As you may know by now, I am signed up for my first full marathon to commence next April in Big Sur, California. What you may not know is that I've also signed up for the Sugarloaf Marathon in May, just 3 weeks later, in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Honestly I have no idea if I will be able to do both, but I fully expect to be trained to do it by that point. I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to join Lynn in her 100th marathon. Wow, 100 marathons! It's quite staggering to consider the amount of miles Lynn has run up to this point. It will be a fantastic group trip. Several of us are in for the full & a few are signing up for the 15K. If you want to join us, sign up soon. This race fills up fast!
Fueling this marathon fever even further, I am planning to run in the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K and USATF 5K Championships in New York City on November 4. This race happens the day prior to the New York City Marathon. This is the shakeout run that many of the Olympians and elite athletes do the day before the race. I've never been more excited to run a 5K than I am for this one. How cool, to "run" with the Olympians! I also plan to volunteer at the NYC Marathon Expo and of course see the race in action since I will be there. Who knows, maybe I will want to run the full marathon in NYC next year too! The best part of the 5K (besides the Olympians) is the fact that the finish line is the same one as the marathon. So I only have to run 3.1 miles to cross the line!
Proof is in our picture, this was taken on Sept 9 just before the start of our race. Check out our jackets! I kept mine on until around mile 2. 50's-60's is really ideal running weather for me anyways ;-)
If you are staying here and want to cool off, Lynn has gotten us hooked on ice water stops throughout our long runs. If you plan ahead this is a great way to keep cool for distance running. Lynn suggests putting your water jugs into the freezer around 8:30 or 9 pm the night before. If possible have ice water available every 3 miles or so. We like to pour it down our backs or on our heads. Yes you may shriek because its freezing, but it's really the best & fastest way to cool the core temperature down. Here's to hoping cooler temps are on the way for us sooner rather than later!
For those who know this race, you may be wondering how I got in so quickly. It's typically a lottery drawing to get into this race. Well what I learned is if you read through everything in detail, there are ways to get in guaranteed if you play your cards right. I registered through Runner's World as part of their VIP program. It's slightly more expensive than the already outrageous cost of this race, but the value far exceeds the money they charge. They offer lots of perks, like free training, special access for VIPs, extra goodies, etc. If you are interested in joining me, check out the registration site here for the VIP entry. You'll be hearing lots more from me to come as we get closer in. Now Lynn says I just have to make 13 miles my "easy run." Haha, that should be fun, but it seems I must've had this in mind already. I have 3 half's coming up starting in September-Nov (who knows it may even end up being 4). So by the time I get through all of those, it should be easy right?! :-D
I said early on, my goal is to run every race VR has on their list. The list is still growing, so it may take me a while to complete, but if I do one a year I think I can get there. It's such a great way to experience the beauty of our national parks. The races often take place just outside the park perimeters. VR also does a lot to encourage runners to participate in hikes in the area.
Smoky Mountains Half Marathon is one that I've looked at a number of times. It's coming up on September 9, 2017. This could be an easy road trip up. I've also scoped out a number of great rental cabins in the area starting at $99 a night. If you've never done a Vacation Races race, this would be a great intro. On Raceraves.com, this race has a score of 4.8 out of 5 from 30 reviews. If I haven't sold you yet, be sure to check out this video from the VR team. It's from a few years ago, but still great. This year will be it's 6th year in the Smokies.
If you join me, you can add one of these beauties to your medal collection. Let me know if you are interested!
It all started with a simple Facebook ad about an upcoming half marathon through Rocky Mountain National Park. That is when my running journey began (again). RMNP is simply one of the most breathtaking parks I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. I thought to myself what an awesome way to experience it from a whole new perspective on foot!
I met Lynn Gray in January of 2015 and the rest is history. She helped me train for my first half marathon that would take place in August of 2015 in the Rockies. Prior to meeting Lynn I was coming off a long hiatus of running from a stress fracture injury and my longest run was a 5K, so I was essentially starting over from square one. Needless to say Lynn stood by me and helped me to discover how to push myself further than I could have ever imagined was possible. I completed that half marathon, which many say is likely one of the hardest races anyone could choose (especially for their first & for being from Florida).
Ever since, I've continued to seek out new destinations to continue the journey. There is no better way to truly experience a destination than to run through it. Little did I know when this all started it would become one of the greatest joys of my life.
I am excited to now have the opportunity to share this passion with you, my fellow TTFS club members. I plan to keep this site updated with monthly activities for half marathons that are destination oriented. Some may be far, far away and others might be right here in Florida. Don't forget we are fortunate to live in a place many travel to as their destination of choice!
Lynn Gray is an RRCA Coach and runs the TTFS Club in the Tampa Bay area. I am fortunate to be part of this club & am now the acting Travel Director who will be helping to coordinate destination races for the group. For more information on Lynn's programs be sure to check out her site!