Wednesday, July 27, 2016

This Week in Running 7/17 - 7/23

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday?Forgot to record this day
Monday6Hilly run through the Nevada desert
TuesdayOffRunner's knee. Went hiking
Wednesday7Relaxed run
Saturday13Handcart Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 31 + ? YTD: 1291

Week's Summary

Well another week of fairly ordinary training.  I suspect I ran about 38 miles for the week, although as of this writing I can't recall for the life of me how far I ran on Sunday morning.  I suspect it was a 7 mile run though.

After Monday's run, my right knee was bothering me.  It was feeling okay for most of the run but after stopping and chatting with a fellow runner, I had a hard time getting going again.  My knee just felt off.  I managed to get home on it and throughout the night and the next day, my knee was just painful.

Being smart, I decided I'd take a "rest" day and go for a hike instead.  I am glad I did. The flowers were up in Alta Canyon and it was enjoyable having the area almost to myself.

Also, on Monday, I took the day off.  I needed a long weekend and decided to take a day off and head out to Nevada.  On Monday morning, like usual, I proceeded to go for about a 6 mile run in the desert just north of West Wendover.  I was basically straddling the Utah and Nevada border but I managed to get follow an ATV trail I haven't been on in a while and captured some interesting photos.

I almost never seen anything alive out there but on my Monday morning run I ran into a family of Pronghorn Antelope.  Most of them took off when I approached, but a few stuck around to watch me.  I have no idea what they live on, as vegetation is pretty sparse, but they were out there.  Always makes a run worthwhile when you see something new.

Soon, I expect to start loading up on more mileage and long runs.  I have at least two marathons this fall, and I need to rebuild my endurance and hopefully acquire a bit of speed.  It is hard to train, however, when the summer has been brutally hot.

Upcoming Races

I did officially sign up for the Tahoe Marathon (the Sunday run).  So I'll be taking down California in early October.

Also, I am coming up on my inaugural trail half marathon.  I've run a few trail races, but I think this is going to be my "for reals" trail half marathon.  I sort of expect a sufferfest:  I am not a trail runner and this one is going to be at 7500+ feet.  I'll be bringing the camera so expect some cool pictures. 

07/31: Black Hawk Trail Half Marathon - Black Hawk, Colorado - (Confirmed)
10/09: Lake Tahoe Marathon Lake Tahoe CA / NV (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

2016 Handcart Half Marathon Race Recap - Bountiful Utah

Official Time: 1:55:56
Placement: 81st out of 233, 53 out of 109 men, 11 out of 18 age group
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: Low 70's to start, upper 70's at the end - no wind.
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile  Time Comments
1 8:25 Feeling pretty good. Slight downhill here
2 8:16
3 8:31
4 8:48 Feeling like I am going a little too quick. Dialed it back
5 8:41
6 8:50 On the bike trail.  It is warming up
7 9:03 Quick bathroom break in the bushes.
9:50Evil hill here
9 8:51
10 8:46 Getting a little downhill here
11 8:55
12 9:10 Last 2 miles are a gradual uphill.
13 9:33
13.03 0:13
Total Miles: 13.03 - 1:55:56


For those not in the know, this weekend is Pioneer Days, a weekend set aside in the state of Utah to commemorate the arrival of the first settlers to Utah.  Most businesses have a day off and the government offices close on Monday.  

So in a way, is feels like a mini Fourth of July here, with parades, fireworks, and celebrations celebrating Utah culture.  

This weekend also kicks off a bunch of races, namely the Hand Cart Half Marathon, which I have run  in 2012, 2015 and now 2016.

The Hand Cart Half Marathon is put on by the South Davis Recreation Center and it lines up with their racing series.  The SDRC offers a bunch of really nice races that are very affordable, hence the reason why I do them. 

The Race

The race starts early -- 6 AM to beat the heat.  I am incredibly thankful that the race organizers do that.  We've had a dreadful summer with the heat and being able to get out early really helps.

That does mean, however, that I have to be up at 4:15 and out the door by 4:45 to get my bib.  Packet pickup was a snap and within 5 minutes after arriving I had my gear.  I decided to drive to the gas station to get some Tums.  I had had spicy food the previous night and I could feel a slight bit of heart burn.

Like most of the SDRC races, this one started a few minutes late.  I wanted to finish around 1:55 and I was a little worried about the hills.  Also, the second half of the course has rolling hills, so I didn't want to be hung out to dry for them.

Around mile 2, you cross a railroad crossing.  Just as I was approaching the warning lights went on and the gates were coming down.  I dashed across and was one of the last ones to do so.  I saw some volunteers there taking numbers of people who were going to be stuck at the crossing.

Suffice to say, that they were there for a good three or four minutes.

I was glad I had dodged that bullet but it also meant I wouldn't have anyone tailing me, putting the pressure on me to maintain a pace.

Around mile 2.5, you jump on the Legacy Bike Trail system.  For regular readers, I ran on this last week for the Legacy Half Marathon (and a bunch of other races).  It is flat, but not terribly exciting to me.

I wound up running with a group of people and was able to pick off a number of runners as the race progressed.  I did have to make a pit stop around mile 6.  Since there was hardly any behind me, I was able to quickly duck behind some bushes and take a 20 second nature break.

Around mile 7, the course goes back to surface streets.  You are greeted with a highway overpass that takes you over the 215 and 15 freeways.  Just as you cross the freeways, you have to climb another substantial hill to get to the road you'll be taking to the finish line.  I saw a number of people walking up this hill and I did my best to continue at my current pace.

The last 5 miles or so follow a main road through Farmington and Bountiful.  Traffic was light and the race organizers did a good job at making sure we could safely get through the major intersections without interruption.  It is also at this point that there are some rolling hills.  At one point, you'll be cruising fast downhill, only to be "crawling" up another hill.

The last 3 miles or so are a gentle up hill.  At this point, the course had thinned substantially.  I have run the 5K race a bunch of times and I knew the final 1.5 miles or so.  It is always one of the toughest parts of the course because there isn't a whole lot to look at and it is just a gentle climb.  You can see the traffic light ahead too where you make the final turn to the finish, but it seems so far away.

Also, the last 5 miles are on banked roads.  My hips and back wound up paying a price after the race.  I am so glad I don't train on roads like that any more.


I felt like I was running quite well at the end.  I was passing more people than I was getting passed by and I didn't feel like I was in desperation mode.  However, my time was a disappointing 1:55:56.  The bathroom break cost me some time and of course the rolling hills.  Looking at last year's race, it was 10 degrees cooler and I did hit a 1:52, substantially better.

5K racers and half marathoners each were awarded a finisher's medal.  I was sad to learn that I wasn't an age group winner (I won one in 2012 and it was a super nice award).

They had plenty of refreshments at the end including Corner Bakery muffins, sports drink and fruit.  My race entry also paid for a free breakfast, which also was a plus.  For $45 I really got my money's worth.

Pancake breakfast
The course was well marked and supervised.  The mile markers were a clusterf*.  They seemed to be consistently off until about mile 10 or 11.  They had a TON of water stops, with more staged at the end, which really helped.  I did carry my own fluids though and I went through it on account of the heat.

I liked the shirt and medal.  The recreation center always does a wonderful job with their designs and they give you a ton for your money.  I will continue to patronize their races.

Overall, I am slightly disappointed with my overall time. I did feel like I ran evenly though.  I tend to be a fast starter and the course is a downhill one at first, so it is hard to not get pulled out faster.  The hills at the end always chew me up.  Either way, I had fun and it was a good social experience as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

This Week in Running 7/10 - 7/16


DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday7First half fast, last half easy
Monday7Medium paced throughout
Wednesday6Medium paced with strides at the end
Friday13Legacy Half Marathon
Total miles for the week: 38 YTD: 1260

Week's Summary

This week was another fairly ordinary week in terms of training.  Most of it was spent in preparation for the Legacy Half Marathon, which I did on Friday night.  Being that I am racing a lot more now, it takes a bit away from my weekly totals.

Being that I don't have a full marathon until October I can dial back the weekly mileage.  It is really hard to get in quality and long miles in this summer heat.  Generally it isn't okay to get out for a run until after 7:30 pm.  I am not a morning runner so the evening is when I prefer to get out.  So at this point it is all about maintaining my fitness and surviving the summer.

Pokémon Go

Sort of funny -- this week I saw a new breed of folks on the bike trail.  They were looking at their phones intently and walking around the bike trails -- droves of them.  It wasn't clear to me what was going on until later when I figured out it was the new Pokémon game. It was interesting to see how this Pokémon Go game has really taken off and sort of surreal.  I didn't realize it was *that* big of a deal.

I like that it draws people outside and I saw a lot of families using it as an inclusive activity.  While I think the concept is kind of ludicrous, I do like the fact that it is bringing people together and getting them active.

Upcoming Races

07/23: Hand Cart Half Marathon - Bountiful, Utah (Confirmed)
07/31: Black Hawk Trail Half Marathon - Black Hawk, Colorado - (Confirmed)
10/09: Lake Tahoe Marathon Lake Tahoe CA / NV (Confirmed)
11/13: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/15: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed) (2017)

Monday, July 18, 2016

2016 Legacy Midnight Half Marathon Race Recap - Farmington, UT

Official Time: 1:53:52
Placement: 30th overall, 2nd in the 45 - 49 age division
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: 83 F at the start, upper 70's at finish. No wind. 10 pm start time
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile  Time Comments
1 8:38 Off to a conservative start
2 8:49
3 8:43 Being careful with the heat
4 8:36
5 8:41
6 8:31 Picked up the pace here. I think the urge to use the rest room pushed me a bit.
7 9:05 Bathroom break cost me about 30 seconds here.
8 8:54
9 8:54
10 8:54 Holding steady but can feel the building fatigue
11 9:13
12 9:24 Felt like I was running faster here, but was struggling with maintaining a solid pace
12.83 7:26
Total Miles: 12.83 - 1:53:52


Every year without fail, I run the Legacy Midnight Half Marathon.  It is sort of a summer tradition for me, having run it every year since I've moved here.  In a way, it has become one of my favorite races.

It is a fairly low key race and it is different:  the race starts at 10 pm and generally you cross the finish line around midnight.  So it is a late night out, a supervised run on a darkened bike trail, and it is well attended with fun loving runners.

Afterwards there is a bit of a party with music, food and just hanging around.  The race also has a 5K and 10K option, which both start at the finish line, so you will encounter them on your race.

The Race

I arrived at the race site at about 8:00 and picked up my shirt and bib with little fanfare.  I had about 30 minutes to kill before the buses left for the starting line.  I wound up circling around taking pictures and seeing if I knew anyone.

Around 8:30, I jumped on a bus and was one of the last to board the first bus, rewarding me with the very first seat in the bus.  The bus ride was about a 15 minute affair to a "secret" location in North Salt Lake.  I was the first off the bus and the bus drive had mistakenly dropped us off at the 2012 starting location.  The other 4 buses followed suite, which surprised me that they all left at the same time -- leaving no wiggle time for stragglers. 

Luckily, I knew where the race started and made the whopping quarter mile walk to the starting line.  I am glad I was right because everyone else followed me and if I had been mistaken, I suspect I would've had a few hundred folks upset with me.  I don't think anyone was even at the starting line (like race directors) but there was a station of Powerade and a starting line trellis.

First one to arrive at the starting line

I made small talk with various runner friends before lining up at about 9:45.  The race starts on a narrow bike trail.  From past experience, I knew to line up near the front.  With a course this narrow, I didn't want to get overly hemmed in.

The race started on time and off we went.  It was pretty warm and after my last half marathon experience I was sort of worried how I'd fare in the heat.  I took a very conservative approach and led off with a comfortable 8:45-ish pace.  My plan was that if I felt good at mile 6, to pick up the pace a bit and try to finish strong.

People behind me ready to run

After about a mile, another runner asked if she could run with me.  I don't mind pacing but I am usually a solo runner. It was nice for a few miles to swap a few stories between gasps for breath.  I wasn't running too hard, but I knew as the miles wore on, that I'd be less than a good conversationalist.  Turns out the runner that I was running with had missed the bus and her and her mom had driven to the start line and needed a ride back.  Since the ride back was on my way back I had no qualms about helping them out (which I ultimately did).

Around mile 4-ish I started having some GI issues.  I had had a high fiber soup for lunch and it wasn't working for me (but my dinner of a small pile of pancakes had gone done nicely).  Around mile 6 I decided to make a pit stop so I pulled ahead of my running partner with an explanation that I had to use the bathroom and I'd try to catch up if need be.

It wound up costing me about 30 seconds and just as I was exiting the porta-potty, I spotted Muriel, my running partner.  Our reunion was fairly short-lived as I started to pick up the pace.  I wasn't feeling awesome, but I felt good enough to try and make up some time.  Muriel and I parted ways and I told her I'd catch her at the finish line if she didn't catch me sooner.

I wound up tailing a few other runners for a few miles and around the 8 mile mark I wound up catching a lone-senior runner.  While I hate to judge ages, this guy was clearly my senior -- by a bit --and he was moving pretty well.  We wound up trading places with each other off and on for a few miles before I pulled ahead.  We kind of made small talk but I could tell we were both focusing on getting through the tough miles.

About mile 10, I started to run out of gas.  I could tell I was getting dehydrated despite drinking at every aid station (which were situated at about 2.5 miles each) and carrying my own fluids.  I did get some momentum by chasing and working off the 5K and 10K runners who were doing their section of the race.  I didn't have any problems with running out of room on the trail and everyone was very considerate and I certainly enjoyed the motivation I got as people cheered me on.

Around mile 12, the gray-haired runner caught me.  I tried to catch up but I felt like I was laboring and running quick sand.  Dead leg syndrome.

I caught a bit of a second wind during the final mile.  The last half mile is pretty dark and I was using my head lamp at this point to illuminate the way.  The paved trail appears a bit rougher with more bumps and roots so I suspect I might've lost some time here.  However, the majority of the trail is smooth and I only used my head lamp once throughout the race.

I am a half marathon "finsher" (sp)


In years past the course has measured short and it came out a bit short this year too.  I've seen some satellite maps that put the course at 13.11, however.  And I suspect my Garmin went into conniptions after using the restroom.

I was pretty happy upon crossing the finish line.  I just didn't want to have a meltdown like my 4th of July race and get clobbered by the heat.  While I would've liked to have gotten a better time than last year (1:52), this year really seemed a bit tougher in regards to the heat.

This race is a sister race to the Provo Midnight Half Marathon, so the shirt, medal and awards were identical.  This time, however, I did notice that the lanyard for the medal has a misspelling on it (see photo above).  

After a quick perusal of the results I came in 2nd in my age group.  The awards were taking a long time and it seemed like they were doing everything they could to not do the age group for men in the half marathon.  I waited about 30 minutes and was happy to see Muriel (and her mother) get their awards, but I was getting cranky and I could tell they wanted to get back to their car (they had a super long drive).  And, I had won my age group in the Provo race, so I knew I'd just have a duplicate medal.

Overall, this race was a good experience.  I got in for about $55 or so since I had a coupon.  It was easy getting to the race and while it is hard to enjoy the scenery at night, it was peaceful to be running behind people's houses or along the highway with nothing but a headlamp and a glow stick.   I've run on this trail a lot of times in various races so I know it pretty well but running at night seems so much better.

Post race food consisted of bananas, ice cream sandwiches, powerade, water, and cotton candy.  My stomach wasn't ready for food so I laid pretty low on it.  I was dehydrated and easily went through 28 ounces of my own Powerade, plus whatever I could get down on the course and at least another 28 ounces after the race.  

I also made some new friends on this race and got to hang out with some established ones.  Again, I really like the social vibe to this race and plan to do it next year.

Monday, July 11, 2016

2016 Elko Nevada Fourth of July Weekend


Faithful readers may recall that last year I went to Elko, NV for the entire Fourth of July weekend.  To say I had a fabulous time would be an understatement.  I had an entire weekend to see fireworks, parades, and go hiking and I couldn't have had a better weekend.

So when 2016 rolled around, I knew I wanted to recapture the magic that I experienced and so I opted to go pay a visit again.

Sunday July 3

We headed out to West Wendover Nevada for breakfast at the Montego Bay.  Due to the holiday weekend they weren't honoring the 2-for-1 buffet pass but luckily we had comps from a previous visit.  So we ate for free.

We did a bit of gambling at Montego Bay and the Rainbow and I was pretty much breaking even and getting some play.  I had a nice run on a Wonder Woman Gold slot machine, which kept me occupied for an hour.  That game doesn't pay very well, in my opinion, but I find it entertaining and the bonus round seems to come up fairly often.  

We left about midafternoon and I managed to convince Shari to go on a short hike with me in Wells, NV.  We made the somewhat scary drive from Wells to the top where Angel Lake is located.  

Last year, I had hiked from Angel Lake to Smith Lake and it is was reasonably short without a lot of elevation change.  It also was loaded with wildflowers last year and sports some stunning views of the Wells valley.

Nevada had a long winter and the wildflowers weren't quite out in full force.  Shari and I managed to get about a mile of hiking in and I shot some incredible photos of the area:

After visiting Angel Lake, Shari and I made our way to Elko, where we checked into the Red Lion.  This is our go-to hotel and being player's club card members, they give us a pretty sweet deal.  We don't gamble a lot but in short, we had a bunch of coupons, free play, and basically it cost me $50 for two nights.  They keep throwing freebies and goodies at me, I'll be a loyal customer.

After settling in, we decided to get something to eat.  I've been itching to try the various restaurants in Elko and we opted for La Fiesta.  It is a downtown Mexican joint that doesn't look like much from the outside but they have super quick service, epic portion sizes and the food was reasonably priced.  I'd go back.  The chips & salsa weren't our favorite however.

After eating, we gambled some at the Gold Dust West.  I was hoping that I'd have some free play on my card, but alas, not this month.  The last couple of months they've been giving us a little bit of something, but this time nothing.  I dropped a few bucks there with nothing to show for it, while Shari made a bit of a profit.

After returning to the Red Lion, I gambled a bit more and earned 50 points for their annual 4th of July t-shirt.  So I have one from last year and now this year's.  It is a nice little cotton shirt (suitable for framing).

Monday July 4th

I got up early.  I toyed around with the idea of doing a 5K race in Spring Creek but my last race experience wasn't that great and I really and truly wanted to hike Lamoille canyon.  I gobbled down a quick breakfast at Jrs -- a casino diner located across the street.  I've never been disappointed there and it was good.  

The 4th of July parade had been held on the 2nd because of the Basque festival, so I was off the hook as far as parades were concerned.  This bummed me out, because they have a low-stress, very cool parade and if they had it that day, I would've made it a point to go again.  I am not a super big parade person, but I liked theirs. 

Either way, I headed out to Lamoille Canyon where I hiked to Liberty Pass.   There was even some snow on the trail.  There were a ton of people there and I even managed to run into someone I recognized from the Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon I ran about 2 weeks ago.  As always, Lamoille is a secret gem in the Elko area and I love going there:

I rushed back and Shari and I wound up having a fairly late breakfast / lunch at the Garden Cafe's buffet.  For about $11, the Monday morning buffet was actually pretty good.  

We wound up gambling a bit and my luck continued to go south.  To break up things, we went over to Jc Penny's, which is across the street from the hotel.  I bought some new shorts and a new a wallet -- my old one was falling apart.  Elko is about the only place I'll shop for that.  The reason is that it is easy parking, no crowds and I don't have to deal with anything.  Half my non-running wardrobe comes from the Elko Pennies.

I was surprised at how quickly I got hungry and before the 4th of July fireworks were to start, we ate at Jr's again.  

After eating, we ambled over to the city park where we watched the fireworks.  We got there pretty early.  I had heard that the fireworks were to start at 9 PM but in actuality they didn't start until close to 9:45.  It felt like the longest wait ever.  We did make friends with a loquacious woman from West Virginia who was passing through Elko who was at least interesting to listen to.

The fireworks seemed better last year, but none the less it was an easy walk from the hotel and I was so glad I hadn't driven.  Traffic was backed up quite a bit...

Tuesday July 5th

In the morning, I got up and shambled through 5 miles of running.  I snapped a bunch of pictures of Elko and I sort of felt like I was playing hooky.  It was a work day and everyone was trying to get to work, while I was running along the streets.  I tried some new streets I hadn't run down before and had fun seeing all the old houses and buildings:

After arriving back at the hotel, we gathered our stuff and took off to Wendover.  The ride there was pretty uneventful and we got there kind of late. 

Most of the weekend crowd had already left, so it was nice.  It felt like we had the casino to ourselves.  Wendover was honoring the 2-for-1 buffet pass, so we ate for 50% off.  

My luck continued to go south and what little I had left of my gambling money, I managed to piss away and not get a whole lot of satisfaction out of.  Like most of the trip, gambling was pretty much a bust.


As I sort of expected, this year wasn't as cool as last year.  I think the gambling wound up working out to be about the same experience (yuck), but I did have a good time.  I got in two hikes and a decent run.  I also ate for fairly cheap (I think we used a coupon or comps with just about every meal) and the hotel was next to nothing.  So I really don't have any major complaints.

I wish there had been more wild flowers out.  I suspect in another week or two they'll be out in full force but I was glad to get to see some snow and have fantastic weather for hiking.

Perhaps next year I'll repeat this trip again!