Sunday, June 13, 2021

June 2021 Running in Review

 



Total Miles: 805 (as of 6/13/2021)

Running Report


It has been a while since I've done an update on my running.  There has been a lull in the race scene since early May.  Most of the races that happen in spring around here are "big" events.  And most other race vendors sort of clear the way for these events.

However, with Covid-19 apparently wrapping up, these events were held virtually.  Which meant as much as I would've liked to have had raced in person, I had to do my events virtually.

The races I did virtually (the Salt Lake City half Marathon and the Ogden Half Marathon) did offer deferrals, but I had already done my deferral from last year and I figured it would just be best to cash them in and get something. 

So for each of those races I ran a virtual half marathon along the Jordan River.  The weather conditions weren't the greatest and to be honest, I hadn't been putting in the miles I would've liked to have.  But I did run each of them in about 1:55 to 1:58.  Definitely not my great half marathons and it was challenging to muster an "A" level effort.

That has left me with time to train and put in some miles.  And I've done a fair job of doing once or twice a week speedwork sessions.  But it also drove me into a bit of a hole.

By the first week of June I was starting to feel unusually sore.  While I had no problem doing my runs, and I got the miles in, they were simply put, exhausting and painful.  I was plagued with poor sleep and muscle soreness.  It got to the point where I was in a lot of discomfort and despite being about 2 to 3 weeks out from a key half marathon, I decided to shut things down for a bit.  And you know what? It helped -- a lot.  I took 4 - 5 days off and when I came back, I felt better and certainly less "in pain".  

I probably should've taken a bit more time off but with the half marathon looming I felt compelled to get some miles in.

This break has also has made me realize I need to go back to the drawing board to determine what is important to me and to factor in rest periods.  The junk miles that I've been doing I think are hindering my recovery.  I used to be able to run 6 - 8 times a week, but I think at this point I am going to have to dial it back to 5.  Also if my race forecast is 5K / 10K races, there really isn't much need to go beyond 8 miles for a long run.

My diet is still under control and for the most part I eat fairly clean.  I still enjoy some 100 calorie dessert snacks but I try to eat mostly vegetables and fruits.  And when I shop I hit the produce / fruit aisle hard.



Now that summer is here, I am hoping to transition to morning runs.  As I write this, I did my first one this morning; and what a difference.  With temperatures hovering around the upper 80's to the 90's, it makes it very hard for an afternoon runner like myself to get in quality runs. 

So this morning I got up at 5:30 AM and hammered out 7 miles.  So much cooler and I wasn't dying from the heat.  It was more challenging running in a carb-depleted state but still, this was a solid run.




I am also doing some cross training while hiking.  They definitely improve my leg strength and my ability to suffer through some ascents.  I haven't done any new hikes so far this year, but have been busy revisiting some of my previous trails.

Upcoming Races

I am definitely looking forward to the next month.  I have a bunch of opportunities to really see where I am speed-wise.  My times are looking better and I continuing to do strides, intervals and reps in order to hone my speed.  Let's hope for some fast times and hopefully cooler temperatures.


06/19: 2021 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
06/26: 2021 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/03: 2021 Riverton 4th of July 10K - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
07/10: 2021 Farmington Days 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/15: 2021 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
12/04: 2021 Laughlin Half Marathon - Laughlin, NV (Confirmed)
02/27: 2022 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas (Confirmed)

Sunday, May 2, 2021

2021 Provo City 5K Race Recap - Provo, UT







Official Time: 24:19
Placement: 28th overall, unknown age group placement
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 60's with slight breeze from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First year for me.


Mile TimeComments
17:26Solid start.  A little bit of a climb in the latter half of this mile
27:30Sweet downhill
37:49Profile levels out, but gentle downhill
3.211:32Passed the 5K point at 23:35
Total Miles: 3.21 - 24:19




Introduction


Just about every year the Provo City 5K / Half Marathon appears on my race calendar and I always forget about it.  Usually May it is race compacted month, where there are so many things going on, that it just simply falls off my radar.

With Covid-19 still in effect, there are less races and a friend of mine happened to have an extra coupon which brought the price of the race down to virtually nothing.

Normally, I'd opt to do the half marathon, but the half marathon involved going down to Provo on Friday, picking up my bib and then arriving early the next day to jump on a bus to do the race.  Just too much.  So the simplest (and cheapest) thing to do was to do the 5K.  My training has been more suitable for the 5K regardless, so I was happy with that.





The Race


I rolled in around 8:15 AM for what I thought was a 9 AM start.  I was one of the first to the site and the organizers hadn't even set up yet.  Turns out the race was to start at 9:30 AM.

Things were pretty disorganized and after a while I did manage to get my bib, but clearly they weren't going to start on time.  It made my warm-up sort of haphazard and as time ticked past 9:30, I was wondering if this was going to turn into a fun run.

Fortunately the race started not soon after 9:30 and we were off.

The course was quite simple.  Start on a small offshoot to the main drag in Provo, hang a left and run until you hit the finish line.  One turn -- that's it.

I got off to a decent start.  Looking at previous year's results I knew I had a shot at an age group award and I didn't see that many guys in my age group.  There was a competitive feel in the air as I was approached by several people asking what my age was.

I had studied the course profile before running and I knew the first mile would see a climb.  You can sort of see it from the picture above.  After that it was going to be a sweet downhill to the finish.

I started off somewhat cautiously but I felt good.  I quickly pulled away from many of the runners and settled into a decent pace.  Occasionally, I would look at my Garmin and I felt that I could hold a sub 8 minute mile and hopefully let loose with the next 2.

I was astounded to hit the first mile in 7:30.  And I had put the only hill in the race in the rear view mirror.  I felt good -- still but I knew I was going to pay a price for my aggressive first mile.

There were a few half marathoners that were trickling in and I quickly overtook them. In fact, it was a little hard at times to determine who was running the 5K and who was running the half.  

I flew through the only aid station and I was so focused on the race that I wasn't really paying too much attention to my surroundings.  Suffice to say it wasn't too interesting.  It was a major, coned off road that was lined with oil change places, fast food restaurants and other Main Street type of operations.  I did pass by the fabled BYU but I hardly noticed.

Mile 2 flashed on my Garmin with a split of 7:34.  Could I actually PR here?  




I was definitely feeling it at this point and there wasn't much left.  I was sweating profusely and of course my stomach was in knots.  I kept focusing on my form and just putting one foot in front of the next.  I was trying to chase down a woman and a man in front of me but there clearly wasn't anyone behind me.  

It was also at this point that I saw the flashing lights of the fire truck and I could make out the finish line in the distance.  It just seemed to take an eternity to get there.  

The business thorough faire quickly got older.  The race would finish in downtown Provo which is lined with some early 20th century buildings.  At this point too the course was flat, so I was running under my own power.

My Garmin buzzed at 3 miles with another delicious 7:45 mile.  Despite the pain I was feeling, I was thrilled to crack 8 minute miles for a 5K.  It's been a LONG time since I've done that.  However, the finish line was *still* a good quarter mile away.  Darn it.... The course was definitely going to be long and every step I took was just hurting.  

I glanced at my watch when I hit 3.10 miles -- doing it in 23:35.  Fabulous, a new PR for me.   I still had to run an additional .11 miles to cross under the finish line with a time of 24:19.





Conclusion


I was walking on air when I finished.  What a fantastic time -- even with the long course, I had done really well.  Unfortunately, my allergies did kick in and after grabbing my medal and some water I had to find a quiet corner to clear my throat.  I hate that feeling.  Fortunately I didn't get sick but for a while there it wasn't looking pretty.

I walked off the nausea and grabbed a banana and they were passing out some other premium sports drink at the finish (Body Armor).  I wound up hanging around socializing with a TON of people I knew for a half hour before they announced awards.



Despite the website's promise that there were age group awards -- there clearly weren't any.  In fact, a lot of the results had "Unknown Participant" in the results, so I don't even know where I placed.  I have a feeling that for the 5K people were just handed bibs with a chip.  So I can't even really claim it on Athlinks.com (I did submit a request ticket to get it adjusted).

The medal on this race was heavy-duty though.  I paid around $12 for this race with the massive savings coupon I got so I can't really complain.  The shirt was nicely designed -- front and back -- but it isn't the 100% polyester.  The cotton material is definitely sporty but I like the 100% polyester ones.

The finish line definitely had a party atmosphere.  Music, a host, and a massive finish chute.  There also was a farmer's market and vendors, so it had a nice vibe. I really wish I had brought my camera to take some photos.  Very cool finish line experience.

There were supposed to be shuttles to take you back 3.1 miles to your car, but alas someone didn't get the memo.  After realizing that I'd be in for a long wait for volunteers to drive you back to your car, I just opted to run it back.  Shuffling uphill 3.1 miles back to your car after punishing yourself with a hardcore 5K wasn't my idea of fun.  But it wasn't all that bad and I got to enjoy a bit of the scenery and cheer on some of half marathoners.

Overall, I got a nice race for what I paid for.  If I had paid full price, though, I think I would've been disappointed.  The race results are a mess and there was a hint of age group awards, but clearly there were none.  Also the race getting started on time and bib assignments just weren't up to par.

However, I really enjoyed the vibe and the course -- it was fast.  The shirt was nice too and again, the medal is definitely up a notch from typical 5K race medals.  

Performance wise, this was one of my best races in a very long time. 24 hours later, I am still excited with my performance.  Definitely gives me a strong indication that my training is going as planned.


Saturday, April 10, 2021

2021 Eggs Legs 10K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT







Official Time: 48:37
Placement: 1st in the 50-55 7th overall, 6th male
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 40's, slight wind from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me



Mile TimeComments
18:00Fast start but let's see what I have
27:46Way too fast. Thought this would be my day though
38:08Paying the price -- a few tiny hills here
48:11Struggling at this point. Just want to be done.
58:22Heading into the final stretch
5.978:10Giving it all I've got
Total Miles: 5.97 - 48:39









Introduction


In early 2020 I signed up for the Eggs Legs 10K -- a race put on by OnHillEvents.Com.  It was a race to be held at Gardner Village -- a multi-use shopping center / restaurant area.  However, when Covid-19 exploded on the scene last spring this race wound up being canceled.

Fortunately, everyone's entry fees were transferred to the 2021 event.

The Eggs Legs race is a Easter themed race and is run along the Jordan River Parkway (bike trail).  This is my home course so to speak as I run it nearly every day.  Normally the race runs south into Midvale and South Jordan, but due to restrictions and construction on the bike trail, we had to run north.  This puts me pretty much in my own neighborhood as far as running goes.


Pre 5K race start



The Race


I showed up at the race at about 7 AM for an 8 AM start.  There weren't many people there.  In fact, I was half wondering if I was at the wrong place.  

However, I was an early bird for the 10K.  The half marathon had already started (and gone) at 7 AM and the 5K wouldn't start until 9 AM.  So it was very low stress to get my bib, my shirt, and find parking.

I wound up doing a series of drills and some warm-ups to kill the final 30 minutes or so before the race started.  I felt very stiff and sluggish, but fortunately the drills and warm-up got me loosened up and ready to race.

The race started promptly at 8 AM and with the staggered start it was a bit of a slow go at first.  I felt pretty good and I settled into a decent pace.

Given the size of the race (I figured maybe less than 100 10K runners) I knew I had a reasonable shot of placing in my age group.  But still I wanted to see if I had improved since last month's 10K at the Lucky 13 race.

I took off at a good clip and at first I had I hard time adjusting to the faster pace.  But once we got to the parkway and the familiar area of my run, I was off and running.  

I didn't have much of a goal at this race other than to run low 8's.  Mentally I wanted to run about 8:20 for the first mile and then dial it up a bit.  But I think the thought of PRing and chasing down some of the other runners that had started before me made me go out a little faster than I had hoped.

So I was a little nervous when I ran the first mile in 8 flat.  I had a strong feeling I was going to pay for that mile.

Miles 1 through 2 brought some familiar faces.  I ran into a pair of runners that I've known from other races (or just social aspects of being a daily runner on the bike trail).  They kind of wanted to chat / talk but I was hurting.  And to be honest, when I run, I want to focus and I can usually only mutter a few words as it is.  Fortunately the conversations were short lived and I sort of felt bad, but this was a race after all.

Typical scenery -- not from the race.


I was running in familiar territory here and I actually was surprised I didn't see more people.  I knew where to turn and roughly where are turn around would be.  

The mile markers had been off for most of the race and I wasn't surprised at all when I saw the 10K turn  around come up at the less than 3 mile mark on my GPS.  I think my Garmin read about mile 2.96.



Another bike trail photo -- not from the race.



Upon turning around I was greeted with a tiny bit of a headwind.  Great, just what I needed.  I was really hurting at this point.  I definitely was paying a price for my early fast pace.

It took a lot of effort to keep going.  There were a few runners behind me and only one guy who I thought was in my age group quite away ahead.  The deal was though, he had started a good 60 - 90 seconds ahead of me, so so long as I kept close I'd have a shot.

It was also a bit disheartening there wasn't anyone to really work off of.  The 5Kers wouldn't start for a while and I only had one or two half marathon runners fly by me.  

I kept looking behind me to see if anyone was going to catch me, but it was smooth sailing.  I still tried hard and at moments I got my wind back, but really was hurting from about mile 4 to the finish.






Conclusion

Well this race didn't quite go to plan. Given my time, though, it was pretty much identical to the Lucky 13 race I ran about a month ago.  I was really hoping to go a bit faster.

I still felt pretty good at the end and after cooling off a bit, I managed to socialize a bit. Fortunately my car was parked pretty close to the starting line, so I managed to get my Gatorade.  

I wasn't too surprised to win my age group.  Although it was bittersweet in that the guy who I beat by about 10 - 20 seconds made a wrong turn and ran an extra 100 yards or so.  The awards were all the same though and I suppose it won't be that big of a deal down the road.




Post race refreshments were limited to sports drinks and pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches.  I didn't see any fruit or bagels -- probably another victim of Covid-19. None the less it was good to race and I managed to score a double medal.  Organizationally, the race was well run with enthusiastic volunteers.  The aid stations were well stocked.  The course was marked with spray chalk, but I already knew where to go.  I know a few runners were misled by a lead runner for a bit though.

I am disappointed that the course was short.  It was pretty close and I can extrapolate my time out to what it should've been but still, it would've been nice to have an official 10K.  I probably could've run an extra quarter mile after finishing but there were tons of people milling about for the 5K and let's face it -- I just wanted to be done.  The medals were cool and I am glad to score a double one.

I had higher hopes for my performance though.  I don't think I really built a good race strategy.  I was just running as hard as I could from the minute I started.  My pace certainly nose dived as it went along.  An 8:20 or so for the first mile probably would've set me up for success.

Lesson learned!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

April 2021 Running in Review

 





Year to Date Miles: 481 (as of 4/3/2021)


Introduction


March saw some incredible gains -- and a return to racing.  I completed three races in March: the March Madness Half Marathon, the Lucky 13 10K and the Riverton Half Marathon.  All 3 races saw me hit times I haven't seen for at least 5 years.  

This is mostly a result of a bit harder training and eating smarter.  In previous years I did a fair amount of hoping I'd do the harder workouts.  However, this year I actually have started to do the harder workouts.  


West Wendover, Nevada Running


Training Updates

When there isn't a race (or I am not recovering from one) I'll do at least two "tough" workouts per week -- excluding distance.  This may include a tempo run, some sort of rep / hill / interval workouts or even strides.

I am finding that is just enough stimulus to improve my speed.  Each race or time trial I do, I am finding my times are coming down.  And it does make training a little harder.  When I set out for a "5K-paced" run for instance, it feels easier than it should and I wind up going faster.




I am not killing myself with doing a lot of miles either.  Approximately 35 - 40 miles per week.  If I were to start to consider running a marathon (which does cross my mind once in a while) I'd definitely have to bump up the mileage.

I am still dealing with an upper hamstring issue.  It hurts but once I am warmed up, it seems to hold up.  Eventually it is going to catch up with me.

In addition, about once or twice a week I am doing some simple core exercises along with some simple weights.  It helps build a little extra strength and I feel like the core exercises helps my posture while I am running.

Also March saw me get caught up in another streaking challenge.  It was put on by one of the Facebook groups that I am on and it was more or less run "something" every day for the entire month of March.  It was an interesting challenge and I took it on.  I wound up running 32 times during the month for about 165 miles.  I am not a huge fan of running streaks but with the weather being as nice as it has been, I could not take a day off from running.  I continued the streak and stopped it on April 2nd.



Upcoming Races



04/10: 2021 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) - Virtual
04/24: 2021 Recycle Run 5K - Bountiful, UT (Maybe)
05/01: 2021 Provo City 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
05/15: 2021 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed) -- Virtual
06/19: 2021 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
06/26: 2021 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/03: 2021 Riverton 4th of July 10K - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
07/10: 2021 Farmington Days 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/15: 2021 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
12/04: 2021 Laughlin Half Marathon - Laughlin, NV (Confirmed)
02/27: 2022 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas (Confirmed)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

2021 Riverton Half Marathon Race Recap - Riverton, UT








Official Time: 1:51:34
Placement: 32nd overall, 1st in age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 40's, 5 mph winds from the south.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2015] [2014]

Mile TimeComments
18:40Off to a conservative start. Warming up here.
28:21
38:50Some hills at this point to reach a section of flats
48:35
58:13Mostly downhill
68:19
7       8:19Holding on to a decent pace on the bike trail.
88:19
98:43Recovering from a a climb here.
108:38Really starting to feel it here.
118:39
129:24Legs felt wobbly here
12.998:25Gut it out to the finish.
Total Miles: 12:99 - 1:51:30
(note I didn't start my watch until about 10 seconds after the race started)
(Also note, that most people's Garmin's recorded 13.14 to 13.27)







Introduction


One of the highlights of the spring racing season is doing the Riverton Half Marathon.  It tends to be a well-attended race that is very affordable (about $35 if you sign up early enough) and is a good test of your spring fitness.  The race is a challenging, but very doable course set in south Salt Lake County.

Last year it was a victim of Covid-19 and not held.  In 2019, I was supposed to run it.  At the last moment I dropped to the 5K and while warming up, I re-injured my hamstring.  So I haven't run the race since 2018, where all I remember was that it was super windy and not fun at all to run.  I ran it in a very humbling 2:04.

The race's weather can be questionable -- with March being a virtual wild card as far as what you'll get for weather.  I wound up signing up well in advance to snag a $40-ish race entry and crossed my fingers for a good weather day.






The Race


I rolled into the race site around 8 AM.  Packet pickup was a total snap and I had my bib, shirt and a giant swag bag filled with goodies in no time at all.  That left plenty of time to get anxious over the pending half marathon (for some reason I was very nervous about this one).  I used the bathrooms a few times and did some easy drills to loosen up.  The 45 minute wait soon passed.

Like most Covid-19 races this was a start when you feel like it.  They told people to start running at 9 AM and you had until 9:15 AM to start the race.  I wound up jumping into the race within a minute of the start.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten to calibrate and sync my watch.  I almost came to a complete stop to let it find the satellites.  Fortunately it synced right away and off I went.

My goal in this race was to keep all my splits under 9 minutes per mile and go out fairly easy.  This course is challenging in that some sections involved rolling hills.  Most of it is flat, but there are definitely some challenging parts. 



I started off and was tucked in with a few other runners -- including one guy who I presumed was my age.  We wound up running together for about 3 miles before I picked up the pace ever so slightly.

I was pretty happy with my early miles.  While mile 2 to 3 was a challenge on account that it involved running up some hills.  While they were intense they didn't last long and I was still fresh.

The race was started at the city park and quickly jumped onto the bike trail.  After a mile or so on the bike trail you jumped into a hilly subdivision before running a mile or two on a flat but somewhat busy street.  We were thinned out at this point so I was never in any danger and there wasn't much traffic.  I loved these stretches as it allowed me to run at a fairly consistent pace without having to adjust for hills.

Finally, we ducked back into a subdivision and ran back on to the bike trail.  We would eventually do a bit of a figure-8 and loop back on the miles we started at.  I don't normally run this far south on the Jordan River Trail, but I knew where I was.  Memories of the windy 2018 haunted me and I was counting my blessings that the wind was pretty much negligible.  

At this point I was also running with a married couple that I know on my normal route.  I've never run with them, but I've chatted with them.  I really have to give them a lot of credit. Our paces were fairly identical and this year's race wasn't as well attended so if I hadn't been running with them, I would've been running solo for most of the race.

Around mile 6 I was feeling a little off. My legs were tired and my stomach clearly was having fits.  About par for the course as far as running a half marathon.  I was worried that I was going to really suffer starting at mile 10.

However, I just worked on keeping my breathing under control, and calming nerves.  I had just run a  half marathon 3 weeks ago, so I knew I had the legs to do it.  I just needed my head to be convinced.

The bike trail is really pretty down there and occasionally we'd pass by cheering stations.  Mostly, I think they were just bystanders who happened to be on the bike trail that morning, but every little cheer helped.  

Around mile 9 is a giant hill.  You can see it looming in the distance and everybody knows about it.  It's enough to slow you down and mentally it can bring you down a notch.  I saw it and groaned.

Fortunately, I've been doing a fair amount of hill training.  I am not going to say I blew up the hill but it just didn't seem that bad.  Also, I forgot that on the flip side is a delicious downhill, which I coasted down.

At this point, it was just me and the couple.  In some cases, I wouldn't have been even sure if I was on the right route.  But I just followed them and eventually we exited off the bike trail and headed westward into a subdivision.

Mile 10 is usually my Achilles heel as far as half marathon racing goes.  This is usually where my splits start to tank.  I had carried about 8 ounces of Tailwind with me and occasionally sucked down a Powerade at the latter aid stations.  I also had a GU on me -- but I wound up not using it.  My legs just were tired.  I kept trying to imagine myself powering through a fantastic final 5K and finally cracking the 1:50 barrier again (my 6.55 split was around 55 minutes).

Unfortunately, the final 5K is a grind up hill.  Also just shy of mile 11 is a hill -- tiny by all accounts, but steep and upon getting to the top of it -- my legs felt like rubber.  It took a solid quarter mile before they got unglued.  I was almost ready to walk.

I was now running with my friend's wife while he put ground on me.  Also his wife obviously had another gear too (or maybe it was just my pace fell off at this point).  But I found myself trying very hard to keep up.  I would occasionally look behind me to see if anyone was behind me, but there was absolutely no one.

Finally, we were in the final home stretch.  I could see the police cars a good 3 quarters of a mile down the road where we'd make the final turn.  I kept imaging myself somehow knocking out a final 5 minutes to finish the race but my legs were tired.  But looking at my final split, you can tell I did kick it into high gear.

The final push was intense and while I knew I wasn't going to hit sub 1:50 I gave it all I had.  


Conclusion


It took me a bit to catch my breath when I finished.  I was hunched over taking deep breaths waiting for the nausea to pass.  I quickly donned my mask and grabbed my medal.

I looked down at my watch to see a 1:51:30 on it.  I added a few seconds for my watch malfunction and I was tickled pink with my result.  With my recent race results, most charts put me as being capable of a 1:51 half marathon.  But achieving it on this course, I would've doubted my chances.

Again, I believe the course is legit.  MapMyRun and others measures it even on the high side.  So I think I may be capable of even more.



I sauntered over to the results area and again was stunned to see that I had won my age group.  I wound up snagging a pair of blue-tooth headphones.  I don't normally run with music, but I can probably find a use for them.  I am not sure if my time would've qualified for a win under a year where the normal amount of people are in attendance (probably not) but I am thrilled with the end result none the less.  I believe this is the first time I've won anything at this race.

The medal and shirt were both very nice.  I love a good tech shirt and this one was a long sleeve one.

Post race refreshments included fruit, sports drink, chocolate milk and candy bars.  The swag bag was also chocked full of product samples and even a buff.

Overall I was very pleased with my experience and performance.  Every spring I have this one lined up on my calendar and it was nice to get this one done.  I definitely remember this version of the course (they had a few different routes over the years) and this is probably the first time where I finished with a smile on my face.

My training is working out and I am finally making improvements on my times.  I think this race largely went to plan.  Yes, the final 3 miles were grueling, but overall, my splits went with the terrain.  I was slower on the uphill sections and faster on the downhills.  

I am excited to see what comes next!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

2021 Lucky 13 10K Race Recap - North Salt Lake City, UT






Official Time: 49:42
Placement: 1st in the 50-55 6th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 45F, 20mph wind from the northwest, rain
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019[2018] [2014]



Mile TimeComments
18:24Off to a conservative start. Chilly and needed to warm up
28:09Settled into a nice pace despite the headwind.
38:09Consistency
48:05Turn around with a tailwind. Just what I needed
58:03Tiring but just powering to the finish
67:57Wow. Shocked at this split
6.120:50
Total Miles: 6.12 - 49:41








Introduction


At some point this past winter I got a nice offer to sign up for the Lucky 13 race put on by OnHillEvents.  I have done it for a few years and it is a nice race in early March.  

Normally this race is held at Gardner Village in West Jordan.  However, due to some construction on the bike trail, it was moved to North Salt Lake and run on the Legacy Bike Trail.  I've done a lot of racing at this bike trail and while it isn't the most glamorous place to run. On the flip side, it is flat and I know the course.

I opted for the 10K race.  It is a good distance but doesn't really beat myself up too badly.  I usually have a slew of half marathon races in the spring.  Also, the weather can be super iffy in northern Utah in March.  This year, I was counting my lucky stars when Saturday's weather rolled around: windy, rainy and chilly.


The Race


I rolled into the race around 8:10 AM for the 9 AM start.  There was kind of a line up to collect one's bib / shirt but fortunately it moved fairly quickly.  We thankfully had shelter under a building's porch to protect us from the drizzling rain.  As I stood there waiting in line, I was trying to figure out what to wear.  My plan was to go out in shorts and one shirt -- maybe two.

By the time I made it back to my car to make my final preparations -- as if on queue -- it started to rain -- hard.  The weather forecasters had said it would pick up at 9 AM and sure enough it did.  Suddenly my decision on clothing changed.

I wound up going with shorts, 2 t-shirts and a windbreaker.  I also had a ballcap on and thin gloves.  It was a pretty good choice actually.  Anything more would've been too much and less -- I would've froze.

There was another wait before the start of the race.  With Covid-19 restrictions in place, it was a staggered start.  And the half marathon started first.  There were about a 100 racers and they had to be queued up and let off in about 10 - 20 second increments.




During this time I tried to keep warm and dry and did a few warm-ups.  It was definitely the worst warm-up I've ever done.  My main motivation was to stay as dry as possible.

It wasn't until about 9:20 that I actually was able to run.  And off I went.  I really just wanted to be done as soon as possible.  I believe there was a real threat for hypothermia.  I know I've run through a lot worse but there was an absolute bit of nervousness when I left.  I was even toying with just doing the 5K.

The first mile I felt extremely stiff.  My Achilles was sore, my hamstring was tight.  Crap, this was going to be an awful race.  The wind wasn't too bad but my hands were already cold and my legs were cherry red.  I felt very sorry for the half marathoners who in all likelihood going to be out there for 2 hours (or more).




I kept telling myself, just get it done.  I passed the first mile marker in a respectable 8:24.  I was being hit with a headwind but it wasn't too terrible.  My goal was to hit low 8 minute miles for the first three and hammer it with what I had left in the final 3.

As I headed north along the paved bike trail, I passed a few of the slower half marathoners.  Once in a while a speedy 10K runner would be heading back or passed me, but it was a pretty lonely going for me.  I had the din of the traffic on the legacy freeway and parks and residential areas on my right.

Finally, I hit the turn around and received the cheers and way-to-goes from the 2nd aid station crew (bless the volunteers at this race).  It was under a pedestrian bridge and I ran through the tunnel, touched the turn around sign and headed back.  

What a difference!  Suddenly the howling wind was at my back and every step brought me a little closer back towards the finish line.


With the wind at my back, I hit the proverbial accelerator.  I was logging some decent splits and suddenly the notion of hitting one of 2021's goals of breaking 50 minutes became a bit of a reality.  




I got a bit of a boost upon hitting the 5K race's turn-around point.  Some of the later starters were still running and working on chasing them down and passing them give me some motivation to dig deep.  I didn't really have anyone chasing me and the one guy who was ahead of me had left me in the dust.

I was definitely running out of endurance by mile 5.  When I reviewed my splits after the race I had figured mile 5 was going to be my worst, but it wound up being my best. I think the smell of a sub 50 minute 10K pushed me a little more.  

I was ecstatic to cross the finish line in 49:42.



Conclusion


Okay, so my time was sub 50 minutes -- for this race.  I figured the course was going to come up a bit short as the turn around came around at the 3.06 mark.  I had hoped my Garmin might be in error and that magically it would get a bit closer to the official 6.2 mark, but it held true: 6:12.  Given that I needed to run another .08 of a mile, I am guessing my time was closer to the 50:30 mark.

I hadn't taken any hydration for the race -- you simply didn't need it. Although I had carried a tiny 8 ounce flask of water with me just in case.  

There wasn't too many people to celebrate with when I finished.  It was still raining and those that had finished the 5K had already left and there were only a handful of people who had done the 10K.  I knew I had about 10 minutes before I was going to start getting chilled.

Post race refreshments included a pre-bagged fruit (oranges and a granola bar).  There was also water / Powerade at the finish.  I wound up socializing for a bit before running back to my car and heading home.

Overall, I was happy with my experience.  I want to say I paid about $25 for the race.  I got a nice medal and shirt.  I just wish the race had been a full 10K.  

This was also a good test of "I can do tough things".  The weather was less than pleasant and there was always the thought I was going to wind up with hypothermia.  But I've certainly run through worse and I made it out the other side with more confidence.

This was also a confidence booster in that the weather wasn't exactly the most conducive for a fast time, but I turned one none the less.  This is an indication to me that my training is coming along nicely.  I am hoping good things continue in 2021.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

March 2021 Update

 

Selfie post run out near West Wendover NV



Year to Date Miles: 368.25 (as of 3/12/2021)


Introduction


Well, another 8 weeks of training down.  The weather here in northern Utah continues to be really nice.  There have been very few days where it was bad but this year has been the mildest I've experienced yet.  Also couple it with the fact that less people are driving and the air quality hasn't been that awful either.  

In fact, the last few months has seen me running pretty much every day.



Desert run out near West Wendover, NV


Training Updates


So with the lull in races and generally not willing to travel these days I've been able to focus on training.  My weekly routine more or less looks like a semi-long run (8 - 12 miles) or virtual race.  I can't say how much I really appreciate the free virtual races that the Humana Rock 'n' Roll Series is putting on.  I've also been doing at least one speed workout: either a tempo run, hill repeats or some sort of interval / repeats session.  I also try to conclude some of my runs with strides, which seem to help.  I run at about 95% effort for 30 seconds, recover for 30 seconds and repeat.  Over time, this time sandwich has gotten easier for me

I do have to be careful with the virtual races on account that I can get myself into a training hole pretty quick by over racing.  They are free so there isn't any harm in entering them, but at the same time, if I go 100% in on them, I don't recover enough for in-person or harder workouts later in the week.



I have fought off a few niggling injuries and am still dealing with a sore upper hamstring issue -- since October.  I think it is caused by too much sitting and then going out and running.

This past week saw me take a bit of a breather.  Last weekend's half marathon took a bit out of me and I haven't quite been able to feel springy just yet.  



Inspiration


I've gotten addicted to watching YouTube videos on running.  I am not new to running by any means.  I've been at it for over 20 years.  But getting advice and most importantly inspiration from YouTube runners has enabled me to take some best practices and incorporate them into my running.  Some of my favorite are:

  1. Ben Parkes -- 2:25 marathoner
  2. Sarah Place -- Ben's partner and another solid runner with cool videos.
  3. This Messy Happy -- Another British runner who coaches his wife and himself to some incredible times.
  4. The Running Channel -- All around solid advice and fun videos all about running.

Diet


The weight loss continues to remain off.  I am down about 19 pounds from last year.  I wasn't terribly heavy to begin with, but I was heavy for a runner.  By dropping the weight, I've seen my times come crashing down.

Part of my downfall pretty pandemic was eating out too much: buffets, restaurant food, etc.  Plus the free candy they had at work didn't help.  I thought I could out run over eating but over the years I'd gain a pound or two.  And I wasn't making any progress with my running.

Since I started working from home, I've flipped the script.  I eat a very conservative breakfast, eat dried fruits and nuts and maybe 1 cookie for a snack.  I have a normal, homemade lunch followed by a 30 minute walk.  I'll have a light snack midway through the afternoon and top it off with a dinner that is loaded with vegetables.  I am now addicted to salad.  

I do have some 100 calorie desserts but overall my sugar intake is way down.

This is definitely resulting a calorie loss and it is showing up in my running.  I used to avoid hard workouts and wasn't seen any progress.  Now, the workouts seem to be getting easier and I look forward to challenging efforts.




Upcoming Races



03/20: 2021 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
03/27: 2021 Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
04/03: 2021 RUN SLC 15K - Salt Lake City, UT (Doubtful)
04/10: 2021 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) - Virtual
04/24: 2021 Recycle Run 5K - Bountiful, UT (Maybe)
05/08: 2021 May the Fourth 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
05/15: 2021 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed) -- Virtual
12/04: 2021 Laughlin Half Marathon - Laughlin, NV (Confirmed)
02/27: 2022 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas (Confirmed)