2016 REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon
Published: Sept. 13, 2016, 9:48 p.m.
Describe your race day.
Unforgettable experience! I'm from Iowa, so training for a downhill like that and the change in elevation was a huge challenge and my legs are still feeling it, but overall the scenery was so beautiful and everything about the course was so well organized I didn't have a complaint. My favorite memory from the race would be the last mile when I made a running friend and we helped distract each other for that last leg then raced each other to the finish :)
Did you PR?
Yes!! I PR'ed by 11 minutes and also, I qualified for Boston with almost 5 minutes to spare!
How would you describe the course?
The elevation change is huge and there are some very steep downhills that are fun to go fast down at first, but near mile 15 my calves were screaming for me to stop and run uphill instead. The beautiful scenery is a great distraction when you remember to look around and enjoy the view. For the out & back, you run into the sun on the uphill then when we turned around I didn't feel the wind anymore. That whole section was difficult for me, but once you get back on the main stretch, the sun is at your back and the wind is coming towards you again to cool off, which made as a great finish for me.
Tell us about your training.
After my first marathon, I stopped following a schedule. I think that you really need to listen to your body and do it when you're ready physically and mentally. I did a lot of hill training and ran in the middle of the day when it was the most humid to try and adapt for the elevation change (600 ft in Iowa to 9,000 ft at the start) and I think that really helped because I didn't feel like the elevation affected my performance like I thought it would. I didn't do as many longs runs as I should have over the weekends, but I ran more 6-10 mile runs throughout the week. I did a 20 mile run two weeks before then 13 a week and a half before and felt like that worked well for me. I started writing my runs down on a big calendar and that really helped me follow through better. I will definitely be doing that for Boston and planning out my runs much further in advance.
What advice would you give future runners?
It is very very chilly at the start! Bring baggy sweatpants and a warm sweatshirt that you can wear up until the start. They are very organized with their drop bag system so you can get your stuff very easily after the race. I ran with a sweatshirt for the first few miles then dropped it near an aid station, but a lot of runners start in shorts and a tank. The course is going to work your calves and quads like crazy so make sure they are trained and ready to go for race day!
What fun things did you do in the area before or after the race?
Prior to the race, we visited Park City one night and downtown Salt Lake City all day before the race. There are lots of things to see and do that aren't too far from Cottonwood Heights. The massage and compression boots offered after the race were super nice, but unfortunately I didn't get to try them because I got in line too late. After the marathon, we traveled down to Moab to visit Arches National Park ,which was spectacular, and I highly recommend for any out-of-staters to make the trip!