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)

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