Saturday, August 18, 2018

2018 Green Eggs and Ham 5K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT





Official Time: 26:09
Placement: 5th Male, 1st Masters, 1st in the 45 - 49 age group.
Results:  Soon
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 70's, warm with breeze from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First time at this race


Mile TimeComments
18:09Didn't expect this slow of a start. No bueno
28:28Legs weren't springy today. 
38:48Wow... 
3.090:42Tried to haul ass to the finish
Total Miles: 3.09 - 26:09

The Park Grounds. We ran loops around the park.

Introduction


This weekend there were a TON of races of the area.  3 half marathons and several shorter races.  I didn't think I was quite ready for a half marathon and 2 of the 3 were downhill ones.  Downhill races, while great for overall times, are tough on the body and I just tend to avoid them.

So I trolled over the UtahRunning.com and stumbled upon the Green Eggs and Ham Race.  It is a Dr Seuss themed race and it was just a few miles down the road from my house.  It wasn't just a fun run -- with awards and medals at the end and I've been focusing on shorter races this summer (and needed one for my virtual 5K in the Arizona Sunrise Series) So I figured why not jump into it.  It was close by and I know the race director at OnHillEvents.Com


Typical stretch of sidewalk on the course

The Race


I rolled into the race site with plenty of time to spare.  A mere 7 minute drive from my house to the Veteran's Memorial Park in West Jordan.  Despite it being that close, I had never been there before.  

The race called for 3 laps of just over 1 mile around the park.  It was held entirely on sidewalk.  Not the greatest course in the world but at least it should be fast with virtually no elevation loss or gain.

I figured the race would be small and sure enough it was.  There were maybe a 100 people there at best.  Bib pickup was a snap and I grabbed my Dr Seus hat and shirt and spent about 20 minutes warming up.

The race, as usual, started right on time and almost immediately, upon running I felt like it was a lot of work just to run fast.  I had warmed up and everything but my legs weren't feeling it and to be honest, my motivation wasn't there.  No age group awards on account that the race was so small and I saw 3 blazing fast runners pull ahead of me.  Darn it, any chance of a post-race award vanished.

Still, I dug deep and kept working my way around the park.  Only one guy passed me and every now and then I checked behind me and there was NO one behind me for quite sometime almost throughout the race.  I was chasing down the second place girl and I was hoping I could at least use her for motivation.


The first loop went by quick and any fears about missing a turn or getting misdirected stood unrealized.  I was dismayed to see my Garmin chirp out an 8:09.  I knew I was running slower and struggling but this was the ugly realization that it was true and not a figment of my imagination.

I told myself the second mile would be faster and I tried to work it up a notch.  But I just felt off.  The second place woman was pulling ahead of me and I tried to push hard but it wasn't coming.

I almost wanted to walk when I completed the second loop.  I was breathing hard and I knew the last mile was going to be a rough one.  Also, I was a little tired of the course.

Also I had to navigate around a lot of the 5K walkers / slower folks -- some who had bunched up and were walking as a family.  It wasn't terrible and I got some support from them, but I had to jump off the sidewalk from time to time to dodge them.

Finally, I completed the last mile and I didn't even both to look at my time.  I knew it wasn't good.  I pushed it as hard as I could even though there was no reason to.  I suppose I was hoping to just skirt the 26 minute barrier but I just couldn't do it.



Conclusion


I wasn't super upset when I finished but I knew it wasn't a terribly good 5K for me.  I had done a total of 17 miles on Thursday, a mere 48 hours before and while I feel pretty good I am sure my legs are still recovering.

I almost left since I wasn't due for any awards, but as usual I recognized a few people and decided to socialize.  I was pretty much the last person to leave the area.



The race had a hot breakfast of ham and eggs (of course).  Being a vegetarian, I only got a tiny portion of eggs.  They did have a nice chocolate milk though, which is always refreshing.  Also, I got a finisher's medal, which was actually nicely designed and a high-quality medal.  Shirt was cute too.


I registered at the last minute for this race, so I paid dearly for it.  About $40.  Pretty expensive for a 5K but it got me out of the house and I had fun and entertainment.  It was an honest course too and measured up nicely.  Every now and then it is nice to do a low-pressure 5K and use it as a speed workout.  Maybe next time I'll remember not to do a long run so close to a 5K.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Running Update For July - August 2018


At the Bellagio Gardens in July


Miles for the Year as of August 13: 1176.25


It's been a while since I've done a running update and I had a few minutes tonight and figured why not crank out an article.

So how is my running since returning to Utah?  Not too bad.  Although my endurance is completely gone -- it would seem.   I lived in Phoenix for nearly 60 days and my longest run there was about 11 miles.  The last 2 of it was done at a shuffle, largely because I was dehydrated.  Suffice to say training for distance in Arizona -- particularly in the summer -- was tough.

I have been trying to build my mileage back up as well as my endurance.  With the Las Vegas Marathon coming up in November, I sort of feel like I am behind the 8-ball as far as training.  Looking at some of the training charts, though, reveal I am pretty much on target.

The weather in Utah is warm but not insanely hot.  We have had some bad air though from the surrounding fires.  California's largest wildfire's smoke has drifted into Utah causing really poor air quality.  So my training has been hit and miss.

I have been getting anywhere from 30 to low 40 miles per week with usually a short race and a long run on the weekends.  Doing a 13 mile long run seems to be a challenge though.  Hopefully that will change.  I am using the shorter races as speed workouts.  I haven't really seen much of a change in my overall times though despite a steady diet of short races.

I know what I need to do to get marathon ready though.

Other than some general fatigue / soreness, I feel pretty good.

Bad air quality in Eastern Nevada

Weight


My weight hit a high of 188 pounds in Phoenix.  I am not sure why, but it seemed like as soon as I hit town, the scale creaked at a 188.  When I came back, I've been routinely seeing 184 - 185.  Not sure what happened or if it an altitude thing.  But I have been focusing on eating better and really watching my portion sizes.

Done with Marathons?


I've sort of lost count of the number of marathons I've done.  Yeah, I know I can go over to Athlinks.com and count but it is somewhere around 27 or 28.  Last year's marathon left a bad taste in my mouth and I really haven't had a burning desire to run another one.  I had signed up for the 2018 edition of the LV Marathon last year.  This will be my 10th time participating in the race and each time I've done the marathon.

Presuming my training goes well, I'll attempt this marathon.  I suspect, though, that it'll be my last one.  I don't have a strong passion for it any more (full marathons that is) and clearly I am not getting better at it.  Also the payoff has gotten less for me.

I could totally be wrong.  Maybe I'll have a great race or the spirit of the marathon will come back, but the last half dozen marathons haven't been very "fun" experiences.  But I am sort of bracing myself to say, I've done enough.


Cat Update


Faithful readers may recall that for the past year or two (or more) I've been feeding a feral cat on the bike trail on a near daily basis.  When I first ran into the cat I couldn't get near it, but anytime I left food, the food would be gone -- sometimes in minutes -- but always by the next day.

In the spring, we had a pattern down.  The cat would wait for me at a ditch around 5 PM and I'd swing by and drop food.  It would give me a cautious meow before eating the food in the safety of the tunnel.  In short, I never was able to touch it or pet it in any way.  Remember this is a feral cat... the same as a wild squirrel.

When I left for Arizona, I was concerned about the cat and made arrangements with several people in order to feed it.  And it did get fed.



When I got back, I spotted it but our times never really synced up.  There is plenty of mice to be head, so I suspect it hunts every day and doesn't need my assistance.



The other day I was walking along the trail and I spotted it in the open field and I wound up dropping some food for it.  It watched me for some time, meowing and basically excited to see me.  Then the surprising thing happened -- it came up to me and started to rub against me.  Frankly, I was shocked.  This cat had NEVER done that before.  It was very emotional to have this happen and made all the efforts that I have done over the past few years worth it.

In the subsequent weeks I haven't seen it but as the weather gets cooler and the hunting gets a little tougher, I am sure our routines will get synced back up again.



Back in Utah


In short, I am tickled pink to be back in Utah.  I reported on this before, but pretty much everyday I want to wake up and kiss the ground.  When something is just a bad fit and you just need to get out, your freedom is priceless.

I still need to take advantage of the things here.  I've only done a few hikes since being back but I've already been to Wendover twice and done a hike or two.  I also have my running route.

I am still discovering people who don't know that I am back and they are shocked to see me as I sort of had sad good bye to the area and in all honesty had gave up on ever coming back.

Moving to Arizona was a bit of an expensive experiment.  I had to leave my current job, try a new one and then come back to my old job (luckily I am on good relations with everyone) and I had invested in license plates, driver's license, and paid a bit of money for food and rent. 

I did get some new life experiences and came to realize what is important to me and what makes me happy.  So in some respect, while painful, I learned something about myself and about life as a result.  Sometimes you learn a little when you make a mistake or a wrong turn and this is one area where I felt like I grew a bit.

Since I've been back though, I almost, want to kiss the ground.  I am definitely very grateful to be back.



Upcoming Races


08/18: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #7 - (Virtual) Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
08/18: Green Eggs and Ham 5K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
08/26: Ruby Mountain Relay Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
09/01: Midway Swiss Days 10K - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)





Monday, August 13, 2018

2018 Bluffdale Badlands 10K Race Recap - Bluffdale, UT




Official Time: 53:15
Placement: 4th in the 31 - 49, 8th out of 16 in the men's.
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: upper 60's, 5 - 15 mile per hour winds from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural year for me


Mile TimeComments
18:49Hilly start 
29:19Really had a hard time here with hills and wind
39:00Finally done with the hills
48:01Gaining back some of the hills... fast mile here
58:18More down hills
68:49Not a lot left here and some uphill and wind
6.130:55Cruise to the finish
Total Miles: 6.13 - 53:15 




Introduction

The other day I was looking for a race to do and opted for the Bluffdale Badlands challenge.  I've seen this race pop-up every year and I've just never made it there.  It's only a few miles down the road but for whatever reason I have never signed up for it.

I looked at the price and figured wow, for $15 I get a t-shirt and a race?  So why not?  Plus it satisfies my goal of trying some new races.



The Race


I rolled in around 5:45 for the 6:30 start.  I have seen the results from previous years and it is usually a small race.  I suspect, also, that the smoky air from all the wildfires in the area also scared people off.

I live about 15  minutes north and the air quality wasn't too bad.  Down there, it seemed a lot worse.

I grabbed my shirt and bib and basically went back and forth to the bathroom for the next 30 minutes.  The race headquarters were at a park where the city fair was going to happen so there were a ton of bathrooms and no waiting at all.

It was pretty warm and there was a stiff wind.  I knew this wasn't going to be an "A" race from the get-go on account of the air quality.  Still, I figured I had a shot at the age group awards, which were awfully wide.

The race started on time.  I was a little worried about where to go on the course.  When races have less than 40 people, the racers tend to get thinned out and if the course isn't marked well, it is easy to get off course.  Luckily, with one exception, the course was well marked with signs.

The race is held primarily on residential streets.  I am pretty sure at one point this was a "Badlands" but now you are running through city streets that can't quite make up its mind on what it is.  There were all kinds of houses with horses in the back and some farm-fields.  It was kind of interesting, but not super glamorous.

The important intersections were marshaled by the police though and I saw volunteers on golf-carts cruising the streets looking for people to help.

It was a tough start.  Almost immediately I was running into a wind and going uphill.  I also found myself sort of running alone.  The fast group clearly had pulled ahead and I was working with a few guys and a young woman.


I was a little dismayed at my pace.  I had no clue as to what the rest of the course was going to be like, but I certainly hoped I'd be able to improve my average pace.  9 minute miles were more akin to late half marathon paces, not for a first mile of a 10K.  We did join up with some of the 5K racers as well but they were the slower bunch but it was empowering to pass them a bit.

Eventually I got my wish and got some downhill followed by some tailwind.  It was awesome.  I suddenly made some gains on the people I was chasing and my my turnover greatly increased.  I hoped I was done with the hills and I could maintain this pace.

Suddenly, I found myself leading the way.  I was fortunate to have someone ahead that I could follow and use them to prepare for a turn, but now, I was running solo.  I had some people following me though.  I figured I had a chance of an age group award at this point -- if only I could hold on.

Around mile 5 two of the guys I had passed, passed me.  I just couldn't respond and my legs and my breathing was labored.  I was under the mistaken impression that the age group was 35, not 31 and these guys appeared to be in that age group.

I dug deep though and worked on getting more turn over on my legs.  I kept telling myself, just a few more quarter miles.  The mile markers were also off, according to my Garmin by about .07 of a mile so I figured the race was going to be short.

I wound up passing one of the guys at the end.  He was cramping and I felt bad because he probably had me beat.  The other guy missed the final turn and just kept running.  In fact, this was the only fault of the race.

The service drive we were supposed to turn onto didn't have a sign or a cone near it.  It was spray painted with orange paint that indicated a turn.  It led into the park and we were told we were supposed to take the service drive but the other runner in front of me had gone straight.  Darn it.  I turned around to the folks chasing me down and asked if we turn here?  They didn't know.  I figured, okay, I am going to turn here... and they followed.

Luckily it was the right thing to do and in short order I saw the 6 mile marker.  It too was short by .07 so the final stretch was an eternity.  I hauled ass here as I ran around the park's service drive (which was under construction in spots) and flew through the finish line.



Conclusion


The race was timed by RunnerCard and almost immediately I was handed a card with an apology that I just missed an age group award (I was 4th).  The awards were given with little to no fanfare.  Just cross the line and if you won something they handed you a (cool) medal.  If not, better luck next year.

I congratulated and thanked the runners around me.  The one girl and I had raced almost the entire thing and the cramping guy was happy to finish right behind me.


They had a pancake breakfast and I wound up chatting with the winner of the race.  Pancakes, Tang and some hash browns.  I was surprised it was free.  I mean, I paid about $17 for the race -- and I got a free breakfast, race results, and a t-shirt?  It was a steal.

Course support was okay.  I think there were two, maybe 3 water stops.  It was warm but the stops were present and easy to access.  My only complaints were the wide age division awards (a little tough competing with people 15 years younger than me) and the final turn to the race.

I liked the course actually and for the price paid, I had a good experience.  I would do this race again.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018 Roy Days 5K Race Recap - Roy, UT





Official Time: 25:15
Placement: 1st in age group
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's, slight wind from south east. Hazy / bad air.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First time at this race


Mile TimeComments
17:46Nice start thanks to downhill and some tailwind.
28:12Not sure what happened here. Ran into some head wind
38:50Pretty decent climb over the last mile. 
3.060:26Cruise to the finish
Total Miles: 3.06 - 25:15



Introduction


This weekend I had to run some errands, so I didn't have a lot of time to for a race.  I was very tempted to do a race down near Price UT or even further south, Parowan, UT, but I had to pick up someone from the airport at 9 AM.  So that meant I had to stay in the area and be done and accounted for at the airport at 9 AM.

After sorting through this weekend's offerings, I decided to make my way up to Roy, UT -- a suburb of Ogden and run their 5K race.  It was an annual race from what I could tell and I figured it would properly run and besides, it would be something new.





The Race


I got there at 6 AM for the 7 AM start.  It was pretty simple grabbing my shirt and bib.  They had a small swag bag too.  I managed to warm up, use the bathroom a time or two and the hour passed by quickly.

The race started a little late, but not by much.  I noticed right away the race was filled with high school students.  It would seem that it is a popular race for the local high school and the alumni there.

I started about 10 feet behind the start line on a wide residential street.  It seemed like everyone in the race took off and left me in the dust the minute the race started.  Lots of fast young folks there.

I soon found myself running with some other middle-aged guys and I figured I'd try to hold with them and perhaps pass them closer to the end of the race.  I made good on that decision for the most part, but the one guy I had targeted managed to pull ahead of me by about 20 seconds.

The race initially was downhill and I was able to take advantage of the offerings.  A lot of the houses that I ran by were older homes, but well kept up.  The police had blocked off the core traffic intersections and I never had any problems knowing where to go, despite a lot of initial turns.  In fact it was kind of fun to see the old-school schools and neighborhoods.

Once we got out of the residential area we arrived at the local high school and turned a corner.  My pace seemed to crumble as I got hit with a bit of a head wind.  It just seemed like the pace I was holding got really hard.  I think it was sort of a mental thing too as I saw a ever so slight uphill.



I was a little upset to see my watch hit 8:15.  I was hoping to go 8:00 or so and it didn't feel like my pace had dropped a lot.  

My 2 to 3 was going to be a challenge.  At this point it is a long straight way to the finish and it is mostly uphill.  The hill reminded me a lot of the South Davis Recreation Center 5Ks I do -- in fact this course was very similar in profile.  I really buckled down and dug deep.

The final mile is along the main road and at this point there are some cars buzzing by you.  They had an entire lane closed and you also had the bike lane, so I never felt in danger.  The houses and schools gave way to gas stations and other businesses.  It wasn't a terribly glamorous route, but at least I could sort of make how far I had yet to go.



There wasn't anyone super close by and I was doing my best to gain some ground on the few people ahead of me.  It was also somewhat satisfying to pass by the 2 mile walkers / joggers.

I crossed the finish line just a hair over 25 minutes, which is about normal these days.  The race wasn't chipped time, so I had to make my way through the finishing corral and to get my tag taken.


Conclusion


I was okay with my time.  It wasn't going to be a fast course... with the long uphill at the finish, but I ran well enough to place first in my age group.  I sort of figured I'd top 3 it -- there weren't that many masters runners running.

They had standard post race food at the end -- orange slices, Powerade, water, and bananas.  I think there might've been a pancake breakfast but I didn't see a lot of activity near where I thought it was and I didn't know if it came with the race.  Either way, I really didn't have time for it.



While my Garmin came up a bit short, I am thinking the race was an accurate 3.10.  I checked with some other runners and they had 3.10 to 3.11 on their watches.

I paid $25 for the race, which isn't too bad of a deal.  It was low key but professionally run and the results / awards were done quickly.  They also had one of the best post race raffles, with some decent prizes for a change.

I'd definitely do this race again next year.  I had a good time, it was priced reasonably although it was a bit of a drive for a 5K (about 45 minutes one way).

Saturday, July 28, 2018

2018 Legacy Midnight Run 10K Race Recap - Farmington UT




Official Time: 51:38
Placement: 1st in the 45 - 49,
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 85F -- night race with no wind.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2012] [2013] [2014] [2015] [2016] [2017]


Mile TimeComments
18:22Hard to see at first
28:03Slight downhill
38:19Hints of stomach issues.
48:34Slight uphill
58:49Stomach issues here and not much to work from
68:29Pushed it to the finish -- stomach issues be damned.
6.141:01
Total Miles: 6.14 - 51:38 




Introduction


Every summer I look forward to the Legacy Midnight Run.  It is held along the Legacy Bike Trail in Farmington.  I've run on this bike trail for about a ton of races -- it is ideal for a night race because it is flat, fast and the pavement is in good shape.  I just have some many memories (mostly good) about running along here.

For this race, I usually do the half marathon every year but after last year's rough race (it was HOT) and knowing that I am not really trained to run a good half marathon, I opted to sign up for the 10K.

I thought I'd feel bad for signing up for the shorter race, but all in all, I was okay with it.  Normally I sign up for the longest race at any given event and when I haven't, I've beat myself up over not taking the toughest event.  Each event though has its challenges.  Running a "fast" 5K is just as challenging, rewarding as running 13 miles at an "okay" pace.  Call it maturity.


The Race


I got to the race about an hour early.  I seem to recall this race having a LOT more people.  But there were a ton of events in the area this weekend (Spartan / Timp Half Marathon), so I suspect they all cannibalized from each other.  I missed the half marathon start (10 PM) but had plenty of time to spare for my 10K start, which was at 11PM.

I had watched what I ate all day and I came to the race sort of hungry but not starving.  I think that is good because I certainly didn't want to run fast with food sloshing around.  I had pancakes about 4 - 5 hours before the race and a few snacks to hold me over.

Since it was 85 degrees I didn't do much of a warm-up... okay I did zero warm-up.  Just sort of swung my arms and legs around while waiting for my race if that constitutes warming up.

The race started promptly at 11 PM and while it was a chip finish, it wasn't a chip start. Fortunately, I had managed to work my way up to the front.



A group of high-school age kids took off and the lead group (about a dozen folks) quickly left me in the dust.  I found myself running solo, which is a bit unnerving at 11 PM on a lonely bike trail.

The course was well marked.... it was just a little iffy in the first mile where you have to run on a shadowy part of the trail / road and then make your way to the official bike trail.  They had a police marshal at the one traffic intersection and I remembered the route from years past so it wasn't a struggle to know where to go.

I was working with another guy, who was about 50 - 100 yards in front of me.  He had no glow sticks on, so he was hard to see.  I wore one around my neck.  I always feel it is important to be seen and with 3 races going on (5K, 10K and half) everybody needs to see oncoming people.  I also carried a head lamp that I probably used for about 20 seconds (it was a full moon).

The first 2 miles I was feeling really good.  Although there was a hint of a GI issue coming on: I had to take a nature break.  But I was running so well I didn't want to stop.  The porta-pottie at mile 1.25 someone had overturned.  I told myself if it got "really" bad I could always hit the woods.

I was excited to see the turn around point -- the 2nd aid station.  It might've been a little short (I got various reports on the distance of the course, from 6.12 to 6.19).  I grabbed some ice cold Powerade there and turned around.

The Legacy freeway is right next to the route and the headlights approaching me were blinding.  I was wondering what they thought we were doing at close to midnight, wearing glowsticks while running along the bike trail.

I was still chasing the one guy who wasn't wearing a glow stick and I got to assess the folks chasing me.  There were a few people somewhat close to me but I had a pretty good lead on them.  I had gained some ground on the non-glow-stick guy and I figured I could catch him.  I hadn't seen too many people who I thought were in my age group though despite seeing a few at the start.

By mile 4 and 5 I had to go to the bathroom -- bad.  It wasn't an emergency (yet) but it was going to be one soon.  I knew I was running a good race and I didn't want to pull off the side and embarrass myself. I had to slow down a bit as a result and the guy I was pursuing was putting me behind him.

Finally, I hit the 1.55 aid station (for the 5K turn around).  I had gained a little on the guy I was tracking down and apparently he had enough and came to a stop to get a drink and started walking.  I rinsed out my mouth with a drink and kept running hoping to leave him in the dust.  I thought he was going to duke it out with me but he seemed like he ran out of gas, tried to keep up with me and gave up.

I was getting some motivation from outgoing 5K runners.  In fact that is what makes this race nice.  You pretty much get to see everyone and a lot folks are very enthusiastic about their support.  While I am not super speedy it really helped me mentally as people got excited as I was coming back towards the finish line as they were heading out.

The last mile or so I was looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was behind me.  It was a ghost town and there wasn't anyone in front of me.  For most of the race I felt like I was 100% solo.

During the last quarter mile, I think a half marathoner blew by me (amazing) or maybe it was a 5K person.  Either way, I had secured my position in the 10K and I really turned on the jets at the end to save every second I could.


Conclusion


I grabbed my glow in the dark finisher's medal (the alien one above).  Kind of felt weird getting a medal for a 10K but that's the way it works these days. The age group medal one has blinking lights as well.  They've given those out in years past if I recall.

I immediately headed to the bathroom -- which was a pretty good walk from the finish line.  I almost got sick in there.  Going from top speed to sitting just caught up with me and I admit I was on the toilet dry heaving.  Not fun.



After I collected myself I went back out and got something to drink and socialize.  I felt better once I got something to drink and they had Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches which taste heavenly on a hot night.

They started to post results and I noticed my time wasn't up there.  Darn it.  I am pretty patient when it comes to these things and figured it must be coming.  When they were updated again, I still didn't see my results.  Turns out my chip didn't register when I crossed.  It is a small race and I had proof of my time so getting a result entered in was easy thanks to my trusty Garmin.

It seemed to take a while before awards were given out and I think my time wasn't in there for the age group awards so I missed getting publicly recognized (not a big deal).  So I had to get that corrected as well.  I still got an age group medal and as I write this, I am pretty sure I got first in my age group.

Overall, I was pleased with my race performance -- actually tickled pink.  I ran really well -- about a minute or two faster than my previous 10K races that I've done.  Granted this course may have been a tad short but it was flat, but I felt solid.  It was an awesome night for running and there was even some intense heat lightning in the distance (with some cool jagged forks of lightning).

I did use beet juice about 3 hours before the race.  That may have contributed to my stomach issues.  That can be a bit touchy to get down sometimes.  I've used it before and every now and then it doesn't sit well.  I also had a Subway sandwich for lunch, which might have had too much fiber for me.

It is amazing that I've done this race every year since 2012 and it remains one of my favored summer traditions here in Utah.  Looking forward to next year.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

2018 Handcart Days 5K Race Recap - Bountiful Utah






Official Time: 25:24
Placement: 29th male, 3rd in 45 - 49 age division, 35th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 80 degrees. Somewhat overcast. No wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First time for the 5K for this race. Half in [2017] [2016] [2015] [2012]


Mile TimeComments
17:50Off to a good start.  A little crowded at the beginning but able to run my pace quickly
28:23Way too slow! 
38:39Felt like I was going faster than this. It is a gradual climb here though
3.080:34
Total Miles: 3.08 - 25:27



Introduction


Now that I am back in Utah, I have been focusing on getting out there and doing some races here.  Today's race took me to a familiar haunt: The South Davis Recreation Center.  

The recreation center puts on a fantastic series of races throughout the year.  They are usually well-attended, cheap, and I feel you get your money's worth.

In year's past, I have run the half marathon.  However, my distance training hasn't been what it should be and I know from past experience if I haven't been doing my long runs a half marathon just isn't going to be a good experience. 

Hence this year I signed up for the 5K.  The 5K course is identical to their Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving Day run so I knew what I was in for.

The race commemorates the Utah settlers who entered the valley some 150+ years ago.  So the whole race and atmosphere is pioneer themed.  Apparently the settlers dragged their worldly belongings on a handcart, hence the race's name.  There are exhibits and a small carnival and historical exhibit in the park near the finish line.




The Race


The 5K started at 7 AM and I rolled in just a hair before 6 AM.  Fortunately, I was able to watch the half marathoners start and nabbed a few photos of the pack as they ran by.

I grabbed my shirt and bib in no time flat and managed to kill an hour before the race start.  The race started right at 7 AM.

I was half asleep it seemed when the race started.  I had warmed up a bit with some drills but nothing serious.  It wasn't "Arizona hot" but it was warm.  I just felt tired, but I knew once the race started I could bust out 3 miles.

Initially I was hemmed in but by the time I turned the corner onto the main drag, I could run at my own pace.  I was working pretty hard but I knew I wanted to take advantage of the first mile since it was mostly downhill along a residential street lined with houses / apartments (and later in the race, small businesses)

I turned in a 7:50 first mile, which was exactly where I hoped to be.

After the first mile, the race makes another turn and there is a slight climb to the half way point.  This hill always seems bigger in my mind and I think it got the best of me and I slowed ever so slightly.

I tried to find people to work off of and I thought I spied another guy who might be in my age division.  I made it my goal to hang with him.  

I was crestfallen when I hit 2 miles and saw an 8:23 mile.  Way too slow.  I figured I had some more in the tank and tried to pick up the pace.  The final mile from 2 to 3, however, is a bit of a climb.  While 70 feet doesn't sound like much, it is an extended hill that just wears you down.

The guy who I chose as my target maintained a better pace than me and was extending his lead (I never caught him) and I found myself battling it out with a loud-stepping teen and a father / son combo.

I figured I was going to turn in a fast mile but again, the hill got the best of me.  I expected another 8:23 but after reviewing my Garmin, I realized I hit an 8:39.  Eww.



I didn't have anyone tailing me but I dug deep and crossed the finish line around 25:24, which is where I pretty much expected to finish.


Conclusion


After the race, I grabbed some Gatorade, bananas (Organic!) and checked my results at the computer.  3rd Place in my age division -- sweet!  Honestly, I expected to finish in the top 3 -- it was a small-ish race and most of the faster runners I suspected were doing the half.


The 5K finisher medal was pretty tiny.  I think they had a bigger one for the half marathoners -- as they should.  Their Thanksgiving / Valentine's Day medals are usually works of art.  

I got a free pancake breakfast, which was actually pretty good.  The shirt was nicely designed but the white shirts tend to show stains after a while.  My age group prize was a stylized cowbell, which was kind of cool.

As usual, I got a good deal for my money.  I got a swag bag, shirt, medal, supported course, post-race refreshments for less than $30.  I definitely enjoy the race series and would definitely be back -- hopefully for the half next year.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Farmington Festival Days 10K Race Recap - Farmington, UT






Official Time: 53:48
Placement: 29th out of 96, 21st male out of 45, 3rd in the 40 - 49 age division
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 80 degrees, cloudy, with no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Ran the half in 2012 in 1:41:31


Mile TimeComments
18:41Race starts with an uphill almost immediately.
27:53Fast mile here as most of it is downhill
38:57Reality sets in.  Sort of struggling with a slow uphill. Running with some of the 5Ks
49:04Slow grind uphill again
510:19I think my Garmin lost reception here. 
68:41Trying to turn on the jets
6.050:18
Total Miles: 6.05 - 53:56 (note Garmin likely lost reception)




Introduction


When I got back to Utah, I immediately hit up UtahRunning.com to see what the local races were going to be.  As per usual, there is absolutely no shortage of races going on here.

I am not really ready for a half marathon, so I was looking for anything in the 5K / 10K range.  Sure enough the Farmington Festival Days race popped up.

When I first moved to Utah, the race was one of the first half a dozen or so races I did and I had nothing but good memories of it.  It was well organized and had an awesome post race breakfast spread.

The race was fairly cheap (I think about $30) so I figured why not...  and I've always wanted to rerun some of the streets of Farmington, as it is a cozy little town with some mature tree-lined streets.


The Race


I rolled into the race about an hour early.  I remember last time I was there, finding the race location and finding parking was challenging.  This year, that wasn't a problem.  I found ample parking.  I am also going to go out on a limb and say attendance appeared to be down from other years.  I think the race market is flooded and there were ton of choices to run today.

Either way, I meandered over to city hall and picked up my bib and shirt in no time at all.  The race timer is a friend of mine, so I socialized with him and hid out in my car until about 15 minutes before the race started.

After a bit of a warm-up, the race started at 7 AM.



The race initially starts off very discouraging.  You head out a drive way and almost immediately you are greeted with an uphill.  It isn't super long but you immediately begin to question your sanity on why you run these races.  You aren't even into the race and you are already hurting for oxygen.

Luckily, the race levels out and you eventually get a bit of your hill back in subsequent downhills.

I was beginning to panic on the race at the outset.  I wasn't really in the mood to race and I felt like I was getting left behind.  My pace was solid, and I sort of had started in the back, but it seemed like everyone was having no problems with the hill.

I told myself to be patient and that once I got into the groove things would change.

Sure enough, once the hill ended I started making up ground.  I was a bit saddened to see the first mile go by in 8:45.  I was hoping to start off with an 8:30.  But this course was hilly, it was warm and I am still getting re-acclimated to the altitude.

Most of the runners were doing the 5K and they split off from us after about a mile.  I was suddenly looking down Main Street with just a handful of runners.

It was downhill for the time being and I got another boost with a fast downhill that more than made up for the initial uphill.  I was surprised to see I had just run a sub 8 minute mile.  I was hoping that I could hold onto that pace, but it definitely wasn't my day.

I was hurting by the 3rd mile.  We had rejoined with the 5Kers -- they were on their second mile and we were on our 3rd.  We also finally hit a water stop.  There were only 2 this race and I certainly could've used another one.

After another mile we once again separated from the 5K racers.  I was longing to join them when they made their final turn.

I vaguely remembered most of the course and definitely the first mile... as it follows the Handcart Half Marathon final miles.  It was reassuring to be running on familiar ground.

The race eventually led us to the bike trail.  This was the best part of the race for me.  Except for one small part, it was well marked.  The bike trail was heavily treed and I suspect here is where my Garmin lost reception at times.  I was also running solo at this point.  I had passed the folks I was racing against and there wasn't anyone in front of me.  There were a lot of turns and I was worried (a little) about missing one.

I was duking it out with another runner who would pass me and then take a walk break.  I'd over take him and for most of the race we were swapping spots.  I had a hunch he may have been in my age division and while I didn't have a lot of hope that I'd win an age group award, I didn't want to leave anything to chances.  It turns out he and a few others who passed me were in the 50 - 59 age division.  I wound up overtaking him at the 5 mile marker and stepped on the gas to the finish.

The final mile took us back onto the rolling hills of Main street.  The police had cordoned off the important intersections and traffic at 7:45 in the morning wasn't too bad, so we weren't much of a hindrance.  I got a little bit of a second wind in the final mile although I was clearly fading fast.

It was with a huge sense of relief when I finished the race and crossed the finish line.



Conclusion


I grabbed some water and walked around a bit.  My shirt and shorts were drenched.  I had dumped one water cup over me to cool me off, but otherwise it was pretty much 100% sweat. By Utah standards it was kind of a muggy morning.  I am just thankful that it wasn't blazing sun.

I wound up socializing a bit and trying to decide if I was happy with my time.  I wasn't beating myself up and my time was about what I expected it to be.  I haven't gotten in many long runs, it was a hilly course, and I am getting used to the altitude again.  



To my surprise, I wound up finishing in 3rd place in my age group (there were only 4 of us).  I was no expecting that. 



They had a wonderful french toast breakfast at the end.  They advertise as having one of the best post-race breakfasts in Utah and I would agree it is up there.  Definitely worth the price of admission on this one.

The shirt is a cotton shirt.  I probably won't use it much but I like the design.  There were only two aid stations on the course.  I think a 3rd one would've be nice but I survived without it.  Awards and results were done very quickly and in a professional manner.

For the roughly $25 - $30 I paid for the race, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth.  The bathroom situation was fine and even managed to use it minutes before the race. I loved the course too as it offered a lot of variety.  However, it is challenging.  It was certainly good to be back in Farmington.