Wednesday, May 13, 2020

This Spring in Running - May 2020



Current Mileage: 616 (as of 5/12/2020)


Updates on Running

Well, with Coronavirus in full swing it has left the racing season in total disarray.  As of mid-March there hasn't been a race to be done.  All my planning and pre-registering at the start of the year went down the tubes.  Initially, I had had hopes that the race season would resume in mid-May.  But I was wrong.  As I write this now, most races are canceled clear out to the summer and I have my doubts whether there'll be fall races.

Most of the races I had lined up offered very generous deferral policies.  So I've already got a full plate lined up for next year.  I think I've only lost out on one race.

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you'll notice I do a lot of my training on the Jordan River Trail.  Around late March I made the realization that it was just too crowded to run there any more.  Utah had fairly relaxed quarantine restrictions: more or less don't congregate and things were okay.  

But most people took their families onto my stomping grounds and made it -- at least in my opinion -- unsafe.  So I've had to switch up to sidewalk / street running.  I miss my bike trail and not having to worry about cracks / bumps in the sidewalk.  On the plus side, I am seeing less than a dozen people on any given run versus 20+ on the bike trail.  Plus it is easier to move out of the way given the few people I do see.



It is nice to get a change of scenery and explore some new areas.  It also gives me more hill variation, as the bike trail tends to be fairly flat.  It also makes me appreciate my bike even more. 

With summer heat soon arriving, I'll be able to jump on the bike trail again, albeit at 4:30 AM.  I am hoping there shouldn't be any runners out at that hour.

Also with no racing on the schedule, it allows me to dial in my training.  Weekends consist of a long run or a 5K time trial.  And also midweek I usually can knock out a hill workout.  So far, the results are promising.




Weight Loss


Fortunately, I am still employed and am working from home.  I was never super happy with the idea of working from home -- especially all the time -- but I am quickly finding it has some advantages.  Now, I move my car -- at most one or twice a week -- and two, I am saving a lot of money on not buying lunches at restaurants.  As a side effect, I am losing a lot of weight.



My old routine at work wasn't too different from what I am doing now... with the exception that I would pretty much go out to eat every day.  I wasn't eating burgers and fries and soda pop but I was eating high calorie lunches - Chinese food, buffets, pancakes.  So it wasn't too unusual for my lunch to consist of 1000 calories.  In addition, I was running to the office pantry nearly every day and inhaling 2 - 8 finger-sized candy bars.  I figured maybe a pair were 50 - 60 calories. 

I was astounded when I found I was taking in about 125 - 175 calories per pair.

So with the work from home routine going on my ability to snack and over eat has gone WAY down.  I eat a normal breakfast.  I try to have a small snack mid morning consisting of fruit or nuts.  Once in a while I'll grab ONE cookie.  I'll have a normal homemade lunch followed by a mile or two walk around the neighborhood. 

After work, I'll run or just go for another walk.  And then finally for dinner, I'll have a sensible dinner.

I am still eating chips, sugary pop and the occasional cookie, but I am definitely eating less.

Also, I am no longer eating massive buffets at the casinos.  In fact, I haven't had restaurant food more than once in the past 2 months.

The results:  Before the quarantine I was pushing 190 pounds.  I had a feeling I was going to see 200 pounds before too long.  Within the first few weeks I dropped about 5 pounds.  I suspect that was mostly as a result of anxiety (I don't eat when I am nervous).  But with the smarter eating, I checked in at 178.6 this past weekend.  And best of all, it is all off my gut.

I am hoping this translates to some faster times.  I feel stronger and I don't feel like I am walking around with a spare tire around my waist.  It has motivated me to really focus in on my training so that once racing resumes, I can impress myself and others with some decent times. 

In Conclusion

Let's hope that the Coronavirus wraps up soon so we can get a sense of normalcy.  I miss seeing my running friends as well as having something to look forward to on the weekends.

Stay safe / healthy gentle reader.




Upcoming Races

07/24: 2020 Alien Midnight 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/01: Ruby Mountain Relay - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
08/15: 2020 PC2PG Race 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/26: 2020 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
11/07: 2020 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/15: 2020 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/27: 2021 Havasu Half Marathon - Havasu, AZ (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/XX: 2021 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
05/XX: 2021 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, March 8, 2020

2020 March Madness 10K Race Recap - Woods Cross, UT



Official Time: 53:26
Placement: 9th place overall, 2nd in the 50 - 54, 8th male.
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 50's, windy from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018]  [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:22Nice little tailwind to get going.
28:11Feeling really good despite some tired legs
38:34Can't wait for the turn around. Tail wind is helping but lactic acid adding up
49:04The wind I had at my back is now gone.
59:01Doing my best, once I turn the corner and head into the home stretch I lose some wind
69:10Slow grind to the finish
6..141:06
Total Miles: 6:14 - 53:31




Introduction


One of the best deals of the spring racing season here in Utah is the March Madness race in Woods Cross (or West Bountiful).  The race supports the local food bank and for $20 for the 5K / 10K or $30-something for the half marathon, it is a bargain race that offers some a great experience at a local cost.

I've done it off and on throughout the years as it sometimes conflicts with the Sand Hollow race down in Hurricane.

This year, since I've already had a bunch of races in Southern Utah, I opted to sign up for this one when they had their annual sale.  I signed up for the 10K -- enough of a distance to get in a bit of a long run without killing myself by going for 13 miles.  In the past, I've done the half marathon but in order to save my spring racing season without overdoing half marathons, I dropped down to the 10K.





The Race


Normally this race is a wild card on account that the weather can be just about anything.  In years past, it has been been super windy or just simply wet.  This year, the weather was just about as perfect as can be.

I made the roughly 30 minute drive to West Bountiful park and snagged my bib in short order.  They were still setting up the race and I took stock of the wind condition -- a fairly strong wind from the south, but definitely not as bad as years past.

I did about a mile warm-up (if that) and considered myself good to go.




The race started promptly at 9 AM and I was off and running.

The first third of a mile takes you through a neighborhood before dumping you out onto the main drag where you head west towards the Legacy Bike Trail.  It is 100% residential and there wasn't much traffic as several hundred of us ran towards the bike trail.



There was a little bit of a tail wind here and I was working to keep up with a friend of mine (DK) who was shooting to run a 52 and change.  I figured I'd be lucky to crack 55 minutes but I'd tail him for as long as I could in hopes that I could hang with him.

I felt pretty good as my watch buzzed out an 8:30 first mile.  Exactly what I wanted to hit.  However, part of me was trying to go out a little more conservatively as I knew I was going to be hit by a head wind on the way back.



By mile 1.25 I was on the bike trail and I was being pushed along by a nice tailwind.  I was pleasantly surprised to see an 8:15 appear on my Garmin as  I reached mile 2.

The Legacy Bike Trail is a multi-use bike trail.  It is popular with cyclists and runners.  Generally speaking, I've seen more cyclists than runners on it, but for a Saturday morning it was pretty busy.  The trail is mostly flat with a few tiny climbs and descents.  I knew the course very well since I've run more than a dozen races on it since moving to Salt Lake City.

I knew I had gone out too fast once I started to see some of the fastest 10K runners heading back (there weren't that many and they weren't that far ahead of me).  I was still running around 8:30 pace until I did the turn around.

Then I was blasted in the face by the tailwind that had been pushing me along.  It wasn't as bad as it was in years past, but it was definitely going to take a bite out of my pace.

I had kept up with my pacer and I sensed that he was slowing down to accommodate me.  I don't know how he did it, but he was telling me stories about other races he had done.  Come on! I am sucking wind you have energy to talk? 

We worked off one another until about mile 4.75.  I was hurting pretty bad and DK pulled ahead of me.  I was trying to hunt down another guy who, for my pride's sake I wanted to beat. 

I looked behind me and didn't see anyone chasing me down and I kept willing myself to go faster.  But about a 9 min / mile pace was all I could handle.

I kept praying that I'd close in on the final turn off and sure enough, it appeared and I swung left to make the final zig-zag to the finish.  I was nowhere near DK and the guy I had been chasing opened up a solid lead on me. 

I pushed it to the finish though and crossed in under 54 minutes, which beat my expectations (it would've been close if my Garmin was not correct).

Conclusion


I was pretty with my result.  I had set out to maybe get about 55 minutes but I actually came in in the 53 range.  Definitely not earth shattering, but I like it when I beat my expectations.

The course could've been accurate.  There is a tunnel that you have to go under which takes about 30 seconds to go through.  I imagine this could account for the missing ".06" of the race.  Most people's Garmin's came up with this short coming.



Post race food was probably one of the best I've had.  Pizza, chocolate milk, high end muffin like cupcakes, candy, cookies, bananas, water.  I pretty much made a meal at the end -- and all for $20 too.

I wound up donating $10 to the food cause and scored a trucker hat. I also scored some extra medals  -- one for finishing, one for an age group award and it would appear that the race director had extras, so I scored a mug and drinking glass.  (I also swung by the South Davis Recreation Center to pick up my official Sweethearts 5K finisher's medal).



I have nothing but positive vibes about this race.  I definitely got my money's worth and had a good morning getting in a solid workout and seeing people I hadn't seen in a while.  The course wasn't super exciting (I've run it a ton of times before) but it is a fast course. 

If my schedule permits, I'd love to do this one again next year.



Saturday, February 29, 2020

Mesquite Nevada Trail System


Introduction


I discovered the Mesquite Foothills about a year ago while looking for hiking in the area. I didn't want anything too crazy, as Mesquite and the surrounding desert area can be fairly remote.

The Foothills trail is a bit of a picnic area followed by about a mile or so of trails.  It is fairly popular with the locals.  There is a bathroom located at the site as well as benches and a covered area for a picnic.

The trail meanders and there are signs guiding you, but it is easy to just sort of blaze your own trail.  And after about a mile, the main trail just abruptly ends.  It does allow you to scramble a bit further where it ends in a dead end where apparently a car that fall off the surrounding mesa crashed.

You can also return to the main road (Lower Flat Top Drive) at various points too.

After the Sun Half Marathon I decided to hope on over and get in a quick walk.  I had done the city trail plenty of times and had often looked at the ATVs ascending a dirt road above me towards the buttes that dot the city's landscape.

Finally, I decided I'd hoof it up the dirt road and see what was up there.  It would've been much easier with a vehicle but within a mile  I had reached the top (and there were a few other hikers who had made the walk).  Incidentally, the parking lot for this trail is located a few hundred yards south of the entrance to the Foothills parking lot.

If you really love the desert, you will love exploring at the top of the mesas.  The trail is very well defined but it is definitely not one you want to do in the dead of summer.  There is no shelter and no water.

For a February day in the upper 50's, it was fun poking around and looking at giant crevices in the earth and cactus.  There is also plenty of cresote and desert brush up there.

This trail was also highly runnable, once you got to the top.  In fact, if I hadn't just eaten and had a pair of shorts on me I would've done some running up there.

Here are some photos of the city trail and the trail above the city trail:

View of Mesquite from the city trail

Another view of a giant rift

I don't think these are wild horses


More trails exist going south





The hill you will have to climb to get to the top of the ATV trail




This Month in Running - February 2020



Miles Run: 245

Running Update

So far this year, the running has been hit and miss.  I've been managing about 30 miles per week.  However, early in January while running a routine 11 mile run, my hamstring tightened up.  It wasn't as bad last last year's full-on pulled muscle, but it hurt.  I shuffled home the final 2 miles.



Unfortunately, this sidelined me for the Phoenix Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  I did make it down to Phoenix and I had hopes that things would come together and I could get through it, but I went for a 4 mile shake out run the Friday before the race and it was a no-go within 2 miles.  I had a lot of consternation over whether to just limp through, but I opted to play it safe and not do it.  It always hurts to miss out on a race, but I have no regrets and I absolutely did the right thing.

It took about 2 weeks for me to feel close to 100%.  Fortunately I could still walk and I aggressively treated it with foam rolling, walking, and cherry juice (which is apparently a nature anti-inflammatory).


I am still logging miles on the bike trail most every day.  The Salt Lake Valley hasn't had that much snow this winter, so the trail conditions continue to be pretty decent.  In fact, this winter has been the best for running in terms of air quality and trail conditions that I can remember.

So right now I am playing it conservatively as far as training goes.  I still have a bit of a hamstring issue (I managed to get rid of the runner's knee) but I haven't really done any dedicated speed workouts on account that does aggravate things.

I am also playing it somewhat cautiously with my upcoming racing schedule.  I have two destination races, and while I can cancel them and get off relatively pain free, the destination races are almost always the most fun, so I'd like to be healthy for those.



Still no marathon training.  The injury has sidelined me from really putting in the serious mileage, so right now I am maintaining what I have and if the motivation strikes, maybe I'll ramp up for one, but right now I am content to just leave it be.

Upcoming Races



03/07: 2020 March Madness Race 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/14: 2020 St Patrick's Day Half Marathon / 6 Tunnels Half Marathon- Boulder City, NV (Confirmed)
03/28: 2020 Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, UT (Maybe)
04/04: 2020 Havasu Half Marathon - Havasu, AZ (Confirmed)
04/11: 2020 Eggs Legs Race 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/18: 2020 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/25: 2020 Summerlin Half Marathon - Summerlin, NV (Maybe)
05/02: 2020 May the Fourth Race - Farmington, UT (Maybe)
05/03: 2020 Reno Half Marathon - Reno, NV (Maybe)
05/16: 2020 Ogden Half Marathon - Ogden, UT (Confirmed)
06/20: Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Probable)
07/04: Fourth of July Spring Creek 5K - Spring Creek, NV (Probable)
07/24: 2020 Alien Midnight 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
08/01: Ruby Mountain Relay - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
08/15: 2020 PC2PG Race 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/26: 2020 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/10: 2020 Antelope Island Race - Syracuse, UT (Maybe)
11/07: 2020 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/15: 2020 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Monday, February 24, 2020

2020 Salt Lake Track Club 15K Race Recap - Magna, UT



Official Time: 1:22:13
Placement: 122nd overall, 8th in the 50 - 54, 83rd male
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 30's, sunny.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2015]

Mile TimeComments
18:30Solid start, but probably going out too fast
28:31
38:34Consistent start -- if I can just hold it
48:35The turn around can't come soon enough.
58:48Finally the turn around. Race is half over but I am pretty gassed
69:03For a flat course, this felt like a slow grind up hill.
79:12Come on finish line
89:08
99:07Mentally trying to run faster but legs weren't responding
9.322:44
Total Miles: 9:32 - 1:22:15





Introduction


Well, another Saturday, another race.  

The pickings are usually pretty slim for February races.  The weather is fairly unpredictable in Utah.  You could have perfect weather or a chance snow storm come in.

This year, we had pleasant weather and it was completely dry.  So I decided to get in a bit of a speed workout by doing the Salt Lake Track Club's 15K race.  This is a 100% certified course that is flat and also doubles (I think) as the State Championship race for the 15K distance.

To say there were a few fast runners would be an understatement (the winning time was in the 48 range).

I wasn't expecting much from myself on this race other than to see how far off I was from when I ran this in 2015, which seems like another lifetime ago, and to get a bit of faster running in.  The 15K is actually a pretty nice distance.  It is far enough where it tests your endurance, but doesn't wear you down like a half marathon does.

So I sort of went after this race as if I was running a half marathon, but I could be a little more aggressive with the pacing.



The Race


The race started at 9 AM and I rolled in just after 8 AM.  The race was held at the SaltAir Pavilion, which is a venerable site in Utah, having survived floods.  It is an older building and judging from the interior, some of the original stuff probably remains.

Today is serves as an event venue and a concert hall.  It is on the shore of the Salt Lake (about a half mile removed).  They have clean toilets and a place to stay warm, which was a nice bonus.




I was able to quickly grab my bib and shirt and I laced up and sat in my car for about 15 minutes before beginning about a mile warm-up.  My hamstring hadn't been bothering me and I felt good, although last week's half marathon was still weighing on me a bit.

The weather was cool -- perfect for running actually.  I had originally come wearing two shirts, but I dropped done to one.  I was in shorts and throw away gloves (which I pocketed after about a mile).  I also had sunglasses, as the early morning sunrise was a bit bright.





The race started on time and I was off and running.  I knew I didn't have much of a chance to win anything.  I hadn't done the 5K nor the 10K in the series but I was still trying to do myself proud.  I had looked my results from 2015 and I had hit a 7:45 mile for the first mile.  My training is nowhere near that but I was a bit surprised at hitting an 8:30 for the first mile.

I felt good but I knew that was a little fast.  I tried to solace myself that this was only a "15K" and even if I went out a little too fast I wouldn't pay too dearly.

The first 3 miles I hit at super even splits.  I felt really good, although I was breathing a little harder than I should've.  There were about 450 runners and I was never by myself for the first half of the race.  Also, little did I know, that the first half had a slight downhill.  The surface of the earth is very flat in that area and while there was only about 25 feet of elevation gain / loss in the race, the first half definitely felt fast.

At about mile 3.5 I knew I had gone out too fast.  I intentionally slowed down a bit as I hit the first water stop and swished a bit of cold water in my mouth.  My competitive spirit was still strong though I only slowed down a whopping 6 seconds.  By the time my Garmin chirped that I had reached 4 miles, I was begging to reach the turn around.

The course is run on a frontage road that hugs the I-80 freeway.  Occasionally a semi would drive by honking its horn.  To my left was the Great Salt Lake, not a very impressive site given how far away it was as well as Antelope Island.  It isn't exactly an exotic race course, but again, it was closed to traffic and I could concentrate on running.

I almost wanted to hit my knees when I reached the turn around point.  Thank Goodness!  

When I turned around, though, there was a bit of wind (not much) and the course on the way back just looked uphill.  Again, this course measures fairly flat but it was like a whole new course.  Who put this hill here and why didn't I get to run down it?  Even a runner next to commented on it.

By the time I hit the 10K part I was willing myself forward.  I was pretty gassed and I kept telling myself that any second now I'd pick it up and crush a fast final 5K.  In some ways I felt like I was running faster than what I was actually running and at other times, I felt like I was running in quick sand.






Finally at mile 7.5 or so I could see the SaltAir in the distance.  Why did it seem so far away?  I could also see the freeway signs saying the exit to the SaltAir was in a mile.  So close yet so far away.

Fortunately, the number of other runners around me had dwindled.  I wasn't really picking off to many other runners and in contrast, only a few shambled by me.  I had gotten some positive vibes in the middle of the race from runners who were still heading out (kind of makes you feel like an elite runner) but at this point it was fairly lonely running.

Finally, the finish line came into view and according to my Garmin, it measured 100% spot on.  Awesome!  


Conclusion


The post race area had water and Gatorade.  It wasn't a terribly hot day so I didn't need a lot, but it felt good to actually swallow hydration rather than rinse my mouth out (which I have a tendency to do during a race).  I actually felt really good at the end.

My hamstring had bothered me a time or two, but for the most part I felt rock solid.  It certainly wasn't a death march and despite going out pretty fast I more or less hit the average time I was shooting for (about 8:45).

I sauntered back to my car and put on some warmer clothes and hit the SaltAir for coffee and bananas.  They had a variety of other snacks but it was typical post race stuff.


They only had a finisher's medal if you had done the entire series (5K / 10K / 15K).  They actually looked like really nice medals but alas, this was a one and done race for me.

This race hearkened back to my days when I was really competitive.  I am no longer fast -- not even a little bit.  It was inspiring to see people of all ages in the front ranks pouring it on.  There were guys my age in the top 10 as well as a sprinkling of whippersnappers.

I wasn't here for any medal or age group award.  I was simply here to test myself on an honest course and at an interesting distance (I think in my running career this is only the 2nd 15K I've ever raced).

I paid about $40 for the race.  I got a well organized event, a polyester / cotton blend shirt and a decent experience for most of my Saturday morning.  If this race fits into my schedule again and I feel like competing, if it is only against myself, you'll find me here again.



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

2020 Sun Half Marathon Race Recap - Santa Clara, UT




Official Time: 1:59:13
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 54 age group, 32nd overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 30's, sunny.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
18:40Gentle downhill - down the park road.
28:40
38:35More downhill - very fast start. Felt easy at this point. 
48:29
58:36
69:25First uphill section.  Temperature starting to get warm.
78:24
89:07More flat section here. Had a looming up hill coming
99:22Mentally fatigued at this point and a hill to climb
108:59
1110:03Slow grind up a hill. Pretty gassed and not sure how much I had left.
129:35
138:58Downhill through the residential streets.
13.262:18
Total Miles: 13:26 - 1:59:15






Introduction


Last year, the Sun Marathon had come up and it was yet another race in the St George area.  This time of year, there are quite a few races that entice us northerners to come on down and enjoy the cleaner air and warmer temperatures.

Sometime during Thanksgiving, OnHillEvents sends out an email blast with their forthcoming 2020 races at pretty ridiculous prices.  Since I had missed this year's edition of the St George Half Marathon (in January) I decided to pony up for this race.  It was a 3rd annual race and a course I hadn't done before.  Also word on the street was that it was a good race.

So I decided to do it.  A new race, a chance to get warm, and a chance to test my fitness.  I usually run well in warmer temperatures and this race boasted a mostly downhill course.  Definitely a way to get my confidence up.

So I took off from work a little early on Valentine's Day and made the 3.5 hour trip to Cedar City where I'd spend the night.  Prices in St George were ridiculous so I opted to stay about an hour away the race start and save myself $70.  It would definitely be an early morning though.





The Race


The race's pick-up zone was at Gubler Park in Santa Clara.  It is a multi-use park primarily serving the community for baseball games and such.  I was one of the first ones there and managed to snag a decent parking spot and get my bib in short order.  I managed to kill about 30 minutes before loading a coach bus and heading to the starting line.

I was a little nervous for this race.  I have been plagued with some hamstring issues that get aggravated the longer I go.  They also don't like uphills.  I've also been battling some runner's knee.

To make matters worse, my training hasn't really been really solid for a half marathon.  Maybe 25 - 35 miles per week with a long run of about 9 miles.

So in my mind, it was going to be a 50-50 chance of this being a 6 mile run followed by a 7 mile limp to the finish.





We had about an hour to kill at the race start.  It went quickly as I made small talk with fellow runners.  They had a good number of runners from all over the place -- even some distant travelers.

The race started promptly at 8:30 and we were off.  

I had sort of gotten a good idea of what I was in for on the bus road to the top.  I was relieved to note that the race was downhill. It wasn't crazy downhill, but enough to give you a 15 - 20 second boost per mile.

So I wasn't too surprised to see my early miles turn in some 8:30 times.  I wasn't even trying that hard and just letting my legs flow forward and gravity take me down.

The course was warm when we were in the sun but primarily at the start we were in the shade, which made it chilly.  But after about half a mile, I reached a very comfortable running temperature.

The course first miles of the course is the best part.  There isn't a lot of traffic, there are some cows on the side of the road and you are following the Santa Clara River.  You are also surrounded by desert, red rock hills and desert scrub.  I was really enjoying this part of the course and the miles just melted away.

After a little over 5 miles you head on out to Old Highway 91.  At this point, an hour into the race, traffic is starting to get a little more pronounced.  Most drivers are headed out of town and you are running towards them on a shoulder, that at times was barely wide enough for a bike.  I didn't have any problems with drivers getting close to me but I was constantly aware of them.  

We passed by the Shivwits Reservation and had a few up hill sections at this point to contend with.  I smelled the beginning of the end with the hills and wondered if my endurance was going to hold.  Also, we had some down hill running, but at this point, it was primarily flat.  This part of course had some nice view of the Red Rock Conservation Area in the distance, but up close, there wasn't a lot to look at.

The air was definitely warmer and I was regretting wearing two shirts instead of one (I also had a hat, shorts and gloves, which I quickly pocketed).

There was plenty of hydration stops of water and Powerade.  I carried my own -- just in case.  I like to be able to take a drink willy-nilly during a half and I think having a little extra hydration and Tailwind in me helped.

Just shy of mile 10 -- with 5K to go we hung a hard left into a residential section.  It was a very slow grind up hill.  The occasional house resident in the area cheered us on, but it was sort of lonely running.  A few marathoners, who had had a 90 minute head start, passed me.  It is always humbling to be passed by a full marathoner when you are just running the half.

We were getting closer to the Red Rock area and despite the hill and not a lot of desert scenery, I enjoyed running in the residential area. 

There were only about 150 half marathoners in the race so most of the race I was running solo.  Again, occasionally a full marathoner passed me but for the most part, the nearest person was either a 100 yards behind me or ahead of me.

Finally at about mile 11 we made another turn and we were in the home stretch.  The 10 KM and 5 KM runners had started and they were headed out.  It was a little bit of a boost for me to get some encouragement from them... just as I was fading.



The last mile was more downhill.  I was a little concerned though as some of the race markers disappeared here.  Was I going the right way?  I had no idea where I was and part of me was holding back out of fear that I had missed a turn.  My watch kept getting closer to 13 miles and there was no sign or sound of the finish.  

I got word from someone walking their dog that I was almost there and that gave me encouragement I was going the right way.  Finally, I passed the last group of houses before seeing the park's entrance the finish line to my right.  Thank goodness!

I pushed it with whatever I had left and crossed the finish line in under 2 hours.



Conclusion


Post race food consisted of orange, bananas, peanut butter and bread, Powerade, Water, and of course ice cream sandwiches.  I always bring extra food for myself, but I didn't need any.  

I was surprised at how good I felt after the race.  My hamstrings had given me a few concerns about what I was asking them to do on substandard training but they had held up magnificently.  My runners knee, while having a wrap around my knee, also was feeling fantastic.

I was able to wake off the post race wooziness I feel.  In fact, I hardly felt any at all.  The weather was absolutely perfect -- maybe upper 50's by the time I finished and I loved sitting on the rocks just watching runners come in while working on my tan.



Turns out I won 2nd in my age group -- so it was double medal day.  Granted the race was small, but getting some recognition for a race is always a bonus.




My performance -- was actually outstanding all things considered.  I felt better than expected at the end.  The course measured long (about 13:26 - 13:30), according to people's watches (after my informal poll).  I believe I ran about .15 mile extra, which might be anywhere from 90 to 120 seconds of additional running.  So my time was really rock solid all things considered.

Overall, I pretty much have great things to say about this race.  I tend to run well in St George (with the lower elevation and cleaner air a major factor) and the weather was absolutely perfect.  I was "glowing" with personal satisfaction on this one and was excited about the course, running something new, and turning in a fairly decent time with fairly decent splits (considering the hills).

I would definitely do this one again and I am penciling it in for 2021.