Saturday, March 16, 2019

Lucky 13 10 KM Race Recap - West Jordan, UT




Official Time: 50:31
Placement: 1st in the 45-49
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 30's at start, low 40's at finish. No wind, sunny
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2014]


Mile TimeComments
18:23Really hemmed in at the start. Surprised at the overall result here
28:11Zooming along here
38:22Come on turn around... 
48:22Very consistent
58:21Another surprising mile. Figured I'd be slower
68:31Running out of gas
6.040:18
Total Miles: 6.04 - 50:31




Introduction


Around the start of the year I got sent a blast e-mail which offered some pretty good discounts on various OnHillEvents for the year of 2019.  I had done the race last year and it is just a short 2 mile drive from my house.  So it was a pretty easy decision to do this one.

Last year, though, I had dug myself into a bit of a racing hole.  I had done WAY too many half marathons.  I think in the early spring I did about 6 or 7 half marathons in the span of 7 weeks.  Mid way through I was feeling beat up and this year I didn't want to have a repeat.

So I've dialed it back a bit this year and opted for the 10KM this -- and boy I am glad I did.  I definitely don't feel as run down as I did last year.



The Race


I had picked up my bib the night before, so the whole process of getting ready for the race was as easy as it gets.  I got there just shy of 8:30 for the 9 AM start.  I circled around and took some photos, used the rest room (funny how I have to go even after a 2 minute drive from my house) and then did some drills to warm up.

It was kind of chilly and I opted to run in shorts, 2 shirts, and throw away gloves.  I also ran with sunglasses and a hat.  It was perfect, although I got a little warm mid way through the race despite the upper 30's / lower 40's running weather.

The race started a little late, but no biggie.  Joseph the race director had said he had a big turnout and he wasn't kidding.  Last year, the number of runners were kind of thin.  This year, he had a good contingent of them.  

I inched my way to the front but not too close.  From previous race experiences on this course, the race gets pretty jammed at the start but opens up soon enough.  It all depends upon how many newcomers there are that sort of start up at the front.

I hadn't done much of a warm-up before the race so I sort of eased my way into the first mile.  In some ways I was glad to be hemmed in because it forced me to ease into the race.

The race is held on the Jordan River Bike trail, which is my stomping ground for training.  However, I live about 2 miles north of the starting line and I almost run north when I run on it.  This race goes south and the bike trail is largely flat with no significant hills.  There are plenty of twists and turns but generally speaking -- you run south for 3.1(-ish) miles and then turn around.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the first mile go by fast.  I felt like I was running hard but not that hard.  I was worried I had started too fast and that the last 3 miles would be a crash and burn scenario.  Having just run a half marathon a week before, I knew that I had plenty of endurance.



The 10KM is such a nice distance.  It is a mix of hard running (speed) while still you need endurance to finish.  I was again surprised (and happy) to hit mile 2 even faster than mile 1.  I could feel a little bit of lactic acid building up in me but overall I felt good.  I was wearing my Saucony Fasttwich shoes and I actually felt light on my feet.  And, I was still working with other runners.

Just before the halfway point of any race -- particularly one with an out-and-back profile, I desperately can't wait to hit the turn around point.  It is a mental relief as well as I know how much more I have to go.

I do suspect that the 10KM runners were supposed to run through the 2nd age station and then turn around, but the aid station had their turn around sign there -- at about 3.02 on my Garmin.  I asked if we were supposed to turn around and the volunteers said yes.  Also, I noticed a few other runners turn around, so when in Rome....



I figured I was going to top 10 the race.  I didn't see anyone in my age group and there were only a handful of other runners ahead of me.  The leader of the race was well ahead, but I had a few people to work off of in front of me and a few chasing me from behind.



I was hurting by the time I got to mile 4 but still felt good.  I looked behind me and there were a few runners behind me but not lots.  So I wasn't too worried about losing my age group lock.  At 4.5 I went through the first aid station again and I was still holding a pretty solid pace.

The last mile did eventually catch up with me.  I had two runners trailing me and I was doing my best to hold them off.  One was a woman and the other turned out to be much younger man.  I think they were using me as a pacer and in the last .2 of a mile they both gunned by me and I had nothing left to give.

Also the final mile involves a lot of zig-zagging and tight turns.  There is also a very short but painful hill as you get into the parking lot of Gardner Village -- the boutique shopping area that hosts the race.

I tried catching them but they clearly had another gear in them.

I crossed the line in 50:32 (on my Garmin).  I talked to another runner who said he ran 6.10 miles.  The race was most likely short, so I am guessing on an officially measured course, I'd be just shy of 52 minutes.




Conclusion


I was pretty happy with my time.  I ran well and with the exception of the last mile, my splits were more less very consistent.  Usually I start out WAY too fast and then shuffle through the finish line.  With all my endurance training, it is nice to step down to a shorter distance.



I grabbed my finisher's medal and I wasn't too surprised to see I had won the 45 - 49 age division (last year the half marathon in my age division was super stacked).

I wound up socializing with several runners after the race.  We were all commenting about how nice the weather was.  I kind of wish the weather remained this nice throughout the year.  It was absolutely perfect for a fast run.

The post race refreshments included sports drink, candy, oranges, sandwiches, bananas and of course Fat Boy Ice Creams.  I wound up loading up on those... they taste absolutely heavenly after a race.

I don't remember exactly what I paid for the race, but since I was early it was pretty cheap.  I definitely got my money's worth.  The shirt was nicely designed although it was another cotton / polyester blend.  I am not sure what to make of them as I definitely prefer the 100% polyester shirts for training.  I'll wear it, but probably not for racing.

While the course isn't unique or new, it is a fast one and I enjoy it.  There is something comforting about knowing just about every twist and turn on a course.

I am just pretty happy with the results and I hope this streak continues.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Fast and Flat) Race Recap - Hurricane, UT




Official Time: 1:54:02
Placement: 18th male overall, 3rd in the 45 - 49
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 30's to mid 40's.  Slight wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2016] [2015]

Mile TimeComments
18:51Easing into the race. Let's see what I've got
28:56
38:52Talk about consistent
48:44Picked up the pace ever so slightly
58:45
68:53Begin climbing a lengthy hill. Sort of surprised this wasn't slower
79:31Crested the hill. Now for some down hill. Sort of surprised this mile wasn't slower.
88:26Delicious downhill
99:02Back to the flat section.
108:56
118:35Sense the finish line is coming. Actually holding up really well.
128:53Really digging deep here. Still very consistent
12.857:20Cruise to the finish line



Total Miles: 12:85 1:54:00




Introduction


I am a repeat customer to the Sand Hollow Half Marathon.  It is one of my favorite and quite affordable.  With the race season just starting off, this is an opportunity to race in better weather (i.e. warmer than Salt Lake City) in a part of the state I'd like to visit more often that I do: Southern Utah.

There is a lot to do down in Southern Utah.  It also usually kicks off a weekend in Mesquite, NV where I can get my Jacuzzi and buffet on.  Southern Utah also offers a bigger contrast over northern, as there are a bunch of national parks and beautiful red rock formations.

It was quite an adventure down to Hurricane when I left on Friday.  I ducked out of work a little early.  I had heard there were warnings of some snow flurries but none of the weather sites seemed to be too alarmed by it.

Well by the time I got about 90 minutes out of the city, it started to snow.  It wasn't necessarily sticking but it did make driving a little more nerve wracking.  The central part of Utah doesn't have a lot of civilization and I was really worried about driving into a ditch.  I saw at least a dozen cars, some of them in really bad shape, off in the ditches.  I didn't want that to be me.

All told, it probably took me an additional 45 minutes to get to my destination.  I was so stressed from the drive that my muscles almost hurt. 


The Race


I stayed at a hotel down the street from the race and rolled in about 40 minutes before the start.  I nabbed a really good parking spot.  I had picked up my bib the night before so I was all set to run.

I was a bit apprehensive about this race. My last half marathon didn't go very well and to be honest, I wasn't feel "on".  Also, my training hasn't really gone very well.  I've been sort of slacking on long runs.

So I wasn't expecting much as I toed the line for the 7:30 start.

I started off cautiously and decided to run by feel.  The first two miles are run in a residential area.  There are a few turns as we make our way through them.  The course was well marked and marshaled.  I wasn't leading by any means, so I was just following the pack.

It was a little chilly at the start.  I had two shirts on, shorts and throw away gloves.  I sort of regretted wearing two shirts, but overall I don't think I was overheating.  When the course was shaded I wound up wearing the gloves and later I stuffed them in my pocket.  They were a nice accessory to have.

I wasn't too surprised to run my first 3 miles at about a 9 min / mile pace.  I felt okay but I was wondering if my lack of endurance training would bite me and I'd start my crash and burn around mile 6.

Eventually the course takes you out of town and you are surrounded by pastoral scenes. An LDS church spire, cows and horses baying in the background.  It gets rural and bucolic.

There were some rough sections of road and I twisted my ankle in a pothole.  Luckily not damage was done.  People were more spread out, but I was always within shouting distance of someone in the race.

Just shy of mile 5 you hang a left.  You go about another mile before you get dumped into a well-to-do neighborhood.  This was my favorite part of the course last year.  The smells of the desert are amplified here.  Also there are a lot of modern houses that reminded me of New Mexico: the boxy desert house that were nestled on hills.  It was tough going here but all the sites helped distract me.  

Finally just shy of mile 7 we reached the turn around.  I couldn't be happier.  I was still feeling good and I knew I had a solid of mile of downhill.  It was nice to blast down that stretch.

Instead of an out-and-back course, you continue to go down a stretch of road.  There was a fair amount of traffic on the road, but we had a good shoulder to run on and I think drivers were aware a race was going on.  I never felt like I was in danger.  

This mile seemed to go on for an eternity.  I didn't have anyone behind me and I was working off a guy who might've been in my age group.  My goal was to hang with him as long as I could.  However, during this stretch he started to fade and I found a second gear.  I made my move and I think that sort of dropped his spirits.



At some point, you rejoin the course where we had started.  I had made mental notes of the first 3 mile markers from the distance from the start.  I knew they were off.  It was nice to know that when I passed the mile 3 marker, I really had about 2.9 miles to go. I got another second wind here as I was pushing myself in the final 5K.

I wasn't dying and was actually pretty happy with my pace.  I knew it wasn't going to be a PR day but I was actually going to turn in a decent time.

The final half mile is a bit of a heartbreaker.  You can see the finish line in the distance and it seems like you only have a little more to go, but in reality it's quite a ways. I wound up catching another male runner before crossing the finish line in 1:54.



Conclusion


I was actually pretty happy with my time.  While I was a minute slower than last year, all things considered, it was a "win" for me.  I had been sick for most of the month and my training hadn't gone well, yet I had finished a half marathon without going into a death march / I hate running mentality.

I wound up socializing with some of the other runners from Salt Lake.  We all complained about the horrible drive down but were all ecstatic about the highly agreeable running weather.



What was cool about this race is that I know the race director.  I've done his race a few times and I always make it a point to say hello when I do the St George Half Marathon in January.  He surprised me by making a promotional poster -- with my photo on it.  It's a beautiful piece of work and I was flattered.  He had a bunch of extras and I managed to bring a stack home.  Totally cool and made my weekend.

Post race refreshments included water, chocolate milk, brownies, fruit and pretzels.  He even had some sodas.  Overall I was really happy with the post race fare.  I think everyone else was too.

The mile markers were fairly close, but I think once again the course is a little short.  Most people's Garmin watches reported a short course.  I don't think anyone was complaining though.

There were plenty of aid stations with volunteers. They had water and Gatorade.  Some had gels and fruit.  There were plenty of them and I probably didn't need to carry my hydration, but I prefer to be able to drink when I think I need to.  And sometimes volunteers weren't ready for me, so I could afford to skip them.


The medal was very cool.  They had a decent shirt as well -- it was a cotton / tech blend.  I am not sure I am fan of that but I think more races are starting to give them out.  I prefer pure polyester for running.

Overall, I was happy with my race experience.  I am buzzing from a decent race performance despite not being 100% ready.  The weather couldn't been nicer and I really enjoy the variety of the course.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

This Month in Running - February

Me at the Bellagio Gadens before the Saints and Sinners Half Marathon

Year to Date Miles: 300


February


Well, I'll first start off by saying February was a pretty crappy month.  It started off okay but my training really took a nose dive after the South Davis Recreation Center 5K.

I normally don't mind winter running and while we had some rough weather, it really wasn't that bad.  In fact, I don't think there was a day this winter where I couldn't run or that the bike trail wasn't in good shape.



My problems started around February 10th when I discovered the cat I was feeding died.  A few days later I got a nasty cold, which sort of morphed into bronchitis and then some sort of "para flu".  Running suddenly became a lot harder -- especially when you can't really get a full breath of air or if you stop running you cough like an asthmatic.  Here I am typing this in on March 2nd and I am still not 100%.

So it isn't too surprising that I only got about 130 miles in for the month.  

Also as the month crept on, I get less and less quality runs in.  Most just became maintenance runs.

Some months are like that.

Cat News

Despite the horrendous news that the cat I had been died, I continue to feed another feral cat -- a little black one.  I don't see it very often but I do drop food for it and once in a while I find it sunning itself in the field, waiting (presumably) for me.

Since we were all set to adopt my other cat, we did wind up taking in a cat from the local pet shelter.  We took in a spunky, long-haired Tabby.  She is a cutey but hard to pin down.  Too much energy for a 2 year old:


Like Oreana, my other cat, we named her after a Nevada town: Fallon.


Upcoming Races

The race season is under way.  I did pass on the March Madness Half Marathon that was scheduled for 3/2.  I dropped down to the 10 KM and decided at the last minute that I wasn't even going to be able to run that.  I hate to not run a race I registered for, but I probably did myself a favor.

Hopefully I am 100% for the Sand Hollow Half.



03/09: 2019 Sand Hollow Half Marathon (Flat and Fast) - Hurricane, UT (Confirmed)
03/16: 2019 Lucky 13 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
03/30: Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
04/13: 2019 SLC Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/27: 2019 Starr Valley 10K -- Deeth, NV (Confirmed)
05/05: 2019 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Confirmed)
05/18: 2019 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (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)