Friday, December 05, 2008

Road Races: Local vs. Trips

Last Sunday, I asked George his thoughts about going with me to Virginia Beach next Labor Day weekend for the Virginia Beack Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. I asked so early because I'd gotten an email saying they were allowing $30 off the registration fee through Nov. 30. He said it was up to me whether or not to go ahead and sign up, but that he didn't know if he wanted to spend Labor Day weekend in Virginia Beach.

That's had me thinking about road races and travel, and how it impacts my budget, our vacation time, and my training time. Truth of the matter is that I'm still a back-of-the-packer, in all the distances I've raced so far. So, is it a good investment for me to travel somewhere overnight just to run in a race where I'll be in the last 5-10% of finishers? It depends on how interesting the location is, whether or not George's being there is important to me (local races not so much, but I'd want his companionship on a weekend getaway), how much money and time it would take to travel and stay somewhere comfortably, and how I'd expect to do.

In the big scheme of things, where would I love to travel to to compete in a race? The New York City and Boston Marathons come to mind, as do Disney World's full and half marathons. Otherwise, perhaps I need to focus my attention on being a better runner first. At 45, I'll never win any races, but would love to be an age group placer in time. There are a respectable number of races within driving distance of where I live, though I wish there were more 10Ks half marathons around.

I'm thinking about starting a budget line item (or maybe a money jar) for race travels, and see how the money adds up. Meanwhile, after December's festive 5Ks, I plan to start my Saturday long runs again in preparation for the Coach Bubba 20K in February. The Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon is scheduled for March, but online registration isn't available yet. We'll see how the winter/spring schedule shapes up, and decide on the Virginia Beach trip a little later. Maybe I'll save up for Disney instead!


El said...

My goal is the Vegas marathon. It started with a rumor I read somewhere that it's mostly flat and even downhill at parts (magic!), as well as my thoughts that I might only run one marathon-- so I have to make sure it's a fun one. After reading more and more I'm even more excited though, Elvises! Run through wedding chapel! I think if the location is somewhere that appeals to you then it's perfectly sensible to travel for a race. Heck it might even improve your time to be running somewhere new and exciting!

Lesley said...

LOL, you have have a good point about feeling zippier when running somewhere new and exciting! I remember the first time I ran on the American Tobacco Trail, the 13 miles wasn't as bad as I expected, in part because I loved the newness of the scenery. (It didn't hurt that it's a flat course to boot!)

Hmm, Vegas sounds like fun! :)

Anonymous said...

I would highly recommend the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach over the Disney Half. If you have not experienced a Rock 'n' Roll event yet you need to. If you have already gone, you understand why this is the better pick.

The race in Virginia Beach is the most organized race I have ever participated in. The course is flat, pretty, and finishes on the boardwalk on the beach! They have bands ever mile, tons of entertaining cheering teams, and neighborhoods who decorate their blocks with different themes.

When you finish you get a free beer on the beach with great live music playing!

Every runner gets into a headliner concert that night too! This year The B-52s played! I heard they had Journey play a few years ago. I can't wait to hear who is playing this year.

As for travel expenses, I booked my flight on Southwest, who usually had pretty reasonable flights. I found staying in Virginia Beach to be surprisingly affordable. I did not need to rent a car bc you can walk everywhere or you can take the free trolley rides they have up and down the main strip. There are a lot of reasonable restaurants in the area and ON THE BEACH!

If you are looking to make a fun weekend out of running a race you should definitely go for the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon! Disney is not as organized or as entertaining. I felt a stressed out in Disney and ran terrible. At The Rock ‘n’ Roll event I felt relaxed and therefore ran a great time and enjoyed every second of it.

I ran Vegas this last weekend. The first 5K were great-- running down the strip. The course was quiet at times and not very scenic, but I heard that next year it is going to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Event!! I will definitely be heading back to Sin City again next December to run it again.


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