Friday, April 29, 2016

This Week in Running 4/24 - 4/30

Me on the left finishing at the Summerlin Half Marathon

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday7Medium paced with strides at the end
Monday6Medium paced run with strides
TuesdayOffRainy and cold. Felt sore.
Wednesday53 Mile tempo run (1M Warm up, 8:10 / 7:56 / 8:03, 1M Cool down)
Thursday5All easy
SaturdayOffTaper for the Fort Collins Marathon
Total miles for the week: 26 - YTD: 820.5

Week's Summary

This week was all about tapering for Sunday's marathon in Fort Collins Colorado.  Granted it, I wasn't supposed to do an 18.25 mile race (well, it isn't recommended) the previous week but I had signed up for the race and I wanted to complete the series -- which I did.

That being said, I feel pretty good going into this weekend's marathon.  I've had some pretty solid runs this week, especially Wednesday's run.  Aside from races, I've gotten in some quality workouts during the week.  Hopefully this will lead to some speed gains in the future.

The race's weather looks ideal -- although there is a threat of rain and snow.  Hopefully it won't be bad but I've survived just about every weather condition in my marathoning history.  At least it isn't going to be insanely hot.

Upcoming Races

The back seat of my car - I think I race too much

05/01: Colorado / Fort Collins Marathon - Fort Collins, CO (Confirmed)
05/06: Fantasy Run - West Jordan - UT (Confirmed)
06/??: Looking at the Lamoille Canyon Marathon. Perhaps Casper again?
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo Utah (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon (Confirmed) (2017)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

This Week in Running 4/17 - 4/23

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffHiking about 6 miles
Tuesday85 at 8:15 effort. Solid tempo effort
Thursday6Medium effort with strides at the end
FridayOffRoughly 5 miles of walking throughout the day
Saturday18.25Winter Striders 30K Race
Total miles for the week: 42.25 - YTD: 794.5

Week's Summary

Well, another week of decent training.  I actually got a rock-solid speed work out too, on Tuesday.  Normally, my speed workouts are all about intervals of various distances.  Instead, this time I decided to try and run at roughly 10K pace for 5 miles.  It went fairly well and it definitely was taxing.  I hate to say it, but that pace used to be my marathon pace.  I have work to do!

The weather continues to be promising here.  There has been some warmish afternoons, which has forced me to start running after dinner, rather than the minute I get home.  I really don't like the heat and am not looking forward to summer.  I sort of wish the weather could remain spring and fall year round.

Today's run along the Jordan River Bike Trail

Also, on the plus side, the bike trail finally turned on their drinking fountains again!  I really love being able to take a drink every 2 miles or so and it helps for long runs.  Thank you!

Also, on Sunday I did not run.  Instead I took my training to the trails on the other side of down.  It has been a while since I've gotten some altitude and hill training.  I was treated to some really nice views too of the city:

The rest of the week was spent sort of saving my energy for the Winter Striders 30K.   While I wasn't going to try and break any records for the race, I still wanted to make a good showing.  Also, not having the energy to complete the 30K in good form would have dented my self-confidence in the Fort Collins marathon.

Colorado Marathon / Fort Collins Marathon

Speaking of which -- this coming weekend is the Fort Collins marathon. I am definitely looking forward to taking down yet another state.  I have yet to run at all in Colorado and this course looks promising -- with a net downhill.

So far the weather looks good too.  Cool and a chance of rain -- but anything can happen in a week.  So long as it isn't hot or super windy, I am down to run.

As usual, I am hoping to hit in the low 4 hours.  We'll see when I get there what I am capable of and what the conditions are like.  

Upcoming Races

I am still looking at doing something for May 6th.  A lot of it depends upon how quickly I recover from Fort Collins.  North Ogden has their half marathon, which was a joy to do last year -- and if I register this week it is only $45.  I have been toying in my head about going to Shiprock, NM for a race. That involves some travel (over night stays) as well as at least half a day off from work and yet more miles on my car.  We'll see... it doesn't sound sane, but it does sound like a cool adventure.

05/01: Colorado / Fort Collins Marathon - Fort Collins, CO (Confirmed)
05/06: I'll be doing something -- trust me.
06/??: Looking at the Lamoille Canyon Marathon. Perhaps Casper again?
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo Utah (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon (Confirmed) (2017)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

2016 Winter Striders 30K Race Recap - Eden Utah

Me post race enjoying a Gatorade

Official Time: 2:46:36
Placement: 89th out of 288 - 9th in the 45 - 49 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 50's at start, threatening rain, 10 - 20 mph winds from the south, south/west
Garmin Route: Here

18:43A little fast.  Hundreds of us on a bike trail, so had to jockey for position
29:00Rolling hills, but this is the pace I wanted to hit
38:59Gradual climb
48:30Nice gradual downhill... fastest mile of the day
58:59Pack on pace. Had to stop and get rocks out of my shoes
68:51Small climb but getting in the groove
89:05Mostly flats.  Lots of wind here and it felt like it was getting warm
99:44Bathroom break here easily cost me 30 seconds
108:51Make up some of that time
139:12On the flats with some head wind. Hit about a 1:57 half, about what I was targeting
149:20Really hurting here.  
179:20Got a second wind on a dirt road with tail wind
189:51Back to rolling hills.  
18.211:56Yes, it is supposed to be 18.6....
Total Miles: 18.21 - 2:46:36


The Winter Stiders Circuit 30K race culminates their winter series.  Faithful readers know that around Christmas time I ponied up about a $100 for 5 races: a 5K, 10K, 10M, Half Marathon and the 30K. These races are set up to prepare you for the Ogden Full or Half Marathon.

In years past I've done various segments of the race, but I never did all the races in a year.  So despite some threatening weather I knew I had to complete the series.

I didn't have a whole lot of goals for this race.  Having a marathon in about 8 days I knew it wasn't my brightest idea to race 18 miles.  So while time is always important to me, I knew I wasn't going to be redlining it.  I ran the race last year in 2:40.  So I was sort of hoping that I could come in around that time range.

The course was slightly different from last year's edition.  Last year, the race started in Eden Park but being that they are offering a "short" course (about 12.5 miles) for those training for the half marathon and the long course (for those doing the full).  Unfortunately, I think they didn't adjust the course accordingly to make it a true 30K (more like 29K).

The Race

I rolled in just after 6:30 AM for the 7:30 start.  I grabbed my bib and an awesome parking spot.  I am glad I got there when I did because the school doesn't have a large parking lot but there was plenty of street parking.  I cycled through the bathrooms a time or two and debated on what to wear.  

Just before the race

The weather had predicted storms rolling in around 7 AM.  From the looks of the street it had just rained and the race director told me about an hour before I had gotten there they were talking about canceling the race.

Just before the race

I had brought clothing for just about any weather condition and I wound up going with shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt.  I had a Glad garbage bag in my pocket "just in case" and I had my 28 ounce running belt -- which I am glad I took.  

The race started at 7 AM and I took off running north.  It was crowded at the start.  They had told us all to run on the bike trail which is about 8 feet wide.  I wasn't in any hurry and at times I had to move around people, but within a mile I could run at my own pace.

I remembered a lot of the course from last year and soon the threat of rain was pretty much gone.  The clouds gave way to some sun.  While there was a stiff breeze / wind from the south and southwest, I was pretty warm.  Suddenly, I was praying for the rain.

I didn't feel the hills this week I was definitely soaking up the scenery.  Eden is a really nice place to run but the roads tend to be banked.  So it can lead to some IT-band problems.  Also I kept getting tiny pebbles in my shoes.  I think my shoes are worn down or have holes in them, so despite my best efforts, they let the little buggers in.  I had to stop about twice to empty them, losing precious seconds.

For the most part I was holding on to my low 9-minute per mile pace despite the wind and not a lot of spring in my legs.  

I wound up feeling pretty good at the 13 mile mark, but I was really worried if I was going to crash and burn at the end.  Some of the tail wind that I was enjoying early on in the race was suddenly in my face and I knew the last mile or so was rolling hills.

Mile 14 I started to feel a little hazy as I hit the main road back into Eden.  I noticed a lot of other people struggling here as well.  I would get passed by people and do some passing -- particularly those from the short course who started in a different location.

All sunny after the race

Once I got on the dirt road around mile 16 and saw that I had a gradual downhill, I picked up the pace.  I had been taking gels every 5.5 miles and I think I finally got a jolt from one.  Also, the road was wet so there was less dust and rocks that got in my shoes.

The last 2 miles of the race were a struggle.  I kept looking at my Garmin and realized that if this was going to be (more or less) an out-and-back course that I was only going to run 18.2 miles today, not 18.6 (which is a true 30K).  As the school, where we started, kept coming into view, I began to wonder if they were going to make us run a lap around it or if we were simply finishing there.  Again, I was hurting so I was happy to see that the finish line was going to be an 18.2 mile race.


After the race, I wound up grabbing some donuts and Gatorade and walked around a bit to cool down.  Since I had done the series, I knew a bunch of people and wound up making small talk with a bunch of them.  

This race was the smallest of the bunch but they had a good turnout for it.  Many people were ready to run Ogden next month while others had various races looming on their calendar.

It turned out to be a windy, but beautiful day for a run.  Running in Eden, despite the altitude, is really peaceful and as usual the Winter Striders group did a good job.  The volunteers knew what they were doing and most of the mile markers were spot on.  The course was also easy to follow and had police presence at critical intersections.  The bathrooms at the start were deluged but on the course, I had no problems getting into one.

I am a bit disappointed with my time.  Last year, I had a phenomenal race and I think the weather conditions were more ideal.  Also, I came into this race mostly just to log miles and complete the series.  Despite the shorter distance, I was about 7 miles slower than last year.  Not good.

At about $20 a race, this series is well worth it.  Although the drive is a bit far, I try to couple the trip up there with other activities.  This time I wound up eating at Beebop Korean BBQ in Ogden.  Pretty good stuff and definitely looked authentic.  At least it wasn't the Golden Corral.

Squid with rice
Beebop Korean BBQ - Ogden Utah

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Summerlin Half Marathon Trip


As usual, I like to capture my thoughts and experiences after any road trip and the trip to Summerlin for the Summerlin Half Marathon is going to be no exception.  I mostly write these so that I have something to remember my trips by and some people do find them interesting (I think).

There won't be any racing recaps or running stories.  So if you are looking for that, this is probably an article you'll want to skip.

Saturday 4/9

Shari and I left the homestead around 7:30 in the morning.  I was hoping to hit the road a bit earlier but cat issues and last minute packing delayed us a bit.  Not the end of the world, since Saturday morning traffic is no big deal and we were heading away from the city.

The trip down south was fairly uneventful.  I just made the trip twice since the start of the year and I don't think traveling down I-15 is terribly exciting.  

Around 4.5 hours later we arrived in Mesquite.  Normally we go to the Virgin River Casino for their breakfast buffet but I knew that the Casablanca Buffet was a lot quieter and easier to get food.  I also had $5 off so that meant we'd be eating for about $15.  

Initially neither one of us were terribly hungry and we started gambling.  A guy overheard us talking and was like, if you are planning on eating you better get in now because the buffet closes for lunch in about 20 minutes.  We certainly didn't want to have to kill another hour so we hustled over to the buffet.  Suffice to say, we were the last to pay and I managed to get a plate or two of hot food before they started taking food away.  I didn't do a huge gorge session on account I had a race the next day, but I certainly ate pretty well.

Can you tell I am tired?
We gambled a bit and I pretty much broke even and Shari wasn't winning anything.  We spent about an hour in there to make sure our food settled before heading to Vegas.

About 80 minutes later I made my way to the Red Rock Casino and picked up my Summerlin Half Marathon shirt and bib.  Simple easy in and easy out.  We talked about gambling at the Red Rock but neither of us has ever had any luck there so we headed over to the Suncoast.  I've had good luck over there in the past as well as Shari.

Packet Pickup

I wound up killing quite a while in there while Shari's luck continued to go sour.  I wound up getting a good 30 minutes of play (if not more) on $20 on a Multi-Strike Video Poker.  

After a while we decided to head on over to our hotel at the Rampart.  We had gotten a nice deal from them $99 a night plus a bunch of coupons.  It turned out to be the best deal in the area.  We've also wanted to spend the night at the Rampart for a while.  It is truly a beautiful hotel with some amazing grounds.

As I checked in, I noticed that the woman checking us in was Korean.  I immediately began quizzing her on various words and Korean trivia, since I am a big fan of the Reply 1988 series (as well as Korean pop music).  She was pretty impressed with my knowledge and I asked for a translation or two.  One word I've heard a lot is "cheep-paw" or at least that is my understanding of how it is pronounced.  She blushed when I said it and I was like, "What? What does it mean?"  

She didn't want to tell me what it meant until I pressed further.  She finally told me it meant a 4-letter word for excrement.  I think I've missed pronounced the word as I don't think that's the word the songs I hear is using.

The wide halls at the Rampart

We wound up gambling somewhat late but neither one of us had much luck.  We had some free play as well but that didn't really get us anything.  The Rampart definitely has refreshed their slot machines and modernized the casino (it seemed bigger) but I wouldn't describe the slots as loose.

We wound up eating an Irish pub.  I certainly didn't want a buffet before a morning race and the pub seemed to work offering simple food at a decent price.  We also had a $10 off food voucher, which certainly help put a dent in the bill.  I had a simple veggie burger with fries.

I slept poorly.  I think I was overstimulated and had a bit of anxiety over the morning's race.  The room was also pretty warm.  If I slept more than 4 hours I would be surprised.

Sunday 4/10

In the morning, I ran the Summerlin Half Marathon, which you can read about here.

By the time I made it back to the room it was about 10 am and I was pretty hungry.  The rooms at the Rampart are spacious and they have a wonderful shower.  They certainly don't have any flow restrictors and it was nice to relax.

I was starving and so since I had a two-for-one buffet pass we opted to hit the buffet at the Rampart.  For $18 it was a bit on the pricey side.  But they have good food there and it was convenient.

We wound up using our second day's free play allotment and I wound up getting slightly lucky on a few machines but mostly break even or was down a few bucks.

We've always been curious about living in Summerlin so we had done a bit of research and decided to go looking at model homes.  Note: I am NOT moving.  Just looking and seeing what I could get within a certain price range.  The houses we looked at were out of the range I was interested in but they had some stunning views of the strip:

After visiting the houses I wanted to hit the pool at the Rampart.  Again, I can't stress how nice the grounds are at the Rampart.  It is like being in a tropical paradise and their pool is also worth seeing.  Being that it was spring there weren't many people there.  It was nice to relax in the sauna for a while:

After cleaning up we decided to head on over to the Red Rock Resort.  We had a 2-for-1 buffet pass there.  We weren't terribly hungry upon arriving so we gambled a bit.  I was down about $50 but managed to get a lucky bonus round on a Leprechaun game that brought me back to even.  

Dinner was passable and I actually really well -- especially considering we were eating at half price.

Monday 4/11

We checked out of the Rampart and I actually slept wonderfully!  I think I was out the minute I put my head on the pillow and stayed asleep most of the night (I tend to wake up multiple times at night).

We had tried to figure out where to eat most of the trip using coupons from MyVegas or what not.  Monday had left us wondering what to do.  We thought about going down to the Strip to eat, but now that they are charging for parking, we decided we didn't want to deal with the hassle.  

We had eaten for cheap at the Suncoast before and decided to eat there, since it was right next door to the Rampart.  It was about $7 a person.  We toyed around with gambling for 300 points in order to "earn" a breakfast buffet, but we were hungry and after playing a bit, I realized it was going to take a while to get the points.  I wasn't having much luck and I didn't want to further throw away money.

We got there at the tail end of breakfast and had to wait about 30 minutes before they switched over to lunch.  They have an awesome make your own Mongolian plate which is the best thing on the menu:

Again, for $7, this is probably the best buffet in town.

Yummy dessert at the Suncoast

We gambled a bit more before hitting the road.

I had a free weeknight room at the Casablanca in Mesquite.  It helps to break up the trip by spending a night there.  It is only 4.5 hours back home instead of 5.5.  It just seems a lot shorter.  

There is a Sun City development in Mesquite and I've talked about wanting to retire there.  I am still a good 15 years from retirement, but we were curious what we could get.  

Views from Mesquite, NV

Views from Mesquite, NV
Houses were definitely a lot cheaper, but certainly less spectacular.

By the time we finished checking out the houses, we were able to check in at the Casablanca.  After unpacking, I headed out to the pool for an hour-long sauna / swim.  Casablanca has a beautiful pool but their sauna's jets are just weak.

We gambled a bit and I wound up getting a lot of play on Britney Spears Slot Machine.  This game seems give you a lot of play for your money but you don't win very much.  I've seen one guy win a lot, but for me, it is mostly a few bucks here and there.  We did try $50 in a Rising Dragon slot machine at max bet and got nothing on it.

We were both buffet'd out so we decided to eat the cafe at the Casablanca.  They have epic proportions and also a huge Chinese menu.  I wound up getting some shrimp and noodles.  I wasn't a huge fan of it (I was expecting something different) but the food was good and the service was attentive.  No wonder there is usually a line there.

We gambled a bit more, but neither one of us were having much luck so we called it a night.

Tuesday 4/12

We got up early.  The best time to leave Mesquite is early in the morning.  With a 4.5 hour drive, it basically gets you back into Salt Lake City before the rush hour hits.  

I had a 2-for-1 buffet at the Virgin River so we ate there.  We practically had the place to ourselves.  Normally, on the weekends, the Virgin River can be a pain to get food because the line for food is one long line -- you can't just interject yourself at the end for say cheese blintzes. 

The lack of crowd also made it super easy to get an omelette...

I wound up playing my free play at the Virgin River and Britney Spears gave me a lot of play time, but I never won anything.  I also played some Wonder Woman, which was fun but like Britney, she'll give you some time to play but rarely pays off.

The trip home was pretty uneventful and we arrived home just a hair before 2:30, which left the rest of the day to unpack, cleanup and get a run in.  

Overall, it was a fun trip.  We got a lot of bargains for food and our stay, so that helped.  Gambling, as usual, it was kind of a bust for both of us.  The highlight of the trip was when I won $81 on a bonus round on Fu Dao Le at the Suncoast.  

Running a half marathon in one of my favorite cities made this trip really worth while and I think we both thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a nice experience to stay off the strip as well and enjoy the "other side" of Vegas.

This Week in Running 4/10 - 4/16

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday13.25Summerlin Half Marathon 
Tuesday7Medium effort
Wednesday7Speed work .25/.5/.75 mile repeats at 7:35 pace with 1 to 2 minute rest between reps
Thursday7Medium effort
Friday4All easy
Saturday16.5Long distance run at 9:20ish per mile
Total miles for the week: 54.75 - YTD: 752.75

Week's Summary

Without any races this week (well recovering from a half on Sunday) it gave me a lot of time to get in some quality miles.  In fact, I got in a nice interval session on Wednesday -- and I usually don't get very excited about them.  It has been a while since I did a speed work session and after the first set of them I was whimpering for mercy.  I did complete the exercise though.  That which doesn't kill me, will make me stronger.

This week also culminates my high mileage training for the upcoming marathon.  I didn't necessarily plan out my spring races this way, but I have a 30K this coming Saturday and then a mere 8 days later, a full marathon.  This usually isn't the way you prepare for a marathon but I wanted to get Colorado off my state's list and due to some family stuff, I thought this was going to be my one and only chance this spring.  If I had been able to predict the future, I would've probably gone with the Colfax marathon, but either way I'll get through it.  Sometimes the 50 states quest has a mind of its own.

Saturday's Long Run

It was a beautiful day in Utah on Saturday and I did my usual long run (being that I was without a race).  While I think the flowers are still about one week in coming, today was a spectacular day.  I had some head wind for the first 8 miles and I was worried that it would change direction when I came back.  But I am happy to report that while I didn't always feel it, it wasn't blowing in my face.  Overall, a solid run that gives me confidence going into the next few weeks.

Finally, I felt like I was the only one on the trail, since the majority of runners in the Salt Lake Area were at the Salt Lake City Marathon, which is probably one of the largest races in Utah. I still have yet to do that race and it's practically in my backyard too.

Upcoming Races

04/23: Winter Striders 30K (Confirmed)
05/01: Fort Collins Marathon - Fort Collins, CO (Confirmed)
06/??: Looking at the Lamoille Canyon Marathon. Perhaps Casper again?
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo Utah (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon (Confirmed) (2017)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

This week in running 4/3 - 4/9

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffNeeded a rest day. Fair amount of walking though.
Monday87 at medium pace -- ended with strides
Tuesday15Pretty solid long run
Thursday7Nice run but tired feeling
FridayOffAbout 5 miles of walking though.
SaturdayOff Travel to the Summerlin Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 35 - YTD: 697.5

Week's Summary

I was *really* feeling it this week.  I was just really dead most of the week and I think I've gone over to the over-trained state.  I was consistently feeling beat-up, tired, and well you know -- all the symptoms of being overt rained.

So rather than dig myself into a hole, I turned this week into a recovery week -- of sorts.  I took not 1, not 2 but 3 days off, which is something I haven't done in a LONG time.

It seemed to help physically, but mentally I have a hard time not doing anything and it really bothered me. Fellow compulsive runners probably know what I am talking about, but taking a day off is almost as painful as a speed work out.

And worst of all, I know better.  When everything starts to hurt and I am dreading a run, it pays to take a little down time.  In some ways, I've become a slave to putting up the miles.

With a 30K and an expensive full marathon coming up on the horizon, I need to be a little bit more cautious about arriving at the starting line injury free and feeling trained, not beaten into submission.

Upcoming Races

04/23: Winter Striders 30K (Confirmed)
05/01: Fort Collins Marathon - Fort Collins, CO (Confirmed)
06/??: Looking at the Lamoille Canyon Marathon. Perhaps Casper again?
06/24: Utah Midnight Half Marathon - Provo Utah (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon (Confirmed)

2016 Summerlin Half Marathon - Las Vegas Nevada

I didn't finish first by any means but here is a post race photo

Official Time: 1:56:36
Placement: 140th place out of 650. 40th in the male 40 - 49 division
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: Low 50's, clouds, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile Time Comments
1 8:28 Feeling sluggish but a nice downhill
28:38Still mostly downhill here
38:46Some climbing here.  Nothing too insane, but a slow incline
48:32Feeling good and have settled into my pace
58:14Starting to hit the flats and some downhill
68:48Actually holding up okay
810:00Starting to hit some rolling hills
108:38Gosh, I was counting down the quarter miles here. 
128:24My splits here aren't too terrible but I felt like death
13.060:27Not much left at the end.
Total Miles: 13.06 - 1:56:43


Back in about 2011 or so I remember reading about the Summerlin Half Marathon in Runner's World magazine -- or maybe it was a Las Vegas newspaper.  Either way, I was intrigued about running a half marathon in my favorite state near one of my favorite cities.  In 2013, I finally made the plunge and decided to run the race.

Since then, whenever spring rolls around I debate on whether I want to make the 5 hour drive down to Vegas and run the race.  In fact, in 2014 I came down but couldn't run the race on account of a calf strain.

This spring, though, I took the plunge after seeing a discount coupon come in and nothing on my calendar for mid April.  I am always looking for an excuse to go to Vegas, so figured why not do it this year?  I also got some more good offers from local hotels in the area and the trip was planned.


I wound up picking up my packet on Saturday afternoon.  It was easy in and out.  Although I missed having the packet pickup at the Rampart Hotel and Casino (where I was staying).  I think they've outgrown that environment and now the pickup was held in the parking lot behind the Red Rock Casino.  Definitely less ambiance but easy parking.

Pretty simple packet pickup

The night before the race I ate a veggie burger at an Irish pub at the Rampart and didn't kill myself at any buffet.  I slept HORRIBLY the night before.  I think I was over stimulated and had some pre-race anxiety.  If I got more than 4 hours of sleep I would be surprised.

I did get up at 5:30 for the 7 am race start.  I ate some food and was out the door before 6 am and made the 12 minute drive to the Red Rock Casino.  The 600+ runners were slowly milling their way into the parking lot.  There was plenty of spots, however and they had volunteers guiding us in.

I cycled through the bathroom and the race started right on time at 7 am.

The Race  

I didn't have a lot of goals for this race other than to try and enjoy my experience.  I was feeling a bit fatigued from last week's half marathon and I knew the course was going to be hilly.  I had hopes that I would be able to run something in the low 1:50's.  I had slightly lower elevation than what I am used to but the hills in Summerlin are pretty relentless.

I figured I'd try to run even splits as best as possible and start off conservatively. A 1:50 is about 8:30 minute miles.  I hit that pretty much spot on for the few miles.  It felt almost too easy even though there were some hills almost from the get go.

I was hemmed in pretty well to at the start.  Although I was able to run my own pace after about half a mile or so.  Again, this was good.  As someone who starts off pretty quickly I was happy to be forced to go slightly slower.

While this course was new, compared to the one I did in 2013, I did recognize some of the sections that I had run on previously.  Summerlin has a really scenic bike / walking trail that snakes its way around the city and we'd jump on that from time to time.  There weren't a lot of long stretches of bike trail, as the race was primarily held on coned-off city streets.  I really have to hand it to the organizers... I was wondering how we were going to run along the streets of Summerlin but they had us very safe and on city roads there were police handling the intersections and an entire lane coned off for us.

The starting line about 30 minutes before race start

I was dressed comfortable given the situation.  I saw a LOT of people over dressed.  It had threatened rain but it wasn't rainy at all and I wound up ditching my $1 gloves at about mile 3.

Up until the half way point, I was largely on target for a really good race.  In fact, I figured I could hit 1:50 or so despite the growing fatigue in my legs.  However, I was in for a cruel surprise.

Around mile 7 the hills just got really relentless.  I thought they were over after ascending a freeway overpass.  However, that was just the beginning.  From slow and steady grinds to "oh crap, I have to climb that" the next 2 or 3 miles were just ugly.  I saw my 8:40-ish pace disappear into marathon shuffles.

The course had also left the primary Summerlin residential area and I found myself running along the 215 freeway on a bike trail.  There wasn't a lot to look at and the gradual climb was a bit of a sufferfest.

By the time I reached the end of the hills I was pretty well gassed and I figured I could kiss my dreams of a low 1:50 in the trash.

I did manage to pick up the pace in the last few miles as the course got decidedly more downhill.  I also got to see a newer part of Summerlin.  The smell of the course was also great too... the trees had a certain scent to them which was a pleasure and definitely unique.

The last mile was along the 215 again and I was thrilled to cross the finish line.  The hills had just taken so much out of me and while my downhill miles aren't that bad, I felt a lot worse then the times indicate.


Finisher's Medal

As usual, the race outdid itself with its medal.  I love their 2013 edition and this one is also going to wind up in my prize-collection.  It is heavy-duty and well designed.  The shirt was a little on the ho-hum side -- not a fan of the color, but it is a quality tech-shirt that I'll definitely wear.

The course was definitely challenging.  There weren't very many super flat spots on the course and I felt like it had more uphill then down (isn't that always the case?)

As far as scenery went, it was a residential run.  I loved the sections on Summerlin's bike trails and some of the new subdivisions were really nice to run through.  I certainly remembered sections of the course from the 2013 edition as well.

Water stops were pretty well maintained.  A lot of the cups were barely filled though and I tended to get more water than Gatorade.  Not the end of the world in a half marathon though.  They had bathrooms at each of the water stops that were spaced out approximately every 2 miles.

The course markings, according to my Garmin, were mostly on.  The 5 mile marker was at 5.4 miles though.  I feel the course was accurate despite a 13.06 distance on my Garmin.  There were a few hairpin turns that I suspect the Garmin cannot account for.  The course was also well marked and again, major hats off to the organizers, volunteers and police force for marking running through intersections not a problem at all.

Post race food was water, chips, protein bar, bananas, fruit, and muffins.  I didn't see any Gatorade or sports drink in the finish area.  A little more would've been nice.

I understand why the race is fairly pricey.  Getting permits, police support and the fancy medal definitely require an investment.

Overall, I was disappointed with my time.  I do have to let myself off the hook a little bit: I am coming off a series of races that have left my legs semi-dead and the course was challenging.

I am glad I did this race though and had a lot of fun doing it.  I sort of prefer the 2013 edition of the course, but this is a nice substitute.  The Summerlin Half Marathon continues to grow and if my plans can take me to Vegas in April, I'll continue to jump into it.

The t-shrit

Nice athletic socks