Monday, May 27, 2019

2019 Race for Grief 10K - West Bountiful, UT

Official Time: 53:13
Placement: 2nd in the 40 - 49 age division, 16th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 48F, no wind, and a little bit of drizzle
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2015]

Mile TimeComments
18:34Easing into the race
28:25Okay settled into a nice pace
38:34Just dying to get to the turn around
48:23Turn on the jets -- I think
58:38Starting to feel it here. At times I was moving well, other times I was hurting
68:51Thought this mile was faster. Definitely running on fumes
6.231:55Push it to the end
Total Miles: 6.23 - 53:22


It's been a while since I've run the Race for Grief.  The last time I ran it, it was in 2015 and I had just finished running the Ogden marathon.  

With me coming off of an injury I am itching to get in some shorter speedier races to sort of work back into short racing shape.  

There were a few races to do in the valley but since this one is reasonably close to my house and I knew the course, I figured I'd jump into this one.  Plus, I know the race director (and timer) so it was good to see people that I knew

The Race

When I left Murray, where I live, it was wet but not raining.  There were clouds threatening the area but it didn't look serious.  

By the time I got onto the freeway it was raining.  And at times hard.  The closer I got to the race the worse it got.  I had brought some cold / rainy gear with me but not a lot.  I comforted myself with knowing that I could hang out in my car before the race and it was "only" a 10K.

I grabbed my shirt / bib.  It was raining at this point and I figured my attire was going to be gloves, windbreaker, shorts, and baseball hat.  The air temperature wasn't freezing but it was looking like it was going to be an unpleasant race.

I waddled back to my car and began to wonder if the race was even going to be held or postponed a bit.

Fortunately the weather let up minutes before the race's start.  I got in the starting area with about 5 minutes to spare.

I had done no warmups and with it being chilly, I eased into the first mile.  The first mile through me for a loop.  I seem to recall turning left at the first intersection before heading to the bike trail.  Instead, we took a round-about way there.  The course was well marshalled and I eventually made it to the bike trail.

The race also had a 5K component and the speedier ones were well ahead of me.  I was feeling really good at their turn around point.  About half of the runners that were ahead of me made a U-turn and began to head back. 

I was hitting 8:30 min per miles.  This was my unstated goal pace and one I felt largely capable of.  

The bike trail was absolutely perfect to run on.  It is nearly 100% flat and you  have the Great Salt Lake marsh on your left and cloud shrouded mountains on the right.  I am very familiar with the course and have run along it a bunch of times for a variety of races.

I was running with a few other people.  I was never entirely alone but the race was sparsely attended, so there was room to run.  I did run with a young woman who was lamenting that she had signed up for the 5K instead.  She was speedy but didn't have the endurance and would get ahead of me and then walk for a bit.

The turn around was a welcome site.  I kept telling myself -- just a 5K to go.  I figured at this point I was in the top 10 but mostly I was just happy I didn't see too many guys my age in front of me.

The young woman and I swapped places before she eventually pulled ahead of me at mile 5.  I had a few guys pass me, including one 40-year-old.  Had my pace dropped that much?

The rain continued to hold off but with the accumulated moisture, droplets of rain was falling from my hat.  My feet were soaked but otherwise the weather was perfect.

The final mile was hard.  There was absolutely no one behind me, except for the woman who had simply run out of gas and was walking a bit more than she was running.  And one of the 40-something guy's ahead of me... but he was not catch-able.

The course didn't have any mile markers but they did have marshals at turning points.  There were a total of 4 water stops.  


I felt fine after the race.  No hamstring issues and while I was a little chilled, I was in good spirits.  I had done about what I expected I would do for this race. 

I was given a medal and a granola bar.  I was hoping for some sort of hydration at the end but I didn't see anything.  I always have my own hydration in my car and used that.  I was hoping for something a bit more substantial, but it was after all a super small race (about 100 runners)

I wasn't planning on sticking around for awards.  But it was a small race and it was done super quickly.  It was also social hour for me so I wound up making small chat with a bunch of other runners I knew.

This was a low key race for me and I am glad I did it.  I am okay with my time, but I know I can do better, especially seeing I ran the 2015 edition in under 50.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

This Month in Running - April

Miles This Year:  512.5

April wasn't a terribly productive month.  Just before April started I was doing a routine tempo run when in the final stretches I pulled / tore a hamstring muscle.

It hurt -- a lot.

I figured I was going to be down for a day or two, 72 hours tops.  But this injury took me out for about 3 weeks of April.

About the 3rd week in, I was able to resume running and it wasn't until about the last week of April that I could put in a serious week of training.

Most of April was spent walking the bike trail and rubbing CBD oil on the injury.  Not very fun.  With every runner that passed me on the bike trail, I tried to look them in the eye as if to say, "I am on the sidelines, but I am one of you."  I really just wanted the freedom to run again, despite in March being mildly burned out on it.

I did manage to get in one race and dropped out of a few others.  Normally, I drop out of one race a year: mostly due to conflicts, an injury or sickness.  So far this year (I am writing this in May), I've dropped out of 4, including deferring to next's Salt Lake City Half Marathon.

Jordan River Updates

Regular readers know that I really enjoy running along the Jordan River.  Daily, I run on the Murray City stretch.  They've been making some significant improvements to the trail, including new signs and general clean-up.

Since moving back from Arizona last year I noticed a steady decline in the trail.  More trash, more people camping and just signs of riff-raff.  In some areas I was feeling distinctly "not safe".  In fact, I was warned a time or two that it might not be a good idea to go too much further north than my usual turn around.

But Jordan River Commission has been making a lot of changes.  The addition of the signs, clearing brush (making it harder for people to hide along the trails) has made the trail a bit more exciting as well as safer.  This trail was one of the things I truly missed when I lived in Arizona last summer.

Look closely for a feral cat

I am also working on a new cat. This cat is in the same location as my old feral cat and in the past this cat ate whatever my old cat didn't finish.  This one isn't as regular but it is slowly starting to trust me.  It gives me a sense of purpose to come out and feed this cat.

In closing, though I am glad I am running better now.  I still have some tightness / not "one hundred percentness" in my hamstring, but for the most part I can start logging some miles again!

Upcoming Races

05/27: 2019 Race for Grief 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
06/15: 2019 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
06/22: 2019 Guns and Hoses 5K - Pleasant Grove, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2019 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2019 Jurassic Run 5K - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
07/20: 2019 Handcart Half Marathon - Bountiful, 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)
04/18: 2020 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/16: 2020 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)

2019 Ogden Half Marathon Race Recap - Ogden, UT

Official Time: 2:00:52
Placement51 out of 124, 450 out of 1140 men, and 754 overall.
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's, mild wind from the south and west. Rain
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2016] [2015] [2013]

Mile TimeComments
19:07Some up hill here but just settling in
38:47Hilly stretch here. Did way better than I thought I would do
48:55Finally reach the top of the canyon
58:40Let the downhill begin
89:03Fairly consistent.  Would've expected faster considering downhill
119:36On to the bike trail here.  Have to propel myself now
129:46Legs are tired. Just want to be done
1310:30Shambling along
13.171:43A whole lotta of nothing left.

Total Miles: 13:17 2:00:52


Well, it's been a while since I've done the Ogden Marathon race.  I've done the full marathon 3 times and since I've been on a marathon hiatus of late, I decided back in February to jump into the half marathon.  

The race is an extremely well run race that starts up in a valley at the top of Ogden canyon.  The half marathon starts in a park in Eden Utah.  From there, you wind around Pineview Reservoir until you get to the top of the canyon's entrance.  From there, you descend through the canyon until you get to the bike trail ... and from there you wind up in downtown Ogden.

For a point to point race, this is one of the prettiest and most fun courses to run.  And it is also mostly downhill...

The race also supports a lot of youth community activities in Ogden.  So it is rewarding to know that you are contributing to that.

The Race

I took Friday off and wound up heading up into Ogden late in the afternoon for packet-pickup.  The pick-up was held at Weber State University and it was an easy in and out.  However, the Expo is definitely worth checking out.  There were at least two dozen vendors promoting races or selling running stuff.  It was also social hour for me as I ran into a bunch of folks that I knew.

After getting my bib / shirt, I headed over to the Sleep Inn on the north side of Ogden.  I probably could've skipped the hotel, but it gave me a little extra sleep and saved me another trip to / from Ogden (about an hour away).  With a 7 AM race start and a 5:15 bus loading deadline, it was going to be an early morning for me.

I wound up eating at Black Bear Diner in Ogden.  It tends to be a good choice for me and I've eaten there before.

I didn't sleep very well and was up before my 3:45 AM alarm.  I ate and prepped for the race and left the room by 4:25 AM.  I've parked in the same parking lot since 2013 and I got there with plenty of time to spare.  In fact, I had some time to drink a little more in the car.

Like each year in the past, it was raining.  I seem to bring the curse to the Ogden marathon.  When I run, it races.  Every year I've missed it, the weather has been decent.  When I had woken up it was raining hard, but by the time I got to the bus loading, it was a very mild drizzle.  

I was loaded down with just about every piece of running equipment needed for bad weather.  I intended to run it with a long sleeved shirt, a hat, gloves and shorts.  But I had with me a warm jacket, umbrella, tights, etc.  

It took a while to get on the bus due to there being several thousand half marathon runners.  But I had my umbrella and good conversation.  The bus ride from downtown Ogden to the race start was about 25 minutes.  By the time we got to the top of the canyon, it was pouring...  hard.  Everyone was anxiously looking out the windows of the bus and volunteers frantically set up their stations.

In another 15 minutes, in Eden's city park, the rain was coming down in a light drizzle.  Everything was wet and damp.  I found myself shivering while waiting in line for the bathroom.

I cycled through the bathroom a time or two as I debated on what to wear.  I didn't have a lot of confidence in my hamstring and the last thing I wanted to do was have a hamstring issue and have to walk 6 miles of a half marathon in the rain.

So I opted to keep on the tights I was wearing and the heavier jacket that I use when it is below freezing.  I also crammed a 33-gallon garbage bag in my pocket.

As soon as the race started I knew I had made a mistake.  I was warm and felt confined.  It's been years since I've worn tights.  I told myself I wasn't really racing this on account I've been injured for so long but at the same time, this course is fast.

The first 3 miles are mostly uphill.  There are some rolling hills so you get some downhills.  Arguably, this is the toughest part of the course (even for the full marathon).  Luckily I was fresh and I was feeling pretty good.  I fully expected this to be the slowest part for me, but I turned in some decent times.

The rain had stopped and for the most part the weather was ideal for running.  Although occasionally the rain would start again, but it was never very serious.

By the time I reached the top of the canyon, I felt very warm.  I was debating if it was worth stopping, re-pinning my bib to something else and discarding my tights.  I loved my running jacket (you can see my attire at the topmost photo) and I definitely didn't want to "donate" it.  I unzipped my jacket and did the best I could with my clothing.

The downhill part is the fastest part of the course.  You are running by the Ogden River and the pace at this point becomes easy.  It isn't a crazy fast downhill, but you can certainly coast a bit here.  This is also the most scenic part of the course, as you'll enjoy the sites of the surrounding rock and even pass an occasional waterfall.  

At mile 10 you are done with the canyon.  There is usually a crowd at the bottom cheering on various runners.  They didn't let us down despite the cold wind blowing through the mouth of the canyon.  

But at this point I was running on fumes and I knew the crash was coming.  While I was thirsty, there had been water stops every mile.  I hadn't packed a gel and I was wondering if my sugar levels had crashed.  Also, it was possible that my lack of training was costing me.  I was also insanely warm....

The final three miles were awful for me.  I was just tired and wanted to be done.  I was dying to ditch my jacket but my car keys were inside and I wondered how feasible it was going to be for me to go and drive back out and get it (a lot of Ogden is shut down for the race).

My pace grew to a shuffle and I became irritated with every runner who passed me.  I was kicking myself for overdressing and my hopes of running a 1:55-ish were growing dimmer.

I tried to enjoy my run along the bike trail.  There were stretches of it that were really pretty and ideal for running.  But when your legs feel like lead, it is hard to enjoy.

Finally, we turned down the main street and you can clearly see the finish line -- but it seems so far away.  I kept looking at my watch hoping that the final quarter miles would just melt away.  I saw the 2:00 hour pacer fly by me but I knew she was ahead of schedule.  To make my pace seem even slower, there was a decent headwind seeming to thwart my every effort.

Mercifully, I reached the finish line.  I tried to put on a brave face for the spectators but I was hurting.  This is one of those races that definitely have decent crowd support -- from fans to the volunteers.


I snagged my medal from one of the volunteers and gulped down some Gatorade.  I normally carry my hydration for a half marathon, but I had skipped that due to the colder weather.  Being insulated from the element though, made me sweat a lot more and I was dehydrated.

I grabbed some more food / beverages as I made my way out of the long finish chute.  I chatted with some of the other runners before making my way over to the baggage drop.

Unlike previous years, I didn't freeze the minute I stopped.  Actually, I could've hung out a bit longer as the sun had come out (finally).

The gear retrieval was super efficient.  I got all my stuff back in no time at all.  And I was able to get out of the parking lot in short order too as most of the runners were still running.

I was mildly disappointed with my performance.  I was on target for a really good race, but due to a lack of training and being overdressed, I didn't run well at all.  Granted, before the start I told myself I wasn't racing it and this was mostly a test to determine whether my hamstring could tolerate hills -- and for the most part it did.

The medal is a work of art.  It is heavy duty and the lanyard is of high-quality.  Definitely a keeper.  The shirt is a long sleeved shirt.  It is similar to the medal in design.  

Post race refreshments included soda, beer (a first in Utah, I think), fruit, Gatorade, water, chocolate and milk.  There also were Popsicles and protein drinks.

I paid a fair amount for this race.  I registered in February I think, right before a price increase.  It is definitely one of the most expensive races I'll do.  But it does support a worthy cause, it is a first-class event, and the course is one of my favorites.  I took advantage of the early-bird pricing and have already signed up for 2020.

I bet it will be rainy.