Thursday, November 7, 2019

REVEL Big Bear Half Marathon Race Goals

Saturday is REVEL Big Bear, one of my goal races for this fall running season. If you have followed my running journey over the past few months, you know I was shooting to PR my marathon time at the Ventura Marathon and my half marathon at REVEL Big Bear. Well, training didn't quite go as planned and I missed the mark at Ventura, but am hoping this race will go better (especially since one of the reasons my time was slower than I may have been capable of at Ventura was because I pulled back when a PR was out of reach in an effort to save my legs for this upcoming race).

I have mentioned my goal(s) for this race off-handedly a couple of times, but now it's time to put the pen to paper the fingers to keyboard and let the InterWebs know exactly what I will be attempting come Saturday morning.

A Goal - Sub 1:34

Some of you may think this is a random time pulled out of the blue, while others of you may know exactly why I have chosen this time. You see, the New York City Marathon is a lotteried race (meaning you throw your name into the drawing and if you're randomly selected you can register for the race {race lotteries are sort of the opposite of gambling lotteries... if you win a race lottery you have to PAY money, but if you win a "normal" lottery you are GIVEN money... runners are weird!). Well, I've entered the lottery three times and haven't had my name picked. Besides getting into the race via the lottery (or raising money for a charity), there is also a time-qualifying standard (similar to the Boston Marathon). Unlike Boston, or most other marathons with time-qualifying standards, the New York City Marathon allows you the option to qualify with a half marathon finishing time. For a 35 year old woman, you need to run a half marathon faster than 1:34 to submit for a time-qualifier spot {FYI: There are NYRR races which receive preferential entrance, but I am hoping that not only can I run a fast enough time, but there are also spots still available for runners who run a fast enough time at a non-NYRR race}. Now, let's be real here. To run a sub 1:34 half marathon, I will need to run an average pace of 7:10/mile. Honestly I am NOT trained to run that fast right now... BUT (and this is a BIG but) I am hoping the STEEP downhill of the REVEL Big Bear course will assist me in picking up the pace. You see, the entire half marathon course has an elevation drop of 3,171 feet and only 10 feet of uphill! That's an average downhill grade of 4.58%. I am banking on gravity, race day adrenaline and a dash of luck to get my legs to run faster than they should be able to go are currently trained to run...

B Goal - Finish Smiling

Yep, I only have two goals for this race - a time goal and a cross the finish line goal. This may seem strange seeing as I normally have three or four time goals for goal races (having multiple goals helps me to keep pushing even if one of the first goals is no longer within reach), but I am really only focused on shooting to qualify for the New York City Marathon.... any other time is 'just another half marathon finish' (and this one will be my 55th!). In fact, if I run this race faster than my current half marathon PR (which is 1:38:36), I am not 100% positive I will claim it as a new PR. Don't get me wrong, my body will still have to run the race, but I'm not 100% sure how I feel about the steep downhill races. I have only run one other similar race (REVEL Canyon City, which was the pre-cursor to the Big Bear race) and let me tell you, downhill running is not as easy as one would think. There's a TON of pounding on your legs and your quads are thrashed pretty quickly, so being able to cross the finish line with a smile on my face despite the time on the clock will be a major feat.

And there you have it. Pretty straight forward. I either hit my time goal or I don't. If I don't run a sub 1:34 (or if I do and there aren't any additional time-qualifier spots available when I go to register) I can always put my name into the lottery for the 2020 New York City Marathon, but I thought since the lottery gods haven't been in my favor thus far I would take my fate into my own hands and try to get to the start line on Staten Island by way of my own two feet. Wish me luck!


What are your thoughts on downhill races?

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