Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 Running Year in Review




Total Miles for 2019:  1692.25

Introduction


2019 was a mixed year as far as running went.  It started off where I was filled with piss and vinegar in terms of training and turning in some fast times to suddenly sitting on the sideline due to a hamstring pull.

This year saw my fewest miles in quite some time.  In addition, this year saw me miss more races that I had signed up for and was a no show.  I was either sick with bronchitis or the crippling hamstring injury had sidelined me for probably 6 races.

I did manage to run the following race distances in 2019:

5K   - 8
10K - 10
Half Marathons: 9

Again, no marathons this year.  Which is sort of sad, but at the same time, I am okay with.  I had visions of running a full this year but the hamstring sidelined me and simply put: it didn't happen this fall.

Best and Worst Race Performances


First off, the worst, most heartbreaking race for me was the Las Vegas Half Marathon -- again.  Normally, after having this many poor performances at a race, I'd write it off as a "Just isn't my race", but I do have a streak going -- I am about one of 50 (or so) people who have run it every year since 2009.  So despite it not being my "race" (and this isn't a knock on the organizers), I just don't run very well in Las Vegas.  


The other most depressing race was the Ogden Half Marathon.    I was coming off my injury and there were some serious doubts as to whether I'd be able to finish the race.  Also the weather was super questionable as far as whether I'd be walking 13 miles in the pouring rain.  So I totally over dressed.  By mile 6 or 7, I knew I was in trouble.  The finish -- and the race itself -- wasn't pretty.


The best race of the year, as far as my performance went, was the Sand Hollow Half Marathon.  The course was very likely short, but I turned in a 1:54 time.  I race really well there and it was a great week for me.  I'd also follow that up with the Ogden Halloween Half and the Snow Canyon Half.  While I died in the Snow Canyon at the end, in both races I turned in decent times.

Races I Loved the Most This Year


There were two races that jump out at me as being extremely fun:  They are the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and the Laughlin Half Marathon.

Both were new to me and the races tied in some epic weekends, where I had a blast.  The courses were pretty and gave me some new experiences.  I find myself doing the same races year after year and these reinvigorated my joy of visiting new areas and racing them.

If you enjoy desert scenery and in some cases a fast, downhill course, check out the aforementioned races.


Looking Towards 2020


I still enjoy running.  I started as a stress relief thing in 1997 and merely did 3 - 4 miles 3 - 4 times a week.  I didn't really have any goals other to go run.  Occasionally I'd dream of doing a marathon (I didn't know about other distances) and occasionally I'd go from my usual 3  - 4 mile run to something like 7 or 8.  

In 2004 I entered my first race and did okay.  The second one, I won my age group -- and after that I was hooked.  



It's been 16 years now and my times are clearly in decline.  It is a humbling experience and maybe you are reading this experiencing the same thing.  We all age and we all age at different paces.  Me, my times have gotten a lot slower.  I used to be a 20:30 5K "back in the day".  Now, I am happy to break 25 minutes.  

Try as I might, I am not going to be hitting sub 20's again unless I make some serious sacrifices and get lucky.

That being said, the benefits of being a life-long runner has given me a host of benefits:

  1. Stress Relief
  2. Fitness
  3. A group of friends I would never have met otherwise
  4. A reason to explore the world
  5. The knowledge that I can park the car in some remote area and log some miles that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to see.
  6. And hopefully a source of inspiration for others to better their lives through running.

I hope you journey with me on my runs and see what 2020 brings!



Upcoming Races




01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)
02/08: 2020 Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/15: 2020 Sun Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
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 (Probable)
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)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Lifetime Fitness Commitment Run 5K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT




Official Time: 26:17
Placement: 2nd in age group, 14th male
Results: Not Posted
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 32, strong wind from south, wet and slippery
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year


Mile TimeComments
18:41Into the wind I run, slow mile. Footing was iffy
28:37Felt nice to get the wind at my back
38:31Dying near the end but getting it done
3.060:25Not much left and no one behind me, but flew through the finish
Total Miles: 3.06 - 26:17


Introduction


I don't do a lot of New Years Day races.  There just aren't that many of them here in Salt Lake.  However, two routinely pop up each year: an indoor run on an indoor track (yuck!) and the Lifetime Fitness Commitment Day 5K.

The Commitment Day 5K is kind of a fun run.  Yes, they record results but only the top 3 get prizes.  No t-shirt but a cool finisher's medal and it is run outdoors  -- regardless of the weather.

I saw some sort of special on Facebook, where I could run for $15.  Not a bad deal for a 5K.  So even if the weather was bad or something else came up, I wasn't out too much.  So I signed up.



The Race


I rolled into the race site way early.  I had an errand to do on the east side of town and the roads were slippery and in some spots not terribly taken care of.  So I left with plenty of time.  I guess I got there WAY early, as I was one of the first to arrive at 8:45 AM for a 10 AM start.  Runners are one thing: punctual.

I had no idea what the race course was going to be like.  I've run several times in South Jordan and I figured we'd be on the bike trail for a bit and then drift off into a neighborhood.  Turns out, the race was held primarily (about 90%) on the Jordan River Bike Trail, of which I am very familiar with.

Fortunately, it was easy to kill time.  I knew a person or two at the race and people were generally easy to strike up a conversation with.  It also gave me time to check out the gym and its facilities.

Around 9:45, I did a warm-up.  Probably ran a mile and did some strides.  I had no idea what direction we were going to run in, but I figured we'd be heading south - where a solid 10 - 20 mile per hour head wind was coming from.  

The race started promptly at 10 AM and I was out and running.  There were about a 100 runners so there was some initial congestion at the start, but within a few hundred yards, it was smooth sailing.

The parking lot was plowed (a few hundred yards) but we quickly made it to the bike trail where there was maybe half an inch to an inch of fresh snow.

The trail hadn't been used that much since the snowfall and footing was decent.  Spots were slippery and it was slow going when I had to round a corner, but overall, other than the wind it was smooth sailing.

I wasn't too surprised to see an 8:41 on the first mile.  The wind was just relentless and while I felt strong, I knew that I was paying a price.  

I knew the course at this point, having run on it many times before: it is just a flat bike trail with the Jordan River next to it.  There is a lot of swampy / desert-like vegetation around and the scenery truly isn't that bad.

I was wondering how accurate the course was going to be and was beginning to worry that it was going to be long.  Fortunately, after rounding a corner there was the turn around point, at about 1.53 miles on my Garmin.  Finally some tailwind!

While I was in oxygen debt, the tailwind definitely lifted my spirits.  Occasionally I'd feel the wind blowing against my wind breaker (I went out with the clothing you see in my photos: shorts, t-shirt, windbreaker and gloves).

The course wasn't marked really well but again, I had been on there before and I definitely wasn't leading.  There were a few other runners in front of me, but no one behind me.

The final mile turned out to be my fastest but I definitely was hurting.  My endurance is pretty good at this point, so I was patient but I was really happy to see an 8:30 show up.  I've done very few negative splits before, particularly in a 5K.  I won't credit too much with proper pacing, but more of the a nice tailwind.

I crossed the finish line with a 26 and change.  Not what I wanted time-wise, but given the course conditions, it is what it is.



Conclusion


No t-shirt for the race, but they did have a nice medal. For $15, I wasn't expecting much but the medal was better than expected.



I swung by my car, grabbed some of my stuff and proceeded back in the gym.  With no age group awards and clearly I wasn't in the top 3, I was tempted to head out.  But they had a drawing and by the time I made it into the gym, I had about 20 minutes to wait until the drawing did happen.

Unfortunately, lucky wasn't on my side and I didn't win but they had some nice prizes.



On the plus side, they had a super healthy breakfast consisting of power pancakes, blueberries, oatmeal, and bananas.  Food was actually REALLY good and no junk too.  Color me impressed.

Overall, I liked this race.  I'd consider it more of a speed work out with a medal at the end and part social event.  I'd do it again if I didn't have anything planned for New Years.  It was a good time and I enjoyed myself, and at a price of $15 -- it is hard to beat.



Sunday, December 15, 2019

2019 Laughlin Half Marathon Race Recap - Laughlin, NV




Official Time: 2:01:40
Placement: 8th out of 19 in the 50-54, 73 out of 161 male, 103rd overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 50's, sunny.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
18:50A few laps around the high school. Felt sluggish
29:19
39:51Long stretch of uphill
49:15
58:27Finally some down hill. Heading into town
68:25More fast miles
78:42
810:17Suddenly have to switch gears to uphill running
99:21Heading into Arizona
108:57
119:24
1210:17A bit of a climb here. Pretty gassed
139:32Giving whatever I had left for the final mile
13.110:57
Total Miles: 13:11 - 2:01:39



Introduction


As part of my 50th birthday celebration, I opted to go on a bit of a road trip: to Laughlin Nevada.  Laughlin is a small gambling town at the bottom part of the state, where California and Arizona meet.  You can literally cross a river and be in Arizona and with another short drive be in California.

I've been to Laughlin before on another road trip and I was pretty excited to come visit again.  I didn't really have a chance to enjoy it last time on account I was in the throes of bronchitis.  This time, I had a smidge of a cold / bronchitis, but I was able to enjoy myself much more -- plus I was doing a race!




Laughlin is about a 7.5 hour drive from Salt Lake, so I took Friday off and headed out as soon as traffic thinned.  I had to be there for packet pickup, so I left with plenty of time.  I managed to swing by Mesquite, NV and get in a quick lunch.  It was nice to be able to split the trip up a bit.  The weather was absolutely pleasant down there.  I had come from the low 30's to the low 60's and I managed to switch into shorts before lunch.


Packet pickup was at the Tropicana in Laughlin.  I had checked into my hotel since I had gotten there early and made the roughly 1 mile walk to the hotel.  It was a pleasant walk and I showed up soon after the area opened.  Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea.  I expecting an hour wait to get my bib and race supplies, but the line moved exceedingly fast.  I was in and out in about 20 - 30 minutes, which is acceptable.


The Race


I didn't sleep particularly great the night before the race -- as usual.  I was over stimulated, yet tired, from my drive, and I was in a strange bed.  I didn't have much pre-race anxiety.  I knew I could cover the distance and I knew where and when I needed to be but I slept fitfully, but slightly better than normal.

I was up at 5 AM and prepared myself for the race.  I made the 1 mile drive to the race start.  I was going to attempt to park in the Tropicana, where the race was held, but they had already blocked most of it off.  I found the best parking situation was at the Colorado Belle.  All I had to do was cross the street and it was easy in and out (highly recommended for anyone reading this).  I had to fumble around to find the bus's location.

The nice thing about having the bus stop at the casino was that the bathrooms were within immediate access inside the casino.  I quickly made a pit stop before jumping on a very nice coach bus.

The drive to the race start was about 15 minutes.  I wasn't pleased to be surrounded by the smell of Ben Gay that another runner had applied (it makes me nauseous) but the drive was quick and easy.

We were dropped off at the Laughlin High School.  They were kind enough to open the gym so we had flush toilets and a place to stay warm for the roughly 45 minutes wait before the race.  The time went by quickly.

We were all assembled in the school's parking lot just shy of 7 AM and after some brief announcements and the Star Spangled banner, we were off and running.




The first 3 miles of the race aren't that great.  It was a lap around the school's parking lot, then we hopped on the school's track for a quick 400 meters around the oval:



There were some beautiful views of Laughlin in the distance.  It looked so far away but in reality it was probably about 5 miles.

After doing our loop we worked our way to the service drive.  It is a long, slow uphill run in the high desert.  It was super pretty if you enjoy such things and I loved the smell of cresote that came off the desert plants.



I knew the first couple of miles were uphill and I just focused on getting through those miles.  Despite having a cold, I was feeling pretty good.  I wasn't too worried to see a few 9 minute miles pop up.  The first 6 I was going to run pretty conservatively.


Finally, we reached Highway 163, which is the main highway from the north to come into town.  Laid before me was a glorious downhill.  I immediately picked up the pace as I let gravity pull me forward.  I could see in the distance, Davis Dam, the race's signature view.

My pace immediately dropped from 9:30's to 8:15's.  I felt like I was going pretty hard though and I tried to make up some time.  The weather was absolutely ideal and I was loving the high desert scenery.

You can see Davis Dam in the distance
This was my favorite section of the course and as we descended into the Davis Dam Park's area, I knew I was in for a visual treat.  I hadn't explored the area so it was all new territory for me.

Arial view of the service road
After reaching the bottom of the service road we had to run a solid mile uphill.  After the quad pounding my legs had just taken, my pace came to a crawl.  While the hill was intense, it w was fairly short lived but I definitely paid a price.

View of the road going up.

Upon reaching the top of this mean old hill, we headed west and then crossed the Davis Dam walkway.  To our right was a beautiful view of Laughlin and to the left, Lake Mojave, a man made lake that was a result of building the dam.  At least it was flat but my legs were starting to feel the strain of the race.









This was another enjoyable stretch and I caught a bit of a second wind as I crossed into Arizona -- but it was short lived, as we had another mini hill to summit:


Again this one was just long enough to have me cursing under my breath but short enough that it didn't totally derail my race.  It was a relief to see the turn around as I knew all the up hills would now be in my favor.  My turnover immediately increased as well as my motivation.

I had seen some of the runners that were behind me (due to the out-and-back nature of the course) and I knew my positioning wasn't all that bad.  While I knew I was out of contention for an age group award, I was hoping for a sub 2 hour finish.  Even though it was a hilly course, the elevation was under 900 feet.

Finally I was in the home stretch and I did a crazy loop around the park and got to see the base of the dam.  It was a nice park, about half a mile total, but there were plenty of turns as we circled the park and made our exit to the bike trail.




The bike trail was about 2.5 miles long and hugged the Colorado River.  There were a handful of other non-runners on the trail who were cheering us on.  But this too was flat.

Arial view of the bike trail.

I knew I was getting close to downtown Laughlin, where the finish line was.  I kept looking at my Garmin praying that the miles would go faster. My legs were pretty much spent at this point.

Finally we reached the edge of town and we ascended a small hill and crossed over the bridge that lead over the freeway.  I could smell the finish line, even though I still had a solid mile to go.

So far, where to run on the course was clearly marked, but coming into town there was one spot that wasn't clear and I would've wound up in the same spot, regardless of which turn I took.  Fortunately, I took the correct one -- despite not having many runners to tail off of.

Finally, I hit the Laughlin streets.  They had blocked off an entire two lanes of traffic.  Traffic isn't that bad in Laughlin and in the wee hours of Saturday morning, there weren't many cars on the road -- other than probably other runners' cars.

It was a treat though to run down the Laughlin strip, surrounded by casinos to my left and right.  It wasn't as glamorous as say Las Vegas, but definitely a unique experience.

I crossed the finish line in just over 2 hours, acceptable given the course and the fact that I had been fighting a sinus infection / cold for most of the week.



Conclusion


I had had high hopes that I would've crushed this course and gone 1:55.  But given I was a little sick and it was a hilly course, my time wasn't completely unexpected.

The course measured 13.11 and is a certified course.


Post race refreshments included water and chocolate milk.  There were some bananas as well and beer (I handed my coupon to someone else).  I wound up sitting on a wall for about 10 minutes collecting myself.  I had carried my own hydration and had gone through about half of it.  The aid stations were well manned and at appropriate intervals (about every 2 miles).  So I was in better shape than in some of my previous halves.






I really liked this race -- a lot.  The course was stunning and new to me, and it was a treat to run in two states.  While I've done some racing / running in Arizona, it was kind of unique to cross a state line and a different time zone (even if it was just a half mile).

There were plenty of good views and the organization was great from start to finish.

I liked the medal. It was heavy duty and nicely designed.  The logo on the front of the t-shirt was really cool and one that clearly advertised that I had run a half marathon.

I paid about $85 for the race at the Las Vegas Marathon expo.  Definitely on the pricey side for a half marathon, but given that I signed up about 2 weeks before the race it was about what I expected to pay. I did save some money by signing up at the expo. That being said, I did have the unique experience of running on the Laughlin Strip and finishing in front of a cheering crowd.  I felt I got a great experience

I am definitely penciling this one to do again next year.  Will have to see what the budget is like and my energy level after a full season of racing, but I had a great time in Laughlin all weekend long and this race was the icing on the cake.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Racing Schedule / Running Update - Fall / Winter 2019


Total Miles: 1586.75



Racing Update:


I haven't checked in a while, but figured I'd check in.  Mostly this is to update my status as far as what races I am planning on doing.  I took advantage of a bunch of Thanksgiving Day sales and signed up with a bunch of them.

The problem is that most of the races I signed up for, I have done before.  But some definitely made it on the list that I was introduced to last year and had such a good time that I felt obligated to give them another go.

Also, as I write this, I am pretty sure I am done as far as races go for 2019.  Overall it wasn't too bad of a year, but this year also marked the most races I had to bail on -- due to weather, sickness or injury.  I probably lost out on half a dozen races this year.


Sunflowers on the Jordan River Trail in the Fall

Training Update:


As the weather gets colder and sometimes the ground conditions get tougher, I've had to dial back my mileage.  Also being that this is the second year in which I haven't done a marathon, there really hasn't been any major need to put in runs longer than 10 - 13 miles.  I am keeping myself reasonably fit for a half marathon at any given point.

My head wants to do another marathon, but my body has other ideas.  And this year I've found it more challenging to get halves done.  So the message is fairly clear to me:  something is going to need to change in order for me run another 26.2 miles.  And it may be that I am just done as well.  We all reach that point and mine may have come sooner than I would've liked to have had.

Also my mileage has been dialed back for the past few weeks (averaging about 30 - 38 per week) on account I had a long lasting cold.  It wouldn't quit and luckily it wrapped itself up just before the Laughlin Half Marathon.  It did cost me my annual Thanksgiving Turkey Trot as well.

Celebrating my 50th

Turned 50


In November I finally entered a new age group -- the 50+ category.  I remember turning 40 -- some 10 years ago -- and it didn't phase me.  This one -- it hit me.  

For those younger than me, your experience may be different, but I am definitely slower, I gain weight more easily, and even ordinary training runs take a lot more out of me.  It probably explains my reluctance to do a marathon (as well as my confidence).

When I was 40, I could belt out a race day half marathon  and the next day mail in another 13 miles at marathon pace.  Now, I am hurting pretty good after a half.  I can still shuffle out a few miles the day after a half, but I am definitely feeling it.

All in all though, I feel pretty good.  I have no major issues (other than my eye sight seems to be going -- damn phones) and when I have gone to the doctors, my heart rate has been good.  My weight seems to be in check compared to the average population and I can still run a lot of miles.  So my dietary choices as well are paying dividends.

I hope to be running at 60 but I am noticing every year it gets a little tougher and I have to swallow a bit more of my pride because I am so much slower.

Aging effects people in different ways.  I thought I would've been immune to most of it, but clearly I am not.


Upcoming Races





01/01: 2020 Commitment Day 5K - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)
02/08: 2020 Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/15: 2020 Sun Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
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)
07/24: 2020 Alien Midnight 10K - Farmington, UT (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)

Saturday, November 23, 2019

2019 West Jordan City's The Great Gobbler 5K Race Recap - West Jordan UT




Official Time: 25:05
Placement: 3rd in age group (40-49)
Results: Soon
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 30's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year


Mile TimeComments
17:49Faster than expected start, but felt like I was paying for it.
28:17Exactly what I expected to run on the second mile.
38:35Hurting bad here.  Working off of another runner
3.060:22Push it hard to the finish
Total Miles: 3.06 - 25:05


Introduction


It's been a long time since I've gotten a great deal on a race.  And I've been at it for a long time.  But I was looking for a race to do this weekend and was asking around.  A friend of mine sent me a link to a $10 race!!! With races costing upwards of $25 - $30, I began to wonder if this was too good to be true.

Or worse, a poorly run race with little to no support.  

Either way, I was looking for a race and this was pretty much the only gig in town.  Plus, it was less than 4 miles away from home.




The Race


The race started at 9 AM and I rolling in just after 8.  I was expecting a fiasco grabbing my bib, but again, easy peasy and well run.  

To top things off the race was headquartered at the Gene Fullmer Recreation Center, so we had some place warm to hang out before the race -- as well as clean bathrooms.

It was a nice recreation center, with a pool, weight room, etc.  Certainly one I'd consider joining.



Around 8:30 I did my warm-up and tried to figure out the course.  I had studied the course the day before and was a little worried on account that it had a TON of turns.  Would a $10 5K send me wandering the streets of West Jordan?  I would hope not.

I discovered that the course, to some extent, was similar to the West Jordan Green Eggs and Ham 5K I ran last summer.  I actually kind of knew the course!  

The race started around 9 AM -- again, unexpected.  These cheaper 5Ks, can sort of drift later and we were off.

I had warmed up but getting that first mile in felt like I was revving up a cold engine.  It has been a while since I had pushed the pace and I was really hurting.

The first mile took us into the West Jordan park and I was immediately reminded of memories of having done the Green Eggs race last summer.  I knew exactly where I was going -- and I wasn't in the lead, so I just followed the lead group.

I am happy to report I didn't get detoured or lost at all.  The had a police motorcycle leading the way and volunteers were at appropriate junctions.



That first mile seemed to take forever and I was sort of stunned to see a 7:45 roll up on my Garmin.  Not too bad.  Could I push it for the second mile?

When I normally run a 7:45, my next mile is almost always 8:10 - 8:20.  Again, I wasn't surprised to see a 8:17 flash on my Garmin upon crossing mile 2.

The course's miles weren't marked in any way and part of me wondered if the course would wind up short or long.  We had pretty much finished with the park at that point and were soon on a quiet service road of some sort behind the recreation center.  There was no one behind me and one lone runner in front of me.

My goal was to keep up with him, as he appeared to maybe be in my age group.

I steadfastly dogged him as we ran in stride.  I'd make some ground on him and he'd sniff me out and push on his accelerator and I'd dial it back.  He did appear to be in my age group and with 10 year age increments for awards, I wanted to stay close.

We eventually turned a corner and were on a rough gravely road.  Footing wasn't bad by any means but I wasn't getting any pounce.  I was anywhere from 5 to 10 yards behind my target.  I could tell both of us were hurting.

I checked my Garmin and while I could see the recreation center, I sort of sensed that the course might be long.  It just seemed we were so far away with less than a third of a mile to go.

Finally we exited the dirt road and jumped onto the unforgiving concrete.  Every time I gained ground, he met my advance and pushed it forward.  Looks like it was gonna be a sprint.

We finally turned the final corner and had less than 50 yards to go to the finish line.  Here was my chance and I broke into a sprint.  This guy clearly had another gear and despite my frantic efforts I couldn't catch him.  There was a chance I might've but I just didn't have the guts to go crashing through the finish line.


Conclusion


They haven't posted the results as of yet, but I figure I was 2 - 3 seconds behind the other runner.  And you know what?  He was in my age group.  I was 3rd -- he 2nd.  The race wasn't chip timed so hard to tell exactly how much apart we were either.

I walked off the efforts of the run and socialized a bit, taking a sip of water I had brought.  They had bananas, bagels, and water to drink.  Pretty standard fare for a low budget 5K.

Awards were done promptly as well.  The race directors really had their stuff together on this one -- from start to finish.

I was super happy to win 3rd in my age group and nab a medal as well as some pasta and sauce.  They had a lot of prizes to pick from, all under $5 or so.




Performance-wise, I did okay.  25:ish has roughly been my times for a 5K of a late, so again, just average.  I did talk to some people who's Garmin's measured the race at 3.11.  So I suspect it was a legit 5K.  

I did enjoy myself.  I was surprised from start to finish with everything.  For $10, got a timed 5K race (with police escort), an age group award and prize, a swag bag and a cool t-shirt (albeit it is cotton). I'd definitely do this race again next year.