Sunday, May 5, 2019

Race Recap - Revel Mt Charleston 2019

In case you missed it, the post covering most of our trip to Vegas can be found here:

Revel Mount Charleston - April 27th, 2019
Click Image to visit website

We arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday evening so we would have plenty of time to visit the Expo on Friday.  On our travel day we put on over 30,000 steps between the airport and walking the Strip that evening.  I think this detail is important later.

Friday, April 26th

Even though we went to bed after 2am on Thursday, we got up by 7am on Friday.  This was planned because we wanted to get to bed very early since we had to get up around 1:00 am to be ready to catch our bus to the marathon start. We figured if we didn't get much sleep and got up early enough that getting some sleep the night before the race would be easier.  It was, but in retrospect it probably wasn't a good strategy.

Race Expo - UNLV Cox Pavillion

The Expo for Mt Charleston was a little bigger than the one for Revel Rockies which we did last year.  It was well organized, had several vendors and was held in a very spacious building.  The volunteers working the packet pick-up were helpful, friendly and efficient.

A few things worth noting about the Expo:
  • There were quite a few vendors including Aftershokz, doTerra, Sprouts and several places to buy GU, electrolytes and gear.  We bought some salt tablets (since we forgot ours), a few GUs and a hat for me.
  • There was an information booth with details about the race and you could get a wrist band for the beer garden after the race in case you didn't want to carry your ID.
  • There were photo booths where you could hold up signs for fun pics (we didn't participate in it this year).
  • They had a "tattoo station" with temporary tattoos
  • The Expo was scheduled from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm which reduced the crowds significantly.
  • Sprouts gave out free snacks (bananas and such).  I liked that they did this and I think it would have been a great idea for them to have food trucks on site.

Awesome Swag -

Good swag is fun to get!  We do quite a few events that give little to no swag so when we do a race that has plenty of goodies it makes my heart happy.  I'm not sure why this picture is sideways since I've tried rotating it a couple of times.

The GOODR sunglasses are my favorite swag and since Mitch doesn't care for how they fit I got two pairs.  We got to pick from blue and black frames and I now have both.  Revel is etched small on the lens.  I have to say that the bottle of probiotics is the most unusual thing I've ever got in a swag bag.
Note: The Trail Junkie sticker wasn't part of the swag.  I picked it up at the Nevada trail runners booth.

Course Preview -

After the Expo we drove out to preview the course as is our prerace tradition.  Revel Mt Charleston is a point to point course that starts at the Mt Charleston Lodge and runs downhill on a two-lane road for 21 miles before turning towards the city.  The views are pretty but we didn't get pictures.

When I say "downhill" I really mean it.  This race has over 5,000 feet of elevation loss.  There are a couple of small up hill sections but they are brief and not significant.  Many people complained about them but I didn't think the hills were nearly as rough as the one big hill in the middle of Revel Rockies.
Click Image to visit Revel Mt Charleston website
While we were out on the preview drive, we took a little side trip up another hill.  There are some great trails in the area so we went for a short excursion on the Robber's Roost Trail.  We didn't go far since we'd already put too many miles on our legs. 

We had dinner at the Draught House where I had beef stroganoff that was delightful.  After that we went back to our hotel and hit the sack by before 8:00 pm.

Saturday, April 27th - Marathon Day

We paid an extra $40 each to ride the bus from the Strip to the start line.  Our recollection from Revel Rockies was that the long ride on a school bus was uncomfortable and they had really nice buses for people that bought the premium ride.  It was convenient to drive a few blocks down the Strip to the hotel where the bus picked up rather than across town where the free buses were.  While they were more comfortable than a school bus, they weren't as "fancy" as the ones we saw in Denver last year. 

I was pretty irritated that we spent the money.  1.  They didn't even bother to check receipts to make sure riders had paid for the ticket.   2.  They used the same bus service for the free ride and we would have had the same kind of bus either way.  It was almost a complete waste of money.

At the marathon start, Mt Charleston Lodge was kind enough to open their dining room so runners could stay warm and sold coffee and hot chocolate.  We pulled up a small spot on the floor and waiting for the start.  Unfortunately, they love dropping runners off an hour or more before the start, which I'm sure is so everyone gets a chance to use the porta-potties.  Mitch recognized John Fegyveresi - a Barkley Marathons finisher from 2012 (we've seen the documentary a few times).  He wasn't 100% sure so we didn't go say hello, but later looked him up to verify that he was in the race results.

My Run -

To get a Boston Qualifier I would have needed to run 8:22 minutes/mile for the full duration of the race.  I knew going in that I wasn't going to get it.  I just wasn't running that fast in my training.  But I had some secondary goals I was shooting for - a 4 hour marathon (9:07 min/mile) seemed attainable.

Immediately I had trouble with getting my legs to turn over with any speed even going downhill though keeping a pace around 8:45 was sustainable and I did so comfortably as soon as I got over the first hill which came within the first half mile.  The temps were in the 50's - comfortable running weather.  That was short lived.  The temps were in the low 80's by the time I was done.  I really don't mind heat, but it does slow your pace especially when you don't get time to train in it.

Aid stations were set up every two miles.  They all had water and PowerAde and the latter stations also had GUs and/or fruit.  Two of the aid stations were out of cups by the time I got to them and I was about mid-pack. The volunteers did a good job improvising and I was thankful I decided to wear my hydration vest.

I hit the proverbial wall at mile 12 - SO. EARLY.  I was still maintaining a 10'ish minute/mile pace and hoped to get past the bonk in time to still pull off a 4 hour time but things only got worse.  My pace got progressively slower, I had to take more walk breaks and it hurt to lift my legs to run.  By my final mile my pace was in the 14s and I finished in 4:41:38.  It was slower than Revel Rockies last year and no where near any of my goals.  I don't think the impact of this hit me until days later.  I was very tired but thrilled to be done and excited to have another marathon in the books so at least I enjoyed the afterglow a bit (even though I don't look like it in this picture).

The finish line at this race was hands-down better than Rockies and they even kept all of the vendors and booths up through the end of the race.  Rockies was starting to dismantle well before the last runners came in and I think that is bad business when you advertise a certain course time.

The food at the finish was pizza and by the time I was there, it wasn't worth eating.  It is the same thing they served at Rockies and you would think that they would figure out by now that pizza doesn't keep well.  They also had snow cones for sale and the beer garden served a variety of Lagunitas.  I wasn't walking well so I relaxed in the shade of their tent and enjoy my beer before heading to get my drop bag where I kept the sunscreen.

Then I headed over to the finish line and watched Mitch run in.  He did awesome and it was dang hot by the end of his day.

Overall, Revel Mt Charleston was a great event.  Well organized for the most part (not counting lack of cups at 2 aid stations) and the course was one of my favorites as far as road marathons go.  The Revel races are put on by a company called Brooksee, LLC and their races are designed to be fast.  Mt Charleston is currently their fastest course and I agree that the elevation loss was a perfect grade to have been right for me to get a great time had my day gone better.

I know several "runner errors" that sabotaged my efforts for this run -
  • I did too many miles of my training through the winter on my treadmill which was old and the paces weren't accurate.  It also meant I wasn't getting nearly enough downhill miles to prepare for the beating my body would take on this course.
  • My sleep strategy leading up to race day was poorly executed.
  • I put on roughly 50K steps (that's almost a marathon) in the two days preceding the race so my legs were tired going in.
Unavoidable elements that also influenced my day include the hot temperatures and airplane travel that was required to get there as well as work stress & travel that disrupted my training schedule in the final weeks.

I've never been as beat up physically after a marathon as I was after this one.  The first couple of days after I had to be very cautious while walking because my quad would just give out causing my leg to buckle at random times.  It took about 5 days before I could move around without pain.

As some time has passed and I've had time to digest the unfolding of my goal race for the year it has been a hard reality to come to terms with.  I trained for this one event for 32 weeks.  I followed a plan specific to helping me hit the paces I needed for a Boston Qualifier and though toward the end I felt my speed was still lacking, I knew I was closer to getting there.  I was faithful to the plan with some exceptions due to illness and made some modifications for work travel but even if you count those times, I did 26 weeks exactly as prescribed.  I ran 6 days a week and during the peak of training was putting in over 60 miles/week.  I ran in the dark.  I ran in the cold.  I did long miles on a treadmill.  All of it with just this one goal in mind.  For over a half of a year I ran, ate, slept and breathed running with the hopes of getting a time to qualify for Boston and in the end I came up short.  Way short.  I didn't even hit a time that made me feel like it was attainable and I'm having a difficult time being okay with it.

I know I need to go back to the drawing board.  I need to reassess and determine what I can do to improve. There won't be a next time without a back-up plan, that much I know.  I've done 6 months of training and put all my eggs in one basket this season and I don't have a secondary race planned to see if I would do better given different circumstances or a better day.  I'll walk away from all that training empty-handed this year and that's a mistake I won't make again.

So here's to learning from it all and using those lessons in the future.  Now I get to move on to trails and crazy distances in the mountains with my husband.  At least these blog posts will get infinitely more interesting and have prettier pictures.

While I really don't love race pictures and Revel's were no exception, here are a couple from Mt Charleston because you can see the beautiful views that I didn't take the time to get shots of during the race.

Today we are putting our application in for the Bridger Ridge Run lottery.  Wish us luck!

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