Sunday, August 27, 2023

2023 Nebo 10K Race Recap - Payson, UT

Official Time: 48:19
Placement: 3rd in the 50 - 54 age group, 17th male, 26th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60s, no wind
Course Map / Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me

Mile TimeComments
17:49First quarter mile was uphill and at elevation. Not warmed up. Rebounded immediately at the turn around
27:06Wow. Fast mile!
37:37Still holding steady
47:59Snapping back into reality.
57:54Came back a bit but mostly flat and running with the 5K runners / walkers.
68:14Tough mile here.  Not a lot left.
6.221:37Surprised myself here and really turned it up a notch.  So happy to finish
Total Miles: 6.22 - 48:19

Waiting for the start


I've never run the Nebo 10K race before.  I've seen the race pop up in my calendar from time to time and I've never signed up.  The effort seemed a bit much for me -- getting up early, getting on a bus, etc.  Also the cost of the race as a late entry always tipped the scale.

This year, I had a friend doing it and we decided to carpool.  It was still pricey but with a friend doing it, it seemed worthwhile.

The race is held in Payson -- a solid 45 minute drive south of where I live.  The race is also a fast downhill race.  I have yet to race in Payson and I've driven a bit through the canyon so I knew it was going to be a pretty run.

Final turn

The Race

I got to the race site around 5:45 -- at the local city park.  The race was busy and the 10K was the last race to load on the bus.  I was able to find a decent parking spot.  The full marathon runners had already left and the half had mostly disappeared.  There was a good line-up for the 10K buses.  It took a while to load the buses -- as many of the buses hadn't returned yet from dropping off the other runners.  In fact, this was probably my biggest complaint about the race.  It wasn't until after 6:15 that I was finally on a bus, making the 5 mile drive to the race start.

I got to survey the course as we wound our way up the canyon.  There were a few rolling hills to content with, but it was mostly downhill.  I could definitely tell I was in for a fast time.

I arrived on the second  bus and the line for 3(!) porta-potties was already 30 - 40 people deep.  I immediately jumped in line and barely made it through the queue before the 6:55 AM start.  The race was slated to start at 6:45, but with the bus miscue, we started late.  Suffice to say, my warm-up routine was scraped and amounted to a few jumps / arm swings.  

Finish line photo!

The race did start and we headed out of the campground parking lot. My impression of the race was that we'd swing a left and be greeted with the descent back down to Payson.  Instead, we hung a right (as the race arrows directed us) and proceeded UP the canyon.  What?!?!  

I thought it was a mistake and part of me was filled with dread.  How much of an uphill chunk did we have to do?  I was breathing pretty hard with the higher elevation and the hills and I certainly hadn't warmed up, 

The uphill was short lived and within about a quarter of a mile, I saw the lead pack coming back down the canyon.  Whew, the race organizers hadn't screwed up.  There was a large cone to turn around at and I was greeted with what I came to run:  a fast downhill.

The next 2 miles or so was spent barreling down the canyon.  It was so easy to run and I hit some fast miles.  It was cool out, shaded and I loved running down the canyon with a little stream off to the side and some pine / canyon shrubbery on either side of me.

I hadn't really come in with a strategy on this one, but I knew that I had roughly 4 miles of downhill and then about 2 of rolling hills to the finish.  I wasn't sure how to pace this -- being that if I held back, my quads would still be shot for the final 2 miles.

I wound up pushing the pace, hitting a 7:49 and 7:06 split.  Those splits are definitely not 10K paces, but more like 5K or 3K paces.  It seemed pretty effortless as I let gravity and a little extra kick power my run.

Awesome crowds at the end

Miles 3 and 4 -- the canyon opened up and I had a few uphill sections to contend with.  There were meadows with cows in them and more flat running. I was still surrounded by the towering mountains but they were further away, giving way to more intense sun.

Part of me got a little frustrated in that the pace felt slower and I actually had to work for it.  This was a mental hang-up though.  My pace was still rock solid for a 10K.  I took it easy on the uphill parts, cruised on the flats and relished the mini downhills.

I could feel myself fading though.  The downhills had smashed my quads and with all the miles, races and training I've done, my legs were begging for mercy.  I wasn't sure who I was running against but the crowd had thinned out and not many runners were behind me.  I just knew that the race was fairly competitive and that if I wanted to place, I'd need to bring my A game.

The final third of the race was mostly run in Payson itself.  It is kind of a rural community with ranch style homes, big yards, and an older atmosphere.  When I first moved to Utah, it was at the edge of civilization.  Now, it isn't.

It was also at this point that I joined up with the 5K runners.  Most of them were walking but as I got closer to the finish I got mixed up with the running ones.  I also got overtaken by the speedy half marathon runners who had had a 30 minute head start on me.

I was running on fumes but I knew I was still running 10K pace.  It took a bit of extra effort as well to dodge parked cars or wide berths of 5K runners.  

The mile markers - for the most part - we spot on.  Although, I was about .03 of a mile off with them.  They had markings for the marathoners (which aligned with my race) and the half marathon runners.  It was nice to see consistency and reassuring I wasn't going to have a shortage or overage in miles.

As I got closer to the finish line, I started to gauge if anyone was coming up behind me, but the coast was clear.  I could hear the announcer and the I got a sense of where I was in regards to the finish.  The final push is a gentle downhill and I quickened my pace.  There was a really good crowd lining the finish line too, so that only encouraged me more.

I made the final turn and gave the last .1 of a mile all I had.

Pretty happy with my finish


I finished in 48:19, for a legit 10K race.  With the full marathon being certified, I figured the 10K would be as well.  Either way, my Garmin rang up a 10K.

I figured I had run well and my watch alerted me that I had PR'd in the mile, 2-mile, 5K and 10K.  I have run better in my life but I think these are over the age of 50 personal bests for me.

Finishers Medal and age group 3rd place medal

My phone had my results for me (I had carried my keys and phone in my FlipBelt) and I was happy to see that I had placed 3rd in my age division.  However, I was bit a hesitant to take credit for it -- since so many runners had gotten a late start with the bathroom situation.

For the next 15 minutes, I was busy refreshing my browser -- but I am happy to report that my place held up.

Waiting for the awards

It took a while to get the awards out but I've certainly experienced worse.  It was a beautiful day though and I was able to socialize with some runners.  Post race refreshments were oranges, bananas, sports drink, water and chocolate milk.  They also had muffins of some sort as well.  It was a bit better than normal in terms of post race food.

Overall, I was happy with my experience.  Runtastic Events always does a good job with their races.  There were plenty of water stops, the course was easy to follow and everything went well.  My only gripe was the late 10K bus loading.  There really wasn't ample time between drop off and race start.

Performance wise -- I am happy with my time and running on this one.  I pushed it hard and gave it a solid effort.  However, it does come with an "asterisk" on the day.  The course was just a massive downhill and it was hard not to have a great race.  I think in comparison with other races I've done, it comes in on par, or slightly better than usual.  It does look good on Athlinks though.

I would certainly do this race again next year.  The half marathon certainly looks enticing as well, given that that race is even more downhill than the 10K.  

I was sore after running the race - including the following day. Physically, you do pay a price for this one but my finish time feels really good, even though I was definitely aided by the course.  If you are looking to run one of (if not the) fastest 10Ks in Utah, you should give this race a try.

Upcoming Races

09/02: 2023 Swiss Days 10K - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
09/23: 2023 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/06: 2023 Antelope Island Race - Syracuse, UT (Maybe)
10/07: 2023 Apple Harvest Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Maybe)
10/21: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/28: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Can't Make It)
11/18: Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Maybe)
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)

Sunday, August 20, 2023

2023 Rock 'n Roll Salt Lake City Half Marathon Race Recap - Salt Lake City, UT

The Dawn before the Storm - Starting Line

Official Time: 2:04:44
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 76F degrees with breeze from the south
Course Map / Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: Inaugural Year

Mile TimeComments
110:29Hilly start. Easing into the race.
210:26Quick 45-second pit stop and then more hills
39:10Actually a decent mile here despite the climb.
410:09Last of the crazy hills.
610:13I was wrong -- more hills!
88:19Coming back down. Finally can get to race pace.
98:23Holding okay but the front loaded hills fatigued me
109:05Into Liberty
119:24Actually doing okay despite the fatigue
129:37Can we just be done?  Took a lot of effort
1310:01Not much left. Could see the finish line, but seemed to take an eternity to get there
13.201:49Push it and get it done!
Total Miles: 13.20 - 2:04:44

You gotta go into this race with this attitude.


About a year ago, the Rock 'n Roll Events Group announced they were finally coming to Salt Lake City.  It was met with a lot of excitement in the running community here.  Finally, one of those most heralded running events was coming to Salt Lake. 

Of course, they announced it with a nice discount to sign up more than a year in advance (I paid about $90 with taxes and fees).  Myself, and most of the cool kids, decided to sign up, sight unseen.  All we knew was that it was going to be held in the Salt Lake area and in August and it was put on by the Rock 'n Roll race group.

As time went on, I got more information about the race -- the start time and the course details.  I think the locals (myself included) were a little dismayed at the course profile: it was going to be a hilly one.  Generally us Utah runners are spoiled by many mostly downhill races here.  I am not big into the massive downhill runs, but I certainly don't want hill climbs either.  My first thought was that it kind of looked like the Salt Lake City's Half Marathon course in reverse (although it wasn't 100% the same by any means) and it was hilly.

Either way, I was in -- running a half marathon in the dead of summer -- uphill.

Me and some of the locals.

The Race

The race started at 7 AM in the downtown area of Salt Lake City -- near the statuesque courthouse and library.  I was worried about the parking / transportation issues.  There wasn't much information given out as to what to expect.  Unlike the Salt Lake City Marathon, it seemed like the local train station wasn't aware or adjusted their schedules to provide more downtown ridership to get a lot of people to the downtown area prior to the start.  

Since I had a friend to pick up near a station that wasn't running early, I decided the best plan was to drive as close as I could to the start of the race and when traffic or road closures got in the way, just park and be dropped off.  This plan worked really well, resulting in no stress in regards to my car and it was only a 2 block walk.

I cycled through the bathrooms twice and eventually lined up with about 10 minutes to spare.  The race had set up some corrals that were pretty loosely defined.  There was no enforcement of it, but in reality there were no problems.  People were very polite and I had plenty of room in corral 2.

Race attendance for the half marathon was between 2000 and 3000.  I haven't seen the official results yet but I've heard varying reports, the most consistent around 2300.  

Having viewed the course profile I knew the course wasn't going to be a fast one.  Also, it was 76F degrees out and it was only set to rise.  The sun had yet to rise and we'd get a bit of cover until 8 AM, but it was indeed going to be a warm one.  I told myself to hydrate, even if I didn't feel like it.  

My training has been more focused towards 5K and 10K stuff and in all honesty, as the race day arrived, I found myself having a serious case of the burnouts from racing too much.  I just couldn't get super excited about the race.  Heat, hills, half marathon, no trained enough.  Visions of me dying at mile 6 and shuffling filled my head.

All in all, I decided my goal was simply to finish, not die, and try to get under 2 hours.  I had my doubt about the latter one given the profile and what I was feeling.  I also was going to work on heart rate -- keeping my heart rate controlled for as long as I could. In the past, my heart rate shoots up to zone 4 almost immediately and there is no going back -- which results in a tough day.

Assembling at the start.

The race started at 7 AM and it only took less than 4 minutes before I was racing.  Sure enough, I went out cautiously towards the state capitol building.  You could see it looming ahead -- at the top of the hill.  I felt in control.  My pace was humbling, but with about 4 miles of climbing, I was trying to conserve energy.  This was a success, as I usually bolt out of the starting line, causing me to wilt quicker than I should.

The first mile hit at just over 10 minutes.  I was a little surprised at how slow it was, but I reminded myself -- easy.  I kind of needed to use the bathroom -- and despite emptying my bladder to the last drop -- it seems like invariably I have to go within the first mile or two of a half marathon. At the first aid station they had a cluster of bathrooms and most of them were empty.  My pause on the race took about 45 seconds and as I took care of business I realized how hard I was breathing.  

I jumped out of the bathroom and the people who I had been running with were long gone and now I was probably running with corral number 3.  I spied someone ahead of me who I knew ran a bit of what I was looking to run and tailed settled in behind her. I would wind up silently trailing her for the next 2 -to 3 miles before I lost sight of her.  I hit mile 2 just over 10 minutes, a little fast given I had spent about 45 seconds on a break.

Despite the course, this was a pretty section of the run.  We were surrounded by brush and a beautiful view of the foothills that line the northern section of the city.  We were all suffering today but the nature views took my mind off of it.  Mile 3 had leveled off a bit and I got a satisfying 9:10 mile.

I had run most of this course before -- in the Salt Lake City Half Marathon -- except this time I was running up the hills. What a different experience and quite humbling. We had another section of hills that slowed my time down.  Most people had said the hills would stop after 4 miles and I was counting down the distance on my Garmin.

At this point we were done with the canyon and into a well to do neighborhood that would eventually lead us to the University of Utah.  Once again, I was in familiar territory -- more of the Salt Lake city race and again, while the worst hills were over, there was some significant work still ahead.  

I was still running with plenty of people and I wasn't getting overwhelmed. I think collectively we were all dealing with the hills.  Occasionally someone would over take me, but my pace seemed fairly consistent with the other runners.  My legs, however, were tired already and I was beginning to question whether I would have a second wind when we finally descended into the valley.

Slowly, the hills ended and we finally passed by the start of the Salt Lake Half Marathon.  I really felt like the first 6 miles or so, almost matched that race.  We made our way around the university before cruising down towards the stadium.  My pace picked up a notch as the hills ended.  Could I salvage this race?  My legs were shot / tired and while I was drinking a lot at each aid station, I still felt like I wasn't getting enough in me.  I began to nurse a gel for the next 2 miles.

I felt like I was getting a second wind and my pace quickened as we finally got a drop in elevation.  There were some decent hills, followed by a flat section.  This was a bit of a stretch that I hadn't run on before so I was excited to see some of the older part of town and some of the eclectic small shops that lined the road.

Finally some 8 minute miles.  After so many hard miles, it felt good to run fast again.

After a series of turns, I was back in familiar territory.  It seemed like a bunch of races that I had run in the past converged -- some of the Salt Lake Winter series and once again the Salt Lake Half Marathon.  I knew we had to do a lap in the famed Liberty Park and it was a welcome site. Finally, less than a 5K left.  Part of me felt ready to knock out a blistering 5K and shock myself but my legs were just heavy.  

The park is about 1.50 miles along the perimeter and it was a tale of two runs.  The first half I felt really good but as I rounded the northern most section, I just felt tired and flat.  

I wasn't quite in desperation mode but my legs just didn't have any turnover.  My heart rate climbed and my pace slowed.  It felt uncomfortably warm.  I was frustrated to see that more runners were overtaking me.

The final mile was mentally difficult.  I was running pretty slow and in desperation mode.  I could see (and ultimately hear) the finish line ahead, looming at the top of the hill.

My watch was running about .10 of a mile behind the course markings (I think me stopping in the bathroom had something to do with it) but I just trudged forward.  Finally, though, the finish line did materialize and I pushed through as best as I could.


So I crossed the finish line in a disappointing 2:04:44.  Granted, though, I wasn't setting out to really dig down and race this thing.  It was kind of a checkmark against my laundry list of summer racing.

So I had some successes on the race:

  1. I did manage to keep my heart rate manageable for a good segment of the race.  More so than usual.
  2. I ran the race the way I planned it would go -- at least for the first half.
  3. I did finish yet another half marathon (never an easy feat)

I am a little undertrained for a half marathon and given the hills and heat, I knew it was going to be a challenging day.  So I set my expectations correctly and accomplished my vision on how the race would go.

Tired, hot but got it done!

So I had had a friend get my bib the day before the race at the Expo and I really like the t-shirt.  The medal is of typical heavy-duty construction and a keeper.

The race well really well organized. From start to finish, there were a ton of aid stations -- about one every mile or so.  Medical staff was omnipresent and there were actually quite a few bands along the course -- the music at times was motivating and the bands really quite good.  I can't say enough about the organization... other than the inedible green bananas, I have no complaints about the race.

The finish line had much needed wet towels to put over your neck to help cool off and wash you off.  What an awesome touch. I haven't seen that since the Ogden Marathon.  There was also cold water and Gatorade at the finish line.  

I was able to bounce back pretty quickly.  I was worried about the heat and being sick after the race, but after a few minutes, I felt good. I think having a cold water and a cool towel around me really helped.  I did witness some runners having issues, so I know the heat took its toll.

Post race refreshments included green bananas (they were apparently picked that day from the looks of it), granola bars, gummy fruits, and some crackers.  Not extravagant, but enough to get the job done.

It was a nice race that had a lot of visitors to the area (I met people from California and Wisconsin) There were also plenty of the usual local suspects at the race as well.  Despite my misgivings on running a summer half marathon, I really had a good time.  We were all in this challenging course together and we got it done.

I am not sure I'd run this one again, though.  The course was very familiar to me and I am just not "big" into summer half marathons.  I'd do it again, though, if I simply wanted a well supported half marathon training run. I am not strong enough of a runner to place in it and it isn't a personal best type of course.

Upcoming Races

08/26: 2023 Mt Nebo 10K - Payson, UT (Confirmed)
09/02: 2023 Swiss Days 10K - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
09/23: 2023 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/06: 2023 Antelope Island Race - Syracuse, UT (Maybe)
10/07: 2023 Apple Harvest Run 10K - Santaquin, UT (Maybe)
10/21: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/28: 2023 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Can't Make It)
11/18: Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Maybe)
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)

Saturday, August 12, 2023

2023 Alpine Days 5K Race Recap - Alpine UT

Official Time: 24:25
Placement: 6th in the 45 - 54, 104th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's
Course Map / Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year For Me

Mile TimeComments
17:58A bit of a grind uphill. Nothing major but enough to hold back a bit.
28:03A little bit of uphill and some down.  My pace was all over the place
37:58Mostly gentle downhill but was pretty gassed. Doing the best I can here.
3.060:24Throwing everything I have at the final push
Total Miles: 3.06 - 24:24


The last few years the Alpine Days 5K appears on my race calendar and almost always it has conflicted with something else.  Well, 2023 is the year where I finally got my opportunity to race it.  There wasn't much else on the race calendar for the weekend and I knew the timer, so I figured why not.

I was forewarned about the race -- it was mostly attended by very speedy high school runners.  It was also going to be a well attended race with over 400 runners. The course was also described to me as fairly flat and fast.

The Race

I got to the race at 6:15 and found ample parking.  Pro-top: park at the school about .25 mile north of the start.  Easier in / out.  But overall, very simple procedure.  The race started at 7 AM and I basically did a quick warm-up, used the restrooms a time or two, and got a sense of the course layout.

The headquarters of the race was at Burgess Park.  Just a beautiful tree-lined park with a baseball field and walking trail.  As I wandered around, I found myself surrounded by the Lone Peak track / cross country team. They had a massive turn out.  I suddenly felt very old given the age demographics at the race.

I did a very brief warm-up on account that I have been having some hip problems that usually plague me in the afternoon / evening.  I had taken an ibuprofen as a preventative measure and I was worried that it was going to stop me dead in my tracks in the middle of the race.  Fortunately, my hip issue didn't bother me at all.

The race started at 7 AM and off we went through the paved entry of the park.  It was slow going at first due to a logjam of people.  I had moved into the back since I knew most of the high school runners were sub 20 minute 5K runners.  There were plenty of runners, though, that were clearly slower than me, that had gotten ahead of me.  It took a couple of hundred yards before I could settle into a pace.

The first mile I told myself to hold back.  Judging from the direction we were running -- towards the eastern mountains, I figured it would be a bit of a climb there.  It was definitely a slow grind but nothing too outrageous as far as hills went. 

I didn't see anyone in my age group around me and I was surrounded by mostly people a third of my age (or more).  I felt like I was working hard and I had some fears that I was going to suffer the same fate I had at the Lindon 5K race two weeks ago: where it would be a sufferfest in the final mile or two.

Mile one -- not surprisingly  -- came up in 7:58.  Not great, but okay given that I felt that most of the first mile was a gradual uphill.

We were running on a Main Street and it was cordoned off with police support.  Judging from the stuff on the side of the road, it was also the parade route.  It was still too early to get any crowd support though.

We finally turned a corner and I knew - or figured - that the second half of the race should be mostly downhill.  I was working hard and occasionally I would feel like giving up but I kept on going.  I really worked on extending my stride and taking advantage of the downhills.  

I was still running with mostly young teens.  A few of them were duly impressed that I was keeping up with them and I actually quite a few shouts of encouragement from them.  Kind of cool to be the senior member of the group.

Mile 2 saw an 8:03.  I figured this mile would've been a bit faster, but there were a few hills in here.  Still not too far off from my average pace.  I was worried, though, that mile 3 was going to see a death march.

The mile markers on the race were correct and every time my watch beeped, I hit one.  I was told the course would land in at 3.10 miles.  Given that the race appeared to be run by the local track coach, I figured that this race would be legit.

Mile 2 to 3 saw mostly downhill running, which was nice.  I wound up passing a few other runners along here as I tried to salvage the race.  But I was breathing hard and trying to get a sense of how much further I had.  It would be reassuring to make out a landmark or something, but I had had little experience with running in Alpine.  

Finally, with a quarter mile to go, I saw the school that I had run by during my warm-up.  Just a little more I told myself.  Again, I picked up the pace knowing that I had less than a quarter mile to go.  

Once I hit the service drive and could see the finish line, I doubled down.  I was definitely red-lining and could feel every running muscle just "burn".  I imagined myself doing my 30-second post run strides -- just a little bit further!


I crossed the finish line in 24:25.  Not exactly what I was hoping for -- I had visions of going around 24:10 or lower.  I probably lost a few seconds in the slow start, and I went out a little slower, not really knowing the course and if there were any really bad hills.  I'd probably grade my race performance as strictly a "B".  

No finisher's medals on this one and post race refreshments included protein bars and water.  There was one aid station on the course as well.  The course was well marshalled by directional arrows, volunteers and police support.

I was a little dismayed to see that the age groups -- for adults -- had been widened.  I was competing in the 45-54 age group.  I didn't see anyone in my age group around me during the run and I figured I had  a shot at place.  I was crestfallen to see that  I was 6th.  Had it been the traditional 5 year age groups, I would've placed 3rd.  I am seeing more races do that these days, and it is kind of a bummer.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race. It was well organized and the course, which was mostly residential running, was pretty.  I enjoyed mixing it against the youth of Alpine Utah and they were the friendliest bunch to chat with after the race.

I'd probably do this race again if it fit in my schedule.  It was nicely run and they were efficient in getting out results / age group awards.  I do wish they had some oranges or bananas though.  Again, I loved seeing the massive turnout by the under 18 crowd.  It is a good sign that the next generation of runners are arriving on the scene.

Upcoming Races

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)
09/02: 2023 Swiss Days 10K - Midway, 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)

Saturday, August 5, 2023

2023 Roy Days 5K Race Recap - Roy, UT

Official Time: 24:33
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54, 47th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Mid 60's with slight breeze from the south.
Course Map / Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: [2022] [2021] [2019]

Mile TimeComments
17:30Fast start. Right where I want to be thanks to the downhill
27:55Let off the gas a bit.  A little uphill here but mostly flat.
38:28Grind uphill. False summit. Hard running here.
3.090:37Speedy finish
Total Miles: 3.09 - 24:32

Packet pickup


One of my summer traditions is doing the Roy Days Royal Challenge 5K race.  It is paired with a kids race and a 2-mile walk.  The race also coincides with the city's festival, Roy Days.  So the event is kind of a big deal and lots of alumni from the high school show up to run the race.

The race is run by the local high school running team / coach.  Having done the race a few times now, it is a well oiled machine and the race always comes in on my Garmin as a 5K.  The race is really competitive for the younger crowd and it is bargain priced, making it an easy decision for something to do on a Saturday morning.

The start line

The Race

The race starts at 7 AM and I got there around 6:15 to pickup my bib.  It was easy but unfortunately they were out of my size of shirts.  I really like their shirts as they have the polyester sport brand that are great for running.  Supposedly they'll be mailed out next week.

I did about a mile warm-up and a lot of drills.  It was pretty warm and I kept the warm-up pretty modest.  There were only two restrooms for the entire race, so I took advantage of them early and often.

The race started a few minutes late due to announcements, but it wasn't a big deal.  The race doesn't have a chip timed start (but it does have a chip time finish) so I was near the front when the starter's gun went off.

The first mile on this 5K is fast with a net downhill start.  It isn't a massive downhill but it definitely is a confidence booster.  

I was quickly swallowed up by the younger crowd.  I had surveyed some of the competition that I suspected were in my age group, but the over 50 crowd was definitely thin.

A lot of memories hit me as I cruised through the first mile.  I've run this race now 4 times and I can remember many of my visits to Roy. The first mile goes through an older part of town and races along a school.  It isn't a glamorous part of town, but it is quaint and I love running through neighborhoods for a 5K.

I didn't really pay attention to my watch for the first mile, must running by feel.  I know that the first mile of a 5K is always the easiest and I am usually running faster than I expect.  I hit mile one in 7:30. 

Mile 2 -- the race became more "real".  We exited the neighborhood and onto a park lined street.  It is flat here and I knew from previous that this mile was mostly flat.  I pretty much disregarded my watch and again ran to feel -- pushing when I can and passing by a few runners.  I didn't see anyone my age but had guessed that at this point I was in whatever place I was going to get for my age group.

The latter half of mile 2 had a bit of a hill that took the starch out of my pace.  And I knew it was going to get even hillier.  I was heading my pace on mile 2 in preparation for the final mile.  I hit mile 2 right at the mile marker in 7:55, decent, but I felt like I had run it faster.

You can see the hill that the final mile comprises

I was really determined on the final mile. I knew it was going to be the hardest.  I was hurting but I wanted a good time.  My best time on this course is 24:13 and I felt completely capable of breaking that time.

The final mile is uphill and it starts off gradually. You can see the hill in the distance and a pair of traffic lights sitting at the top.  And I couldn't remember for the life of me how much further after the top of the hill that the race ended. I did know that the race would come in at around 3.10 miles.

It was also at this point that we got mixed in with the 2 mile walkers. So the race route up the main street was a little more crowded.  There was some crowd support people as a few people had set up camp for the forthcoming parade.

Occasionally I glanced at my watch and saw some embarrassingly slow paces.  I had to give myself credit though -- this was the worst patch of the race.  It also isn't terribly scenic running by gas stations, 7-11's, and banks.  

Finally, upon summiting the hill, I had a much shorter, less steep second hill.  I could see the flashing lights and hear the announcer's voice.  I was breathing hard and at this point I am questioning whether I am going to have a heart attack or not.

The finish line sort of snuck up on me.  It seemed like seconds after my watch beeped 3 miles but I gave everything I had in the final stretch to pass a few people.  I was expecting to see a very low 24 minutes upon crossing the finish line but I saw 24:30 - 24:31... what? But I cruised through and looked at my watch for confirmation... 24:32.

Pretty happy at the end of the race.


So I had set up my goal pre-race with a finishing time of around 24-flat.  I think I would've been happy with anything in and around 24:10.  I had missed my goal by around 23 seconds.

I managed to snag a bottle of Gatorade and cooled off a bit before circling back onto the final mile to get some photos of the final stretch and finish line.  I also stuck around long enough to get my finisher's card -- I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had finished first in my age group.  Score!

Age group award

It took a while to get the awards sorted out but once they got them going it was quick.  They also had an epic raffle drawing with some incredible prizes. I think I have yet to win a prize but they were giving away new shoes, $150 gift certificates and restaurant offers.  Post race awards included a medal and a free pick of a t-shirt or hat (see below).

So, I wasn't super upset with my time.  The course is a tough one, with a fast start and a painful finish.  I just felt like I was in better shape to get a course personal best.  

The race was $25 and you got a shirt, a finisher's ribbon, professionally timed, a shot at awards, an awesome raffle (for the winners).  Post race refreshments included water, Gatorade, granola bars and bananas.

I really enjoy this race. It is a bit of a drive for me (about 45 minutes one way).  But I like the community vibe and it brings back memories of my early days of running when most of the races I ran were community-based 5Ks.  I plan on being back next year.

Upcoming Races

08/12: 2023 Alpine Days 5K - Alpine, 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)
09/02: 2023 Swiss Days 10K - Midway, 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)