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Friday, June 17, 2016

#110 (FINALLY!)- The Revel Rockies Marathon

After a respectable showing in the half marathon at Utah Valley on Saturday (by respectable I mean I at least finished and placed 3rd in my age group), I jumped on a plane and headed to Denver right after the race to take on Revel Rockies Marathon!

When I got to Denver, our Maniac/Revel Ambassador host and hostess, Daniel and Stacy Bolyard made sure I (and all the other people they generously put up at their house), was picked up at the airport (or nearby) and promptly served a delicious pasta dinner.

I walked into their house and was greeted by some of my favorite people! Dave Bell, Brian Post, Aaron Braunstein, Missy Peters, Denis McCarthy, Cade Remsburg and a slew of other cool Maniacs! There was a party going on!

I ate dinner, chatted with everyone for a bit and Missy showed me where our room was and I hit the the hay! I was exhausted and we had another early wake up call!

The alarm went off at 2:15am. I got dressed and headed downstairs where Daniel had laid out everything we needed for breakfast! He wasn't even running and he was up early taking care of us and driving us all to the start!

Stacy's husband Daniel had our breakfast needs covered!

We got to the buses around 3:30am and drove the 40 minutes to the start. I don't remember much about the bus ride because I fell asleep the second I sat down in the seat.

The start area was beautiful! Pine trees everywhere, but when you are at close to 10,000 feet, it was a little chilly. I put on my fleece poncho, pulled on my hat and gloves and found a sign near the drop bag truck that I could sit and lean against. I was cold, so I pulled my head into the the neck hole of the poncho. It was like I was in a little fleece tent! It felt so toasty, that I fell asleep and would have probably slept right through the start of the race had the announcer not came on and told people to come drop their bags in the truck. I woke up, poked my head out of my little fleece tent and I was surrounded by people trying to drop their bags! That was my cue to wake up and get moving!

Because I was sleeping the whole time we were up there, I didn't have time to organize an official Maniac photo, so on our way to the start line, I just grabbed people and we put together a quick one on the spot!

Some of the Maniacs running the Marathon!

Heading to the start!

Selfie at the start!

As we walked down to the start, I realized that I forgot to put on my Garmin! This both scared me and offered a little relief. I was scared as not being able to see my pace meant I would just have to run on feel. I was relieved as not being able to see my pace, I would just have run on feel! 

The only issue is that downhill courses have a way of tricking you into feeling good at the beginning of the race, making you feel like Meb Keflezighi or Shalane Flanagan as you fly down the mountain with speed your legs have never felt before! Then out of nowhere, something punches you in the face while, dragging your lifeless body along the road later in the race when the course flattens out or God forbid there is the slightest chance of a hill! Without seeing my pace, my reality is tested and I am sure to go out too fast, and I did. My legs were already tired from the half the day before, so pushing the pace was the dumbest thing ever. 

The views at the start of the race were breathtaking!

Enjoying the downhill!

The other thing about downhill courses, it that they can play havoc on my gut! I spent more time in the port-a-potty lines in the first half, than I spent running (3 visits in the first 7 miles)! I don't know if it's the faster pace or all the pounding my body was taking, but I felt like they should have named a port-a-potty after me that race! 

Maniac Murray Honick played leap frog at least three times!

Fellow Maniac, Tom Stofleth and I having fun!

The first half of the course a pretty steep decline (dropping about 2,000 feet in the first half). What the elevation chart does not show is the pretty significant hills in the second half! You are still going down, but those rollers (after all that downhill) about killed me! So I caught up to my friend Kinnier Lastimosa (who had just run a half Iron Man the day before) and we walked every big hill we came across I wanted a sub 4:00, but it was much more important for me to get a finish feeling good.

Marathon Elevation Chart

So beautiful!

By the time I got to mile 22, I was feeling pretty good. Taking it easy actually helped me enjoy the course and this is one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run. 

This made me think of Bart Yasso after hearing his stories of running in Africa!

By the time I hit mile 23, I was chatting up other runners who were struggling, just trying to motivate them (and myself) to keep going. The sun had peeked out from behind the clouds and I could feel myself starting to overheat. I was running pretty strong at this point and did not want to get dizzy!

I loved how the last miles were on a nice gentle downhill, but when I approached the finish and saw this little hill that led to the finish line, it might as well have been Mt. Everest! I made it up that thing, but it was tough. I headed to the finish line one happy runner!

No PR. No BQ. No sub 4:00, but no dizzy spells and no DNF! This was a win for me!

Heading to the finish!

After the race my legs felt trashed. I walked over to meet the rest of my friends and saw people sitting in the river. OMH!! Nothing makes your legs feel better after a hot marathon than sitting in cold water. I made my way down the river bank, found a rock, kicked off my shoes and had a seat. That water felt heavenly!

Nothing feels better on your feet after a marathon than putting them in the river!

I finally caught up with my friends (who were in the beer garden enjoying free and cold beer) and we headed out just in time to see fellow Maniac Edward Broadnax finishing his 200th marathon!


Those have to be the three best smiles in running right there! Hee Hee! (Photo Credit- Jamila Williams)

We headed back to Daniel and Stacy's, grabbed showers, lunch, dinner, drinks and Voodoo Doughnuts all before crashing for the night! Good times!

This race is a MUST DO! If you run it smart (and don't run a fast half the day before), the course is fast and gorgeous! The medals and shirts are awesome, though I would have loved to see a different color shirt for each Revel race (the Rockies shirt was the same color as the MT. Charleston shirt). The post race food was OK, but the free beer for those that like beer was great.

Charlotte and her costumes crack me up! She is awesome!

The free pics are AWESOME! The  free gloves, hats and foil blankets in your swag bag was great too! Revel really does do a great job!

Don't forget to join us for Big Cottonwood (click to join our team for up to $10 off) on September 10, 2016! The party WILL continue!!

HUGE THANK YOU to Stacy and Daniel for the AMAZING hospitality! 

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