Thursday, November 17, 2011

Racecations: Where in the world are you running?

When I first started running and wanted to run my first half marathon I figured out approx. how long it would take to train and then googled, "NJ half marathon" and stumbled upon the Jersey Shore half marathon.

Close to my house. The right amount of time to train. Great. Sign me up.

Along this journey I've come to realize that half the fun of this marathon/half marathon running thing is the whole other side of it. Some of you know what I'm talking about. The racecation.

For those of you new to the game let me give you the definition (that I just made up.)

racecation [race-key-shuhn
a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity,used for running while at a destination that includes travel away from home and hotel stay: The running guy from Jersey traveled to race RNR Las vegas on racecation to try to qualify for Boston.

I took a racecation for my first full marathon and met up with Lesley from Racing It Off where we ran the San Diego RNR marathon together. (And when I say together, I mean Lesley ran it and then patiently waited around a few extra hours for me to finish… but that's a different story.)   :)

There are so many cool racecations to take and so little time! Disney - the happiest place on earth, Paris where you can carb load on croissants and crepes and refuel on steak frites, and even The Great Wall of China. To name a few.

If cruising is your thing,  you can even sail your way right to a Caribbean marathon!

There are great destination races everywhere.

There was a time that all I wanted to do on vacation was eat, sleep and do a little sightseeing - now I want to run! (well a little eating and sleeping would be good too.)

There are a few things to note about racecations:

* Scope out and book hotels early - you do not want to book your marathon, train, get excited, only to be spending your racecation in some crappy motel 50 miles away. When booking hotels get the details on start line/finish line/parking - these things all matter.

* Most races start early. Plan your fuel. Do not go on racecation thinking you're going to wing it. If you're used to a certain breakfast, your race morning is not the day to switch it up. Make sure you have access to food, it could be a disaster to have to prefuel on a bag of skittles and funyons because the only food access you have is the vending machine in the hall. If you're a coffee drinker per-race, make a plan to get your coffee. I had to scramble in San Diego because the hotel coffee bar didn't open that early. I wound up making a cruddy cup in the room.

* Make a checklist and double check it when packing: from sneaks to tunes to sports beans and hydration systems you do not want to forget your must haves at home. I would recommend taking all race day essentials on as a carry-on if you are flying. You don't want to spend the day before your race in tears because your running shoes are lost in space.

* Make sure you know packet pick up details. When is the expo? Do you have to pick up your materials the day before - what happens if you miss the expo? Plan this out because if you don't have your bib, you might not be able to run.

* Consider going out a few days before if there is a time change, climate change or altitude difference. Some people need a few days to acclimate and some do better if they just hit the ground running.

So, what is your dream destination or where is the coolest place you've ever raced? Do you have any tales from the road or tips to future racecationers?


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