On Sunday, I ran the Revel Rockies Marathon that ended in Morrison, CO. I can’t tell you where it started because we had to take a bus to the top and there was no cell signal. This was the very first Revel ROCKIES race, so it was cool to be apart of the event.
The race started at 6:00 am but we had to catch a shuttle to the top between 3:30 am – 4:15am. When I was leaving my hotel, there were people still partying. It was kind of funny! They dropped us off at the top but we couldn’t stay in the road because it was still active and there wasn’t much space. The good thing about this race was they gave us emergency foil blankets and gloves to wear before the race. It was pretty cold at the top of the mountain!
I was super excited for this race because it was my first race in my NEW Team Chocolate Milk gear. Doesn’t it look all snazzy? This race was completely downhill and was really made for people who want to BQ (Boston Qualify). I trained really hard for this race because I wanted to PR. I wasn’t looking for anything spectacular but I wanted to shave a minute or two off my time. SPOILER ALERT: That didn’t happen. More on that later.
Before the race, I chatted with some Marathon Maniacs and we took our group picture! It was still dark!
The elevation DROP of this was from beginning to end was a little over 5000 ft, but I was ready to tackle this course. So when the race started and I was fine. I was trying to keep the proper running form while going downhill. The first 10 miles of the race were going to be the steepest but I was handling my own, well at least I thought I was. I had to stop to empty the tank but I was doing really good. The weather was cool but not cold, the people were friendly and I was feeling good. I remember thinking at mile 13 that I had never felt that strong during the first half of a marathon. I thought this was the time my training and everything was finally going to come together.
Until mile 14 hit, then my knee started to tighten up…not on a downhill part but on the hilly part of the race. It wasn’t hurting, it was just stiff. I was still able to run so I wasn’t too worried. I would stop and stretch every once and awhile but I was able to keep pushing. At mile 17, it started getting bad. I was hoping that I would be able to finish the race IN THE TIME I needed. There was a strict 5:40:00 marathon cut off. My usual marathon time is 5 hours so I knew I could make it. At mile 19, I gave in the towel and just started walking. My knee felt like it was going to give out but it wasn’t hurting. I was still speed walking.
The road was still live so we had to run on one side of the road which was slanted and headed downhill. My body wasn’t ready for that. I had to walk. I walked what I couldn’t run. Towards the end, I did more walking than running, but when my body allowed me to run, I took it on. Probably not the wisest decision but I really just wanted to finish. I also wanted to finish unbroken. I should have known it then, but I didn’t. This was an IT Band issue. It needed to be massaged and stretched. I would stop every once and while to do some stretches but I was doing the wrong stretches cause I thought it was a knee problem from the constantly downhill pounding. The pain level wasn’t really matching up to that though.
I didn’t mind the walking though because it was beautiful. And I was listening to the Crab Feast; it was a perfect combo to keep my spirits high! That podcast literally saved my marathon! It was serene and there was no way anyone would give up on a race in a situation like that. It didn’t matter how I finished, as long as I did finish. Giving up wasn’t an option, partly because there was no one to take me down the mountain. LOL. In all seriousness, there was no amount of pain that could have kept me from finishing the race. I just didn’t run it as fast as I wanted to run.
In the end, I did finish because there was no giving up. This lady was my wingman the entire time until her knee started to give her problems. We were together most of the race until about mile 20 when I looked back and she wasn’t there. I was a little concerned and I thought maybe she had passed me. At the finish line, I did find out she came in behind me but she finished!
5:38:15 was my official time and I couldn’t be more proud. I could have given up. I could have cried. I could have complained but I didn’t. I had the best time of my life! That’s why when times get hard you have to keep pushing because you never know how things are going to work out. Along my walk, I talked to a medic that kept me laughing after he helped me stuff an ice pack in my running tights. I spoke to a teenage girl running her first marathon but was struggling with some of the downhills. I had people encourage me and high five me. It was just a really great experience! When I crossed the finish line, people were happy and cheering. And then I heard the words, I NEVER thought I would hear especially after my last Colorado race:
“You can now say, you’re a Colorado marathoner.”
So how freaking cool is that? Immediately when I crossed the finish line, I may have been limping a bit but I knew I was going to be back next year. I had the time of my life and it came at a point when I really needed it! I have never been so proud of race bling ever. It’s mine and I earned it.
What I liked about the race:
1. Good people and volunteers.
2. Beautiful location.
3. Swag bag: had a great gear check tag, gloves and blanket.
4. Coordination of the event was awesome.
5. Great food at the finish line but there was no lowfat chocolate milk which made me a little bummed.
6. Hello, big quality BLING!
What I didn’t like:
1. No spectators on course because of the nature of the course. Logistically it would have been a nightmare to have people cheering you on from the side. (Because sometimes there were no sides of the road.)
2. Some aid stations weren’t ready. One aid station didn’t have water. One didn’t have cups. I’m fine with the event going cup-less and maybe that should be an option for next year. But arriving at aid station when you need something and you can’t have it, kind of stinks. Luckily, I ran with my bottle.
3. The first 10 mile descent was very steep.
Verdict: I’m doing it again because it was amazing.
After the race and yesterday, I was walking around really hurting. I was silently freaking out because I thought I had really injured myself. After sitting on the plane, my leg stiffened up even more which made it hard for me to get out of my seat. I was scared.
Today, I’m much better. I just needed a foam roller and some good stretches which I did yesterday when I got home. I am thankful for the great advice from my best friend on the situation.