Sunday, July 9, 2023

2023 Draper Days 5K Race Recap - Draper, UT

Official Time: 23:47
Placement: 7th in the 45-54 age division, 56th overall out of 286
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's,  slight breeze
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2022]  [2015

Mile TimeComments
17:45Off to a good start. Some uphill running but right where I wanted to be.
27:29Smashing the downhill and drafting off of another runner
38:12As soon as I hit the walking path, I ran out of gas. Pace dwindled big time here
3.050:21Hit the finish line hard!
Total Miles: 3.05 - 23:48

Packet pickup at Draper Days 5K


Once again, the Draper Days 5K, fell nicely into my racing calendar.  I first ran it in 2015 and just about every year since, I have had some sort of race conflict.  The race itself ties in with their weekly festivities celebrating the city's summer get together.

The course has changed a bit over the years, but it  still remains a highly competitive race, with some of the fastest local runners (particularly high school aged runners) showing up to compete.

Last year I ran it and had a good experience, so this year I decided to show up and see if I could better my time from last year, which shouldn't be too hard given that I was coming off of illness and an injury.

The Race

I got to the race site around 6:15 for the 7 AM start.  Packet pickup was a snap -- judging from their sign-in sheet many of the runners had picked up their packets the day before.

The weather was nearly perfect for a summer 5K.  A slight breeze, the sun coming over the Wasatch mountains casting shadows over the park and it was just cool out.

I wound up doing about a mile of easy running with a few strides thrown in.  I found some park bathrooms to use as well -- there weren't many at the starting line.  I felt pretty good while warming up, but the warm-up is rarely a good barometer as to how the race will go.  I often feel a little tired / fatigued and until the gun goes off, I am not really sure what I'll get when I start to run.

After a brief race orientation, the race started off promptly at 7 AM.  The first 50 yards or so I was horribly hemmed in but we had a pretty large area to start in, so the crowd quickly thinned out.

The race starts near one end of the park and you take a service drive to 1300 East before getting the entire side of the road to run on.  The first mile is slightly uphill including a bit more of a climb.  It isn't insanity or something that kills your race, and fortunately with it happening in the early miles, it is easy to tackle.

I rarely check my first mile, just preferring to settle in and not get worked up over my pace.  I was surprised to see a 7:45 ring up on my Garmin.  Right on target.  And I still felt pretty good.

I knew the second mile was going to be my "go" mile.  Upon cresting the hill, I remembered from last year getting a nice downhill stretch.  And I took advantage of it.  There had been a bit of wind and I wound up tucking in behind a guy.  He was running about my pace and I used him as a buffer.  It helped and it allowed me to work with him.

I have a feeling he knew what I was doing and eventually he pulled ahead and while I tried to stay with him, it just wasn't happening.  I reminded myself to run my own race and I also recalled the last mile was going to be the toughest.

Awaiting awards

I was overjoyed to see a 7:29 mile pop up on my watch.  Even better than I expected to be.  I was hurting but it was something I could tolerate.  There was a very gentle downhill at this point and I really wish the rest of the race was held on the street I was running.

But we made a turn onto the bike trail and I was greeted by the sun.  It was almost blinding and I think mentally it made me feel more "hot" than it was.  I wasn't wear sunglasses, which probably would've helped and I think mentally it bogged me down.  I felt my legs grow heavier -- and with desperation I knew I still had .75 of a mile to go.

As much as I wanted to, I couldn't pick up my pace.  I kept telling myself -- just hang on and in the final quarter mile give it all you got.  Unfortunately, even at the quarter mile point I couldn't eek out much.  Was my race going to be a disappointment?

Me, All Cheers at the End of the Race


So I crossed the finish line in 23:47.  Anytime I can get under 24 minutes for a 5K, I am thrilled.  My joy was a bit tempered by the fact that my last mile was disappointing -- 8:15.  

I collected my medal and made my way back to my car.  I was pretty well spent after the race but I was able to bounce back quickly enough.  Once I got my phone I was able to scan my bib -- 2nd place in my age group.

I wound up cheering some of the finishing runners on and grabbing photos of friends as they passed by.  I always carry extra hydration in my car and I wound up using that for a bit.

Draper Days 5K medal and shirt

During the awards ceremony there was a change in the age groupings -- to my disadvantage.  Originally, I was 2nd in the 50 - 54, which would've netted me an award.  But due to the change, they adjusted the age groups to be 45 - 54.  I suddenly found myself in 7th.  Bummer.

Post race refreshments included water, sports drink, bananas, oranges, Vitamin Water and protein bars.  For a reasonably priced race, I was very happy with the food at the end (the oranges were outrageously good).  Props to the medal designer as well -- very heavy and a nice addition to my collection -- especially for a 5K.  The t-shirt was also a high quality, polyester one -- one I'll definitely wear.

I really enjoyed the course and it was well marshalled.  Since it was an early start, there wasn't much road traffic and I felt safe while running on what would normally be busy roads.  

This was an A-race for me and I came to race.  My performance, despite the less than stellar last mile, was decent and I came away with a positive experience and I am trending in the right direction.

I will certainly do this race again next year if it fits into my calendar.  

Upcoming Races

07/15: 2023 Farmington Days 10K - 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 (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)

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