Wednesday, July 5, 2023

2023 Las Vegas 4th of July 5K Race Recap - Summerlin, NV

Official Time: 24:49
Placement: 22nd overall, 4th in the 50 - 59 age group
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: upper 80's, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: New to Me

Mile TimeComments
17:43Fast first mile. Feeling pretty good but it is warming up.
27:59A bit of uphill. Still feeling strong but fading
38:49Worst section of the hill. Fortunately last .4 of a mile was downhill but my pace dropped off like crazy
3.050:18Give whatever I have left.
Total Miles: 3.05 - 24:50


Well, for the Fourth of July weekend I found myself on the road.  I had family business in southern California and one of the best ways to get there (and back) is through Las Vegas.

I was supposed to do the Riverton 10K here in town, but with the travel plans, I had to find a new race to do if I wanted to race on the 4th of July -- an American holiday to celebrate the birth of the our nation.

I was on the return route back to Salt Lake having spent the night at my aunt's house.  It turns out she lives a few miles from the race site, so I took advantage of the opportunity to race something new.

The Race

I figured it was going to be a hot race and sure enough it was.  When I arrived at the race, it was already in the mid 80's (and by the time I left it was 90).  I was smart -- and opted to preregister for the 5K instead of the 10K.  I had read the course descriptions and it sounded like both courses were challenging.  Given that I haven't acclimated to the heat, I wanted to race conservatively. 

I also knew leading up to the race, I'd likely be a bit rusty -- given my training would be interrupted and my food choices wouldn't necessarily be the greatest.

I was right on all accounts. I felt sluggish, undertrained and even after my brief warm-up I felt I needed a shower.

The race was held at the Kellogg Zaher Sports Complex.  There is a paved loop that connects in with other parks / trails. The park contains picnic facilities, playgrounds and of course several soccer fields. 

After receiving course instructions (it was a bit odd race course), the race started promptly at 7 AM (the 10K had started at 6:45).  

If you can imagine the course being divided into thirds, the first "section" was to run 2/3rds of the course in a single loop and then repeat the loop but extend it another third.  So we had to run quite a bit of the course twice.

To make life interesting, the first mile was a slight downhill.  The backside of the loop was a gentle grade uphill.  

The first mile went off without a hitch.  I was surprising myself.  7:43 for the first mile.  Perhaps I could dodge the effects of the heat.  

Given I was traveling, I didn't really prep like I used to -- nutritionally.  I had to wing it with water and some crackers.  Not exactly race food and I was without caffeine.

Mile 2 saw a rather pedestrian 7:59.  Still a decent pace, but I was definitely running on fumes.  The heat was intense and I almost never grab a cup of water in a 5K, but I grabbed one this race, took a sip or two and dump the rest over me.

Starting at mile 2, though, I was now running the long uphill along the backside of the course.  It was just a slow grind and my pace just wilted.  I kept willing myself forward knowing that once I hit the apex and rounded the corner I'd have time to regroup and smash the final leg of the race.

I grew discouraged though as I looked at my watch.  I saw paces that were about near marathon pace.  I wanted the race to be over: it was hilly and hot.  And part of me was questioning whether I should just walk it.

I was still passing some people and those around me were suffering just as badly, but I wasn't having a great race.

Finally, I hit the top, rounded the curve and was greeted with a fast downhill finish.  I was able to recover and bounded ahead.  My pace quickened just like I knew I was capable of.  The finish line arches came into view and I just focused on finishing strong.


I was expecting to just collapse when I finished and roll around in dramatic agony, but I was able to walk it off.  I had definitely used everything I had though in the final half mile to salvage the race.

I had finished in 24:49 -- a far cry from last week's race of 24:03.  I had to give myself a bit of a break:

1) Poor nutrition leading up to the race.
2) Not a lot of running from Friday through race morning (Tuesday)
3) A lot of sitting / driving.
4) Emotional wear and tear
5) It *was* hot and hilly.

I got my medal and they were handing out frozen popsicles as refreshment.  Fortunately, I had brought my own water bottle, but I was a little perplexed by the post race stuff.  It was hot and I expected some sort of cold water (they had an aid station on the course), especially for the price of the race.

I loved the shirt.  Very high quality and nicely designed.  I'll definitely wear it again on a 4th of July race (and for training).  

I was told that the race director usually has some sort of award system but I didn't see it. I guess overall winners might receive something. Either way, I did finish 4th, so I wasn't eligible.

Overall, I liked the vibe of the race.  It was well attended and the course was actually sort of fun.  I wasn't alone in having a poor final mile.  Just a smattering of comments led me to believe people had a slow final mile.

This one was definitely a character builder and I was fortunate to find a race so close to where I was staying.  It was a new and challenging experience and I was glad I got the opportunity to race in a new area.

Upcoming Races

07/08: 2023 Draper Days 5K - Draper, UT (Confirmed)
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)
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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