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May 24, 2012 / fionarwbl

My Race Trigger Finger Is Very Itchy

Something is bothering me. A lot.

For the last three weeks I’ve read endless race and relay recaps. People hitting huge PRs at Eugene. People having the race of their life at SoCal Ragnar. People Reaching The Beach.

I want to race, dammit. And I don’t have any races on my calendar that I’m excited about between now and November (ING NYC Marathon, see you there). I want to prove that I can run a half marathon in less than 1:50hrs. And yes, I could run my own beat-the-Garmin race anytime I want, but it’s not the same. There’s got to be a horn at the start, a d-tag on my shoe, and a timing mat at the end. It’s got to be official.

It turns out that most people do not want to race during the summer, because of the whole heat thing. New York half marathons are few and far between. And, to be honest, I want a change. I want to go somewhere new. I want to run fast, I want to run flat, and I want to run along the water.

All signs point to the West Coast, right?

Of course, flying 6hrs to run in a race is not a decision I take lightly. There’s no money tree in my backyard. My vacation time is measured to the hour. So, firstly, I have to find a race that I’m so, so sure is right for me, and secondly, I have to convince people to come with me. And by people, I mean my husband. Although if anyone else wants to come along as well, the more the merrier.

Criteria:

  1. The race has to be later than June 30th. I need to actually have time to train for this mofo. Yes, I’m getting aggressive here.
  2. Half-marathon please. No other distances need apply.
  3. Oceans, boardwalks, and other pretty scenery are very much encouraged.
  4. I’d like to reiterate the scenery again, for the record.
  5. Skipping hills, thanks. This race is about the PR.
  6. Surrounding location must be vacation-worthy. If I’m going to spend money on flights, hotels, and shuttles to race starts, I’d like it to be somewhere where I’d actually want to hang out.
  7. Near a major airport. 17 connections with Spirit Airlines ain’t gonna cut it.

Non-Criteria:

  1. Race size. I really don’t care if there are only 250 people running this. Actually, that might mean I can be a top 100 finisher.
  2. T Shirt, medals, etc. Another post, but what do people really do with race shirts, and, for that matter, medals?

What races have I found that measure up?

1. Salinas Valley Half Marathon – 8/4

Celebrate the beauty of the Salinas Valley while experiencing the influence of cool coastal air from the Monterey Bay along our rolling 13.1 mile course.

Pros: Wine Country. Wine. Good date.

Cons: Do you see the word rolling?

2. Summer Breeze Half Marathon, San Leandro, CA – 8/4

Whether you are a frequent race winner or a first-time runner/walker, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. All participants will enjoy a mostly-flat, easy bayside trail that rarely strays more than a few feet from water. The absence of hills makes these courses perfect for those looking to set a personal record as well as those those participating in their first race or first attempt at a longer distance!

Pros: Fast. Flat.

Cons: Where is San Leandro?

3. America’s Finest City Half Marathon, San Diego – 8/19

The Half Marathon begins at historic Cabrillo National Monument, with its majestic view of both San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, follows scenic San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the Embarcadero to The Star of India, winds through downtown San Diego, and ends in beautiful Balboa Park in front of the Hall of Champions.

Pros: Awesome course. San Diego is kinda nice.

Cons: Not really any desire to go to San Diego.

4. The Foot Traffic Flat, Portland – 7/4

The “Flat,” as we affectionately call it, has become a Fourth of July tradition around Portland. The course, as the name implies, is about the flattest and fastest half and full marathon on the West Coast.

But in addition to the fast times expected from completing this event, runners and walkers will be treated to the beautiful sights of Sauvie Island, including thousands of songbirds, majestic bald eagles, and picturesque farmland that most of the island residents subsist off of.

 Oh yeah, don’t forget the island-fresh strawberry shortcake! Not only is it scrumptious, but the islanders themselves serve it to you. Be sure to thank them and shake these wonderful people’s hands!

Pros: Portland, fast, flat, strawberry shortcake.

Cons: 4th July weekend. Would have to fly a red-eye back to work and take a day off.

5. Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon, Dundee Hills, OR – 8/15

Combine your passion for running and love of fine wine in one event! The spectacular and challenging course will take you past some of the most acclaimed wineries in Oregon, winding through pristine vineyards and providing a breathtaking view from the top of the Dundee Hills. And you can imagine the after-party – wear your race medal and shirt proudly as you sip and savor some of Oregon’s finest wines with friends and family.

Pros:Pretty course. Wine.

Cons: Challenging course!

6. Haulin Aspen, Bend, OR – 8/5

Entering our eighth year, Haulin’ Aspen is a spectacular race with a great mix of fast single track, open jeep trails, cool valleys and amazing views. Head out into the Deschutes Forest, climb into the Juniper and Ponderosa Pine trees and finish under the aspens in Shevlin Park.

Pros: Spectacular course. Fun running.

Cons: Challenging. Big changes in elevation.

7. Eugene Women’s Half Marathon, OR  – 8/26

Ladies (and Gentlemen if they wish) will be treated to an outstanding Eugene course that starts downtown, runs along 10+ miles of river trails and finishes at the 5th Street Market. Participants can expect a race unlike other typical road races. Unrivaled swag bags, a spa finish line experience, delicious Ghirardelli chocolate, bubbly champagne – what more could a girl want?

Pros: Birthday race! (day before). Fast Course. Pampering.

Cons: Not sure if I am into pampering… Maybe girl’s weekend?

8. Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, Willamette Valley, OR, 9/2

Experience the friendly charm of the Willamette Valley when the weather is ideal and the vineyards are full of color and life. This bucolic course meanders through the heart of this world class wine region in Yamhill County, beginning at magnificent Stoller Winery and finishing in the town of Carlton for the popular post-race Wine & Music Festival.  The Willamette Valley is recognized as one of the finest Pinot Noir producing regions in the world and is home to over 200 wineries. Less than an hour south of Portland this area is dotted with small towns, orchards, Christmas tree farms, vineyards and ranches. Join runners from all over for this world-class wine and food themed destination running event.  Come for the run, stay for the fun!

Pros: Beautiful course. Wine.

Cons: Late in the season. Labor Day Weekend.

So many choices! Have you run any of these? Are there other races I should be keeping an eye out for? What is your summer racing schedule looking like?

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Entering our eighth year, Haulin’ Aspen is a spectacular race with a great mix of fast single track, open jeep trails, cool valleys and amazing views. Head out into the Deschutes Forest, climb into the Juniper and Ponderosa Pine trees and finish under the aspens in Shevlin Park.he Half Marathon begins at historic Cabrillo National Monument, with its majestic view of both San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, follows scenic San Diego Bay and Harbor Island along the Embarcadero to The Star of India, winds through downtown San Diego, and ends in beautiful Balboa Park in front of the Hall of Champions. Whether you are a frequent race winner or a first-time runner/walker, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. All participants will enjoy a mostly-flat, easy bayside trail that rarely strays more than a few feet from water. The absence of hills makes these courses perfect for those looking to set a personal record as well as those those participating in their first race or first attempt at a longer distance! Whether you are a frequent race winner or a first-time runner/walker, you’ve got a lot to look forward to. All participants will enjoy a mostly-flat, easy bayside trail that rarely strays more than a few feet from water. The absence of hills makes these courses perfect for those looking to set a personal record as well as those those participating in their first race or first attempt at a longer distance! Something is bothering me. A lot.

For the last three weeks I’ve read endless race and relay recaps. People hitting huge PRs at Eugene. People having the race of their life at SoCal Ragnar. People Reaching The Beach.

I want to race, dammit. And I don’t have any races on my calendar that I’m excited about between now and November (ING NYC Marathon, see you there). I want to prove that I can run a half marathon in less than 1:50hrs. And yes, I could run my own beat-the-Garmin race anytime I want, but it’s not the same. There’s got to be a horn at the start, a d-tag on my shoe, and a timing mat at the end. It’s got to be official.

It turns out that most people do not want to race during the summer, because of the whole heat thing. New York half marathons are few and far between. And, to be honest, I want a change. I want to go somewhere new. I want to run fast, I want to run flat, and I want to run along the water.

All signs point to the West Coast, right?

Of course, flying 6hrs to run in a race is not a decision I take lightly. There’s no money tree in my backyard. My vacation time is measured to the hour. So, firstly, I have to find a race that I’m so, so sure is right for me, and secondly, I have to convince people to come with me. And by people, I mean my husband. Although if anyone else wants to come along as well, the more the merrier.

Criteria:

1.       The race has to be later than June 30th. I need to actually have time to train for this mofo. Yes, I’m getting aggressive here.

2.       Half-marathon please. No other distances need apply.

3.       Oceans, boardwalks, and other pretty scenery are very much encouraged.

4.       I’d like to reiterate the scenery again, for the record.

5.       Skipping hills, thanks. This race is about the PR.

6.       Surrounding location must be vacation-worthy. If I’m going to spend money on flights, hotels, and shuttles to race starts, I’d like it to be somewhere where I’d actually want to hang out.

7.       Near a major airport. 17 connections with Spirit Airlines ain’t gonna cut it.

Non-Criteria:

1.       Race size. I really don’t care if there are only 250 people running this. Actually, that might mean I can be a top 100 finisher.

2.       T Shirt, medals, etc. Another post, but what do people really do with race shirts, and, for that matter, medals?

What races have I found that measure up?

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