2016 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
Published: Sept. 11, 2016, 3:51 p.m.
Describe your race day.
Coming off a hamstring injury only 4 weeks ago, I was a bit nervous about this marathon, but the course was kind and the hamstring held up. The most memorable aspect of this marathon is undoubtedly the breathtaking scenery, i.e. the course itself. From watching the sun break over the eastern ridge early in the race, to taking in the dabs of bright color splattered across the mountainside as fall foliage began to appear, to the rugged rock faces later in the race, to the sweeping views of Salt Lake City during mile 19, the course itself was the best tonic for aching legs!
Did you PR?
Yes, but only by a minute or so. I did, however, qualify for my third Boston Marathon.
How would you describe the course?
Miles 1 - 3 encompass a harsh, quick descent (don't go out too fast) on cold legs followed by a quick uphill turn into mile 4 around Brighton circle. I really felt that the race began after mile 5, when one settles into various grades of downhill running for the next 13 miles. The roughly 4 mile out - and - back was more difficult than I thought it would be, largely because I was not accustomed to transitioning from downhill running to flat - land running. Volunteers were amazing throughout the race! Thank you!
Tell us about your training.
I live in the Midwest, which doesn't afford any altitude or opportunity for downhill running like one might find in mountainous terrain. I had fairly traditional marathon training. I did not find the altitude to be a factor at all, but the downhill running takes a toll on one's quads. If you have access to true downhill running, then I would definitely practice doing so over at least a 4 - 5 mile stretch, and become accustomed to transitioning to flat terrain / slight uphill terrain as the mechanics differ. This is also important to permit you to find that "downhill gear" with a high cadence and slight forward lean. Once this "clicks", you have a much easier time on prolonged descents. If you don't have access to such terrain, then I would recommend adding a significant element of strength training to prepare the quads for the punishment they will receive.
What advice would you give future runners?
This is a well - organized, well - executed marathon that I would recommend to anyone. Don't let the altitude scare you - it's really not a factor. However, a bit of hill training will pay off on race day!
Rent a car. Although Uber definitely exists in SLC, it is not an Uber or pedestrian town!
Plan on layers for the race. What worked perfectly for me were throw - away gloves, beanie and arm warmers that I shed at various points along the course. It will be cold at the start.