Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 Running Year in Review

Total Miles for 2019:  1692.25


2019 was a mixed year as far as running went.  It started off where I was filled with piss and vinegar in terms of training and turning in some fast times to suddenly sitting on the sideline due to a hamstring pull.

This year saw my fewest miles in quite some time.  In addition, this year saw me miss more races that I had signed up for and was a no show.  I was either sick with bronchitis or the crippling hamstring injury had sidelined me for probably 6 races.

I did manage to run the following race distances in 2019:

5K   - 8
10K - 10
Half Marathons: 9

Again, no marathons this year.  Which is sort of sad, but at the same time, I am okay with.  I had visions of running a full this year but the hamstring sidelined me and simply put: it didn't happen this fall.

Best and Worst Race Performances

First off, the worst, most heartbreaking race for me was the Las Vegas Half Marathon -- again.  Normally, after having this many poor performances at a race, I'd write it off as a "Just isn't my race", but I do have a streak going -- I am about one of 50 (or so) people who have run it every year since 2009.  So despite it not being my "race" (and this isn't a knock on the organizers), I just don't run very well in Las Vegas.  

The other most depressing race was the Ogden Half Marathon.    I was coming off my injury and there were some serious doubts as to whether I'd be able to finish the race.  Also the weather was super questionable as far as whether I'd be walking 13 miles in the pouring rain.  So I totally over dressed.  By mile 6 or 7, I knew I was in trouble.  The finish -- and the race itself -- wasn't pretty.

The best race of the year, as far as my performance went, was the Sand Hollow Half Marathon.  The course was very likely short, but I turned in a 1:54 time.  I race really well there and it was a great week for me.  I'd also follow that up with the Ogden Halloween Half and the Snow Canyon Half.  While I died in the Snow Canyon at the end, in both races I turned in decent times.

Races I Loved the Most This Year

There were two races that jump out at me as being extremely fun:  They are the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and the Laughlin Half Marathon.

Both were new to me and the races tied in some epic weekends, where I had a blast.  The courses were pretty and gave me some new experiences.  I find myself doing the same races year after year and these reinvigorated my joy of visiting new areas and racing them.

If you enjoy desert scenery and in some cases a fast, downhill course, check out the aforementioned races.

Looking Towards 2020

I still enjoy running.  I started as a stress relief thing in 1997 and merely did 3 - 4 miles 3 - 4 times a week.  I didn't really have any goals other to go run.  Occasionally I'd dream of doing a marathon (I didn't know about other distances) and occasionally I'd go from my usual 3  - 4 mile run to something like 7 or 8.  

In 2004 I entered my first race and did okay.  The second one, I won my age group -- and after that I was hooked.  

It's been 16 years now and my times are clearly in decline.  It is a humbling experience and maybe you are reading this experiencing the same thing.  We all age and we all age at different paces.  Me, my times have gotten a lot slower.  I used to be a 20:30 5K "back in the day".  Now, I am happy to break 25 minutes.  

Try as I might, I am not going to be hitting sub 20's again unless I make some serious sacrifices and get lucky.

That being said, the benefits of being a life-long runner has given me a host of benefits:

  1. Stress Relief
  2. Fitness
  3. A group of friends I would never have met otherwise
  4. A reason to explore the world
  5. The knowledge that I can park the car in some remote area and log some miles that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to see.
  6. And hopefully a source of inspiration for others to better their lives through running.

I hope you journey with me on my runs and see what 2020 brings!

Upcoming Races

01/19: 2020 Phoenix Rock n Roll Half Marathon - Phoenix, AZ(Confirmed)
02/08: 2020 Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/15: 2020 Sun Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/22: 2020 Salt Lake Track Series 15K - Magna, UT (Confirmed)
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)

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Lifetime Fitness Commitment Run 5K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT

Official Time: 26:17
Placement: 2nd in age group, 14th male
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 32, strong wind from south, wet and slippery
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year

Mile TimeComments
18:41Into the wind I run, slow mile. Footing was iffy
28:37Felt nice to get the wind at my back
38:31Dying near the end but getting it done
3.060:25Not much left and no one behind me, but flew through the finish
Total Miles: 3.06 - 26:17


I don't do a lot of New Years Day races.  There just aren't that many of them here in Salt Lake.  However, two routinely pop up each year: an indoor run on an indoor track (yuck!) and the Lifetime Fitness Commitment Day 5K.

The Commitment Day 5K is kind of a fun run.  Yes, they record results but only the top 3 get prizes.  No t-shirt but a cool finisher's medal and it is run outdoors  -- regardless of the weather.

I saw some sort of special on Facebook, where I could run for $15.  Not a bad deal for a 5K.  So even if the weather was bad or something else came up, I wasn't out too much.  So I signed up.

The Race

I rolled into the race site way early.  I had an errand to do on the east side of town and the roads were slippery and in some spots not terribly taken care of.  So I left with plenty of time.  I guess I got there WAY early, as I was one of the first to arrive at 8:45 AM for a 10 AM start.  Runners are one thing: punctual.

I had no idea what the race course was going to be like.  I've run several times in South Jordan and I figured we'd be on the bike trail for a bit and then drift off into a neighborhood.  Turns out, the race was held primarily (about 90%) on the Jordan River Bike Trail, of which I am very familiar with.

Fortunately, it was easy to kill time.  I knew a person or two at the race and people were generally easy to strike up a conversation with.  It also gave me time to check out the gym and its facilities.

Around 9:45, I did a warm-up.  Probably ran a mile and did some strides.  I had no idea what direction we were going to run in, but I figured we'd be heading south - where a solid 10 - 20 mile per hour head wind was coming from.  

The race started promptly at 10 AM and I was out and running.  There were about a 100 runners so there was some initial congestion at the start, but within a few hundred yards, it was smooth sailing.

The parking lot was plowed (a few hundred yards) but we quickly made it to the bike trail where there was maybe half an inch to an inch of fresh snow.

The trail hadn't been used that much since the snowfall and footing was decent.  Spots were slippery and it was slow going when I had to round a corner, but overall, other than the wind it was smooth sailing.

I wasn't too surprised to see an 8:41 on the first mile.  The wind was just relentless and while I felt strong, I knew that I was paying a price.  

I knew the course at this point, having run on it many times before: it is just a flat bike trail with the Jordan River next to it.  There is a lot of swampy / desert-like vegetation around and the scenery truly isn't that bad.

I was wondering how accurate the course was going to be and was beginning to worry that it was going to be long.  Fortunately, after rounding a corner there was the turn around point, at about 1.53 miles on my Garmin.  Finally some tailwind!

While I was in oxygen debt, the tailwind definitely lifted my spirits.  Occasionally I'd feel the wind blowing against my wind breaker (I went out with the clothing you see in my photos: shorts, t-shirt, windbreaker and gloves).

The course wasn't marked really well but again, I had been on there before and I definitely wasn't leading.  There were a few other runners in front of me, but no one behind me.

The final mile turned out to be my fastest but I definitely was hurting.  My endurance is pretty good at this point, so I was patient but I was really happy to see an 8:30 show up.  I've done very few negative splits before, particularly in a 5K.  I won't credit too much with proper pacing, but more of the a nice tailwind.

I crossed the finish line with a 26 and change.  Not what I wanted time-wise, but given the course conditions, it is what it is.


No t-shirt for the race, but they did have a nice medal. For $15, I wasn't expecting much but the medal was better than expected.

I swung by my car, grabbed some of my stuff and proceeded back in the gym.  With no age group awards and clearly I wasn't in the top 3, I was tempted to head out.  But they had a drawing and by the time I made it into the gym, I had about 20 minutes to wait until the drawing did happen.

Unfortunately, lucky wasn't on my side and I didn't win but they had some nice prizes.

On the plus side, they had a super healthy breakfast consisting of power pancakes, blueberries, oatmeal, and bananas.  Food was actually REALLY good and no junk too.  Color me impressed.

Overall, I liked this race.  I'd consider it more of a speed work out with a medal at the end and part social event.  I'd do it again if I didn't have anything planned for New Years.  It was a good time and I enjoyed myself, and at a price of $15 -- it is hard to beat.