Friday, May 7, 2010

Destination Races

One of the best things about running is that you can do it just about anywhere, and often with only a minimal amount of planning ahead of time. All you really need are comfortable clothes, running shoes, and a water bottle.

Confession time: I've never traveled for a race. All of the races I've run have been in NYC, either starting or ending in Central Park, except for one 5K I ran while a student at Michigan State. The only time I couldn't walk to the start line was when I ran the marathon last fall. Yes, I have it pretty easy, but it's not very exciting.

As I've been struggling to get through this latest injury, I've been dreaming of the day when I can run again, and when I can race again. (Not because I actually compete, but because I love the rush and comraderie.) Since I had to bail from the half marathon last month, I want to get another one on my schedule for later this year once I'm running again. I want a big race to train for. I need a race to train for. A goal to accomplish. So, this has me thinking about racing in general.

A lot of runners often travel for races all over the country. I love running in different cities when I'm on vacation and would love to take a trip with a race being the main activity. After talking with other runners, reading websites like Runner's World,, and other blogs, I put together a list of races that sound like a lot of fun and would require a little bit of traveling (of course, this list may grow at any time).

In no particular order:
1. Bayshore Half Marathon in Traverse City, MI
I love TC and think it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It would be amazing to run along the bays!
2. Heart of a Spartan 10k in East Lansing, MI
This is a new one and I'd love to support local charities and nothing compares to the feeling you get when you run through the tunnel of Spartan Stadium (although this time there won't be thousands of football fans screaming and singing the fight song).
3. Rock 'n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in Philadelphia, PA
I have had a love affair with Philly since I was a kid. This race just sounds like fun and isn't too far away. Plus, I could see some friends!
4. The Crescent City Classic 10k in New Orleans, LA
I've only been to NOLA once, but my sister and her husband lived there and loved the city. It has an amazing history and culture and anything we can do to support it is fantastic.
5. Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco, CA
Do I really need to say why I'd love to run this race? I've heard it's one of the best races for women in the country. Plus, SF is beautiful and it would be a great vacation spot. (although I'm not a fan of the race website. It's kind of annoying.)
6. Wine Country Half Marathon in Napa Valley, CA
Beautiful scenery and a wine & music festival at the finish line! Sounds great to me!
7. The Cooper River Bridge Run 10k in Charleston, SC
A beautiful and historical city, I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for Woody to go golfing, and beautiful scenery from the race course (or so I've read)!
8. Great Cow Harbor 10k in Northport, NY (Long Island)
Close to home and a great excuse to finally get out to Long Island. Apparently the scenery is great and the non-profit race supports the Special Olympics of Long Island. 

If you've traveled for a race, what is the best tip you can give to making it a successful trip? What race(s) would you love to travel for?
Workout Stats -
10mi bike
3x10 overhead tricep extensions
100 crunches
foam roller and crunches
90 minute Bikram Yoga class


just another Belle said...

I don't run so I'm no help there, but I'm from SC and plenty of my friends do the race in Charleston. forget golf, there is PLENTY to walk around and do there! there is the market, rainbow row, the BEACHES, so much shopping, amazing restaurants... the list goes on. plenty of historic landmarks and tours, too, if you're in to that. and you're only 1.5 hours from the state capitol (which was voted #2 in most beautiful state capitols!) which offers free tours. SO much history in both places if you're interested.

stopping by from SITS :)

Christy said...

I'm thinking about registering for the Philly Rock & Roll! You totally should! It's a short trek from NY!

Robyn said...

I've only run in NYC or the Jersey Shore but said my next half (if I do one) will be away. Yours are all great picks. A lot depends on time of year. New Orleans is great but could be so hot! I heard San Fran is tough with the hills. I know nothing about Michigan hehe and my co-worker is doing Napa in July and I'm so jealous!!

sarah said...

I ran the Healdsburg Half Marathon in Sonoma, Calif., and it was AMAZING and beautiful and I won a bottle of wine. All good stuff. It was my first destination race, and while it was a hassle, I'd do it over again in a heartbeat. I also think I had an advantage with the time zone switch.

The only thing to take into consideration is the $$ least for me. Healdsburg was $80 to enter, not including all the other costs of getting to California.

misszippy said...

Living in NYC you have so many great races right at hand. No wonder you haven't travelled! I have to say that the Napa race is on my list too. My friends and I are intending to get there one of these days for a race, wine and spa time!

shelby @ eatdrinkrun said...

Great list! I love mini-vacation races. :)

My biggest tip? If you're making a long weekend out of it, take the following Monday off so you can stay and play a little bit. Exploring a new locale on foot for a couple of days is a great way to loosen up your legs after a race. And of course being able to fully partake in the local cuisine/wine/whatever without having a race impending. :)

Jon said...

I did my first destination race in April down in New Orleans. The heat was a factor and something that you can't train for in NYC! Fortunately my body held up (barely!) but I would suggest getting to your destination a few days before to acclimate, and staying a few days afterwards to actually enjoy the destination. The pre-race stress took some of the enjoyment out of the mini vacation but I really enjoyed it after the race was over.

AM-GoalsfortheWeek! said...

No 5, the nike half is WORTH the travel for the race. it is the best half marathon! i would def put that one on your bucket race list;-)

happy wknd!

Julie said...

Hey Lisa! Thanks for stopping by Pickley Pear! I'll forgive the fact that you went to MSU (kidding, of course). I love finding Michigan bloggers (even if you don't live here now - btw, super jealous you live in NYC!).

I just started running about a year ago, as a challenge for myself. I started training in June and ran the Detroit Half Marathon in October '09. It was amazing. It's awesome because you run over the Ambassador Bridge to Windsor and back to Detroit thru the tunnel.

Jo Bennett said...

If you're planning to do Wine Country, get your entry in the day it's available, because it always sells out within weeks!
I have a goal of running a race in every state. I have a long way to go, but I have run races from Hawaii to Florida - I just have a lot of "filling in to do" in the middle of the country. (I live in CT).
One great destination race is the Country Music Half in Nashville. I know they've been hit by some awful rainfall, but hopefully all will be well for next spring's race.
One tip for you: check on the availability of portapotties. I had a bad experience at an otherwise nice half marathon in Starkville, MS in February. I lost at least five minutes because I had to duck into the woods to do my business!

Good luck!

Bridges Runner said...

I love destination running. I live for it. I'm going to San Diego in June and Colorado in August, have been to Oregon, Austria, and Houston too. My tips? Make a vacation out of it - it makes it that much more fun:)