One of the biggest draws to running for me is the opportunity/excuse to travel and see new sights. Training for a destination race is the best way to incentivize yourself to stay motivated and working hard at the gym and on the road every day. It is also a great way to justify vacations and convince people at work that you have earned time off.
- Doug works with Betty. Doug makes more money than Betty because his Dad owns the company. Doug is a rude slob and his breath smells like dog shit. Doug goes on the same 2 week cruise every year and leaves all of his work in Betty’s lap. Doug is an asshole.
- Betty runs before work every morning. Betty is training to run the Berlin Marathon. The only thing Doug has ever run is the dishwasher and he found that exhausting. Betty will be going to Berlin for 2 weeks for the race. Betty is an inspiration.
Tips when planning a race-cation:
- Make sure you have ample time for post-race celebration & relaxation. Unfortunately, most races are on Sundays. Don’t plan on being at work on Monday. The vacation really starts once the race is over. You’ll be pre-occupied, physically & liquidly limited and otherwise lame before you toe the line. Afterwards, you may need ample recovery time before walking/standing becomes enjoyable again. You may also initially suffer from post-race chafe, exhaustion or sobriety and need some time to sit on your ass and drink wine before exploring.
- The more the merrier. Race-cations are much more fun with your running friends there to share the race experience, wait in line with you at the porta-potties and potentially wear matching outfits. A fan squad is also a must (just make sure they know that’s why you brought them or they’ll just sleep in instead). And if there’s any justice in this world, there should be witnesses there when you f**king murder the course.
- Pack heavy. Bring multiple of everything you need (gu, race meal ingredients, water bottles, outfits, sneakers…) and everything you probably don’t need (blocks of gouda, sunglasses for your hamster, a book of dinosaur species…), just to be on the safe side. I pack bags inside bags inside bags and bottles of wine inside those bags. And most importantly… don’t forget a corkscrew.
- Pick a destination that rocks your world – be it the wild west, another planet or a Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, a completely random adventure or a race near someone who lives somewhere cool, but whose personality is slightly lacking, so you would never go visit them otherwise. Then make sure to research the weather and terrain, so that you can train for it appropriately and pack the right outfit.
- Splurge on a good hotel that is close by the start, sounds relatively quite and probably doesn’t cater to hookers like yourself (oooohhhhh!!! Burnnnnn!). Nobody want to run a race on crap sleep. Check the reviews. Ex of a review you may want to avoid: “I gave this hotel 2 stars out of 5 because I wouldn’t step in the shower barefoot to save my life, I found an old chicken salad sandwich in the couch and the sheets smelled like they’d recently been the victim of severe intestinal distress. If it wasn’t for the nightclub below our room, I would have given it 3 stars. The sandwich was delicious.”
A much as I love a great destination race though, there is something to be said about using running to just get out, see and appreciate the sites in your own back yard or wherever life my take you throughout the year. Running new routes in your area and exploring the world in your immediate vicinity has a special way of slowing down time and making you feel really, truly alive. Some of my favorite places to run are not just beautiful, but have special meaning to me.
We all live near incredible beauty. All of us. Yes, even you West Virginians. Get out and enjoy it however, wherever, whenever & with whom ever you wish and are able.
Tap into your inner cheetah and go maul the zebra of life,