Sunday, June 4, 2023

2023 Utah Valley 10K Race Recap - Provo UT

Official Time: 47:25
Placement: 5th in age group, 59th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 50's, breeze from the south
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for me

Mile TimeComments
17:54Slight uphill. Holding it in check and seeing what the course offers
27:38Hooked up with the half marathoners and some downhill. Bit of tailwind.
37:50Holding it in check. I see a hill ahead
48:01The hill slowed me up but not as bad as I thought. Confidence building.
57:41Pushed it here with a gentle downhill.  
67:50Desperation building. I can see the finish from a mile out.  Takes forever to get there.
6.08       0:29Push!
Total Miles: 6.08- 47:26


At some point during the spring I got an offer from the Utah Valley Marathon people to sign up for their race.  It was a pretty nice discount for an otherwise fairly expensive race that in the past I've neglected to sign up for.

There are basically 3 big (well attended) marathons in the Salt Lake area in the spring: Salt Lake City, Ogden and finally the Utah Valley (Provo).  Of the three, I've never done the Utah Valley one.  It comes at an awkward time of year where it can be hot and usually by now I've done the half marathons I've set out to complete.

But this race does offer a fast 10K and it fit into my schedule.  I also had a runner friend who was interested in doing it. I figured why not, plunked down the money to see just how fast this race could be.

The Race

One of the hitches of the race is that the day before the race, you have to get your bib at the Expo.  That is a fairly typical experience with the larger races.  It was held at the Provo Convention Center and it is about a 30 minute drive from my house.  It was bigger than I expected and I wound up picking up a few of last year's t-shirts for $4 apiece.  Like I don't have enough shirts.

I got to the race site pretty early expecting a fiasco to get on a bus to take me to the 10K starting line.  I was shocked to find ample parking and virtually no wait to get on the bus.  It is always a source of anxiety for me, on getting to the starting line on time and with ample time to use the restrooms / warm-up.

The race starts at a local LDS stake.  They had a fair amount of bathrooms and on the bus ride up to the starting line, I spotted some construction sites with porta-potties.  There were a few hundred people milling about waiting for the 7 AM start.

Time went by pretty quickly. The weather was absolutely perfect for a race.  A slight breeze, cool air, and no chance of rain.  I managed to do about a mile warm-up and some drills.

I had studied the course beforehand to some extent. I had heard it was mostly downhill and I had run the second half of the course when I ran the Provo City 5K.  The first mile or so was definitely a slow uphill, but after that I felt the race was going to be a fast one.  I also heard that my Garmin would likely read about 6.07 miles.  Armed with this information, it gave me some confidence in knowing how to pace myself.

The race was supposed to start in waves -- I am not sure why they did this, but it wasn't really necessary given that I've certainly run much larger races.  The first wave were 7 minute per mile runners, which there weren't many.

I wound up waiting for the first wave of runners to begin and when the coast was clear, I started running.

The first mile was indeed a gentle uphill and it wasn't terrible.  I kept telling myself to be patient and that once I hit the single turn on the course, that I'd be able to cruise.  I wound up catching some of the early runners but the lead pack certainly had left me in their dust.  7:55 was the time of my first mile -- right where I wanted to be.

The race had started out as a residential run but quickly evolved into a race down Main Street towards the downtown area of Provo.  Flashes of memory were coming back to me -- I had never run the first few miles of this race, but I had certainly driven it.

We had a coned off stretch of a large road and I quickly found myself integrated with the half marathoners, who were around mile 7 of their journey.  It was nice to run with them and I wasn't impeded with them in any way.  But I was clearly running about 30 - 45 seconds per mile faster than them.  It gave me a bit of gusto to be honest and I wasn't surprised to see 7:38 on my Garmin

There was a hint of desperation as I ran through miles 3 and 4.  There were memories of Monday's race which didn't go well and I was questioning whether I had blown the race by going out too fast.  There was also a decent-sized hill just after the 5K point that I certainly remembered.  I was really pleased that I was able to hang on to a decent pace for the middle miles of the race.

Now, I could see the finish line-- but it was still way off in the distance.  It was also at this point that the race leveled out.  But it was still a gradual decline, so running a faster pace was easier.  My passing of the half marathoners gradually ended as I started to catch up with more of them who were running about the same pace.  I knew I was on target for a good race and despite the buildup of lactate acid, I knew I had it in me to push through the last mile or so.

It was also at this point that I had a young man -- probably half my age -- who was running the half marathon, decided he wanted to run with me.  I grunted okay -- I was pushing the pace so hard that I could barely talk.  He seemed a cheery chap and it was great to receive his encouragement.

I was running as fast as I could and I was definitely in a pain cave.  I was driven just to run through the finish line.  Also, from the mile markers, I had determined that indeed the course would come in around 6.07.

Anytime I backed off, the younger runner would encourage me and charge ahead.  This made me determined to keep up with him and I'd push it a little to get back to his side.  

Finally my watch beeped that I was at 6 miles and with the finish line looming, I surged ahead.  I crossed the finish line in 47:25.  A massive improvement over last week's 51:07.


So part of me was thrilled but part of my excitement was tempered by the fact that:

1) The course appears to be short
2) This was a runner advantage course -- it was downhill - about 300 feet.

So even if I took the 6.08 miles I ran and put it into a race converter, I ran about a 48:15, definitely an over the age of 50 PR for me (my lifetime best is 40:30).  So, I am going to take this one for what it was: really a great race and one that I'll take as my PR -- with the time of about 48:15.

Finishing with the half marathoners was a lot of fun as well.  The finish line was packed with people and those serving up post race refreshments: slushies, cold drinks, snacks, chocolate milk and so on.  

I'll be honest, it was a bit of let down to "only" have run the 10K.  I usually run at least a half marathon for these types of races and I had to push aside my ego on this one.  It looked like the half marathoners also loved the course (and I've heard it is very scenic).  

I loved the medal.  It clearly shows I ran the 10K and the shirt proudly shows the race.  Race support was good with accurate mile markers and aid stations.  There was even a lot of crowd support along the way at times cheering us on.  For a 10K, I felt like I got a "big" experience, although I still would've wanted to run the half.

Overall, I was pleased with my experience.  It was on the pricey side, even with the discount (I think I paid about $50 plus service fees) but this was a big race. I just wish the 10K was more of a race with a certified course. There were some people who had run 6.20 and above, but most people ran 6.07 to 6.08.

The race was super competitive.  I half expected to place in my age group, but I was crestfallen to find that I was 5th.  I was about a minute shy of placing.

This was a big confidence builder. I ran this race well and pushed myself to the max.  This was the race I wanted to run on Monday but my body didn't show up.  

Upcoming Races

06/17: 2023 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon - Lamoille, NV (Probable)
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 (Confirmed)
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)

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