Sunday, June 30, 2019

2019 Jurassic 5K Race Recap - Ogden UT




Official Time: 23:30
Placement: 19th overall, 1st in the 45 - 49
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 80's, slight wind from the east
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New To Me

Mile TimeComments
18:24First 100 yards my hamstring wasn't happy
28:42Really struggled in this mile.  A bit of a headwind too.
2.736:23Lots of turns here
Total Miles: 2.73 - 23:30



Introduction


I am not sure what possessed me to once again do two races in one day, but I suppose I like the nature of the challenge.  I had signed up for this race sort of on a whim:  the medal was cool, it was at a park I've wanted to check out for a while, and it was something new.  The morning race was done mostly because it was close to my house and cheap.

I didn't quite think it through though on account that after finishing the first race, I sort of hung around the house all day waiting for the second.  I didn't want to wear myself, so going for a hike or spending an inordinate amount of time on my feet was out of the question.

So I was more or less climbing the walls the moment I finished my first race in the morning.


The Race


I left Salt Lake around 6 PM to make it to Ogden (an hour away) and arrived at the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park.  This park is mostly known for having a ton of life-like dinosaur monuments in a family-style atmosphere.  The appeal of the race is you get to run the grounds of the park as well as the Ogden bike trail (which also follows a bit of the Ogden Marathon route).

This race is also a night race, starting at 8 PM.  The summer temperatures are finally reaching normal here and it was a balmy 90 degrees when we got there.  By the time the race started it was 85F and the sun was just starting to sink.


Getting there early gave me some time to explore the park and take some pictures of the dinosaurs.

The race was definitely a winner for OnHillEvents.com.  They had a ton of runners and many children in attendance.  It would be tough running though as the was started on a small bike trail.  Fortunately, there weren't that many super serious runners there and it primarily appealed to families.



So when the race started at 8 PM, it was a bit of a mess getting going.  Fortunately, I had managed to sneak my way up into the front area (and it was chip timed) and I got off to a decent start.

Almost right away my hamstring tightened up.  Big time.  It freaking hurt and it was similar to the injury I had in April that sidelined me for nearly 2 months.  By 200 yards I was wondering if I should bail on the race and not risk hurting it even more.



I decided to hang in there and I dropped my pace considerably.  I had warmed up before the race, but for the last month or so, my hamstring has reminded me that it isn't quite 100%.

After a brief run in the park we were deposited to the bike trail where we ran west for a while.  It was surprisingly hilly -- nothing killer, but definitely not flat.  My hamstring had dwindled down to a low roar and I'll be honest, I was still pretty beat from the morning's 5K.  I was just tired and I wasn't too surprised to see the first mile come in over 8 minutes.



After mile 1 we did a loop and started coming back towards the park.  It was fun seeing the people I had left behind and getting encouragement from the runners / walkers.  Once I reached the park's gates again, I passed by it to continue the next out and back section.

I was working with a few people here, mostly younger folks, but it was lonesome running.  I accepted the fact that my hamstring was questionable with every step but I held on.  I didn't see a lot of people behind me and the front runners definitely weren't in my age group, so I held back a little more.



The stretch back to the park had a nice tail wind and I started to pick up the pace a bit after the 2nd mile.  I was a little worried about how I'd find my way around the park's grounds since I was more or less running solo.  No one was behind me and the next person in front of me was quite a ways away.

Fortunately, the race organized had roped off areas you weren't supposed to run in and had put spray chalk arrows.  I had zero problems finding my way around the park or knowing where to go.

I couldn't really get to full speed, however, in the park.  There were a ton of turns and the lighting had gone down a bit.  I kept looking at my watch and I only had about half a mile to go when all of the sudden the finish line appeared.

I crossed under it with a time of 23:30 but with a distance of  2.73.  Huh?



Conclusion


My hamstring was tight but not super painful when I crossed.  It hadn't gotten any worse after the initial shock of not being happy with me.

I was pretty shot though, after my second race.  I started checking in with other people and they too found the race was short.

The race director commented on it that he had measured the course and that there were several turns in the park's tight confines that may throw one's GPS off.  Given my time, I suspect that 2.73 was a bit short and the race was likely in the 2.9 race.  Hard to say without mapping it on MapMyRun.Com.

The medals were beautiful.  To be honest, it was about half the reason why I signed up for the race.  I managed to snag first place in my age group.


Post race refreshments included Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches and sports drink.  I had brought my own beverage so I didn't really grab that many.

Course markings were great and I really had a good time.  It was nice to see a lot of friends, both new and old at the race and it was also awesome seeing families having a good time together.



The price of the race, for me, was over $45.  Kind of expensive for a 5K but I registered fairly late in the game and I paid for an upgraded shirt.  I loved the finisher's medal was heavy duty and I loved seeing the park.  The grounds were truly awesome and I wish I had had more time to read the informational placards.

My suspicion is the race is short.  I was only running at about 80% and my time was quite a bit better than the morning's run.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

This Month in Running June

Miles to Date: 824

Running Updates


Well, I am finally injury free.  It took most of April and part of May, but I am running at 100% now.  I did have to drop out of the Reno Half Marathon.  I had the hotel and trip all planned, but a few days before the race I dropped to the 10K.  I went for a training run 3 days before the race and I was hurting.  I wasn't really willing to drive 7.5 hours to Reno to walk through a race.  Fortunately that was the last race I bailed on.



I've been logging anywhere between 25 and 45 miles a week.  It all depends if I do my long run.  A few weeks ago as of this writing (6/29) I ran a 15 miler at a decent clip, so my endurance is coming back.  Do I have marathon dreams for this fall?  Potentially.  If the pieces come together and my motivation is there, I'll jump into one, otherwise I'll live if I don't do one in 2019.

I have definitely taken a hit with my half marathon race performance.  They just seem a LOT tougher this year.  I am not sure what is behind it, but the last few have been rough experiences.  I don't think it is a lack of training, but I suspect I am still trying to run them too fast and I wind up crashing and burning around mile 6.

We've been fortunate to have a mild start to summer, so I can still run in the afternoon, but as June is turning into July, the temperature has been rising.  I've been doing some heat acclimation training to help out, as I seem to have adjusted well when I spent last summer in Phoenix.

I am just happy to be running and racing again.


Upcoming Races




06/29: 2019 Jurassic Run 5K - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
07/13: 2019 Farmington Festival Days 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
07/20: 2019 Handcart Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
07/26: 2019 Legacy Midnight Run 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/10: 2019 Bluffdale Badlands 10K - Bluffdale, 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 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K Race Recap - Taylorsville, UT




Official Time: 24:57
Placement: 43rd overall, 7th in the 40 - 49 age division, 31st male
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's Sunny, no wind.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New To Me

Mile TimeComments
17:52Off to a decent start. Aggressive first mile
28:15Paying the price for the first mile.
38:13Counting down the quarter miles. Was dead in the last quarter though
3.090:37
Total Miles: 3.09 - 24:57




Introduction

As I write this, I have a race planned for this evening.  A simple 5K.  It immediately begs the question, what am I going to do with myself until it is race time?  Let's face it, I can't go for a hike and I generally want to be outside, so doing another long run just doesn't make sense.  So what I did decide to do?  Well, run another 5K in the morning of course.

I found the Taylorsville 5K just down the road.  I've seen it every year and for some reason or another I don't sign up for it.  Maybe I felt like I had gone beyond 5Ks that they weren't showing up for.

But if I want to run faster, a good training mechanism is to do 5Ks.  They are a great mix of just enough endurance followed by pure speed.  It is almost pure pain from the get go.




The Race


The race starts early enough to avoid the following parade and hub bub of Taylorsville Dayzz.  A weekend celebration / carnival thing to celebrate the community.  I live right on the border of T-ville and so it was a short 4 mile trip to the race site.  

It was a 7 AM start time so I rolled in just after 6:15.  I never know what to expect from small races, so I try to plan for the worst and hope for the best.  Fortunately this race was run extremely well from start to finish.  Packet pickup was a snap and I was set to race in under 3 minutes.

During the time I used the bathrooms and did about a mile warmup.  I felt pretty good, but it was warm.  Carnivals are often the best race sites because they have a ton of bathrooms.  Also I was there early so parking was easy peasy.

The race started a few moments late but not a big deal.  The race is held at their community park.  I was really worried about all the turns and navigating the course.  Once again my fears were not realized.  The course had plenty of volunteers at the critical turning points.

The first mile I went out pretty hard.  Filled with confidence from last week's race, I wanted to do better and so I started off fairly aggressively.  I was hemmed in, in spots, but overall, within a few minutes I could run as fast or as slow as I wanted.



The course did a series of turns on the bike path that circled the city park.  It was flat and there were arrows and volunteers at the turning point.  I felt like my breathing was extremely labored, but my legs felt good.  I was wearing my racing flats, which gave me some additional confidence.  I hit my target pace of about 7:50 for the first mile, but I knew the screws were being tightened.

The second mile was a guy check.  There was one aid station that I bypassed.  Fortunately it wasn't too hot out and it was "only" a 5K.  There were a few tiny rises here but overall the course was pancake flat.

Mile 2 to 3 I was definitely feeling ragged, particularly in the latter half.  I got passed by about half a dozen people as my once stalwart form fell apart.  Again, I kept telling myself, hammer it -- it's only a 5K.  

At this point too we left the city park and were running down a suburban street. It was shaded and actually quite nice.  That only last about half a mile though before we re-entered the park and re-ran a small section of the first mile to loop back around to the starting line.

 

Holding back feeling kind of sick, I kicked it to the finish line, running in under 25 minutes for a legit, 5K course.

Conclusion




I was pretty happy with my result.  This is the first 5K in a while that came in right at the distance and it gave me a good barometer of where my fitness is.  I was using this as sort of an "A" race and was trying my hardest.

Unfortunately, I didn't place in my age group.  They had 10 year increments (boo!) and I would've placed or come close to placing in the age group before and behind me.  I kind of figured it was going to be a long shot on placing as the race was well attended (I heard about 300 runners were in attendance).



I paid just over $20 for the race -- about a week before the race.  Not a bad deal for a well managed 5K.  I got a decent swag bag as well plus a tech shirt plus a finisher's medal. 

Post race refreshments were bananas (lots of bananas), water, Gatorade, and chocolate milk.  There were also a ton of racers there that I knew, so afterwards it was part social event.

Sitting here typing this recap in, I feel really good about my race.  It wasn't a super fast race but I held on strong and felt good about what I did.  The 5K is definitely humbling -- the distance is relatively short but it is all about speed endurance -- one thing that I need to work on.

I'd definitely do this race again.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 Strawberry Days Guns and Hoses 5K Race Recap - Pleasant Grove, UT




Official Time: 24:36
Placement: 29th male, 32nd overall, 1st in the 45 - 49 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 50's, very light wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Forgot Garmin
Previous Years: [2013]

Mile TimeComments
3.124:36Forgot my Garmin
Total Miles: 3.01 - 24:36 


Introduction

It's been a while since I've stepped into the Guns and Hoses 5K in Pleasant Grove Utah.  In fact, when I signed up, I thought I had been there, maybe in 2015 or so, but it turns out it has been since 2013!

The race weekend was a little light for me.  There was a super expensive half marathon, which seemed to have the biggest draw and there were a handful of 5Ks around town.  But I found this one to be the cheapest and a good way to test my 5K speed.

The race also started early (7 AM) so by 5:45 I was out the door and headed south on I-15.



The Race

I got there in about 30 minutes and I think I was one of the first at the race start.  I was wondering if I had driven there on the wrong weekend because there were so few people.  I pretty much sauntered up to the race check-in area and got my shirt and bib. 

I warmed up with about an easy mile of running.  The race was held in the downtown area that was definitely older.  I spotted a few historical buildings and really old houses along my warm-up.





It was at this point that I forgot my Garmin.  It rattled me a bit.  I just felt like I was forgotten something.  In fact, instinctively throughout the race and my warm-up I was feeling for my Garmin.  I thought about downloading an app for my phone, but my phone is actually quite large these days and I really didn't want to be bogged down holding a phone.

I wasn't feeling too spry and was worried that this was going to be a sub-par race for.  Last time I didn't wear my Garmin I totally misjudged my pace.

The race started a few moments late, but no big deal.  It starts off in the middle of downtown and there wasn't much fanfare.  Just a huge gunshot or explosion and off you went.

The race starts with a gentle uphill.  The air seemed a bit thinner as well.  I live at 4300 feet of elevation, in Pleasant Grove it is 4600.  Probably mostly mental though.

I got off to a good start.  Again, I had no idea what pace I was running, I just knew that I wanted to go as strong as I could and was running by 100% feel. 

I was in my Saucony Fasttwich shoes, which made me feel light of food.  Any tiredness / sluggishness I was feeling at the start vanished.  It always does when the race gun goes off.

There were no mile markers on the course but I had vague relocations on where the course ran from last time.  I remember the cemetery and some of the residential areas.  It is sort of amazing that I haven't stepped foot in the town for nearly 6 years and how much I do remember.



The initial uphill start of the race didn't deter me and I was able to get aggressive on some of the downhills and yet maintain a decent pace (I think) on the uphills.

The weather was absolutely perfect for running.  It was cool and about 55 degrees.  The sun wasn't intense (yet) and my legs actually felt really good.  By now, I have a pretty decent sense of distance and I was generally correct on how much longer I had to run. 

At the half way point, I felt like I had reached the summit of the town.  And since this was a looped course, I figured I was going to get some downhill.  Sure enough what I felt was the final mile was mostly downhill.  It wasn't crazy fast, but it was a gradual downhill and I took advantage of it.

I still had no idea what I was running.  The few people that had passed me weren't wearing watches and there were absolutely no mile markers or timers on the course.

I noticed that the streets were rapidly approaching 100 South.  That is the nice thing about Utah is we strictly adhere to a grid system for street numbering.  Generally speaking every 1000 is about a mile (give or take).  And it helped to see the roads dropping from 1200 to 1100 to 900.... 



Finally I could hear the crowds cheering and I could see the flicker of the timing clock.  Thank goodness!  I was running with a pack of younger folks and we were definitely fighting for every second.  It is always nice to have someone push you to your best.

The finish line came in a blink of an eye and I was ecstatic to see a 24:3X on the clock.


Conclusion


I was really happy to finish.  I had done WAY better than I expected I would.  Again, I had no idea what my pace was and how much further I had to go.  I just simply ran as hard as I could for as long as I could.

I quickly asked around what everyone's Garmin said was the distance.  I seemed to have recalled that the course was significantly short last time I ran it.  One of the first guy's I asked said it was 3.06.  Another two people said it was 3.01.  I am probably going to go with a hair over 3 miles on this race.  



Each participant was awarded a coin.  Looking back at my 2013 post, it looks like it is their tradition.

My car was parked just down the road so I went there and grabbed my camera for some finish line photos.  They also had a huge bunch of glazed donuts (going with the police theme).  Delicious.  They had plenty so I grabbed one for a post race treat and one for the road.

I didn't see any other post race refreshment other than water.  I always bring my own hydration so I had some Gatorade in the car.



The shirt is of a nice design but it is cotton so I probably won't wear it much. 

For $20 I got what I paid for.  I wish they had age group awards, but I think they only recognized the top finishers.

My race performance was solid today.  Even if the course had been accurate at 3.10 miles, I suspect I would've come in around 25:15 or so, which is about standard for me these days.  I am not running a lot of speedwork right now so before the race I had visions of seeing a 26 minute race.

Monday, June 17, 2019

2019 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon Race Recap - Lamoille, NV




Official Time: 1:54:26
Placement: 19th Place overall, 3rd in the 45 - 49
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 30's at the start, mid to upper 50's at end
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
19:05Ouch, first quarter mile is uphill.... at nearly 9000 feet. Gasp for air!
28:33
38:26Cruising down hill
47:59
57:54Fast miles. Almost felt out of control here. Altitude was making short of breath
68:35
78:51A little bit of up hill here. Getting some fatigue in my legs
88:13Last of the downhills.  Got a bit of a second wind here
98:23
108:35
119:27Now some rolling hills
129:27
1310:04Felt horrible here
13.070:48



Total Miles: 13:07 1:54:26




Introduction

Well if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I have a special affinity towards Lamoille Canyon.  It is a little known canyon just south of Elko.  Locals know it as a great place to hike and fish but outside of Elko County, it gets little attention.

Lamoille Canyon is just a beautiful area though and I look for just about any excuse to go there -- either for a hike or for running.

So it didn't take much thought for me to jump into this year's edition of the Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon.  It is one of my favorite yearly events and it is also one of my favorite races of the year.  Just getting out of town for a long week, running in my favorite canyon and the whole experience just resonates with me.



Race Setup


I took off on Friday afternoon after excusing myself at work at the half way point.  I was on the road by noon and made the hour and 40 minute drive to Wendover. We did a bit of gambling / sports / buffet eating betting before heading into Elko, another 90 minutes from Wendover.  It is a super easy drive and the speed limits are fast.  I thoroughly enjoy the drive and it never gets old for me.

Packet pickup was at the Elko bike shop and I hit rush though and it was a solid 20 minutes to get my bib / shirt and swag bag.  It seemed like everyone decided that around 4 PM was a great time to get their bib.

We did a bit more gambling and relaxing.  We grabbed dinner at JR's Restaurant -- across the street from the Red Lion.  No more buffets before a race for me.

I slept like crap despite a nice room.  I've never slept well before this race -- and it's not because of the hotel -- it's just being in an unfamiliar area.  If I got 4 hours of sleep, I was lucky.



The Race


I was up at 4:15 AM and out the door by 4:45.  I made the 30 minute drive in no time at all and grabbed a great parking spot near the finish line.  Was one of the first to cycle through the bathrooms before jumping on a bus.


I know when taking a bus ride to a race it is super smart to get in the front.  My bladder was overactive and thank goodness I was first off the bus.  There were only about a hundred of us up there but 3 bathrooms.... 



After using the restroom, I did some socializing and did my best to stay warm.  As you can see from the photos there was a decent amount of snow up there and the temperature was in the mid 30's.   As a veteran of the race, I knew what to expect and had the appropriate attire.

The race started promptly at 7.


The first quarter mile is just awful.  You starting off running to the circle at Road's End (elevation around 8800 feet) before turning around.  I always tell myself to take it easy and not stress out about it but running at the elevation and just starting your engine, so to speak, is just plain cruel.

Luckily the pain is short lived and I can get my breath again as the downhill starts.  I had dressed down to shorts / t-shirt and cheap gloves.  I was perfectly fine with this.  And soon enough, from being chilled, I was working up a good lather.




The first few miles flew by.  In a blink of an eye I had blasted out a speedy 5K at just under 10K pace.  Gravity was assisting me as the course progressively gets more downhill.  Although, I felt like my breathing was a bit labored and I summed it up to the elevation.  I simply felt like I wasn't getting enough oxygen.




For the most part, I was within talking distance of someone during the early miles.  As the race went along though, the runners got more dispersed.  But it was nice to have company for the first 6 miles or so.

The canyon had caught fire last year and it was sobering to see all the damage.  The upper areas hadn't really been affected by the fire, but as we descended down the canyon on the service road, I was witness to the damage the fire had caused.


The snow gave way to burned out trees and scrub.  The grass was coming up and some of the trees might survive, but many were charred and leafless.  It was really sad seeing my favorite canyon in somewhat of a ruin.  On the plus side, the rivers and waterfalls were plainly in sight and it was comforting to hear the water splash or roar over the rocks.

I started to come out of my funk midway through the race.  As I descended, I got more oxygen in me and I started to hydrate more at water stops and using some of the hydration I brought for myself.  I toyed with taking in a gel, but really didn't feel the need for it (in hindsight I probably should've used one).



Part of me wanted to keep running in the canyon but part of me was looking forward to getting out.  When I could finally see Elko in the distance, I knew the race's end was coming and to be honest after the quad pounding of nearly 3000 feet of elevation decline, I wanted to give them a break.

Unfortunately, exiting the canyon means that there are rolling hills coming, including some hills that might be easy peasy on fresh legs, but would spell disaster on dead legs.



I knew this was coming and braced myself for it.  I actually felt like I did okay and while my time wasn't too bad on those first couple of hills, it was demoralizing because I was so used to coasting and not having to work on maintaining any sort of pace (this race is hard to have any consistent pace due to its nature).

I wondered how the marathoners -- who started an hour before us -- were fairing on the rolling hills after running all that downhill.  I really don't think my legs would've tolerated that.

The final mile is always the toughest.  There is just nothing left.  My quads were shattered, I was thirsty and the sun was beating down on me.  It wasn't a terribly hot day but the sun just felt intense.  Couple that with the fact that you have to run now and not just coast, it makes the final mile hard.

I kept looking behind me to see if anyone was coming as I fell into a death march pace.  I willed myself to go faster but my legs just felt like lead.  My ego was at play here and I tried but I couldn't muster up anything.  I kept looking at my Garmin.... please.... 

Finally I could see the flags for the entry in Lamoille Grove Park and to be honest, I almost walked the last .1 of a mile.  I was just "done" but with pictures being taken and again with me ego, I pushed and let the crowds bring me in.



Conclusion


I wasn't sure how I did compared to last year.  I seem to recall finishing around 1:53 and figure my 1:54 wasn't too awful.  I later learned I had finished in 1:50.  Talk about a bruise to the old running ego. 

Definitely my slowest race.  Given though that I put on a bit of weight during my running hiatus due to a hamstring pull and the fact that I am just starting to get back to regular training, it wasn't too surprising with my time.


Post race refreshments are always good.  They had chocolate milk, ice cream, fruit, sports drink, and chips.  My stomach was touchy so I kept to the basics.  They also had pancakes.

I know quite a few people in Elko, so it was great catching up and talking to folks who had run the marathon.  Again, I have no idea how anyone has 13 more miles in their legs after blasting down that canyon.  I am not sure there was another mile or two left in me at the end of that race.


I wound up nabbing 3rd in my age group.  Luckily, the guy who normally comes in first (and I get second) was a no show, otherwise I would've been out of the money (so to speak).

The medal is cool.  It isn't anything fancy but it is definitely personalized for the race and commemorates the rebirth of the canyon after the fire of 2018.  They also had a cool Lamoille Canyon t-shirt.

I paid about $60 for the race.  This is the going rate for a half marathon these days and considering all that I received I was satisfied with what I was charged.

Course support was good.  They had gels, fruits, water and sports drink at about every 2 miles starting at mile 3 (the premiums came later in the race).  The mile markers were off and got more off the further the race went.  Fortunately, overall, the race is accurate in overall distance.  Bag drop was also stress free as well.

My race result isn't what I had hoped for.  It makes me sad / angry as this course is fast.  But considering, I've been eeking out about 2 hour half marathons the past 6 months, my result is not surprising.

I will likely do this race again next year.  It just a joy to get out of town and experience the canyon.  I probably would've hung out at the post race awards / festivities a bit longer, but hotel check out time was coming so once awards were over, I headed out.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

2019 Riverton Intermountain Hospital 10K Race Recap - Riverton, UT




Official Time: 52:02
Placement: No Official Posting
Results: No Official Posting
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 40's, 10 mph wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New To Me

Mile TimeComments
18:29Fairly moderate start
28:25Have the course figured out.  Upped it up a notch
38:46Not a strong mile. Had some self-doubts
48:37
58:40Trying to push a bit more
68:50Was running okay but legs were tired.
6.030:12
Total Miles: 6.03 - 52:02




Introduction

This past weekend I was looking for a race to do.  There were a bunch in the area and 2 of them were downhill ones.  I am not into downhill racing that much.  The times are often really good but they aren't a true time and in my opinion when you run downhill you are upping your chances of injury.  In addition, I have my one downhill race of the year next weekend.

So when I discovered this little race just south of me, I jumped at the opportunity.

It is hard to find too many races that cost less than $20.  These days most 5K / 10K races are at least $30 (or more).  The pre-registration fee for this one was $15 -- with the service fee I was in at under $17.  For a $10K that's less than $3 a mile.

My expectations were pretty slim as a result but this was the 10th annual race, so I had hopes that at least it would be managed well.




The Race


I rolled in about 45 minutes early.  A lot of the small races can be a mess getting your bib and to avoid long lines I like to get there early.  I was one of the first to show up and I got my bib in a few minutes (about 15 minutes before the race started the line had certainly ballooned up).


About 20 minutes before the race started I ran about half a mile to get loosened up and work my way around the course. I had had a little bit of buyer's remorse on this one as it turned out the 5K would be running 2 laps around the hospital while the 10K runners would run 4(!) times.


The course isn't exactly oozing with sexiness either.  It was just a service road that circles around the hospital.  They had come up with a route that would be about 1.51 miles for each loop.

The course was pancake flat and to be honest it wasn't awful - although by the 3rd lap, I wanted to be done.

The first lap was more or less just working my way into the race.  I started off right on target, nailing an 8:30 pace.  From what I had gathered, about 90% of the field was running the 5K and there were less than 15 or so running the 10K.  As I passed the finish line for the first time I was sort of kicking myself for not signing up for the 5K.

The second time around I was definitely feeling it.  I suddenly just felt tired.  My pace hadn't dropped off that much but it suddenly felt like it was actually work.  I think it was a bit of the doldrums of running the route for a second time.

I did get a little bit of excitement working off some of the slower 5Ks who were just finishing their first lap but the faster 5K-ers had already left me in the dust.

The third lap I knew what I was in for and I got a bit of a second wind.  At this point, the walkers were the only ones left on the course (and a bunch of children / families).  I was trading places with one woman runner and a friend of mine was about 30 seconds ahead of me.  I was desperately trying to catch up to her but she had gotten off to such a good start and I just simply couldn't make any ground on her.

The course was well marshalled and despite all the turns I was never at a loss as to where to go.  It was also nice to see the volunteers multiple times as they cheered me on and encouraged me to finish strong.

The final lap I felt a lot more confident but I still didn't have a lot left.  I greeted many of the volunteers and said I was done.  The course was also significantly more vacant.  This race wasn't a huge race by any means -- maybe 150 tops but at this point 90% of the 5K people had finished.  I kept trying to make up some ground on my friend but the distance had gotten too much.

The final stretch I kept telling myself to push hard.  I could see in the distance the cones where I would turn right and finally finish. I crossed the finish line in just over 52 minutes.  However, in my opinion, the course would've probably been accurate had we touched the finish line each time we ran by it so it appears to be short by just about .15 of a mile.



Conclusion


After crossing the finish line I grabbed some Powerade.  They had a ton of bananas and since most of the runners had already left (again the field was mostly 5K runners) they were giving away their extras.  I grabbed a bunch and spent some time socializing.

I was surprised to get a finisher's medal.  I think I had read that there was one, but I wasn't counting on it.  It was pretty decent -- and again for a $15 race, I didn't have super high hopes for any swag.  (Props: the Swag bag contained a portable phone charger as well!)

They had the standard offerings for finish line food: Gatorade, bananas, oranges, chocolate milk and granola bars.


My expectations for the rest had been exceeded.  I haven't paid $15 for a race in a very long time and I clearly got my money's worth on it.  My gripes are fairly simple though:  the course was pretty dull and there wasn't any course support.  Luckily the air temperature wasn't that warm but near the end it would've been nice to take a sip of something.  Had I known that I probably would've stashed a bottle along the course and taken a quick swallow around lap 2 or 3.

Overall, I ran okay.  Definitely not my greatest race but I ran fairly consistently.  I definitely find that 10Ks work my speed and endurance.  I used to dislike them but now I am finding that they are some of the best "training" races for me.

Again, for a bargain basement race, this was a good experience.  I'd likely do it again if the course was different and this weekend was open in my calendar for next year.