Pondering A Destination Race

I’ve never done a destination race. When I first started running I signed up for the Virginia Beach Half Marathon, but work forced my first DNS and left me once bitten, twice shy about signing up for an out-of-town race. But over the past few years I’ve fallen in love with running in two distant cities: Chicago and New York. Am I smitten enough to do a destination race in one of these cites?

pondering a destination race
Last weekend I spent too much time reading recaps from the Chicago Marathon. I have no desire to run a marathon. I don’t. But ….  

I asked my friend if she’d run Chicago with me.
She said No!
Then she said, If we did it for fun, without caring about our pace …. 
Then I said, We’d have to do it that way–to enjoy the course. 
And then I said, I have a big birthday next year, you know ….

And so a crazy bucket list idea was born. It’s still in the “crazy” stage. If I could run Chicago without having to train for a marathon, I would be ready to commit. But I know that’s not how it works. I know that training for a marathon is that only way that running a marathon could possibly be enjoyable. And so, I’m debating. But I did check the Chicago Marathon website to put the lottery date on my calendar. 

Doing a half marathon in Chicago would be more realistic, but the courses for the two big half marathons (Chicagoland in May and Chicago in September) seem to follow the same route I run when I visit the city. It’s a great route, but I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle and expense of a destination race when work is bound to take me back anyway. Chicago runners, what do you think?

On the other hand, the course for the New York City Half Marathon in March may be just different enough from my Central Park loop to entice me. It starts in the park and includes most of the loop, but then continues south along the Hudson River and through Battery Park. The lottery is open–have you entered?

I’m not sure why I’ve finally been bitten by the destination race bug, but I think my experiences running in these cities on business trips have left me wanting more. 

Weekly Wrap

Weekly WrapSpeaking of business trips, I had a quick one last week. 
While the scenery on our drive through
Connecticut was lovely,
the only running I did was in the hotel gym.
Here’s my recap for the Weekly Wrap Link Up 
hosted by Holly–whose Chicago recap is so inspiring–and Tricia

Monday: 4.6 miles on the hotel gym treadmill. It was so warm I could barely stand it, but I stuck it out and got it done.

Hotel Gym Treadmill

Tuesday: 45 minute strength workout at home.

Wednesday: 60 minute Orange Theory Fitness class.

Thursday:  4.5 mile neighborhood run.

neighborhood run

It’s so dark!

Friday: 45 minute strength workout at home.

Saturday: 7 mile run in my new Gym Girl skirt from SkirtSports.

skirt sports

Sunday: 29 mile bike ride. We started out near Dulles and headed west through Leesburg in search of fall foliage. We weren’t too successful with that goal, but it was a lovely fall ride. 

cycling leesburg

The ride back was a breeze– mostly downhill all the way!

If you’ve run any of the Chicago half marathons (or another one I should check out) of the NYC Half, I’d love your input. If you have written a recap, feel free to drop a link in the comments. 

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53 Responses to Pondering A Destination Race

  1. Do you really want my opinion? Throw your name in the lottery for Chicago. If you get in, do it. It’s flat. There’s a ton of course support. I’ve run it 3 times, and I’d do it again….
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Running Into FallMy Profile

  2. Destination races are so much fun! NYC sounds fun and you could also do the Hershey half with us next year. Also looking at Ragnar in Napa next year-we have space (just saying!)
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…When Running Is Hard: 8 Ways To Regain Your MojoMy Profile

  3. Have you considered the Rock ‘n Roll half in Chicago? It’s in mid-July (usually), and is a scenic “private” tour of some of the city’s finest architecture. I have done 3 marathons, and am about to do my fourth…I constantly struggle with “running and enjoying the course” vs. “racing for a fast-as-possible finish.” I’m more of an enjoy-the-scenery kind of gal, and people don’t seem to always appreciate that aspect of doing a race…
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Not my #typical week…My Profile

  4. I have been inspired by all of the Chicago Marathon posts too – I always thought that would be a good one if I ever venture into 26.2 territory. Looking forward to seeing which race you choose!
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted…Weekly Wrap – Just a little tiredMy Profile

  5. I LOVE destination races! I can’t wait to hear what you decide. In two weeks, I’ll have more of an opinion of New York when I’ve completed the marathon. I think the half marathon there would be really cool. I personally love all of the Chicago races and would definitely recommend the marathon if you’re going to do just one. I’ve also had great experiences with the one in September (I’ve PR’ed at it, but it’s maybe not quite as scenic). So many choices. Whatever you settle on, I hope you’ll jump on the destination race train!
    Lindsay Loves Running recently posted…Sunday Runday: So Wrong It’s RightMy Profile

  6. OMG! Run the marathon. You’ll love it 🙂
    Courtney @ eat pray run dc recently posted…The Future of Eat Pray Run DCMy Profile

  7. Kimberly G says:

    I’ve done many destination races and they are really fun! It’s an awesome race to explore a new city and meet up with running buddies that live nearby!

    I ran the NYC Half this year. I think I’m in the minority but I didn’t care for it too much. The first half of the race is in Central Park, which is very pretty, and then you run 1-2 miles through Times Square but the 2nd half of the race was a little boring. It was also FREEZING when I ran the race so that didn’t help! lol

  8. Carla says:

    she shouts.
    and then adds APRIL 🙂
    Carla recently posted…3 Reasons I Swapped Coffee Breaks For Outside Time.My Profile

  9. Marcia says:

    The Chicago Marathon is an epic race. The tour of the city is fantastic. But yes, you’d have to train through the summer. Marathon training is a beast, said the girl who just finished her first week of taper. IMO the best half course of Chicago sights you haven’t seen is at RocknRoll Chi in July. But that’s often hot, although it wasn’t bad this year for once.
    Marcia recently posted…Punch That Ticket to Taper TownMy Profile

  10. Ivanna says:

    I have wanted to do one of the Disney races that’s the on;y destination race I’ve considered maybe I still will one day. How do you like OTF? I thought it was fun when I did it.
    Ivanna recently posted…How To Start a Personal Training BusinessMy Profile

  11. Debbie says:

    I’ve never run in Chicago or New York, but I’ve been fortunate to run some amazing destination races including Honolulu and Paris. Racecations are the best! I think you should do the Chicago Marathon…in for a penny, in for a pound. 🙂
    Debbie recently posted…Tram Road Challenge Recap and Anniversary Run!My Profile

  12. Christy says:

    I ran the NYC Half in 2011. I was living in New York so it wasn’t a destination race for me, but I think it’s the perfect race if you’re running just for fun. It was my first sub-2 half, but I worked really hard for it, as the course was really, really crowded in parts. This was before the lottery, so I’m not sure if that has changed. I will say that as a jaded former-New Yorker, there is no experience more magical than running down the middle of 7th avenue and having the streets to yourself! You run through some of the best parts of Time Square and it truly is an unbelievable experience!

    I’ve run several destination races: Chicago, Cowtown, Marine Corps (before I lived in DC), Richmond, Madrid, and I will say, it’s a great experience! I’ve never had to DNS because of an injury, but if you go somewhere fun and end up having to back out, you can still enjoy your weekend!

  13. Destination races are so fun! I recently just signed up for one and will be sharing about it soon. When I ran Chicago this month that was my first time there and I wish I could have spent more time. So much to see and so little time. Chicago is a great flat course. I think it definitely should be on everyone’s bucket list.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…How does the day run away?My Profile

  14. Elle says:

    I can’t help with your dilemma! Would love to hear more about Orange Theory though…. I walk by one several times a week!
    Elle recently posted…Quick Oatflour FlatbreadMy Profile

  15. Chaitali says:

    I’ve done some destination half’s and while the logistics can get complicated, they’re always fun. But I’ve been getting a lot of FOMO hearing about Chicago and NYC marathon from people too. I’m not even sure yet that I want to do a full marathon though but it’s certainly making me think about it 🙂
    Chaitali recently posted…Race 13.1 Baltimore – training week 8My Profile

  16. I don’t really want to train for a marathon but it truly is the only way to enjoy it. I will once again, God willing and the Creek don’t rise; fall to the lure of that major distance. I too got really close reading about all of the Chicago recaps! Plus there are great opportunities to meet blogger friends in Chicago! Thanks for joining us Coco!
    Tricia @ MissSippipiddlin recently posted…Weekly Wrap 64 Big Easy Fun New Orleans, LAMy Profile

  17. Karen says:

    Yes! I think especially if you know you just want to run and enjoy it, it will help tremendously in training! You are already so strong, it won’t be that bad until you check off the last few long runs. I don’t think anyone can say 18 or 20 miles is easy lol Since i have trained for one and I am not 100% healthy (Capsulitis) I used intervals for all my long runs, except my last twenty mile run. I only ran three days a week – the past 21 weeks 🙂 and I feel plenty strong! I hope you throw your name, it’ll be a fun adventure. I think it is awesome you have a friend to share it with 🙂

  18. I spectated Chicago Marathon this year and it was amazing – it had me itching to run it in the future. I was reading your post, thinking, oh I’ve never done a destination race, that would be fun. But duh, I ran the Princess Half at Disney a few years ago. Is it weird that I did think of that as a destination race? Disney is my second home <3

  19. I’m really hoping to do some racecations next year! ZOOMA Cape Cod was my first choice, but then that turned out to not be a race so it didn’t count! I have never raced in Chicago or NYC, but I would love to one day. I think either option sounds great!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Philly Marathon Training Week 12 RecapMy Profile

  20. I love destination races! Put your name in the hat- if you get in -well, there is your answer! 🙂
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Week 3 and I am ZOOMA ready!My Profile

  21. GiGi Eats says:

    A destination race would be the BEST! Seriously – you need to do it! Exploring a new place by foot is one of my favorite things to do, and if you made it into a race = hitting two birds with one stone!!! Doesn’t get much better than that! It will make the race go by so much faster too – but don’t get distracted by the sights! LOL!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Fixate On This RecipeMy Profile

  22. Jenn says:

    Fantastic workouts!

    I love destination races. It combines my love of running and travel into one perfect combination. It just can’t be beat. NYC and Chicago are two phenomenal cities. I haven’t raced in either one (yet), but I hope too, soon). NYC would be my first choice, in spite of the hills, because that’s my “home” city. Best of luck making the decision!
    Jenn recently posted…weekly wrap: 10.16 – 10.22 + rock ‘n’ roll savannah/space coast half training week 4My Profile

  23. The NYC Half was my first big race ever, so it has a special race in my heart. I say DO IT! hehe

  24. Toni says:

    I have run the NYC Half and it’s great but it can be really cold, the year I did it it was in the 20s………Looks like you had a great week, I am headed to NYC for the marathon in about a week and in January I am doing the key west half as a destination race with my girlfriends.
    Toni recently posted…Where I Run….Tampa, Florida #TCSNYCMarthonMy Profile

  25. It so easy to have FOMO, and I felt much of the same way as I followed along the weekend of the Chicago Marathon. I always told myself that I would never run a marathon, and now look what I’ve done…
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted…Wine and Dine Half Marathon Training Log – Week 4My Profile

  26. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe she said no! I’d be on board immediately… similarly, though – there’s no way I could do a whole marathon the way I do halves.

  27. Wow — 29 miles! I think my most so far is maybe 14. Way to go!

  28. HoHo Runs says:

    Another enabler. Do the Chicago or NYC marathon. Coco, you are a strong, fit woman who runs a spectacular 10 miler pace. You’d have absolutely no problem training to run one for pace, let alone one for “fun”. Yes, the summer training sucks. But — you’ll have a lot of people to commiserate with. 😉 Do just one, so you can say you did — and never wonder. Thanks for linking.

  29. I would love to run Chicago or NYC. The only destination race I’ve done is San Francisco from LA and it was really fun!
    Lindsay @ Fit & Awesome recently posted…goodnessknows is now Gluten-FreeMy Profile

  30. I am tossing my name in for Chicago 2017.
    The lottery is soon.
    Last year it was after the NYC lottery and this year it is 2.5 months before.
    Abby @BackatSquareZero recently posted…Wave Rider 20 Review – Mizuno RunningMy Profile

  31. A half in NYC sound great. I have found that having no sense of familiarity with an area or course is stressful for me. And there are so many half marathon courses in Chicago & NY, you should definitely go for it !
    Karen @ Fit in France recently posted…Staying saneMy Profile

  32. Steena says:

    You have to train for a marathon? What? I just prepped for back to back marathons in very little time. You have a base already. You can whip up a 13.1 no problem. All you need to do is slow your pace down & go longer. You don’t have to follow the 16 week training plan. If you want to talk minimal training, hit me up!
    Steena recently posted…Condensed Training and my Marathon GoalMy Profile

  33. Denise says:

    I love destination races. Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon is my favorite. I recently wrote a blog post about preparing for a destination race. Check it out @ http://runheartfit.net/half-marathon-plan-early-run-smooth/
    I would love to Chicago or NYC!
    Denise recently posted…Running Clothes: Time to Take Inventory: Do I really need 30 running shirts?My Profile

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