Saturday, July 25, 2020

2020 Legacy Marathon 10K Race Recap - Farmington, UT

Half Marathon runners lining up

Official Time: 51:08
Placement: 5th overall, 1st in the 50-54 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 60's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019] [2018] [2017] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012] 

Mile TimeComments
18:19Off to a decent start. Felt good. 
28:08Even better 2nd mile. 
38:19Feeling the miles build up.  I was kind of gassed at this point.
48:37Always hard re-starting again after the turn around
58:45No one in front, no one in back. Was hurting here
68:31Pushing hard to the finish here. Felt really good
Total Miles: 6:06 - 51:09

Start of a typical race now in 2020


Some time before the start of 2020 I signed up for the Legacy Midnight Races.  It is an annual tradition of mine to do in the dead of summer.  It is held late at night (10PM is when the half starts) and it usually is a late night where I get home after 1 AM.  

When Covid came around, the race was ultimately changed from a night race to a morning race and now sported a full marathon (along with the traditional half, 10K and 5K).  

I am pretty much done running halves in the dead of summer.  I've learned my lesson too many times that long distance races and the heat don't agree with me, so I plunked my money down for the 10K.  I respectable distance that includes speed as well as endurance.

At the start of the year I full expected a night race, instead I got a morning one.

Sun coming up over the mountains to the east

The Race

I rolled into the Legacy Events Center in Farmington UT around 5:45 for a 6:30 race.  Packet pickup was a snap.  The full marathoners had already started and the half marathoners were lining up.  With about 40 10KM runners, it wasn't a big deal to grab my bib and get myself ready for the race.

Around 6:25 (for the 6:30 start) we lined up.  Most people were wearing masks while we kept about 6 feet away from one another.  The race director began sending us at about 30 second intervals and I was off and running along the Legacy Bike Trail.

Rio Grande Bike Trail but a typical stretch of trail

The bike trail is a multi-use, paved trail that mostly serves runners and cyclists.  I've done about a zillion races on it.  It isn't the most exciting place to run, but it is flat and with a light amount of runners in attendance, it was easy to maintain safety protocol as far as avoiding others mid-run.

I started off at a decent clip.  I hadn't done much of a warm-up: mostly some striders and random leg swings.  I figured with the warmth of the day and it being a low key race, I'd just use the first mile to sort of warm-up and go from there.

Once again, I had started in the back and with each runner spaced at about 30 seconds apart, it nice to have some targets to work for in the early mile.  Unfortunately, I was also a target as two speedy young runners flew by me.

I wound up passing a little more than half a dozen people by the time I reached the turn around.

At first I felt like I had gone out too fast but I quickly settled into a nice pace that I felt comfortable holding.  My goal was to run in the low 50's and do about an 8:25 or so pace.  I am a fast starter so it wasn't too surprising to see the first 3 miles go below that pace.

The turn around came just after 3.03 miles.  Some races I am glad to have it short but other races, not so much.  With me trying to hit a rock-solid 10K I was a little disheartened.  

It seemed like there was a bit of a head wind on the way back, so if there was any wind at all, it was blowing from the north.  There were a few runners ahead of me, in the distance, but there weren't any closers coming from behind.

I did what I could to maintain the pace, but mile 4 and subsequently 5 I really had to dig deep.  I hadn't seen anyone in my age group but it was hard to tell with the staggered start times.

Around mile 5 I knew I was gonna have a good race and I pushed a little harder.  At this point there were some 5K runners to work with and get some cheers from, so my motivation was a little higher.  Again, there was no one behind me or in front of me to try and take on.

I flew under the finish line just a hair over 6 miles and a time of 51:09.

Post race selfie


After finishing, I was handed a bag which contained some snacks, an orange, and a bottle of water.  Again with Covid, you were urged to disperse from the finish line as soon as possible.  

I wound up socializing a bit but the number of runners who had finished were pretty limited.  Sort of anti-climatic after a decent race.

The medal and t-shirt are forthcoming on this race -- as well as any age group awards.  In a way it was nice to go home and not bum around waiting for awards but the whole "race" atmosphere kind was lost without all the post race buzz.

Yes, the course appears to have been short.  My 51:08 gets translated to about a 52:32, which is a lot faster than many of my recent 10Ks.  Once again, another nice performance for myself and hopefully more good things are around the corner.

Hopefully this race will return next year in a night format.  But overall, for the price paid on this race, I was happy with my experience.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

2020 Handcart 5K Race Recap - Bountiful, UT

Official Time: 24:59
Placement: 2nd in age group (50-54)
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather:  80 degrees, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years:  [2019] [2018] [2017] [2015] [2012]

Mile TimeComments
17:41Rockin!  Good start thanks to a gentle downhill.
28:25Pace comes to a halt here as I have to grind a ways up hill. Nothing major but definitely have to work at it.
38:42Final push to the top of the hill then flats the rest of the way. Tough running here.
Total Miles: 3.03 - 25:01


Every summer -- at least for me -- brings the opportunity to the Handcart races up in Bountiful.  They are put on by the local recreation center in tandem with the celebration of Utah's settlers who arrived with all their belongings on a handcart -- hence the name, Handcart Races.

Normally, there's be a lot more going on at the park and the race would've been more heavily attended, but with Covid-19 wrecking havoc on the race scene, social distancing, masks and extra precaution were in order.

Masks were required for pre / post race as well as packet pickup.  

The Race

I rolled into the race just shy of 6 AM.  I got an opportunity to see the half marathoners start off, which is always nice, as it gives me a chance to wish those that I know well wishes.  I've done the half a few times and know that the half -- in the summer -- just isn't my cup of tea.  I've died so many times in the last 3 miles of it that I prefer to do the 5K.

Packet pickup was a snap.  Masks were mandatory and people were pretty respectful of that.  Since I was there early, I didn't really get that close to people and I was back outside in no time at all.

I wound up doing some drills and doing some easy running to kill time.  Around 6:50 (race start was at 7 AM) I made my way over to the starting line.  They had the starting line cordoned off for about 10 people per segment.  To play it safer, I went to about the second to last starting area and waited for the race to begin.  I had a good 5 minute wait before the race started. I made small talk while wearing a mask and keeping a distance from the other 8 or so runners in my block.

It took a few minutes for the other runners ahead of me to start.  But it was definitely interesting to start in the back of the race. Normally, I am up in the first third of the starting area.  I hope I wasn't hemming myself in, but with the fastest runners in the front and only lots of 10 in front of me, I  didn't have that problem at all with this race.

This race is entirely residential.  It isn't the most exciting course but it starts off with a moderate downhill and once you turn the corner at about mile 1.25, it is grind back to the start.  It forms a loop around town.  Normally, the course measures about 3.07 to 3.08 but it came up fairly short this time.

Since I haven't raced since March, this 5K was pretty much on my "A" list.  Plus, being about 15 pounds lighter, I felt like I was ready for a great race.

I blasted out the first mile and since I had a downhill I knew it was going to be fast.  I hit a 7:41 and was worried I had gone out too fast.  I still felt in control but it had been a while since I had ran that sort of pace. It was fun to start in the back of the race and work my way forward.  There was some concern about inhaling people's exhales, but I tried to stay as far away as possible and run off to the side.

Once I tuned the corner to head east and finally another right to head back south to the starting line I knew the race had begun.  Here, my pace definitely takes a hit as I see a slight incline and then another grind back to the top.  It looks daunting but it isn't that bad.  I dug down deep remembering all the hard work I had put into my diet and my training and quickened my stride as best as I could.

Mile 2 was a blur as was mile 3.  I just reminded myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  I did panic when I saw an 8:30 flash on my watch as I crossed the 2 mile marker.  Looking at previous results though, that mile is traditionally pretty slow for me.

I was running solo by mile 2.75.  Occasionally a speedy half marathoner would fly by me (they had an hour head start) so it was humbling to have one of them cruise effortlessly past me.

Finally, I hit the home stretch and I put everything I had in the last .15 of a mile.


I was really hoping to go sub 25 minutes on this race.  So I was a little disappointed with my time.  On the other hand though, I absolutely demolished my time from last year and even this February, by a good 50 seconds.  Once I saw that, I was a lot more excited about my time.

After finishing, I really wanted to keep running another .07 of a mile, just to make it official with my Garmin.  But they were handing out medals and I didn't want to be rude by sprinting through the finish area.  The course, for whatever reason, measured short with my Garmin, but I know I've done it many times before it is measures at about 3.07 or 3.08.

The race was well organized and quite a deal.  I could've run this virtually, but opted to run it in person.  Back when I signed up for it, Covid was a big deal but it hadn't escalated into what it is today.  So I had quite a bit of anxiety about how this race would go.  

I felt good about it and kept my distance from people.  Although I wish there hadn't been as many people while running.  Again, I tried to limit my exposure to others but you can only do so much.

The race was a bargain. I paid around $15 for the race.  I got a cool t-shirt and huge medal.  I placed second in my age group, but I didn't stick around for awards.  I think they are post race pick-up, so next time I am in the area, I'll try to swing by.

I didn't indulge in any post race food.  There seemed to be a lot of people in the area and I was doing my part to social distance.  I always bring my own beverages / food so it wasn't a big deal.  It looked like they had ice cream, bananas and bottled water.

I am very pleased with my results and it shows I am trending in the right direction.  It gives me hope I can get back down to some more competitive times.  It is definitely easier being 15 pounds lighter than February.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

This Spring in Running - May 2020

Current Mileage: 616 (as of 5/12/2020)

Updates on Running

Well, with Coronavirus in full swing it has left the racing season in total disarray.  As of mid-March there hasn't been a race to be done.  All my planning and pre-registering at the start of the year went down the tubes.  Initially, I had had hopes that the race season would resume in mid-May.  But I was wrong.  As I write this now, most races are canceled clear out to the summer and I have my doubts whether there'll be fall races.

Most of the races I had lined up offered very generous deferral policies.  So I've already got a full plate lined up for next year.  I think I've only lost out on one race.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll notice I do a lot of my training on the Jordan River Trail.  Around late March I made the realization that it was just too crowded to run there any more.  Utah had fairly relaxed quarantine restrictions: more or less don't congregate and things were okay.  

But most people took their families onto my stomping grounds and made it -- at least in my opinion -- unsafe.  So I've had to switch up to sidewalk / street running.  I miss my bike trail and not having to worry about cracks / bumps in the sidewalk.  On the plus side, I am seeing less than a dozen people on any given run versus 20+ on the bike trail.  Plus it is easier to move out of the way given the few people I do see.

It is nice to get a change of scenery and explore some new areas.  It also gives me more hill variation, as the bike trail tends to be fairly flat.  It also makes me appreciate my bike even more. 

With summer heat soon arriving, I'll be able to jump on the bike trail again, albeit at 4:30 AM.  I am hoping there shouldn't be any runners out at that hour.

Also with no racing on the schedule, it allows me to dial in my training.  Weekends consist of a long run or a 5K time trial.  And also midweek I usually can knock out a hill workout.  So far, the results are promising.

Weight Loss

Fortunately, I am still employed and am working from home.  I was never super happy with the idea of working from home -- especially all the time -- but I am quickly finding it has some advantages.  Now, I move my car -- at most one or twice a week -- and two, I am saving a lot of money on not buying lunches at restaurants.  As a side effect, I am losing a lot of weight.

My old routine at work wasn't too different from what I am doing now... with the exception that I would pretty much go out to eat every day.  I wasn't eating burgers and fries and soda pop but I was eating high calorie lunches - Chinese food, buffets, pancakes.  So it wasn't too unusual for my lunch to consist of 1000 calories.  In addition, I was running to the office pantry nearly every day and inhaling 2 - 8 finger-sized candy bars.  I figured maybe a pair were 50 - 60 calories. 

I was astounded when I found I was taking in about 125 - 175 calories per pair.

So with the work from home routine going on my ability to snack and over eat has gone WAY down.  I eat a normal breakfast.  I try to have a small snack mid morning consisting of fruit or nuts.  Once in a while I'll grab ONE cookie.  I'll have a normal homemade lunch followed by a mile or two walk around the neighborhood. 

After work, I'll run or just go for another walk.  And then finally for dinner, I'll have a sensible dinner.

I am still eating chips, sugary pop and the occasional cookie, but I am definitely eating less.

Also, I am no longer eating massive buffets at the casinos.  In fact, I haven't had restaurant food more than once in the past 2 months.

The results:  Before the quarantine I was pushing 190 pounds.  I had a feeling I was going to see 200 pounds before too long.  Within the first few weeks I dropped about 5 pounds.  I suspect that was mostly as a result of anxiety (I don't eat when I am nervous).  But with the smarter eating, I checked in at 178.6 this past weekend.  And best of all, it is all off my gut.

I am hoping this translates to some faster times.  I feel stronger and I don't feel like I am walking around with a spare tire around my waist.  It has motivated me to really focus in on my training so that once racing resumes, I can impress myself and others with some decent times. 

In Conclusion

Let's hope that the Coronavirus wraps up soon so we can get a sense of normalcy.  I miss seeing my running friends as well as having something to look forward to on the weekends.

Stay safe / healthy gentle reader.

Upcoming Races

07/24: 2020 Alien Midnight 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/01: Ruby Mountain Relay - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
08/15: 2020 PC2PG Race 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/26: 2020 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
11/07: 2020 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/15: 2020 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/27: 2021 Havasu Half Marathon - Havasu, AZ (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/XX: 2021 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

2020 March Madness 10K Race Recap - Woods Cross, UT

Official Time: 53:26
Placement: 9th place overall, 2nd in the 50 - 54, 8th male.
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 50's, windy from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018]  [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:22Nice little tailwind to get going.
28:11Feeling really good despite some tired legs
38:34Can't wait for the turn around. Tail wind is helping but lactic acid adding up
49:04The wind I had at my back is now gone.
59:01Doing my best, once I turn the corner and head into the home stretch I lose some wind
69:10Slow grind to the finish
Total Miles: 6:14 - 53:31


One of the best deals of the spring racing season here in Utah is the March Madness race in Woods Cross (or West Bountiful).  The race supports the local food bank and for $20 for the 5K / 10K or $30-something for the half marathon, it is a bargain race that offers some a great experience at a local cost.

I've done it off and on throughout the years as it sometimes conflicts with the Sand Hollow race down in Hurricane.

This year, since I've already had a bunch of races in Southern Utah, I opted to sign up for this one when they had their annual sale.  I signed up for the 10K -- enough of a distance to get in a bit of a long run without killing myself by going for 13 miles.  In the past, I've done the half marathon but in order to save my spring racing season without overdoing half marathons, I dropped down to the 10K.

The Race

Normally this race is a wild card on account that the weather can be just about anything.  In years past, it has been been super windy or just simply wet.  This year, the weather was just about as perfect as can be.

I made the roughly 30 minute drive to West Bountiful park and snagged my bib in short order.  They were still setting up the race and I took stock of the wind condition -- a fairly strong wind from the south, but definitely not as bad as years past.

I did about a mile warm-up (if that) and considered myself good to go.

The race started promptly at 9 AM and I was off and running.

The first third of a mile takes you through a neighborhood before dumping you out onto the main drag where you head west towards the Legacy Bike Trail.  It is 100% residential and there wasn't much traffic as several hundred of us ran towards the bike trail.

There was a little bit of a tail wind here and I was working to keep up with a friend of mine (DK) who was shooting to run a 52 and change.  I figured I'd be lucky to crack 55 minutes but I'd tail him for as long as I could in hopes that I could hang with him.

I felt pretty good as my watch buzzed out an 8:30 first mile.  Exactly what I wanted to hit.  However, part of me was trying to go out a little more conservatively as I knew I was going to be hit by a head wind on the way back.

By mile 1.25 I was on the bike trail and I was being pushed along by a nice tailwind.  I was pleasantly surprised to see an 8:15 appear on my Garmin as  I reached mile 2.

The Legacy Bike Trail is a multi-use bike trail.  It is popular with cyclists and runners.  Generally speaking, I've seen more cyclists than runners on it, but for a Saturday morning it was pretty busy.  The trail is mostly flat with a few tiny climbs and descents.  I knew the course very well since I've run more than a dozen races on it since moving to Salt Lake City.

I knew I had gone out too fast once I started to see some of the fastest 10K runners heading back (there weren't that many and they weren't that far ahead of me).  I was still running around 8:30 pace until I did the turn around.

Then I was blasted in the face by the tailwind that had been pushing me along.  It wasn't as bad as it was in years past, but it was definitely going to take a bite out of my pace.

I had kept up with my pacer and I sensed that he was slowing down to accommodate me.  I don't know how he did it, but he was telling me stories about other races he had done.  Come on! I am sucking wind you have energy to talk? 

We worked off one another until about mile 4.75.  I was hurting pretty bad and DK pulled ahead of me.  I was trying to hunt down another guy who, for my pride's sake I wanted to beat. 

I looked behind me and didn't see anyone chasing me down and I kept willing myself to go faster.  But about a 9 min / mile pace was all I could handle.

I kept praying that I'd close in on the final turn off and sure enough, it appeared and I swung left to make the final zig-zag to the finish.  I was nowhere near DK and the guy I had been chasing opened up a solid lead on me. 

I pushed it to the finish though and crossed in under 54 minutes, which beat my expectations (it would've been close if my Garmin was not correct).


I was pretty with my result.  I had set out to maybe get about 55 minutes but I actually came in in the 53 range.  Definitely not earth shattering, but I like it when I beat my expectations.

The course could've been accurate.  There is a tunnel that you have to go under which takes about 30 seconds to go through.  I imagine this could account for the missing ".06" of the race.  Most people's Garmin's came up with this short coming.

Post race food was probably one of the best I've had.  Pizza, chocolate milk, high end muffin like cupcakes, candy, cookies, bananas, water.  I pretty much made a meal at the end -- and all for $20 too.

I wound up donating $10 to the food cause and scored a trucker hat. I also scored some extra medals  -- one for finishing, one for an age group award and it would appear that the race director had extras, so I scored a mug and drinking glass.  (I also swung by the South Davis Recreation Center to pick up my official Sweethearts 5K finisher's medal).

I have nothing but positive vibes about this race.  I definitely got my money's worth and had a good morning getting in a solid workout and seeing people I hadn't seen in a while.  The course wasn't super exciting (I've run it a ton of times before) but it is a fast course. 

If my schedule permits, I'd love to do this one again next year.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Mesquite Nevada Trail System


I discovered the Mesquite Foothills about a year ago while looking for hiking in the area. I didn't want anything too crazy, as Mesquite and the surrounding desert area can be fairly remote.

The Foothills trail is a bit of a picnic area followed by about a mile or so of trails.  It is fairly popular with the locals.  There is a bathroom located at the site as well as benches and a covered area for a picnic.

The trail meanders and there are signs guiding you, but it is easy to just sort of blaze your own trail.  And after about a mile, the main trail just abruptly ends.  It does allow you to scramble a bit further where it ends in a dead end where apparently a car that fall off the surrounding mesa crashed.

You can also return to the main road (Lower Flat Top Drive) at various points too.

After the Sun Half Marathon I decided to hope on over and get in a quick walk.  I had done the city trail plenty of times and had often looked at the ATVs ascending a dirt road above me towards the buttes that dot the city's landscape.

Finally, I decided I'd hoof it up the dirt road and see what was up there.  It would've been much easier with a vehicle but within a mile  I had reached the top (and there were a few other hikers who had made the walk).  Incidentally, the parking lot for this trail is located a few hundred yards south of the entrance to the Foothills parking lot.

If you really love the desert, you will love exploring at the top of the mesas.  The trail is very well defined but it is definitely not one you want to do in the dead of summer.  There is no shelter and no water.

For a February day in the upper 50's, it was fun poking around and looking at giant crevices in the earth and cactus.  There is also plenty of cresote and desert brush up there.

This trail was also highly runnable, once you got to the top.  In fact, if I hadn't just eaten and had a pair of shorts on me I would've done some running up there.

Here are some photos of the city trail and the trail above the city trail:

View of Mesquite from the city trail

Another view of a giant rift

I don't think these are wild horses

More trails exist going south

The hill you will have to climb to get to the top of the ATV trail

This Month in Running - February 2020

Miles Run: 245

Running Update

So far this year, the running has been hit and miss.  I've been managing about 30 miles per week.  However, early in January while running a routine 11 mile run, my hamstring tightened up.  It wasn't as bad last last year's full-on pulled muscle, but it hurt.  I shuffled home the final 2 miles.

Unfortunately, this sidelined me for the Phoenix Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  I did make it down to Phoenix and I had hopes that things would come together and I could get through it, but I went for a 4 mile shake out run the Friday before the race and it was a no-go within 2 miles.  I had a lot of consternation over whether to just limp through, but I opted to play it safe and not do it.  It always hurts to miss out on a race, but I have no regrets and I absolutely did the right thing.

It took about 2 weeks for me to feel close to 100%.  Fortunately I could still walk and I aggressively treated it with foam rolling, walking, and cherry juice (which is apparently a nature anti-inflammatory).

I am still logging miles on the bike trail most every day.  The Salt Lake Valley hasn't had that much snow this winter, so the trail conditions continue to be pretty decent.  In fact, this winter has been the best for running in terms of air quality and trail conditions that I can remember.

So right now I am playing it conservatively as far as training goes.  I still have a bit of a hamstring issue (I managed to get rid of the runner's knee) but I haven't really done any dedicated speed workouts on account that does aggravate things.

I am also playing it somewhat cautiously with my upcoming racing schedule.  I have two destination races, and while I can cancel them and get off relatively pain free, the destination races are almost always the most fun, so I'd like to be healthy for those.

Still no marathon training.  The injury has sidelined me from really putting in the serious mileage, so right now I am maintaining what I have and if the motivation strikes, maybe I'll ramp up for one, but right now I am content to just leave it be.

Upcoming Races

03/07: 2020 March Madness Race 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/14: 2020 St Patrick's Day Half Marathon / 6 Tunnels Half Marathon- Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/28: 2020 Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, UT (Maybe)
04/04: 2020 Havasu Half Marathon - Havasu, AZ (Confirmed)
04/11: 2020 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/18: 2020 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/25: 2020 Summerlin Half Marathon - Summerlin, NV (Maybe)
05/02: 2020 May the Fourth Race - Farmington, UT (Maybe)
05/03: 2020 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Maybe)
05/16: 2020 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
06/20: Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Probable)
07/04: Fourth of July Spring Creek 5K - Spring Creek, NV (Probable)
07/24: 2020 Alien Midnight 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/01: Ruby Mountain Relay - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
08/15: 2020 PC2PG Race 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/26: 2020 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/10: 2020 Antelope Island Race - Syracuse, UT (Maybe)
11/07: 2020 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/15: 2020 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Monday, February 24, 2020

2020 Salt Lake Track Club 15K Race Recap - Magna, UT

Official Time: 1:22:13
Placement: 122nd overall, 8th in the 50 - 54, 83rd male
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 30's, sunny.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2015]

Mile TimeComments
18:30Solid start, but probably going out too fast
38:34Consistent start -- if I can just hold it
48:35The turn around can't come soon enough.
58:48Finally the turn around. Race is half over but I am pretty gassed
69:03For a flat course, this felt like a slow grind up hill.
79:12Come on finish line
99:07Mentally trying to run faster but legs weren't responding
Total Miles: 9:32 - 1:22:15


Well, another Saturday, another race.  

The pickings are usually pretty slim for February races.  The weather is fairly unpredictable in Utah.  You could have perfect weather or a chance snow storm come in.

This year, we had pleasant weather and it was completely dry.  So I decided to get in a bit of a speed workout by doing the Salt Lake Track Club's 15K race.  This is a 100% certified course that is flat and also doubles (I think) as the State Championship race for the 15K distance.

To say there were a few fast runners would be an understatement (the winning time was in the 48 range).

I wasn't expecting much from myself on this race other than to see how far off I was from when I ran this in 2015, which seems like another lifetime ago, and to get a bit of faster running in.  The 15K is actually a pretty nice distance.  It is far enough where it tests your endurance, but doesn't wear you down like a half marathon does.

So I sort of went after this race as if I was running a half marathon, but I could be a little more aggressive with the pacing.

The Race

The race started at 9 AM and I rolled in just after 8 AM.  The race was held at the SaltAir Pavilion, which is a venerable site in Utah, having survived floods.  It is an older building and judging from the interior, some of the original stuff probably remains.

Today is serves as an event venue and a concert hall.  It is on the shore of the Salt Lake (about a half mile removed).  They have clean toilets and a place to stay warm, which was a nice bonus.

I was able to quickly grab my bib and shirt and I laced up and sat in my car for about 15 minutes before beginning about a mile warm-up.  My hamstring hadn't been bothering me and I felt good, although last week's half marathon was still weighing on me a bit.

The weather was cool -- perfect for running actually.  I had originally come wearing two shirts, but I dropped done to one.  I was in shorts and throw away gloves (which I pocketed after about a mile).  I also had sunglasses, as the early morning sunrise was a bit bright.

The race started on time and I was off and running.  I knew I didn't have much of a chance to win anything.  I hadn't done the 5K nor the 10K in the series but I was still trying to do myself proud.  I had looked my results from 2015 and I had hit a 7:45 mile for the first mile.  My training is nowhere near that but I was a bit surprised at hitting an 8:30 for the first mile.

I felt good but I knew that was a little fast.  I tried to solace myself that this was only a "15K" and even if I went out a little too fast I wouldn't pay too dearly.

The first 3 miles I hit at super even splits.  I felt really good, although I was breathing a little harder than I should've.  There were about 450 runners and I was never by myself for the first half of the race.  Also, little did I know, that the first half had a slight downhill.  The surface of the earth is very flat in that area and while there was only about 25 feet of elevation gain / loss in the race, the first half definitely felt fast.

At about mile 3.5 I knew I had gone out too fast.  I intentionally slowed down a bit as I hit the first water stop and swished a bit of cold water in my mouth.  My competitive spirit was still strong though I only slowed down a whopping 6 seconds.  By the time my Garmin chirped that I had reached 4 miles, I was begging to reach the turn around.

The course is run on a frontage road that hugs the I-80 freeway.  Occasionally a semi would drive by honking its horn.  To my left was the Great Salt Lake, not a very impressive site given how far away it was as well as Antelope Island.  It isn't exactly an exotic race course, but again, it was closed to traffic and I could concentrate on running.

I almost wanted to hit my knees when I reached the turn around point.  Thank Goodness!  

When I turned around, though, there was a bit of wind (not much) and the course on the way back just looked uphill.  Again, this course measures fairly flat but it was like a whole new course.  Who put this hill here and why didn't I get to run down it?  Even a runner next to commented on it.

By the time I hit the 10K part I was willing myself forward.  I was pretty gassed and I kept telling myself that any second now I'd pick it up and crush a fast final 5K.  In some ways I felt like I was running faster than what I was actually running and at other times, I felt like I was running in quick sand.

Finally at mile 7.5 or so I could see the SaltAir in the distance.  Why did it seem so far away?  I could also see the freeway signs saying the exit to the SaltAir was in a mile.  So close yet so far away.

Fortunately, the number of other runners around me had dwindled.  I wasn't really picking off to many other runners and in contrast, only a few shambled by me.  I had gotten some positive vibes in the middle of the race from runners who were still heading out (kind of makes you feel like an elite runner) but at this point it was fairly lonely running.

Finally, the finish line came into view and according to my Garmin, it measured 100% spot on.  Awesome!  


The post race area had water and Gatorade.  It wasn't a terribly hot day so I didn't need a lot, but it felt good to actually swallow hydration rather than rinse my mouth out (which I have a tendency to do during a race).  I actually felt really good at the end.

My hamstring had bothered me a time or two, but for the most part I felt rock solid.  It certainly wasn't a death march and despite going out pretty fast I more or less hit the average time I was shooting for (about 8:45).

I sauntered back to my car and put on some warmer clothes and hit the SaltAir for coffee and bananas.  They had a variety of other snacks but it was typical post race stuff.

They only had a finisher's medal if you had done the entire series (5K / 10K / 15K).  They actually looked like really nice medals but alas, this was a one and done race for me.

This race hearkened back to my days when I was really competitive.  I am no longer fast -- not even a little bit.  It was inspiring to see people of all ages in the front ranks pouring it on.  There were guys my age in the top 10 as well as a sprinkling of whippersnappers.

I wasn't here for any medal or age group award.  I was simply here to test myself on an honest course and at an interesting distance (I think in my running career this is only the 2nd 15K I've ever raced).

I paid about $40 for the race.  I got a well organized event, a polyester / cotton blend shirt and a decent experience for most of my Saturday morning.  If this race fits into my schedule again and I feel like competing, if it is only against myself, you'll find me here again.