Saturday, July 21, 2018

2018 Handcart Days 5K Race Recap - Bountiful Utah






Official Time: 25:24
Placement: 29th male, 3rd in 45 - 49 age division, 35th overall
Results:  Soon
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 80 degrees. Somewhat overcast. No wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First time for the 5K for this race. Half in [2017] [2016] [2015] [2012]


Mile TimeComments
17:50Off to a good start.  A little crowded at the beginning but able to run my pace quickly
28:23Way too slow! 
38:39Felt like I was going faster than this. It is a gradual climb here though
3.080:34
Total Miles: 3.08 - 25:27



Introduction


Now that I am back in Utah, I have been focusing on getting out there and doing some races here.  Today's race took me to a familiar haunt: The South Davis Recreation Center.  

The recreation center puts on a fantastic series of races throughout the year.  They are usually well-attended, cheap, and I feel you get your money's worth.

In year's past, I have run the half marathon.  However, my distance training hasn't been what it should be and I know from past experience if I haven't been doing my long runs a half marathon just isn't going to be a good experience. 

Hence this year I signed up for the 5K.  The 5K course is identical to their Valentine's Day and Thanksgiving Day run so I knew what I was in for.

The race commemorates the Utah settlers who entered the valley some 150+ years ago.  So the whole race and atmosphere is pioneer themed.  Apparently the settlers dragged their worldly belongings on a handcart, hence the race's name.  There are exhibits and a small carnival and historical exhibit in the park near the finish line.




The Race


The 5K started at 7 AM and I rolled in just a hair before 6 AM.  Fortunately, I was able to watch the half marathoners start and nabbed a few photos of the pack as they ran by.

I grabbed my shirt and bib in no time flat and managed to kill an hour before the race start.  The race started right at 7 AM.

I was half asleep it seemed when the race started.  I had warmed up a bit with some drills but nothing serious.  It wasn't "Arizona hot" but it was warm.  I just felt tired, but I knew once the race started I could bust out 3 miles.

Initially I was hemmed in but by the time I turned the corner onto the main drag, I could run at my own pace.  I was working pretty hard but I knew I wanted to take advantage of the first mile since it was mostly downhill along a residential street lined with houses / apartments (and later in the race, small businesses)

I turned in a 7:50 first mile, which was exactly where I hoped to be.

After the first mile, the race makes another turn and there is a slight climb to the half way point.  This hill always seems bigger in my mind and I think it got the best of me and I slowed ever so slightly.

I tried to find people to work off of and I thought I spied another guy who might be in my age division.  I made it my goal to hang with him.  

I was crestfallen when I hit 2 miles and saw an 8:23 mile.  Way too slow.  I figured I had some more in the tank and tried to pick up the pace.  The final mile from 2 to 3, however, is a bit of a climb.  While 70 feet doesn't sound like much, it is an extended hill that just wears you down.

The guy who I chose as my target maintained a better pace than me and was extending his lead (I never caught him) and I found myself battling it out with a loud-stepping teen and a father / son combo.

I figured I was going to turn in a fast mile but again, the hill got the best of me.  I expected another 8:23 but after reviewing my Garmin, I realized I hit an 8:39.  Eww.



I didn't have anyone tailing me but I dug deep and crossed the finish line around 25:24, which is where I pretty much expected to finish.


Conclusion


After the race, I grabbed some Gatorade, bananas (Organic!) and checked my results at the computer.  3rd Place in my age division -- sweet!  Honestly, I expected to finish in the top 3 -- it was a small-ish race and most of the faster runners I suspected were doing the half.


The 5K finisher medal was pretty tiny.  I think they had a bigger one for the half marathoners -- as they should.  Their Thanksgiving / Valentine's Day medals are usually works of art.  

I got a free pancake breakfast, which was actually pretty good.  The shirt was nicely designed but the white shirts tend to show stains after a while.  My age group prize was a stylized cowbell, which was kind of cool.

As usual, I got a good deal for my money.  I got a swag bag, shirt, medal, supported course, post-race refreshments for less than $30.  I definitely enjoy the race series and would definitely be back -- hopefully for the half next year.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Farmington Festival Days 10K Race Recap - Farmington, UT






Official Time: 53:48
Placement: 29th out of 96, 21st male out of 45, 3rd in the 40 - 49 age division
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 80 degrees, cloudy, with no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Ran the half in 2012 in 1:41:31


Mile TimeComments
18:41Race starts with an uphill almost immediately.
27:53Fast mile here as most of it is downhill
38:57Reality sets in.  Sort of struggling with a slow uphill. Running with some of the 5Ks
49:04Slow grind uphill again
510:19I think my Garmin lost reception here. 
68:41Trying to turn on the jets
6.050:18
Total Miles: 6.05 - 53:56 (note Garmin likely lost reception)




Introduction


When I got back to Utah, I immediately hit up UtahRunning.com to see what the local races were going to be.  As per usual, there is absolutely no shortage of races going on here.

I am not really ready for a half marathon, so I was looking for anything in the 5K / 10K range.  Sure enough the Farmington Festival Days race popped up.

When I first moved to Utah, the race was one of the first half a dozen or so races I did and I had nothing but good memories of it.  It was well organized and had an awesome post race breakfast spread.

The race was fairly cheap (I think about $30) so I figured why not...  and I've always wanted to rerun some of the streets of Farmington, as it is a cozy little town with some mature tree-lined streets.


The Race


I rolled into the race about an hour early.  I remember last time I was there, finding the race location and finding parking was challenging.  This year, that wasn't a problem.  I found ample parking.  I am also going to go out on a limb and say attendance appeared to be down from other years.  I think the race market is flooded and there were ton of choices to run today.

Either way, I meandered over to city hall and picked up my bib and shirt in no time at all.  The race timer is a friend of mine, so I socialized with him and hid out in my car until about 15 minutes before the race started.

After a bit of a warm-up, the race started at 7 AM.



The race initially starts off very discouraging.  You head out a drive way and almost immediately you are greeted with an uphill.  It isn't super long but you immediately begin to question your sanity on why you run these races.  You aren't even into the race and you are already hurting for oxygen.

Luckily, the race levels out and you eventually get a bit of your hill back in subsequent downhills.

I was beginning to panic on the race at the outset.  I wasn't really in the mood to race and I felt like I was getting left behind.  My pace was solid, and I sort of had started in the back, but it seemed like everyone was having no problems with the hill.

I told myself to be patient and that once I got into the groove things would change.

Sure enough, once the hill ended I started making up ground.  I was a bit saddened to see the first mile go by in 8:45.  I was hoping to start off with an 8:30.  But this course was hilly, it was warm and I am still getting re-acclimated to the altitude.

Most of the runners were doing the 5K and they split off from us after about a mile.  I was suddenly looking down Main Street with just a handful of runners.

It was downhill for the time being and I got another boost with a fast downhill that more than made up for the initial uphill.  I was surprised to see I had just run a sub 8 minute mile.  I was hoping that I could hold onto that pace, but it definitely wasn't my day.

I was hurting by the 3rd mile.  We had rejoined with the 5Kers -- they were on their second mile and we were on our 3rd.  We also finally hit a water stop.  There were only 2 this race and I certainly could've used another one.

After another mile we once again separated from the 5K racers.  I was longing to join them when they made their final turn.

I vaguely remembered most of the course and definitely the first mile... as it follows the Handcart Half Marathon final miles.  It was reassuring to be running on familiar ground.

The race eventually led us to the bike trail.  This was the best part of the race for me.  Except for one small part, it was well marked.  The bike trail was heavily treed and I suspect here is where my Garmin lost reception at times.  I was also running solo at this point.  I had passed the folks I was racing against and there wasn't anyone in front of me.  There were a lot of turns and I was worried (a little) about missing one.

I was duking it out with another runner who would pass me and then take a walk break.  I'd over take him and for most of the race we were swapping spots.  I had a hunch he may have been in my age division and while I didn't have a lot of hope that I'd win an age group award, I didn't want to leave anything to chances.  It turns out he and a few others who passed me were in the 50 - 59 age division.  I wound up overtaking him at the 5 mile marker and stepped on the gas to the finish.

The final mile took us back onto the rolling hills of Main street.  The police had cordoned off the important intersections and traffic at 7:45 in the morning wasn't too bad, so we weren't much of a hindrance.  I got a little bit of a second wind in the final mile although I was clearly fading fast.

It was with a huge sense of relief when I finished the race and crossed the finish line.



Conclusion


I grabbed some water and walked around a bit.  My shirt and shorts were drenched.  I had dumped one water cup over me to cool me off, but otherwise it was pretty much 100% sweat. By Utah standards it was kind of a muggy morning.  I am just thankful that it wasn't blazing sun.

I wound up socializing a bit and trying to decide if I was happy with my time.  I wasn't beating myself up and my time was about what I expected it to be.  I haven't gotten in many long runs, it was a hilly course, and I am getting used to the altitude again.  



To my surprise, I wound up finishing in 3rd place in my age group (there were only 4 of us).  I was no expecting that. 



They had a wonderful french toast breakfast at the end.  They advertise as having one of the best post-race breakfasts in Utah and I would agree it is up there.  Definitely worth the price of admission on this one.

The shirt is a cotton shirt.  I probably won't use it much but I like the design.  There were only two aid stations on the course.  I think a 3rd one would've be nice but I survived without it.  Awards and results were done very quickly and in a professional manner.

For the roughly $25 - $30 I paid for the race, I felt like I had gotten my money's worth.  The bathroom situation was fine and even managed to use it minutes before the race. I loved the course too as it offered a lot of variety.  However, it is challenging.  It was certainly good to be back in Farmington.

Friday, July 13, 2018

This Week in Running 6/25 - 7/12 - Back In Utah



Miles to Date: 1010.75


Life


Things were a little rough in Arizona of late.  The temperatures kept climbing and my running seemed to suffer. 

My plan was to get up at 5 AM most mornings, run 4 - 7 miles and get it done.  For a while this worked.  Temperatures were in the lower 80's and by the time it hit 5:30 AM, the sun was blazing.  Most mornings I could tolerate but by the end I was pretty dehydrated.

Once July hit there was another level of hot.  At 5 AM I found it in the low 90's and 4 miles suddenly became challenging. 

To compound matters, I just found myself kind of bored.  After my run or race on the weekends, I'd find myself updating my blog, taking a nap, and then going to a restaurant and eating way too much food.  Then I'd come home, watch some more TV, nap or sit by the pool.  I was 100% bored.  It wasn't fun going outside and I wasn't willing to drive 2 - 3 hours one way each weekend to seek out cooler temperatures.

In short, Phoenix wasn't a good fit for me.

To compound matters, I don't think the job was a super good fit either but that's another story.

So after some soul searching, I opted to return to Salt Lake City.  I hadn't sold my house (or even listed it here) and I was renting a room from my brother, so I had very little reason NOT to return to SLC.  Some of my best years were here and I felt like I had traded down instead of up.

So I made a phone call or two and managed to return to my old job and my house.  In writing this, I have been here only a few days and I feel a huge sense of relief.  I have my old bike trail as well, which I love.

Running


I am a little behind in terms of overall mileage as to I'd like to be.  One of my goals was to hit about 2000 miles for the year.  I came in about 10 days shy.  I haven't ramped up for any mega races (marathons) but I have been running fairly consistently.  I haven't been able to get the mileage in that I'd liked to have had either in Arizona due to the heat.

On the plus side, though, I have been focusing on shorter races.  The start of the year found me doing a ton of half marathons -- in the middle of summer -- I have been focusing on 5Ks.  This has translated into focusing more on speed than endurance.  Unfortunately, even getting in a 7 mile run since returning has been challenging.  I've lost a bit of my endurance.  So I'll be focusing on building that back up.


Hiking 


One of the first thing I did upon returning is to visit Little Cottonwood Canyon to see the wildflowers.  I had been thinking of this canyon ever since July had rolled around.  Usually around this time of year the wild flowers are in full bloom.  

With time in between jobs, I opted to do a my 5 mile jaunt.  It was quite a workout at that altitude, but the altitude didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

I got some fantastic pictures and I was so thrilled to be back home.














Upcoming Races



07/14: Farmington Festival 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
07/21: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #5 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
07/21: Handcart Day's Races 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
08/04: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #6 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
08/18: Arizona Sunrise Race Series 5K #7 - Phoenix Area, AZ (Confirmed)
11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

2018 Arizona Sunrise Series #4 5K - Arizona Falls - Phoenix, Arizona






Official Time: 25:30
Placement: 33rd male, 8th out of 23 for the 45 - 49 male, 42nd overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 93 degrees at start, no wind, sunny
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural Year


Mile TimeComments
18:01Boxed in a lot here. Felt good though
28:08I am starting to feel the effects of the heat. 
38:23Hurting here.
3.110:44Really crushed it at the end.
Total Miles: 3.11 - 25:28




Introduction

Before I came to Arizona, I signed up for the Arizona Sunrise Series.  It is a series of 7 5K races scattered around the Phoenix valley.  Today's race was at the Arizona Falls bike trail.

The Arizona Falls is a spot where water is diverted to various canals in the Phoenix area and is home to a bike trail.  The main attraction here is a waterfall that generates power.  Apparently there is some historical aspect of it, being that it has been used as a water irrigation canal since the Native Americans inhabited the area.



The Race

I got to the race site around 5:30 and managed to snag a pretty awesome parking spot.  Finding the race location wasn't hard and I quickly grabbed my shirt and bib and spent some time checking out the falls.  The smell of stinky fish permeated the air.


It was already 92F degrees according to my phone and car.  It was hot and just walking around made me sweat.  I knew this race was going to hurt and I suspect my time wasn't going to be a terribly good one.  It was though, just a "5K".

The race started at 6:30 and the sun was up and hot at this point.  It easily went up another degree or two. 

The race started on the north side of the canal trail and headed east -- right into the sun.  The first part of the trail is packed dirt.  It was actually pretty nice terrain to run and I was wearing my "fast" shoes with less cushioning on them.  Eventually, though, the trail does come to concrete.



The first mile I was hemmed in pretty good.  The race organizer didn't really encourage people to line up according to pace and I had started about half way back.  The first third of a mile or so was me working my way around people.  It was too bad but it did cost me a few seconds.

I settled into my pace and I could feel the effects of the sun hitting me and my mouth was dry. 

The race director is a pro at this and he had 3 water stops... at about .75 miles each.  I blew through the first one despite feeling the need to pour a cup of water on myself.  Doing so gave me a little bit of open road to work with.


I reached the bridge that crossed the canal and went to the south side just over 1.55 miles.  I was pretty gassed and the darn heat was just weighing down on me.  I was sweating like crazy and at the second aid station I took a tiny sip of water and dumped the rest over my head.  All I wanted was to take an ice cold shower.

I wasn't too surprised to see my mile 2 was slower than my first.  In fact, I was surprised it wasn't slower.  I wasn't getting passed at all though and I was doing some passing, so I knew others were feeling the heat just as much as I was.

Mile 3 was a reality check.  I was hurting and my ears were ringing a bit.  I could feel the first steps of heat exhaustion coming on.

Before race -- south side of trail
I saw some targets ahead of me that I knew I was faster than and I worked my way up to them, passing them.  The race was chipped time so I was pretty sure they had started closer to the front but still, it was satisfying to have something to work off of.

I really pushed it hard to the finish -- turning on the jets as much as I dared to. Sort of shame that the finish line was out of view until 3 miles as I might've hit it a little harder earlier.


Conclusion


I was completely gassed at the end and woozy.  The heat had really gotten to me and the fact that I had pushed it to the end almost put me over the top.



I grabbed some Gatorade and walked it off.  I was sweating profusely and it just wouldn't stop.  I grabbed a banana and ate it and almost regretted it.  I eventually found a shady spot to sit and socialized with whomever decided to sit near me.  It seemed like a lot of people were hit hard by the heat.

Got the letter "Z" on this race
Given the conditions, I ran about as expected.  This course would be fast -- if it was about 40 degrees cooler.  Alas, today it was like running under a hot hair dryer.  Not pleasant at all.

It did take some grit to finish this one.  Yes it was just a 5K but the pain level is a lot higher and it was just not a nice day to run in.  (Did I mention it was semi humid as well?)  But I have now done 3(ish) 5Ks in 8 days.  Not a bad little set of races...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

2018 Arizona Road Racers Summer Sunrise Series #3 - 4 Miles for the Fourth Race Recap - Peoria, Arizona





Official Time: 33:01
Placement: 168th overall (out of 547 runners), 14th in my age group (out of 30), 123rd male
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 85 Degrees. No wind and sunny
Garmin Dump: Forgot it
Previous Years: Inaugural Year


Mile TimeComments
1
Felt pretty good at the start -- maybe the heat won't bother me
2
Okay, the heat is getting to me
3
Seemed like the course was mostly uphill
4
Come on let's just finish
Total Miles: 4.00 - 33:01




Introduction


Next to Thanksgiving, I think the Fourth of July is probably the next biggest racing day for road races.  So I certainly couldn't miss out on that...

I looked around and the only race in town was the Arizona Road Racers Sunrise Series way out in Peoria.  It was a bit of a drive for me and I started to question my sanity when I saw the temperature gauge hit 88 degrees on my car.  Luckily, it calmed down and got to a "cool" 85 when I rolled into the Rio Vista Park in Peoria.



The Race

I rolled in just after 5:30 AM for the 6:30 AM start.  I had a prime selection of parking and managed to pick up my bib in short order. 15 minutes there was a line.  I wound up circling around the park checking out the bike trail and the fishing / duck ponds.


I used the bathroom and did a brief warm-up.  Just walking around worked up a pretty good sweat for me.  I knew this one was going to be tough -- the question is how badly the heat would affect me.



The race started on time and due to the large number of runners and the limited amount of space on the bike trail, they had a staggered start based upon projected mile pace.  They did a fantastic job with the start and I felt like I started with people in my category.  It was still a little congested on the bike trail but it forced me to start off cautiously.

I felt good in the first mile.  The course is a very mild downhill and I was using bursts of speed to work my way around packs of runners.  My pace felt controlled but still fairly fast.  I could feel the sun on my back and it was just darn right uncomfortable for running.

I was upset because I hadn't brought my Garmin.  I love knowing my pace, whether the course was accurate and just how much longer I have to go.  The race director did have mile marker posts out and I was tempted to ask for splits but the folks around me were either wearing earbuds or talking.  I was still running with the 8 min / mile pace, so I figured I was on pace.



There were some rolling hills.  They weren't awful but the bike trail did dip and rise out of a little gully.  It seemed like most of the course was uphill.  At first I was able to charge up the hills -- thanks to some hill charge repeats I do weekly, but as the course wore on the heat got to me and I was just running out of gas.

Mile 2 I still felt fairly good.  Near the end though I could tell I was going to suffer with the heat.  My turnover was struggling and I was dripping sweat.  It is always satisfying to note when you are half way.



The way back was a suffer-fest.  The course was a loop and the way back seemed primarily uphill.  Again, just a few ramp-like hills and a slow, steady grind.

I was passing a few people who clearly were suffering from the heat, but at this point I was getting passed too by more consistent runners.  I tried working on my turnover and just telling myself a little bit more.  I grabbed some water from the aid station, took a sip and dumped the rest over the back of my neck.



The final mile I was able to regroup a bit.  Yes, it was a grind but I felt my pace sort of come back to me.  I knew the finish line was in site and while I knew I was out of any sort of medal contention I was trying to push for the best time -- without making myself sick from the heat.

I pushed it to the finish by crossing a short bridge and then a quick right turn to cross under the inflatable arch.  I am not sure I would've had another mile in me given the temperature and my pace.  




Conclusion


I was pretty happy with my time -- it was totally expected.  Using some online calculators, it puts me at a 25:15 5K, which is about what I am running these days.


I walked around a bit, sipping on Gatorade and seeing if I knew anyone.  I am starting to recognize some of the folks from other races.  Seems like I am not the only race junky here.

My head was buzzing but I didn't feel totally pukey like other races.  In fact, I felt a bit better than I expected.  Maybe I had a little more to give on the course today.



Eventually I did grab some food.  This race didn't have any shirts or medals, but certainly made up for it with the post-race spread of food.  They were also thoughtful to the vegetarians and had a veggie burger.  Score!  The food consisted of hot dogs, burgers, watermelon, and cookies and chips.  Plenty to eat and they were pretty generous with it too.


I wound up hanging around for a while eating and just enjoying the park.  I was in no rush and it was a beautiful morning just to bum around.

Well worth the $25-ish dollars I paid for this race.  I'd definitely do it again.