This is my third time running Revel Big Bear & my 8th Revel race. I’ve run the marathon once and the half marathon twice. Back in 2019 when I ran the half marathon I PR’d by 12 minutes and I remember not even feeling like I was trying (except the last 2 miles LOL). Want to read about that race? Here’s the recap.
This year, my training has been a bit scattered and I ran the NYC Marathon the week before so I didn’t know what to expect but I love to run races & I love downhill races so I knew I wanted to do this race regardless.
Race week it got really warm here in SoCal with temps in the 90s so I knew that the race was going to be hot. I was hoping with at 6am start that the half wouldn’t be too warm but more on that in a bit.
Because there is a lot of traffic up the 15/215 heading to the start, we decided to go up to San Bernardino earlier in the day. This was a big plus because we didn’t have to stress to get to our packets & we could get a good night sleep.
Packet pick-up was in a new spot this year, about 5 minutes from the bus pick-up. It was a quick & easy process, we were there around 12:30pm and there weren’t very many people there.
The expo area was interesting, it was pretty dark inside, almost like they didn’t have any electricity. We got our packets, walked over the timing mat and saw that our bibs didn’t register – it showed an error. We told the timing people and they fixed it for us and we were all set.
The expo was like it normally is, just a few vendors, but we did get a free sparkling water from Polar water – I got a Orange Vanilla version that tasted like a creamsicle. It was surprisingly good. I was hoping they would be at the finish line, but I didn’t see them. All in all we were there for about 10 minutes & that was only because of the error with our bibs.
Our hotel, the Fairfield Inn, which incidentally, we stayed at when we hiked San Gorgonio a few months back, was really close to the bus area so we could just walk to the buses in the morning.
We got some Olive Garden to carb up for dinner – they have some vegan options, bread sticks, salad, minestrone & pasta with marinara sauce.
I did my flat Jenny photo and then we just relaxed and I was asleep by 8ish. I actually slept decently for once, outside a wake-up around 1am when a car peeled out of the parking lot for what felt like 5 minutes. When my alarm went off at 3:10a I snoozed once but then got up feeling pretty well rested.
The buses departed between 3:30a – 4:15a for the marathon and 4:00a – 4:45a for the half marathon. Sean left the room around 3:45/3:50 for his bus and I left at 4:00a for mine. We had lots of warm gear based on how it was at the start in the past.
As I was walking to the buses, wearing a long sleeve & a pair of pants over I was starting to get warm already which made me think it was going to be a warm day.
I think I got on my bus around 4:20 & it took until 5:05 to get to the start. It was a little windy when I got there but not as cold as it has been in the past. I hit up the port-a-potties, filled my water bottle and then took off my warm gear.
This year they announced many times that the gear check truck was closing at 5:40 then 5:50. They also were very strict about having no space blankets past the staging area.
Around 5:40a they played the National Anthem, but they had a issue, Sean said they also had it at the Marathon start too. About halfway through the recording it reverted to the normal music. It happened 2x and the second time the crowd started singing and it was really cool.
Then it was time to start the race! They walked us to the start, I saw my friend Amber from Arete, she would go on to finish 4th overall female! I lined up behind the 1:40 flag since I ran a 1:45 the last time I was there but I didn’t know what to expect having just run NYC the week before.
Right before the start I saw my friend Richard and we chatted for a few minutes before the start. And then we were off!
The first few miles I was talking to some ladies from Phoenix and we were having a good time, but I realized I was going waaaay too fast so I slowed down in mile 3.
I was able to hang on and feel decent through mile 8 and then the fatigue started to set in. I was breathing a bit harder and I could tell my heart rate was up.
Around mile 10 was when I started run/walking and really started to struggle. After the mile 12 sign, we made the turn and were almost to the final straight away when Richard came up behind me and was like Come On Jenny, let’s finish this! I didn’t realize I had passed him so I was surprised but I started running again.
We made it to the final turn, Richard turned back and was like no walking! I told him I was behind him, which I was, he seemed to be running so fast, but I just concentrated on getting to the 26 mile sign, then the 13 mile sign, then to the finish. And we did it! We finished at exactly the same time 1:53:43, 8:40 avg pace 1:40 min faster per mile than my NYC avg pace of 10:24.
After the race, I felt pretty wrecked. It took me a bit to recover, I thought I was going to throw up, fortunately that didn’t happen and had to sit down for a few minutes. I finally got some water, used the bathroom, changed clothes and felt much better.
I got my time card, which I accidentally put in my bag with my wet clothes, oops.
I hung out with Richard for a little bit waiting for Sean to come in.
Sean crushed his race coming in just over 3:05! It was so exciting watching him finish.
By this point it was getting really hot! So I got a few photos of Sean & our friend Josh who finished right after Sean did.
Once Sean came in, I started feeling icky again so while he waited for his gear bag, I again went to the bathroom and then had to go lay down for a few minutes. We got on the bus to go back and I put on my mask and immediately felt like I was going to throw up. I took the mask down and carefully held it over my face.
Note about the post race food situation; they had bottles of ice cold water, ice cold towels, chocolate milk & bananas inside the finish area. Outside the finish, there were tags on our bibs for pizza, cookies & beer. I could have probably veganized my pizza, but I didn’t want to take a chance since my tummy was a bit off. On the Crumble cookie website, it says they do not have any plans to make any vegan, gluten free, kosher cookies which is disappointing but since we have the best vegan cookies in San Diego from Maya’s Cookies I knew we would head there as soon as we got home. And we don’t drink so no beer for us. While I know it’s hard to have options for all the different food allergies, etc. It would be nice to have a vegan option for something. Maybe Revel should bring Maya’s on for the dessert option, I guarantee that no one would be able to tell that they are vegan!
After the race, I took an hour nap and a short hot bath and felt 100x better. I was able to drive us home with no issues. I think a combo of the heat, not being well hydrated prior to the race, running faster than usual all played a roll but fortunately I felt better pretty quick.
The only other issues I had were chafing on my right inner arm, which I noticed starting when we ran Pasadena & then Long Beach, I guess my stronger arms are now hitting differently. I had chafing from NYC and even though I put stuff on it, it just got worse. And I wore my awesome CamelBak ultra waist pack but stupid me, had my car key in my back pocket under the bottle. I think the bottle top was on the key which caused me some soreness on my back, oops! This was the first time I had used the waist pack with this style of shorts because I didn’t have any issues in the past.
Anyways, back to the race. Revel gives free race photos, although that does mean that they aren’t all perfect, some of mine aren’t in great focus, but it’s still nice that they give them for free. I saw a bunch on my page within less than 24 hours of the race so that’s pretty cool too.
Have you run a Revel race? I 100% recommend them! I will be at Mt Charleston & Big Bear next year & who knows, maybe I’ll find a 3rd one to do too!