Yesterday Albert and I both got a chance to blow out the cobwebs and get back into racing mode at the Striders Winter Running Circuit 5K in Ogden, UT. One down, four to go in the series! Overall awards will be given out at the end of the series for the top 3 males and females who have the lowest combined times over all five races. The events get progressively longer (5K, 10K, 10-miler, half-marathon, 30K) and are used by many people as training runs building up to the Ogden Marathon in May. For me it's a great way to ramp up my running miles leading into the triathlon season and to practice pacing and racing tactics in a low-key setting. The best thing about it is that 3 of the races start at the Dee Events Center, a mere 10 minutes from our house! Gotta love that. Striders running store in Layton produces the event, and proceeds from the first three events this year are going towards helping the families of the Ogden police officers who were involved in the tragic shooting last month. If you live in the area and have not already registered, please consider signing up or otherwise contributing to help show support for our police department.
Striders does a great job putting these events on, keeping it simple yet professional. But be forewarned: if you're looking for a flat & fast 5K, 10K, or 10-miler, you're not going to get it at these races! They are the most hilly and challenging running race courses I have ever experienced. I would call them "strength" courses; pure foot speed is not necessarily going to help you here, you've got to be strong and know how to manage your energy. Previewing the course before race day is a good idea so that you know what to expect and can plan where to spend your energy. It also helps with winning the mental battle if you are familiar with the course. I usually catch myself singing "What Goes Up, Must Come Down" at some point during these races to help me tackle the hills.
Albert won the household bragging rights yesterday, nabbing 2nd place to my 3rd. I ended up in a tight race with two other ladies at the end, and we all ended up within one second of each other. Despite being on the "losing" end of a sprint finish, I was pleasantly surprised at how strong I felt throughout the run and how good I felt afterwards. I was able to make some moves on the uphills which is a good indication that the base strength I've been doing is on track. Afterwards Albert and I ran a preview of the 10K course which is coming up in two weeks. It'll be interesting to see how the running fitness progresses in that time.