Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Year in Running



Total Miles: 1405



Race Distances:


5K: 22

10K: 6

Half Marathons: 1




Best Races of the Year:


Run SLC 5K

Las Vegas Half Marathon

March Madness 10K


Early in 2022 I was running extremely well.  I had put in a solid effort throughout the winter and I came out pretty strong.  My goal was to run consistently in the 23's for a 5K and I started to see that I was fully capable of hitting that time in my first legit race of the year.  In a very competitive race, I ran a 23:50.

One of the races I was most proud of was the Las Vegas Half Marathon. It was my only half marathon of the year (more on that later) but I've never run particularly well there.  My endurance training hadn't gone quite as well as I had hoped and I was apprehensive about the race.  I expected another 2+ hour sufferfest.

This year, though, I ran well and knocked out a 1:57.  I felt like I had paced it really well, dialed in my diet and did extremely well for myself.  It wasn't a PR effort by any means, but given the circumstances, I didn't cross the finish line disappointed.

Finally, I ran well at the March Madness 10K.  This was another legitimate course and I nearly broke 50 minutes.  This was another one of my goals in 2022 and I came within 34 seconds of it.  I think I lost some time on it as a result of allergies but overall a race that I remember running well at.





Worst Races of the Year:


West Fest 5K

Sound of Hope 5K

Looking back at my logs, I felt like I really only had 2 races where I felt I had run poorly.  The comments below do NOT reflect on the organizers.  They are 100% my performance-based thoughts.

The West Fest 5K was humbling.  The course was very long (according to my Garmin) but still, for a 5K, I ran it poorly.  I ran nearly 28 minutes for 3.3 miles.  Even accounting for the extra quarter mile it was just a dud of a race for me.  Granted, this was my first race in ages and it was also my first race after Covid and dealing with my stress fracture.

The Sound of Hope 5K was baffling to me.  I was racing a lot of 5Ks at the time and my times were progressively getting better.  It was a flat, accurate course but after halfway through I just died and it was a gut-buster to the finish.  I ran a 25:11, which was a major step backwards.  I suspect the headwind and a bit of heat caught up with me but I wasn't happy with my race performance.




Goals and Setbacks

So first the setbacks. 

In early March 2022, I had a back issue.  At first it wasn't too bad but it was generally always there.  I kept running on it because I could mostly ignore it and I had a bunch of races I had committed to.  

Of course, it got progressively worse, even after rest and self-treatment.

My mileage plummeted and some days I could run 10 miles relatively pain free and other days I lasted 10 yards.  Finally in late April or so I went in for an official diagnosis.

I wound up having a stress fracture in my lower back.  There isn't anything they can do for it other than wait for it to recover.  I took 2 weeks off of running but was told I could resume running and keep it easy until it recovered.  I also did a round of Prednisone which drove me absolutely nuts.

It was still bothering me in May so I finally saw a physical therapist.  The fine folks at Canyon Sports Therapy worked with me.  It took a while, but I finally got the symptoms under control and was given a regime of exercises and stretches.  I am still doing those exercises today, which is a first for someone who loathes strength work.

I do believe it has made a difference for me.  I feel like a much stronger, more stable runner.  I've also noticed that my shoes don't wear down as fast as they used to as well.

I still deal with the back issue from time to time -- even 7+ months later.  

Finally, in late May, I also got Covid.  The actual cold / flu wasn't too awful (it definitely was NOT fun) but the recovery seemed to take forever.  I had no energy and got winded very easily.  I would argue that it took about 2 - 3 months before I felt like myself again.  I was able to get in some running but I definitely couldn't hit those top gears like I used.  By the time September rolled around, I felt like my old self.

All of these setbacks cost me several half marathons (I didn't attend more half marathons than I completed this year).


So I had a few goals for 2022:

Run 23:30 -- consistently for 5Ks.  I semi did this.  I came up a bit short but I think that had to do with my injuries and Covid.  My training was definitely there and I was inching closer to it by the fall season.  However, it just came too late and I never really had that "A" race that I could smash for a finish.  

I am happy that I followed a process on this.  I did work hard and did weekly speed sessions and my times were getting consistently better despite the setbacks.

Increase the mileage by 10 - 20%: Yet another fail, but sort of close.  I miss most of April and May, running a minimal amount of miles.  Even the summer months, when I could run just about whatever I wanted to and feel 95% okay with it, didn't see me hit the mileage I wanted to.  It was consistently hovering around 25 - 33 miles a week.

It wasn't until Oct / November where I started to see a large increase of mileage and that was because I started to use heart rate training and keep my easy runs easy.  More on this in another section.

Eat Healthy Foods: This was another so-so goal. It wasn't spelled out what I wanted to accomplish here. Yes, I had plenty of candy, chips and sweets.  But I also ate more healthy stuff as well: snacking on nuts and fruit.  My weight did creep up a bit (as of this morning 184) but overall this was of mediocre success.




Growth This Year


This year also saw me obtain some new habits.  

With the stress fracture back injury, it was drilled into me that I need to do some stretching and strength work.  I had been doing some leading up to the injury (and whether it was the root cause of my back stress fracture remains a mystery) but my physical therapist gave me plenty of take-home exercises to do.  

This whole process started in the middle of May and as I type this at the end of 2022, I am still doing my exercises pretty much as directed.  My routine is pretty simple: a series of stretches and then a variety of strength exercises with a theraband.  

The results have been good.  My shoes seem to be wearing down less (i.e. I get more miles out of them) and I feel like my core is more stable.  

The other thing I am currently working on is incorporating heart rate training. 

I came across a number of videos on YouTube telling me that Zone 2 was the way to go and it could greatly transform your running.  

The wisdom I was hearing was that most people do their easy runs too hard.  It wasn't the first time I had heard that advice.  But I could certainly relate to some of the side effects of constantly running at zone 3 and how super easy running could fix it.

So I learned a bit more about it and most were coaches were telling people you should run in Zone 2 -- which for me is about 126 - 134 beats per minute.  

When I first attempted to do this I found myself either drifting into zone 3 (which is a middle ground which doesn't offer you much value) or getting frustrated because I was going into the upper 130's and 140's.

I felt like I wasn't even running.

My easy pace was original 9:30 per mile.  For me to hit the zone 2, I had to run at 10:30's, sometimes 11's.  I complained to everyone who would listen: it was too hard and how could this benefit me?

I stuck with it and each time I did it, I felt like this couldn't work.  I'd be walking to hit the heart rates in zone 2.

But I finally found a calculator. This one worked for me, at RunningUniversity.  I had been using the plain old age graded tables which didn't take into any account of "me".  I started to play with the numbers and I found out that the traditional tables -- were too low.  I was an established runner who had a slightly higher than normal resting heart rate.  I definitely knew my max heart rate from plenty of 5Ks I had run.  Once I plugged the calculations into my watch, I found it was easier to hit zone 2.  

The pace that corresponds to that zone is about 10:30 and sometimes 11.  Some days I can run low 10's and still be in zone 2.

The promise on Zone 2 training is that eventually I'll be able to run in Zone 2 with a much faster pace, but it takes time.  I am generally reading about 3 - 4 months.  I am starting to see some results but the final verdict won't be in until Spring.

Some things I have noticed:

  1. I feel fresher, more often.  I don't struggle with soreness and a feeling of being over trained.
  2. I am able to hit my harder workouts harder and complete them.  I no longer think about or cut them off early.
  3. My mileage has increased by about 30% without feeling beat up.
  4. In the late season my 5Ks were improving.  But whether this was a result of speed training, cooler temps, or a combination of factors remains to be seen.

I am enjoying it to some extent.  I do believe you cannot do 100% of your runs in Zone 2.  You do need to train fast and being able to tolerate the discomfort of a 5K.  But right now, I try to do about 80% of my weekly mileage "easy".  I also have to keep my ego out of it for Strava purposes.

By March or April, I should know if I want to continue this process and whether my easy pace improves.




Goals for 2023


So the goals for 2023 are somewhat similar to 2022's.

1) Continue to work on speed.  How:  Continue to perform at least once weekly speed sessions.

2) Smash 24 minutes for the 5K:  How:  See #1 but also continue to race 5Ks.

3) Continue to make my easy days easy.  How: Work in Zone 2 and be sure that 80% of my weekly mileage is "easy".

4) Get some longer races in.  How: I only did one half marathon in 2022.  Most of that was because I was injured and missed a lot of the spring training / races.  Keep fit healthy.

5) Continue to do strength training.  How: I've got a pretty good routine down that I do a few times each week. Continue on working my core, hips and stabilizer muscles.

6) Get in a destination race that I haven't done before.  




Upcoming Races


01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/04: 2023 SLC Run Series 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
02/11: 2023 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
04/08: 2023 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/29: 2023 Blossom Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
07/29: 2023 Timp 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
09/23: 2023 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/21: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/28: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)



Friday, November 25, 2022

2022 South Davis Recreation Center 5K Turkey Run - Bountiful, UT






Official Time: 24:39 (subject to change)
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 54, 69th place
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 28 degrees, slight breeze from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021] [2018] [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014] [2013] [2012]


Mile TimeComments
17:33Nice first mile. This is where I was hoping to be.
27:56Not too bad. Some uphill work here.
38:11Other than the last quarter mile, this is a gradual grind uphill
3.090:33Crushing it to try and break 24.
Total Miles: 3.09- 24:15







Introduction


At some point when I first moved here, I found the South Davis Recreation Center's Turkey Trot run.  It is held every year on Thanksgiving up in Bountiful.  It is run by the recreation center and involves a 5K / 10K run.

It is a really nice bargain in a sea of races on one of the most popular racing days in the United States. 

Every year I've elected to do the 5K.  I've run the course a bunch of times so I know it well.  In fact, this year I've run the 5K course 3 times.  It sets a good barometer as to where my fitness is 





The Race


I arrived about an hour early the start of the 5K (8:30 AM).  As usual, packet pickup is a snap and I was able to catch the start of the 10K.  

It was a chilly morning but fortunately no snow or ice.  There also wasn't any wind.  All perfect conditions.

I did a warm-up and jogged for a few minutes to loosen everything up.  Usually this race starts a little late, but today it started on time.



If you've read this blog before and read a race recap for this course, you'll know that it is a pretty basic course:  you start at the recreation center, head north for about 1.25 miles, hang a right, go east a bit and then come back.  You finish in the back parking lot of the recreation center.  It is all residential running for the most part, with the final mile being along the business corridor (traffic is much lighter in the morning along there).

The course is also a hard one to get right. The first mile is a gradual downhill (and a congested start) following by 2nd mile with a short hill and then the final mile is mostly a steady grind back to the finish.  There is more climb than descent according to my Garmin.



I had positioned myself well at the start and my goal in this race was to go sub 24 minutes. I knew it was going to be tough.  The course isn't really ideal for me to smash a PR with.  But I got off to a decent start and settled into a comfortable pace.

I couldn't read my watch (my eyesight isn't very good) due to the lighting but I was running comfortably hard.  Occasionally I'd put in a surge to drop runners I was working with.  I also didn't see anyone in my age group.  

My Garmin alerted me I had run the first mile in 7:33.  Off to a decent start and I still felt largely in control of my pace.

From experience, I knew that once I left the main street I'd be greeted with the first hill.  My pace always hits a reality check here.  And sure enough I dialed it back a little. 

I had a bit of a panic as other runners started to pass me and that spurred me a bit more.

I flew by the first water stop and glanced at my watch.  I was hurting but I was half way through the race.  By the time my Garmin rang mile 2, I was still running a sub 8-minute pace.  I felt like I was running faster but I knew the hardest mile was yet to come.


Mile 3 is a steady grind up hill.  I was being passed by the 10K runners, who had had a 30 minute head start.  Every now and then the effort would slow me up, but I was determine to power up this hill.  I worked on good posture and quick turnover.  My focus was reaching the top of the hill in good shape and then crushing the final quarter mile (or so) to the finish.

That final traffic light never seems to arrive but I knew it would.  I felt like I was running fast at times and other times I could feel the effects of the hill slowing me up.  It was also at this point a guy who looked to be my age wearing Vibram shoes slapped by me.  Darn it!

I knew I was redlining the final stretch and eventually I did summit the long grind of a hill. I hung the final two right turns and gave it all I could.  I knew it was going to be close -- seeing 23:15 on my watch.  





Conclusion


So, I didn't quite hit the time I was looking for.  I think I started my sprint a little too late and to be honest I was at max effort.  According to my Garmin I hit a 24:15.  All things considered, an okay time for this course.

I wound up placing 2nd in my age group.  I suspect the guy who passed me deep in fact beat me.  However, the times on this race were way off.  Initially, my time was reported as 24:46.  Later it was corrected to 24:39.  I am trying to get it corrected.  I've heard rumors that other people's times were "off".

This race offers a really nice spread of food -- especially for the price.  They had the usual drinks and muffins, bananas and even oatmeal.


One of my favorite aspects to this race is that for your entry fee (about $25 with coupon code) you are eligible for some nice prizes (pies) and you do get a finisher's medal and a nice t-shirt.  I really like this year's design.




I didn't really hit the time I wanted to on this race but overall I had a positive experience.  I just hope the times / rankings are corrected.  With what appears to be everyone's times not being right, I have to question whether I did legitimately come in 2nd place.

I plan on running this course again in February!

Upcoming Races


01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/11: 2023 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
04/08: 2023 Eggs Legs 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/29: 2023 Blossom Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
07/29: 2023 Timp 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
09/23: 2023 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/21: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/28: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)





Sunday, November 20, 2022

2022 SoJo (South Jordan) Turkey Trot 10K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT

View of the Jordan River Bike Trail and Snow Capped Mountains


Official Time: 49:36
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54, 10th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 20's, swirling breeze
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021]


Mile TimeComments
18:03Off to a nice start.  Didn't go gangbusters
28:05Consistent. Just working on catching runners
38:03Hurting a bit here but prepping myself mentally for an upcoming hill
48:57Finally hit the hill. It was a bit further along then I thought.  Cost me a solid minute
58:06Got to crush the hill on the way back. There was some hill work here. This mile should've been faster.
68.00I think I had to stop running for about 3 - 5 seconds. Wasn't sure where to turn. Nicely done on the way back though.
6.060.22Done!
Total Miles: 6.06 - 49:38



Introduction


Last year I did in the inaugural South Jordan Turkey Trot 10K.  It is a locally produced event a few miles down the road.  It is kind of a fun run -- it's cheap, you get a t-shirt and no medal.  They also only award prizes to the top overall finishers.  

Generally I don't do races that don't offer a chance of me winning something.  But I wanted a training run and this was reasonably priced.  Plus all the cool kids were going to be there.

I've done the course twice before and it is mostly flat. It is run along the Jordan River Bike Trail and eventually dips into a hilly subdivision in South Jordan.  There is also a large hill at about mile 4.5 that always steals your dreams of a great race.

My goal today was to try and run sub 49 minutes.  I had run the course in 49;4X and 49:5x.  I've been training pretty well and could see myself doing quite well. 





The Race


The race started at 10 AM.  I had had breakfast about 3 hours before -- oatmeal with fruit.  And it really hadn't quite settled yet as I toed the line.  

It was chilly and I had done a solid warm-up to get ready for the race.  I was wearing short-shorts, thin gloves and 2 t-shirts.  A lot of people were wearing tights and I felt I was one of the under dressed ones.

The race started and off we went south on the bike trail.  There were about 100 10K runners.  There were more running the 5K, however and there was a kid's race to follow.

My goal was to run low 8 minute miles and try to smash the final 2 miles or so.  

I wound up running the first few miles with a group of runners.  I had company for most of the race and it was great working with other runners.  

The first mile rattled off at 8:03.  Solid, and right on target.  I felt really in control of my pace.  It felt hard but not all out.  Exactly where I wanted it to be.

Despite my Garmin saying there was little wind, it seemed like throughout the race I was constantly running into the wind.  It wasn't strong but any means but I didn't feel like I ever got any benefit from it.  




As I sped along the bike trail, I recalled a bunch of races I had done along that particular stretch of bike 
trail.  The Riverton half marathon, Sound of Hope and a bunch of other races over the years.  

Mile 2 run up in 8:05.  Still right where I wanted to be, but part of me was wondering if I had it today.  I was hurting but definitely not dying or on my last gasp.  My breathing was okay and I felt I could continue to hold the pace until the end of the race.

The bike trail was so pretty. I was wearing sunglasses as the sun was really bright.  We sped by a tree planting group before exiting the bike trail and entering a well-to-do-neighborhood.  It was at this point I hit a 8:03.  Consistent!

I let off the accelerator a bit as I knew a hill was coming up.  I think I had anticipated it too soon though.  I kept thinking it was around the corner but it was a while before it came into view.  

It was also at this point that we were running with some of the 5K runners. Most of them were walkers or slower runners.  They too had to climb the dreaded South Jordan Hill.  I just focused on maintaining good form and getting up the hill.  No need to bust up it but just cover the distance.

I felt my pace quicken upon getting to the top and I wasn't too surprised to see my Garmin report that I had run an 8:57 mile.  Totally expected.

There was another small-ish hill or two, but now I was more into race mode.  It was delightful to smash the hill on the way down but I really didn't get the benefit I was hoping for out of it.  Also the 5K runners had disappeared and I was simply chasing the next runner ahead of me and trying to gain some ground on the runners behind me.  I had been trading places with a few runners and even though I was completely out of medal contention, my pride was on the line.

Mile 5 saw an 8:06.  Not exactly what I was hoping for to be honest.  And I think at this point I had to stop and ask for directions.  I knew not to follow the 5K runners onto the bike trail but I had about a quarter mile south to run before taking a little alley before returning to the bike trail.

In reviewing some of the times I think some people either ran too far or returned with the 5K runners.  This resulted in distances of about 5.50 miles versus the 6.06 I ran.  The course just wasn't well marked for that tiny portion.

I hit it as hard as I could on the final mile.  I knew how much further I needed to go and I wanted to secure my placement.

I ran into quite a few of the kids racers but it didn't hinder me.  Also I hit the only water station on the course (not that I needed it at any point).  

I cruised through the final mile in 8:00 minutes.  Unfortunately I was passed by two runners in the final stretch.  Where they came from, I am not sure.





Conclusion


So I didn't hit my A goal.  At first I was disappointed because I thought I had run slower than last year.  I quick look at my blog though revealed that I indeed had run a little faster than last year.  Progress!

I had expected a little better time though.  My training has been rock solid.  It just wasn't there.  Perhaps I was afraid to go a little faster on account that breakfast clearly hadn't settled all that well.

Still, in reviewing my splits, I was largely evenly paced.  That is something that I haven't done particularly well with in the past.  Usually I start out smoking hot and then tail off near the end.


Race t-shirt. Pretty nice long sleeved one too



The race was in the low twenty dollar range.  I got a timed race and a t-shirt.  Post race refreshments included water.  It was a pretty simple affair to be honest.  They did have a raffle as well.

This was a nice race and other than the final 5K / 10K split, it was well done and organized.  I'd do this race again if it fit into my calendar.  It was close by and something to keep me motivated.


Upcoming Races


11/24: 2022 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)





Sunday, November 13, 2022

2022 Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap - Sandy, UT





Official Time: 24:10
Placement: 4th in age group, 29th overall
Race WebsiteHere
ResultsResults
Weather: 37F slight breeze from the north
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2013] [2014] [2021[


Mile TimeComments
17:30Crowded start but mostly downhill running. Feeling very strong / relaxed
27:44A bit of an incline here.
38:05had to pay for the hills. I could see the finish line but yet so far away
3.120:49Smash the last sprint!
Total Miles: 3.12 - 24:10






Introduction


Since I've moved to the Salt Lake Area back in 2012, I've always targeted the Sandy City 5K Turkey Trot.  There is no shortage of races for the American holiday and Sandy City is pretty smart in organizing their race about 2 weeks before the big day.

From about 2015 on, the race always conflicted with the Las Vegas marathon, so I was usually unable to do this race.  Since the Las Vegas race has been moved to February, it now gives me a chance to do this race.

It is a local race - about 10 minutes from where I live and put on by the recreation center.  They do a series of races throughout the year and they are generally well organized community events.  




The Race

    
The race is held each year at Lone Peak Park.  Pretty much every year that I have attended this race, the course has been different.  But more or less it starts with at the same place.

The park is popular and sports a large open field.  It is also the gateway to Dimple Dell park -- a hidden gem in Sandy that offers lots of running trails.

I got there about 9:15 AM for the 10 AM start, easily got my bib and did about a mile of warm-ups.  It was chilly -- in the low 30'sF but I had a long-sleeved t-shirt, thin gloves, and short shorts.  I was feeling pretty good as I did my warm-up.  I did feel a bit apprehensive about this race.  It is a little hilly and I've never run particularly well.

The race started at 10 AM -- for a community recreation center run -- they are organized.  I had lined up about 50 people from the start and it was pretty congested at the start.  It probably set me back 10 seconds or so as I navigated my way along the paved bike trail walk way.

Finally after a quarter of mile, we jumped into a residential section and it opened up.  The first mile or so has been consistent over the years.  However, once we get to the bike trail, things start to get different.

The first mile is also the most fun.  You are fresh and there is a bit of a downhill.  As I ran down towards the bike trail it felt gloriously easy and I figured I was going to have a good race.  I hit the first mile in 7:30 despite the initial congestion.

I felt like I was doing pretty well as I hit the flat section of the Porter Rockwell bike trail. I definitely remember this section from the time I did the race in 2014.  I also remember making these tiny little circles around the perimeters of some small parks.  

About half way through the race, I ran into the lead pack.  I started to get an estimate of who my compotation was.  As I expected, it was mostly high school studs leading the way in their singlets and ultra-short-shorts.  I really didn't see anyone that looked to  be my age.  Could it be that this year I'd win my age group?

I was still running pretty strong and occasionally used some surges to push back people I ran into.  I was breathing hard but still had enough to push to the finish of the race.  The second mile hit at 7:45.  Despite only having marginal downhills I was really happy with this split, but I also knew the final mile was uphill and going to cost me.

As I exited the bike trail I felt like I was still running pretty strong.  I really didn't have the energy to even look at my watch.  I was so focused on powering up the hills.  The neighborhood hills aren't massive but they are enough to slow you down a bit.

I was running with a few other people.  They clearly weren't in my age group and I was able to pass some and get passed by others.  I did manage to glance at my watch continuing to check how much further I had to run.  Would the course be long this year?  Or short?  And how badly would I pay the price for the hills?

Finally we came back into the park and I had to make about a quarter mile run around the perimeter of the park before crossing the finish line.  I had glanced at my Garmin at the start of the race so I knew how much long I had to run.

I still felt strong and felt like my pace was solid, but my watch was reading 8:15's - 8:20's.  Definitely not where I wanted to be.  It was also painful to see the finish line on the other side of the park.  I could just so easily run across the park and save myself a lot of time rather than running the big loop.

Mile 3 saw an 8:05.  Not bad all things considered but I was hoping to hold sub 8.

At that point I turned on the gas and really pushed as hard as I could in the final tenth of a mile.  Could I break 24 minutes?  Would I win my age group?



Conclusion


So I crossed the finish line -- with a sub 7 minute mile pace in 24:10.  I glanced at my watch and the course measured 3.12 miles.  I probably did break 24 minutes for a legit 5K. I did look at Strava afterwards and most people got anywhere between 3.10 miles and 3.14.  I am thinking that the course was simply 5K.

All things considered, though I ran really.  In all the editions of this race, I've run about 24:45.  This year, I was quite a bit faster/

I wound up rebounding right away and made it to my car to get warmer clothes.  I shuffled back to figure out where I had placed and they were having timing problems with getting the results to the runners.  I wound up socializing for a bit before seeing that I finished 4th in my age group.  No medal for me today.  I had missed 3rd by about 25 seconds.  The first two in my age group were in the 20's and 21's.  For finishing 29th overall, my age group was stacked.

But I was still really happy with my time.  While I didn't have the breakout race I was hoping for, I did run well given the conditions and the course.

Post race refreshments were pretty limited.  Granola bars and gummy fruits.  They had bottled water but I had brought my own Gatorade for after the race.

I paid about $25 for the race.  The shirt was cute and I'll probably wear it for bumming around the house or simple short runs, but it is simply a cotton one./ I do have to say their t-shirt designer always does a great job with the t-shirt designs.  Just wish they had polyester ones.




I got pretty good value for the money I spent and it was a nice community event.  The course felt fast in some spots and in others, not so much.  It wasn't the most scenic one but I liked how I was always running with someone.  I also got to work on my mental toughness.  I worked on catching people and passing them and holding my form.  

While my time doesn't reflect a great race, I do feel like I had a good one.  In the past, I've always done about 30 seconds "slower" than normal and today I finished on par with my typical flat 5K race time.  So there is hope that I am significantly faster and am progressing.





Upcoming Races


11/19: 2022 SoJo Turkey Run 10K - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
11/24: 2022 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)





Sunday, November 6, 2022

Vineyard Blizzard 5K Race Recap - Vineyard, UT





Official Time: 24:05
Placement: 1st in age group, 16th male
Race WebsiteHere
ResultsResults
Weather: 39F with no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021]


Mile TimeComments
17:51Solid first mile.
27:59Sort of ran out of gas here, but still holding a solid pace
37:55Pushed as hard as I could. 
3.050:19Cruise to the finish
Total Miles: 3.05 - 24:05





Introduction


How can I resist the siren's call of a $15 5K?  Yes that is what convinced me to return to the Vineyard (City) Blizzard 5K.  

I ran this race last year and it was the same bargain basement price.  You don't get a t-shirt but you get a well organized event in the bedroom community of Vineyard.

This year they added a 10K race but I was more interested in keeping the volume low and I've been focusing on the 5K race for a bit now.


The Race


I made the 30 minute drive to Vineyard in short order.  This community is nestled along the shores of Utah Lake and most people don't even know it exists.  It is a residential community and new, so they've done a pretty good job packing in the houses, yet building in hiking / running trails and making the most of the natural beauty of Utah Lake.

I quickly grabbed my bib for this smallish race -- they had about 200 people total.

I got some pictures of the 10K runners, who headed off at 8:15.  My 5K race started at 8:30.  I had a feeling that some of the 10K runners would swallow me up in the final mile or so for my race -- as humbling as that would be.

After having done a bit of a shakeout run and some dynamic stretches, I deemed myself ready to run.  Although, while I was at the starting line, I felt like I should've done a longer warm out.  It was chilly and I didn't feel quite ready.




The race is run on the streets of Vineyard and mostly on sidewalk or street.  It isn't a super exciting course, but it is flat, well marshalled and supported.  I had lined up fairly close to the start but I was quickly humbled by the sheer number of people who initially passed me.  

This race is mostly attended by locals and there were plenty of kids and young adults.  I figured I'd catch some of the younger folks who blasted out too quickly.  I was eyeballing other people that I was guessing were in my age group and trying to monitor their progress.  With a 10 year age group, I didn't want to have a medal-less day.




The first mile was right on target - 7:51.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  I was beginning to wonder though if the wheels were going to come off.  I just wasn't feeling super strong.

But every time I felt like coasting, I'd spy someone ahead that was definitely masters age level.




About midway through mile 2, the lead back of 10K runners flew by me.  Here I am running hard and they fly by me -- probably at 90 to 120 seconds faster than I am.

Mile 2 hit at 7:59.  The way I was feeling though I suspect mile 3 was going to be even slower.

I think after all the 5K racing I've done, I have a lot of mental strength and I started to do math. I had a shot at going sub 24 minutes.  I knew the course was legit and I felt like I still had a lot to give.  While I didn't feel like anyone was tacking me down, I did have runners ahead of me to work off of.  Plus another masters runner was within shouting distance.




Throughout the race I was recalling last year's race.  So I knew exactly where I was and how much further I had to run.  This was a huge confidence boost in that I wasn't worried about encountering some hill or unexpected turn of events.

I kept pushing and doing math.  Could I break 24 minutes?  I was making ground against the master's runner ahead of me and I thought I'd be able to sprint past him in the final tenth of a mile.  I don't think he realized I was behind him but he turned on the jets too and there just wasn't anything I could do.

I had given it all in the final quarter mile and I crossed the finish line in 24:05.  So close.






Conclusion


So this race measured in at 3.05 miles.  Last year I ran the same course in 3.10 miles.  I'd like to count this as a legitimate race.  And I did run about 25 seconds faster than last year.

I also won my age group.  So I came home with a medal and folding picnic type of chair.  They had plenty of post race refreshments.  Bananas, granola bars and various other snacks.  They also had a pretty nice swag bag including a coupon for a Dairy Queen (hence the Blizzard tie-in).




Overall, this race continues to be one of the best bargains of the year.  Granted, I didn't get a t-shirt but I got a well supported, officially timed race and just a beautiful morning for a run.  The race organizers definitely know what they are doing and I was very happy I went.  

I plan on signing up next year and I want to try the 10K.  It runs along Utah Lake and looks like a more scenic course.





Upcoming Races


11/12: 2022 Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K - Sandy, UT (Confirmed)
11/19: 2022 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/24: 2022 South Davis Recreation Center Thanksgiving Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: 2023 Rock 'N Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)