Official Time: 23:50
Placement: 5th in the 50 - 54
Race Website: Here
Weather: 22 degrees. Slight wind from the south.
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: 
|1||7:33||Solid start. I was shocked at the pace of this one.|
|2||7:43||Still feeling pretty good. Felt like I was going slightly up hill here.|
|3.10||0:43||Sprint to the finish|
|Total Miles: 3.10- 23.50|
So last year I ran the Run SLC (Salt Lake City) 5K. It is the first race in a 3-part series that runs in the Salt Lake Area. It is a pretty nice bargain to run the entire series, but due to conflicts, I am only able to do the 5K.
Last year the race was held at Liberty Park, a large park in the east-central part of the city. This year, the race was back to its original setting -- the Salt Lake Running store -- about 2 miles south of the park in a quaint, older part of town near 700 east.
There weren't many races going on this weekend, so it was an easy choice to sign up for this one. Plus I knew it would be competitive and a legitimate 5K that I could use to base future race predictions off of. With some luck, I figured, maybe I could place in my age group.
The race started at 8 AM and I arrived at the race site just shy of 7:15. It was a bit of an adventure finding a parking spot in the neighborhood around the store, but once I got my bearings, I found one. I had picked up my bib the day before and so I managed to get in a very quick warm-up and get loosened up.
It was chilly but fortunately no wind. I did a mile warm-up, some dynamic drills and deemed myself ready to go. I ditched my warm-up sweats and jacket and opted for double shirt, shorts and a good set of gloves -- this turned into a winning combination. The less clothes you can get away with -- particularly in a 5K, the better.
The race was gracious enough to do a staggered start (Covid precautions). There were over 600 runners at the event -- a good turnout for a 5K. The race started promptly but I had the option of starting at any time up to 8:10.
So after most of the runners had taken off (a good 3 minutes), I stepped behind the line, took a deep breath and started off after the walkers. Let the race begin!
So there was the initial sense of panic that I had started way too late and I would be hemmed in by throngs of walkers. But this road race sported a wide road and to be honest, I don't remember being hemmed in much at all. I wasn't zig-zagging much either. I just settled into a pace and worked on getting up to speed and navigated my way north towards Liberty Park..
Slowly I began to reel in walkers and runners alike. To be honest, it felt empowering. Instead of getting passed I was doing the passing. It was a huge mental boost.
The course felt like I was slowly climbing on both the out and the back. I am not sure why it felt that way and the amount of elevation gain I had was fairly minimal. The course was a straight out and back along an older neighborhood road after a quick dash down a connector road. I could smell people cooking breakfast in their houses and there were a few spectators along the street. I could only wonder what these people thought as hundreds of runners sped up and down their street.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a 7:33 come up for my first mile. Solid! I still felt pretty good.
As I made my way north I kept peering into the distance to see how much further I had until the turn-around. I hadn't ever run this part of the course but I think I recognized parts of it from the Salt Lake Half Marathon. The lead back was already heading back to the store. It was fascinating to see how much further I had to go and where they were at in their race. I had settled in with a group that was more or less running my own pace. However, I still was doing a large amount of passing. Plenty of gas in the tank for me.
Just as expected, the turn-around was at 1.55 miles. If I could only hold onto my pace for the back half. I didn't really glance at my watch at any point during the race except the last mile but again, I was happy to hit a sub 8 minute mile for the next stretch.
The last mile I was still running strong. I kept looking for the I-80 underpass, where I had parked my car. I know from there it was about a quarter mile to the finish line. It looked so far in the distance and I kept glancing at my Garmin. Am I there yet?
As soon as I turned the corner and saw the 3 mile marker, I turned on the jets. I still didn't know what my overall time was going to be, but I suspected I had a shot at a really good race. I went all out, passing a few more stragglers and sped across the finish time.
So I was rewarded with a fantastic to me time of: 23:50. I've been wanting to run sub 24 minutes (on a non downhill course) for a while now and I finally got my time. This bodes well for a strong spring season. And, the course was an honest 3.10 miles -- a real 5K according to my Garmin (and several other runners on Strava).
I was really chuffed with my time. It felt rewarding to see a culmination of a lot of work come together on race day.
Overall, I finished 5th in my age group. The first two people in my age group were sub 20 minutes. Definitely a stacked field.
I had paid nearly $50 for the race -- about two weeks before the race. Definitely not one of the best bargains in town. The series, if you register early enough, is a decent price (a little over $100 for a 5K / 10K and 15K). I received a metallic mug / cup and a timed race. There were pre and post race refreshments and the start line area was very festive. I also imagine that closing down the race course to traffic was costly too. But this race (like last year's) was expensive.
This race may go down as the race of the year for me (the year is still young though) but I felt really motivated by my performance. This is also the second race where I've intentionally started last or behind everyone -- only to come away with a great race performance. There may be something to this strategy.
I am looking forward to seeing what the next 5K brings as I slowly regain my 5K fitness!