Monday, July 24, 2023

2023 Steel Days 10K Race Recap - American Fork, UT

Official Time: 50:55
Placement: 3rd in the 50 - 54 age group, 41st out of 189 overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid to upper 70's, no wind
Course Map / Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me

Mile TimeComments
18:04Fairly conservative start. Wanted to go a bit slower
28:28Some climb here. Conserving energy. Perhaps a little too much
38:57100 feet of climbing.  Pretty tired and feeling the heat
47:44Finally the downhill!
58:07A bit of a grind at times, but still a nice pace.
68:02More gentle downhill running. Struggling with the heat but getting it done.
6.211:30Tired, defeated and ready to be sick but surprised at my time.
Total Miles: 6.21 - 50:55

Downtown American Fork Utah


Around Thanksgiving of 2022, I wound up signing for a year's worth of races from Runtastic Events.  One of the races included the Timp 10K.  However, due to some scheduling changes, the race was moved to a day that conflicted with another race I wanted to do.

Fortunately, Runtastic Events allowed me to switch races and I suddenly found myself in the American Fork 10K.

This race includes a 5K and ties in with the city's event: Steel Days.  It is a fairly competitive race and is situated right in front of the Runtastic Events office on Center street.  It also isn't far from the start of its sister race, the Run of Rembrance, which I ran back in May of this year.

Normally this weekend I do the Handcart Day Races and my heart had a pang of regret.  Although it is always nice to try something new and run a new route.  At least I'd have a new course Personal Best.

The Race

The day prior to the race, I had picked up my bib, so by the time Saturday rolled around I was ready to go.  For a 7 AM start, I got there at 6:15 and got some photos of the start, used the restroom and figured out how the course would go.

It was decidedly warm out -- and I was worried about the double whammy -- hills and heat.  I had studied the course prior to running it and saw that the first 2 miles were a gentle uphill and roughly miles 2.5 to 3.10 were the steepest part.

My plan was to go out conservatively and hold a decent but not all out pace on the first half and then smash the second half.

I did a very half mile warm up, some drills and decided it was best to conserve energy.  The race started promptly at 7 AM and I was off.

The race starts near Runtastic Events headquarters in the heart of American Fork.   We quickly did less than a quarter mile before making a series of turns that would lead us to the north end of town.  I kept telling myself to be patient and while I initially started out pretty quickly I dialed it back as the initial incline bit into my pace.

The first mile hit at 8:04, a little faster than I would've liked but it was okay.  The accumulating heat and hill was taking a toll and I could already feel like mile 2 was going to be a slow one -- and I was even into the worst of the hills.

The race is held on the city streets at this point we jumped onto a bike trail.  This was shaded and actually a very enjoyable portion of the course.  There was a creek running alongside.  I was holding my pace at this point and I felt like I was more fatigued than I should've been.  I knew I was holding back a bit, but the hills were taking their toll.  Mile 2 hit at 8:28, slower than I would've liked but still good.

Mile 3 is where the fun started.  We jumped back onto the bike trail after running some residential miles and entered another portion of the bike trail.  It was nice and shaded but I could see the hill beginning.  The hill had some breaks to it but it was definitely a climb.  I was breathing pretty hard at this point and some of the other stronger hill runners overtook me.

I kept hoping that MapMyRun had been wrong and the hill would end sooner than 3.10 miles.  Sure enough it did break around mile 3 and I got a bit of a downhill.  Almost immediately, I had to run around and run up the hill I had just gotten down.  The turn around was around at mile 3.05.

Looking determined at the start!

The next mile was extremely fun.  I got the downhill and I was ready for it.  This is what I had been waiting for.  I wound up overtaking a few runners as I zipped down the hill I had just climbed.  I had gotten a sense that I was in pretty good shape age group wise, but in all honesty, having seen last year's results, I wasn't expecting to place.  None the less, I was now in race mode.

Upon completing the bike trail portion I had to run a lap around the local park, Art Dye Park, which was littered with amusement park rides and food trucks.  This was my least favorite part of the course -- the course was coned off on the outer perimeter on the park, which went against my inclination to run on the inner portion.  It just seemed to take an eternity to make my way around the park.

I was pleased to see a nice mile pace of 7:47 -- back in the game!

Mile 5 was a grind. I was working with a group of runners and at this point we were getting the downhill portion of the race.  I was also starting to come into contact with some of the 5K runners, who had started 10 minutes after us.  I was running on fumes and I felt incredibly warm.  I could feel a slight chill, which meant I was starting to get a bit of heat sickness.

I was happy to see an 8:07 come up.  Working with others definitely helped and the gentle downhill was increasing my turnover.  Perhaps I was going to salvage this race after all.

I could smell the finish line but I really felt my pace slipping.  The group I was working with started to slip away from me (they were young-ish teens and their dad, who won my age group came back out to spur them on).  I was still hammering past the 5K runners but I was feeling somewhat light headed from the pace and heat.  I didn't want to pass out in the final press to the finish.

I hit mile 6 at 8:02 -- again surprising myself.  Solid effort.  I really pushed hard in the final .2 but at this point it was flat.  I got a brief run along Main Street and some cheers from people waiting to see the parade.

I suspected the course was going to be short but I made the final turn and sprinted as best as I could towards the Runtastic arches.  6.21 miles in 50:55.


So I was pretty happy with my time, all things considered. This wasn't an "A" race for me, but I was definitely trying.  Part of me had sort of checked out after looking at last year's race results and seeing that it would take a miracle for me to place in my age group.

I was in a bit of a bad state physically upon finishing though.  I definitely had the beginnings of heat sickness and it took a while before I was able to feel good without wanting to barf.  Fortunately, a nice touch, was the hanging cold shower at the end.  It definitely helped.

I wandered over to the results truck and I couldn't believe it. I had finished 3rd.  I kept checking the results for the next 15 minutes figuring someone who had started behind me would snag my position, but my position held!

I grabbed my phone and some snacks, which consisted of donuts, oranges, bananas, chocolate milk and water.  I greedily sucked down a water and I had brought some Gatorade to the event and that helped as well.  The finish line area was crowded -- sell out race.

So, I had a pretty good race all things considered.  I felt like I had paced it well and for the most part the race went to plan.  Mile 2 was slower than I had wanted but the others were pretty good.  My age group placement was also solid, but had I run the 5K, I would've been crushed.  I'll take what I can.

I did have a lot of negative thoughts going into the race about my performance and expectations.  One thing I have learned is that I can sell myself short.  I've got the running training down, the race experience and most other tangible parts, but my mental game needs to be upgraded.  Something to work on this year.  Too often, I doubt myself and bail out or don't give my all.

I liked this race.  I had gotten in on an early bird special.  So for a 10K it was around $25 or so.  The medal was nice and for the most part, I really liked the course. It was challenging and scenic.  There was a really good vibe and I saw a bunch of my friends.  The weekend that this race is on, though, is a crowded one.  I usually run the Handcart Races and with a half marathon looming 48 hours after this race, I really didn't know how hard I wanted to push it.  I could definitely see myself running this one again though if it fit into my race schedule but a part of me really wished I was at the Handcart races.  We'll see what 2024 brings.

Upcoming Races

07/24: 2023 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
07/29: 2023 Lindon Days 5K - Lindon, 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)
08/26: 2023 Mt Nebo 10K - Payson, 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)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

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