PR day but I was actually going to turn in a decent time.

The final half mile is a bit of a heartbreaker.  You can see the finish line in the distance and it seems like you only have a little more to go, but in reality it's quite a ways. I wound up catching another male runner before crossing the finish line in 1:54.



Conclusion


I was actually pretty happy with my time.  While I was a minute slower than last year, all things considered, it was a "win" for me.  I had been sick for most of the month and my training hadn't gone well, yet I had finished a half marathon without going into a death march / I hate running mentality.

I wound up socializing with some of the other runners from Salt Lake.  We all complained about the horrible drive down but were all ecstatic about the highly agreeable running weather.



What was cool about this race is that I know the race director.  I've done his race a few times and I always make it a point to say hello when I do the St George Half Marathon in January.  He surprised me by making a promotional poster -- with my photo on it.  It's a beautiful piece of work and I was flattered.  He had a bunch of extras and I managed to bring a stack home.  Totally cool and made my weekend.

Post race refreshments included water, chocolate milk, brownies, fruit and pretzels.  He even had some sodas.  Overall I was really happy with the post race fare.  I think everyone else was too.

The mile markers were fairly close, but I think once again the course is a little short.  Most people's Garmin watches reported a short course.  I don't think anyone was complaining though.

There were plenty of aid stations with volunteers. They had water and Gatorade.  Some had gels and fruit.  There were plenty of them and I probably didn't need to carry my hydration, but I prefer to be able to drink when I think I need to.  And sometimes volunteers weren't ready for me, so I could afford to skip them.


The medal was very cool.  They had a decent shirt as well -- it was a cotton / tech blend.  I am not sure I am fan of that but I think more races are starting to give them out.  I prefer pure polyester for running.

Overall, I was happy with my race experience.  I am buzzing from a decent race performance despite not being 100% ready.  The weather couldn't been nicer and I really enjoy the variety of the course.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

This Month in Running - February

Me at the Bellagio Gadens before the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon

Year to Date Miles: 300


February


Well, I'll first start off by saying February was a pretty crappy month.  It started off okay but my training really took a nose dive after the South Davis Recreation Center 5K.

I normally don't mind winter running and while we had some rough weather, it really wasn't that bad.  In fact, I don't think there was a day this winter where I couldn't run or that the bike trail wasn't in good shape.



My problems started around February 10th when I discovered the cat I was feeding died.  A few days later I got a nasty cold, which sort of morphed into bronchitis and then some sort of "para flu".  Running suddenly became a lot harder -- especially when you can't really get a full breath of air or if you stop running you cough like an asthmatic.  Here I am typing this in on March 2nd and I am still not 100%.

So it isn't too surprising that I only got about 130 miles in for the month.  

Also as the month crept on, I get less and less quality runs in.  Most just became maintenance runs.

Some months are like that.

Cat News

Despite the horrendous news that the cat I had been died, I continue to feed another feral cat -- a little black one.  I don't see it very often but I do drop food for it and once in a while I find it sunning itself in the field, waiting (presumably) for me.

Since we were all set to adopt my other cat, we did wind up taking in a cat from the local pet shelter.  We took in a spunky, long-haired Tabby.  She is a cutey but hard to pin down.  Too much energy for a 2 year old:


Like Oreana, my other cat, we named her after a Nevada town: Fallon.


Upcoming Races

The race season is under way.  I did pass on the March Madness Half Marathon that was scheduled for 3/2.  I dropped down to the 10 KM and decided at the last minute that I wasn't even going to be able to run that.  I hate to not run a race I registered for, but I probably did myself a favor.

Hopefully I am 100% for the Sand Hollow Half.



03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
03/30: Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 SLC Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/27: 2019 Starr Valley 10K -- Deeth, NV (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)