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)

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