Sunday, January 22, 2023

2023 SoJo Break the Freeze 5K Race Recap - South Jordan, UT

Official Time: 23:14
Placement: 10th overall, 2nd in the 50 - 54 age group
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 28 degrees, slight wind from the west
Garmin / Course Map: Here
Previous Years: 2022

Mile TimeComments
17:57Off to a decent start. Some fairly dominant hills - but just get through them
27:42Some rolling hills but I rebounded quickly from mile 1's hills (total climb - 120 feet)
37:30Dig deep and push. Aided by heading down the hills that I had climbed.
3.110:40Courses ended at about 3.01 miles.  I kept going for an official 5K
Total Miles: 3.10- 23.52


Well, after last weekend's fairly successful half marathon, I was itching to run a 5K.  My training of late has been focused on this distance -- more speed than endurance.  Also, I have recently purchased a pair of Saucony Endorphin Pro Speeds version 2.0.

These are carbon plated shoes and I was very interested to see if I would see any improvement in my race performance (spoiler alert: they helped a lot).

The only race in town was the SoJo Break the Freeze Race, which I had done the previous year.  It has a fun-run type of atmosphere, with your t-shirt and finisher's medal.  It is also professionally timed.  But really no awards, a simple bottle of water at the finish and a kids race to finish things off.  Very low key and budget friendly.

This year's theme was "the 80's" so there were quite a few people dressed in 80's attire.  Not sure if my neon pink shirt qualifies but that's what I wore.

The Race

The race is held along the Jordan River Bike Trail near the fishing ponds (just south of Lifetime Fitness).  I got there early and quickly grabbed my bib.  Key point is to get there early, as sometime the line up to get your bib can be lengthy.

It was a balmy 26F but the sun was shining and all things considered it didn't feel that bad.  The wind was negligible and while it was chilly, it wasn't terrible.  

I spent a few moments getting some photos and visiting people I had seen in a while before donning my bib, ditching my warm-up sweats.  I figured I ran about a mile to get loosened up and feeling good.

I got to the starting line just shy of 10 AM and secured a decent spot.  There were about a 100 runners.  Not a huge race by any means but enough to make it interesting.  I was one of the few runners wearing shorts.  I had thrown on some heavier gloves, a skullcap, and 2 shirts.  I felt a little chilled at the start but overall this outfit worked.  I had stashed a heavy jacket near the finish line so I could get into warm clothes right away.

The first mile is a bit of a challenge.  It starts off flat and quickly hangs a few turns before dumping you into a well-to-do-subdivision.  I found a few guys to hang with and was maintaining a solid but not crazy pace.  I also knew at the end of the mile I'd be greeted by a pair of hills.  

I had forgotten how intense they were.  But I knew also that they were short-lived.  Last year they ruined my first mile.  I haven't done a lot of hill work on account of my back injury, which seems to be irritated by hills.

I really hadn't been paying any attention to my pace for the first mile; I didn't want to become obsessed about it.  The pace I was running felt "right".  I was astounded and delighted to see a sub 8 minute mile hit on my Garmin.  I had studied last year's splits before the race and remembered the first mile coming in at 8:15.  This spurred me on to really push the pace and I was running with someone that normally beats me handily in most races.

The course levels out a bit (there was a hill or two) but lots of turns.  A lot of memories of the course came back from last year and it really helped knowing what lay ahead.

Last year, I had taken a wrong turn and it had probably cost me about 10 - 20 seconds.  And I remembered where it happened and I made a mental note not to follow it.  The course was either marshalled or had green arrows on the ground indicating where to run.  

I finally stumbled upon the turn (where I had run straight).  There was a dead end sign there that I had obviously missed last year but from the looks of it, it did look like it was the way to go.  

Mile 2 was even faster than last year's and I was still running with a group.  Could this be the race I was after?  And the final mile was going to be the fastest with a nice downhill stretch.

I was still feeling pretty good as I finished the last of the subdivision and returned back to the bike trail.  I glanced at my watch and realized I had .75 of a mile left and that presumed that the course was going to be short (it was).

The course made its way around the perimeter of the fishing ponds and it was a little heartbreaking to pass by the finish line with still nearly half a mile to go.

The group I had been running with had put ground on me and a woman was diligently chasing me from behind.  I was racing for the sake of time.  I figured I was in the top 10 but with no age group awards, there just wasn't that extra motivation.

Finally I reached the point where the finish line was in plain view.  It was no more than a quarter mile, but it looked to be further.  Just a few more minutes.

I really pushed the final distance and I kept glancing at my watch: how close was I to running a legit 5K?  

Just before I crossed the finish line, I hit 3 miles.  I figured the finish line was at 3.01 at best.  There wasn't a line up to get medals nor people around, so I kept going.  I felt good but I was going to smash the last tenth of a mile to see what I could run for a 5K.

It seemed to take forever to run that final stretch but I did and pressed lap on my watch, for a time of around 23:50.  That was one of my goals from last year: run under 24 minutes.  And so early in the season too!


I was over the moon at the finish.  One, I smashed last year's time (even with credit given to last year's time) and two, I crushed a 5K.  

So, the question is, how much value did the shoes provide?  I do think quite a bit.  Last year I am pretty sure I ran in my Saucony Fast-twich, which do not have a plate in them, but are lighter.  I also have done a nice block of speedwork, so I've been primed for this sort of distance for a while.

The course, I don't think it a very "fast" one, given the hills, either.  I just know I was extremely happy with my time.

Post race refreshments was simply water.  This race is done on a budget: with a t-shirt, finisher's medal, timing and course for $30, it is a decent bargain.  I don't expect very much and mostly I was there for the social experience and as a time trial.

The medal was unique and nicely designed.  The shirt had potential, but it is a cotton one (although nicer quality).  It probably won't make the rotation as a shirt I'll wear regularly.  In the past, I've really liked this series' shirts.

I enjoyed my experience despite not having age group awards. I liked the course and it was close to home.  Given the lack of races in January, and if the weather is halfway decent, I will continue to do this race.

Upcoming Races

02/04: 2023 SLC Run Series 5K - Salt Lake City (Confirmed)
02/11: 2023 South Davis Recreation Center Sweethearts 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
02/18: 2023 SoJo Date Dash 5K - South Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
02/26: 2023 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
03/04: 2023 March Madness 10K - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/25: 2023 Riverton Half Marathon023 Riverton Half Marathon - Riverton, 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)

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