Saturday, November 4, 2023

2023 Vineyard Blizzard 5K Race Recap - Vineyard, UT

Official Time: 23:49
Placement: 2nd in age group, 29th overall
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 39F with no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2022] [2021]

Mile TimeComments
17:35Really good start. Banking a little time
28:07Had to stop and tie my shoe.  So dumb
37:52Trying to remain positive.  Mostly running solo and want to finish fast.
3.040:15Sprint to the finish.
Total Miles: 3.04 - 23:49


One of my fall traditions is to knock out the Vineyard Blizzard 5K.  The race is named after the city - Vineyard - a bustling suburban area on the shores of Utah Lake in Utah County and a tie-in with the local Dairy Queen.

They have 3 races in a year and they offer a 5K and 10K distance.  I ran their March race (Vineyard Gold Rush) in a time of 23:30.  

The community-driven event is a bargain, at about $20 - $25.  The shirt is optional and for an additional charge, but you are guaranteed a well-organized race and plenty of food at the end.

The Race

I showed up at the Vineyard Grove Park -- the starting line -- at about 7:45 AM.  I was able to snag easy parking, get my bib, and see if there were any changes to the starting and finish lines.  Nope: same race.  

The race is a pancake-flat course with just a few turns.  The 5K is 100% residential running and it isn't super scenic.  But that's okay... I hardly notice the scenery as I am blasting down the sidewalks of Vineyard.  The 10K, does sport views of Utah Lake and is definitely more scenic.  But when signing up for this race, I am looking for speed.

It was a chilly morning, but certainly not terrible.  There wasn't even a whisper of a breeze.  I wound up going out with my shorts, a simple t-shirt and thin gloves.  I was more than comfortable for the entire race.

I did a little over a mile of warm-ups, some strides and drills and I was ready to go for the 8:30 race.

The race started on time and I took off.  It is a short run before crossing Main Street and heading south along the sidewalk.  The race wasn't a huge one but they were definitely some speedy runners and I was quickly passed by the lead pack.  

I went off aggressively in the race. Not only was I racing, I was attempting to show that my times were improving over the course of the year and I wanted to do anything under my March time of 23:30.

I felt comfortable but I knew I was going out hard.  I was just going to have to hang onto this pace for as long as I could.  

I made a series of turns and jumped over a sidewalk or two as I ran along very familiar routes -- having now run this course 4 times.  

I quickly found myself bringing up the rear of the lead back -- with the super fast people clearly leaving me behind.  I found only about two to three runners behind me for the rest of the race and I was having a hard time keeping up with the two in front of me.  

I hit mile 1 in 7:35 -- right where I wanted to be.

Mile 2 is the hardest. It isn't hilly, but here I tend to lose focus and things just start to hurt.  Also, I found myself running into the sun, which just seemed incredibly bright.  Fortunately there wasn't any wind to contend with.

It was also at this point that I realized my right shoe was coming untied.  As I made my way it got looser and looser -- to the point where I was concerned I was going to trip.  In my entire race running career, I don't think I've ever had my shoe come untied.  As much as I didn't want to, I stopped and took about 10 seconds to tie my shoe.  Fortunately, no one passed me, but I did lose ground against the people I was chasing.

I was hurting and mentally I was a little flustered.  I suspected the brief timeout had cost me a chance of breaking 23:30 -- especially since I was fatiguing.  With no one immediately behind me, I thought about dialing it back a bit, but I pressed on...

Mile 2 came up at 8:07 - not what I wanted.

I still had banked some time and I really worked at keeping my form and my legs turning over.  I had done the final mile in my warm-up and I passed by familiar sites, so I knew how much more I had to go.  In addition, I knew the course usually wound up being around 3:05, so I could quickly glance at my watch and nudge myself forward.

There are a series of corners you have to take here and the finish line sort of sneaks up on you.  I knew when it was coming and the 10K's 6 mile-marker gave me a clue as to how much further I had to go.  It was at this point I peeked at my watch and realized I had a really good shot of getting something in the 23's.

Finally the finish line came into view.  No one was tailing me, but I pushed on imaging myself trying to edge out anyone.  I sprinted -- imaging myself doing my set of strides and sped through the finish line -- just under 24 minutes.


So I didn't hit my time.  Initially I was frustrated with that.  I had set up a fairly lofty goal with some expectations and I didn't quite hit it.  My time was in the realm of "okay" and let's face it, retying my shoe probably set me back the 10 seconds plus another 5 to get back into a rhythm.  It happens and if you've raced as long as I have, you know the feeling.

I made my way over to the timing truck and got my results: 2nd place in my age group.  Darn.  I had read before the race that only first in each age group received an award.  

I grabbed some photos of runners finishing and I began to inquire about finisher's medals (I got the impression there were some).  Turns out they did have top 3 in each age group and I managed to take 2nd in my mine.

That cheered me up a bit.

So I am not super disappointed or distraught over my time, but I had built this race up into my shining moment.  It was close but off by about 15 seconds.

There was no t-shirt for this race, but I was definitely interested in one.  I've never purchased a shirt for this race, and I kind of wanted a souvenir.  They had a 100% polyester one that looked pretty cool.

Post race refreshments included drink and a TON of pre-packaged snacks.  While they don't provide a finisher's medal, they did have an abundance of snacks.  

This is a small budget friendly race and it is run really nicely.  From start to finish, I got a nicely timed race and well supported -- the 5K had two water stations along the way.  Also, despite the race being in a neighborhood with some Saturday morning traffic out, it was marshalled well by volunteers and the local police department.

Upcoming Races

11/11: Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K - Sandy, UT (Confirmed)
11/18: 2023 Snow Canyon Half Marathon - St George, UT (Confirmed)
11/23: 2023 South Davis Recreation Center 5K - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
01/13: 2024 Virgin River Half Marathon - St George, 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
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
10/XX: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)

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