*Taps microphone* Oh good this thing still works! Hi, how’s it goin’? Let’s catch up on what I’ve been doing all summer, I’ll make it brief. I did a lot of Disney and beer-ing…often at the same time. You’re all caught up. Now we can talk about what we came here for, to discuss the amazing REVEL Big Bear Half Marathon.Sharpie is back and recapping the @RunRevel #RevelBigBear Half Marathon! Click To Tweet
If you have been following REVEL for awhile, you know that the new “Big Bear” race (yes that is in quotes…don’t worry we will get there) replaced REVEL Azusa…I mean Canyon City. REVEL Big Bear actually isn’t in Big Bear…it is in fact Big Bear adjacent. The marathon starts near Seven Oaks and the half marathon starts in Forest Falls which are both part of the San Bernardino National Forest. So once you run out of the mountains, you stay on Highway 38 into Mentone and down into Redlands where you finish. This makes sense to me as I am VERY local to this area…but for others maybe not so much. But I digress. Regardless of the name they chose to market this race…the half marathon was AMAZING. And I wanna talk to you about it…it must of been good if I dusted off the keyboard to write.
My co-worker was actually unable to participate in this race, so luckily this time my procrastination paid off and I got to run for free through REVEL’s extremely easy bib transfer policy. We switched the names and addresses online and BAM! The week prior to this I ran the Long Beach half and finished in 2:29, that’s one of my slowest attempts and I won’t lie to you…my ego was pretty bruised. So showing up to REVEL Sunday I had zero expectations.
I arrived Sunday morning and selected race day pick up since I had a wedding to attend on Saturday night. The bibs were in containers next to the bus loading and a volunteer was there to help. Very easy and organized. The weather was in the low 40s that morning due to the storm system that blew in Friday night, this ended up working in favor of the runners. I wore my layers and headed to the top of the mountain and found a place to zone out and sit. The start village was full of port-o-potties and trap music…I was living. I wasn’t terribly cold but I was also just in a space of mental clarity. It was dark and I was pretty tired from the day before…so the goal was to finish and just not die.
Friends started to arrive at the start line so we socialized…as we do…because #WeRunSocial
As the sun came up we made our way to the start line. And I must tell you the sunrise up there is breathtaking. Super calming and serene. It will certainly inspire and motivate you. Seeing the clouds beneath us was such a treat. Seeing that always gets me pumped.
I tossed my bag in the gear truck and just found my place. Megan and I decided as the horn sounded that we would just run together. We have run tons of races today, and had something in common…we both weren’t sure what the day was gonna bring. So if nothing else we would suffer together and I would make her laugh as usual. We started just in front of the 2:00 pace group with our eyebrows raised and just said “well here goes nothin.” We started the race and not even one mile I pulled over to take this photo, because I couldn’t get over how beautiful the sky was. It honestly took my breath away. Had I not captured it, I would of regretted it.
Megan and I settled into a steady groove. We ran what felt comfortable knowing that downhill is a bit tougher. We kept each other in check the whole way knowing we both get excited and like to floor it. First mile 9:10. Second mile 8:44. Third Mile 8:26. This is the point when we looked at one another and said “This feels really…easy?” We didn’t jinx it. We kept moving because we felt good. Mile 4 8:12 (oops). Mile 5 8:19. Mile 6 8:49. We are clearly smoking and officially in a locked in groove. We are nothing but smiles living in each and every mile we are in. Megan said “If I can keep this up through mile 8 I’ll be happy.” Spoiler alert…she made it further.
I lost Megan around mile 10. I was getting really sore and she had way more to give. I told her to GO and I would catch her. The rest of the race I played “Go Catch Megan”. Thankfully, she was wearing a Sparkle Athletic skirt so she was easy to spot. Around mile 11.5 I knew I had a sub 2 half in the bag as long as I didn’t screw it up. I got very excited but got very focused. I hadn’t gotten that close to a sub 2 in almost three years. I didn’t even think I was capable of that anymore. I felt good and continued to move. I took a couple more walk breaks to give myself some breathing room but never stopped chasing the bear at the finish line. I knew Megan finished three minutes ahead of me, I was doing the math. So I was SUPER stoked for her! I knew I wanted to come in below 1:58. And I DID! I came in at 1:57!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I seriously couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen these kinds of numbers is forever. Consistent strong splits. I felt in control. I felt like I was part of the road and I haven’t felt like that in years. I saw Megan and she yelled what her time was and we just hugged and cried it out!!!! We have both been working and dealing with stuff, so to see what we accomplished was nothing short of amazing.
After the race we got donuts, pizza, and beer. Yes all three of those were free with your race entry.
Of the REVEL races I have run, this one is by far my favorite. AMAZING course. Awesome course support. Great organization from the team. No unanswered questions. Everything felt easy. We don’t have many races out here in the Inland Empire that are fast like this. I was talking to Richard (@BlingWhore) about this race versus Fontana Days Half which is also downhill and fast. REVEL Big Bear kicks Fontana’s butt. And I LIVE in Fontana! This is a new favorite race and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Far better than Canyon City! And thanks to my friends over at Hangar 24 for the beer! This was great. Thanks REVEL see you guys next year…and DON’T DITCH THE BEAR EMBLEM EVER!