Saturday, April 29, 2023

2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon Race Recap - Salt Lake City, UT

Official Time: 1:53:47
Placement: 14th in age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 40's, cloudy
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2018] [2017]

Mile TimeComments
18:40Some rolling hills here but easing into the race.
29:27Bathroom break - felt like I was working too hard
37:57Really nice downhill
48:18Love this part of the course. Can just coast
68:54Long grinding stretch of a hill. Surprised my pace wasn't slower.
78:21Recovery mile here
89:04Another round of uphill. Felt like the race was slipping away
98:31Was about to rebound. Definitely working here though
118:19Somehow got a bit of a second wind
138:41Grind to the finish
13.262:07Course felt extraordinary long.  Was pretty gassed but pushed it to the finish.
Total Miles: 13.26 - 1:53:49


So for the past 2 years or so, I've had the Salt Lake City Half Marathon race entry sitting in my back pocket.  I had registered after the 2021 virtual one at a nice price but couldn't do the race in 2022 due to a back injury.

So it finally came due and I had to use it or lose it.  

I really enjoy this race -- it is one of the premier races that run in the downtown area of Salt Lake City and it is well attended and very competitive. It isn't on par with a marathon major, but this race definitely draws a crowd.

Packet pick up is on the Friday before the race at the downtown convention center.  They have a mini-expo as well.  It was easy and well organized.  I spent about 15 minutes there before heading back to work.

The race also offer free public transportation to the race site.  Your bib is good for the light rail system and it drops you off right at the door step of the starting line.  For a big race, the logistics are really easy.

The Race

I thought I had given myself plenty of time to get to the race start -- getting on the local train at 5:30 AM for the 7:00 AM start.  The trains just seemed slow.  I remember in years past arriving with about an hour to spare but this time, I arrived with less than 25 minutes.  Note to self:  get on an earlier train and take the red line.

I managed to use the rest room, ditch my warm-up clothes and before I knew it, it was time to line up and hear the national anthem.

It was cool out but not cold and I wisely selected a baseball cap, light gloves, shorts and my neon pink shirt (much easier to find myself in post race photos).  

It took about 4 minutes for me to get started on the race but once I did I realized I should've cycled through the porta-potties one more time.  I had to go.

Miles 1 through 3

The race starts at the university and the first mile or two is through a very well-to-do neighborhood.  There are some hills here, some take a bit of effort to get up.  It is also here that you are at the highest elevation of the course -- just shy of 5000 feet.  I hadn't done much of a warm-up and it took a while to get my breathing under control but I was feeling fresh.

Around mile 2 I made the decision I had to use the bathroom. My bladder was definitely full.  Fortunately there were a bank of restrooms at the first water stop and they weren't heavily in use.  I was able to get in and out of one in 30 seconds.  More time than I'd like, but I got it done.  I felt a little bad about it, but it was necessary.

Eventually the expensive houses (and views of the downtown area) gave way to a canyon drive.  This is probably everyone's favorite section as you are treated to a nature paradise and here you get the biggest drop.

Miles 4 through 6

My pace definitely quickened and it suddenly became a joy and less laborious to run.  I was surrounded by people and I was feeling good. It didn't take much effort to hold onto a very low 8 minute per mile pace.

The road had been damaged by a lot of the snow we had had this winter and you could hear the water running at a quick pace.  It was just a pretty experience.

Finally, the canyon gave way to the section of town called the Avenues.  There are a lot of really old, stately buildings along the route.  It is here that it comes due to pay the piper for the downhill section.  There is about a mile of a slow grind, culminating with an even steeper climb.  

Also, if you know the city, you know you are pretty close to the finish line, but you still have 7 more miles to run.  As the hill took its toll a part of me wanted to jump off the course and find my way there and call it a day.  Mile 6 was one of my slower miles.

Miles 7 through 9

This isn't a very scenic part of the course but you run down some usually busy roads lined with older, smaller houses.  The crowds here are also fairly supportive.

There were some sections of the course that involved a bit of hill climbing but nothing serious.  They did take their toll though as the fatigue was building up in my legs.  I had a feeling that the race might go poorly at this point.  I just wasn't feeling "fast" despite wearing the Saucony Pros.  Every time I glanced down at my watch at a mile marker, I was surprised though that my pace was still -- darn good.

It was also at this point that I started to get down a caffeinated gel.  I figured it couldn't hurt and in fact it did give me a bit of a boost.

Miles 10 to 13

After rounding the curve at the southernmost part of the course, I knew I was going to have a decent race.  The gel gave me a boost and I knew that I could still run a decent 5K at half marathon pace.  The course became slightly familiar as I went through even older section of town.  It was also at this point that we ran along the perimeter of stately Liberty Park.  

The course had leveled out for the most part and my pace was finally consistent.  I was hurting but I still felt I was going to be able to go sub 1:55, which was my goal for the race.

From previous experience and reports, I knew my Garmin wasn't going to be reliable.  One year I did it, my Garmin was correct but this year, the mile markers were consistently off from my watch.  At first it wasn't very noticeable but as the race went on, it was off by .03, .08 and finally nearly .2.  The course is certified and I knew that the likely the run down the canyon had probably caused an issue.

After exiting the park, I could almost smell the finish line. There was a mile left and my legs didn't have very much pep.  My pace had slowed down but was still solid for the time I was shooting for.

My watch flashed 1:52:30 or so upon hitting 13.10 and my final time for the course was 1:53:49 -- including roughly a 30 second bathroom break.


Overall, I was pleased with my performance.  I had set out a goal of hitting sub 1:55.  I knew I was capable of that.  The course definitely can be a speedy one, but there are places on the course were it keeps you honest, with some fairly intense, long grinding hills.

I wouldn't describe the course as "fast" but it isn't a back breaker.

I was also happy that I felt good at the end.  I wasn't dying of thirst and I was able to socialize a bit, grab a medal, and take some photos of the finish area -- which was near the downtown courthouse.

I had wrapped my phone in a fairly large bag in case it rained and I was able to use it to snag some food at the end.  If you were willing to wait, they had made to order pancakes by Kodiak.  They had chips, fruit, granola bars, a variety of drinks and product samples.  If you are so inclined, they had a beer garden and entertainment.

My ride had arrived though, so I didn't stick around too long.  I did manage to get my drop bag fairly quickly.

Overall, we had great weather.  All winter we've had rainy, unseasonably cold weather.  I think everyone was worried that this race could've been a mess (especially considering last year's downpour).  But fortunately, the weather was pretty much picture perfect for half marathon running.

Timewise, this was my best half marathon so far this year.  My time was better than Las Vegas's race but I didn't get the massive second wind that I felt I got in Las Vegas.  I was kicking myself for having to use the rest room as well -- mile second mile should've been in the upper 8's at the worst.

I felt I paced the race really well and while I had my doubts as to whether it was going to end disastrously, I didn't give in.

I was happy with the race experience.  If you register for the race early, it is a well worth the price for admission.  If you wait too long, however, it does get expensive.

I am signed up for 2024, so I am looking forward to toeing the line next year.

Upcoming Races

04/29: 2023 Blossom Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
06/03: 2023 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 2023 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 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)
03/03: 2024 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/202024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

Sunday, April 9, 2023

2023 Eggs Legs 10K Race Recap - West Jordan, UT

Official Time: 49:40
Placement: 9th overall, 1st in the 50-54 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 40's, breeze from the south
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: Previous Years: [2022[2021]

Mile TimeComments
18:04A little congested at the start, and some headwind
28:03Running solo here. Headwind but just holding steady
37:59A little shelter from the wind. Picked up the pace slightly
47:59A bit of tailwind now. Fatiguing a little
57:55Grinding it out. Passed a few half marathoners
68:02Running solo.
6.20       1:35Lots of turns in the final push. 
Total Miles: 6.20 - 49:40


One of my Easter weekend traditions, of late, is to run the Eggs Legs races at Gardner Village.  It is a local race put on by OnHillEvents.  Gardner Village is also conveniently located a few miles from my house.  

The race is held along the Jordan River Bike Trail.  It is a paved trail and one that I know very well: I train on it quite frequently.  The race offers 3 distances: a 5K, 10K and half marathon.  I opted in for the 10K when they had their Black Friday sale last year.

The race weather looked extremely iffy: we had a series of snow storms in early during the week and I think everyone was worried about residual snow / water on the course.  We were fortunate though that warmer weather arrived in the Salt Lake valley to melt it.  In fact, race day weather was near perfect.

The Race

I arrived at the race about 40 minutes before the race start and managed to get my bib.  I spent a good 15 minutes taking pictures of the shopping area and socializing with a few of the course marshals, who had started the half marathoners about 80 minutes prior to my arrival.  I got a sense of what I would wear: short shorts, a tech t-shirt and thin gloves.

I also did my warm-up -- about a half mile of super easy running, a stride or two and some drills.  I felt a bit sluggish and began to question if my head was in the game.  My legs didn't have the pop and I felt a little worn down.

The race started promptly at 8 AM.  There were about 100 10K runners (the bulk of the race consisted of 5K runners, who would start at 9 AM).  At the start I surveyed my competition and got an idea of who was in my age group. I suspect a few of them were doing the same.

The first tenth of a mile was run through the shopping center.  Fortunately, the shops weren't open yet to shoppers and the initial start was congested.  It wasn't too bad though and since I had lined up fairly close to the start I managed to circumnavigate some of the runners and jockey myself into a decent spot.

About the only hilly section of the race is the start. You can see how much of a hill it is by the photo above and below -- it isn't much.  But it always tends to give me pause.  Any bump while pushing 10K race pace will slow me up a bit.

I didn't really look at my watch for the first mile.  I roughly knew how far I had run -- having trained and run on the course many times.  I was working on controlling a steady pace and not going out too fast.  The lead pack clearly were putting ground on me and the suspects that were probably in my age group, I had passed in the first half mile.  I was working with a woman about my age group but even she put ground on me.  I was more or less running solo for the entire race.

I was telling myself to be patient -- I wanted to run a solid race, but with a decent headwind I merely needed to hold my pace and not blow up.  My breathing felt in control and while I was fatiguing, I didn't feel like I was going to come to a screeching halt.

I was still running strong when I flew by the 5K turnaround.  In a way, I regretted not running the 5K but I wasn't exactly running 5K pace.  I was holding back a bit.

It gave me confidence to know I had put in some tough speed sessions and that I could tolerate the pace I was holding.  I kept breaking down the race and I knew where the turn around was.  My pace was holding steady at 8 minutes per mile.

Around mile 2 I started to run into the lead back of the half marathoners, who had started an hour earlier.  I got a bit of encouragement seeing them zip along.

Finally the turn around hit and I reached it at 3.10 miles. This was going to be a legitimate 10K course.  In the past, the course has come in a smidge short.

I also got to run with some of the half marathoners as well, who were holding my pace.  

Also, on the out and back, I got an idea of what my age group competition were doing.  I was safe in my positioning and all I had to do was hang on.

I got a boost of energy as a result of the tailwind and I felt my pace quicken a bit.  I also got a few shout outs from the 10K runners who were behind me.  Despite my suffering, I tried to put on a brave face.

I wound up passing a few half marathoners and I was starting to reel in another 10K runner but I ran out of real estate.  Despite the difficulty of holding the steady pace, I had the tailwind.

The last quarter mile was a challenge.  No one to chase down, and I had a series of turns.  Also the micro hills were back.  I still managed to speed through the OnHillEvents finish line in under 50 minutes.


Overall I am pleased with my race. I accomplished one of my 2023 goals: run sub 50 minutes on a flat, 6.2 mile course.  I figured it was going to happen fairly soon given the direction my running has been headed.  

I've been doing a lot of work dialing in my 10K race pace and it all came together nicely on Saturday morning.  The pace was right where I wanted it to be and I was able to hang on for the duration of the race.

I wound up winning my age group -- which wasn't too hard given that there were only 2 of us in the 50 - 5 age division.  I was also 9th overall - but there were only about a hundred runners in the 10K.  

I had registered for the race on a discount, so it was budget friendly.  The medals were awesome. They were Easter themed and heavy.  Definitely a quality award.  The t-shirt -- sort of ho hum.  I like the 100% polyester ones.

The course was spot on accurate for both the 5K and 10K.  They had a pair of aid stations (one we hit twice).  Fortunately the weather didn't warrant much extra hydration.  Post race food consisted of a little bit of candy, granola bars, sports drink, cheese sticks and fruit.  Of course, they had the Fat Boy brand ice cream sandwiches at the end as well.

Overall, I am walking away from this race with a smile on my face. I ran well, was rewarded for my work and it was also great seeing so many of my friends who were also running the various events.  Looking forward to this race for next year.

Upcoming Races

04/22: 2023 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
04/29: 2023 Blossom Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Confirmed)
06/03: 2023 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 2023 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 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)
03/03: 2024 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/202024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)