What could possibly make any vacation any better than escaping the everyday monotony of our daily lives? One word…..runcation! A runcation is a destination race or simpler yet a race while on vacation.
Now I know what some of you are thinking – a vacation is supposed to be a time of relaxation with maybe some day excursions and lots of indulgences. I, too, enjoy this aspect of vacation, but hear me out for a minute or two.
Picking a destination race for your next getaway is a great way to stay motivated through what sometimes feels like never ending training. I often find races in locations I’ve never visited before and that may not even be on my radar as the typical vacation spot, which only adds to the adventure part of the equation.
“Taking time off work only happens when there’s a race to travel to. It’s called a runcation.” – Ragnar Relay Series
2013 Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon Relay – September 29, 2013
September in Providence, Rhode Island is like being thrust into picturesque New England town. Unfortunately, Providence no longer hosts the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series, but if you ever have the chance to visit whether for a race or not, it is definitely worth the trip.
I ran this event as a relay, running the first leg of the race and approximately six miles. The hills were a little challenging since I live on the east coast where it is very flat. However, the scenery was beautiful, the weather was cool and crisp, and the on-site entertainment was on point. At the relay transition point I was happy to tun over the baton and catch the bus back to the start/finish line to cheer on my partner.
Spring through fall, downtown Providence has a WaterFire event that is spectacular. WaterFire is an art installation that includes approximately 100 bonfires perched along the three rivers and is accompanied with music and live performers. There are also many self-guided historic walking tours, as well as, gondola rides.
2013 Nashville Color Run – October 5, 2013 in Nashville, TN
The Color Run is an entirely different type of running event. This was the first color run I had ever run and it was an experience for sure. The run is a 5k (3.1 miles) and at several points along the run you pass through areas where volunteers throw colored powder all over you. This race is strictly for the happiness of running and the after party! Don’t expect to score a PR on this run as the color areas become bottle-necked, but it truly is a fun race. This running series is hosted in many cities across the country and as a non-profit organization, they donate money to local charities along the way. Side note – if you do one of these races be sure to bring a change of clothes and/or towels to protect the seats in your car.
2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Phoenix Half Marathon Relay – January 19, 2014
Winter racing can be a bit tricky because you know, winter…. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Phoenix race is a great January race since the average temperature in Phoenix is 68F/45F (high/low). I ran the second leg of the race which gave me the satisfaction of crossing the finish line, but left me hanging around at the transition point for a little over an hour. This time allowed me to research things to do over the next few days.
There is plenty of desert hiking and I was able to make a day trip to Sedona which is highly recommended. Sedona has beautiful red-rock scenery and a thriving art community.
According to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series website, the race is now held in Tempe, Arizona. Despite the venue change since my race, Arizona in January is magical and the weather is fantastic in my opinion.
2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Vegas 5k – November 11, 2017
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series organizes a great race along the Vegas Strip as a night race. This race is the only event that closes the Vegas Strip. I originally registered for the half marathon but due to an ankle injury earlier in the year I had to downgrade my race to the 5k. This was my first visit to Vegas and it was amazing! There is so much to see and do – I simply ran out of time and will have to return to continue my adventures. If you are looking for a fun destination race with lots of entertainment and outdoor activities, I highly recommend this race. This race is now held in February and it sells out quickly, so plan ahead and register early.
2018 Run Oak Island Half Marathon – February 17, 2018
This race takes place in Oak Island, North Carolina as a part of the Big Ass Medal Race Series organized by Coastal Race Productions. Oak Island is a quaint town located in southeastern North Carolina. This race was relatively flat with one bridge crossing, which we ran over and then back so maybe consider it two bridge crossings. This ended up being a tough day for me as my training leading up to the last two weeks or so was almost nonexistent because I caught bronchitis. Despite being sick, I made the best of race day and finished within my adjusted goal of three hours and earned this big ass medal!
2018 Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon Relay – April 8, 2018
At this point of my 2017-2018 training, I was in a groove and decided to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon Relay with my good friend Kelli. I ran the first leg and handed over our bib about halfway through and then waited for her at the finish line to celebrate. It was a cold day for the race but since we were doing the relay I could wait at the start line with my coat and then hand it off to Kelli at the start. Approximately 2 miles into the race I started have issues with my legs and had to start taking walk breaks. I texted Kelli to give her a heads up that I would be at the transition point at little later than initially planned. We were just running for fun so she told me to take my time and enjoy the environment. There were lots of rolling hills and adorable neighborhoods that we ran through. Around mile 5 I actually got a video of a blind man passing me! All in all we had a nice weekend getaway. I currently don’t see the Raleigh, North Carolina race listed on the Rock n Roll Running Series website so I’m not sure if there are plans to host it there again in the future.
As I recollect these past runcations, I look forward to future races for the fall of 2021 and planning more destinations for 2022. Stayed tuned…..