- 13.1/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
After 6 months of training, it all boiled down to this……changing my mind last minute and doing the half. So, to give a bit more detail, I had been training for a full marathon with the desire to use this race as a trainer for next year’s race. I want to qualify for Boston, but I’m going to wait until I’m 40 to do that, as it will be that much more obtainable. I turn 40 late this year, so 2019 is my goal year to qualify and then join other runners in 2020. As such, I wanted to run this race this year so I’ll be that much better next year when I (hopefully) BQ! However, due to a number of events, I never got many 20+ training runs in. I also have been going super fast up to that 13.1 marker. And though I want to get more full marathons under my belt, I was thinking that this race may be difficult to finish the full, but I would have a legitimate chance to PR. I haven’t PR’d since 2013 and since my surgery in 2015, I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to have a PR ever again. So, though I really struggled making this decision, I decided to just run the half instead.
So, how did it go? Well, I disappointed myself. I got very close to a PR. And though it was a great run, it was only my SECOND fastest race of my life. I got 1:36 and change making it a 7:22 pace. And for a consolation, I will say this is the fastest half in my home state by a long shot. Since I live in CO, I have competed in a dozen or so races. And, yes, many of them have also been downhill runs. Yet, with the altitude, it’s typical for me to run in the low 1:50s. So, to go from that to the 1:30s was surprising and satisfying. So, it’s not a PR, but it was a PR for my home state. And I’ll take what I can get!
What about the rest of the race events? Well, I should’ve started with the expo as I normally do. In order to afford this race, I volunteered for the expo. ALL DAY! I got there in the morning, and stayed right before it was over. I handed out bibs to other competitors. And this was a satisfying experience. I know a lot of other runners from facebook. Many of them, I never really talk to, but I do recognize their faces. So, it was great to meet people I’ve kinda known for years. Also, it was neat to see people in plain clothes one day and then recognize them the next day in their race outfits. The big problem was that standing on my feet all day did cause me some foot issues that I didn’t want the day before a race. But, in the end, that didn’t turn out to be a problem. The race director allowed me to get off a bit before the expo was over. So, I did see it. However, by the time I went through, some of the vendors were out of free stuff and a handful had already packed up. So, though it didn’t seem like the best expo, I feel it’s unfair for me to rate it as I didn’t “really” see it.
Then the course…..WOW is this course beautiful!!! It runs through the rocky mountains, so it’s a breathtaking experience….and not just due to the elevation. Ha. It’s also mostly downhill. For the half, the first 2 miles have a good deal of uphill portions, and then every step from there on is down. And the full does hit that spot during their halfway mark. Sometimes the grade is steeper than others, but that downhill really helps the time. There are also well seen mile markers. There were a number of strategically placed aid stations. And there were free race photos easily postable to facebook. They also had some of the best pacers I’ve ever seen hitting the mark within seconds. And it was super cold at the starting area, but they planned for that by giving everyone a free blanket and gloves with their swag bag. I can’t say anything negative about this gorgeous run.
The swag: The finishers medal was big. It was bulky and attractive; I really cannot complain about this. They also gave a runner’s hat to all. This is something I didn’t think I ever wanted until I got it. I even saw someone a week later with the hat on, so I was able to talk to her about the race. The race shirt was nice, but very plain. It had the Revel logo on the front where a pocket would be, but nothing else. There was nothing at all on the back either; no sponsors, no event date, just blank. The race name and details did appear on the right sleeve, but the font was roughly the same color as the shirt, so you can’t read it easily. As such, it appears you’re just wearing a plain shirt from afar. If you didn’t run the race or know what the Revel logo is, most people would have no clue this is a race shirt. Which in all reality, isn’t that bad of a problem. I will say the quality of the shirt is top notch. It’s very soft and comfortable to wear.
The finish area was awesome. On their bib, everyone got a coupon for a free: pizza slice, BIG French toast and a beer. I even saw some people trading. In addition there were mini donuts, bananas and water. I felt it was a very well run finishing experience. They even had a fun place where people could hold up PR and BQ signs to commemorate their accomplishment.
In the end, I highly recommend this race to anyone who is trying to go fast. Yes, the altitude can be a problem for some. But, it’s a fun race that is well organized. The people are top notch, and the guy giving out bibs for last names D-F is amazing! If you want to get a BQ or a PR, this is the race to choose. Just do yourself a favor and train for it by running downhills. The only comments I heard in the negative were from those who didn’t properly train for a continuous downhill event. Can’t wait to do this one and 2 others next year when I punch my ticket to Boston!