2015 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
Published: Sept. 14, 2015, 2:17 a.m.
Describe your race day.
I was optimistic about the race from the race packet pickup on. Until... the start (or lack there of). There were some announcements, but never a clear statement about exactly what what was going to happen. I recall something said about "would the pace runners please start making their way to the start and line up?" sometime after 6:30 and "would you please take your warmup bags to the truck?" in a very casual way. Suddenly, after waiting in line at the truck I realized that that people were starting the course! What happened was essentially a "rolling" start. Every other race I've been in has had a CLEAR start with much less confusion, this was very "whatever", "just have a good time", sloppy and lackadaisical. For such a big production like this I was especially disappointed in really just the start. Everything else was well run.
As I understand it, BQ times are based on a gun start and not a chip start. So I'm already starting now at a disadvantage without any idea of when the race had actually started. There was no big announcement, no gun, no shouting, nothing to indicate that the race had begun other than people were slowly starting to move downhill.
My plan had been to stay with a pace runner who would get me to the finish line with 0:05 to spare to BQ. Ha, I spent at least the first 6 miles running much faster than I should have trying to catch up with my goal pace runner. I never did even though I passed 11 other slower pacers in my "sprint" start. My guess as to what happened in the last half of the race is that because of my fast catch up pace that I began with, I developed pain in my hips and right calf which made it only possible to endure the flat miles of out and back section after reaching the mouth of the canyon. People were passing me left and right.
The last two downhill miles should have been easy... pour on the finishing speed, but I was I in too much pain and couldn't push through it. I was pretty disappointed and wonder if I should give up on trying to BQ. I'm in my early 50s and this was only my 8th marathon so I guess I shouldn't compare myself to others who have been doing this for decades with dozens of races experience. I must ask myself though what I'm doing wrong?
I take responsibility for running the race poorly, but I attribute much of the reason for making those bad running choices to the disorganized start. If I had been able to start and stay with my goal pace runner I believe my finish would have been a much different story.
Did you PR?
No. I was off my pr by 0:25 which was set earlier this year in miserable conditions in the Ogden marathon's cold, heavy rain. I also missed a BQ time by 0:30. I was in just too much pain the last 7 miles and didn't care at that point about the people I had passed earlier who were now passing me.
How would you describe the course?
It's very pretty, but deceptive. If you're not at your best you can kind of "coast" down the canyon. Things will start to fall apart though in the following flat section and gradual inclines. I saw this in many other runners at this point too.
Tell us about your training.
I run on trails at 6500' to 9000' elevation and followed the Nike running app's "coach" marathon training regimen. I also swim laps for 1 mile a session four or five times a week. I've done two other big races this year and feel I'm in the best shape I've ever been in. It's not the stamina to endure the distance that I lack or the speed to achieve a BQ time (I've run some 6:30 miles in training), it's starting too fast and the pain that develops in the later parts of the race that prevents me from making a BQ time for me.
What advice would you give future runners?
Be prepared for warm temperatures in races and make sure that there's no confusion at the start. Try to be prepared for the unexpected.
What fun things did you do in the area before or after the race?
I had to drive four hours one way to get here and only spent a little time afterwards dining and shopping before I had to return home. I live in east central Nevada in a small town called Ely which is hours from most everywhere.