Sunday, September 26, 2021

2021 Witch Run 10K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT

Official Time: 51:38
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54, 7th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 80's. Breeze from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2020] [2019[2018]

Mile TimeComments
18:10Easing into the race. First quarter mile definitely was a struggle
28:22Warm out but getting it done. Felt like wind in my face at times
38:22Finally the turn around. Definitely feeling it.
48:41Just trying to maintain my pace.
58:47    Trying to get something going here. Occasionally I could muster something but I was pretty toasted
68.51No one behind me and wasn't gaining on the guy in front of me.
6.040:19Sprint to the finish
Total Miles: 6.04 - 51:35

* Note -- course mapped at 6.20 miles and others measured it at 6.20 miles.


The last weekend of September always sees the arrival of the Witch Run, put on my OnHillEvents.  They've done this race every year since 2018 and being that it is well-attended and started literally 2 miles down the road from me, it is hard to pass up.

The previous 3 editions have simply been a 5K race, held just after sunset.  In years past, I remember running in the darkness with a head lamp.  Last year was supposed to see a 10K and half marathon race, but Covid caused the consolidation of the race.

With the race scene more or less "go!" they again issued the additional races and I wound up signing up for the 10K.  

The Race

I wound up picking up my bib the day before on a run.  With the race headquarters 2 miles away, it was easy to jump on the trail get my bib and head on back.  So the trials and tribulations of getting my shirt and bib, stashing the shirt in the car and all that wasn't a thought.  It also enabled me to roll into the race site a little later than usual.

Running a 10K is hard, but running one at 5 PM and an 85 degree starting temperature -- it makes it harder.  To compound matters, my 1 PM lunch was still sitting in my gut like a rock.  

This race is a bit of a fun run. Yes there are overall and age group awards, but for the most part it is a social event.  The 10K -- a little less so.  There were only a few half marathon runners who had left at 4 PM.  I surveyed my competition -- about a 100 runners.

The race started at 5 PM and we were off.  The race starts at the Gardner Village shopping center -- kind of an arts and crafts / eclectic collection of boutique shops.  After a few hundred yards you are dumped on the Jordan River Bike Trail and begin making your way south.

I hadn't done much of a warm-up.  It was hot and I sort of lost track of time. Also my legs weren't feeling terribly fresh.  But once I started running it felt like I had sent my heart into overdrive. I was sucking wind.

I told myself to take it easy and just worked myself into a low intensity pace.  The guys I would never catch took off and I just worked on maintaining a pace that I felt I could hold.

I figured I was in 4th place and by mile 1 another person had passed me.  For some reason I felt like the guy in front of me though represented 3rd place.  The top 3 finishers would get plaques.

My goal was to hang on as long as I could with the guy, hit low 8 minute miles for the first 5K and then pour it on, on the way back.  

The first 3 miles largely went to plan.  It was warm though and by the time I hit the turn around I knew the death march going back would begin.  I had passed the 4th place guy and now I had the job of catching the 3rd place guy -- who was a solid quarter mile ahead of me.

Occasionally, I'd look behind me to see if the guy I had passed was making ground on me.  I'd spot in the background but I think he was just as gassed as I was.

I had a glimmer of hope that I was going to catch the 3rd place guy when I saw him walking.  I was still running but my low 8 minute mile had turned into a half marathon 8:44 pace. At times I felt like I was gaining on the 3rd place guy but every time I gained some ground, he picked up his pace too.

It was nice having an out and back course.  I could gauge how close I was to the other runners as well as get words of encouragement from those behind me.  I was digging deep, but despite my best efforts, I was gaining anywhere.   My legs were just baked and I was feeling the heat.  

There had been 2 water stops (at about 1.25 miles out) and I had carried a small flask of water with me  and I had wound up going through all of that before the end of the race.  

I knew around mile 6 that I wasn't going to be in contention for a plaque.  I couldn't get anything going and my pace had drifted to an 8:55.  I kept looking behind me and there was no one threatening my position, so I was pretty content just to maintain this and get it done.

During the last .25 mile I slowed down.  I was gathering some strength to make the final push into the finish line.  My legs felt like rubber and I was sweating profusely.  I just wanted to be done.

I rounded the final corner of the bike trail and returned to the Gardner Village parking lot and made a speedy finish, with a time of 51:38.


So looking at my watch, I ran a 6.04 "10K".  And I came in significantly slower than my recent 10K times.  I shrugged it off to the heat and just running on tired legs.

However, I began to do some research. I noticed a few other runners ran 6.13 and one got a 6.20.  I even traced out the route into and it took came out to 6.20 miles.  Had I really run 6.20?

I do believe I came close.  Certainly I ran more than 6.04.  It should be noted that there are a lot of power lines from about mile 1 until 2.5 -- including a heavy duty set of transformers.  In the past I've had lost connection problems there.  It is one of the reasons why I don't normally run south on the Jordan River Trail -- loss of reception.

So I am going to count this as a pretty legit 10K, which means I ran okay, but not great.

The race had about 500 participants, mostly for the 5K.  It was crazy busy at the finish line.  Fortunately, one could grab their award and hit the road. In the past, exiting the shopping area has been a major pain, so I was happy to get out when I could.

Post race refreshments were sports drink, candy and of course Fat Boy Ice Cream Sandwiches.  I had stashed a cold Gatorade near the finish line and I gulped that down greedily.  I was very dehydrated when I finished and kind of wonky feeling.

I also received a finisher's medal and an age group award.  The t-shirt was a polyester / cotton mix.  I like the original 2018 shirt -- I still wear it a lot.  This one, will probably be relegated to an easy run shirt.  

I paid about $35 for the race 3 weeks before the race start.  So the race was affordable and within reason.  It was just convenient to run a race so close to home.  It was, however, a challenging time of day.  It sort of killed off my Saturday on account I didn't want to do anything too strenuous prior to the race.

Overall, it was a great social event and I'll likely be back next year.


Friday, September 24, 2021

2021 September Running Update

Year to Date Miles: 1221.25 (as of Sept 21)


Well the race onslaught has continued pretty much since Father's Day.  In fact, every weekend (as I write this) I've raced a 5K or 10K with the exception of one weekend.  

My times have been pretty good and I am excited to race.  I've gotten a collection of age group prizes and some cool new t-shirts.  Plus lots of blog entries.  I am just happy to be racing again and enjoying it.

That being said, I feel like my race performances have sort of plateaued.  I've still turned in some great times, but the gains have about tapered off.  Peaks and plateaus do happen in running.  So it is best to give time for running adaptations to take effect.  With cooler weather around the corner, I am hoping to be able to hit some of my stretch goals for 2021.


So what does my training look like -- particularly when being a habitual racer?

Sunday: Generally a long run or hike.  I ditched the super long runs. For my 5K / 10K races I really don't need to run more than 8 to 10 miles.  So that is where my long run is -- 8 miles
Monday: Base building and some strides.  My legs are usually worn down and the strides help add some quality.
Tuesday: Either super short run or rest.
Wednesday: Speed session.  Either hill workouts or efforts at 5K / 10K effort
Thursday: Another base building day
Friday: Generally off
Saturday: Race!

My weekly mileage is fairly modest, about 30 - 35 miles.  Compared to years ago I was running 45 - 55.  

Mindlessly piling on miles was helpful in burning calories and keeping my endurance going for half marathons and above, but for running fast 5K / 10Ks?  Not so much (at least in my opinion).  So if I've learned anything, specificity is key.  Train for the race you want to excel at.

My speed work sessions might involve, 1 mile at 10K pace, several quarter miles at 5K pace and maybe a few hill repeats.  I keep it generally light and allow the race to be my primary focus.  But I figure I get in about 1.5 - 2.5 miles of "speed".  I actually prefer running for time rather than distance.  If you tell me that I need to run a quarter mile and I get a break, I'll run that quarter mile hard so I can get it over with.  However, if you were to tell me to run 2 minutes, I'll keep my pace more consistent with the goal of the session.  So I'll be more likely to run that 2 minutes at 5K pace rather than mile pace.


I am still keeping trim.  I try to eat clean and I don't eat out nearly as much as I used to.  With working from home my desire to eat out every day has diminished.  For most weeks, I run farther than my car goes.

That being said though, I've gotten a little sloppy with it.  I think during 2020 with all the anxiety about the coronavirus, it made it easier to forego food.  I am definitely NOT a stress eater.  However, my appetite has come back and I've found myself "treating" myself more often than I should.  So it is definitely something I need to keep an eye on.  However, I am still lightyears ahead of where I was pre-pandemic.

Upcoming Races

09/25: 2021 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/09: 2021 Dimple Dell Half Marathon - Sandy, UT (Confirmed)
10/23: 2021 SLC Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/30: 2021 Provo Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/06: 2021 Vineyard City Blizzard 5K - Vineyard, UT (Confirmed)
11/13: 2021 Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K - Sandy, UT (Confirmed)
11/20: 2021 SoJo Turkey Run 5K / 10K - South Jordan, UT (Maybe)
12/04: 2021 Laughlin Half Marathon - Laughlin, NV (Confirmed)
12/18: 2021 SoJo Santa Sprint 5K - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
01/15: 2022 Saint George Half Marathon - Saint George UT (Confirmed)
01/23: 2022 Sojo Break the Freeze 5K - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
02/27: 2022 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas (Confirmed)
03/05: 2022 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, Utah (Confirmed)
03/19: 2022 Lucky 13 - 10K - West Bountiful, Utah (Confirmed)
04/16: 2022 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
08/20: 2022 Provo Canyon to Pleasant Grove 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
10/01: 2022 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/22: 2022 Haunted Emigration Canyon 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
10/29: 2022 Haunted Half Provo 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)

Saturday, September 18, 2021

2021 SoJo Summerfest 5K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT

Official Time: 23:46
Placement: 10th overall, 2nd in the 50 - 59 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: lower 60's, wet, and a bit of wind.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
18:08A little uphill here.  Hard to judge my pace, but it felt comfortable
27:49Turning on the jets. Felt really good here. Some downhill too.
2.977:50Cruising to the finish.
Total Miles: 2.97 - 23:49

Initial Run through the Park


There was a bit of a lull in the race scene this week.  One big race was happening up north but since since I am not really ready to run a half marathon, I found a local 5K race sponsored by the South Jordan Park District.  Regular readers may recall I recently did their Rivalry Run about 3 weeks ago.

The race is literally a 10 minute drive down from me and the price was reasonable.  So needing something to occupy myself with, I decided to pull the trigger and run this race.

The Race

I had a heck of a time finding this race.  The park where it was located, Main City Park, is huge and the race was coordinated with their annual Summerfest days.  Also, they had closed several of the entrance to the park, which made it very hard to get into it.  I had planned to arrive about 6:10 or so, but I spent the next 15 minutes trying to find the way into the park.  I was on the verge of giving up when I found the spot and grabbed some parking.

I grabbed my bib in short order and then it started to rain.  It wasn't heavy, but it was drizzling.  So much for a SummerFest race.  Also, to make matters more interesting, it was windy.  

Fortunately, the temperature was ideal.  I got in less than adequate warm-up and toed the line in the dark at 7 AM.

I have a hard time reading my watch -- particularly in the dark and in the morning.  My dark vision is just not very good anymore.  So immediately, I knew I was going to be guessing as to what my pace was and how far I had run (I honestly could make out a little of my current pace and current distance -- but again, it was very hazy).

I had studied the course a bit before the race so I knew there were several turns.  I also knew that the first mile would see a bit of a hill. However, the majority of the run would be flat.

I knew another young man from the Rivalry run and we happened to be starting the 5K together.  For that race I had hung with him for the first mile and I knew his 5K time was about equivalent to mine.  Since I couldn't make out my pace on my watch, I sort of hung with him.

The first mile felt really good -- almost too easy.  Was I slacking?  I didn't even feel my watch buzz for as I cruised through the first mile.  The air temperature was perfect and while it was windy, it didn't seem to be impacting my pace too much.  Also, I cruised up the hill (seen in the 3rd photo above) with relative ease.

Mile 2 was even faster.  I could a few glimpses of my watch, which stated I was doing anywhere from the upper 7 minute per miles to low 8's.  It was here that I got a bit of help with some downhills.  

There were plenty of turns in this race but they were well marshalled by volunteers and road arrows.  I had some fears that I'd miss a turn, but once again it was well organized.  

Other than the first half mile and the final half mile, the race was run in the residential areas of South Jordan.  It wasn't a glamorous course and it was reminiscent of the Taylorsville Days 5K I had done back in June.  

Usually on a 5K the final mile is one where my pace goes down the toilet.  This race, I was still feeling really good.  I just wish I knew exactly how much farther I needed to run.  Finally, as I rounded the corner back into the park, I saw the finish line arches ahead.  I was trying to chase down a couple of women in front of me and I had the young man I had lined up with at the start of the race behind me.  Any age group award I was gunning for, I was pretty much assured of.  There wasn't any else around.

The young man flew by in the final 100 yards -- I just don't have that natural sprint speed.

And I crossed under the blue arches in 23:46.


I have mixed feelings about my performance on this race.  I honestly felt like I had run a low 23 minutes -- probably 23:20 - 23:30 range.  With the race being short, my finish time equates to around a 24:30.  I saw some people's reports on Strava showing that they had run 3 miles flat or even 3:02.  But due to the last minute course change, I think they shaved off a good .1 of a mile.

There wasn't much in the way of post race refreshments.  Simply water.  The race did make up for it with a nice technical t-shirt and a beautiful medal.  I honestly think that the medal is one of the best I've gotten this year.  

I wound up hanging around to see people I know finish and to see if they did age group awards.  I had placed 10th overall and 2nd in my age group. 

They did have awards but it was a bit anti-climatic.  I have a feeling they had a bunch of extra shirts from last year and gave them out as prizes.  Either way, I love a good t-shirt and now I've got two.  

They did have a pancake breakfast at the end (for money) but it was such a miserable day to sit outside. I might've taken them up on it, but the weather was just wet and dreary.  

This race was fun. It was low key -- with less than a 100 runners and it was sort of like a park run.  For $25 I felt like I got my money's worth.  Definitely something to do and I felt like I ran a nice race pace-wise. I just wish my overall time had been better.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

2021 Rock the Canyon 10K Race Recap - Provo UT

Official Time: 56:19
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 59, 30th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's, wet and a little wind at times.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2020[2019]

Mile TimeComments
19:51Onto a cramped trail. Hilly and windy. And did I mention rainy?
210:01Climbing here
39:05Pretty gassed at this point
410:17Finally the turn around and some super hilly stretches
58:51    A few rolling hills but I should've been faster. Just nothing left.
5.938.12Actually all things considered, not too bad of a mile.
Total Miles: 5.93 - 56:19


At some point this past spring I got an offer email to come re-run the Rock the Canyon 10K Race.  I have the done race twice before and with a price that was definitely a steal (I wanna say under $20), I decided to sign up.  If something else came up, I certainly could change my mind and not be too sad.

The race is a challenging course set on the benches along eastern Provo.  It is a beautiful -- but hilly run.  Every year I've done the race, I've been humbled -- my 10K time is normally in the low 50's.  But this race is so hilly and relentless that my time is usually quite a bit higher -- in this year's case, it was over 6 minutes higher.

But I keep coming back to this race. Primarily on the price point and it is just a fun race in a beautiful setting.

The Race

The race started at 7:30 in the morning and I got to the race site at about 6:45.  It was dark and I was one of the first to arrive. Occasionally a few rain drops splattered on my windshield but it seemed like a really ideal day to race.

I picked up my bib and shirt in a matter of seconds at the park's bowery.  Just as I returned to my car it started to rain -- heavily.  It was close to 7 AM and the last thing I wanted to do was run a 10K in a torrential downpour.

Fortunately, like most storms in Utah, it was short lived.  Within 5 minutes it was simply raining and then finally just drizzling and finally it stopped.  

I did a very brief warm up and used a body stick to work out some kinks in my calves.  I had a bit of shin splint that I was hoping wouldn't act up.

The race started promptly at 7:30 and we were off -- just as it started to rain again.  Great! Just a t-shirt / shorts for me and I was getting chilly.  

I told myself to be patient.  This year's course was different from the previous but it was also kind of the same.  In fact, about 85% of it was.  And the first .75 of a mile of the course is uphill.

So I was already breathing hard before I had even exited the parking lot and I was swallowed up into a single line to do switchbacks up a dirt trail.  I am not sure I could've run much faster but I was hemmed in and blocked from time to time.  I even had to walk periodically.  I knew this wasn't a PR attempt but I definitely was gunning to beat last year's time.

Finally we got to a wider section of the trail and the weather conditions went up a notch.  Wind howled through the canyon and my hands were getting cold.  After exiting the canyon though, the rain and wind stopped and it seemed like I was going to catch a break.

Near the start of mile 2 you get a really nice downhill section.  My shin wasn't happy with the massive descent and I was terrified of slipping and falling on the wet asphalt.  Fortunately, slipping didn't occur, but part of me held back.  It wasn't unexpected to see a 10 minute mile come up on my watch.

At this point the course has gone from trail to road racing -- hilly road racing.  Either I was climbing a hill that most race directors avoid for their courses or grinding my way up a small incline.  I was hurting but I actually felt like I was running well.  I was furious though to see a 10 minute mile come up for mile 2.

Around mile 4

At this point I was getting discouraged.  With all the gains I've made in the past year, why I wasn't I running faster?  To make matters worse, walking up the hills almost resulted in the same pace had I just shuffled up them.  

Mile 3 finally got into the flatter section. There was a good mile stretch of just a slight incline. I wanted to make up some time, but I was simply tired.  I kept counting on the fact that the return trip would primarily be downhill.

Mile 4 got me to the turn around point.  It had been some slight inclines and from previous experience I knew the final 2 miles were going to be fast.  However, I had to run around a tennis court area. This involved running up a super steep hill followed by a series of paved switch backs.  I found that simply power hiking up them was just as efficient as attempting to run up it.

Once I was done with the switchbacks I felt a sense of the tides of the races were going to change. I remember from the previous year flying back to the finish and hitting some low 8 minute miles.  However, this year, my legs were just dead.  There really wasn't any second wind and I found myself sputtering.  I'd get rolling for a bit and then peter out.

A runner behind me appeared to be my age so I was working at keeping ahead of him.  There were a trio of runners in front of me -- all younger -- that I was working off of.  I had no idea where I was going to finish in my age group but I was shooting to place in it.

It was also at this point that my hamstring started to twinge and I could feel my patella tendon rubbing against my right knee.  Gosh, could this race get any tougher?  Fortunately, I had less than 1.5 miles to go.

The park came into view and I was elated.  I had dropped the competitor behind me and the 3 runners I was working off of pulled ahead of me (I had almost reeled in one of them near the end).  I cruised into the park and made the final lap around Rock Canyon Park before crossing under the finish line (It was cruel to run by the finish line and still have about half a mile to go).  I was just happy to finish.


So this race didn't really go to plan.  I have had a stretch of races recently where I've handily beaten last year's time.  This race broke that streak.

Suffice to say though, this course was different from the previous years.  So I am not comparing apples to apples.  I did feel like I finished stronger though. I remember last year's race clawing my way to the finish, where as this finish I was still pushing the pace.

I did finish first in my age group, netting myself a rock award that had a sticker on it.  The rock was picked from the canyon.  I got a t-shirt and there was a decent spread of food at the end: chocolate milk, pancakes, energy bars, oranges and bananas.  

I really like the challenging nature of the course.  I wish I could completely disregard my time versus other 10K courses.  But I am competitive by nature so I can't really say this was a successful race.

My Garmin indicated that the race course was short.  However, after looking at other Strava runners, I am seeing that many runners have recorded ranges in the 6.1X area.  So I am thinking my watch was off (or I simply missed a section of the course).

Either way, this race was fun.  I got in at a seriously discounted price and the course was well marked.  It was beautiful too -- I love running by the stately houses with green trees and lawns.  While the hills can be tough, I was really enjoying the scenery.

I'll likely be back next year to challenge the hills again.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

2021 Swiss Days 10K Race Recap - Midway, UT

Somewhere around mile 2 of the Swiss Days 10K Course

Official Time: 49:55
Placement: 51st male, 1st in the 50 - 54
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2019] [2018] [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:23Off to a decent start. Slight uphill here.
28:55Hilliest section here with 159 feet climb. Surprised I was this slow though.
38:21Crested the dreaded turn around hill and began to pick up the pace
47:39Remembered this part of the course. I was flying downhill!
57:55Still mostly downhill. Fortunately I had enough power to keep the good pace going
68.09Usually I die on this stretch, but I hammered it home.
6.080.29Sprint to the finish
Total Miles: 6:08 - 49:54


Every September, on Labor Day weekend, I like to participate in the Swiss Days 10K race out in Midway. The Swiss Days festival is a big deal for this bucolic farm town on the other side of the Wasatch Mountains (from Salt Lake City).   The festival is a town celebration with cultural music (Swiss) and local talent.  Also they serve food, typical fairgrounds snacks, and an assortment of vendors selling arts and crafts.  The turn out on this festival is absolute huge and it is a big deal for the area.

It is growing up fast, but there is still a lot of charm left.  Lots of big lots, expensive houses and just incredible views.  It is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this race. It is probably my favorite 10K race course.  It doesn't mean it is an easy one, but it certainly is scenic.

The Race

The race is an early starter - at 7 AM.  It is still chilly by the time you roll in for the start.  I am glad I brought a jacket.  I was one of the first to arrive so I got a really nice parking spot close to the race headquarters -- at the LDS church.  Packet pickup was a snap and I was ready to race in short order.

I wound up doing some drills, some strides and a fairly easy running to warm-up.  My hands were cold and I was sort of wishing I had some thin gloves to wear.  But I knew once the race started, I'd be fine.  Most people felt the same -- and I went with shorts and a dry-fit t-shirt.

The race started promptly at 7 AM and we were off running down Center street towards the fairgrounds.  

The race isn't chipped time, so I had assembled up near the front with the rest of the runners -- which seemed to be primarily high school aged runners.  Due to Covid-19 though, I suspect this year's attendance was a little less.  I haven't looked at the official numbers compared to previous years, but it seemed there were less runners.

The race is run entirely on village paved roads.  There isn't a lot of traffic and the few spots that you do have to contend with traffic was marshalled.  Also it should be mentioned that Midway sits at over 5600 feet, so elevation is something to consider.  This course also could be described as hilly -- but what you climb, you get to come down on.

The first 2.5 miles or so are pretty much uphill.  The first mile is a bit of a grind.  There are some hills here but none of them are back breakers.  You have some folks cheering for you at this point too, since we are still in town.  But it is mostly quiet running along the sleepy roads.  

I was trying to gauge who I was running against -- the awards for this race are generous -- at 5 deep for 5 year age increments (turns out it was 3 deep this year).  In years past I've gotten something in my age group and other times I've just missed out.  Instead of medals for awards they give out glass steins emblazoned with a Swiss Days sticker.  I've gotten a few of them over the years and I treasure each one.

About mile 3.25 of the Swiss Days 10K

I was a little humbled to see an 8:23 on my Garmin for the first mile.  I felt that I was running slightly faster than that but I told myself to be patient.  I know the great miles were ahead.  I just needed to get through the hilly section.

Mile 2 was even more humbling.  This is the hilliest stretch and it is a grind.  Again, I felt like I was running faster than my Garmin reported (8:55).  However, at this point the course gets even sexier.  You have left town and are approaching the Wasatch State Park area.  The views of the towering Wasatch mountains in the early morning are stunning.  However, it was hard to appreciate them given how hard I was running.

About mile 3 of the Swiss Days race

Mile 3 is where the fun starts.  Yes, the first half is uphill and the course takes you on a climb up a short and steep hill. Then at the top, you run beyond it a ways and round a traffic cone before coming flying down the hill.  Why can't they adjust the course to not do this?

I knew I was running pretty well after seeing a bunch of speedy high school kids coming in the other direction.  I was eyeballing the competition and felt like there were a few guys that could've been in my age group.  I was working off of one guy and every time I got a little ahead of him, he'd catch up and run with me.  However, once I rounded the turn around cone I threw it into another gear and kept on going.

Mile 3 saw an 8:21 come up.  I know I had been aided and hindered by the turn around hill.  And I remember from previous years just coming to a screeching halt in this area -- having been worn out by the hill.  But my legs were still ticking over and I knew the next 2 miles were down hill.  Could I make up some of the time that the hills had cost me?

The race had thinned out at this point but I was still working off a variety of people. From a mother encouraging her speedy junior high runner along, to high school kids.  Once I hit the downhill, I really hit it home.  Again, I was feeling very strong and was aggressively going for whatever I had.

I was actually stunned to see a 7:39 come up.  Wow! A 5K mile pace at mile 4?!?!  Granted, I was flying down a hill, but in years past I had hit the low 8's on this mile.  And I still felt like I had gas in the tank.

Mile 5 gets you back towards town and the route is now fairly flat.  Again, this is another part where I start hurting and I've got absolutely nothing left.  Also there is a small stretch where you are running up a long but not so tall hill.  It isn't in a very exciting part of the course either and at this point you are hurting and are so close to the finish line.  I had a few people behind me and those that were ahead were several hundred yards in front.  

I kept imaging the people behind me as in my age group.  I didn't want to verify that they were, but it made me push a lot harder.  My leg turnover wasn't great, but cardiovascularly I felt awesome.  

Occasionally I glanced at my watch and saw that my pace was around 8:30, but I felt like I was running faster.  "Lies!" I thought.  I inched up the pace as I could see the final finish line banner ahead.

A pair of runners flew by me and I was crestfallen because one of them looked to be my age.  There was no way I could outsprint him.  The other one was clearly not in my age group -- probably half my age.  But I lost two positions in the last 5 seconds of the race.

I hit the final mile at 8:09 -- a fantastic time for me and finished in 49:55.  Definitely breaking my personal best on this course by over 2 minutes.


So no finishers medals on this one.  But I did wind up winning my age group.  So I got to collect the 2021 glass stein to add to my collection.  I was so relieved to have placed actually.  I had worked hard for every second and I was really worried that I wasn't going to place.  I would've lived had I not, but it is rewarding to win something.

One thing I really like about this race is that they have epic post race donuts.  I think they are made by a local vendor and they are definitely an upgrade from your typical donut experience.  I could've made a meal out of them and celebrated my victory by grabbing 2 of them.  They also had fruit, sports drink and water.  Also, to wash down the donuts, they had chocolate and plain milk.  This is one of the best post race spreads.

The shirt I got, unfortunately, was a cotton one -- and also it was an extra large youth size.  I tried it on and it felt like it was squeezing my innards. It'll get donated.  I definitely miss the tech shirts they used to give out.

Performance-wise I did great.  Yes, this isn't a PR setting 10K for me.  The course is hilly and I am at higher elevation.  That being said though, I did break 50 minutes on this course and my best time was about 3 to 4 years ago with an upper 51 minute race.  Again more improvement from me.

I simply love this race. There is a good crowd and I love seeing all the high school kids participating.  I knew a few people there and this race is probably one of the prettiest 10K courses out there.  I am already looking forward to next year.