Wednesday, November 7, 2018

This Week(s) in Running 10/8 - 11/7


Fall colors along the Jordan River in Salt Lake City


Miles Year to Date:  1651


Running Update


With the cooling temperatures, I am finding myself a little more motivated to run.  I am also finding that my pace is a little better too.  I am itching to see if this translates to any faster times.  The last week or so of training runs have exceeded my expectations.  My volume is a little down, but I think the quality of my runs are better.

Hiking up behind the state capitol building


I also haven't been doing as many races in the month of October and early November.  Usually I go on a decline this time of year on account I am preparing for the Vegas marathon, but this year I don't have that on my plate.  I just really have enjoyed putting in ordinary runs and still having some energy to do some hiking.


Cat Update


Faithful readers may recall that I have been feeding a cat the past few years.  When I came back from Arizona in July we finally "reunited" and it was super excited (I believe it is a female cat) to see me.  In fact, she ran up to me and started to rub against me and meowing a lot.



We have since generated a pattern and she meets me on the bike trail at the same exact spot around 4:30. She is now there every day waiting for me.  I dump food for her and she eats it and I give her some rubs and clean her up a bit.  I am tempted to bring her in, but so many things can go wrong when bringing a cat -- particularly one that might be a feral -- into a house and to make it worse, I already have a well-behaved cat.  Sometimes adding a new cat to an existing one is a recipe for trouble.




Las Vegas Marathon


In September I realized my training wasn't going well and I just wasn't motivated to do the full marathon again.  It would've been my 10th year in a row doing the Vegas one.  The last half dozen marathons I've done haven't gone very well and I didn't want to put myself through another one.

So I dropped down to the half.

I am sort of okay with that.  Part of my ego is bruised and the streak is going to be over, but I am going to be participating in the race.  It will be year #10 of making a presence.  I am getting a special bib and my name on a banner, so that is cool but this year won't be as brag worthy.  I can't think of too many things I've done 10 years in a row so this is pretty special.  Also it is pretty cool that I had the "nutz" to sign up for this race in 2009 and head out to Vegas solo and do it.

In that time, I've moved from Illinois to Utah to Arizona and then back to Utah.  I've had nearly half a dozen addresses and 4 jobs.  Still amazing all the races and miles I've put in since I started this marathon "thing" back in 2009.



However... this year I finally get to race it. I am running pretty well and am eager to pick up the pace and if the weather and situation presents itself (I can maintain a decent pace), I'd like to really try hard at this race.  The weather looks ideal but they are forecasting 20 mph winds...

Also this year I can finally enjoy Las Vegas.  When running the marathon I had to stay off my feet, watch exactly what I ate (and most of the time failing), and obsessing about the weather and whether my training would hold up.  That pressure is gone.



Fall Running


Finally, I love fall running.  The weather is usually perfect.  It gets dark earlier and the leaves are changing.  It is just a joy to run.  In years past I've sort of missed it as I was tapering for the marathon -- and just about every run was dictated by a schedule.  This year, I've really enjoyed just logging miles and enjoying the fall weather.  If I feel like running 12 miles at half marathon pace, then that's what I do.  I've really enjoyed not having a marathon on the horizon.







Upcoming Races


11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/22: 2018 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/24: 2018 Lamoille Turkey Trot 5K - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
12/01: 2018 Santa Run at Gardner Village 5K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 Slc Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

2018 South Jordan Half Marathon Race Recap - South Jordan, UT




Official Time: 1:55:05
Placement: 13th in the 45 - 49, 101st overall, 73rd male
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 40's with slight wind from the east
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2014] [2012]


Mile TimeComments
18:41Conservative but right on target start
28:44
38:14Nice downhill section
48:45A quick uphill followed by a fast downhill
58:23Back to the flats
68:37
79:30Slow and steady grind here
88:34
98:39Good stretch of downhill here. Wishing the rest of the course was this way
108:49
118:47Last downhill part
129:13On to the Jordan River bike trail.  Flat but I am totally out of gas
139:27So hard to keep going.
13.070:36Crawl the finish
Total Miles: 13:07 1:55:06






Introduction

It has been a while since I've run the South Jordan Half marathon.  I thought I had run it more recently than I had, but Athlinks never lies.  When I first moved to Utah I ran the half marathon.  A few years later I jumped into the Full Marathon.

It's primarily a locals race.  Not too many people travel for it and it is popular with area runners looking for a good experience without a lot of fuss, which is what the SoJo race does.

I signed up for it on a whim.  They had a Labor Day special to save like 20% off the entry fee so I figured, why not... $50 or so for a half marathon isn't a bad deal.  There are other races in the area (namely the Haunted Races) but they involve a lot of logistics and the folks at SoJo make it easy to race.

So on Friday night, I drove about 5 miles to the Community Center and picked up my bib, a nice shirt and a swag bag filled with local goodies.

I'll state that I didn't get any on-course pictures.  I ran without my water bottle so I didn't have my phone.  So this will be a fairly "picture less" race.

The Race


I rolled in around 6:15 to get on a 6:30 bus.  They had nice coach buses waiting for us and parking was simple.  The race was held at the business park where there is a large park next to it.  

The race started at 7:30 and I had a short 15 minute-ish ride up the road.  

The race start is in the downtown South Jordan area.  South Jordan is a sort of a yuppie town filled with planned and very clean subdivisions.  It is a great place to raise a family and is very contemporary.  

We were dropped off in front of the South Jordan Medical center. In years past they had heating lamps out but we were left to our own devices.  They had plenty of bathrooms, however.  We had to kill about 20 minutes before the medical center opened and in there we had clean bathrooms and heat.

The race started on time at 7:30.

Right off the bat, I realized that I had a problem.  My running shorts kept dropping down.  A lot of times I wear a canteen around my waist so it keeps my shorts in place.  But this time they were sliding down.  So every .1 of a mile, I'd shimmy them back up.  This went on for a while.  I tried to tie them but I was wearing gloves.  I probably spent the first 2 miles of the race messing around with them before I finally I had them tight. 

The first few miles I just took in stride.  I hung with the 1:55 pacer and I was okay with that.  Given my current fitness level and past times, I figured that is what I'd shoot for.

I was pretty happy with myself to hit all of my targets.  In fact, the 1:55 pacer said he was ahead of schedule. 

The course does get a little around mile 4 when you pass by the South Jordan LDS Temple.  I knew the hill was coming but it doesn't make it any easier.  Luckily after cresting that hill you are rewarded with a fairly nice down hill section.

I was still feeling pretty good at mile 6 although I could feel some fatigue settling in. While it wasn't super warm, I noticed I was working up a pretty good sweat.  Also the course was wearing down on me.  While the course is fine, it isn't super exciting.

It is primarily residential roads as well as running along the bike lanes on some of the busy thorough-faires.

There were some people out cheering.  Primarily families for other runners but none the less, it was nice to get some support and encouragement.

Aid stations, stocked with oranges, bananas, water, Gatorade and even some gel stations were placed about every mile.  I had carried a gel in my back pocket, but it turned out I didn't need it.

By mile 7 the race started to get challenging.  This was a fairly dull stretch that was just an uphill grind.  The hill wasn't serious but it was mentally taxing.  I wasn't too surprised to see my pace fall off here. 

I kept telling myself to hold on.  The 1:55 pacer and I were trading places and he informed me we were still ahead of schedule, so I was okay.  Also I knew from previous experience that miles 8 through 11 were primarily downhill.  They just couldn't come fast enough.

Finally, we turned a corner and I could tell we were now heading down hill.  I was hoping I'd have a little more energy on this part but I was gassed.  My endurance training hasn't been the best and I just sort of coasted down the gentle hill.

It was humbling to see the marathon winner (I believe who ran a 2:32) fly by me. 

It was really nice running down hill with the yellowing trees above me.  I was wishing that the final 5 miles were all like this.

Just after mile 11 we jumped onto the Jordan River Parkway and headed south.  I used to run this stretch all the time before purchasing my house.  I've also run it for many a race so I knew exactly where I was.  It was also kind of boring.  I just wanted to be done in all honesty.

And I was really hurting at this point.  While my pace was an 9:15 and 9:30, I felt like I was running 10+.  I felt like I was on mile 24 of a full marathon.

There were a couple of times I just wanted to walk, but I held on and dragged myself to the finish.

I crossed the finish in 1:55 -- just as I hoped I would!  The 1:55 pacer was about a minute or two ahead of me, so clearly he was right in his estimates.





Conclusion


I was pretty happy with my race.  I had a goal in mind and I made it.  While my time wasn't anything to get super excited about, it was what I felt capable of.

After the race I found a few people I recognized and grabbed a soda and a Fat Boy ice cream sandwich.  They had a festival like atmosphere with tons of medical support as well.  It was a beautiful day and I was more than happy to just sort of kick back and enjoy my accomplishment.

I think I paid around $50 for the race.  They had a Labor Day special for 20% off and I jumped on it.  I got a really nice experience.  The shirt was nicely designed and the medal was good too.  The South Jordan recreation center know how to put on races and this was nicely done.

For those looking for a low-key, local affair, the South Jordan 5K / Half Marathon / Marathon won't disappoint.

Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 Antelope Island 10K Race Recap - Antelope Island, UT




Official Time: 51:40
Placement: 1st in the 45-49, 13th overall, 7th male.
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 45F-ish, sunny, slight wind from south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2015] [2013] [2012 (Full marathon)]


Mile TimeComments
18:35Not a bad start considering some climbing here
27:56Nice downhill stretch here.
39:19Hardest mile. Pretty good uphill grind
47:59Make up some time with the out and back downhill
58:34Some up and down hill here
68:29Steady pace
6.110:46Cruise to the finish
Total Miles: 6.11 - 51:40




Introduction


In year's past I've done the Layton Marathon.  In the past year or two since I've done it, it has been rebranded as the Antelope Island Marathon.

This race is held on Utah's Antelope Island -- a fairly large island stuck in the middle of the Great Salt Lake.  This island has a lot of history and is home to wild birds, buffalo, antelope and the occasional coyote.  It is a state park and has a museum as well as a historical ranch.

It is very popular with tourists, cyclists, as well as the occasional hiker.  It is usually one of the spots I offer to take relatives to when they visit Salt Lake.  It is a beautiful treat -- although it does smell like a stinky lake.



But I digress.  Since I've been there, the race has moved entirely to the island.  In the past, it started somewhere on the island and runners would make their way to Ellison Park in Layton.  The last 8 miles or so of the course weren't terribly exciting and there wasn't even that much of a shoulder on the side of the road to run on.

The race, since then, is now entirely on the island. This is good and bad.  It is very pretty there and you are likely to run / see buffalo and other wild creatures, but you are also on a much hillier course.  While none of the hills are heart breakers the course is decidedly NOT flat.



I always relish the opportunity to visit the lake and while I didn't really want a half marathon I decided that a 10K was worth the trip out there.



The Race


I rolled in around an hour before the race started.  The full marathon had already started and the half was starting on a different section of the island.  So the starting line was pretty much devoid of people.

With race attendance down in general, this didn't surprise me much.  I did get a lousy parking spot, but it was no stress whatsoever picking up my bib / shirt.



I wound up socializing for a while before warming up a bit.  The race started promptly at 9 AM.

I was totally expecting to run along the main drag for about 3.1 miles and then heading back.  However, I was thrown a curve ball when we took the back road.  I've visited the island several times and I can't remember a time I've been on the road.  I am sure I have, but it seemed new to me.

Almost immediately, I was greeted by a hill.  Luckily I was fresh and I could take it.

The field for the 10K was fairly small, probably less than 75 runners.  I was hoping to top 3 it and for a while, my hopes looked like it might happen.  But within the first mile I was probably in 5th place for the males.  I was working off another guy who would stop at the water stops -- and I'd pass him -- and subsequently he'd catch up.

I made it my goal to try and beat him...



The first mile went by pretty quickly.  I was glad to see mile 2, which was primarily downhill.  My pace quickened and I really felt good.

I quickly found myself running with no one behind me but people in front of me.  There were a few top female runners around but overall I was solo.  I was sort of lamenting the fact that I was running the 10K as I felt really solid when I reached the 5K turn around.  I skipped the water station and continued on the Ladyfinger point.

I was really enjoying the race.  My pace felt consistent and overall I was in the groove.  The conditions were really perfect -- other than a bit of a headwind, the temperature was great and I was really enjoying the scenery.




I reached the turn around point pretty gassed.  The 3rd mile had been mostly uphill but I knew I still had a lot in me.  Plus it felt like most of the race had been uphill to this point, and I'd probably get a decent return trip with a bit of wind at my back.  It was kind of cool as I approached the turn around to see a lone buffalo eating off the side of the road.  If I had my phone with me, I'd have stopped to take a photo, but I was racing today...

I grabbed a sip of water and really worked on my turn over.

I think at this point I had dropped the guy I was working off of and I was more or less just working for time.  I figured I had a good shot at an age group award (I really wanted to finish first) but the top 3 -- that was gone.



Mile 5 I did much better than expected I would.  That mile had a fairly long uphill but I knew the finish line was close, so I pushed it.  I was a little humbled when the first place marathoner blew my in the last stretch.... hard to compete against a 2:51 marathoner.

I really pushed hard in the final mile and while I was hoping I'd have done better, I was happy to admit that 51:40 was pretty good on a hilly course.


Conclusion


After the race I grabbed some food and drink. Post race refreshments included ice cream sandwiches, fruit and water / sports drink.



I socialized a bit and awards were handled pretty quickly.  I was ecstatic to win my age group and came home with two nifty medals.  I love the lanyards on them.  Overall, I was very happy with my experience.  I registered late, so the race was a little on the expensive side for a 10K but considering the medals, the nice shirt and entrance to the state park, I thought it was a fair deal.

The course measured up a little short. However, I did measure it on mapmyrun.com and it looks legit.  I suspect some of the tangents and turns might've confused my Garmin.



After the race I killed some time on the island.  I explored Ladyfinger Point and Buffalo Peak.  It was nice to get up close and personal with the lake. The following pictures are some I took while exploring the island:







Sunday, October 7, 2018

This Week(s) in Running 9/17 - 10/7

Pineview Reservoir


Miles Year to Date:  1462


Random Updates


The past few weeks have been good as far as running goes.  Now that I don't have the stress of a looming marathon, I can dial it back a bit and do a few other things on my weekend.

Overall, my training has been okay.  Nothing stellar, but I am getting in a good amount of short races to work on my speed as well get used to just showing up.  It's been fun doing the shorter races versus the longer ones.

I have been struggling a bit with allergies, however.  Or at least I think it is allergies.  After most runs I do find myself unable to swallow real well, which leads to a gagging sensation.  This has come on in the past few weeks and hasn't been getting better.  It doesn't bother me to run, it more or less comes on in the morning or when I have completed a run.  It isn't fun when I get an attack either.

Hoax Race?


This past Saturday I signed up for a 5K.  It was a haul... like up in Ogden -- about an hour away.  I don't normally sign up for a race that far away but I figured I was desperate for entertainment and I could probably find something to do up there after the race.  Also the money went to a good cause.

So Saturday morning I drove up there only to find no one was there.  I drove up and down the street looking for someone -- anyone -- and no one was there.

Now the first week in October is limited as far as racing goes.  There was a Ragnar and the St George Marathon is happening, so out of a business sense, racing pretty much is shut down.

Whether I was taken in by a scam race or the race was canceled -- I am not sure.  I would think I wouldn't have been the only one taken in and that there'd be other runners there,  but I was the ONLY one there.

Having driven all that way and with the threat of rain looming I didn't really feel like hiking was sane.  So I wound up driving up Ogden canyon and doing a run around the west side of Pineview Reservoir.  I also ran along in Eden.

I've run around there before but it was nice not to have stress of a race and just be able to do my own thing.  It was a really enjoyable run and I got to take in a lot of bucolic scenery.














Upcoming Races




10/13: 2018 Antelope Island 10K - Antelope Island, UT (Confirmed)
10/20: 2018 South Jordan Half Marathon - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
11/22: 2018 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
11/24: 2018 Lamoille Turkey Trot 5K - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
12/01: 2018 Santa Run at Gardner Village 5K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 Slc Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

Monday, October 1, 2018

2018 Witch Run 5K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT




Official Time: 25:29
Placement: 7th overall, 1st the 45 - 49, 1st masters
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: low 70's, light wind from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First year


Mile TimeComments
18:05A little hemmed in at the start but got settled in pretty quick
28:12Hurting here on the way back on the out-and-back
38:14Pushed it to the finish
3.120:58Hauled ass to the finish
Total Miles: 3.12 - 25:30



Introduction


I am not sure what possessed me to run 2 5K races in one day, but I guess since it has been a while since I had raced, I figured I might as well go for two races in one day.

The previous post explained that I had run the Jordan River 5K race in the morning and it wasn't a terribly great experience performance-wise for me.  So it was with a little bit of fear that I rolled into the race location at Gardner Village on Saturday night.



The Race

I've run this route many times before.  Gardner Village is only a few miles from my house and is the site to many races.  It is held on the south end of the Jordan River Bike Trail.  It is a multi-use trail that serves cyclists and runners alike.  It isn't near any houses or such and it can be dark for running.  But it is flat and the paved trail is in good shape.

This race was a Halloween-Themed race.  I am not big into themed races but I figured why not.  Most of the runners were fairly casual.  There were a few speedy, serious runners, but for the most part, most of the folks were in costume and there were a lot of kids and families.

I was really worried because the Jordan River bike trail is not a huge bike trail.  And with the crowd there, it was definitely a big race, as far as 5Ks go (they estimated close to 400 runners).  I had fears of being crammed / hemmed in by walkers and while I figured this wouldn't be an "A" race, I definitely wanted to redeem myself from the morning's less than glorious finish.




The race started at 8 PM and it these days it gets dark by 7:30.  I brought a headlamp with me, mostly for others to see me running.  The course was an out and back and with the majority of folks appearing to be slower runners, I figured it was best to let people know I was coming on the way back.

The shopping center was decked out with Halloween lights and atmosphere.  Aside from the runners, there were also a ton of shoppers and people just soaking in the Halloween atmosphere.



The race started on time and fortunately the race director had everyone lined up according to pace.  There were only a handful of folks in the front that shouldn't been there, but I was within 15 feet of the start and when I took off I wasn't hindered at all.

I really didn't know what I had in me but I felt pretty good.  My goal was to go out cautiously for the first mile and then if I felt good push it to the finish.

The first mile went according to plan.  I was running with the 2nd place woman and another guy, who I soon dropped.  The girl and I wound up working off one another until the turn around point, when she turned on the jets.



I used my headlamp, which I carried sporadically but a few of the other runners had theirs on so I didn't need to use it.  However, once I got to the turn around the front runners had either pulled well ahead of me or were far behind me.  It was as if I was running solo.

This course is spot on 5K -- it might be a little long, but I was happy to see the turn around properly placed (it is at a dead end so it can't really be misplaced).

Up until this point I had been running a bit into the wind and I was hoping I'd feel a little bit of a push from it as I returned.  But alas, I just didn't seem to get any benefit.  The second place woman was well ahead of me and after hitting the 2 mile marker I looked behind me and there was no one behind me.


The crowd heading out were generally polite and I had very few problems not having a lane to run in.  I think if I had been in a group of runners, there might've been issues.  However, most people stayed to the right and it wasn't even a concern for me.

I was breathing hard at this point and while I felt my pace was decent, I sort of felt like I was losing it a little.  I don't fiddle with my Garmin in night races but my splits, for a change, were fairly even.

The shopping village finally came into view and I couldn't have been happier. There are a few turns and small hills on the way back, including running under a bridge.  Sort of treacherous footing in places and the turns tend to be fairly sharp.  So I probably lost a little time there.

I crushed it to the finish with the help of some of the volunteers who encouraged me to cruise in.


Conclusion

My time was fairly average, but for the second race of the day, I felt like I had run a lot better than my first race. Also night races are a bit harder to run due to the lighting.  You always hold something back.


I felt pretty good after the race.  I had stashed some Powerade in a bush before the race and it was still there.  I nursed that and watched people come in for a while before going back to my car for a jacket and my phone.

Awards took a bit but I am glad I stuck around.  I wound up winning an entry to next year's race.  I never win anything at race drawings and a race this large, I was surprised I came up in the drawing.  Score for me!


I knew I had finished in the top 10 and was glad to see I had won my age group.  There were a few other older guys in front and I wondered what age they might be.  Glad they weren't in mine.

Post race refreshments included candy, sports drink, and Fat Boy ice creams.  It was a really nice spread of food.

Once again, I was happy with my run.  I had low hopes on my performance and I figured the race was going to be a fiasco with first-time runners.  But all my fears turned out to be unfounded.  In fact, I had a great time.  I was smiling ear-to-ear and it was so much fun to see a bunch of people I haven't seen since I left for Arizona.

The price of the race was a little steep.  I think I paid nearly $40 for it including service fees.  Granted, I did register the week of the event.  I love the shirt design and once again, I had a great experience.  I look forward to running this one next year.