Saturday, October 16, 2021

2021 Dimple Dell Half Marathon Race Recap - Sandy, UT

Official Time: 2:11:09
Placement: 58th overall, 10th out of 15 in the 50 - 59 age division
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid to upper 40's at the start. Rain / hail
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year For Me (race held 10/9/2021)

Mile TimeComments
19:06Very conservative start -- just easing into the race
29:13On to the trail. Actually felt good here
39:44Begin the climbs to the Wasatch bench
411:24Did a bit of walking here
510:18Feeling like trash. Made a wrong turn here, so it cost me about a minute
713:39Steepest part of the run. Power hiking the worst of it and doing little dashes when I can
89:39Finally can lope down some of the downhills
108:47Could I salvage this race?
119:14Enjoying the downhills.
129:27Starting to rain. Running on fumes
12.9710:26Final push uphill and then half a lap around the park. 
Total Miles: 12:97 2:411:01


I'll be honest -- trail running is not my forte.  I am definitely a pavement pounder.  However that doesn't mean I am a tenderfoot -- it just means I don't do a lot of training on them.

So I got challenged / coerced / suckered into signing up for the Dimple Dell Half Marathon -- a 90% trail run in the heart of Sandy UT.  It is a thin strip of wilderness that runs from about the center of the valley to the eastern benches of the Wasatch Mountains.  

I've lived in this area for nearly 10 years and have only stick my toe into the area just once (I think).  I knew going in it was going to be both exciting, in that I'd get to explore this place and also very challenging.

The Race

All week long the weather forecasters had been predicting rough conditions.  Fortunately, for the most part, the weather didn't live up to the hype.

I was fully expecting to have to run a trail race in the rain.  When I arrived at the race site, it was spitting once in a while, but nothing serious.  There were ominous clouds on the horizon however.

The weather was chilly -- but not terrible.  I knew if there was a downpour, I'd definitely feel it.  I had brought just about everything I could think of for rough weather.  In fact, for the entire race I had a 30-gallon Glad bag stuffed in my pocket.  They work the best as a makeshift poncho.

I was one of the first to arrive so packet-pickup was a snap and I had less than 40 minutes to kill.

We all assembled in a line, got course instructions and took off.  

The race started at Lone Peak park -- a community park with a paved loop around the outskirts of it.  I would guess this loop is about .75 of a mile or so.  We had to make two loops around it before starting off on the trail.

I used this as my warm-up and I felt sluggish and stiff.  I had done a shake out run the day before, and maybe it was because I had done a challenging speed workout on Tuesday -- I just wasn't feeling extra "springy".  I wasn't too surprised that my first mile was very sedate.  

I kept telling myself to take it easy though. This race was hilly and my goal was to run the first 8 miles "easy" and then see what I had left for the final 5, which was mostly downhill.

The first couple of miles on the trail were beautiful.  It was shrouded with trees in all their autumn glory.  The trail was packed dirt and despite the recent rain, it was easy to run on.

I still felt like I was struggling.  My legs felt heavy and it seemed extra hard.  It was too early to be feeling this way.  About the 5K point I was contemplating tapping out.  How much agony did I want to put myself through and the hardest sections of the trail were coming?

Fortunately I kept on.  I decided just to enjoy the experience and get through it.  I paid for the race -- and I was going to run it.

After about 4 miles we were dumped into the heart of Dimple Dell.  It was more exposed now and I could see the areas where I needed to run.  The course also got decidedly more hilly.

I was enjoying the race a lot despite not running really fast.  I tried to keep my heart rate under control, walked the steepest parts of the course, and ran when I could.  The strategy did seem to work.

Around mile 5 I totally missed a turn. The course had been marked with pink ribbons and other than this one spot, it was well marked.  I was supposed to take a narrow path to the right instead of continuing on the main path.  I was leading a pack of runners and unfortunately a few other runners followed me.  Fortunately, I heard someone shouting that I had run the wrong way and the group of us turned around. This did wind up costing me a minute or so.

The next 3 miles or so were hilly.  I was suddenly hitting double digit splits as I power hiked the steepest sections.  It was almost like being on a hiking trail versus a running area.  I kept reminding myself not to get hung up over my times, get through this section and the "fun" part lied just ahead.

Finally mile 8 came up and we had reached the summit of the course.  I was pretty gassed at this point but the downhill sections gave me new hope and life.  My 10+ minute pace turned into upper 8's -- and I was completely happy with that.

I had been competing against several other runners.  The guy behind me in the picture above were running neck and neck throughout the race. It gave me something to work against.  I knew I wasn't really a contender for any age group (with 10 year age groups) but I still wanted to make a good showing out of it.

The final 3 miles or so was a repeat of the outbound section.  It was nice to know roughly how much further I needed to go.

Despite being I was able to get through the final 3 miles. However, I was really struggling the last mile.  I had taken half a gel about midway through, but my legs were just spent.  There was a soul killing final hill just before being dumped into park for the final half mile to the finish. I felt like I had run a marathon as I shuffled through the finish line. 


Clearly this race didn't go to plan. However, given that I haven't been doing much half marathon training and I have don't normally run on trails, I got about what I expected to.  I got the miles in, some character building experience and a finish.

It had started to run the final 2 miles, so after finished I beat a hasty retreat to my car for warmer clothes and a Pepsi, which always settles my stomach.  I actually bounced back pretty quickly despite having felt like warmed over death in the final mile.

So I may sound pretty glum about the race, but I actually did enjoy it.  The scenery was just beautiful with the heavy cloud cover over the Wasatch mountains

Post race refreshments were some epic donuts, bananas a drink.  I am modeling the technical t-shirt above and the medal was a wooden one that I understand was made locally.  For about $55 week-of-registration -- I got what I expected out of this race.

Other than the one turnoff that I missed, the course was well marked and easy to follow.  There were enough runners running that I was never solo but I wasn't cramped (except perhaps the first quarter mile).  There were 3 water stops, photo stations, and gels.  I carried an 8 ounce flask of water as well, which I used periodically.

For a local race with just over a 100 runners, this was fun. I didn't place well in my age group (thanks in part to the 10 year age increments) but I had fun with this race.  I used it to get in some difficult miles and experience a new route.  I would recommend this race to those looking for a challenge and I would do it again next year if my training / schedule permitted it.

No comments:

Post a Comment