August 26, 2012

2012 Top of Utah Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Around 10.5 miles into the 2012 Top of Utah Half Marathon

Yesterday was a great morning at one of my all-time favorite races... I got the win and ran what I feel like was a pretty respectable time (1:06:03) considering my recent training (more details on that subject in pre-race thoughts blog entry). I feel like I am setting myself up to run a good marathon in 3 weeks.

About 4 guys were with me off the start, but after about a 1/2 mile I could feel that I had put a bit of a gap on everyone and couldn't here anymore footsteps behind me. Now it was a 12.5 mile solo time trial.

Down the canyon I just tried to keep an even effort. I wore my cheap Timex watch instead of the Garmin, because this race has 100% accurate mile markers and I really wanted to try and run on feel and what felt like a sustainable effort level. I didn't get out of the gate at a sub 4:50 clip like last year, which was smart. But without anyone to push me (ie. Paul right on my shoulder) the pace was a little slower in the first half of the course. That was fine with me. After the 5 mile mark the famous tailwind made an appearance, and during the mile #7 it was very noticeable and nice. Afterwards I asked the race directors to be sure to arrange that same wind for the marathon. 

My splits from this year and 2011 are below... as you can see - I was about 20 seconds slower in the first 6 miles of the race this year, but then ran nearly identical splits the rest of the way (which is actually pretty cool). Running 1:06 by yourself (especially on the second half of that course) is not an easy task so I'm happy with what I did today. It felt very good to cross the finish line first this time around.

Mile     2011        2012      Net +/-
1 4:48 4:54 +6
2 4:58  4:57  +5
3 5:03   5:04  +6
4 4:55   5:01   +12
5 4:51  4:55   +16
6 4:56   4:59  +19
7 4:53   4:53   +19
8 4:59   4:59   +19
9 5:05   5:05   +19
10 5:06  5:06  +19
11 5:14   5:13  +18
12 5:25   5:26  +19
13 4:58   5:00  +21
13.1 0:28   0:28  +21
Finish 1:05:40 1:06:03

Andrea and my parents were at mile 7, 10.5, and 13. It was great to have their support out there because its an otherwise very lonely (albeit scenic, wonderful, and somewhat challenging) course. That hill from 10.5 to 12 is a tough grind. 

So overall I'm pleased with the performance and where this tells me I'm at. My legs didn't have that "snappy / springy" feel - but there is no way I could have expected them to (after 5 weeks of 150-160 miles/week and then only cutting back to ~120 the week of this race). I feel very strong, though, and that is what will really matter over 26.2. I'm confident I will round into even better racing form over the next couple weeks.

Fast Running Blog - Full Race Recap

Below are some snippets from the Herald Journal's recap of the race. Click this link for the full article: Harmon keeps on winning; Krong gets his redemption
It was also a very satisfying day for Jake Krong, who earned some redemption Saturday. Despite posting the third-fastest time in the history of the TOU Half a year ago, Krong finished 10 seconds behind Paul Petersen, who clocked in at 1:05:30. 
However, the 29-year-old was not going to be denied in the 2012 field, which featured a record number 2,083 athletes who finished the race. Krong pulled away from his main competitors a half-mile into the event and ended up winning by 1:41. 
“Last year was a great duel with Paul,” said Krong, who crossed the finish line in 1:06:03. “We were just battling stride for stride for most of the race, and so this year my time was a little bit slower. But, I led it right from the gun and didn’t have anyone really with me, so it was kind of a solo time trial the whole way.” 
This doesn’t mean it was an easy victory for Krong, though. Although there was no one like Petersen to push Krong, this was arguably the deepest TOU Half field in at least 10 years. The top four men covered the course — which starts at the Hyrum Hydro Park seven miles up Blacksmith Fork Canyon and ends at Zollinger Park — in less than 1:09. 
“I definitely didn’t take those guys for granted,” Krong said. “There was a handful of other very good runners in the field today, so I kind of took it out pretty quick down the canyon and tried to gap everybody, and then just hold on and take no chances.” 
Krong now turns his attention to the TOU Marathon — a race he aspires to win in three weeks. A year ago, Krong’s primary focus was the TOU Half. In 2012, he’s been gearing his training regiment with the hopes of peaking at the full marathon and finishing in under 2:20. 
“All things considered, I’m very happy with how I ran today,” said Krong, who placed 23rd at the world-renowned Boston Marathon earlier this year. “I love coming up here. This is like my favorite race in Utah. It’s pretty awesome.”

Early in the race - Blacksmith Fork Canyon
Around Mile 7
~10.5 miles
Towards the finish
Any race that has Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches afterwards is a first-class event!
Top 5 Men

Post race w/ Andrea and my parents


  1. Awesome pictures Jake! It is pretty amazing to me how consistent your paces are compared to last year considering you were all by yourself this year. That in my opinion says you are in better shape this year.

    The fat boys were way to small....but they were delicious. :)

  2. Nice running and cool trophy. It seems like every race here gives the same bronze generic with the guy who has nice, flowing hair. Running so consistently and by yourself shows you're ready to roll a solid marathon. Every time I see your pictures, I get jealous I don't live out West somewhere.

    1. Thanks Scott. The trophy for the full marathon is a giant moose - I hope that is sitting on our coffee table in a couple weeks! :-)