Saturday, July 31, 2021

2021 Alien Midnight Run 10K Race Recap - Magna, UT








Official Time: 52:11
Placement: 8th Overall, 1st in the 50 - 54 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 80 degrees, no wind.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2020] [2019] [2018] [2017] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012]  
*Note this race has been renamed from the Legacy Midnight Marathon


Mile TimeComments
18:18Held back. First quarter mile was a lap around the parking lot
28:02Felt comfortable here. At this point running solo
38:15All by myself
48:34Hurting. No one to work off of
58:40Crawling towards the finish. 
68:32Just keeping the legs turning over
6.201:36Do the best I can to haul to the finish.
Total Miles: 6.20 - 52:00





Introduction


One of my summer traditions is to run the Midnight Races put on by OnHillEvents.Com.  When I first moved to Utah in 2012, this was one of the first half marathons I did.

Since that time, I've sort of written off summer half marathons.  Usually the heat is just too much and it winds up being a sufferfest.

However, I did sign up for the 10K this past winter during a sale event and I figured I'd keep up my summer tradition.

The Race


The race had 3 events: a half marathon, a 10K and 5K.  Each race starts at a different time: 10 PM, 11 PM and 11:30.

Normally this race is held at the Legacy Events Center in Farmington. However, it is currently being used as a vaccination site and the race was moved to the Salt Aire on the border of Tooele / Salt Lake County near Magna.  I've run this course several times for the Winter Series 15K and the Salt Aire Half Marathon (now no longer in existence).

The course is run along the frontage road of I-80.  The course is nearly perfectly flat with no significant hills.  Also it is straight, so no turns or having to worry about running tangents.  There is none to little traffic and it is an ideal spot to hold a race.

I got to the race site a little after 10 PM and quickly got my bib.  It was pretty warm so I did a very abbreviated warm-up: mostly some drills and light dynamic movements.  I noticed right away that the visibility was terrible.  Normally this race is held during a full moon, but the moon was hidden behind cloud cover.  Fortunately I had brought a running headlamp.

Salt Aire Pavilion during the day.



The race started promptly at 11 and I was off.  Normally races start on the actual frontage road.  This one started near the entrance to the hall.  To avoid getting hit by incoming cars, the race made a lap around the perimeter of the parking lot.  The parking lot is a gravel / dirt lot, so this was probably the iffiest part of the race.

I'll be honest, I cannot see very well at night.  I had my headlamp, which I used sporadically, but I cannot set anything up close, particularly my Garmin.  I can read the mile splits when they occur but other than that I can't see anything without a pair of bifocals on.  So I was pretty much running 100% by feel.

My suspicions proved mostly correct: the race was lightly attended there were only a handful of master level runners.  So I knew I didn't have to go all out on this one to earn at least an age group award.  Also from previous experience, I knew that running at night is not usually conducive for a personal best.

So I settled into what I thought was a 10K pace.  The first two miles went by fairly quick.  The lead pack blew by me and for a brief while I was running with what would be a front runner for the female race.  Eventually I would be running 100% by myself.

The course was an out and back, so I did have some company from time to time.  The lead pack from the half marathoners were heading back as well as the leaders of the 10K.  Eventually, I'd hit the pack of 5K runners as well when I was between mile 4.5 and 5.5.  It was nice to cheer one another on and it spurred me to dig deeper and give this race a good go.

While I felt 100% in control for the first 2 miles, I realized I was starting to hurt a lot by the time I hit mile 2.  It was warm and as per usual with night runs, my dinner wasn't exactly sitting well.  It wasn't an emergency but I definitely felt like it was holding me back.  

Races in Utah tend to be spotty as far as true distance.  I was wondering how close of a "real" 10K this was going to be.  The mile markers were pretty accurate as I breezed by them but I was hitting my Garmin's mile after the mile marker.  I am happy to report (although I didn't know it at the time) that the turn around was correctly marked at 3.10 miles.  It was such a relief to hit the turn around.

As I made my way back to the starting line, I was trying to figure out if I was gonna have to turn on the jets.  Fortunately, the next closest competitor was about a quarter mile behind me.  So I figured I wouldn't stress out someone passing me in the final minutes.

I noticed however that my pace was dropping.  I kept willing myself forward but I already knew I was redlining my heart rate.  I wasn't too worried about the folks behind me catching me -- just yet but I kept working on keeping my legs turning over.

With about 1.55 miles to go I could make out the lights of the finish line.  It seemed so close, yet so far away.  At this point too, it was hard to determine if anyone was chasing me down.  The 5K runners were now making their way back and some of the half marathoners were coming in.




I finally reached the turn back into the parking lot.  I had to turn on my headlamp at this point because we had to run down a small ramp and the footing was a little uneven here.  I definitely had to slow down even though the majority of it was on stable ground.

I really had no idea what I finished at when I crossed the line -- or even how far I had run (the mile alerts on my Garmin had largely registered with the course's) but I figured I had crossed around 52 minutes.



Conclusion


My official time was 52:11.  I suspect that is the gun time.  I started my watch when I passed through the arch and I came up with 52 minutes flat.  Not great but not awful for a night run.  

I finished first in my age group and 8th overall.  The race was lightly attended so I figured I would have an easy shot at an age group award (it turned out only 2 people were in my age division, including myself)


Post race refreshments included water / Gatorade and ice cream sandwiches.  They also had a bagged orange, granola bar and string cheese.

Overall I was happy with my experience.  It was kind of a new course and I ran fairly well all things considered. It was also a young / fun crowd.

I'll likely run this race again next year -- it'll be interesting to see where it is will be held.




Saturday, July 17, 2021

2021 Mantua Dam 5 Mile Race Recap - Mantua, UT




Official Time: 51:14
Placement: 51st place overall, 4th in the 46 - 55 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 60's,  no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me

Mile TimeComments
18:02Initial climb on this race, but took it easy
28:12Very nice downhill section here. Took advantage of it.
38:13Flat stretch here. I was starting to hurt
48:30Finally onto the latter half of the race. 
4.978:08Mostly on the Farmington Creek Trail. Lots of turns and slightly uphill
Total Miles: 4.97 - 41:07






Introduction


Another weekend another race.  And this week's run took me way up north to Mantua Utah (which apparently is pronounced mana-way).  I think in my 9 years of living in northern Utah, I have driven by Mantua once, but never stopped in.  And to be honest, prior to this race I don't think I could've told you where Mantua was.

But this race was one of two going on this weekend and I opted to make the 70 mile drive up north to check it out.  The race is long-running -- it's been around for a while -- and it would give me an opportunity to check out the Mantua Reservoir, which is where I'd be running.

Plus, it's been a while since I've run a 5 mile race -- a bit more endurance than a 5K and one mile less than a 10K.




The Race

I arrived at the race site at about 6:30 AM for the 7:30 AM start.  I was there pretty early which afforded me a great parking spot, ample time to get my bib / shirt and use the facilities.  Plus I got some pre-sunrise photos.

The race is run around reservoir.  Most of it is on hard-packed gravel and dirt -- almost as hard as asphalt, but not quite.  It didn't afford much of a bounce but it was soft and well groomed. 




The race started promptly at 7:30 and we headed south down Main street.  This section was paved and while it was crowded with runners, we had plenty of room to work with.



I got off to a decent start and held back.  I had a rough goal of hitting 8 minutes per mile.  Not knowing what lay ahead as far as course layout had me wondering.  We took about a mile's worth of asphalt running before jumping onto the reservoir trail.

This race was well organized and they had fairly accurate mile markers staged at each mile.  I hit the first mile in 8:05, basically meeting my goal.  I felt pretty good but it was definitely warm as the sun rose over the eastern mountains.  





The race had 235 runners so I was never really running alone.  Occasionally speedy runners would fly by me, but I just settled into my pace.

Mile 2 I still felt pretty good, but I could feel the fatigue settling in.  I hit 8:15, which was still about 10K pace.  Occasionally we'd dip into pockets of shadows as we got closer to the eastern mountains, but mostly it was exposed.  There were some sections of the trail where you could see the reservoir, but mostly it was blocked with deep green trees.  It was very peaceful and scenic.



I knew I wasn't having an "A-level" race at about mile 3.  My splits weren't improving and I hit yet another 8:15. And knowing my previous race history, I tend to get slower as the race progresses.  I began to wonder what elevation I was running at -- which can definitely slow you down (it was over 5000 feet)



I was so relieved hitting mile 4.  I loved running along the reservoir but at this point we got back into downtown Mantua and I could see the finish line ahead of me.  I was hurting and occasionally my pace would come to a crawl.  I would catch my breath and then start up again.  

I kept glancing at my watch and it was reading in the low 4 for distance and I could see the finish far closer.  Could the race be short?  There was no way that this race was going to be a 5 mile race.



I kept watching the runners in front of me to see if we ran past the finish line or if I needed to push it.  My eyesight these days isn't the best.

I hate running by the finish line, but that's exactly what we did.  At mile 4.6 or so, I breezed by the finish line.  I just wanted to run down the reservoir's embankment and finish.  It was at this point that another runner who looked to be in my age group passed me.  Desperately, I tried to keep pace but I couldn't.  My legs just felt incredibly heavy.  I had hopes that I would find a 2nd gear on the final finish and maybe if he hadn't started too far behind me that I could sneak by him.




Another quarter mile or so, we ran down an embankment and made the final home stretch.  The guy I so wanted to catch up to probably realized I was gonna do my final push and he accelerated too.  And unfortunately, it cost me an age group award by 7 seconds.  




Conclusion



It was warm.  If this race had started at 7 AM, it would've been much better.  But 7:30 it was and I was covered with sweat.  After finishing, I leaned against a fence in the shade and tried to regroup.  I had really pushed the final sprint and it almost caught up with me.

They had ice-chilled Gatorade at the finish as well as bread.  I had brought a ton of snacks with me, so I really didn't need any food.  They also had some popsicles.  



This race was super organized and before I could go to my car and snap a few more pictures of the lake, the organizers were doling out the awards.  For a small town race, they ran this like complete professionals.


This race was super affordable -- coming in at around $25.  I got a technical shirt (that I will gladly use for running), a finisher's medal and a really nice race experience.  Normally I wouldn't be bothered to travel this far for a this short of a race, but I was happy to go and experience a part of Utah that I was unfamiliar with.

Race wise, this was a pretty standard race for me.  Looking at my time, it is fairly comparable to the 10K races I've done.  This one was flat however but at a slightly higher altitude, which will take off a little time.  This wasn't a race to write home about, but it still wasn't a disaster.

Overall, if this race lines up in my schedule next year I will gladly do it again.  I had a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed the course.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

2021 Farmington Festival Days 10K Race Recap - Farmington, UT






Official Time: 51:14
Placement: 36th place overall, 3rd in the 50 - 59 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 60's,  no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019] [2018] [2012]

Mile TimeComments
18:14Initial climb on this race, but took it easy
27:34Very nice downhill section here. Took advantage of it.
38:24Flat stretch here. I was starting to hurt
48:38Finally onto the latter half of the race. 
59:38Mostly on the Farmington Creek Trail. Lots of turns and slightly uphill
68:19Go all in on the final mile.
6.070:28
Total Miles: 6.07 - 51:15



Starting quarter mile view.



Introduction


One of my summer races that I try to do is the Farmington Festival Days Races.  It a great bargain -- $20 for a timed race, t-shirt, and an epic post race breakfast.  And the course is actually really pretty.  What's not to like?

The race is held in Farmington, about 15 minutes of downtown Salt Lake City.  Starting at the Farmington City Hall.  It is coordinated with the Farmington City festival and they offer two race distances -- a 5K and 10K.  Years ago (2012) they had a half marathon but that has been discarded..  

I registered several weeks out from the race and rolled into downtown Farmington by 6:15 for the 7 AM race.

Running along the beautiful bike trail


The Race


I did a very brief warm-up pre race.  Mostly dynamic stretches and maybe a few hundred yards of running.  It was warm and I really didn't need to do much to feel good about toeing the line.  

The race started promptly at 7 AM and almost immediately you are greeted by a hill.  It isn't an awful hill, but mentally if you aren't ready for it, it can take the wind out of you.  Fortunately, having run this race a few times, I knew what to expect, so I held back.

After ascending the hill you make a right onto a main drag and head south.  There is plenty of shoulder room and you are running with the speedier 5K runners -- so you really don't know who your competition is just yet.  However, this is the fastest part of the course.  You now have a fast downhill segment that really boosts your confidence.

I had hit the first mile at about 8:15 -- exactly where I wanted to be and the 2nd mile I smashed at 7:34 -- again thanks to the downhill.  Around mile 1.50 or so the 5K runners peeled off from us, so the crowd definitely thinned as we continued further south.  I had a lot of memories of running this stretch of road from previous races -- the Handcart Half Marathon also follows this route.

Eventually we hung another right and headed down a hill and made our way to a bit of a grind.  I rounded the corner and I hit the flat section.  I felt like I was running fast, but when I glanced down at my Garmin, I wasn't.  Like my 10Ks, at about this point, I am hurting.  But my legs felt good and I kept hoping to hold or improve upon this pace.



Around mile 3 the slower 5K runners joined us.  They were about 2 miles into their race.  It was nice to work off of them but made some of the areas a bit congested.  I also hit my first aid station and pretty much tossed a cup of Gatorade in my mouth and spat it out (I can't really drink when I am running that quickly).

There was a park on my right and the din of the I-15 interstate next to me. There wasn't much traffic along this road and scenery of the mountains on my right and some fields kept me going.  

Finally, the 5K runners made another right and separated from us.  I was starting to regret not doing the 5K but I came here to get my money's worth -- so I was on the docket for another 2 miles!  The crowd had really thinned out.  There were a few runners in front of me and a few behind me, but the throngs of running were gone.




Mile 4 greeted us with about a mile run along the Farmington Creek Trail.  I love this stretch of the course, but it is deceptively uphill and involves a lot of turns.  It was significantly cooler here and the scenery was just really nice along here -- including some buffalo and elk at the Lagoon Amusement Park.





My pace totally fell off here -- as usual.  I actually ran slower for this mile than I did in 2019.  I was stunned when I saw a 9:30 on my Garmin.  What -- that's my training marathon pace!

I was pretty cooked at this point.  My overall mileage has taken a hit of late and I felt like my endurance isn't all there.  Also the slight inline just took the starch out of me.

Finally we exited the circuitous paved trail and jumped onto Main Street.  There is a wide shoulder here and I knew I was in the homestretch.  Also, I had a bit of a downhill here and I did finally get my 2nd wind.  I knew I couldn't catch the people in front of me (they had put some significant ground on me) but I could improve my time.  I really focused on just putting one foot in front of the other as I sped down the old tree-lined street.


 
I had a small cheering section near the finish line as I made the final turns, which were fortunately downhill.  I gave it all I got and cruised through the finishing arch.




Conclusion


I was able to shake off the fatigue of running pretty quickly.  I actually didn't feel too bad -- it was hot but I definitely have been through worse as far as heat conditions go.

I was greeted with a bottle of water -- but no finisher's medal.  I had forgotten if they had one -- but their finisher's medal -- so to speak -- is actually their self-described "Best Post-Run Breakfast in Utah".  This included 2 choices of meet, French toast, a fruit cup and chocolate milk or orange juice.  Definitely epic and tasty!



One cool thing about the race is that they have a QR code on your bib that you scan for results.   I was pleased to see I had placed 3rd in the 50 - 59 age division.  I had seen a number of runners that appeared to be in my age group and I half figured I wasn't going to be in the winner's bracket this weekend.  Turns out I placed 3rd.  I kept pressing refresh on my phone as time went on to make sure someone hadn't nudged me out of this chip-timed race.



The finisher's medal was actually very nice -- heavy-duty and well designed.  Truly worth working hard for.  The inner portion also spins.  I was shocked that it wasn't a cheap-o one.

The shirt is made of the cotton / polyester blend.  I love their shirts -- very nicely designed.  Just wish they were 100% polyester.  So this one probably won't be worn for races but for easy runs or bumming around the house -- definitely.





My performance was decent on this race.  I knew I wasn't going to break 50 minutes on this course.  It is too hilly and the air temperature wasn't conducive to really running fast.  That being said, I did run better than I did at last weekend's 4th of July race in Riverton.  

This race was definitely worth the $20 and I plan on being there next year.  It was well organized and professionally timed.  Packet-pickup at the city hall was also easy and convenient.  The course is mostly a residential run, but it changes enough from ordinary houses, to tree-shrouded bike trail, and then bucolic tree-lined main street with some classic houses.  The crowd was good and friendly too -- just an epic locally organized race.

Please note: all course photos were taken after the race.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Riverton Town Days 10K Race Recap - Riverton, UT









Official Time: 51:54
Placement: 5th in the 50 - 54, 46th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 70's, 5 - 10 mph wind from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me



Mile TimeComments
18:04Hemmed in at the start - at least for the first quarter mile.
28:09Downhill running here but was already feeling the heat
38:42Darn, where did everything go?
48:44Should've signed up for the 5K
59:26Really should've signed up for the 5K.
68:39Final mile was all flat -- regrouped a bit.
6.020:08
Total Miles: 6.02 - 51:55









Introduction


Like Thanksgiving, the 4th of July is one of those holidays where races are being run in multitude.  There are just a ton of races out there and finding one can be interesting.  

I decided to jump into the Riverton 10K.  It was affordable, close to home, and a course I was somewhat familiar with.  The Riverton Half Marathon, which is held in March, has been run on much of this course, 

The race organizer puts on well organized races and they are held at the local park, so it is an ideal venue for the race and was home to their 4th of July city celebrations.






The Race


I rolled into the race site just after 6:15 for the 7 AM start.  Packet pickup was a snap and I used the trek to to the pickup and back as a bit of a warm-up.  It was already pretty warm so I was going to limit my warm-up.  I did several drills and loosen up and I honestly felt really good.

My goal on this race was to get under 50 minutes.  50:30 also seemed like a realistic "B" goal.

Around 6:55 AM we assembled at the starting line and by 7 AM I was running.

I was in race mode and I was wearing my racing shoes -- a pair of Saucony Fastwitch 5's, which I've owned for years, but just rarely use.  

It was warm -- in the low 70's and there was a bit of a breeze coming from the south.  I hadn't anticipated that but I just kept going.  I also noticed that it was warm... like uncomfortably warm.

The first mile went by fast -- thanks in part to a slight downhill.  I was a bit shocked to see an 8:05 flash on my Garmin after mile 1.  I expected it to be a bit slower, due in part to not being able to dictate my own pace.  We were running a stretch of sidewalk to exit the park and it was just congested.  It wasn't long before we had the entire half of a street and I was able to settle into my 10K pace.  

The first mile is all residential street -- eventually dumping you onto Lover's Lane.  They are doing a lot of construction along there so it is a dirt road and hilly. I still felt somewhat okay as I breezed through the first aid station.



Mile 2 the screws were put to me and I knew this was going to not end well.  My legs started to feel heavy and it just seemed a lot harder to run.  I took a bit of solace in seeing my time of 8:09 show up as I crossed mile 2, but the way I felt, I had my doubts that a sub 50 minute 10K was in the works.

Mile 3 had me wishing I had signed up for the 5K (not that it would've been much prettier).  We were on the bike trail at this point and the race had thinned out.  I was in survival mode and keeping a watchful eye on my Garmin.  I hoped this race wasn't going to get ugly but I had a feeling it would... I felt like the first 3 miles were mostly downhill and it was a semi out-and-back course....

Mile 4 definitely saw my race go into the proverbial crapper.  Returning back along Lover's Lane just wiped me out.  There was a hill that wasn't terribly wrong, but I just had nothing on the ascent. I think my Garmin even thought I had quit running.

Finally we got off of Lover's Lane and its rolling hills.  I tried to make a good showing of it by hammering the final mile.  We were running with the slower 5K runners (who had started about 15 minutes after the 10K runners).

I kept willing the final turn to come in.  I kept telling myself just a few minutes more.

The crowd got me motivated in the last quarter mile and I gave what little I had left before crossing under the Riverton's arches at a time well over my "A" and "B" race.





Conclusion


So this was probably my worst race this year -- at least in terms of performance.  There just wasn't much going for it and whether it was a week of hard training, warm weather or just an off day -- it wasn't my race.  And after having run really well in March at the Riverton race (and recent 5K races), I felt it was reasonable to hit a low 50 minute 10K.

I actually felt better than I expected I would after the finish.  Part of me wonders if the heat got into my head and effected my race more than it should've.  

Post race refreshments were water, chocolate milk and bananas.  They also had ice cream popsicles and orange juice.

I paid an extra $10 for the shirt.  I wish it had been a 100% polyester but it is of good quality and I have a nice memento from the race.  They also awarded finisher's medals.

The race came up well short on my Garmin.  However, after talking with several people after the race, most got between 6.14 and 6.16 miles.  Their MapMyRun map plotted out 6.24 miles.  I suspect people (including myself) were aggressive in running the tangents while the course was probably measured based upon being on a certain side of road.

Overall, I liked the course.  It was challenging and offered some beautiful scenery -- particularly through Lover's Lane.  I paid $20 + $10 for the shirt -- so for a 10K a pretty nice bargain.  I would certainly do this race again.