This seems a little over due, but here is the final installment of my race recap for the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. Be sure to pop over and check out the first part too!
Race morning came early. I got myself together, drove to the race finish and then walked across the street to catch the bus to the race start. We drove the 25 ish minutes to the race start and it was COLD. The race started in Spruces Campground and I found out later it was about 32F at the start.
I waited in line for a portajohn, cuddled up in my grandpa flannel throwaway and mentally prepared for the race at hand. Before I knew it we were all lining up and then we were off. There wasn’t any fancy start or even corrals, but that was fine.
People kept passing me and I looked down at my watch and realized I was running way too fast. At one time I thought I must be standing still only to look down at my watch and realize I was running a 10:30 pace which is way too fast for me.
My plan was to warm up for the first 3-4 miles and then push from miles 5-9. I knew that even trying to pace back would make my mile times faster than I had trained and miles 5-9 were supposed to be the fasted of the course.
I saw a moose around mile 2 which was so cool! The course was incredibly beautiful under the light of the moon and the grade was serious.
The course has a net decline of almost 3,000 feet over the half marathon course and it was really obvious when I started running. I had been doing hill work for months leading up to this race, but I could tell that a lot of folks hadn’t. Even really early into the race people kept stopping to stretch their quads and you could tell they were in discomfort.
It was so cold that I couldn’t feel my bare legs for the first couple miles and didn’t ditch my flannel and gloves until about mile 4. I kept having to force myself to slow down for the first couple miles and didn’t let myself listen to music until mile 4. Even though I was telling myself to slow down I was still running faster than my typical paces.
I was so worried that I would run too fast and blow up before the finish. My strategy worked though.
I turned on my music around mile 4 then killed miles 5-9. I ran those miles faster than ever and it felt great. My legs were working so hard, but I’m so glad I did so much downhill training.
Mile 10 came and we were running out of the canyon through the town towards the finish line. It was hot! This mile also wasn’t very downhill and my legs were exhausted, but I pushed onward. I wanted to walk and take a break, but I forced myself to keep going because I knew mile 11 would be fast and downhill.
When I got to mile 11 I was determined to kill it and really force myself to run the downhill as fast as I could. I knew I was on track for a PR, but I still wasn’t sure by what margin. I ran strong but was struggling, exhausted and so hot. I felt like I was going to throw up, but just kept pushing.
The last mile was so hard. I’ve never felt so challenged in a race before. I wanted to give up, but absolutely knew that giving up wasn’t what I really wanted. I kept going, saw the finish line and raced ahead so I could finish before my watch hit 2:22.
I did it! I finished the race in 2:21:52 and wanted to cry tears of joy. I think I probably would have but I felt like I might vomit or pass out. I felt like I had just raced a 5k and I that’s when I knew I truly emptied my tank and ran my heart out.
This was by far one of the toughest races ever! Running downhill is super hard, ya’ll! I raced my guts out and when my mind told me my body was too tired to continue I told it to take a hike.
I am so proud that I shaved 10 minutes off my half marathon PR that I set in November of 2014. I loved this race experience and will always treasure the Big Cottonwood half marathon course!
I think a lot of people think running downhill is easy, but it is anything but that. I saw a lot of fit looking people sidelined or walking during this race because the downhill grade was so serious. I am so thankful that I spent months training for this race because it really helped me rock this course and push my body without injury.
I am so thankful for this race experience and am still so proud of my PR! I honestly never thought I would shake the record I set back in 2014 so I’m happy that I proved myself wrong.
This course was so fast and unique. I would constantly look down at my watch to check my pace and .5 miles would have passed. Crazy! The canyon was quiet and shady and the most beautiful place to run a race.
The logistics were super simple and the course wasn’t crowded. I loved running in nature and didn’t miss the crowds of spectators that are normally associated with a road race.
Post race the Mr. and I took lots of pictures, ate a slice of cheese pizza (thanks Papa Johns), and enjoyed my personal victory. Afterwards I ate lots of pumpkin pancakes too. It was glorious and perfect!
I fueled with my typical fare of dried sugary mango slices at miles 4, 8, 10, and 11. I also had a couple gulps of PowerAde chased by some water around miles 5 & 9.
Splits: 11:59, 11:30, 11:36, 11:23, 10:49, 10:31, 10:39, 9:59, 9:43, 9:48, 10:48, 9:53, 11:09, 10:05 (last .2)
After a little nap and some stretching, we decided to spend the day walking around Park City. We enjoyed the sunshine, soaked up the mountains and shared some delicious eats.
It was a beautiful day for a PR!
How do you push through in the race when you really want to give up?
Have you ever raced a downhill event like this?