Sunday, November 12, 2023

Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K Race Recap - Sandy, UT

The Calm before the storm

Official Time: 24:03
Placement: 3rd in age group, 30th overall
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: mid 40's with no wind
Garmin Dump: Here
Previous Years: [2013] [2014] [2021] [2022]

Mile TimeComments
17:31Crammed at the start - but nice little downhill section
27:43On to the bike trail. Spurts of fast in here. Feeling good
38:09Payback time on the hill.  Finished strong though
3.090:34Smashed it to the finish
Total Miles: 3.09 - 23:59

Beautiful morning at Lone Peak Park


Finally, I get to run the Sandy City Turkey Trot 5K on a regular basis!  In the past, this race always conflicted with the Las Vegas Marathon and I could never do it.  

This race is part of the Sandy City race series and culminates the year.  Usually their races conflict with other races that I do, but they put on a well-organized event at a very reasonable price.

With nothing on the agenda this weekend, I decided to jump in -- in part because it is a well attended race and also as a social event, as usually a lot of my local-area friends are there.

The Race

The race is held at Lone Peak Park.  It is a popular park that offers a trailhead to the Dimple Dell Trails and is home to the 5K race.  There is plenty of parking and 2 pavilions that offer shelter and bathrooms.  

The course was the same as last year's event, so I knew what I was in for:  a half lap around the perimeter of the park, followed by about a mile of slight downhill, residential running and then an out-and-back section along the bike trail.

Initial Park path at Lone Peak Park (after the race)

The 10 AM race start offers a chance to have a leisurely morning.  I really like it for winter races as it gives it a chance to warm-up a bit, have ample food, and ease into the day.  It clearly doesn't work for summer races, but this was nice in that I could sleep in a little longer.

The drive to the park is about 15 minutes and packet pickup was a snap.  I was also able to snag prime parking and get a 30 minute warm-up.

I had my doubts about the race.  Since Thursday I have had to deal with sciatica or a pinched nerve.  Either way, I was not in good spirits and I figured on the way there I'd at least pickup my shirt and if after a warm-up running was going to make my condition worse, I'd stop and simply go home.

Fortunately, the more I warmed up, the better I felt.

I wasn't sure if I was racing when I lined up at the start.  Was I going to mail this in? Or was I going to race it?  I decided I was going to ease into it and back off if I felt anything wrong.

The race was jammed at the start. With nearly 200 runners in attendance and no chip-start, a lot of people who probably shouldn't have been at the front, where at the front.  I would say the first 100 yards or so took some navigating as we ran around the eastern perimeter of the park.

By the time I exited the park -- about 0.25 miles into the race, it was smooth sailing and I settled into a quick pace.  I did glance at my watch to catch the distance from this spot to the finish line so I knew how much more I'd have to go when I returned -- 0.28 miles on my watch.

The first mile is the most fun though because there is a gentle downhill.  A few people cheered us on from their yards.  

I was running pretty well and despite a little tightness in my hamstrings, I was running really strong.  I decided I was going to "race".

One of my goals on this race was to win an age group award.  Granted, the outcome on that is based upon who shows up, but every year I've come in 4th in my age group.  I was hoping today I'd be able to change that.

By the time I had jumped onto the Porter Rockwell bike trail I was at mile 1 and hit a 7:31.  A great time!

We made our way north on the trail and I was trailing some runners and there weren't many behind me.  There were two little baseball fields we had to lap though, which involved a series of tight turns.  It helped break up the monotony of the bike trail, but those turns did cost me a bit.  

I did get a glimpse of the front runners: one guy who I suspected might be in my age group (he was) and mostly high school aged students.  I was still running strong though and I thought back on my training over the summer, knowing that I could handle this race pace.  Making that mental connection really helped.

Digging deep in the last mile

Finally, I made the lap around the second baseball field and I was pointed back south and into the home stretch.  I was still running fast and keeping up with a few runners who were ahead of me. It was nice not to be running solo -- as I didn't see anyone tailing me.

Mile 2 came up as a 7:43.  Rock solid and fast despite not a lot of downhill and some turns.

I knew mile 3 was going to be the hard one.  The fatigue was settling in and there were some up hill stretches that took my pace down a notch.  I did get some cheers from the people making their way out, which was nice to receive but it was lonely running.  The people I was tailing put some ground on me and I looked behind me and there was no one.

Not an easy section.

Around mile 2.25 or so, the course came to a T-intersection and it wasn't well marked as to which way to go.  Also, up until that point, all the turns had marshalls or signage.  The front 3 runners took a left.  They seemed to doubt that but they were going to go with it.  I looked at the sign that was there and I figured out that was NOT the way to go.  

I wound up hollering at the runners that did go that way and I was reassured with my decision on account that I saw a police offer a quarter mile down the street waving me on.

As I sped by myself down the road I looked over my shoulder and saw that the runners followed suite.  I now had competitors tailing me.  Although none of them looked to be in my age group.

Finally I re-entered the park and I knew I had less than a quarter mile to go.  A stroller pushing runner who had made the wrong turn had passed me (always humbling) and another runner who I had met before the race passed me.  He was one of my target runners who I had been tailing for the first half of the race.

The finish line is in sight in that last quarter mile, but it is on the other side of the park.  You can hear the announcer yelling people's names and can see people sprinting to the finish.  I was working hard at this point and the hills in that last quarter mile had taken away some of my pace. Once again, I was picturing myself doing the final strides of an easy run -- knowing I had the finishing kick to hold it in.

I quickly glanced at my watch in the final stretch, trying to see if I could possibly finish in under 24 minutes.  It was going to be tough -- I was at 23:20 with a little more than a 10th of a mile to go.

I gave it all I had and crossed under the Sandy City inflatable arches.  23:59 on my watch!

All smiles after the race.


My official time was 24:03.  There was no chip timed start -- only a chip timed finish.  For not feeling 100%, I was overjoyed with my time and my race performance.  The course also seemed to be a legitimate distance. Last year I clocked 3.14 on the same course and this year: 3.09.

In looking at other runner's Strava captures, my pace followed about the same as there. A strong first mile, an average second mile and then a bit of a slow down due to the hills at the final mile. 

I made a beeline to the results camper and printed out my results.  3rd in my age group.  Finally, I had broken the streak and placed!  That made my day even better.

T-shirt and age group award

I wound up socializing a bit and getting photos of other runners as they came in.  They were very quick with awards, which was nice to see.  They definitely are a well-organized bunch!

For first place they had a Bundt cake that was made by a local bakery.  2nd place saw the winner received a Costco pumpkin pie.  Me, I got 2 coupons for a free appetizer at a local restaurant.  I was told everyone got one of those in their pickup bag.  Also we each received medals for our age group.  I was a bit disappointed in the prize, but I was happy to get a medal and recognition.

For $30, I got a well-organized race.  I love their Thanksgiving shirts -- just wish they were of the technical material.  The cotton ones are usually relegated to the back of the closet -- only to be pulled out when I have a Thanksgiving related event to go to.  I think there was water at the end and some energy bars for snacks.

I like the course -- it is fun and challenging.  It also changes frequently so I was never bored.  Other than the one turn, the course was well marked and I felt safe when running it.

I really enjoy this race and plan on being here next year if I am able to.

Upcoming Races

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)
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley Half Marathon - Provo, 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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