Saturday, June 26, 2021

2021 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K Race Recap - Taylorsville, UT





Official Time: 24:02
Placement: 17th overall, 1st in 50 - 59 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: low to mid 60's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019]


Mile TimeComments
17:48This mile seemed harder and I expected to hit 8 minutes. Very happy with this
28:04Hurting here.
37:56Push it hard
3.040:13
Total Miles: 3.04 - 24:02






Introduction


In 2019 before the pandemic, I jumped into the local 5K race that kicks off the city of Taylorsville summer celebrations.  It was well-organized race that is less than 10 minutes from my house.  It is also very affordable -- about a $20 race.  So I've had it tucked into my memory as a "do it again" race.





The Race

I rolled into the park around 6:15 for the 7 AM start.  I was one of the first there.  I had picked up my bib the previous day so I was ready to run.  

I wound up doing about a mile warm-up around the park's circumference to loosen up.  I felt really sluggish and at first I was beginning to question whether I had it today.  I had had a little caffeine but it didn't seem to have had any effect.  My legs felt tired and mentally I was tired.

Fortunately, after doing some dynamic warm-ups and the run, I did perk up. As I toed the line at about 7 AM though, I still felt out of it.




The gun went off and so did I.  There was a cap of 200 runners at the race and despite it being run on a walking path it wasn't crowded at all.  The race director had encouraged walkers / not competitive runners to line up in the back, so I was able to quickly get up to pace without having to navigate around too much.

The first mile I assumed was gonna be slow.  As I made my way around the paved bike / walking trail, I felt in control and not too fast. As per usual, my race instincts kick in and I am all business. I could certainly gut out a 5K.

I had a few people in front of me and one guy who I thought was in my age group behind me.  Only the 1st place in each age group had a shot at winning something and so I was hoping that I'd be a lucky winner.

By mile 1 I had broken the guy behind me and I was working off the 2nd place female and a few younger runners.  I was trying to hit around sub 8 minute miles and have something left for the final quarter mile.  I am still a little unsure of what I have these days.




Around mile 1.5 we were led off of the park's walking trail and onto the street.  I was hurting at this point and the few tiny mole hills that were around seemed to take more out of me. Also I was beginning to question the quantity of food I had had for breakfast: some dry Wheaties, a banana and an apple.  It seemed too much. 

Fortunately, the next mile or so was pancake flat.  We ran down a canal road of some sort that was line with some expensive houses.  It was incredible scenic and probably the most enjoyable part of the race.  There were also a few spectators here urging us on.  Finally we got dumped into a neighborhood before making our way back to the fairgrounds.

I had remembered this section from the previous year and I focused on just turning my legs over.  I was still working on catching up to the 2nd place woman, but I had lost some ground. 

The final mile was tough.  Normally this is where I crash and burn.  But I was able to hold it together here and turn in a sub 8 minute mile.  Normally, my 5K splits start fast, medium and then slow.  It was also heartbreaking to see the finish line and have to run a bit beyond it and then circle back from the south to reach it. 

I saw the elusive 23 minutes flashing on the timer's board as I approached the finish line.  Could I do it?  Could I hit sub 24 on a flat, legit 5k?



Conclusion


Sadly, I just missed breaking 24 minutes.  I ran under the finish line in 24:02.  Some of the pauses as I regrouped myself in the middle miles cost me.  But I was close -- oh so close.

Post race free bananas!



I had a sneaking suspicion that I had won my age group.  The winner -- who finished in 15:30 or so -- was an older fellow so he was excluded automatically from my age group.  And while I hadn't gotten a good look at everyone in the race, I didn't see anyone in my age group that was close to me (although with chip timing you never know).

I did win my age group, and I also snagged my first ever cash prize of $25.

Yeah for winnings!


So I have mixed feeling about my performance at this race.  I was shooting for a 23:45.  My goal was hitting a sub 24 but I felt capable of hitting my goal.  However, I did have some residual tiredness from last week's half marathon and I'll be honest June hasn't been a great training month.  That being said, I was very close and I finished 50 seconds faster than 2019.  Progress!



I paid about $20 for the race. I got a nice tech shirt (although I may be a little reluctant to wear it on account of its neon pink), a jam-packed swag bag, and a nice commemorative medal.  Post race refreshments were water, bananas, and granola bars.

I ran the same course as 2019, but this year my Garmin read 3:04 miles.  In 2019 it was 3.09 and most people I talked to had 3:09 to 3:11.  So I am presuming this was a legitimate course (either that -- or I am really good at running tangents).

I definitely have some work to do to keep bringing down my times.  I took some time off of running in early June and this past week I didn't run much, on account I was incredibly sore from last Saturday's half marathon.  But this was yet another positive race for 2021.



Thursday, June 24, 2021

2021 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon Race Recap - Lamoille, NV




Official Time: 1:48:21
Placement: 15th overall, 1st in age group
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's at the start, low 60's at finish
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019] [2018] [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:48First quarter mile is up hill at 9000 feet elevation.  Takes your breath away!
28:10
37:51Finally the fun part -- glorious downhills
47:38
57:34350+ feet per mile of descent == awesome splits
68:05
78:28A bit of flat here
87:54Back to cruising downhill.  Wish the rest of the race was like this.
97:54
107:55
118:56Out of the canyon and into the hot sun and last of the fast miles.
129:02Rolling hills and flat here. Only a tiny bit of downhill running.
139:34Legs were so shot.  Just dying to finish.
13.040:24



Total Miles: 13:04 1:48:21



Typical stretch of road in Lamoille Canyon


Introduction


Finally this race came around.  It is one of my favorites and one I try to do every year.  Last year, due to Covid-19, the race was altered a bit and during that time I was not comfortable with traveling and staying in a hotel.  So unfortunately, I passed on the race.

This year, however, the race looked like it normally was and with a sense of safety, I entered in it this year.  I wound up signing up a few months before the race's start due to it being close to capacity.  I am glad I did, as a few days later it sold out.




The race is located in a small, sleepy village called Lamoille bordering the beautiful Ruby Mountains just south of Elko Nevada.  The Lamoille Canyon half marathon starts at the paved road's end at the top of the canyon and works its way down to the base.  You get an amazing 3000 feet of elevation drop for about the first 10 miles before having a bit more of a drop (and some climbs) before finishing at Lamoille Grove Park.

The course is absolutely stunning and beautiful.

All smiles before the race.

The Race


The race is an early one.  It is a summer race and therefore temperatures -- once you get out of the canyon -- can be quite warm.  With a race start of 6 AM for the half marathon runners (5:15 for the full marathoners), I was up at 3 AM, driving to the park by 4 AM and on a bus by 4:30 AM.  So definitely a LONG and early morning.

I had loaded up on some black tea, Wheaties and a few cookies before heading out the door from my hotel.

Unlike previous years, the temperature at the top was very reasonable.  I had brought a lot of warm clothes in anticipation of it being a chilly morning.  I was still dressed in sweats but I didn't need any gloves, hat nor jacket.

I easily killed off the 30 - 40 minutes before the race by visiting the restroom and admiring the view from the top of the canyon.  The race started promptly at 6 AM.




I was trying hard on this race.  Given my recent improvements on my weight and doing harder workouts to build my speed, I had hopes that I would turn in a decent time.  My goal was to run under 1:50, which I think was entirely doable on this fast course.

The first half mile is actually quite cruel.  You are eagerly anticipating running downhill, but first you must go about a quarter mile up the canyon (while starting at about 8800 feet) and make a lap around the end of the road's circle.  You aren't even really warmed up and it's already hurting.  Fortunately, this year it seemed easy.  I just bided my time, worked my way around the circle and then accelerated into race pace.  Could I be off to a good race?




The first 2 miles aren't crazy downhills, so you can work your way into the race.  I was pretty excited to see my splits go by in faster than normal half marathon pace.  I was just letting gravity pull me.

I was a little dismayed though -- I was carrying my own hydration and I had mixed 2 packets of powder into my 28 ounce flask.  It was WAY too strong.  I had only needed one.  It wasn't until about mile 7 that I finally had a chance to dump some of it out and refill it with water to dilute it (I had already suffered through using it as well up until that point).




I hadn't been in the canyon since 2019 and all the memories of the times I've done the race before came back at me.  All the familiar sites and smells (the Ruby Mountains have a fantastic smell to them).  I was just enjoying the shade, the mountain air and all the views.  Just a wonderful and beautiful experience.




After 2 miles or so the course really picks up.  The downhill gets a bit more serious and my splits matched the descent.  As I expected, I started to hit sub 8 minute miles.

So questions began to run through my mind: Did I have the endurance to go this hard? Was I going to crash and burn?  Should I slow down?  




I still haven't quite figured out downhill racing, but I was hoping I would get it done and hit my goal.

The miles continued to tick along and I was coasting as best as I could.   Around mile 7 or so I hit a wall -- I think there is a bit of a flat stretch there and my legs just weren't responding.  When you go from letting gravity pull you and achieve a fast pace to suddenly having to work, it feels like you are running through molasses.  Fortunately, the flat section wasn't terribly long and I was able to start running down hill again.



The race finally starts to get serious around mile 10.  At this point, you are no longer protected from the sun and the downhills pretty much stop.  It is still net downhill but there are some serious hills to go up and mentally you have to be prepared for them.

I had been running mostly solo but I wound up catching up with one of the lead women and I overtook her at this point.  But every uphill I did, she'd pass me but I'd regroup and on the flat or downhill, I'd pass her back. Unfortunately, I did lose the battle and by mile 11 or so I was in a world of hurt.  

My pace came to a crawl and it took everything I had to keep going.  I think a bit of it was that my legs just felt like rubber.  The other part was that I was dehydrated and a little undertrained as far as endurance went (my longest run in the past month was about 10 miles).


I kept looking at my watch and doing mental math: could I still break 1:50?  It was going to be close.

As I got into mile 12 I willed myself to just finish.  Every now and then I'd muster up a sprint or so but that was about it.  The heat seemed oppressive and it seemed like my legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each.

Finally I saw the coned off area for me to make my final right turn and head down under the finish line.  It couldn't come fast enough!  I did my best to show I wasn't dying inside as I ran down the line of US Flags to the finish line banner.



Conclusion


I checked my watch: I hit a 1:48:21.  Well under my time and matching my 2016 time.  The hits continue to come in 2021 as I make gains that are turning back the clock.

I grabbed some water and found a shady spot to collapse in. I was just exhausted.  It took a while for my system to "find itself" again.  I was pouring cool water over the back of my neck to cool off and hydrating myself with what was left with my electrolyte drink.  




Part of me also wanted to soak in the satisfaction of a race well done.  The last 2 miles were definitely ugly, but I nailed my goal and turned in a really nice race.

No pancakes this year, but they did have chips, fruit, chocolate milk, and water.  It took a while for my system to be able to handle a chocolate milk but I got some onboard.  Also, I had brought a can of Pepsi with me, which managed to stay somewhat cool to drink.  It helped my stomach.

It took a while before the awards were handed out, but I am glad I stayed.  I wound up socializing quite a bit and had some fun conversations with people.  I also got to see some of the lead marathon runners cross the finish line.




I wound up finishing in 15th place overall.  Better than I expected (out of about 100 runners).  I also won my age group, which I hadn't expected.  

Finisher's awards were recognition, a special photo and a ribbon.  The t-shirt was nicely designed but not of the 100% polyester material that I like.  The finisher's medal was definitely customized and featured Nevada and the canyon.




I thoroughly enjoy this race.  It has a small town vibe and it is a small-ish race.  People are generally friendly and I came away with a great sense of satisfaction.  In addition, I got to run in one of the prettiest places on the planet.



Sunday, June 13, 2021

June 2021 Running in Review

 



Total Miles: 805 (as of 6/13/2021)

Running Report


It has been a while since I've done an update on my running.  There has been a lull in the race scene since early May.  Most of the races that happen in spring around here are "big" events.  And most other race vendors sort of clear the way for these events.

However, with Covid-19 apparently wrapping up, these events were held virtually.  Which meant as much as I would've liked to have had raced in person, I had to do my events virtually.

The races I did virtually (the Salt Lake City half Marathon and the Ogden Half Marathon) did offer deferrals, but I had already done my deferral from last year and I figured it would just be best to cash them in and get something. 

So for each of those races I ran a virtual half marathon along the Jordan River.  The weather conditions weren't the greatest and to be honest, I hadn't been putting in the miles I would've liked to have.  But I did run each of them in about 1:55 to 1:58.  Definitely not my great half marathons and it was challenging to muster an "A" level effort.

That has left me with time to train and put in some miles.  And I've done a fair job of doing once or twice a week speedwork sessions.  But it also drove me into a bit of a hole.

By the first week of June I was starting to feel unusually sore.  While I had no problem doing my runs, and I got the miles in, they were simply put, exhausting and painful.  I was plagued with poor sleep and muscle soreness.  It got to the point where I was in a lot of discomfort and despite being about 2 to 3 weeks out from a key half marathon, I decided to shut things down for a bit.  And you know what? It helped -- a lot.  I took 4 - 5 days off and when I came back, I felt better and certainly less "in pain".  

I probably should've taken a bit more time off but with the half marathon looming I felt compelled to get some miles in.

This break has also has made me realize I need to go back to the drawing board to determine what is important to me and to factor in rest periods.  The junk miles that I've been doing I think are hindering my recovery.  I used to be able to run 6 - 8 times a week, but I think at this point I am going to have to dial it back to 5.  Also if my race forecast is 5K / 10K races, there really isn't much need to go beyond 8 miles for a long run.

My diet is still under control and for the most part I eat fairly clean.  I still enjoy some 100 calorie dessert snacks but I try to eat mostly vegetables and fruits.  And when I shop I hit the produce / fruit aisle hard.



Now that summer is here, I am hoping to transition to morning runs.  As I write this, I did my first one this morning; and what a difference.  With temperatures hovering around the upper 80's to the 90's, it makes it very hard for an afternoon runner like myself to get in quality runs. 

So this morning I got up at 5:30 AM and hammered out 7 miles.  So much cooler and I wasn't dying from the heat.  It was more challenging running in a carb-depleted state but still, this was a solid run.




I am also doing some cross training while hiking.  They definitely improve my leg strength and my ability to suffer through some ascents.  I haven't done any new hikes so far this year, but have been busy revisiting some of my previous trails.

Upcoming Races

I am definitely looking forward to the next month.  I have a bunch of opportunities to really see where I am speed-wise.  My times are looking better and I continuing to do strides, intervals and reps in order to hone my speed.  Let's hope for some fast times and hopefully cooler temperatures.


06/19: 2021 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Confirmed)
06/26: 2021 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/03: 2021 Riverton 4th of July 10K - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
07/10: 2021 Farmington Days 10K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
07/17: 2021 Mantua Reservoir 5 Miler - Mantua, UT (Confirmed)
07/31: 2021 Alien Run 10K - Magna, UT (Confirmed)
08/07: 2021 Roy Days 5K - Roy, UT (Confirmed)
08/14: Bluffdale Badlands 10K - Bluffdale, UT (Confirmed)
08/21: 2021 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/11: 2021 Rock the Canyon 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
12/04: 2021 Laughlin Half Marathon - Laughlin, NV (Confirmed)
02/27: 2022 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas (Confirmed)