Sunday, September 25, 2022

2022 Apple Harvest 10K Race Recap - Santaquin Utah

Rowley's Red Barn, HQ for the race.

Official Time: 50:59
Placement: 7th overall, 3rd in the 50- 54 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's, light breeze from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural year.

Mile TimeComments
17:51Slight downhill here. Felt surprisingly good
28:06A little bit back to reality here.  Holding a steady pace
38:48Kind of a grind of a hill.  75 feet.  Was just tough running
47:51Back at it. Wish the whole race was like this.
58:24Feeling it now.  Definitely lactate overloaded
69.03Kind of a shuffle here.  Trying hard.  Again, uphill
6.120.53Giving it all I have for the final sprint
Total Miles: 6:12 - 50:59

Apple Orchards in Santaquin, UT


A few weeks ago I decided to sign up for the Apple Harvest run put on by OnHillEvents.  I didn't have any other races on my calendar and it was something new.  The drive was a bit much and usually I don't drive for an hour for a 10K race, but I decided this race was worth doing.

This race billed itself as a run around the perimeter of a working apple orchard.  It would be a bit of a cross country race with the majority of the race on dirt road, jeep trail or gravel.  There were only a handful of spots on actual pavement.

The race was held in Santaquin Utah, about an hour south drive from where I live.  In my opinion, it is about the last town you hit on your way towards Southern Utah for quite some time.  The race's headquarters was Rowley's Red Barn, an agri-tourism type of business that grows the apples.

The Race

I haven't actually stopped in Santaquin before -- on my way to Las Vegas I've simply driven by it or have gotten gas there.  Exiting the freeway, I was greeted with an older town with rough roads, wide streets and old timey businesses. You could tell there was a mix of old and new --- with clusters of new houses lining the mountainside in the distance.

It was a beautiful morning and with an 8 AM start time, I had some time to run a bit and figure out how the course was going to work and whether I wanted to use a heavier shoe.  I also wanted to get a sense as to how well the course was marked, as I noticed there were quite a few turns on the course (spoiler alert: it was well marked).

The race started about 5 minutes late and I was off.  

The race, for the 10K, is two laps around the perimeter of the orchard.  The course is primarily flat but the last mile is a very slow grind up hill. 

This isn't a road race so I wasn't expecting a great time.  You just don't get as much of a bounce from dirt trail running versus pavement.  I also didn't have much of an idea on how the race worked and what I was in for.

The trail was try and wide enough for the 75 of us to establish our own paces without blocking anyone.  The first mile is the fastest with a mild downhill start.  Despite having a pretty heavy training week I felt pretty good and went with it.  I felt in control and relaxed.

The final turn back to the start.

I had sort of measured up the competition before I started running and I knew I was settling for at least second place in my age group.  Another runner who had soundly beat me at the PC2PG was running the 10K.  Also, another runner who appeared to be in my age group sped off.  I clearly wasn't going to catch either one of them.

Fortunately there weren't many other runners ahead of me.  A couple of younger men and a few women.

Start of the 2nd loop

The first mile was so much fun and I blasted through a 7:51.  The scenery was simply amazing as I darted over puddles of mud and leaped over rivets in the trail to find the optimal spot to run.  The weather was perfect.

At this point most of the lead pack had dropped me and I suddenly found myself running alone.  I was a bit worried about this because I didn't really know the course -- and it involved a lot of turns.  I worked hard to keep up but the nearest person had easily put on a quarter mile on me by the time I hit mile 2.

Actual segment of the course.

The course  was definitely different at the mile 2 marker.  Gone were the apples trees and I was running along the backend of the property along a jeep trail. This part seemed to go on for an eternity and it was beautiful running with a view of a mountain on my left but there was no one around me.

Eventually I turned and I was greeted with a long paved road (it wasn't well maintained however) and it was a very slow grind up hill.  I lost a lot of momentum here, knowing that I still had 3.5 more miles to go.  Also, I wasn't chasing anyone and no one was behind me.

Finally I got up the hill and started to work my way around a processing plant and ultimately back to the starting line.  The directions were to basically run through the starting line again and then do the course again.

My spirits were buoyed with the fact that I now knew my way around the course and I knew what I was up against for the second half.  Unfortunately just as I was approaching the starting line, the 5K started.  Normally I wouldn't have conflicted with it but with our 5 minute delay and me running a 25:19 for the first loop, I ran smack into them.

I forgot to check the distance, but I didn't think the first loop was quite a 5K but somewhere around 3.06 miles.

It wasn't that awful and being that the race was fairly small (about 75 10K runners and about double that for the 5K) I managed to step over the starting line and duck back out again.

It was actually invigorating running with the 5K runners.  I got a renewed sense of urgency running with them and finally had company.  I quickly found several runners running my pace and my pace improved as did my motivation.  

I once again, hit the first mile of the second loop in 7:51.  Could I possibly negative split?  

I wound up passing many 5K runners and settled into the hunt with a few others.  I did manage to catch one additional 10K runner but clearly the first 4 miles of the race had worn me out.

I was hurting pretty bad but I hung on and pushed as hard as I could for the final mile.  I was actually shocked by a disappointing 9 minute mile.  But the final hill and the undulating terrain had worn me out.


I crossed the finish line in 50:59.  I was actually pleased with my overall time.  The course wasn't easy but I had predicted that I'd finish over 52 minutes.

The two 50-54 year olds definitely beat me (by over 5 minutes) but they had come in the top 3 overall for the race.  So by proxy I won my age group (not really though).  I was also the 7th overall finisher -- again a small race, but I'll take my victories any way I can.

After recovering, I managed to get something to drink and socialize.  The finisher's medal and age group awards were definitely an upgrade.  For a 10K, I was shocked with the quality and design.

Post race refreshments included apple slices (of course), cider, ice cream sandwiches, and water / Powerade.  Course support was ample with a pair of water stops for each loop around the course.

I loved this course.  It was so peaceful and scenic and while I generally dislike doing multiple loops of the same course, this one wasn't a bore.  In fact, I would've liked to have down another loop just as a cooldown.  But I was pretty spent after the race.

This race has a sister race in the spring when the apple blossoms start to come out.  I am penciling in a race date for that one as well.

Upcoming Races

10/01: 2022 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/15: 2022 BYU Homecoming Run 5k - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
10/22: 2022 Haunted Emigration Canyon 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
10/29: 2022 Haunted Half Provo 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/19: 2022 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (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)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

2022 Sound of Hope 5K Race Recap - Riverton UT

Sounds of Hope 5K Banner

Official Time: 25:11
Placement: 19th overall, 2nd in the 50 - 54 age division.
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: low 60's, 18 mph wind from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me

Mile TimeComments
17:43Off to a decent start with a bit of tailwind
28:01At the turn around I definitely slowed down.
38:30Not much left.  Just trying to give everything I had without feeling like I am dying.
3.110:54Just not there in the final sprint.
Total Miles: 3.11 - 25:11


With no races on the docket for this past weekend, I was a bit perplexed with what to do.  Fortunately, some quick Google searches yielded one that was fairly local to me: The Sounds of Hope 5K in Riverton, Utah.

This race is about suicide prevention and the money raised from it goes to assist those in need.  It was reasonably priced and something to do.  With less than a 15 minute drive away, it made sense to give it a go.

Plus, I was looking for a flat and fast 5K to see where my fitness was at.

The Race

The race started at 9 AM, which gave me ample time to start my day and get a bit more food than usual down.  I rolled into the race site just shy of 8:30 and picked up my bib.  They had it well crewed and low fuss and I was ready to begin my warm-up.  

I am always skeptical of race organizers I haven't run with before, but the organizers on this race did a great job.  It started on time, and the course was well marshalled and marked.

The race was held at Roi Hardy Park, a trailhead for the Jordan River Bike Trail.  I had run by the park many times on other races and I knew the area was flat and fast.  The trail is paved and is used by many races in the area.

The race started on a pedestrian bridge and quickly hung a left to go north.  I didn't realize it at the time but there was a  pretty stiff breeze coming from the south.

There were several hundred runners in the race -- definitely a good turnout.

I was passed by about 20 runners almost immediately.  I was okay with that.  I had studied the awards system and I hoped that they would have an age group system, but they were only awarding top 3 overall, so my chances of double medaling for the day were dashed after a 100 yards.

None the less, this was a 5K time trial for me and I cruised the first mile in 7:43.  I was feeling strong but I knew that had been a fast mile.  I had done some speedwork only 2 days before and I could feel a little stiffness in my legs.  

I hadn't run this course before but the first mile marker was spot on.  I was curious as to when the turn around would be.  Around 1.25 miles the lead were cruising back towards the start.  I figured I was in the top 20 or so.  Not too shabby.

The turn around came at exactly 1:56 miles.  At that point I breathed a sigh of relief.  I always worry about the course being too long or short and to see my Garmin read exactly where it should be -- big score for the race organizers from me.

The turn around came after the first aid station.  It could've been marked a bit better (with a cone) but overall it made sense.

Hurting in the final mile.

Upon turning around I was greeted with a pretty stiff wind.  Where had that come from?  I was pretty gassed but still running strong as I received encouragement with the runners who were still headed out to the turn around.  I hit mile 2 with an 8 mile split.

I didn't have much confidence I was going to be able to hold the pace.  I tried to tuck behind a trio of young adults I had been running with but they were pushing the pace and I just couldn't get in behind them long enough to get any benefit.  The wind wasn't super terrible but it mentally it was a bit tougher for me.

My pace was sputtering at this point and I knew any hope of crushing this race today weren't going to happen.  The trio of runners I was working with put quite a bit of ground on me (I did manage to run in with one of them).  Fortunately there wasn't anyone behind me hunting me down.

I hit the third mile in 8:30 -- very disappointing for me.  I definitely didn't have anything left and I just wanted the race to be over.  I also made the mistake of starting my "sprint to the finish" too soon and ran out of gas 20 yards from the finish.  Oops.

But I did cross under the arches in just over 25 minutes.  Fairly standard for me these days for a 5K.


So my time wasn't what I had hoped for.  I really came into this run feeling like I was going to have a breakout race.  But I think at the starting line I didn't feel like racing.  All the positive energy / anticipation, I had built up during the week vanished at the starting line.  Was it because there was nothing on the line?  Was I tired?

I had slept that great the night before and to be honest, I just wanted to take a nap.  My energy level wasn't there despite being caffeinated up.

I gave it what I could and for the first 2 miles I ran well.  As per usual, the final mile is always my dream killer.

So the award system was goofy.  First through third for teens, first through third for adults by sexes.  And then top 3 (mixed sexes).  So the top finishers got to double dip.   I really wish they had had age group awards.

The swag bag was incredible: a beautiful shirt, a medal, timed race, socks and even a portable phone charger.  Post race refreshments included water, chips, fruit gels, and granola bars.  I was really happy with the value received on this race.  The bathroom situation was fine -- using the bathrooms at the park, but if this race gets any bigger, they'll need port-a-potties.

Overall, I ran this race nearly identically to the Roy Days 5K that I did about a month ago.  Same distance, same time.  Not sure which race I ran better -- probably Roy Days as that is a hillier course.  So I was a bit disappointed I haven't made that much progress but I don't think I was on my A-game today.

I'd definitely do this race again despite the lack of awards.  The money raised went to a nice charitable organization, the course was fair (even though I've run it several times over the years).  But the post race goodies and swag bag were top notch.

I just hope I am in a bit better shape next year.

Upcoming Races

09/24: 2022 Apple Harvest Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
10/01: 2022 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/15: 2022 BYU Homecoming Run 5k - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
10/22: 2022 Haunted Emigration Canyon 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
10/29: 2022 Haunted Half Provo 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/19: 2022 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (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, September 4, 2022

2022 Swiss Days 10K Race Recap - Midway, UT

Official Time: 50:57
Placement: 90th overall, 8th in the 50 - 64 age division 
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 40's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2021[2019] [2018] [2017] [2016]

Mile TimeComments
18:16Off and running. Somewhat congested but being patient
28:59Hardest mile. Mostly uphill.
38:34One final massive uphill and then turn around and let the race really begin
47:50Really fast mile. Gentle downhill. Pushing hard
58:03Still cooking
68.27Now back to the flats with a slight uphill.  Can't wait to be done, but I thought I had run this one faster.
6.110.45Looking good at the finish line.
Total Miles: 6:11 - 50:57

Race headquarters at the LDS stake.


As usual, my Labor Day tradition involves running the Swiss Days 10K race.  I've been running this race consistently since 2016 and year after year it continues to be one of my favorite events of the year.

It is tied in with their Swiss Days celebration -- lots of food, a parade, vendors, and a cultural event celebrating the original settlers to the Park City / Heber / Midway area.

The 10K is usually well attended and competitive and the course is absolutely stunning.  There are beautiful morning views of the farm lands, the Wasatch mountain range, and beautiful houses along the way.  It isn't for the faint of heart.  The course is hilly and the altitude is slightly higher than Salt Lake City - hitting an apex of 5900 feet.

The Race

The race starts early -- 7 AM.  It is chillier on the eastern side of the state -- resulting in a start temperature of about 45 degrees.  There was no wind and the race started a bit after 7 AM with the sun poking over the eastern horizon.

This isn't a chip timed race and it was a free for all once the gun went off.  It actually started with little fanfare -- people just started running.

The race starts off with a short downhill and then a quick right along the fairgrounds. I've run the race a few times now and my strategy was to take the first mile at a solid clip.  I was largely successful at hitting the first mile in 8:16.

The race was populated with a broad range of runners: from high school kids to adults well into my age category.  I figured I had my work cut out for me as I eyeballed potential competitors.

I was still holding back on mile 1.5 to 2.5.  I knew we had a series of hills that culminated with a short but steep one.  There would be a turn around the race would really begin for me.  You get to run down the hill you just ascended and then get a gentle and gradual drop back to the finish.  

As soon as I hit the flip side I found my next gear.

The next mile of the course is absolutely stunning.  You pass by the main entrance to the state park and you are greeted with a golf course, an old wooden fence and just a beautiful countryside.  Fortunately, I was able to drive back to this section of the course and take some more photos.

I was hitting my groove and I knew I was on to a pretty nice race.  I hit mile 3 in 8:34 -- not as fast as I'd like, but I really didn't know how much more I had in the tank.

Mile 3 and 4 saw a fast decline - particularly around mile 4.  I almost felt guilty about effortlessly flying down the hill with the eastern sun blinding me, but I had earned these fast miles.  I actually felt great.  Despite a string of less than great races could I finally rebound on this one?

I was working with a couple of other runners, one who I suspected was in my age group.  He was coaching another runner and talking with one another.  Come on -- talking -- in a race?  I could barely muster a few words.

But it was nice to have the company and someone to work with.  Occasionally I'd want to pass them, but I couldn't sustain an effort.  I kept telling myself to be patient as the downhill section sadly ended.

Around the start of mile 5 we hung yet another right turn and were dumped into a park with a paved, twisty trail down the middle of it.  I knew I was in the home stretch now and I kept glancing down at my watch. How much further?

The final mile and a quarter is through the park and then up a quiet country lane before making a final left turn for the final half mile sprint to the finish. It is a slow uphill again, but nothing too serious.  You really have to dig deep though as by this point you are hurting, you don't have the benefit of the downhill.  I keep focusing on turnover and trying to save something for the final push to the end.  I was a little dismayed though to see the result of my mile: 8:27.  I really felt like I was running an 8;10 - 8:15.

I still had some company with a few other runners as I made the final push to the end. I had a nice turnover and I was pretty close to a 100 second final quarter mile.  

The 2 guys that I was working with got the best of me and I just didn't have enough to attempt a crazy blast by them and I crossed under the RunnerCard banner in just a hair under 51 minutes.

All smiles after the race.


So the good news is I did better than the 10K I did two weeks ago.  This course was at higher altitude and hillier as well.  I felt really strong throughout and I felt like I had raced it well.

The bad news was that they changed the age groupings.  In the past, they awarded nice glass steins in 5 year age increments, 5 deep.  This year, it was 15(!) year increments with a smaller stein.  Womp womp womp.  I finished 8th, just missing 7th by a few seconds (I was correct, the chatty guy I was chasing was in my age group).

If I had run the time I had run last year (49:55) I would've finished 5th, netting an award.

Overall, I was very pleased with my time though.  It's been a struggle since my injury / sickness and smashing this course was a positive in my book.  As I was running it, I felt like it might go down as the race of the year for me.  It is still a contender for it.

Post race refreshments were donuts (Yum!), fruit, milk and drink.  I love the donuts and that is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this race.  

The shirt is 100% cotton.  I'll use it for short runs and I like the design but I just don't usually like cotton shirts for much of anything.  It was a general gripe amongst other runners I spoke to.  People like the 100% polyester ones and as seen by my picture, I still wear the 2018 edition.

So I paid about $35 for the race. I love this race, I really do. The course is probably my favorite 10K course I've ever done.  But I do feel a bit slighted with the crappy age group divisions.  If you are gonna cheap out on those at least provide a finisher medal / ribbon as a substitute.

However, I have no reason to complain. I love this race, love the course and the process of getting your bib, registering and finding out your results is a snap.  Easy in and easy out.  

I'll be back next year -- with a vengeance!

Upcoming Races

09/17: 2022 Sound of Hope 5K - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
09/24: 2022 Apple Harvest Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
10/01: 2022 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/22: 2022 Haunted Emigration Canyon 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
10/29: 2022 Haunted Half Provo 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
11/19: 2022 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
01/14: 2023 St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (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)