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.