Guest Article By: Corrine Johnson, @outdoorfamfun
I ran the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon last week, which was a last minute decision--I signed up the day before the race! Overall, I had a good experience and don’t regret forking out the money for the race.
The half marathon starts at the Mill D trail head in Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon and ends in Cottonwood Heights City. The net elevation drop is 2,856 ft (that’s more than a half mile total descent!). By mile 10 you are out of the canyon and have a more gradual descent (minus one more big downhill around mile 11).
The starting line was well organized with flags indicating different finishing times so runners could line up next to those running a similar pace. Our race packets came with gloves and emergency blankets, which made a huge difference for me in keeping warm prior to race start. I felt strong and comfortable the first mile with a 6:51 mile.
The first quarter mile is slightly uphill, after which you turn around and head down the canyon. The canyon scenery is beautiful with a few trees starting to change colors. I tried to work with the downhill instead of fighting it and ended up running a lot faster per mile than I was expecting. My goal was to average 6:52's and I finished averaging 6:38/mile.
My legs were not prepared for the downhill, but it almost hurt worse to fight gravity and slow down my pace. My left calf started cramping at mile 6 and a left heel blister started forming at mile 8. During the last 3 miles it was all I could do to keep my legs moving forward and just take whatever pace I could pull off. I finished in 1:26:55--PR--YEA!
The downhill pounding definitely took a toll on my legs. I believe this is the most sore I have been after a race (minus when I ran the Boston Marathon with a fractured femur--that’s a great story for another day).
I ended up placing 2nd in my age group and 12th out of 2181 women. Although at the finish they originally told me I was 3rd. I received a small 3rd place charm that hooks onto my finisher medal, which was a little disappointing for such a big expensive race, as well as now knowing that I actually got 2nd place.
PROS & CONS
Great race shirt/tank
Good Withdrawal/Transfer Policy
Awards for age division winners are lacking
Small cheering area at the finish
WHAT OTHER HAVE TO SAY
ABOUT GUEST AUTHOR
Corrine Johnson has run for 20 years in everything from 5K's to Marathons. She is a Boston Marathon finisher. She loves everything outdoors. Mother of four and wife to The Average Joe Runner. Follow her on Instagram @outdoorfamfun!