Tuesday, May 28, 2024

2024 Run of Remembrance 10K Race Recap - American Fork, UT

Official Time: 53:34
Placement: 3rd in age group, 58th overall
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 54F -- no wind - sunny
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: [2023]

Mile TimeComments
18:06Off to an easy start. I was actually surprised by how quickly I ran this.
28:09Form is good, still feeling strong
38:21Definitely slowing down a bit. I was okay with it.
48:54A little bit of uphill. Clearly my speed endurance is gone
58:51Working with others. Still doing okay but not the pace I wanted.
69:02Just trying to hang on.
6.25       2:09Speed to the finish.
Total Miles: 6.25- 53:35


Last year, I participated in the Run of Remembrance 10K and I had a good time.  My race time wasn't what I was hoping for, but I got it done and found it to be an exciting way to commemorate Memorial Day as well as get in a run.

This year, I was hoping for revenge and bettering my time -- especially when I signed up for this race during the organizer's Black Friday sales in November.  I also had hopes of placing in my age division -- having narrowly missed it last year.

Packet Pickup On Saturday

The race is held in American Fork Utah, about 25 minutes south from my house in Murray.  I had to go get my bibs (and some of my friends' bibs) at the expo on Saturday.  So by the time I arrived on Monday morning at 7:15 AM, I was pretty much ready to run.

Getting ready to race!

The Race

The race headquarters were situated at William S Robinson Park -- pretty much right off State Street.  There was ample parking at a mass-use parking lot a quarter mile from the race.  I managed to get the bibs I had collected pre-race to the recipients and cycled through the bathroom line.  Pro-tip: there were only a few bathrooms (about 8 to 10) and lots of runners, so I made sure to go a few times pre-race.

I did a very brief warm-up and noticed almost immediately that the course was slightly different from the previous year.  I was a little suspicious -- was I misunderstanding something? Did someone mismark the course?  I did recognize the majority of it, but the pair of left hand turns threw me off.

The 10K, along with the 5K, started at 8 AM and several hundred runners began pounding their way south along S 100 E.  I'd be coming north on my finish.

We ran to the end of the block towards a school before making a sharp left.  Almost immediately we ducked into another neighborhood.

Initially it was congested, but given this was a road race and the quiet neighborhood didn't have a lot of traffic, I found myself running the pace I wanted to fairly quickly.  

Currently, the 10K is about at my endurance limit.  I have had a number of challenges of late that have caused me to reduce my daily volume. I knew I could cover the distance but holding what used to be my 10K pace was going to be challenging.  I knew I just had to get this done, though, and I told myself to go out easy -- maybe 8:30 pace.

The pace came easily and it felt smooth.  I soon found myself running with a friend of mine (BM) and it was nice to work with him for a while.  Just before I reached the first mile marker, my watch beeped, letting me know that I had just run an 8:06 mile.  So much for holding back.

At about mile 1.5, the 10K runners split from the 5K.  Soon, I was back on familiar road and I remember the long stretch of nothing but southbound running.  The number of participants had dropped by more than half at this point.  BM and I were working together still holding a steady pace that was fast but still doable.

Mile 2 came up and I was still running faster than my goal pace.  I knew I was hurting a little but at this point it was tolerable.  I suspected though that I would have to pay the piper after the halfway point.

I had dropped BM and was working with another female runner.  Occasionally, we'd pass other runners but it was pretty quiet.  There wasn't much wind and it was peaceful to just run by an open grass field.

Around mile 2.5 we ran westward.  Memories of last year's race popped up.  It was around this point where my fantastic pace had fizzled out.  And it seemed like that fear sort of came back.  I could feel the lactic acid building up.  I think my energy fizzled upon running along a very short stretch (maybe 100 yards) of rocky dirt road.  It just took a bit more effort here and I felt like it broke my pattern. In a way, I started to panic.

I hit mile 3 in 8:21, still holding steady but I have clearly slowed down.  I was still passing people and again memories of last year and struggling along this section came back to haunt me.  I wouldn't describe the race as hilly, but there was a long stretch of road that just looked like it was going up hill.

I was still creeping up on people but I was running on fumes.

Finally, the long northbound stretch ended and we ducked into a nice neighborhood of well-to-do houses.  I really enjoyed this change of scenery and seeing people's yardwork and so forth.  I had to wonder what people thought of us running through their neighborhood.

Mile 4 -- this mile marker was off  (the only one that was) but I ran it in 8:51.  Not where I wanted to be.  I was struggling.  The monotonous, but gentle climb, was taxing me and I was a little warm feeling.  I had bypassed the first aid station but liberally doused myself with cool water at the subsequent one, which helped.

Start of the mile race.

We did another jog and finally circled back to where we had split from the 5K runners at mile 4.66.  My pace was barely a saunter at this point and occasionally I'd must up some spirit but it was usually short-lived.  My form was rubbish and I couldn't wait for the race to be over, but I knew I still had another mile and a half to go.

I recalled a lot of the harder sessions that I had done and focused on the work I had put in.  It helped but it wasn't enough.  Mile 5 came in at 8:54 minutes.  Barely half marathon pace.

I found a little extra in the final mile and a quarter.  There were some 5K runners still out on the course and I received a little bit of encouragement from them.  Occasionally more evenly paced runners in the 10K would pass me, but I didn't have a lot of runners tailing me.  I had my doubts that I would qualify for an age group award either, given that 51 minutes last year didn't cut it (it got me 4th place) so 53 and change wasn't going to do it either.

But I didn't give up.  It was also at this point that I ran by the race photographer.  I saw him at the last minute and usually, if I see them, I try to put on a brave smile and fix my form.  Instead, I got a terrible photo (no fault to him) but I look like I am suffering.

Yeah, that bad

Finally, I hooked the final turn and I could hear the blare of music and see the line of crowds leading into the finish line.  My pace cranked up to 5K pace again and my finish line approach actually looks great.

I crossed the finish line in 53:35... about 2 minutes slower than last year.

Finish looking good!


So, to make it clear, I was happy just to finish.  Given the trials and tribulations I've had to deal with this spring (injuries and health issues), I was just happy to close out the distance. I am WAY behind where I was last year but I was okay with it.  I did regret not signing up for the 5K though, as I think my 5K would've been pretty decent.

I was shocked -- no stunned -- that I placed 3rd in my age group.  The Runtastic Events tend to be very competitive, so earning an extra medal was a nice a bonus.  

I wound up spending an inordinate amount of time socializing with fellow runners.  It was such a nice day with ideal temperatures.

Despite my time being slower than last year, I felt like this was a huge accomplishment.  It gave me a lot of confidence in knowing I could run hard and finish a 10K.  Also, my first 2.5 miles in the race were where I'd want them to be for a 5K.  So I felt like things were trending in the right direction.

The medals -- especially the age group ones where really nice.  Normally the age group medals are an afterthought, but this one was a very nice design and it was heavy.

I hadn't really paid too much attention to the post race refreshments but before hitting the road I swung by to see what they had:  bananas, chocolate milk and oranges.  They may have had something else, but I was late to the party.  

The shirt was a polyester / cotton blend.  I liked the design on it and it will be serviceable for short runs, but the cotton blend isn't my favorite.  

I paid about $35 for the race during their pre-sale.  For a 10K, it is about spot on.  The price did jump quite significantly as the race event approached.  I got a nice deal for it and I was happy I had participated.  The course was well marked, and the finish line was a lively event.  

I will likely participate in this event next year.  Tons of my friends were there and it was a nice way to remember and reflect about our freedoms and those who paid the ultimate price.

Upcoming Races

06/01: 2024 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/22: 2024 Emigration 10 Mile Race - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2024 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
02/23: 2025 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/26:2025 Salt Lake City Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)

Saturday, May 11, 2024

2024 Run Farmington 5K Race Recap - Farmington, UT

Official Time: 26:18
Placement: 1st in the 50 - 54, 18th out of 155
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 48F, winds from the east.
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: [2023]

Mile TimeComments
18:06Off to an okay start. A bit of a headwind here.  At least this race is flat!
28:15 Off the bike trail and onto a service road for a bit. At least no more wind
38:23A bit of a tailwind, but not a lot in the tank.  Working with a young man.
3.201:33Clocked about 25:20 on the 5K.  Tough finish.
Total Miles: 3.20- 26:19


Well, I got roped into another race.  I wasn't going to race this weekend, but all the cool kids wanted to race, so how could I say no?

I had done the 5K last year and I wanted a race to see where my fitness was at on a flat course.  The course came in long last year (about 3.20 miles) and this year they used the same course (more or less).  So I knew, overall, my time wasn't going to be accurate, but I could run hard for 5K and see what I had.

The weather this weekend would be good and I had company for the race, so I decided to make the most of it.

The Race

The race was held at Farmington City Park.  It was a nice place for a race headquarters, with park bathrooms (plus porta potties), a pavilion, and easy access to the bike trails.  There also was ample parking for the 3 race events: the 5K, 10K and half marathon (and 1 mile kids race).

I got there about 45 minutes early.  We wanted access to the raffle, which started at 7:15 AM.  Packet pickup was a snap but I was at risk of not getting a shirt because I had signed up only a few days before the race registration ended (fortunately, I did get a shirt).  The 5K was supposed to start at 8:00 AM, but due to logistics, it didn't start until 8:07.

I started off cautiously to begin with.  It was crowded and we had to run through a flagged off section of parking lot before getting out onto 650W.  As usual, it was congested with runners of varying abilities but fortunately it wasn't difficult to get into position and hold my own.

I didn't have a clue as to what I was running -- going 100% by feel.  Of course, I had my Garmin, but I didn't want to get overly anxious over my splits.  I am still sort of feeling my way into this new round of fitness.

We made our way northward before hitting West State Street.  We had to make a sharp right and access the Legacy Bike Trail.  I've run this section of the race before in many formats over the years.  A lot of memories came up.

It was also at this point that I got a peek at the masses of half marathon runners who had done some sort of loop and were working their way back.  Fortunately, the bike trail wasn't that congested and it was nice to see familiar faces.

In another quarter of a mile, I began heading south on the Legacy Bike Trail.  The other runners had thinned out and I was chasing down fellow 5K runners.  I recalled running the section last year as well.

I was mostly alone at this point, although I had some people in my sights and I knew I was being pursued.

Despite the headwind (my Garmin says it was blowing from the east but I definitely remember being hit by a bit of wind from the south), I smashed a 8:06 mile.  Not too shabby.  Now if I could only hold that.

The bike trail continued to go south, and on my left was the speeding cars of the Legacy Freeway.  On my right, was a residential section. It was flat, with an occasional rolling section.  I was working hard and it was getting harder every quarter mile.  I was certainly glad I wasn't running the 10K, which I had been tempted to sign up for.

Finally the Legacy Bike trail reached a dead end and I made a quick turn to the right.  This was the least sexy part of the course: a business road to my left and rough scrub, warehouse type of stuff on the right.  Fortunately, I knew it was going to be fairly short-lived and I'd be back to the final stretch of bike trail.

Mile 2 came up at 8:15.  Slower than my first mile, but not as bad as I thought I was running. I was expecting more like 8:30.  

I was working with a young man who was probably in his early teens.  He'd start running, hard, do a hundred meters or so, stop and walk and repeat.  This went on for a while and I think I was his "competition". 

I wound up passing another runner or two but at this point, we were pretty spread out.  I was trying to see if I could catch anyone and I held a brief glimmer of hope I'd be able to catch someone and really close out the race strong.

I was trying to figure out how much further I had to run on the Rio Grande trail.  At this point I was agonizing over the distance and how much longer I had to go.  I knew I could handle it, but I didn't have that drive that I can usually muster in the closing miles.

It was warm and there hadn't been any aid stations (let alone bathrooms).  Sweat was dripping into my eyes and occasionally I'd have to wipe them with my shirt.  I kept trying to get a sense of when we'd hit the final right turn and run the final quarter mile to the finish.

I couldn't help but appreciate the course and the beautiful day.  For a bedroom community of the metro Salt Lake area, Farmington certainly has a lot of beauty. I could totally get used to running on this bike trail.

Finally, I saw the course marshal at the place where the park met the trail.  He pointed me in the direction and I sputtered a quick thanks.  I could see the finish line in the distance and hear the music.

My watch still read just shy of 3 miles.  The finish line was still oh so far away.  I hit mile 3 at 8:23.

I didn't have much left for the final kick.  I lapped my watch the instant it hit 3.10 miles (25:23) and at that point, I just sort of lost interest.  No one was behind me and I had passed the stopper / starter young man a while ago.

One more turn and I sped towards the finish line, hitting 26:19 for 3.20 miles.


So this year, the race did have a lot of changes / improvements.  Attendance was definitely up, the snacks were better and they had some 3rd party sponsors there with demo products (props to the Sunflower Milk people).  

They also had one of the most important criteria for me in a race: age group awards. I sauntered over to my car and checked the results.  I had placed first in my age group, 18th overall.

The medals are definitely unique.  I think everyone was raving about them.  They are one-of-a-kind and make this a cool experience.  The shirt -- was nicely designed -- I love it that it shows the race and race distance.  It is cotton though, so likely relegated to bumming around the house or easy days.

Post race refreshments were water, sponsors' samples, donuts, build-your-own sandwiches, and oranges.  

I loved the course.  There were marshals at most of the course turns and the spots were it wasn't marked, it was pretty obvious where to turn.  There were, however, no aid stations (or bathrooms) on the 5K course.  Usually I don't need to use any of that stuff for a 5K, but some might be bothered by that.

After the race, I re-ran the final mile and got most of the course photos that you see on this post.  It was  nice to cheer on some of the finishers as well.

I paid about $40 for the race. It is a lot cheaper if you sign up well in advance.  But this was a last minute decision, so $40 for the week-of registration isn't unheard of.

Overall, I was happy with my experience at the race.  My performance -- I wasn't super happy with.  I am still struggling with that upper range of 5K.  I am hoping to write an article on this in an upcoming post.  All things considered, though, I did place and my paces were okay, although 6 weeks ago, the paces I ran were more akin to my 10K pace.

Hopefully I begin to build some endurance and get back to sub 25 shape -- and soon.

Upcoming Races

05/27: 2024 Run of Remembrance 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley 10K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2024 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
02/23: 2025 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Monday, May 6, 2024

2024 Sandy City Fiesta Days 5K Race Recap - Sandy, UT

View from the summit of the first hill

Official Time: 26:24
Placement: 2nd in the 50 - 54, 11th out of 117
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 50's, sunny and 17 mph wind from the south
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: First Year for Me

Mile TimeComments
18:46First half mile was fairly flat -- off to a good start until I had to climb
28:48Mixed mile -- some flat but last chunk of this was uphill
38:28Didn't realize this but I was running into a headwind. Totally gassed as well. Did get a fast downhill stretch
3.040:19Pretty much done at this point. Just wanted it to be over.
Total Miles: 3.04- 26:23

5k Race Day


Well, I got roped into another race.  To be honest, I was itching to get into another one.  I wanted to get redemption upon last week's race and I found a reasonably priced 5K just a few minutes from my house.

I've done a lot of the Sandy City races in the past -- they are generally well organized, affordable races that showcase their park system and bike trails.  They are low on frills but offer a low stress environment to get in a race.  Most years I do their Thanksgiving Day races so I am familiar with their setup.

The Fiesta 5K race is used to celebrate the holiday of Cinco de Mayo and has a Mexican theme to it.  It is a community event, lightly attended and just a great way to get in a speedy time trial.

Setting up the start line

The Race

The race, this year was held at Falcon Park -- a soccer park located in the heart of Sandy in a well-to-do-neighborhood with scenic views of the mountains on the east and west.  I got there about 45 minutes early for the 9 Am start.

You couldn't ask for better weather: comfortably warm, sunny and what felt like just a mild breeze.  The air was also fairly crisp -- perfect for a spring 5K.

Race start route

I grabbed my bib and did about a mile warm-up.  I got a sense of the course and I made sure to tackle the hill -- which is the longest one of the race at a mere half mile into the race.  It was definitely a workout as I made my way up it and I ran to the top to see just how far it went.  I knew I'd have to go out a bit conservatively at the start so I wouldn't die on it.

The first hill climb

The race started promptly at 9 AM and I took off.  The race is popular with a lot of younger folks and I watched as they bolted out in front of me and I started to build into race pace. The first half mile felt great -- all my aches and pains disappeared and I quickly got into 5K race pace -- about 7:45 miles.

View from the park perimeter

As we made our way through the neighborhood and around the east end of the park, I was greeted by the hill, which I knew was going to steal any chance of me having a great race.   I had already dropped a number of the younger folks and was working with a few other runners. Everyone's pace dropped off a cliff and some of the stronger hill runners overtook me.

I was huffing and puffing as I shambled up the hill.  At least the views were nice but I was too focused on just maintaining good form and getting over this first hurdle.

Finally I made it to the top and at this point I was in uncharted territory.  I didn't really know what lay next other than we did have yet one more hill (I was assured it wasn't as bad the first one).

Mile 1 rang up at 8:45.  I was dismayed and at the same time expected that.  I'd get the hill on the way back, so I was really hoping in the last mile I'd be able to get back some of the time I had expended climbing the hill.

After getting to the top, I quickly found my race pace.  I was back in the 7:55 - 8:15 range.  I passed some of the runners that had overtaken me.  Maybe the next hill wasn't going to be that bad and I could run fairly well during the next 2 miles.  I barely remember the route, but it was residential and well marked.  We were running on the street with the exception of the last quarter mile, which was on paved parkway trail.

Home stretch

Just as I was getting my confidence back, I rounded yet another set of turns and we were finally heading back.  I had actually studied the course beforehand and I knew I I didn't have much left.  The problem was, I hit the next hill.  This one definitely wasn't as bad as the other one, but it was steeper yet shorter.

I reduced my speed and just made my way up it.  

The problem is, once I got to the top, I had absolutely nothing.  I was breathing hard and I felt like I was running fast, but my sense of pace was totally distorted.  I was chasing down runners and a few overtook me.  I was growing frustrated.

Turn into the park

This part was flat and my pace was more akin to half marathon pace but I felt like I was running at least 10K pace.  My Garmin shows that at this point I was running into a headwind, but to be honest, I don't really remember it being that bad.

Fortunately, I wound up doing my good deed for the day.  Around mile 2.5 we had to make a right hand turn to head back down the giant hill and back to Falcon Park.

I saw the route arrow but I think it had gotten turned or it was showing runners to make yet another lap around the 5K loop.  In addition, I think at the start of the race, we had passed this intersection and a course marshal had been positioned there. He was no longer at his post.

A few of the runners had made the turn but had decided against it and were coming back to start a second loop of the 5K block.  It was causing a few of the other runners to think twice and follow likewise.  A situation of monkey see monkey do.

Speedy downhill

I had studied the course beforehand and I knew that we were no more than half a mile from the finish (and we were at mile 2.55 or so).  I also remembered that we were going to get the benefit of the downhill part.

I loved running the downhill stretch but despite it feeling like a "forever climb" to the top, the descent was just too short.  Before I knew it, the joy of running effortless for just a brief moment came back to "I must power myself to the finish".

Before I knew it, I was guided onto the park's walking trail (I think the marshal had moved to this position) 

I was working to chase down some of the front runners ahead of me, but I was just frustrated at how winded I was.  My legs were heavy, my breathing was ragged and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I kept working towards the finish line.  I was recalling all the times I had wrapped up hard workouts with a few 30-second strides, but I just couldn't find it.  I'd start, dig in for 5 - 10 seconds and then bail out.

The finish line looked to appear to be at the park's pavilion, but I had found the timing mats about .05 of a mile from that point, even though the course was a smidge short.

Smiling at the finish.


So I was way beyond upset with myself. I am not a drama king, so I kept it to myself, but I was upset.  I figured my time was going to be in the 24's but after the first 2 miles I knew that wasn't going to happen.  And I figured for sure I'd have a fast finish, but it was only marginally so.  I guess you could argue I negative split this race and that may be a silver lining in this one.

On the plus side, I finished 2nd in my age group and 11th overall.  Granted it was a small race (there was a bigger race down in Provo and one in the evening) but I'll take my wins any way I can.

After collecting myself and running back on the course for photos of friends and the atmosphere, I began to take stock on my performance.  It was a very challenging course and with two large hills. I knew this wasn't going to be any sort of PR day.  I've also had a lackluster training buildup and have lost significant fitness as I've had to deal with injury and illness.  This race had "slow time" written all over it for me.

The Awards await

There are definitely going to be rough races -- even 5Ks and this was one of them.

I did brush it off though -- I had finished, I didn't give up, I got the pleasure of running in some new areas and I got to be with friends.  Also the weather was just so nice.

Post race refreshments included water (and I think they even had 2 aid stations on the course), and some snacks.  Fairly typical of a $30 race.  The crew manning the route, awards, and pre-race bibs were fantastic.

No finisher's medals, but awards were there for the top 3 overall and top 3 in each age group.  Being in 2nd place, I also got a succulent plant.  First place received a plant and a Mexican soda and 3rd got a soda.

The t-shirt was nice but 100% cotton.  I'll probably only wear it around when I am bumming around the house or for very shirt runs.  I love their designs -- I just with they were more suitable for athletic wear.

Shirt + finisher prizes

Despite my performance misgivings, I had a good time and it stung but I also knew the course wasn't going to lead to a fast time.  Some days are like that and it makes you appreciate the fast days.  Until next race!

Upcoming Races

05/11: 2024 Run Farmington 5K - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
05/27: 2024 Run of Remembrance 10K - American Fork, UT (Confirmed)
06/01: 2024 Utah Valley Half Marathon - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
06/29: 2024 Taylorsville Dayzz 5K - Taylorsville, UT (Confirmed)
07/242024 Deseret News Half Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed
08/17: 2024 PC2PG 10K - Lindon, UT (Confirmed)
09/07: 2024 Cedar City Half Marathon - Cedar City, UT (Confirmed)
09/28: 2024 Witch Run 10K - West Jordan, UT (Confirmed)
10/19: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed)
10/26: 2024 Haunted Half 5K - Provo, UT (Confirmed)
02/23: 2025 Las Vegas Half Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)