Monday, May 29, 2023

2023 Run of Remembrance 10K Race Recap - American Fork, UT

Official Time: 51:07
Placement: 4th in age group, 53rd overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 57F -- no wind - felt warmer than it was.
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
17:53Off to a smooth start. Right where I wanted to be
27:49Feeling really good. 
37:56Getting tougher. Looking for the half way point
48:37Game over. Shocked at how much I slowed down
58:34At times I felt like I was running fast, but in reality I was really slowing down
68:37Grinding on a gentle up hill.
6.22       1:42Give it all I have in the last quarter mile
Total Miles: 6.22- 51:10


Finally, a competitive race with finisher medals and age group awards!  For the last few years, on Memorial Day weekend, I look for a race in hopes there'd be one that would be worth attending.

This year, the Run of Remembrance 10K came with a finisher's medal AND age group awards.  Definitely worth the effort and something to compete for.

This race is popular and has been going on for a few years.  So I was excited to give it a go and it would be my first time visiting American Fork -- about 25 minutes drive south of where I live.  

The Race

Fortunately, I was able to get a friend to pick up my bib the day leading up to the race.  So all I had to do was get there, use the bathroom and warm-up.  I got there with plenty of time to spare, so I had a few moments to run a bit of the course, use the bathroom a few times and see a few friends.

It had been a few weeks since I towed the line of a race, so I was a bit nervous.  I felt pretty good and I've come off a decent training block.  I felt like I was due for a good race.

The race was well attended, with hundreds of people lined up and many more in queue for the restrooms.  The race started after the Star Spangled Banner and we were off.

The race is held on the city streets of American Fork -- all residential running with the exception of the 2.5 - 4.5 mile section, which was running along a creek and farm land..  I eased into my tempo pace and I felt completely comfortable.  For the first mile I didn't look at my time -- just running by feel.  My breathing was in control and I felt like it was a pace I could hold for most of the race.

The first mile also was blindly bright.  The sun was coming up over the mountains and I was sort of wishing that the organizers had started the race 30 minutes earlier.  It was warm, but not insanely hot.

I was getting passed by a few people and I was surprised to see the first mile come in at 7:54 pace.  Exactly where I wanted to be.

Mile 2 and 3 -- I was still feeling fantastic.  Nice even splits.  Could I hold this and go sub 50?

As I rounded the corner to start making my way back to the starting line around the 5K point, I glanced at my watch:  a comfortable 24:15.

Then the wheels came off.  I am not exactly sure what happened but it suddenly seemed a lot harder to run.  Mentally I was just "done".  Perhaps it was the thoughts of "I've still got 3 miles to go" or "I should've run the 5K" or just the feeling I had a long straight, bleak road ahead.  We were running by a nearly overflowing creek at this point and I was tempted to jump in (it was a very fast moving creek though).  I was warm and just wanted to cool off.

Occasionally I glanced at my watch and was disheartened to see 9 minute miles come up at times.  I tried to dig deep but I just couldn't get anything going. 

Granted, this part of the course was uphill but it wasn't a terrible uphill.  It was just extra work and I certainly felt it.

By mile 4.5 or so, I had caught up with the 5K runners.  The course suddenly got a bit more crowded, but it wasn't a terrible situation.  But I didn't even get a second wind here with some of the runners cheering me on.  I was actually surprised to see I was hitting 8:35's fairly consistently.

Finally I could see where the final turn was to end the race and I couldn't wait to get there.  Gone were my dreams of going sub 50 minutes and I was actually stunned to cross in 51:07.


So the race was well done.  Well organized, well marshalled and it was accurate with mile markers at each point.  The medal was well done and actually quite heavy.

Post race refreshments were fruit, sports drink and chocolate milk and the finish line was near a city park, so there were plenty of places to sit and watch other runners come in.

I am disappointed with my performance though.  For the first 3 miles I was running my best race and I was full of confidence that this was going to be a "good" race.  I am still scratching my head wondering what happened.

Overall, I was pleased with my experience.  The race offered an optional t-shirt, which I passed on.  It was well organized and reasonably priced, especially having registered within the last few weeks.  I'll gladly do this race again next year if they continue the tradition of having awards and finishers medals.

Upcoming Races

06/03: 2023 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/17: 2023 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Probable)
06/17: 2023 West Fest 5K - West Valley City, UT (Not Likely)
06/24: 2023 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/04: 2023 Riverton Town Days Country Races 10K - Riverton, UT (Confirmed)
07/08: 2023 Draper Days 5K - Draper, UT (Probable)
07/15: 2023 Farmington Days 5K - Farmington, UT (Probable)
07/22: 2023 Steele Days 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
07/24: 2023 Desert News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
08/05: 2023 Roy Days 5K - Roy, UT (Probable)
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, May 7, 2023

2023 Run Farmington 5K Race Recap - Farmington, UT

The start / finish line

Official Time: 24:41
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54, 11th overall
Results:  Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 45 - 10 mph breeze from the south
Course Map / Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: First year for me

Mile TimeComments
17:47A bit of headwind.  Did quite reach top gear right away.
27:39Pushing hard here.  Fairly flat. Surprised this mile went as well as it did
37:56Was hurting. Desperate at times to know what the distance on the course was.
3.191:19Once I saw the finish line, I redlined it.
Total Miles: 3.19- 24.43 

Runner orientatino


On a whim, I decided to jump into the Run Farmington 5K.  I believe this race happened last year as well but I never wound up doing it (injured).

The race sports two distances: a 5K and a half marathon.  I was very tempted to sign up for the half marathon.  Farmington is a really nice city to urn in and it likely would've been very scenic.

However, I was still feeling fairly fatigued from the Salt Lake half and last week's Blossom Run 10K.  Initially, I planned to sit this week out but I couldn't hold back from at least doing a 5K.

The Park's entrance

The Race 

The race is held at Farmington City Park.  You are near the Legacy bike trail and the Rio Grande Bike Trails, so plenty of space to have a race.

I got there fairly early and watched the kid's 1 mile race, and then the half marathon start. The 5K was supposed to start at 8 AM, but it was probably closer to 8:10 by the time we got rolling.

I had done about a mile of warm-ups and did plenty of drills to get primed for the race.  There were adequate bathrooms as well.

Rio Grande Trail

The weather was nice although there was a bit of a breeze coming from the south.  I hadn't quite figured out how the race started before it began, so I was a bit cautious on how to approach it.  I got the impression though that it was fairly flat.

The race was small and I had lined up close to the front. I was wearing shorts, my trusty and easily identifiable pink t-shirt, and the Saucony Pro 2s. 

Still a bit of farm country in Farmington

The first mile is always the easiest and hardest of the race.  The pace feels easy and my breathing is in control but nailing that perfect pace and what you have for the day is hit and miss.

The race started off in the park, wandered around the parking lot before dumping you off on a street.  Eventually you make your way to Main Street before taking a sidewalk down to the Legacy Bike Trail.  There was a bit of a grinder of a hill to start.  I glanced down at my watch to monitor my pace: I didn't want to go out too hard and at the same time didn't want to relax too much.

Such a beautiful day.

I have run various races on parts of this course, so it was all very familiar to me.  I slowly picked up my pace as I worked with another runner who I knew ran about the same 5K as I do.

Mile came up in a rather pedestrian 7:47 split.  I was still comfortable and my breathing was okay.  However, I know that the weight of the 5K race starts to hit me about half way through.  

I picked up the pace and overtook the runner I was chasing.  I also gained on another young man.  I hadn't seen anyone else in my age group and the lead pack had clearly disappeared at this point.  There were still some targets ahead to work with.

The course was well marshaled and marked by volunteers.  I hadn't really studied the map on their site (it was kind of confusing) and I had heard that this was a looped course.  I kept hoping that eventually we'd make the turn to the west to indicate we were in the homestretch.

A little more than half way, we made the turn west.  This was probably the least favorite part of the course.  Leaving the bike trail, we were running on the side of a street.  It wasn't heavily trafficked and it was only about half a mile.

I hit mile 2 in 7:39.  Perhaps this was going to be a good race.

The turn to head north hit me by surprise.  I am glad they had a volunteer there and I probably remember seeing another runner make the turn.  We were now on the Rio Grand bike trail. I remember running a few races on this portion of the bike trail as well.

Despite the tailwind now, I was running on fumes.  My stride turnover was reduced but my length of my stride was increased.  I kept looking at my watch trying to gauge how much longer it was to the finish line and how much longer I had to run.

I wound up passing another pair of runners and was ceremoniously passed by a young man under 10 years old.  Crazy.

Finally, I saw a line of trees which shrouded the final push to the finish line.  My watch binged 3 miles and I know for certain that the course was going to be long.  In fact, I didn't hit the 3.10 mark until the 13 mile mark for the half marathon.  In short, the course was 3.20 miles.  I did make a mental note that I was around 23:55 - 24:05 for an official 5K.


So, I was 11th overall and 1st in my age group.  But this was a fairly lightly attended race.  My splits were fairly consistent throughout the race and I loved the fact that I still had a lot left to run what was effectively a 7:19 pace for the final .2 miles.

Overall though, my time was fairly "okay".  Definitely not my best 5K and a bit of a let down.  

I enjoyed the race.  The medal was a homemade wooden thing. Definitely unique and it had an inspirational message on it.  Definitely a nice touch.  There were no age group awards sadly.  I honestly didn't expect any, particularly for the 5K since it was such a small event.

Post race refreshments were hydration (never had any) bananas and bread with honey and butter.   I wound up doing a cooldown of about a mile in order to get photos of the course.  It was a beautiful day and part of me really regretted not running the half.

Upcoming Races

05/29: 2023 Run For Remembrance 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
06/03: 2023 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 2023 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/22: 2023 Steele Days 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)
02/25: 2024 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/202024 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

2023 Blossom Run 10K Race Recap - Santaquin, UT

Rowley's Red Barn in Santaquin Utah

Official Time: 51:35
Placement: 1st in age group, 14th out of 84.
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 48 -- seemed breezy in spots
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
17:50Downhill start.  Easy running here
28:19Mostly flat here and jeep trail running
39:05Uphill trail running. Just a grind. Wind felt in my face.
47:55Lap 2: Repeat of the first mile
58:18Consistent.  Goal at this point was to hit the last mile hard.
69:07Not much left
6.12       0:56Push to the finish
Total Miles: 6.12- 51:35


Last fall, I did the Apple Harvest 10K produced by OnHillEvents. I really enjoyed the race venue -- despite the near hour drive. 

The race is held at Rowley's Red Barn and in the fall, runners are treated to a course lined with apple producing apple trees.  In spring, the trees are loaded with blossoms, giving athletes a chance to see the other beautiful season.

Due to the extended winter, however, there were very few blossoms to be see.  I was sort of sad about this but at the same time, the course is still very pretty.

The 5K is one lap around the perimeter of the farm and the 10K is two.  The 10K starts 30 minutes before the 5K.

The Race

I got to the race site a good 30 minutes before the start.  Packet pickup was a snap -- as most of the runners at that point were there for the 10K, which had about 100 runners in the race.  I was able to use the restroom, get a little shake out run in and figured out what I was going to wear:  Saucony Fastwitch (decided not to use the carbon Pros), shorts, sunglasses, and a thin t-shirt.

The race is primary on dirt roads and Jeep Trail.  There is a bit of pavement on the course, but it only makes up a small part of the course.  There are some fairly chunky gravel portions of road as well.  Footing and technical issues isn't really a problem, but the trail nature of the course makes it challenging.

I was off to a good start, hitting the mostly downhill portion of the first mile in 7:50.  I felt in control and the pace felt smooth.  I knew some of my competition -- or those that regularly run about my speed -- and I kept them in my sites.  I knew the race was going to get quite a bit more challenging.

My legs felt a bit tired -- I was still paying for the half marathon I had done the week before and a harder speed session on Wednesday.  Given the size of the race and not seeing anyone remotely close to my age group, I figured I didn't have to go all out on this race.  However, it didn't stop me from putting forth a solid effort.

Mile 2 starts off downhill and I was able to carry my momentum.  However, about half way through you begin the process of heading back to the start.  Also you leave the dirt road and it becomes more rutted Jeep trail.  I felt my pace drop and it suddenly took more effort to race.  The views were spectacular but I was so focused on running that I forgot to check them out.

Mile 2 saw a fairly disappointing 8:15 come up.  About the same as what I ran in September.  And I was definitely feeling it at this point.  The lactic acid was building up and I still had 4 more miles to race!

Mile 3 brought me back to reality.  There was a bit of breeze in my face, the sun was blinding despite wearing sunglasses and it was just a slow grind uphill.  The footing was loose sand and I kept trying to figure out where on the trail was the best place to run.

The course also went around near the equipment bunkers and storage sheds.  It wasn't very scenic but did give you an idea of what it takes to run an apple orchard.  I was just so focused on putting one foot in front of the other.  I could see the start / finish line in the distance and I knew I had to do the entire course over again.

Just before hitting the starting line, I saw a 9:15 ring up on my Garmin.  Not what I wanted. I felt like I was running WAY faster than that.  I figure I am in better shape than what I was in September, so I was stunned to see this split.  I began to really worry about the second lap. Would it be a death march?

Suffice to say it wasn't.  In fact, my splits were nearly identical in the first lap compared to the second lap.  I'll chalk that up to a victory.

It was a bit humbling, however, to be at mile 4 or 4.5 and have the 5K racers fly by me.  I had passed a few other 10K runners in the final 2 miles and had the top women's finisher blow by me as well.  I did manage to put it together in the last quarter mile -- despite being at my limit -- and cross the finish line in a relatively disappointing 51:35.


So, I ran about 30 - 40 seconds slower than I did in September.  This did NOT make me happy.  As stated above, I felt like I was in better shape and I expected to turn in a slightly faster time.  I hadn't really tapered for the race and I had some residual fatigue in my legs so the top effort just wasn't there.  The course measured up the same too -- 6.12 miles.  Given the trail nature of the race, it might be hard to get an official distance (Strava reports showed everything from 6.12 to 6.23)

I am happy to report that I won my age group.  Granted, I could've walked the course and achieved the same thing.  I was the only one in the 50 - 54 age group.  I am not too surprised -- this was a lightly attended 10K.

I love the course.  It is fun and challenging.  Despite it not being a fast course, I really get a lot out of it.  Definitely a unique experience and about the right level of "trail" for a rookie trail runner like myself.  It also is a different training stimulus and one positive I can take away on this is that my laps were largely evenly split with no huge drop off.

Course support was good -- with an aid station used twice. The course was well marshaled and I wasn't worried about getting lost.

Post race refreshments were fairly typical. Ice cream sandwiches, fruit, cheese sticks and granola and sports drink.  The medals, as usual, were top notch.  The lanyard is nicely designed and the medals are heavy.  Shirt was the polyester / cotton blend.  

I paid about $35 for the race during a Thanksgiving day sale.  It was well worth the drive down to the race location.  This was all about new experiences and supporting the local agriculture economy.  There was just a friendly vibe amongst the attendees and the weather was sunny and comfortable.  I'd definitely put this one on my list, but just need to temper my expectations: it isn't about PRs at this course, but just doing your best and trying to keep up with the competitors in your age group.  You might just see me at the fall edition this year as well.

Upcoming Races

06/03: 2023 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/24: 2023 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/22: 2023 Steele Days 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)