Race Recap: Revel Marathon | Big Bear

On October 14th I ran my 2nd marathon. I said I would never run another marathon after the LA Marathon in 2016 because it was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. But, I don’t think anyone believed me. So, this summer while training with my son for his first half marathon, Cedar City Half Marathon, I caught the bug to run another marathon. Mostly, because I felt that my time was so slow, I had to beat it. I decided I’d sign up for a fast downhill marathon and I would be almost guaranteed to finish faster than LA! The good news, I did! I beat my time by almost a full hour! The bad news, marathons are still hard.

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Look at all these goodies that came in my swag bag!!

Big Bear was my first Revel Race Series race and I gotta tell you, they put on a great event! I had volunteered at packet pickup last year for the Mount Charleston race here in Las Vegas and felt they did a great job with the expo here and I think the expo for Big Bear was also excellent. Everything went smoothly, the volunteers were friendly, and I loved their free photo booth and photo ops! When we got to our hotel room, I went through my bag and I was super impressed with the swag. I really liked that they provided a space blanket and even some gloves since the start line was going to be cold! They also had all kinds of other goodies and coupons!

I had listened to Coach Paul’s videos on their facebook page and those videos were awesome. Coach Paul is the online training coach for Revel Races and he gave a lot of really good and useful information about downhill running, what to expect from the course, nutrition, etc. I highly recommend checking out those videos!

On race morning the weather was perfect for running! Cool and overcast most of the way. The course was as expected, thanks again to Coach Paul’s video! At the expo, I grabbed a pace band and was really impressed that it wasn’t a generic bracelet, but rather the pace was calculated by the actual course. So, the sections towards the beginning of the race that were uphill and had rolling hills were accounted for and the downhill parts too. Now, this is the first time I had used one of these bracelets, so I honestly don’t know if that’s the norm or not, but like I said, I was impressed! I can also say that it was really helpful to me! Thanks to the hubs for insisting I check them out!

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Most of the course was beautiful and although I was nervous about there being no spectators cheering us on from the sidelines, I don’t think it affected me too much. I had my curated playlist to help me along and the volunteers at the aid stations were all cheerful and friendly, so that helped too! The first 9 miles were pretty hilly (as expected) and not the fast downhill start I was used to from my training. I stuck to my pace band times and was pretty on track until I had to use the lovely port-a-potty so that was 3 minutes I lost. I tried to make them up and by mile 13 I was back on track. This was also when the course started to get “faster” and downhill! I don’t know if I pushed too hard trying to regain those 3 minutes or what but by mile 18, I started to lose my momentum. By mile 22 I was really struggling! I tried to pull it together and find some inner strength but there just wasn’t much there! I was grateful to my playlist for keeping me going, but it didn’t stop the tears from coming! What is it with me and crying during a marathon!?! Tell me I’m not alone! I managed to pull myself together and thanks to a few friendly runners who cheered me on and the spectators once I reached the finish line area, I finished strong. Or as strong as possible and I even managed to not cry again when I got my medal and saw Jason at the finish line! I came close, though!

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One thing I didn’t like about the race was that once we got into the town, the drivers were not too careful of us runners! Although we kept to the right of the cones on the street, some cars still drove on the side that was for us and came super close! We mostly ended up running behind each other on the shoulder to not risk getting run over! No pun intended! I know the race directors can’t control the drivers, so I can’t fault the race itself for that. The town was not scenic either and this is is the end of the race so I could have really used some nice distractions, since I was beat!

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All in all, I would recommend this race or any of the Revel Races to anyone looking for a downhill marathon or half marathon course. It’s not a huge race event, like the Rock n Roll events, but it’s not a small bare bones event either. Personally, I think it’s just the right size! You get great support on course, have a fun finish line festival area with music, beer, pizza, and donuts, FREE race photos, and even a video slideshow for you to share on social media!! I’m looking forward to adding another Revel Race to my calendar for 2019, but most likely it will be a half marathon :)




2017: A Year in Review

Here we are at the end of yet another year.  Most years go by really fast for me but, I think 2017 didn't go by as fast as other years.  We definitely had some busy seasons with work and travels, mostly during the summer and October, but the rest of the year felt smooth and less rushed than others. I'm so not complaining about that! I am not one to glorify busy and enjoy taking time to enjoy my days and not feel rushed.  

A big highlight of the year for me was becoming part of the Rock N Roll Marathon Series ambassador program, called Rock N Blog and I'm excited to be a part of the team again for 2018!  This definitely set the tone for my running schedule for the year.   I ended up running 18 races!  Seven of these were virtual 5Ks, but they still came with some awesome race bling!! One was the Run Love Virtual 5K by Running Skirts and the other 6 were with the Rock N Roll Race Series!  I also did a fun non-competitive community 5K with the kiddos. And 2 more 5Ks, one at  Rock N Roll San Diego and the other at Rock N Roll Las Vegas as part of the Remix Challenge.  I ran 2 obstacle course races, the Vegas Spartan Super and the Badass Dash.  Lastly, I ran a total of 6 half marathons this year. By far, the most half marathons I've ran in 1 year! My favorite was the San Diego Half Marathon, not because I PRed or anything, but because it was such a fun race! If you want to check out any or all the race recaps, you can do so HERE

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Traveling and getting out to explore new places, near and far, is a big part of our lives. This year, 3 of our trips were race-cations! We traveled to San Diego, Seattle, and Napa for me to run half marathons + we got vacations out of it too, I'd say it was a win-win for everyone!  For Spring Break we visited the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Malibu. We took our summer family vacation visiting the Pacific Northwest. We spent 2 days in Seattle and rest of our week was spent in Oregon.  We stayed in Portland and saw the main sights in the city, as well as visiting the Oregon Coast and the Colombia River Gorge, including the famous Multnomah Falls.  We also took a kid-free weekend getaway trip to San Diego, mostly to run the Rock N Roll 5k + half marathon but also to unwind a bit.  It was great.  Another trip we took was to the Sonoma/Napa Wine Valley.  That was a fun trip we took with our friends without the kiddos too.  I ran the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon and the rest of the time we visited some amazing wineries and ate some delicious food! 

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We also planned smaller weekend and day trips throughout the year to Southern California, Valley of Fire, Willow Beach at the Arizona border, and Sand Hollow State Park in Utah.  We had a great Summer Bucket List, full of activities and even though we didn't finish everything on the list, it was a ton of fun!  This year we also celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary! 

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This time of year, I always like to reflect on all aspects of my life and really take note of what worked, what didn't, where I can improve, and start planning for the upcoming year.  It can be difficult to balance life and I know it's impossible to get it all right, all the time.  The best I can do is learn from my experiences, grow, and start off with a good plan. I hope you too take the time to reflect and learn from this past year and not just dwell on what didn't go right, but really embrace and appreciate all the good too! XO Jessie

Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your Next Racecation

What exactly is a "racecation"? Well, it's a race + vacation in one! I love to travel and I love to run races, so racecations are the best of both worlds for me!  For others, it could be a dream race they've had on their bucket list or part of their goal to race in every state.  Whatever your reasons, if you're traveling for a race, I say bring the family, stay a few extra days and make it a vacation! 

I've traveled to quite a few races and with a little planning it is totally possible to run a great race and enjoy the sights!  Here are my Top 7 Tips for planning your next racecation!

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1. Plan Ahead. This may seem obvious, but it's important to note.  Make sure to check out all the race details and final emails for any transportation logistics, last minute changes, and any race add-ons, such as carb loading dinners, seminars, or VIP Packages.  Some of these can sell out, so be sure to sign up early if you plan to take advantage of them.  It's best to print any waivers or forms beforehand, so you don't waste time once you're there.  Believe me, your family will thank you for it. Some race sponsors also offer discounts or deals to race participants, so it's good to go to the race website and see what's available.  I've found great prices on hotels and even a good deal on a city tour in Seattle this way!  Also, know where the expo is being held! Sometimes it's at the start/finish but other times, it could be in a completely different area, so map it out and know where you're going! 

2. Book a Nearby Hotel.  Like I just mentioned, most races will have a list of recommended lodging and they may even offer a discount to racers.  I'd check these out first, but if they are no longer available, as these do tend to book up soon, look for other nearby hotels. It's up to you if you prefer to be near the start or finish line and it may also depend on what you'll be using for transportation.  A lot of races do offer buses to the start line from specific locations.  Personally, for my racecations, we'll book a hotel near the finish line, so my family can easily meet me with me afterwards and they don't have to ride in the car with stinky mom for too long! 

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Use Eagle Creek Pack-It Sport Cube. This post in not sponsored by Eagle Creek, I just really love their products.  As a Rock N Roll Marathon ambassador, I was given a Sport Tote to try out and I really liked it. Then, when I saw their booth at one of the expos, I purchased the Pack-It Sport Cube and it's since been with me for every overnight race and racecation! I pack everything I need for race day in it: sneakers, Garmin, hat, top, bottoms, socks, sport bra, undies, glide, gels, Nuun! Even a change of clothes for after the race! Basically, if I need it for race day, it's going in that cube.  It keeps me organized and I love knowing that it's all together.  Plus, the cube is small enough and fits nicely in my suitcase.  I highly recommend them to everyone!! 

Don't Arrive Too Early.  I've learned from experience that it's best to run your race and then start your vacation, not the other way around.  Leaving the race for the end or even the middle of your trip may give you added stress and who needs that!  You'll possibly worry about things like getting enough sleep or worry about walking too much and running on tired legs.  You may even have to plan a short training run.  There's also things like your diet to consider and let's be honest, we all like to indulge a bit while on vacation, right? I've noticed that the best time to arrive is 1-2 days before your race.  I prefer to arrive the morning before the race.  This gives me enough time to visit the expo, pick up my race big, settle into our hotel room, grab dinner, and have an early bedtime.  However, if you'll be traveling to a different time zone and will experience some jet lag, then plan to arrive 2 days early and use that day in between to relax and acclimate to the time change. 

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Stick to your Pre-Race Routine. When we're traveling, we tend to go on hyper-mode and want to do and see everything! I speak from experience! Since most races are super early in the morning, you'll want to be sure to get to bed early.  Then, stick to your morning routine as much as possible.  I always make sure to get my go-to race day breakfast of a banana and a Justin's almond butter packet the night before. I also lay everything out the night before, so I can just go into auto-pilot and get dressed, grab my things and go.  It's usually to early for me to think straight, so doing it the night before gives me peace of mind on race day!

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Use Waze.  This one only applies if you'll be driving to your race.  If so, then rather than using Google Maps, I suggest using the Waze app.  It's free to download and since it's crowd sourced, the road closures due to the race will show up and it will give you better routes to take.  It's been really helpful for us!

Enjoy the Race. Most of us who plan racecations do so because it's a new city or new place we want to explore.  Running through a city or park we've never been to is exciting, so don't forget to look around.  Don't get so focused on just running the race and watching your pace that you forget to look around and take in the new scenery.  This was probably the reason you signed up for the race to begin with! Enjoy the race and scenery and think of all the fun you'll be having after your race is done! You'll get to see and visit new places because running got you there!  And, that is pretty cool! 

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