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.

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