Sunday, June 2, 2024

2024 Utah Valley 10K Race Recap - Provo, UT

At the 10K start line

Official Time: 50:25
Placement: 6th in age group, 61st male
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 55F -- no wind - sunny
Garmin Route: Here
Previous Years: [2023]

Mile TimeComments
18:19Off cautiously. A bit of an incline here
27:57Nice downhill - joining with the half marathon runners
38:14Still holding steady but definitely working
48:42Slowed down -- a bit of a hill. I knew this was coming
58:14Final downhill stretch. Hurting but nice to get some momentum
68:32Working with other runners. Surprised that I was able to run this. Felt slower
6.07       0:24Accelerate to the finish.
Total Miles: 6.07- 50:25

I found this funny


Back in November at the Snow Canyon Half Marathon, I felt compelled to sign up for the Utah Valley Half Marathon.  I had run the 10K about 5 months early and had a good experience.  The price was halfway decent -- about $80 -- and I got an extra shirt.  Feeling adventurous and spontaneous, I wound up signing up for the race.

Fast forward about 6 months, and after having dealing with some injuries, setbacks, and health issues, I began seriously questioning whether I'd be able to complete at half marathon.  I can run and have been running, but my endurance just isn't there and my long run is somewhere around 6 to 8 miles.  So, a few weeks ago I decided to switch to the 10K -- I am capable of running that distance and at least I'd get something in.

This race is a big one and very competitive.  The course does tend to come in short, but overall it is a fast one, with a gentle downhill.  There is also a nice spread of food and excitement at the end, so it is well worth attending.

The Race

I drove out Friday to Provo to collect my bib at the expo.  I had to drive through horrendous traffic to get there: a terrible accident made what should've been a 35 minute drive into a 90 minute drive.  Once I did get there, though, I was able to pick up my bib and visit some of the exhibitors.  The Utah Valley Race is the last of what I would deem are the 3 major northern Utah races for the spring season (Salt Lake City and Ogden are the others).

It was a lot of work for a 10K but I had to collect other bibs for other people and let's face it, this is a big race.

Race morning had me arrive in Provo at just shy of 6 AM to catch a bus that would leave no later than 6:10 AM to a church about 6 miles away.  The Utah Valley race is well organized and there was plenty of parking and it was an easy routine to simply park and go.  It was a fairly decent bus ride -- about 15 minutes (we had to take a roundabout way) but once we arrived we had the ability to hydrate, warm-up and some porta-potties to use (I wound up finding a vacant one about a quarter mile away in a construction zone -- points for me!)

The race started at 7 AM and they instructed us to go off in waves with those running sub 8-minutes miles to lead the way.  At 7:05 the sub 10 minutes would go.  I wound up waiting for the 8 minute group to leave and then jumped in quite a bit later.  I think the purpose of this was not to swarm the half marathon runners that we'd be merging in with about a mile later.

Warming up and doing some strides

The first mile is a gentle uphill and while I had warmed up - I felt like it was a struggle.  The hill isn't massive but it is a long, gentle rise.  I wound up passing a few of the other late starters in the wave and was slowly gaining on the first wave.  I had started about 50 seconds behind them.

The first mile came in at 8:19 as I made my way up a residential street lined with farm-type ranches.  Given the rise and easing into the race, I felt it was okay but a little slower than I would've liked.  I could feel a bit of fatigue in my legs from Monday's Monday's Race.

The start of mile 2 got me excited.  We had to merge in with the half marathoners and made the only turn in the race: a 180 degree turn onto University Avenue.  I spotted the 2-hour pacer.  The route was a little congested but for the most part, I was able to find ample room to keep at my 10K race.  Having people to race against / pass, got me motivated.  Coupled with a bit more of a downhill section and tailwind, I knocked off a sub 8-minute mile.

As we made our way down University Avenue, I recalled several other times I had run along this route.  Not only last year, but the Provo City 5K.  I was pushing the pace at about tempo pace and it hurt but it felt right for a 10K effort.

The road was blocked off and had a large swathe of area to run along. I felt sorry for the Saturday morning traffic as I zipped along.  University Avenue is one of the arteries of the city and it was causing a mess.

Mile 3 came in completed at 8:14, about where I wanted to.

I knew after the halfway point I'd have a hill to contend with.  It isn't steep but it is long. It doesn't register on my watch at all for some reason but it definitely slows runners down.  Mentally it is also tough.  But I knew once I got over it, I'd get a nice drop towards the finish.

The sun wasn't out but the air felt heavy and moist.  Almost humid by Utah standards.  I wound up grabbing water at the aid stations and drinking a little and dumping the rest over my hand.  I also found myself struggling with my allergies -- I suspect the race photographer got a photo of my blowing my nose with my shirt.  A few times, I had to slow down in order to clear my throat.

Mile 4 came in at a disappointing, but not unexpected 8:42.  

The mile markers were consistently off -- by about .15 of a mile for me.  I knew from last year that the race was nowhere near a 6.20 mile course.  But there was that little seed of doubt that maybe they had fixed it.  

The start of mile 5 got me going with a gentle grade downhill.  We passed by the BYU football stadium, which always brings back memories of the BYU Cancer Run 5K and Rock the Canyon 10K.  I was gassed but the downhill made the effort quite a bit easier.  I was still taking down half marathoners, but for the most part I was holding steady with them.  I was elated to see an 8:15 mile.

The final mile never seemed to end.  In the distance, I could make out the blue arches.  I kept wondering if that was just the teaser and the finish line was actually behind it.  

Finish in downtown Provo

Every now and then I'd get a little bit of mojo to push the pace but there just wasn't much  motivation. I think mentally I was defeated and I knew I was a far cry from what I had run last year.  At this point, it was just about finishing.

The final quarter mile was exciting, as it was lined with supporters and well wishers.  While I was simply a 10K finisher, they were cheering for the half marathoners (and soon full marathoners).  The blue arches weren't a false finish and I flew over the finish line in 50:25.

Happy to Finish


So, unarguably I ran better than last week at the Run of Remembrance.  My time for a full 10K comes in around 51:40 and during this race I was never doing the marathon death shuffle.  Yes, I was hurting and my pace had dwindled but it never got that bad.

On the other hand, I was sorely disappointed with a time 3 minutes slower than last year.  I knew I wasn't going to come anywhere close to what I ran last year, but still is was a sobering reminder how much my fitness has tanked in the last 60 days (hopefully I'll have a post about this soon!)

I had some hopes that I'd place this year.  An age group rival was there so I knew that he'd finished well ahead of me.  I would wind up placing 6th, so no extra awards for me.

I wasn't feeling the greatest as the end.  I had definitely taxed myself and I wound up spending quite a bit of time making sure I was hydrated and had caught my breath.  I wished there had been a place to sit but tons of people were milling about and fans lined the gated fences.  Normally after the race, I like to find a quiet corner and just "recover".

There were a ton of exhibitors with treats at the end.  They had water, Powerade, bananas, oranges, Creamies ice cream, Kneaders French Toast (A++), caffeinated milk, sunflower milk, and slushies.  What more could I ask for?  Just a great finish line experience.

I like the shirt design.  It clearly spells out marathon and has a nice print on the back.  I am not a fan of the polyester / cotton blend, though. Although, I think this one will make the cut of wearing since it is a cool shirt.  Full marathon runners and 10K runners received a plastic lei for finishing.  Apparently there was a snafu with the shipment and the medals were lost. The race organizer promised to mail them out.

For $80 I would've been okay with this for a half marathon experience.  But I paid $90 for a 10K. I get it, I had to transfer distances, but it was probably the most expensive 10K race I've run.  The race is an experience and is well supported in every facet.  The aid stations, volunteers, organization were top notch.  I will say the distance of the 10K is a bit of an afterthought.  I know I complained about it last year.

We'll see if I do this race next year.  It is a warm time of year to run a half marathon (or even a marathon) and it was a lot of work to get my bib and drive back the next day.  I would certainly encourage people to run this one though.  It is a beautiful run and just an exciting experience.

Upcoming Races

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)

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