I’m gonna kick this recap off by saying Revel Canyon City and their well-put together race swept me off my feet! Literally. I was in the grass for probably 45 minutes after my 26.2.
Seriously though, nothing makes my runner’s heart swoon more than a well-organized expo and race.
I had to drive from San Diego to Azusa (Los Angeles) on Friday night after work for the expo, so pulling into a big, uncrowded parking lot right at the expo site was awesome. I grabbed the bibs for my sister and I both, since she wouldn’t be there in time, and snapped a few pics. I was starting to freak out since I hadn’t run this distance in 6 years — Eek! I knew in my head if I could come in under 4 hours, I would be proud (and shocked). Six years ago my fastest 26.2 was 5:25…so under 4:00 felt even somewhat aggressive of a goal to me.
Ready or not, it was happening. I got quite a few inquiries on IG about my shirt; for those of you who asked, I got it here last year.
After the expo I went and checked into the hotel we stayed at which was a couple miles from where the shuttles left from on race morning. Laid out #FlatMelissa and tried to relax and be asleep by 10pm, since I was getting up at 3:45am.
If you missed my last blog post about what I used for long run fuel during this training cycle, you can catch up on that blog here as I added in a few new things that I loved, like Enduropacks Liquid Electrolytes and SaltStick chewables.
This tank was from an Etsy Shop called The Blooming Boutiques and got me many high fives along the course!
On race morning, my sis and I had to shuttle to two different start lines — because the 26.2 and 13.1 started in different areas. Kind of a bummer that we didn’t get to spend our pre-race morning together….also that she got an extra 30 minutes in bed because I had to leave first, the brat! As a result, we didn’t get a start line picture together, so she fused our separate start line pictures together here. I lost some toes in the process! LOL
I would say the only thing that allowed for a brief moment of panic that morning is that next year the shuttle bus drivers need to know their route. Ours would have missed a turn off if it was for the awesome runner that was backseat driving and told him what to do! My sister’s bus driver went 20 minutes off track as well. No big deal though, we got to the start in time and there were plenty of port a potties with little wait. That right there allows for automatic race re-sign up in my eyes!
The expo tagged all of our bags at pick up, so they were all ready to go for bag drop on race morning. We also got free beanies, mittens and these little disposable covers, although I will say the start was not as cold as I was expecting. Using this was probably actually over kill!
The race started right on time at 7:00am and we dipped right into a nice elevation drop. With a weather forecast of 85 that day, I was anxious to get in as many miles as I could before that sun came out. This course is labeled a “fast course,” it’s also a Boston Qualifier, but I will say this — never think that just because a course has downhill, it will be “easy.” Going into this, I knew that the second half of the race would be brutal going from a downhill to rolling hills. This is probably one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run. Coming down that canyon just after sunrise was stunning!
Revel also does free race pictures which is really cool. You can tell this was in the beginning of my race with that cheesin’ grin.
My sister took these next couple pictures during her race. Gives you an idea of the “not entirely downhill” course that we ran. This started around mile 14 when I coincidentally hit a wall for the next 4 miles coming up inclines like this. It may not look steep, but coming off a down hill, it was like running through a pool on a windy day, carrying sandbags. It was murder on the quads, but I’ll do it again because runners are just sick like that. I spent two days after this race side-stepping down my stairs like a toddler, holding the railing!
If you’re a person that relies on loud cheering and course support, this is not gonna be for you. With having to shuttle to the start, spectators are not able to gain access to the majority of the course. So other than passing the aid stations, it was rather peaceful, therapeutic and, at times, somber out there until those last few miles.
I ran my first 13.1 with a 3 minute PR at that distance. And for everyone who told me “SLOW DOWN” on my first half — well, easier said than done with some of the hills faced. It was like a force pushed me at times. I ran that first half breathing easy and not feeling like I was pushing hard.
This next picture I loved. Everything from the Mile 19 sign behind us to my face…less than pleased with this guy’s enthusiasm at that point. I was back there like, “Nope. Not today.”
When I got to mile 24, I started getting a little teary-eyed. I knew my sister was waiting for me at the finish line, and we were now back into territory where there were people cheering along the course. As I felt myself slowing a bit, I came upon two guys who were walking together that said, “Come on, we’re almost to the top.” Even though I knew it was a lie, I picked up my pace a little and they started running again beside me.
I knew I was going to hit my goal of under 4 hours at that point, and when I crossed that finish I was pretty damn proud (after pausing my Garmin, of course) cause…priorities.
I had done it. Nailed my goal to run a Sub 4 Marathon. And I did it this time training with work AND now 2 toddlers, which I did not have when I ran my last ones. Proof that those little boys make me stronger.
My sister had a great race too! Pretty much ran her exact 13.1 PR time to the second!
We always love running into fellow IG runners — Brett and I have run a few of the same races out here in Southern California and finally bumped into each other that day.
I was sad to have missed so many other people who ran this race. I should have mentioned you could find me like this (see below) afterwards. Next year we’ll have to designate a meet up area…like the beer garden!
Overall, this was such an epic race. We will be doing this one again for sure next year…and I think I may have talked my sister into running Revel Big Cottonwood next September — if not, I just called her out on it!
The Revel race medals are amazing, too!
Who else has run any of the Revel Series races? I’d love to hear which are your favorites. I just may have to run them all!