Monday, May 23, 2016

Race Recap: Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon

We found this race back in January when I decided I wanted to go to Boston 2017 after my hubby didn't go this year saying he'd save money and we'd run together next year.  Problem was I needed to qualify!  I trained hard all winter knowing this would be my BQ attempt to qualify for Boston 2017.  We flew out to Las Vegas arriving after midnight on Weds night.  We spent Thursday exploring Zion National Park (that post here) and Friday was for relaxing and visiting the expo.  We met up with my friend George who was on my Ragnar team at Wasatch Back last summer.  Jim, George and I are all Team Nuun athletes.   We Run Social also hosted a meet up at the expo and it was fun to meet other runners. 
After the expo, we went home to rest and ate a very late pasta dinner and straight to bed for our super early 3am wake up call.  We got up, dressed and I had two instant oatmeal packets and some coffee.  Then we made the long journey across the city of Las Vegas to get the busses.  We parked and walked the short walk to the busses which was very well organized.  I texted George and we coordinated to get on the same bus and we all sat together.    I was expecting school busses, but these were nice coach busses which bathrooms-  which was a HUGE plus.  I definitely took advantage of that a few times of the ride to the start.  Pre race nerves always get me.....
The busses dropped us off at the start area and it was cold!  We used our space blankets to keep our legs warm and kept our throw away layers on as long as possible. 
Trying to stay warm at the start


We had gotten there early and had some time to kill so we awed at the scenery and goofed off a bit.  Of course another trip to the porta pottie was in order and then it was time to line up in the starting corral.  I looked and looked but could not find the 3:35 or 3:40 pacer that the website said they would have.  I chatted with some runners near me who were also looking for that pacer and realized I was probably in the right spot. 

As soon as the race started, we headed up a hill and due to the elevation you could hear everyone struggling to breathe!  Once we crested the hill and started to head down, I felt much better!  Shortly after the start, it also started to snow on us!  I was glad I had my toss away layers and the gloves and hat that the race provided us at the expo. 

I passed a bathroom at mile 5ish and just decided to go.  I figured I might as well.  I took my gel at mile 6 as I brought 4 gels with me and decided to take one every 6 miles.  When I get to water stops, I slow down and walk through them because I really can't drink from those little cups while on the run. 

This was a great part of the race, where I was feeling very strong.  We were about 14 miles in and had a huge cushion.  A rooster crowed in the distance and the man in orange said, " a rooster- I was born in the year of the rooster".  And I said, " me too!".  We immediately started chatting and were the perfect pace for each other.  We stayed together until about mile 18.  He ran through the water stop and I stopped to drink since I had taken my gel.  I lost him.  I wish I had just made a determination to stay with him as my pacer and do what he did. If I had....I would be in a different situation today. 

After about mile 20, the sun came out and it started to warm up.  The terrain flattened out as we entered the Vegas suburbs and my legs struggled to adjust to the change.  My legs were hurting from the downhills.  I still thought I had more of a time cushion since I was so far ahead.  I had my pace chart but stopped looking at it because I felt like it was making the time go more slowly to keep looking at it and my watch.  Unfortunately that chose may have hurt me.  I needed to keep checking the pace.  One of the last water stops, I was so thirsty that I did stop to walk through just for water, not even a gel.  I walked through the entire stop and had trouble getting going again, I even said out loud to my legs, "come on baby!".
Thinking I am going to do this!
Hurting but smiling

The last two miles seemed never ending and I just wanted to finish.  I just told myself to just keep swimming.  I rounded the corner to see the finish line and tried to give it all I had to cross strong.  Then I looked up and saw the heart sank.  3:41:12.  I had just missed my BQ time of 3:40.  OUCH. 
Crossing the line realizing I missed my BQ

I saw Jen Greunke first as she was cheering along the sides after she finished the half and I all I could say was, "I didn't do it".  I was feeling so woozy and dizzy.  I got water and got a cold towel and walked to the end of the chute where I saw my husband Jim.  He knew and gave me a hug.  Yes, I missed my BQ which I was so bummed about it, but I had to be happy with my PR.  So we got a massage which lifted my spirits and we went to go take our finisher's photos together. 

I was really glad that we got to do this together.  I always love racing with my husband.  He had a great race as well (PR) and he ran a 2:53. 
Looking back, I know where I could have cut off that minute and 12 secs.  That bathroom stop when I really didn't need to go?  That long walk through one of the water stops?  The stop I made to grab someone's trash for them that they tossed?  The little things add up for sure.  Ultimately, I also know that I need to give myself not only the 3:40 BQ but the 2-3 min registration cushion as well.  So even had I made that extra minute I may not have been able to actually register for Boston. 
So, of course knowing I am so close I had to register to run another before the Boston cut off in September.  That would have meant a very early fall marathon and going through peak training in the height of DC summer or running another one right away.  I have done back to back marathons before.  I ran MCM and Richmond 3 weeks apart last fall and ran Richmond 19 mins faster than MCM so the back to back part didn't scare me.  What does scare me is that the recovery after Mt. Charleston was hard.  Normally after a marathon, I am taking jump shots and back to normal the next day.  This time, I waddled like a penguin and couldn't handle stairs for almost two days.  I know I hurt my recovery because we took a red eye flight back to the east coast THAT NIGHT.  Yeah, stupid I know....but it saved us a lot of money.  I am now 2 weeks post marathon and still feeling a little sluggish and taking it easy.  The other thing that makes me nervous is my next marathon will be 5 weeks post marathon.  Last time three weeks felt easy....recover, then taper again.  I didn't really run at all the three weeks in between.  This time....5 weeks is too long not to run.  So I have to do some semblance of training....hoping to recover enough but also not loose fitness....a delicate balance.
So I will head off to Denver in a few weeks to make a second attempt.  Thanks in large part to my enabler buddy Cody also from Team Nuun who missed his BQ last week and so we are in it together for another attempt. Wish me luck and a speedy recovery! 


  1. Rooting for you!! You have worked so hard. I hope that a smokin PR was a good silver lining even if the BQ didn't happen. Wishing you well in a few weeks!! -C

    1. Thank you and you are right. The PR did still feel good! It's just that big scary goal that is looming over me right now! Thanks for the support!

  2. Good luck on the BQ attempt and congrats on the PR at this one!

  3. Wow- Great report. I found you on Instagram and realized you live in the DC metro area too. First of all, the fact that you were so close to the BQ means you KNOW you are capable of it, you just need it to not be warm and you definitely didn't choose an easy course by any means. And I agree- no need to try and figure out where you could have saved the extra time because you probably would need a BQ minus a minute or two. I hope your Denver race goes really well so you can run Boston with your husband. I know of people who are trying to qualify in those early September races, and I just can't imagine doing such intense training in the DC heat and humidity! Anyway, glad I found this report- I will be reading more of your posts.

  4. Wow, congratulations on your marathon! I'm sorry you didn't BQ, but it's great that you're signed up to get it done again. It's always so hard to not think about the "what if's". Hope you recover quickly before the race in Denver!