Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Year in Running

Miles Year to Date:  1939.5 (as of Dec 30)

Running Update

Well this year was mixed -- as usual.  I saw my times stay about the same and I was certainly racing a lot.

I had a shot at 2000 miles this year but I sort of realized I was getting close a little too late.  It was a soft goal of mine to hit it, but I wasn't really training for a marathon at all this year.  I started to try and run a 1000 mile week about 8 days shy of the year's end and I did about 2 days of 17 - 18 miles a day and I was like, no way -- not happening.  So I did the smart thing and just settled with coming up fairly close to 2000.  

Right now, I am just trying to stay fit, enjoy the cooler weather and burn some calories.  I need to be ready for the St George Half Marathon in about 3 weeks.  I really enjoy that race and am looking forward to doing it this year.

So without further ado, let's look at last year's goals and what I accomplished in 2018:

Race Totals

I ran the following race distances:

Marathons:  0
Half Marathons: 13
10 KMs: 6
4 Mile: 1
5 KMs: 19

Race Miles: 270.4 in 39 races.

I really took my racing up another notch this year in sheer volume.  It was fun...  I tried some new races as well and I really did a ton of racing in the spring -- particularly the half marathon distance.

I did discover that the half marathon is starting to wear my down more than usual.  In the past, I could mail them in.  This year, they seemed a lot harder.  My hunch is that it was a bit of fatigue as well as the fact that I am getting old / heavier and going that kind of distance is going to need more recovery as well as understanding my new pace.

Cat Update

I still have my beautiful cat I found on the bike trail from last year.  She is beautifully behaved cat and we love her to bits.  

However, this year I have befriended another cat.  My history with this other cat goes for just about 3 years.  I started seeing her across the field and I'd drop food for it.  Eventually I figured out where she hung out and I'd drop food for it there.... and every day the food disappeared.

As time went by this "feral" cat would allow me to look at her and feed her (I am presuming it is a her) but not actually pet her or touch her.  She'd back away if I approached.

When I moved to Arizona this past summer I arranged to have her fed.  And when I came back and spotted her she came running up to me, meowing and rubbing against me.  It was awesome.

Since then, she lets me pet her and waits for me every day.  

I've tried twice to take her home but she has escaped my efforts.  I am hoping soon to see if she'd be happy living with us. She is a bit ragged looking now, but I bet she cleans up nicely.  Nice thing is that she is well fed and no longer looks hungry all the time.

Goals from End of 2017

Here are my goals that I made at the start of 2018.  How did I do?

Get Faster -- Take at least 1 minute off my 5K time

Mostly fail on this one.  I didn't drop the weight and my speed workouts were much on hiatus most of the year.  I started off the year running about 24:30 and finished around 25 minutes.  I did, however, do some speed work from time to time and I did a lot of shorter races.  I also did NOT lose weight this year.

Do at least 3 races I haven't done before and at least one new state

Score on this one.  Since I moved to Arizona in the middle of the summer, I was easily able to do new races.  Even if I hadn't moved, I would've done new races.  However, I did not explore one new state. 

Have some restraint at buffets

For the most part, success.  I did do better in showing restraint and I rarely left buffets feeling so terrible I thought I was going to be sick.  I also watched calories, but as I age, my metabolism is slowing down, so this year I wound up gaining a pound or two.... which further slows me down.

Cross Train

Mostly success.  I did a lot of hiking this year.  I did not join a gym -- although when I was living in Arizona I had access to a gym at work and I definitely took advantage of it.

Run Numbers

I wanted to run 2000 miles, I'll hit close to 1950.  Close enough...  I think if I really had set my mind to it, I could've worked in a few extra miles and accomplished it.  But it wasn't super high on my list.

Run a marathon:  I just didn't have the heart for it this year.  Even going out and running 18+ miles didn't seem to interest me.  I think the longest I ran all year was about 16 miles (in one shot).

Race Performances

Favorite Race: Ruby Mountain Relay  I really enjoyed this race.  It was beautiful and held in one of my favorite places in the world.  I didn't necessarily run well and the race was grueling, but I really enjoyed it.  When I think back on 2018, this race comes to mind.  2nd placeSaints and Sinners

Best PerformanceSaints and Sinners ... Naturally this race was downhill, so I am going to turn in a good time.  Overall though I felt like I ran really well and wasn't dying too badly near the end.  2nd Place: Night Fury #2 -- Surprisingly, I had a good race in 100 degree temperatures.  Looking back, this was kind of fun and a new experience.  

Worst Performance:  Too many to mention.  Some of the worst include: Jordan River 5K, Green Eggs and Ham 5K, and the Riverton Half Marathon.  I just remember suffering through them and just barely being able to finish.  Not a good day for sure.

Life in 2018

Life in 2018 was "interesting".  

I started off the year with life as normal.  However, at some point I felt like switching jobs.  I don't remember exactly what my motivation was at the time.  I think I was getting pushed to move to Arizona 

The job market for software developers (which is what I do for a living) is pretty hot and I was surprised at how quickly I got responses.  I felt like I did an okay job interviewing and actually had a few prospects.

I wound up taking the job in Arizona.  At the time, I kind of didn't want to move.  But I was trying to make other people happy with my decision.  I really LOVE Utah and I loved my life and the setup I had.  I had a job that I am pretty well respected at and for the most part I enjoyed going to work.

My experience in Arizona wasn't that great.  The job was more or less a mismatch for me and once the "hot as hell" summer kicked in, I decided that life got worse for me.  I love being outside and sitting by the pool and burning my feet off just wasn't happening for me.

Luckily, I was able to move back (I still had my house here) and my job was thrilled to have me back.  So in theory, it was a 60 day "leave of absence".

It certainly made me appreciate all the fun things I have here going on.  Yeah it gets cold here but generally I can find something to do all year and it is nice to have a strong community of runners / racers.

The other fun thing I did in 2018 was I finally did the Highway 50 drive.  I didn't do all of it, I am missing a stretch from the Utah border to Ely (which I have never driven) but I can say I've driven from Ely, NV to Lake Tahoe on Highway 50.  And I loved it. 

At the time I drove it, I kind of knew I was leaving and it was sort of a farewell to Northern Nevada.  To appease me, I was told we'd take vacations in northern Nevada, but I knew that wasn't likely to happen.  It would be a hard sell to get Shari to go and I just didn't see it happening as much as I'd like to have.  In fact, it was one of the things I really longed to do when I was sitting in an air-conditioned apartment in Phoenix in the dead of summer: visit Northern Nevada.

The Highway 50 Trip was a trip of a lifetime and it seemed to trigger my interest in seeing more of it -- in more detail.  

Other than that, 2018 didn't have any major revelations for me.  I still have the same job, live in the same place and I still run nearly every day.  

Life is pretty good right now.

Upcoming Races

It is nice not to have any races in the queue right now.  I am still training somewhat hard and need to keep my miles up for some spring half marathons.  I certainly wish there was an occasional 5K to keep sharp though...

01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/09: 2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/16: 2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 SLC Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
11/17: 2019 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)

Saturday, December 8, 2018

This Month in Running 11/8 - 12/8

Miles Year to Date:  1786

Running Update

Well as I write this, I think I am done running races for 2018.  I did a quick count and I figure I have run 39 races, which is likely a new record for me.  I started off 2018 with a bunch of half marathons. And once I moved to Arizona (albeit briefly) I rekindled my interest in doing 5K and 10Ks.

So as I start the winter months I am torn.  Do I continue to train hard or do I dial it back a bit and recover?

In years past I've dialed it back and I come out flat in the spring.  Plus running, is more or less my life, so when I do "rest" it usually leaves a bit of a void in my life.  However, in looking back at a few of my weekly totals, I have reduced my mileage about 50% -- hitting about 20 - 30 miles per week.

I do have a half marathon in January -- about a month away and I need to keep some speed as well as endurance to finish that.  So that is my key race and one I like doing well in.  It sort of sets the year off on the right foot when I can run well there.

In the next few weeks I'll be posting a year end wrap up.  

Marathon Dreams

2018 was the first year since 2009 where I did not do a marathon.  Since 2009 I've done about 27 marathons (I've lost count, but more or less it is in that range).  

After 2017's Las Vegas debacle I haven't really felt the need to do another marathon.  But part of me doesn't want to end my marathon "career" on that note.  Will 2019 have one?  Perhaps.  I am not feeling a super strong desire to do one, but we shall see how my training is coming along.  I don't think I'll do a giant race -- but more or less a small more intimate feeling marathon.

As they say, stay tuned...

Looking forward to some destination races this spring.

Upcoming Races

I've definitely been taking advantage of the race discounts.  Cyber Week and of course the upcoming Christmas "deals" means I should be able to save a few dollars   I am being mindful not to run too many half marathons in a row.  I truly burned myself out last spring...

01/19: 2019 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/09: 2019 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/16: 2019 Saints and Sinners Half Marathon - Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/02: 2019 March Madness Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 Slc Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

2018 Gardner Village Santa Run 5K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT

Official Time: 26:19
Placement: 1st in the 45 - 49, 26th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 30's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New to me

Mile TimeComments
18:14Off to a slow start. Crowded and a little icy. Did virtually no warm-up
28:28Definitely feeling it.
38:31Ugh. No second wind on this one.
3.091:05Just cross the finish already....
Total Miles: 3.13- 26:19

Me before the race in the required running outfit


Well, I should point out I rarely do themed run -- let alone fun runs.  But with the race calendar winding down (this should be my last race of 2018) I decided to put this one on my calendar.

It wasn't a super cheap race, but it seems to be all the rage to do these dress-up races and run.  For your entry fee you get a Santa suit, a supported 5K and refreshments at the end.  In addition, the race was practically in my backyard -- a mere 2 or 3 miles down the road.

I think I got in right before a price increase and got a guarantee of a medal.

Packet pick up at Gardner Village

I wound up picking up my bib on Friday night, which was probably a pretty decent idea.  It gave me ample time to try out the suit and see what would need to be tweaked before running it.  I found that the pants did NOT fit right at all and that the best option was for me to wear my shorts over them.  I know this is kind of a fashion faux pas, but you know what -- it kept my pants up.

The Race

The race started at 9 AM and I rolled in sometime after 8 AM.  It was chilly and I found myself there WAY early.  Luckily time flew by pretty quickly and I managed to use the bathroom and do a few drills to get semi warmed up.

I was hoping for a decent race, but given the potential for ice on the bike trail and running in a bulky Santa outfit, I sensed that this was going to be a fun run in the truest sense.

I've run this race's route several times and if memory serves correctly it was my first 5K in Utah when I moved here in 2012.  I only wish I could run what I ran back then....

It was chilly but the Santa suit kept me warm.  Under it, I had underwear and a regular shirt.  I also wore sunglasses because it was intensely bright out.  

The race started at 9 AM and immediately I regretted not doing a warm-up.  Almost from the get go it seemed hard to run.  Usually once a race starts my adrenaline kicks in and I am able to take it up a notch, but this morning ... no such luck.  

It was crowded at first and I think there were some folks that were jammed up at the front that probably shouldn't have been there.  Also there are a lot of turns at the start and it was icy under a bridge.  So I lost a few seconds to that.  But 95% of the Jordan River Bike Trail was in decent shape.

The first mile felt hard.  Nothing was responding very well and I was hurting too much at the start.  My legs just didn't feel fast.  I hadn't used any beet juice before hand and I was using a heavier shoe on account of potential ice.

I wasn't surprised to see the first mile go by in 8:15.  It clearly wasn't what I wanted because I was hurting.  On the plus side, I didn't see too many folks my age around me.  There were a few younger folks leading the pack, but very few middle-aged guys.

About 1.25 miles into the race the trail got shady and there were some slick spots.  I had to turn it down a notch to make sure I didn't fall on my face.  There were a few spots where my shoe literally skidded a bit.

Also it was at this point I realized I was warm.  The cotton material of the Santa suit certainly didn't breath and I was feverishly trying to roll up the sleeves.  I was also wearing a Santa hat which also capped the heat.

The turnaround was marked by a water stop and there were about 20 or so runners in front of me.  There were a few other runners behind me, but the majority of the race were what appeared to be casual runners and families.  It was cool getting lots of cheers and greets from everyone as I returned back to Gardner Village.

Santa Finish Line

I was hoping I'd get a second wind on the way back but there really wasn't any luck.  I was chasing down some of the top female runners.  Occasionally another runner would pass me, which is always heartbreaking.

I kept looking at my Garmin hoping the distance would magically be short, but this course always measures accurately on my watch.  In fact this time it ran a little long (strange).   Either way, I didn't have a lot of speed left as I ran through the finish line.


I was really disappointed with my time.  26:19 is one of my slowest times ever for a "normal" 5K.  Granted, though, I was wearing a bulky Santa suit and the conditions were less than ideal but still, I was hoping for at least a 25:30.

In the long run, it really didn't matter.  I placed first in my age group, but there weren't any age group awards, so sadly this was a fun run in the truest sense.  

There was water, cookies and candy canes at the end.  Since I had registered early, I managed to snag a finisher's medal which was kind of cool.  It is nicely designed.

The race was fun.  It got me out of the house and the weather conditions were mostly good.  You also get to keep the Santa suit, so I am sure at some point I can put it to good use somewhere else.

I was disappointed with my race result.  It was a flat course and from the get go it was just a tough race for me.  While I wanted to run hard, it just wasn't there.  More than likely I sort of had written the race off mentally on account of the bulk outfit and less than desirable trail conditions.  Also, another minute or two wouldn't have made any difference other than to my ego.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

2018 Ruby Mountain Relay Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap - Lamoille, NV

Official Time: 26:09
Placement: 1st in the 45 - 49, 12th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 32 wet / slightly slippery roads with mild wind from the south and west
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New to me

Mile TimeComments
18:36Sucking thin air.  Slight uphill
28:47More uphill here.  Challenging running
38:08Downhill and a bit of a tail wind.  Just what I needed.
3.090:37Cross the finish line in one piece.
Total Miles: 3.09- 26:09


For a while now I've wanted to run the Lamoille / Elko Turkey Trot 5K.  And most years I just let it pass by.  I am usually close to the race site -- it is a yearly tradition for me to go to Wendover (half way there from Salt Lake) on Thanksgiving.

This year, however, the fine folks at Red Lion threw me a nice offer for their hotel and I decided to take them up on it.  I also got into the race for cheap since I registered early.  I just needed the weather to cooperate.  Getting to rural Nevada in the winter can be dicey... a passing storm can strand you.... or worse put you into a ditch where cell reception is spotty.

We've had a mild fall, and I figured I'd be good.  However, upon making the trip on Friday afternoon from Wendover, I found myself driving in rain.  Luckily it was over 40 degrees so it was just rain.  If I had been driving in 32F degree weather I'd be really really sorry.

It rained most of Friday and the temperature dropped.  Luckily the combination of the two didn't happen.  The roads were slick on Saturday morning but definitely not bad.  However, getting home might've been an issue.

The race starts at 10 AM, which was super nice.  It allowed me to wake up at a reasonable hour, loaf in bed and by the time I got to the race it was reasonably warm out.

The race's headquarters were situated at the base of the Ruby Mountains at the Presbyterian Church of the Crossroads.  This church was completed in 1905 and much of the building is still in its original state.  It is a historical treasure as well as a fairly nice place to start the race.

I knew a few people at the race and I wound up getting my bib / shirt pretty quickly and socializing.  I did a short 1 mile warm up as well and declared myself ready to race.

The Race

The race started out on time.  I was wearing shorts, two shirts, and throw away gloves.  I felt I was adequately dressed and by the end of the race I was rolling up my sleeves because I was so warm.

I started off okay and settled into what I thought was my 5K pace.  I found myself breathing hard almost right away.  For the uninitiated, Lamoille sits at about 5800 feet.  So the air felt a lot thinner.

I thought the road was going to be slippery, but it actually was good to run on.  Anything that was painted, however, was slippery.  But footing really wasn't a concern despite the snow and slush.

The race heads west from the church along the main drag.  There was some traffic, but Lamoille is a sleepy little village and most of the cars passing by where nice (the speed limit is also 25 mph).

The first mile went by quickly enough but I wasn't too surprised to see an 8:30-ish appear on my watch.  I rarely ever speed up on a 5K, and I settled into the fact that this wasn't likely to be a breakout race for me.

Entrance to Lamoille Canyon

The next half mile wasn't any easier as we turned into the entrance of Lamoille canyon.  There was a bit of a breeze coming through the canyon and it was a very tiny uphill.  It felt like I was hurting more than I should be.

I was so thankful to hit the turn around, which I reached at 1.54 miles on my Garmin.  It felt so good to be running downhill with a bit of a tailwind.  Hopefully I could make up some time.

I was running solo at mile 2.  No one was behind me for quite some time and I was chasing down a woman and a young kid.  It was funny to see him look at me every now and then trying to keep ahead of me.  I tried to work off of him and make an attempt at passing but I was pretty gassed.

The final mile, of all things, was my fastest.  It was primarily downhill and I had a tiny tail wind to push me along.  I was counting down the 10ths of a mile until I reached the finish line.  I was so happy to finish.


I wound up finishing with a time of 26.09.  My time wasn't too unexpected.  Running at thinner air on a more difficult course then my previous 5K definitely made a difference.  Still, all things considered it wasn't too bad of a race for me.

I changed into some dryer clothes and hung out in the church.  Post race refreshments were chips, bananas and water.  Pretty basic fare for a fairly cheap 5K.

I snagged a nice t-shirt and since I won my age group, I got a ribbon.  It was also a special treat to hang out in the church.  I've photographed the outside of the church before but it was nice to be able to sit in the seats and admire the stained glass.

Overall, it was nice to do this race.  It wasn't a simple one to get to and in the long run it set me back a bit of money, but like all my travel races, I try to pair it with other fun things: like food, gamblin' and buffet eatin'.

I've run most of the course before in some capacity but it was still pretty -- although I had a hard time appreciating it since the 5K tends to be painful almost from the get go.

If my travels take me to Elko again next year, I'll definitely run this one again.  I always enjoy seeing my Elko friends and doing a low key 5K.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

2018 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day Race 5K Race Recap - Bountiful Utah

Official Time: 24:53
Placement: 2nd in the 45-49, 60th overall, 51st male
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 40's, slight wind from the west and then to the east
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012]

Mile TimeComments
17:45Right on target.  Good start here although hampered early on
28:17Back to reality.  A little bit of climbing here
38:33About 75% of this mile is a grind uphill.
3.050:17Crush the last bit
Total Miles: 3.05- 24:54


Every year since I've been in Utah, I've done the South Davis Recreation Center's 5K race on Thanksgiving morning.  They hold a series of races throughout the year and they are usually very affordable and professionally run.  There are a ton of choices in the Salt Lake Area for Turkey Trots, and this one is one I will continue to do. 

I've run this course a bunch of times.  They use it for the Valentine's Day run, their Handcart 5K and their half marathon in the summer finishes along the back end of it.  It is run along the city streets of Bountiful.  It isn't too scenic but the course really doesn't need to be.  It is a short and quick race.

The Race

I rolled into the race about 45 minutes before the start.  Getting their early is always a smart thing because the parking lot fills up.  There's plenty of parking though but you can always spot the newbies as they scramble to find a spot to park.

Packet pickup was located in the gym.  They have it down to an art form there and I had my bib, shirt, goodie bag and a validation that my chip was working in under a minute.  As usual, I got a nice shirt and cloth bag filled with promotional items.

The forecast was for rain but other than some dampness on the ground it was smooth sailing.  In fact, as the morning progressed the weather got better.

I wound up stretching, using the restroom a few times and getting warmed up for the next 45 minutes.

A lot of people were really bundled up for the race.  I was in shorts, t-shirt, and throw away gloves (I hate cold hands).  I was perfectly happy with my setup.

One of my complaints in the past is that this race starts late.  Like 10 - 15 minutes late.  The last few times, though, they've started on time.  And this time -- they started on time.  Thank you!  I time my warm-ups, nutrition, etc down to the second on when the race starts.

As usual, a lot of walkers / kids were in front but I only lost a few seconds overall I figure before jumping out onto the street.  I was quickly able to get up to speed.

The first mile or so is a delicious downhill.  It is really easy to get off to a good start and while I held back a little, I was pretty pleased to see the first mile go off at 7:45.

I was still feeling pretty good but I knew I had to stay strong as the race gets progressively harder.  After about 1.25 miles you turn on a side road.  There is a small hill here and it always seems to take the starch out of everyone's stride.  It isn't a bad hill, but it just looks steep.  This is usually where reality sets in for me.

I blew through the water stop and made another right to begin the journey to the back entrance of the recreation center.  This is another gut check because it is just a straight line for the next mile and you can see a distant street light at the top of a hill.  It is tough running here.

This is also a busy street but it is early in the morning and the course marshals did a great job of dealing with traffic.
I hit the 2 mile mark at 8:15.  I figured I was going a little slower so I was reasonably happy with that.

I kept working up the hill and while I wasn't in a death march, I was definitely hurting.  Before the race, another guy in my age division said he was going to be watching for me.  I saw him ahead and I really wanted to catch him.  I could see his knee high socks and brilliant orange shirt.  Every now and then I'd gain on him but I'd fatigue and he'd pull ahead (I think he wound up beating me by about 30 seconds).

I had done a lot of passing in the early miles but on mile 3 I was starting to get passed a bit.  I am a fast starter and I tend to fade at the end.  But it wasn't like millions of people were passing me, but those with a kick at the end were moving past me.

The nice thing about a 5K is that it is over pretty quick.  The final mile blew by and as I crested the hill, I really dug deep.  I wasn't going to set any personal records, but I certainly wanted the best time I could possibly get.

I hauled it to the finish and saw the clock starting to hit 25 minutes.  A good time for me these days is under 25 minutes and for a minute I was bummed.  Then I looked at my Garmin and realized that I had about a 10 second cushion as that is how long it took me to cross the starting line.

I was thrilled to see a 24:54 on my watch.


As stated above, I was pretty happy with my time.  And it turns out I came in 2nd in my age group. 

I didn't have a lot planned for the day but I sort of didn't want to hang around for awards.  I wound up socializing and the time went by quickly enough.  By the time I was starting to think about leaving they started up with the awards.  They were quick about announcing them this year and I managed to snag a cherry pie for my hard work.

For the $25 I spent for this race, I got a fully supported race, a nice shirt, finisher's medal, swag bag, and post race refreshments (your standard post race fare).  I also got to see a bunch of friends too so it was just a nice way to spend Thanksgiving morning.

I plan on being there next year.... and this was a nice race to tie in with Thanksgiving.

Age group award plus ribbon

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018 Las Vegas Half Marathon Race Recap - Las Vegas Nevada

Official Time: 2:03:53
Placement: 305th out of 1080 in the Males 45-49, 1888 out of 6902 men, 2927th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 50's, slight wind from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012] [2011] [2010] [2009]

Mile TimeComments
18:51Bunched in at the start but off to an okay start
48:40Back to the crowds here so got some energy
68:41Maybe this is "my" race... feeling good
79:03Feeling warm. The 1:55 pacer is out of site at this point
99:12Darn it. I know I am going to hurt
1110:09Way off pace.  Shambling along. Wish the race was over
1210:29Thank goodness I am only doing the half
13.2902:38Sad finish... but glad to be done.
Total Miles: 13:29 2:03:56


The Las Vegas marathon was my first marathon.  I trained with a group way back in 2009 and I really didn't have a plan in mind, other than maybe I'd do the full marathon in Las Vegas.  Mind you, I didn't have a plane ticket, I didn't register for the race, I just trained for it.

Kind of dumb, I know. 

Most people pony up a ton of money for a marathon, mark it on their calendar and go to it.  Me?  I just sort of trained and if things went well, maybe I'd go to it.

I love Nevada (if you can't tell) and any excuse I can combine my passion for Nevada, gambling, buffet-eating, and running, I am in.

This year was extra special.  It was the 10th anniversary of the race and since I had run every edition of the Las Vegas marathon since its inception, my name was put on a board along with about 60-ish other runners who have shown up for every edition.

I can't think of too many things I've done every year for 10 years, but the Vegas marathon is one of them. I've lived in 4 states, have had 5 addresses, and 4 jobs in that time.  I've grown up, matured, and really found my passions in life and I think it was because of this race to some extent that I mustered up the courage to do some of the things I've wanted to do instead of sort of hoping they'd happen on their own.

Last year, I registered to do the marathon for this year at the expo.  I figured I'd be doing it every year until I couldn't do it any more.

Last year's marathon didn't go well and I haven't run really long any time since (I think I've done 1 18 miler).  I started to train in September to do the full for this year and my heart wasn't in it. So I did something sane:  I switched to the half.

Thank goodness I did.

The RnR people were super cool about it and let me switch free and relatively hassle free (it took a few emails) but everything was good to go when I got to the Expo on Saturday to pick up my bib and shirt.

As usual the expo was bustling with people and they had my name up on a banner, I got a deck of cards and a metal cup to commemorate my ten years and a healthy congratulations.  I also signed up for year #11 and snagged myself another t-shirt.

I did manage to get out of the expo without buying anything.  I have a backlog of gels, shoes, and I have more shirts than I know what to do with.... so money saved there.

The finish line around noon

The Race

The Las Vegas marathon is a night race.  It starts at 4:30 PM -- just as the sun as setting.  It is indeed dark and the lights of the strip are definitely a draw.  

The race is also a large one.  This year they boasted of over 40,000 runners, which would be their biggest year yet.

I was attempting to run a 1:55, which given a lower elevation than some of my other half marathons, I thought was realistic.  This course is also fairly flat and my training had gone fairly well.  So I was in corral #10.

I jumped into fairly early and found myself a place to sit where I wouldn't get stepped on.  Word to wise: you are going to be there for a while so find a place to sit, otherwise you'll be standing for a minimum of 20 - 40 minutes.  The time went by quickly though and I made small talk with the folks around me.

I didn't have to go to the bathroom -- thank goodness.  There were absolutely no bathrooms once you got into the starting pens.  And even if you had to go to the bathroom you'd have to fight your way through a ton of people just to get to them. Luckily I hadn't over hydrated and I was fine.

The race started in front of Planet Hollywood (or so) and ran south towards the airport and past the Las Vegas Welcome Sign.  Then it came back and you proceeded on the west side of Las Vegas Blvd before passing the starting line again and jumping onto the east side of the road.  Then you made the long trek to the downtown area while passing all the casinos lining Las Vegas Blvd.

I didn't have any lofty goals for this race, but I was feeling pretty good.  I was well rested, most of my training runs leading up to the race were good and I just felt like I was on target to run a decent race.

Famous last words....

I had stuffed some throw away gloves and I wound wearing them until the start of the race.  I kept them throughout the race and they were much appreciated once I finished.

I wasn't too bright and wore two short-sleeved shirts.  I am not sure why but I guess I was afraid of getting a little chilled while waiting for the start.  Dumb me.  I was surrounded by people, so I was warm and as the race wore on, it made me feel warmer.  I certainly wasn't going to dump one of my treasured Las Vegas marathon shirts so I wound up suffering through the race feeling a little warmer than I'd like to.

It took about 15 minutes for me to reach the starting line and I was excited to get the race going.  I was near the front of my section so I was able to get off to a decent start.  I wasn't too hemmed in and yes there were some walkers and clearly some runners who over estimated their times but for the most part, I didn't have many complaints.

I found the 1:55 pacer and hung with him or at least kept him in my sites as we made our way to the airport.

Within 10 minutes of starting the race it was really pretty dark.  The race organizers had plenty of lights and I could always see clearly.  You still have to watch out for any cracks in the pavement, but generally the road was in good shape.

I felt good and I also felt like my pace was faster than what it was.  I was sort of shocked to see a 9 minute mile for the first mile.  I felt like I had run an 8:30 or so.  That was another warning sign I guess.

I felt like I was holding back for the first 3 miles and I felt good. This could be my race, I kept telling myself.

I was carrying my own Powerade.  I wouldn't have done this but I wanted some place to store my phone while I ran (I have a belt).  There were plenty of water stops with really good volunteers.

I was disappointed with the bathroom situation.  For a race of this size there were hardly any bathrooms on the course.  I saw maybe 10 of them on the entire course.  Seriously.  When I reached the first one, I saw about 10-15 people waiting. 

Occasionally I'd see guys run into the bushes or go against the side of a building.  Many of the businesses had security out to prevent people relieving themselves against their property.  It was just unfortunate.

Luckily I didn't have to go that badly but I would've been hard pressed had I.

Once I got back to the Excalibur I was nearly 4 miles into the race.  I still felt good and the crowd really got me excited.  They had the usual signs, kids high fiving you and women promising sex & beer at the finish.  It was great and I think it helped my pace.

By the time I reached the 10K part I felt okay.  A little tired, a little warm but my pace was solid.  I was still training the 1:55 pacer but it sort of seemed hard to keep up with him.  Was he going too fast?

I told myself to run my own race.

By mile 7 or 8, I was feeling it.  Sometimes was just off in my gut.  Probably too much rich food leading up to the race.  I felt really warm and to be honest, I just wanted to be done. 

This was sort of the dull stretch of course too.  You are approaching the down town area and the crowds are gone and you have a lot of people who seem to be lost on the sidewalks.  It is just a rough part of town.  Also the constant smell of weed (marijuana), porno shops, quickie wedding stuff... .just wasn't holding my interest.

The 1:55 pacer was gone and I knew my pace was slowing down.  How bad was this race going to get?

I was tempted to stop and use a bathroom -- perhaps that would help and I did find a bank of about 20 toilets but they were a solid 100 yards of the course and I decided I didn't need to go that badly.

Seeing Fremont Street was a welcome site and at that point I knew I was headed back to the finish.  There was a bit of a breeze coming at me at this point and it was sort of frustrating.  It would've been nice to have a trail wind (it also explains why my pace going out was a bit faster).

I had been passing a lot of people on my way out and now I they were getting their comeuppance on me.  It seemed like droves and droves of people were passing me as I shambled along.  Thank God I wasn't doing the full marathon.  I kept repeating to myself and when I saw them peel off from us around mile 10 or 11, I thanked myself yet again.  I certainly didn't have a full marathon in me.

I just wanted to be done.  I kept telling myself to dig deep but there wasn't anything.  My stomach wasn't having it, my legs were sort of tired and I just couldn't get any oxygen.  All the energy and Person Records dreams were gone and I just wanted to finish without walking.

I shook my fist at the running Gods when the 2:00 pacer passed me.  If I couldn't break 1:55 at least I wouldn't run over 2 hours -- or so I thought.

I kept at it and kept working each quarter mile down. Sooner or later I would finish and I kept remembering that the final few miles were like an easy run on my bike trail.  I could do it.

And I did.  I kept a brave face when I went through the picture areas but I was really hurting.  I just felt way way off.  I was so exhausted upon crossing the finish line that I was just thrilled to grab my medal and rest against a fence.


Shari had spotted me coming in and she had warmer clothes for me and a Coke.  Coke totally settles my stomach after a race.  I worked up the energy to get near her where she tossed it over the fence and I could change into something warmer.  I sipped gingerly at the Coke as well.

I felt so light headed and I wound up dry heaving a bit.  I am not sure why.  It wasn't like I hammered the pace.  In fact, my finishing pace was like the death march of a full marathon.

I haven't been feeling all that well and my sinuses haven't been happy.  It turns out I could have some allergies and I had even been to the doctor for it a few days before leaving for Vegas.  I have had a lot of mucus build-up and sinus pressure.  It has affected my breathing as well.

It took about 5 minutes before I knew I wasn't going to pass out.  Even a medic came to check on me.  I was mad at myself.  I could understand feeling that way after a marathon, but a half?  What the hell was wrong with me?

2018 Las Vegas Half Marathon Medal

The exit is about a quarter mile walk from the finish line... maybe even longer.  Basically from the south end of the Mirage, past the epic-sized Caesar's Palace and then to the north end of the Bellagio.  I was pretty cold despite a jacket and gloves.  I grabbed some of the freebies they were handing out but I was sort of stewing about my sub-par performance.

It is also a little lonely in there.  You are surrounded by runners, some who are in groups and I don't know a soul in there.  Shari had gone back to the hotel and it was just a lonely walk and I felt sort of anonymous about the whole experience.  There definitely wasn't an afterglow of any sort.  We had dinner plans so I couldn't camp out anywhere and relax either, so the whole thing was anti-climatic for me.

Running shirt, 10 year commemorative glass and free t-shirt for next year
It was a long walk back to the Mirage and I was beginning to question myself.  Was I done with long distance running? Am I going to relegate myself to the 5K / 10K now?  I was in a gloomy and sort of sad mood.  My dreams of sub 1:55... gone... It was even discouraging to see the 2 hour pacer fly by me.

Overall, I liked the course.  It was more or less the same as last year, but there was definitely more Las Vegas Strip and less of the glamorous side. 

The shirt was nicely designed and was of a heavy-duty tech material.  Definitely felt thicker than previous editions.  The medal -- kind of ho-hum.  Like most of the other RnR medals, it was heavy in weight but the design... yawn. 

The post race spread was a beer, water, chocolate milk, Gatorade, chips, pretzels, chips, bananas, oatmeal bars, etc.  Pretty standard fare.  I grabbed what I could carry and put in my pockets.  I had no appetite whatsoever (which kind of sucked when I went to a buffet about 30 minutes after finishing).

I paid $99 for the race; a year in advance.  I am running on a one-of-a-kind course so I was happy with the price.  Had I paid $200 for it?  Probably not so much.  But the deal is on this race is to sign up way in advance.  I felt like I got my money's worth on it and I plan on being there next year.  I got a cool shirt, above average medal, an awesome course, course support with enthusiastic volunteers, and there is a strong / energetic vibe.

The course to me, seemed a bit long.  I checked in with a few others and their Garmin was well over 13.10.  My Garmin was on target with all the mile markers from the get go but around the half way point it fell off and kept drifting further and further out.  In the early miles I was zig-zagging so I would expect it to be off from the start, but it seemed to get more off the longer the race. At least the course wasn't short, but it would appear I ran nearly a quarter mile longer.

After 72 hours, I am still a little bummed about my time.  I am not losing sleep over it, but I am definitely not walking on air.  For me, it was just another race with a less than great performance.  Sadly doing the same race each year, you can compare where you were in times past.  10 years ago, I think I ran the half in about 1:45 or 1:50 -- at marathon pace.  Now, that is my goal pace.   Aging / getting older is a tough pill to swallow for this guy.

But I'll be back and I'll try hard (or not) again next year...