Friday, November 26, 2021

2021 South Davis Recreation Center 5K Turkey Run - Bountiful, UT

Official Time: 24:44
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 54, 89th out of 862
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 28 degrees, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012]

Mile TimeComments
17:26Fast first mile - slight downhill got me rocking
27:59A little bit of a detour from the usual course, but still solid
38:21Last mile is mostly a gradual uphill. 
3.140:56Really sped up at the end
Total Miles: 3.14- 24:44


As usual, I signed up for my annual Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving Day.  Leading up to this race I've done 2 other Turkey Trots, but they were held in advance of probably the biggest running holiday in the United States.

I had a ton of choices -- mostly 5Ks but there was a big half marathon.  And judging from what I've seen, most of the races had massive turnouts.

I've done this race pretty much since I've moved to Northern Utah (2012).  It is affordable, they give you a lot for your money and in general it is a well run race.  Plus it doesn't hurt to know the course. 

Doing my warm-up and watching the 10K runners go by

The Race

Normally the race starts at 8 AM and both the 5K and 10K runners start at the same time.  This year, due to the large turnout, they started the 10K runners at 8 AM and the 5K runners at 8:30.  I got there early enough to snag a decent parking spot, grab my bib and do my warm-up and catch the 10K runners as they ran by me.

It was a chilly morning -- about 28F according to my car and my hands were frozen during my warm-up.  I was wishing that I had brought my thicker gloves.

The race started a hair after 8:30 and went with thin gloves, long-sleeved shirt and shorts.  I also threw on a skull cap hat.  I felt like I had chosen correctly for this race.  As usual, for a windless 5K you warm-up pretty fast.

The race wasn't staggered and it was a free for all from the get go.  It was a madhouse initially.  Lots of people had lined up at the front of the race when they should've be in the back.  It probably cost me 5 to 10 seconds, but not the end of the world.  I got off to a good start and I settled into what I felt was a conservative mile.

The race is held on the city streets of Bountiful.  They have a police and volunteers monitoring the major intersections but typically on race day morning there isn't much traffic.  The first mile is along a residential street sporting a mix of old and new houses.  It is also the fastest mile of the course -- with a net downhill of about 40 feet.

I wasn't too surprised hitting a sub 7:30 mile.  I just wish the rest of the race felt that easy.

I've run this course at least a dozen times over the years and I was thrown for a curveball when I saw we made the right hand turn prematurely.  Had the race organizers screwed up?  

Turns out there was a bit of road construction that made our usual route not runnable.  So off we darted into a new subdivision.

It was also at this point that I realized that I was running a new course (technically).  And judging from the direction we were running, that the course was likely to be longer than usual.  Prior to this, I had visions of using this race as a time trial to see where I was earlier this spring.  Not any more.

Mile 1 to 2 is slightly uphill.  I was still surging in sports and working to keep up with the people around  me -- some of whom I figured might be in my age group.  I had gotten off to a good start and I was shooting from something in the 23's or at the least low 24's.

Mile 2 flashed on my watch with a 7:59.  Still pretty good, but the most challenging mile lay ahead.

The last mile is a grind back to the recreation center.  It starts off slow and then culminates at about mile 2.66 or so.  At this point you are gassed and you can kind of smell the finish line.  You could call this hill Heartbreak Hill for this race.  

I worked on keeping my form up and occasionally I'd throw in a surge to pass by a few people, but this part of the race always kills my overall time.  I saw my 7:45 - 8:10 pace drift into the 8:30s.  

Finally, I reached the top of the hill and I knew the finish line was just a few minutes ahead.  I had been working off of some people and we had been dueling for position.  I finally was able to put some distance on them and I felt like my legs had another surge of energy.  My legs were turning over and I was able to pass a few runners who had gotten beat up by the hills.


So I crossed under the finish line in 24:44.  Not the time I was looking for.  I glanced at my watch and saw that I had run significantly further than previous editions of this race. Normally, this race comes in around 3.07 or at most 3.08 on my watch.  Today: 3.14.  

.07 or .06 of a mile doesn't sound like much until you do the math and it equates to about 30 to 40 seconds (for me).  Translated, my time was about a 24:10, in the realm of what I am capable of.

I congratulated those around me and grabbed my pretty big 5K finisher's medal.  I had stashed my warm-up jacket near the starting so, so I had to make about a quarter mile jog to pick it up (which hurt).  I socialized a bit before retrieving my phone to check the results.

I didn't think I would place in my age division.  I had a sneaking suspicion that there were plenty of guys in my age group that had beaten me.  They had signs up with QR codes to access the results.  I was actually pretty stunned to see that I had placed 2nd in my age group.  Score for me!

Prizes included pies for age group winners and turkeys / hams for overall winners.  Post race refreshments included pastries, bananas, oranges and water / sports drink.  For $20 I got a great race experience and as usual, the race organizers give you plenty for your money.  My only gripe is that it took a LONG time to give out the awards.  If I hadn't won anything I could've hit the road by 9:15.  Instead, the awards didn't get delivered until after 10.  Too long, especially on a cold day.

Overall, I was happy with my experience.  I especially liked the medal and everything was done well.  I raced pretty much exactly where my fitness is these days.  It certainly wasn't a breakout race but it wasn't a disaster either.  Hopefully next time I run this course it'll be the way it was and I can gauge if I am progressing at all.

Baring any setbacks, I'll be running this course again in the future.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

2021 South Jordan Turkey Run 10K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT

Official Time: 49:41
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 59, 12th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's - slight wind from the north.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First year for me.

Mile TimeComments
17:42Went out a little fast. First mile is always the easiest
28:01Reeling it back in.  Just keeping up and trying to hold about 8 minutes
38:10Last of the southern stretch of bike trail. Time for some hills.
49:01Giant hill here. Focused on form and got up it knowing I'd get the downhill soon
58:09Some downhill and back to the bike trail.  Rebounded here a bit
68.12Final mile running into a slight breeze to the finish
Total Miles: 6.07 - 49:46


With the race season coming to a close, I am trying to jam as many races as I can into the final weeks.  I know come late December / January, I'll be jonesing for a race.  

So I decided that to run the inaugural South Jordan (SoJo) Turkey 5K / 10K.  Last year this race was held, but it was virtual, due to Covid.  

Eagle eyed readers should have already noticed that this race's course is identical to the one I ran in August for the Rivalry Run.  So this time I had a bit of a heads up on the what the course was going to be like and how to pace myself.

The Race

Like the Rivalry Run, this race started fairly late: 10 AM.  This time it was welcomed.  With the cooler temperatures, it was nice to sleep in a little longer and be able to toe the line at a reasonable hour. 

The race started promptly at 10 AM and off we went -- about 50 of us -- south on the Jordan River Parkway.  It is a paved trail that is popular with runners, cyclists and dog walkers.

I didn't have many goals for this race other than to race faster than I did last time.  I had some vague visions of what my time was 3 months ago, but to be honest I just wanted to really go hard and see what I had.  Of late, my times haven't been the greatest (probably over racing) but I was using this as a solid workout and to be honest, the weather was very ideal.

I had surveyed the competition and usually a race this small and produced by the South Jordan people don't usually have age group awards.  But still, I wanted to race competitively.

The first mile I went out pretty fast.  I was trying to keep up with as many people as I could.  I wanted to hold back, but the adrenaline of the start had me going and feeling good.  When my Garmin buzzed and I saw the 7:45 I had mixed emotions. The split was pretty good but I knew I was going to pay for it.

I proceeded southward on the trail and on the east side of the Jordan River.  I was tailing the first place woman and had a guy breathing down my neck but after that -- no one in front of me and no one behind me.  In all honesty, I wanted the guy behind me to either fade out of the picture or just pass me.  I didn't like the pressure of having him back there.

Still, it forced me to keep a nice pace and I dialed it back ever so slightly.  I hit the mile 2 marker just as we turned west and crossed over a bridge to begin our winding journey back to the starting line.

At this point, also, I started getting backed up with phlegm.  I had carried a small flask in my pocket and took a tiny sip.  I am not sure what causes it (allergies) but it can become depilating at times.  I had to slow to clear my throat to avoid getting sick.  Mile 2 arrived with a pace of just over 8 minutes.  Exactly where I wanted to be.

The next mile I really felt like I was slowing down.  I was hurting pretty badly and the guy who was chasing me gained on me and then passed me.  He obviously was taking it easy for the first 3 miles or so and then pushing the final 3.  

Mile 3 saw me slow down.  But I was re-invigorated a bit as I rejoined some of the 5K runners.  I felt like I was flying and it was nice to see friends who encouraged me to push hard and run strong.

Mile 3 also sees "the hill".  I remembered it from the last time I ran the course and it is a hill of just pure "up".  I focused on maintaining good form and not panicking.  Just put one foot in front of the other, and get up the hill.  I've done a fair amount of hill training this year and knowing I could get up it and with proper form enabled me to get it done.  In fact, I finished that mile significantly faster than I had 3 months ago.

Fortunately after that hill you get to run down the backside of it on your way back.  So that kept me motivated and I found another gear as I soared into mile 4.  Just 2 more miles to go.

Mile 4 is mostly downhill.  You've done the hard work and now you get to run through a neighborhood and back down the dreaded hill.  I felt fast as once again I encountered the 5K runners.  Some of them were running this stretch but I had found another gear.  I hit the start of mile 5 back on target for a pace.

After making my way through a new housing construction zone I was finally redirected back to the bike trail and just had less than a mile to go. 

I had remembered when we crossed under a bridge at the outset that I had about .66 miles to go to hit the starting line.  It was a sweet relief as I passed by the 2nd aid station and saw the bridge.  I started to do the math as to whether I could under 50 minutes.  It seemed realistic but I felt like my form was collapsing, but I still had some strength left.  Just push!

I was weaving my way around some of the 5K walkers and while my pace was in the low 8 minute / mile zone, I felt like I was running much slower.  When I could hear the din from the finish line I knew it was going to be close.  I gave it everything I had in the closing .2 of a mile.


I crossed under the finish line on my Garmin in 49:46 -- cracking 50 minutes again.  My official time was 49:41 though.  Not sure why the discrepancy.

I did finish about 10 seconds (officially) faster than I did 3 months ago.  I'll take any sort of improvement, although it seems a bit trivial.  There was more wind today (a bit from the north) but August's race was definitely warmer.

I walked off the ensuing nausea and chatted with some of the other 5K / 10K finishers.  

The race was a bargain race -- about $25 to register.  I did get a shirt and a pretty cool medal.  I am told there "may" be awards for the top 2 finishers in each age group.  As of right now, that could apply to me.

Overall, I was happy with my experience.  It was a low key / low frills race.  The course was interesting and it was good to see a lot of people I may not see until 2022.  There was simply water at the finish line -- it would've been nice to have bananas or something.  The medal and shirt were nicely done though.

My Garmin did measure the course short again, but given it's tendency to do that, I suspect, it is close to a legitimate 10K.

If this race fit into my schedule, I'd be interested in running it again.

Monday, November 15, 2021

2021 Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap - Sandy, UT

Official Time: 24:40
Placement: 4th in age group, 30th overall
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 56F slight wind from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2013] [2014]

Mile TimeComments
17:43Off to a decent start. Mild downhill section. I seemed to be holding back
28:16Lots of turns here. Some hills
38:36I suspect this mile was "long". Uphill though
3.010:03Actually felt like I was cruising the last quarter mile.
Total Miles: 3.01 - 24:40


It's been a while since I've run the Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K.  In fact, the last time I ran this was race back in 2014.  

For the past 7 years, I've tried to get this race back on my schedule. Unfortunately, every year this race weekend conflicted with the Las Vegas Marathon race.  So I was never able to do this race.

With the Las Vegas races being moved to February, this left this weekend open for yet another 5K and finally I could return to the Sandy City Turkey Trot.

Sandy City is where I used to work when I first moved to the Salt Lake area in 2012.  Their recreation center puts on a lot of races and I was a frequent customer.  They are affordable, yet competitive and well executed.  So I was pretty excited to be able to get this race in and see if I could improve on my 2014 -- or even my 2013 time.

The Race

The race started at 10 AM -- so that gave me plenty of time to get ready in the morning.  I could eat a substantial breakfast and prepare a great deal more than I normally would prior to a 5K.

I arrived at the race site with about 50 minutes to spare and quickly grabbed my shirt and bib.  It was a perfect day -- a hint of chill in the air, yet sunny and warm.  There wasn't much more than a breeze as well.  I had plenty of time to do a warm-up and I ran about a mile around the circumference of Lone Peak Park, which is where the race was headquartered.

I felt pretty good and was ready to go at 10 AM. 

The race's course was different than previous years -- yet at the same time "the same".  The race made a loop around the eastern end of the park before exiting off into a mature subdivision.  As I ran through the streets of Sandy, I could recall 7 years ago running this exact same route.

I had studied the course beforehand and knew that the first mile and a quarter were mostly downhill.  And I knew I'd hit a really nice split.  On the flipside, I knew coming back it'd be a slow grind to get back to the starting line.  There are no "major" hills on the course, but it would be a long, slow climb.

So I held back a little and ran a 7:46 for the first mile.  Off to a good but controlled start despite a fairly cramped start (imagine a hundred runners, jockeying for place on a wide sidewalk)

Eventually we made it to a bike trail. Again, I remembered this stretch too but instead of heading north to a baseball field, we headed south.  New territory!

The bike trail ran along a canal and the freeway.  It was pleasant but you could hear the din of the cars around you.  My competitors had thinned out and I was running with another group of runners. My goal was to work off of them and try to over take them.  I knew this course wasn't likely to lead to a personal best record, yet I still wanted to make a good showing. I also suspected (correctly) that the competition for an age group award was iffy at best.

At this point it was so sunny I couldn't really read my watch.  I glanced down though when my watched beeped at mile 2 and saw an 8:16.  What???!?!?  I was certainly running faster than that.  My watch though does record short, so if I ran a mile, I likely had run slightly more.  Perhaps I wasn't that far off.

We were heading back and the course was flat through that 2nd mile and I actually really enjoyed it.  I just kept working on my turnover and occasionally putting in a burst of speed to gain ground on the people around me, which again had thinned out drastically.  I wound up catching the small lead pack in front of me.  Next up were some younger folks....

The first half of the final mile was the grind back to the park that I wasn't looking forward to.  I still had a lot of fight left in me, but I couldn't muster up much turnover at this point. I was hurting and I was fighting back the urge to walk a bit or get sick.  I focused on putting more ground on people behind me, but I felt like I was running through quicksand.

What helped, though, was that I remembered running down this stretch not much more than 10 minutes ago.  So I knew that it wasn't that bad and that once I got done with the incline, I would have a final stretch of about half a mile to crush it to the finish.

Finally, I turned a corner and I could see the entrance to the park.  I looked at my watch and I definitely had more than half a mile to go.  And yet, I could see the finish line and hear the music.  So close, yet so far away.  I had to completely run around the finish line in a wide arc to account for the full distance.  It was heartbreaking and I could hear the names of the leaders crossing the finish line well ahead of me.

Occasionally I'd look behind me and no one was closing in on me and I was making ground on the young adult (half my age) in front of me.  He was hurting and it motivated me to push a little harder as I looped the north end of the park.  Again, I felt like I was running much faster than the 8:15 (or pace) I was running.

Finally, the finish line came into view and I knew I had a 100 yards or so and I gave it all I got and cruised through the finish line, passing the young male in front of me in the process.  Finish!


I was a bit distraught to see a time of 24:40.  I really had hopes of 24:15 or so.  This course was challenging though.

You may also notice that my watch reported a distance of 3.01 miles.  I checked on and many other runners got 3.09 to 3.11.  Clearly my watch continues to shortchange me.

There were no finisher medals on this one -- just a pie + medal for age group awards (1st through 3rd).  Unfortunately I placed 4th.  I would've need to take at least another minute off my time to contend for an award.  I think that is what happened in 2014 as well.

Post race refreshments were water and granola bars.  I got a cute heavy cotton t-shirt that is suitable for Thanksgiving.  I like the design but the material is cotton, so it likely won't see many runs. I could see wearing it bumming around the house in the winter.

All in all, I liked the course, organization and race. It was a low frills race and for $25 I got what I paid for.  My time wasn't the greatest on this one and I honestly felt like I had run faster and better than I had in a while.  I definitely had something left in the tank for the final stretch, although the split didn't really account for it.

I had fun though and it was great seeing friends I haven't seen in a while, plus it got me in the festive mood for the approaching holiday season.  Perhaps I'll have better luck next year.

Monday, November 8, 2021

2021 Vineyard City Blizzard 5K Race Recap - Vineyard City, UT

Official Time: 24:28
Placement: 1st in age group 50-59, 12th overall out of 90
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 52F degree with slight wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year For Me

Mile TimeComments
17:36Way too fast for the first mile, but felt compelled to go out hard
28:05Starting to pay the price for the fast start
38:09Hurting here. No one behind me and just trying to keep up with other runners
3.090:37Just get it done!
Total Miles: 3.09 - 24:29


There wasn't much on the calendar for this past weekend in the race scene for northern Utah.  The biggest race was the Snow Canyon Half Marathon in St George -- a solid 4 hour drive away.  I had looked into that and the logistics weren't really right for me and to be honest, I am not trained to really run a solid half marathon.

So that left a low budget ($15) race in a place I've never heard of before, yet a mere 30 minutes from my doorstep: Vineyard City.

Vineyard City is a booming little chunk of suburbia just west of Orem / Lindon.  It is a few miles from the freeway, so it doesn't have the outward appearance of even existing.  But given the amount of new construction going on there, it isn't going to be much of a secret for long.

The Vineyard City 5K has a tie-in with the local Dairy Queen where they give you a coupon for a free Blizzard Ice Cream - hence the name of the race.

I had fairly low expectations going into the race and I simply wanted a low stress 5K that would get a little excitement for the weekend.

The Race

The race started at 8:30 and as I expected it was a fairly low turn out event.  Most people were either sitting it out (we've had a ton of races in the area) or were racing down south.  The starting line headquarters was situated at a local city park -- equipped with a pavilion and flush toilets.

I quickly was able to get my bib and a bag of coupons and flyers.  I did about a mile warmup and ran pretty close to the first mile of the race.  It was like running through a slice of suburbia.  Sidewalks, parks, newly planted trees, row after row of houses.  The course was also pancake flat -- as advertised.

The race started promptly at 8:30 and we were off.  

I noticed right away that the race was primarily younger folks.  There were a handful of people my age -- mostly walkers, but given the smallish size of the race, I figured I was pretty a much a "lock" for an age group award.  However, I've never taken anything for granted as I've been burned before.  Plus, I was here to race.

To be honest, I don't think I looked much at my watch's time for the entire race.  I was mostly concerned with the distance and running how I felt.  For a low key event, the race was well run with course markings and mile markers.  

I knew I was going too hard but at the same time, I felt like I wasn't running fast enough.  I really should've checked my watch, but I felt compelled to compete, even though there was no one around really my age.

As I wound my way around Vineyard City's rows upon rows of houses, I felt like my legs were getting heavy around mile 1.25.  I knew the final two thirds of a race was going to be a doozy.  5Ks are just so much tougher mentally and physically throughout the entire race.

I was working with a few other people but at this point I was the last person in the group of 3 people.  I made it my goal to try and keep up with a guy about half my age as well as make ground on a female ahead of me -- again at least half my age.

The race was run on sidewalk and in places the side of the roads.  I don't think there was a hill on the entire course.  It was just so flat.  Occasionally we had to cross a major road and there were police officers there to assist.

Finally, my watch chirped that I had passed mile 2.  I think I did check my watch here for an overall time and I wasn't too happy.  My head wasn't totally in the game, but it was around 16 minutes and I had checked it well after the mile 2 marker had passed.  

I was slowing down and the fast pace that was so easy at the start of the race was gone.  Occasionally, I could muster a brief surge of energy but it was followed by slowing back down to mid 8-minute per mile.  I couldn't bear to look at my watch.

The young man I was working to catch got even faster and soon it was just me and another woman running shoulder to shoulder.  I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was behind me, and the next runner was well in the distance.  Perhaps the last half mile I could salvage the race.

I had studied the course map a little before the race and I had a sense the course was 1) going to be accurate and 2) not really knowing the streets very well, I knew we rounded a corner and soon the finish line would appear.  I was correct on both counts and as I rounded the curve, I could see the finish line.

There was a mile 3 marker at this point but the finish line was clearly nearly a quarter mile away.  Someone had goofed here but the course -- at least on my Garmin (and some mapping tools) turned out to be a very legit 5K.

The girl I had just passed flew by me in the last quarter mile and I had nothing to respond with.  It didn't matter, but I still tried to keep up.  I wasn't going to push so hard that I would throw up but I did my best to maintain my form and keep a high turnover.

Finally the finish line came steps away and I flew under it with a few cheers from by standers and finishers who had finished before me.  Compared to the last few Halloween runs I've done, it was kind of anti-climatic.  But I got it done!


I cruised through the finish line in 24:29.  Not a great time compared to many of my recent races, but this race seemed different.  In other races my watch recorded in the low 3's.  This one was 3.09.  I don't think my watch was too off though as MapMyRun had it at 3.12.  I do think this was a "real" 5K.

My training leading up to the race hadn't been very good.  I had a painful hip injury and while I had run Thursday and Friday, I hadn't run much else during the week.  Also, I had started out way too fast. It was like I lost all sense of control in order to run the fastest mile ever but not have enough to finish the race without regressing in pace.

I did place 1st in my age group (granted one of the top 3 was in my age group) and netted myself a nice medal.  There were no finisher's medals.

I had registered late so I didn't have the option for a t-shirt.  I only paid $15 for the race and I felt the price was a bargain.  The course had 2 water stops, was well marked, chip-timed, and they had fruit, chips, and nuts at the end.  I was really impressed.  I also had a $15 gift card for winning my age group for a local restaurant.  Since I don't live in that area, I passed it on to someone who did.

The course wasn't the most exciting, but it was fast and as flat as can be.  After the race I did visit Utah Lake and got some photos.  The are included in this race report but technically not part of the race course.

I would definitely run with Vineyard City again.  I was pleased with my experience from start to finish.