Revel Canyon City Marathon Recap

Spoiler alert:  It was awesome and I beat my goal!  I want to do it all over again and am so sad that it's over.

I have to get wordy because this was my big goal race for the fall + my first post partum marathon...

To get to this race we had a 5+ hour drive from Phoenix to Asuza, CA.  It's nice that we're so close to Cali now-a-days!  We rolled into town to my sister's house close to midnight on race morning, and after all was situated and electronics triple checked to be charging, we set our alarm for an hour and a half later.  HA 

2:15 felt like five minutes later and us runners got up, ready, and left the house at 2:45!!  Better to be early than stressed so we arrived around 3:30 or so.  The rest of the family (mom, B3, Spencer, Emily) were going to meet us at the finish line.

Even though the coat was only $3.99, I still had a hard time leaving it at the start line!  It was a nice coat!

We had all opted for bus stop bib/packet pick up so we could miss the expo the day before and avoid taking an extra day off work (and also to drive at night missing Cali traffic and allowing the B3 to sleep).  The pickup was next to the finish line which was also where parking was located.  It was freaking cold out and I had on a giant pea coat and was still shivering to death!!  The pickup was flawless, easy and definitely worth the extra $20 for us.

The marathon buses started at 4 and Jolie and I jumped on the third bus headed to the start.  They had a bunch of school buses, but we were lucky enough to get on a Greyhound type.  Driving through the canyon was nerve racking however, and took about an hour which felt like eternity on that bus.  It kept running over the big cones and edging the guard rails while I envisioned us all plummeting to our deaths and never actually getting to run the race I had been looking forward to for so long.  But alas we survived the bus ride, even flipping a U at one point, and we arrived at the dark campground ready to hurry up and wait (FREEZE)!

IT WAS SO COLD.  OMG.  Like somewhere in the 30s and breezy.  We had space blankets, gloves, and we sat in front of the fire place nibbling on my bagel for an hour and a half before it was time to get ready to hit the bathrooms and do a couple of quick dynamic stretches.

The start line was great, there were enough bathrooms and with 1200 marathoners it didn't feel too crowded.  I believe there were 1200 half marathoners too, but they started half a marathon away.  :P

 The Race 
The gun fired and we were off!!  (Or something made a noise, I wasn't paying attention and it actually caught me by surprise while fiddling with my Garmin.  haha)

Everybody was passing me at the beginning, and I was still going faster than I was planning on.  I knew this was how it was going to be, but it was still really, really hard to keep my pace at 9:30.  REALLY HARD!!  But this was my plan for running smart and having a good experience and I knew I had to stick with it or I was at risk of paying dearly during the second half.

I decided to keep my eye on the 4:10 pacer and let him keep me at steadier paces.  His name was JC and he had run over 200 marathons/ultras and even held a running world record of sorts (he didn't tell me this last part, I found out after).  I spent a lot of time around him and a couple of others and it was the first time I utilized pacers in a race. 

I averaged a 9:13 for the first half (2:00:xx) but my efforts felt really easy for the downhill and with the adrenaline from racing.  I had so much confidence in hitting my goal and was having so much fun at this point.


Minus the short bump in mile 3, the first hill hit right after the half mark but it was short enough to almost have no impact.  I was surprised because I hate even the littlest of inclines and my pace usually reflects that immediately.

The next six miles were rolling hills, with one that was really long and I think 80% of the people were walking it.  My research on the race had prepared me to do some walking on this hill but I was surprised when I sailed right up it too.  Can this be happening?!?  I still felt so good although my pace did slow by the time I reached the top, but I never had to do any walking on the hills which had me happy.  

^^This must be mile 23+ since all my GU are gone.
^^These are kind of out of order.  Probably mile 6 or 8?

I thought this was interesting, but when I clocked the 1/2 mark, my stats showed that I had been passed by 124 people!!  Ouch.  But during the second half I passed 232 people!  

When I hit mile 21 I felt good, I was in awe that I had passed mile 20 and I was still averaging a sub 9:30 pace when my goal was a 10:11 pace.  I was still running all around the 4:10 pacer and my watch was saying I was on track for a 4:09 finish.  I couldn't believe it, but I also knew that a lot can happen in the final miles, so I didn't count my chickens yet.

^^GU #5...maybe mile 19ish?

I kept chuggin' along and feeling pretty good until about mile 24-1/2 when my legs started to turn over slower and I was feeling the weather since it was in the 70s at this point.  I have mentally overcome running in the heat somewhat, but it does take a toll when you're fatigued and that sun is just beating down on you.

There were two aid stations in the last couple of miles and I walked them both, the last one was a glorious and dragged out walk as I was starting to really feel the distance.  The final mile is an itsy bitsy tiny climb but man!! mentally it felt mountainous when I looked ahead and up at all the runners.  Come on legs!!!  Don't blow it now.

10:41 <-- longest hill
11:00  <--FML way to ruin my sub 4:10 lol (goodbye pacer)

Finish:  4:11:53 (9:36/mile) official
2:00 first 1/2, 2:11 second 1/2

Turning the corner for the final .2 was amazing.  The streets were lined with huge palms and a lot of people cheering us on.  One great thing (of a million) about this race was that our bibs had our names on them HUGE so as I ran through the shoot all these people were yelling COME ON CHRISTY!!  It was inspiring to say the least, and just what I needed to hear at that point.

Then I saw my husband.  And my baby boy sitting on the ground playing in the dirt.  My heart seriously melted as I was reminded of the best group of cheerleaders and supporters in the world (Ben had run the 1/2)!  Ben had been been getting tracking texts so he knew I was ahead of my goals and doing well, and I could see his huge smile which felt incredibly amazing knowing he was proud of me.  I am lucky to have him!

Down a little further I was met with the rest of my family cheering me on.  What a great way to finish a great race!!  My sister smashed it too!  I love my family!!!

 Final stats:   
4:11:53 (I tried to run better tangents this time and ended up with a 26.24!)
569 / 1199 overall
208 / 535 females
36 / 72 in my age group (30-34)

Sub 4:30 
Run smart (or is it smartLY :P )
Have a good experience this time around
Don't finish hating the marathon distance

 My Knee/IT Band: 
I didn't feel my knee until about mile 7-8, but even mildly so.  Once I hit the uphill the nuisance really faded away and I never thought of it again.  After the race it was inflamed, but even so, just for the day.  The thing that I felt the most during the race was my left calf.  So random.

 My thoughts: 
There are a lot of things that contributed to having a good race and I think they mostly fall within taking the first half slowly, carrying my own and taking a GU every 4 miles, not overheating until the end, and having built a little bit of mental strength up.  My awesome friend Sandy the BostonBoundBrunette had run the course and answered all of my questions about it, plus sent me her data which had me ready for the course because the overall elevation map is a little misleading.  I also cut fiber out of my diet the days leading up to the race, on top of the carb loading, and I'm not sure if that helped, but perhaps it did.

^^Sandy had a rough race but she still killed it (and me)!

The mistakes I made at SLC I worked on and I know it made a difference this day.  Looking back I know I could have probably taken the first half 7-8 minutes quicker without it affecting me in the second half, or I could have taken the chance and hammered down, but I finished without any regrets and I am just grateful that I had such a great experience that left me wanting to run another marathon as soon as I can instead of never wanting to do that again.

Maybe on a suuuuper fast course I could have a shot at a BQ before I turn 35?  That is a 3:35.  Right now times go up to 3:40 at 35 years, and 3:45 at 40.  Either way, it'd be loads of work, but I like work, and Revel happens to have some REALLY fast courses (uhum DENVER!!).

As always, thank you to Ben, my family and my coach for helping me get to the starting line of this race that I was terribly excited for.  Couldn't have done it without you all.

Time to do it all over again!  The vicious cycle of a runner.


  1. So proud of you Christy! You nailed it!!! πŸ‘πŸ’–πŸ˜Š

  2. What an amazing race! Great recap of your experience! You killed, what a trooper you are. You rock so much! Ilu!

  3. Congrats on your PR! Those last .2 must have been ultra amazing for you, and I love that you saw B3 playing in the dirt, lol.

  4. Congratulations on your new PR and a great race! Glad the data was helpfu and we finally met!! What's next for you?

    1. I have the bug to do another marathon asap, but I am not sure my legs can handle two this year... I have a lot of halves on the schedule and I plan to go back to Asuza again next year for a new PR. :) Hopefully I will get to see you there!

  5. Congrats!!! Fab pictures. Jennifer @ Run Jenny Run

  6. I just did my first marathon (Eugene) and I'm looking for my next one. You might have me convinced to do this one!