Saturday, October 7, 2017

BYU Homecoming Cougar 5K Run - Provo Utah

Official Time: 24:51
Placement: 91st male, 117th overall, 6th in the 45 - 49 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 50's. Slight north wind. Very comfortable
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile  Time Comments
1 8:03 The first mile had quite a bit of up hill. Tough going straight out of the gate.
2 7:50 Downhill. Pretty gassed from the first mile. Holding back a bit
3 8:51 Really struggling here - turned it on when I saw the finish line
3.02 0:7
Total Miles: 3.02 - 24:51


Well I was really jonesing for a race this weekend.  I haven't raced since the 2nd week of September and I was looking to toe the line once again.

There wasn't a whole lot to do choose from this weekend.  The St George marathon was in full swing this weekend, so many races take a week hiatus as a result.  I was looking for a 10K or maybe even a half, but there was nothing but a bunch of 5Ks.

I looked through the race calendar and I found the University of Utah race and the Brigham Young Homecoming race.  Both supported their respective students / scholarships.

I sat on if I wanted to race and when I went to register for the U of U race, registration had been closed.  So that left me with going to the BYU race.  The BYU race was $10 cheaper, a bit further drive and to be honest, I have no affiliation with the school.  It was also extremely competitive.

I haven't visited BYU before and have heard it was a really beautiful campus.  So I figured why not and ponied up for the race.

The Race

The race had a really funny start time: 9:45.  I rolled in just shy of 9 and quickly picked up my bib and shirt.  Parking was a bit of a headache but I quickly figured out that parking in the football lot was the way to go.

I wound up using the restroom a few times and warming up.  I couldn't use the track on account they were holding kids' races.  But there was still plenty of space to do some laps on the grassy field.  

There is a lot of competition at this race.  Just about every BYU graduate who was a runner and who wasn't running the marathon down south was there.  And it seemed like a lot of young runners were there that clearly looked fast.  For a 5K, they had a pretty good turnout.

The race started promptly at 9:45 along the north road along the university.  Unfortunately, from the start you are running uphill.  It isn't an awful hill but it is enough that makes you start gasping for breath -- so soon too!

You basically are running east along the closed-to-traffic route along the university.  The road was  lined with yellow-leaved trees and it was really a nice experience despite grinding up a hill.

Luckily, you crest the hill after about 3/4ths of a mile.  Here you start running into a lot of people waiting for the parade (which looked like a big deal).  There were tons of little kids high-fiving runners and basically cheering us on.  In fact, about 2/3rds of the race we had a decent crowd lending support.  There also was music blaring from speakers.  

Traffic was closed off to the runners and there were a handful of business and university buildings.  Not terribly scenic but very runnable.

After reaching the summit of the hill, you are greeted with a nice downhill.  Nothing too crazy, but definitely enough to let you recover a bit and start picking up the pace.  My first mile was in the low 8's, which surprised me but was right on target.  I didn't even hear my watch after 2 miles and didn't even know my time but looking at it now, it was a nice mile -- at 7:50.  

The last mile is a bit of a grind.  The crowds are gone and you are making your way back to the university through some of the back service roads (as well as passing by a few, small restaurants).  The course wasn't marked that well at this point.  If I hadn't had someone in front of me I most likely would've missed a turn.  I think some turns had volunteers but I really would've been lost had I been in the lead pack but it was hard to tell if they were spectators or part of the race.

The last mile is mostly flat with a few rollers.  But I was gassed and I just kept trying to keep the wheels moving.  My speed endurance is really gone and I wasn't too surprised to see that I ran an 8:50.

I really pushed it once I got onto the BYU track.  Running on the spongy surface was a treat and my goal of breaking 25 minutes was in site after a glance to my Garmin.  I pushed it through and was pleasantly surprised to see a 24:50 on the jumbo screen.


I was pretty happy with my time.  I have been doing some speed workouts and I feel like they are making a small but noticeable difference.  I've been trying to run more shorter races as I am hoping to bring back some of my speed.

I knew I wasn't going to place in my age group on account of how competitive the race was (I think there were 600 runners).

I walked off the post race windedness and eventually grabbed some blue pancakes.  Apparently they are free for all comers.

My knee held up fine as all my other body parts.  However, my knee was crackling a bit during warm-up.  Nothing painful, but definitely disconcerting.

This race was a bargain.  I got a really nice 5K, a post race meal and generally a good experience throughout.  There weren't any water stops on the course and no mile markers.  In talking with others, they felt the course measured up (on person ran 3.08 miles).  So while my Garmin is reporting it short, I feel it was fairly accurate.  We did run under some overpasses and made quite a few turns, so the Garmin could've easily gotten lost.  I would also hope that the BYU track organizers certified the course.

The shirt is a tri-blend cotton shirt.  I was expecting something of this nature, but it would've been cool to have a tech shirt.

I'd run this race again.  It was well organized, cheap and a good form of entertainment.  Am I a BYU Cougar fan now?  No...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

This Week in Running 9/24 - 9/30

Little bit of snow on the mountains now

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffRest day after previous day's long run
Monday52 Miles in 16:01, rest easy
Tuesday7Medium paced average run
Wednesday6Basic run with 1 mile of strides
Thursday5Average run
FridayOffNeeded a rest day
Saturday19Long run (9:39 pace throughout)
Total miles for the week: 42; YTD: 1351

Week's Summary

Well a pretty good week once again.  I am starting to do a few more quality workouts.  I am really trying to get faster.

When I started the 2 mile training route I had set out to run a mock 5K.  At 1.5 miles I was hurting bad.  I could've finished the 5K but the last mile would've been rough.  I stopped at 2 miles.  Since then, at least every week or so (and sometimes twice) I've been doing my 2 mile time trial.  Sometimes the wind is at my back, sometimes not.  But I try to crank it out at 5K pace.  I am trying to build up speed as well as building up mental strength to endure the pain of fast running.

My long run went reasonable well.  I don't think it went as well as the previous week.  It was a smidge warmer and I my legs were just not quite as responsive.  Also there was a little bit of doubt in my mind.  I had done 16 (17?) the previous week without any problems but for whatever reason, over 16 seems to be a bit of a mental hurdle for me.

I was pretty trashed the rest of the day -- exhausted physically -- but wired mentally thanks to an overload of caffeine.

Overall, it was a decent run and a definite confidence booster.

Also, during my long run I got to run against the Jordan River Marathon.  They had started on the southern end of the trail and started about 7 miles from the finish.  I ran north well before they started and by the time I was coming back, I was making contact with the lead runners.

It was interesting to see the wide range of athletes.  Those clearly running an excellent race and those on their last legs.  There was just a wide variety of people.  I tried to lend whatever support I could by cheering and making a fool of myself.  It made my long run that much more interesting and fun.

Knee Injury

My knee is still holding up nicely.  I am doing my exercises religiously (my PT is pleased despite having graduated from physical therapy now for nearly a month) and wearing a wrap while running. It tends to be bothersome for a bit in the morning and the first quarter mile of just about every run.  After that, I don't feel it at all during the day.

Upcoming Races

10/07: BYU Cougar Run - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/23: South Davis Recreation Center  Turkey Trot 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/25: Lamoille Canyon 5K Turkey Trot - Lamoille, NV (Probable - Weather Pending)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This Week in Running 9/17 - 9/23

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday6Desert Run in West Wendover NV
Monday52 Miles in 15:40, rest easy
Tuesday4Easy, a little bit of speed at the end
Wednesday10Roughly marathon pace for 8 miles.
ThursdayOffRest Day needed
Friday52 Miles in 16:10, rest fairly easy
Saturday17Long run (9:30 pace throughout)
Total miles for the week: 47; YTD: 1309

Week's Summary

Definitely a very productive week.  I got in 4 quality workouts.  A long run at 9:30, 2 days at 5K pace and then a just above tempo run for 10 miles.  I am really trying to regain some of my speed after my lay off from my injury.

It seems to be working.  I am building up some 5K speed and getting used to running fast again.  It's been a while since I've been forced to keep up the pace.  Part of running fast is knowing and dealing with the pain of running hard.

My long run on Saturday went really well.  I usually just sort of run and go by feel.  If I have a good day, great, if not, I just dial it back.  But I was very surprised that I was able to hold 9:30 pace.  Normally, I can hold that for about 8 to 10 miles (in a non-race situation) but somehow I managed to hold on to for pretty much the entire run.  Overall, this was a huge confidence builder for me.

Knee Injury

I wish my knee would make up it's mind.  I am not feeling any pain with it and my gait is good, but I'll be honest, it is creaking / popping and doing funny things.  Usually at the start of my run I can feel it and then it mellows out.  In the morning too, it seems to settle in (right after waking).  After that, though, I am fine...  I am still doing my exercises.  So this week I am going to be sort of careful with it.

Also I am feeling a little bit of a hot spot on my left Achilles tendon.  Hopefully this isn't the start of Achilles tendinitis.

I've been icing both spots and being proactive about it.  Last thing I want is to miss the 9th edition of the Vegas marathon in November.

Desert Run

On Sunday, I had the chance to explore Wendover again, just across the Utah border.  I wasn't planning on going very far, but as usual, the run took me and I wound up exploring a new trail (to me).

I found a family's burial plot, which wasn't too hidden.  They have a beautiful view and it looks like the place is visited and kept up.

I also took a tour of the area around the golf course (without trespassing).

It was just a delicious morning for a run:

Upcoming Races

I need to fill up my "dance card" again. It is fall and I am itching for a race.

11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Week in Running 9/10 - 9/16

Glad I can run and enjoy views like this

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOff3 Miles of Hiking
Monday5Had heart burn. Hard to run.
Tuesday82 Miles at 16:15, rest medium to easy
Wednesday5.25Medium with 1 mile of strides
Thursday7Wanted to go hard but body wasn't on board
Friday52 Miles at 5K Pace -- rest fairly easy
Saturday16Long run
Total miles for the week: 46.25; YTD: 1262

Week's Summary

This week was very productive.  I managed to get into the mid 40's in terms of mileage.  My long run seemed a lot harder than it should've been.  My knee injury has certainly derailed a lot of my training.  On the plus side, it did go okay and I managed to get the mileage in that I needed to.  My focus right now is on the Las Vegas Marathon and building up my marathon level endurance.

Also, on Tuesday I set out to run a 5K.  Just a mock race.  You know what? It was hard... After 2 miles I thought my lungs were going to explode.  I could've grunted it out -- no worries on that but it was the first time I had done any sort of speed work in a very long time.  I was certainly not used to the mental strength that I needed to endure to hold on to my pace.

So I stopped at 2 miles.

And right now that has been my speed work out.  Go hard for 2 miles.  It gives me a bit of speed and endurance.  Hopefully doing this once or twice a week will start firing my long neglected speed muscles.

Knee Injury

I graduated this past week from physical therapy.  I will continue to do my exercises and am scheduled to check in early in October.  

My knee is definitely better.  Most days I am at 100%, but occasionally I still feel it.  I am never sure whether to train through it or take some more time off.  I am definitely WAY WAY better than where I was in mid July.

Upcoming Races

I need to fill up my "dance card" again. It is fall and I am itching for a race.

11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Smith Lake Hike - Wells, NV

Smith Lake


After spending the night in Elko and after having spent the previous day hiking and running, I needed something to keep the trip entertaining on the way back.  I had last hiked to Smith Lake from Angel Lake in 2015 and found it entirely enjoyable.

The action starts at the top of the Angel Lake exit off of the west exit on I-80 in Wells, Nevada.  When the road is serviceable (basically summer through fall), you take it about 11 miles up and park near at the non-pay / non-camping section of Angel Lake (the first right hand parking lot).  In the back of the lot is a trail that you take, open a gate and travel about 1.25 miles to get to the lake.

The trail is very easy to follow.  However, it is a bit of workout, as it involves about 750 feet of climbing over the course of a mile.  The views of the Wells valley are incredible.

The lake itself was tranquil and appeared like a miniature version of Angel Lake.  It was quiet there and I only ran into two sets of people on the trail (and they were coming back).  It seems popular with people who want to fish there and I saw plenty of fingerling fish breaking the top of the water.

Smith Lake is an ideal place for a quiet picnic and there were plenty of spots to sit back and relax.

The trail does end at the lake, but you can poke around around the lake or do a bit of trailblazing further to the west.

I should also point out that the smell was just intoxicating as well, particularly near the lake.  I got the familiar "Juicy Fruit Gum" smell that I just love, despite there not being any wildflowers in bloom (this trail is awesome in July when the flowers are abundant).

Enjoy the photos:

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Powerhouse Trail - Lamoille Canyon, Lamoille NV


After finishing 13 miles uphill thanks to the Race to the Angel Half Marathon I needed to kill some time before I could check in the hotel and actually relax for a bit.

So that left with me some time to do some exploration.  I had done a little bit of research and tried to find an "easy" hike.  There were a few in the area but they didn't sound too interesting.  I remember hearing, though, of another hike that was in one of my favorite canyons: Lamoille Canyon.

Lamoille Canyon is about 25 minutes south of Elko and after eating at Red Lion and getting a heavy-duty dose of caffeine, I headed out.  

This trail is located practically at the entrance of the canyon.  You basically go in about 2 miles from the road and at the first pull-over section you'll see this sign:

There is plenty of parking here.  The trail head is across the street (you'll see the trail sign from the first picture of this post).

The trail is easy to follow (don't take the jeep trail when you first start) and very well maintained.  In fact, I found it be a highly runnable or bikeable trail.  

I found some posts that said that the trail is about 3.5 miles long.  I believe the forestry department has been expanding it.  I went 4 miles -- one way -- and I suspect the end was yet another half mile or so.  

Initially the trail does a lot of switch backing and that is where the initial elevation appears to come from.  However, it was very manageable and I never felt like I was really going hard.  You can see the route I took and the elevation gain by looking at my Garmin Dump

After about a mile, the trail starts to hug the northern edge of the Ruby Mountains.  There are some stunning views of rock formations and the Lamoille / Spring Creek valley below.

There isn't a lot of shade on the trail, so this is best done early in the day or in the spring or fall months.  There isn't any water sources either, so be sure to carry plenty of hydration.  I had cell reception the entire way.

There were two other couples on the trail -- both with dogs.  So it is a family and pet friendly trail.

The trail wasn't super spectacular but it was just what the doctor ordered for me.  I did the entire 8 miles in about 2 and a half hours.  I was pushing the pace, however, so your time requirements may vary.

Enjoy the photos: