Sunday, October 26, 2014

This week in running Oct 19 - 25

Favorite stretch of the bike trail

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday Off Walked 7 miles. Beautiful day on the bike trail
Monday Off More walking
Tuesday 5 Easy miles on the bike trail
Wednesday 7 Sort of a lope. Hard to resist the call of fall weather running
Thursday 5 Just burning calories. Legs are dead
Friday Off 4 mile walk
Saturday 13 Halloween Harvest Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 30 - YTD: 1474.75

Week's Summary

Most of this week was spent with recovery.  The SoJo Marathon I ran on Saturday left me sore for most of the early parts of the week.  The best thing for recovery for me is doing a fair amount of walking.  I get in some mild exercise without killing my aerobic system.  I'd walk a few miles after work and another 2 at lunch time.

As usual, I take about 3 days after a full marathon before I even think about running.  I probably pushed the envelope this time as I was still a bit sore, but the 5 mile run I did really helped me get back into the swing of things.

Also, on Friday, I bought a pair of shoes (Brooks Adrenaline).  I was WAY overdue and since they are replacing the model, I wound up saving about $20 on them:

Injury Report

Not a lot of injuries to report.  My calf is still a little tight at times and after Saturday's half marathon I was limping around a bit from heel pain.  Looks like I need to dust off my orthotics as this is the first sign of plantar fasciitis...  Also the first few runs after the marathon I would get a weird kink in my lower back / butt that after about half a mile wound up working itself out.  The last few runs I've done, however, have been fine.

Upcoming Races

Can you believe it is 3 weeks until the Las Vegas Marathon from today?  It seems like eons ago that I registered for the race.  If you've run their race before, they basically give you a day or two in December to register for next year's event at the lowest possible price.  I think I spent about $120 including service fees.  If I were to register today it would be $185 plus service fees.

I am very likely going to do the Sandy Thanksgiving 5K next Saturday.  It is a $20 race, local, and last year's event was well run.  It has been a while since I've done a 5K and figured it would be an interesting change of pace.

I also need to get in one final long run.  I am not sure how long it will be, but I am guessing no less than 16 miles.  I might do it early this week or wait until next Sunday.  I've done 20 mile runs two weeks before a marathon, even though traditionally you are just entering your taper period.

Another random shot of the bike trail

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Harvest Half Marathon Race Review - Layton Utah

Me after the race near the finish line.

Official Time: 1:57:00
Placement: 26th (men) out of 48 (10th out of 16 in 40 - 49 age group)
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: Low 50's at the start, upper 60's at finish. Some wind

Mile Time Comments
1 8:43 Not sure what I got, start out easy
28:27Not working that hard. Settle into 8:30
38:38Keeping it in check
48:37Fairly consistent
58:33Fairly consistent
69:16Hit a decent head wind. Had to take a 30 second leak behind a tree
78:38Back to rolling with the flow
88:49When will the wind end?
98:50Only 4 to go, wind in my face
109:43Sick of the wind.
118:58Okay two miles to go, get tough
129:44Just nothing to work with here. Feeling dead.
138:55Picked up the pace when I saw the finish line in the distance
13.10:47Wiped out, but finished okay.

Total Miles: 13.1


I know -- normally after a marathon you are supposed to take about 3 weeks off from running, let along racing.  So what do I do?  I sign up for a half marathon.  Yeah smart move, but let's face it, I've been a race junkie for a while and if I am feeling good, why not roll with it?

I found the Halloween Harvest Half for Saturday morning (10/25/2014) and it was a bargain price of $50.  With a $5 coupon I found on their Facebook page and I was set.  How many times do you find a half marathon, one week from the race start costing a whopping $48?  Not too often.

Halloween Harvest Half Marathon Race Route with Elevation Profile

The Race

I knew I wasn't going to be super competitive in this race.  One, I had no idea what I was able to do given that I had just finished a full marathon and two, the age groups were ten year increments.  When I rolled in, I saw a bunch of whippet-thin 40 year olds and I knew there was no way I was going to place anywhere near the top 3 in my age group.  So right off the bat, I was using this as a mild tempo run / long run.  It was sort of nice to take the competitive edge off myself and just enjoy the race and try to run even splits.  It also gave me an opportunity to toy with new racing strategies. I wound up using a gel at mile 7, which normally I don't use for halves.

Long sleeve tech shirt

I rolled in at about 7:30 for the 8:30 start at the race's location: Black Island Farms.  Located just south-east of the entrance to Antelope Island, Black Island Farms place is an agro-tourism place.  With the fall harvest in full swing, they had a corn maze, animals and all kinds of kids activities.  Also because they get a lot of people visiting they had PLENTY of porta-potties.  No lines at all, ever (major props).

After picking up my shirt and swag bag I wandered around the grounds and snapped some pictures of the animals and the grounds while hardly anyone was there:

Looking east towards Layton at the sunrise

Afterwards, I sat in my car and listened to the radio until the 8:30 start.  I would guess there were about 125 runners there, again mostly women (looking at the results, there were about 50 guys, and 75 women).

The course is fairly flat throughout and the only hills on the course were little "moguls" on the bike trail.  There were some occasional stretches that felt like we were slowly ascending, but for the most part, this course could be qualified as flat (I think it was listed as having about 56 feet of elevation climb).

The first 4 miles or so are on city streets.  It is rural / farm land and the few busy intersections were manned by police.  I did almost get taken out by a woman at mile 9 while I was in the crosswalk.  Utah is absolutely TERRIBLE when it comes to pedestrians rights when dealing with cars.  

I felt it was easy going and I latched onto a few different people and just kept checking my Garmin, hoping to stick to an 8:30 - 8:45 pace.  Usually I get sucked into an overly aggressive pace and I wind up paying a price for it at the end.

I had to go to the bathroom almost from the start. Perhaps my strategy of using iced tea before the race isn't the best idea as it makes me want to pee like crazy.  Unfortunately the porta potta at the mile 5 water station was occupied and I wasn't going to wait.  About 3/4ths of a mile later, I found a cement outcropping along the bike trail and I was far enough ahead of the guys behind me that I ducked behind it and took care of business.  It probably cost me a good 30 seconds though.  

I definitely prefer the Murray bike trail over the Layton ones.  I didn't see a single bathroom / drinking fountain along it (granted Layton is a small municipality) and there wasn't much shade.  It was just a lot of scrub with views of subdivisions and once in a while you could see Antelope Island in the distance.

Also, as I made my way south along the bike trail, I was hit with a headwind.  I've run through some intense wind before and this wasn't that bad, but it was enough to make the latter miles difficult.  

The course wasn't hard to follow and it was well marked.  I was running solo, however, and at times I was worried I was still on the course.  The water stations were at 2 mile increments (starting at mile 3).  My Garmin was basically saying most of the mile markers were long by about .05 miles, but by the time I finished, the race measured out to be exactly 13.10.

Crowd support was fairly minimal.  They did have an announcer calling people's names as one crossed the finish line and other than a few people sitting in their yards watching people run by, there wasn't a lot going on.  However, the water stations were well manned and kept me fueled.

The last two miles were really mentally hard.  It was down a farm service road and there just wasn't much to look at except brown fields (and a bunch of farm hands manhandling cows into their pens).  At this point I was hurting, but I knew I had the endurance to finish the race.  My pace had slipped from the "easy feeling" 8:30s that I had started with, to the mid 9's.  However, I felt I ran a fairly even race without too much of a death march at the end.

Interesting note, that I ran last week's full marathon and reached the half way point in just under two hours and here, I am running a half marathon and I finish with nearly the same time.  Chalk it up to South Jordan's downhills.

The Finish line

Finish line before the race start

Stretch of the early part of the race taken from my car post race


After finishing, I grabbed my cool finisher's award.  I was totally expecting yet another medal, but this is something that I can actually use:

I also spoke with the race director and personally thanked him for a nice experience and keeping the price down.  He wound up giving me a free Road-Id gift certificate.  How cool is that? 

Post race refreshments consisted of fruit, cookies and snack bars.  They also had plenty of chocolate milk which tasted absolutely awesome.  They also had sports drink and water.  

I wound up killing a lot of time at the farm.  I chatted with random people and swapped race experiences.  They had a ton of different animals and surprisingly for a nice day, it wasn't a madhouse with kids.  I probably should've done the corn maze, but I was tired and didn't feel like getting lost and trying to figure it out.  Black Island Farms does boast the largest corn maze in Utah, however.

This little guy was looking for food from me I think

As you can tell from the pictures, it was an absolutely beautiful day at the race and I wound up kicking back and soaked up the rays for about an hour.  I had been given 3 passes to get into the park and since I hadn't used them I wound up giving them to a family of 3 on the way out.  If you have kids, though, this is a great race as the kids will get a free pass and there is so much for them to do.

Anytime I am in Layton, I wind up going to the Golden Corral.  The Layton one is one of the better ones and I wasn't disappointed (I know, I really *need* to stop eating there).

Layton Golden Corral - where half marathoners go to eat!

I would do this race again next year.  I know it is a small race, but it would've been nice to have 5-year age group increments.  I am not sure I would've been in the running for that, but it would've given me a bit more motivation to shoot for a better time.  Also, next year, I'll definitely find some kids that want to go and let them enjoy the park.  The wrist bands really make the race worth while and I would've liked to have given them to someone I knew.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

This week in Running Oct 12 - 18

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday 4 1.5 Medium Paced, 1.5 Hard in the rain
Monday 5 Easy run
Tuesday Off Tapering for The Marathon
Wednesday Off Tapering
Thursday 4 Easy
Friday Off
Saturday 26.25 SoJo Marathon
Total miles for the week: 39.25 - YTD: 1444.75

Week's Summary

Most of the this week was dedicated to resting / tapering for the SoJo marathon, which I finished in 4:22:50.  Not my greatest race, but certainly not my worst.  Again, I feel bad because I used to regularly clock marathons in at 3:38. Now, I am almost an hour slower.

Life was busy this week.  There has been some fire fighting issues at work and I had to put in some extra hours.  I am glad this was a light week in terms of training, as I am not sure I could've gotten a regular week in.

In addition, the bike trail's trees are starting to change and the next week or two should have some gorgeous fall foliage.  My long run should be that much more enjoyable.

My left Achilles has been cranky of late.  This could be the culprit.  I did some research and my trusty Brooks Adrenaline shoes have gone through a bit of an adjustment.  The GTS 12 had a heel drop of 12.8mm.  Now my GTS 14 has is 11.1, nearly a 10% change.  Generally, the higher the heel drop, the less stress on your calves and Achilles. Looks like I am going to have to get some heel lifts.

Upcoming Races

There are some exciting races coming up.  I have to taper my exuberance towards running all the races versus being injury free and ready to rock the Vegas marathon, which is about 4 weeks away.

So here are my priorities:

1) Recover from the SoJo Marathon
2) Log at least one more 18 - 21 mile training run
3) I'd like to race the Sandy Thanksgiving 5K in two weeks (only $18)
4) Looks like there is an affordable half marathon in Layton next weekend (only $40).

So many races, so little time...

SoJo (South Jordan) Marathon Race Recap / Review

All smiles post race

Official Time: 4:22:50
Placement: 7th out of 10 (in age group) 112th out of 191 finishers
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: Low 40's at the start, low 70's at finish, sunny, no wind.

Mile Time Comments
1 9:01 Start at 5500, going nothing but down!
28:27Still feeling good, rapid decline. Still too fast!
38:55Downhill has stopped, keep it in check Eddie
49:04Yuck, up hills begin
510:25Bathroom break! 500 foot climb
610:28More of a 500 foot climb
79:14Done with the hills for now, back on pace
89:47Another mini hill
98:43Yeah flats and downhills. Latch onto the 4 hour group
109:00More downhill. Easy running at this point
118;51Still hanging with a group
129:15Moving along. Some uphill here 
139:18Halfway point, starting to feel it.
149:21Still with the 4 hour group
159:34They are pulling ahead now
169:24Not too bad of a pace
1710:38Near the South Jordan Temple, nasty hill.
189:45Trying to recover from the hill. Nothing to look at
1910:44Beginning of the end
2012:05Only 10K left. 
2111:07Who attached the anchor to my legs? Luckily downhill
2411:07Last of the downhill. Felt like I was running in quicksand
2512:18No more downhill. On bike trail. Just shuffling along
2612-somethingWatched powered off. no more batteries
Total Miles: 26.20+


In 2012, I did the South Jordan half marathon (actually their summer and fall race).  Being that I was new to Utah at the time, I really fell in love with South Jordan.  Clean area, plenty of shopping, a tech area that looked like it had plenty of jobs, etc.  However, it is one of the pricier areas and it also looks fairly homogenized and too well planned.  Also, with it growing as rapidly as it has, it looks like if you live on the west side that it is a battle to the freeway each morning.

Either way, I was looking to do a warm-up marathon of sorts before next month's Vegas.  Knowing that the folks in South Jordan put on a well-organized, small race, I opted to give this one a go.  I had a coupon that got me 10% off, so I wound up paying about $88 for the race, including service charges 2 weeks from the race start. Not a bad deal.

Packet Pickup

Packet pickup was a snap.  I drove about 4 miles from my house, went to the rec center and a few minutes later I had my shirt and bib.  It was actually a pretty nice swag bag for such a small race.  Plenty of little extras in it, including a free gym pass, which I'll definitely use.  There were no exhibitors there, just a room with some volunteers registering people and giving you your stuff.

Race Start

Since this was a local race (attended by mostly locals), I didn't need to travel very far or get a hotel.  I actually slept well and had very little pre-race anxiety.  I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing.  

I did get up at 4:30, ate some Life Cereal, banana and an iced tea before heading out the door.  I had to catch a bus at 6AM.  The bus took off about 10 - 15 minutes later and we arrived in Brigham City about 6:40 or so.  Brigham City looks like an old city that is in the middle of nowhere.  No gas stations, no grocery stores, just a cluster of small houses that appear to have been built in the 1950's (or earlier).  I had never been out in this direction before and it is all mining country.  

They do have a beautiful park though called Copperton City Park and that was the starting area.  The race directors had a few porta potties out there as well as some heating lamps.  I was pretty comfortable and the time before the race started went by pretty quick.  I drank a bit of water and ate a Powerbar to top off my energy stores.  The race started promptly at 7:30 just as the sun was coming up.

Milling about before the race start

View to the East from the race start

Copperton City Park

Looking west from the race start

The Race

I really didn't have any objectives for this race.  I figured if I was lucky, I could finish in sub 4:15.  "A" race was 4 hours, "B" race was sub 4:15 and "C" was sub 4:30.  

A good portion of the race is downhill.  The race boasts a net downhill of about 1000 feet.  Sounds good right?  Well, there is also one climb of 500 feet early in the race and in the middle miles there are some hills too.  So this course is NOT flat.  You can see the race profile here. Just click on a mile marker to get the elevation chart to come up.

It was very hard to maintain a consistent pace in the early miles.  I went with the downhills and just rolled along as best as I could.  Around mile 5 I had the urgent need to pee and I jumped in a porta potta (the weeds along the side of the road were looking pretty good up to that point).  Took forever to empty my bladder.

The early miles of the race

Mining area

Early miles of the race

The first 10 miles or so are actually the best part of the race.  Just a whole lot of nothingness and it is all downhill.  I found it very pretty and enjoyable.  Despite having lived here for over 2 years I haven't explored this part of town.  It was a beautiful stretch of area from Brigham City to the outskirts of Herriman.

Once we got past 10 miles though, it changed to more city street running.  The race officials had done a terrific job of protecting us and having plenty of traffic control.  I never worried about the Saturday traffic.

Surprisingly, I caught up to the 4 hour pace group and managed to latch onto them.  I know that was aggressive but there were over half a dozen of them (this was a small race, only about 200 full marathoners) and I wound up hanging with them until mile 14 or 15.  If I had been with them, I probably would've run the majority of the race solo.

Things started to go sour though when I hit the Jordan River Temple.  There is a ghastly hill that you have to ascend to get by it and it just sucked the energy out of me. It is only about 100 feet of a climb, but it seems to be a lot more.

The remaining 10 miles of the race aren't terribly exciting.  Mostly residential areas and some scattered horse pastures.  

Crowd support is pretty minimal as well, mostly consisting of locals cheering on a family member.  If you are looking for rock bands or huge cheering sections, you won't find it except at the finish line.

The race also had done a fantastic job at organizing the water stops.  There were 3 in the final 3 miles -- much needed.  Most stops had gels so I only had to use one of my own.  

The weather was in the low 40's and near the end I was baking in the sun.  I had run with a Fuel Belt and had gone through 28 ounces of Powerade and was double drinking at each of the water stops after the half way point.  That may have been part of my downfall is that I wasn't getting enough fluids.

The race became a slog to the finish after mile 20.  Blame it on going out too fast or being under trained.  Despite having some fantastic training runs, today wasn't "my" day.  I think I would've done worse had not the last few miles been downhill.


I can't bend my right leg. Everything hurts

I crossed the finish line in 4:22:50.  I wasn't terribly thrilled with my time, but it was my 13th marathon and I good indicator of where my fitness lies and what I need to work on.  Plus a finish is a finish.  

My achilles was sore in the early miles and my right knee was bothersome (I think the downhills but some pressure on it) and my calf would occasionally give me problems too, but overall I was able to finish without significant damage.

The medal was pretty sweet too.  It is pretty heavy and high quality:

I walked around a little and grabbed a water and Doctor Pepper. Since my last two miles had almost been at a walk anyways, I found a place to sit in the shade and just waited for my stomach to settle.  

The post race food was pretty basic and a little disappointing:  Chik-Filet sandwiches, bananas, ice cream sandwiches, oranges and Dr Pepper.  They did have a lot of exhibitors though and activities for kids, including rock climbing.  

When I had finished, there were plenty of post race goodies but most of the people looked like they had already left, so it was a bit anti-climatic.  

The finish line

Afterwards I hit up Cafe Rio and normally I can pound one of their burritos and be hankering for another.  However, my stomach was pretty upset and I only managed to get about a 3/4ths of it down.  I did suck down 3 Vanilla Cokes though, which was heavenly.

I came home and did what the pros do after a marathon: ice bath time!  It seemed to help but to be honest I couldn't get it cold enough.  

I was also treated to some solid calf and foot cramps.  Luckily I had pickle juice on hand and managed to get about a cup of that down and sure enough the cramping subsiding.

Later that night, Shari and I found some coupons for Golden Corral so we hit up that.  My appetite still wasn't 100% but it was good to eat a lot.

Final Thoughts

I would definitely do this race again.  It is local and reasonably priced.  It is only about 15 minutes from my house and it is a high-quality event.  That being said, if you are researching this race and wondering if you should travel to it, I'd probably say no.  There are other races in Utah that offer fantastic views or something to get excited about in terms of scenery and ambiance.  However, if you need to get Utah off your states list and this fits your plans, by all means you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yet Another Wendover Trip -- October 12


With visitors in from Illinois, one of the things we talked about doing was going to Wendover.  While my guests weren't super big gamblers, they did want to watch all the NFL games and one of the best places to do that is in Nevada.

It didn't take much arm twisting to get me to go, despite the last few Wendover trips being somewhat lackluster in terms of luck.

In order to get to the early action (i.e. the 11AM games) we opted to leave at about 9AM.  Everybody was on time and after a quick stop at the bank we hit the road and had smooth sailing.  We arrived just after 10:50.

Montego Bay

Our first stop was to Montego Bay.  I pulled in and grabbed the player's club cards and activated them for the day as well as printing out $10 of free play and a free buffet pass (actually 2-for-1).  It was a long line on account that everyone was activating their cards and preparing for the big drawing; Montego Bay was celebrating its 12th birthday and was giving away $500 to $1000 in free play as well as a brand new truck.  They also had a spin and wheel deal and it awarded Shari and I 50 more tickets each to the drawing that evening.

We all ate at the buffet and I don't think I pigged out as heavily as I normally do.  I am not sure why not -- I came hungry, but it just seemed like I filled up pretty quickly.

Shari played out our $10 in free play at Montego Bay and didn't get anything.  We left our guests at the hotel so they could watch the game at the bar while Shari and I headed on over to the Peppermill.

The Peppermill

The Peppermill was a veritable ghost town compared to Montego Bay (and later the Rainbow).  We pretty much had free reign over all of our favorite machines.  Unfortunately, it seemed like "luck" was absent from the casino as well.  Shari did okay there, while the machines there had a virtual vacuum on my wallet.

Bet high, low, fast or slow, I couldn't win.  I was mildly pissed off when the guy next to me jumped on a Super Hot Phoenix and on his first pull got the red envelope bonus for $140.  He didn't know what he had hit when he had done it.

After about 45 minutes of losing, we jaunted over to the Rainbow.

The Rainbow

For once, my luck was mildly better at the Rainbow.  Although I really wasn't having much success on any of my favorites.  Sometimes I'd put in a $20 and make a meager profit, but more often than not it was a waste of time.

I looked longingly at the poker table.  They weren't offering anything special in terms of comps and poker would've been a solid choice, but the table was full.  At least the poker deal recognized me and gave me a "hello" kind of nod.

I did try some other games, including "Happy Lion" by Aruze Entertainment.  I had watched some people play this last time I was out in Wendover and it looks like you could make a killing on a bonus round; if you managed to get it.  Luckily I did and won a little more than $35 on a 50 cents bet.  On the plus side, the game did allow me to play a long time.

I also hit paydirt a few times on IGT's "Hot Roll" game.  I wound up hitting the bonus round fairly early and usually you don't get much on it, but I managed to make sizable profits on a minimal bet.  I dallied with the video Blackjack machines netting meager profits as well on those.  

Also Mr Cashman was incredibly generous to me.  He seemed to be coming out quite frequently.  While he didn't give me a lot of $, he wasn't a stranger either.

I was again miffed when a lady who was playing 38 cents a spin won nearly $1000 on my Fu Dao Le machine.  I didn't think it was possible that you could win the Major jackpot on so little of a bet, but she did.  

Yeah Mr Cashman!

Not bad for a 20 cent bet on Hot Roll

Nice win on Happy Lion

Killer bonus round on Ultra Stack Happy Lion


We wound up killing most of the afternoon at the Rainbow and after the Bears won, we headed back over to the Montego Bay.  We talked about getting dinner, but everyone (but me) was still full from the morning's buffet.  I was allowed to go get another buffet by my party, but I really wanted to hit the road and I didn't want to feel pressured to rush and eat, so I grabbed a Ho-Ho from the gift shop and hit the road.

Sadly this was another losing trip.  Between Shari and I, we probably lost $120 between the two of us (mostly me, however).  I am not even sure this was a terribly fun trip, but since Shari's birthday is in October, they did give us $20 in restaurant money.  I should get mine in November. At least we ate for cheap.

I think we are done with Wendover until after the Vegas marathon.  There really isn't any "must-see" shows coming up and Vegas is no longer the cheap getaway it used to be so we'll need to budget for that (even though the hotel and marathon at this point are paid for).  I may go for my birthday in November and see Saigon by Night, however.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

This week in Running Oct 5 - 11

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday Off Needed a break!
Monday 14 Run out in the desert / hills of West Wendover.
Tuesday Off Needed a break
Wednesday 7 Feeling tired, but good run
Thursday 5 Easy run.
Friday 5 Easy on the bike trail
Saturday 11 Solid effort. No more long runs for a bit.
Total miles for the week: 42 - YTD: 1405.5

Week's Summary

This was still a pretty high mileage week, despite being only about 7 days from the South Jordan Marathon, which I am doing next Saturday.  I am looking forward to knocking out this marathon.  It isn't a super exciting destination marathon, but is a certified race and they put on a good show.  As stated before, I did their half marathon in 2012 and I thought they did a stupendous job.

I was really tempted to race this week.  In fact, I was so on the fence on doing a 5K or a 10K this weekend.  I am glad I didn't though.  My legs just felt sort of dead on account of all the high mileage.  Granted, though, this week I am going to cut it WAY back in order to have fresh legs for the marathon.

Normally the longest you run 2 weeks out from a marathon is 8 and 12 miles.  I ran 14 and an 11.  It is hard to resist the cooler weather, the nice colors on the bike trail and being able to really put in some serious miles.

On Friday night I passed by a race that was starting on the bike trail. I thought about going back home, getting some money and jumping in, but my legs just felt tired.  And this morning there was a GIANT 5K going on.  I inquired about it and it sounded like it was a charity event for a child with cancer.  They had a large turnout, although I didn't see a whole lot of serious looking runners.  It was also supposed to start at 9AM and I passed by at 9:05 and didn't see any runners following me, so I imagine there was a lengthy delay.

Pictures of the Week

The first picture is my "home" park.  This is about a 1/3 of a mile from my house.  I love the fall colors, which are just starting to hit the valley.  This is generally where I start my runs and end them.  Sadly they have turned off the drinking fountains in Taylorsville, but the ones in Murray are still going.

Here is the "big" 5K I saw about 45 minutes before the race start.  Looks like they went all out on this one and I am glad it paid off:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fun Stuff in and Around Salt Lake City


I do a lot of other things besides hit up Wendover, go for hikes and talk about my latest running adventures.  I do get out and try to have a bit of a life and try some different things from time to time. 

It is easy to get into a rut and before you know it, you are sitting around watching reruns instead of making life memorable.  I recently did a few things that are noteworthy:


A friend of mine told me that one of the Catholic churches in Cottonwood Heights has a every-other-week bingo game that they hold on Friday nights.  With not a lot to do, I figured why not.  I could sit with a bunch of gray-haired women and gamble -- in Salt Lake City!

Well, I will say this: there weren't just gray-haired women there.  St. Thomas More Catholic Church opened their auditorium for a Friday night bingo game (with the proceeds going to the Church).  I rolled in around 6:15, ponied up about $13 for my sheet of bingo cards, $1 for a special marker and another $5 for some Kaboom! cards.  In addition to the joy of playing bingo, you do get a small dinner (for me it was an appetizer). 

The hosts at the church were extremely generous and helpful in every way.  I would estimate that they had about 75 - 100 players -- probably on the lower end.  The age range ran the gamut, from 20-somethings to senior citizens.  It was mostly women but there were quite a few men in attendance as well.

The game is pretty easy to follow and they don't just do plain old bingo.  They have games were you have to fill in different patterns and even a game with a large jackpot if you fill your entire card within 50 numbers.  

Sadly luck wasn't on my side at all.  I think I came close to winning once.  Each game only pays 25 "points" so if multiple people win, you have to split the pot with them.  So the jackpots aren't that big.  At the end of the night you turn in your "points" for dollars -- at a one to one ratio.  I suppose they have to use the words "points" to get around the anti-gambling laws in Utah.  

The Kaboom game (they had two of them) offers a different type of card.  These games cost additional money to enter and had higher jackpots (I believe around $160 -- depending upon how many people bought into the game). You basically open the card and it had 9 numbers on it.  1 to 3 of them were "free" spaces.  The object was to get a blackout on one of your cards and you'd win the jackpot.  Naturally you wanted the cards with the most free spaces, but most of the ones you bought had only one or two.

Kaboom! Cards

I found the game fairly tedious and semi frustrating.  It was fun but Bingo clearly isn't my game of choice.  It was a night of cheap entertainment though and if you are looking for a social event, this is worth checking out (even if you aren't terribly religious).

Cafe Trang

6001 S State St, Murray, UT 84107 (Google Map Image)

Located a few miles from my house, I took the opportunity to visit this restaurant.  To be honest, the exterior doesn't look like much and you might at first consider skipping it figuring it to be yet another generic Asian food place.  

But you'd be wrong.

I am very happy to report that this place was a winner -- and I do intend on going back.  They have a large and extensive menu filled with all kinds of items (including a LOT of vegetarian).  While Chinese may be a bit too broad for the food served here (I sensed a bit of Thai / Vietnamese influence), they offer large portions at fairly reasonable prices (about $10 - $15 per entree).

I got the Szechuan tofu and it was like a party in my mouth.  Just spicy enough to make it entertaining, but not painful by any means.  Service was prompt . I ordered and was expecting a significant wait (it wasn't crowded) but it seemed like the lady disappeared after taking my order and literally a minute or two later came back with a steaming plate of food.  

If you enjoy Asian food, this place should be on your list to check out.

Miller Motorsports Park

2901 Sheep Ln, Tooele, UT 84074

Miller Motorsports Park

On Thursday our company had a team outing and one of the favorite choices of the group is to head out about 30 miles west of Salt Lake and go to the Miller Motorsports Park.  Tooele (pronounced Two-illa) is a growing town that was probably on the edge of civilization years ago.  Now it is a bustling suburb that seems to be growing rapidly.  I saw a ton of new housing developments out there (as well as some agricultural concerns).  It was also offsetting to be out there; normally when I look east I see the Wasatch Mountains -- instead I saw the Oquirrh Mountains and it took a while to get my bearings.

A good portion of the park is set aside for actual race car racing.  They also have another track dedicated for serious go-cart racing, which is what my employer rented out for the afternoon.

After learning the safety rules and getting geared up, we each had 3 races. Each race consisted of about 4 - 6 laps around the course in go-carts which I heard could go up to 50 miles per hour.  I am not 100% sure, but it sure felt fast and these cars had plenty of zip.  Generally each lap around the course took anywhere from 1 minute (for the best of drivers) to probably 90+ seconds (for slower folks like me).  

It took me a while to figure out and get comfortable with the car and by the last race I was taking the corners a lot more aggressively.  I still suck at go-cart racing and I think I just missed the cut-off for the final 4th race to determine the grand champion.

Despite being about 4 - 5 miles from the Great Salt Lake, we could still smell the salt air (not terribly pleasant).  We had perfect weather though (mid 70's and sunny) and it was a very enjoyable 3 hours.  

My heart sank though when we left and I was "only" 80 miles from Wendover.  Sure would've been nice to go there for dinner... 

The race course - Stansbury Island in the distance

Wendover is another 80 miles west -- sigh....

Cars ready to be driven

My coworkers cruising around the track

Loading into my car and getting ready to race.

Preparing for take off

Racing on the track