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 :)




Race Recap: Cedar City Half Marathon

Oh hey! It’s only taken me a month to jump back on the blog and share how our race actually went! My bad! It took me a while to figure out how I would approach this one. Since I was super open and honest in my last post about what it was like running and training my 13 year old son, I figured I’d keep it open and honest here too.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect on race day. I didn’t want to have high expectations of what running a half marathon with my son would be like. I didn’t want to dream of bonding while on the course and such! I just wanted him to finish and most importantly, to enjoy the race. I’ve been running races, mostly half marathons for about 5 years now and my family travels with me pretty often, so they know about packet pick up, early morning start times, banana for breakfast, long lines for port-a-potties, etc. But it was still pretty cool to actually be experiencing these routine and normal pre-race activities with my son and seeing his reaction to them for the first time as a runner. EEK! I just called him a runner :)

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We’d been training together all summer, so running alongside him was nothing new, yet it still felt like a completely new experience anyhow. I couldn’t help but smile when I thought that we were finally doing it. After all those months of training together and the ups and downs, we were finally running Cedar City Half Marathon together. It was pretty cool to think about and really made it a special race for me!

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I could not have been happier with our experience. Diego pushed hard and enjoyed most of the race. Unfortunately, his phone battery died at about mile 10, so he was pretty bummed out about that since that meant he’d have to run the last 3 miles without his music. When we realized it happened, I braced for impact. I was pretty sure he’d be super upset since he depends on his music so much for running and honestly so do I! So, I was really proud of him for not overreacting and just going with the flow. He was upset, sure, but he took it in stride and moved forward. I took my headphones off too in solidarity and we finished together with big smiles on our faces!

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The actual course was great! It was a nice downhill run. The scenery was pretty, the weather was cool, and the aid stations were plenty. Even when we ran outside the canyon and into the town itself, we ran through trails and sidewalks in parks that were nice and even provided some shade as it started to warm up towards the end of the race for us. The race medals and shirts were also excellent and the post-run snacks were great! We especially liked the ice pops they were handing out! I would highly recommend this race to anyone who is looking for a fast downhill half marathon in the fall!

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Race Weekend

Last month I ran the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon and although it was one of my slowest half marathons to date, our weekend in wine country was amazingly fun and a much needed summer getaway! This post is much more about the weekend than the race itself! OOPSY!

We have some really good friends who flew out with us to show their support of my running and cheer me on during the race! HAHAH Who am I kidding, they came along for the wine tasting!! Either way, it was so much fun having another couple to enjoy the weekend with.  We arrived to San Francisco Friday just in time for lunch! We picked up the rental car and made our way to Francis Coppola's  Cafe Zoetrope  for lunch. Such a nice treat! Afterwards we walked around Chinatown and couldn't resist picking up some steamed dumplings and sticky buns at our friend's favorite spot! We took the food to go and seriously enjoyed them during our long drive in traffic up to Napa.  

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Saturday morning we went straight to packet pickup right when it opened at 10am.  The location was so pretty and it was a nice expo with some good vendors who handed out some nice samples ;) That's always a plus! Once I had my bib + shirt and my fair share of samples, we were off to do some wine tasting! 

Our first stop was our favorite winery, which we are also wine club members, Benzinger Winery. They use bio dynamic and organic farming, which is such an interesting process and we learned so much more about their history and sustainable farming practices during the tour.  Afterwards we enjoyed wine tasting in their private members only tasting room.  We lost track of time chatting and tasting, but our tummies soon let us know it was time to eat, so we bought a bottle of wine and found a nice picnic table with some shade to enjoy the snacks we had purchased earlier.  Had the weather been just about 10 degrees cooler, it would have been perfection!

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Our next stop was their sister winery, Imagery Estate Winery, which was such a cool artsy place and the grounds are beautiful!  It was packed inside because it was just way too hot to be sitting outside by then, but we found a nice spot in the members only area and enjoyed a bit more wine tasting and fun conversation.  

The last stop before dinner was Domaine Carneros! I absolutely love bubbly wines and pinot noir so I'd been looking forward to this visit for a while. Plus, the grounds were so pretty! We ended up sitting outside and again if only it had been 10 degrees cooler, it would have been so dreamy! The view of the vineyards from the terrace were beautiful and the flights of champagne were super yummy! By this point in the day, we were really getting hungry so we ordered a small charcuterie plate to enjoy while we finished our flights.  Thank you so our server who recommended the best place for us to grab a casual, yet delicious dinner, which of course included lots of water and my go-to pre-race meal of...PIZZA!!

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Unfortunately, for as much as I tried to stay hydrated during wine tasting on Saturday, it was still not enough! I started off ok.  I wasn't going for any PR or anything, but I was hoping the idea of another fun-filled wine tasting day would be enough to make my legs go fast! The race course was beautiful and running alongside rows and rows of vineyards was amazing.  The weather was unseasonably warm and I soon started struggling with the heat and the sun beating down on me.  After I saw the hubs and friends at mile 7ish I got some renewed energy and I was doing good and keeping a nice pace till about mile 9 or so.  At that point my calves started to feel super tight and by mile 10 they were cramping terrible.  I was dehydrated and in pain! I managed to pull through, but I had to slow down and even walk those last 3 miles.  I felt bad and was so disappointed in myself.  After I limped my way across the finish line, I chugged some coconut water and stretched my legs as best I could.  I met up with the hubs and our friends, plus some running friends from Vegas who ran the race too and together we grabbed our wine glasses for post-race wine tasting festival! Soon enough, my pain was gone and I was back to feeling great! lol 

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After the race, it was back to the room to shower and get ready for round 2! We visited my hubby's favorite winery, Sequoia Grove.  Talk about another good time tasting, laughing, and making new friends! Afterwards we had some time to kill before our dinner reservations at Ad Hoc, so what else is someone to do while in Napa waiting? We found a wine bar, enjoyed another charcuterie platter and waited patiently ;) Dinner at Ad Hoc was amazing! Thomas Keller's take on family style casual dinning was spot on. We just wish we would have had more room to fit more food in our bellies!! 

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The next day we started our trip back to San Francisco! We spent some time walking around Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed some clam chowder and some delicious Irish coffee from the iconic Buena Vista.  Then, as all good things, our trip came to an end and it was time to catch our flight back home to our little ones!  

I learned a valuable lesson on this trip: Although I love running and I love wine tasting, the two shouldn't really be paired up! At least not for me!!! The next time I go to Napa, it will only be for wine tasting.  And the only drinking I'll do on race weekend, will be my post-race celebratory beer! Live and learn, right?