Runcations…fun, stressful, or just plain nuts? #PhoenixMarathon2016


Update 2/17/16 – 9 days out until the Phoenix Marathon! The excitement and the predicted heat index is building.  There is an expectation temperatures could reach 89 degrees on race day.  I’m in the process of selecting different clothing to wear during the event and debating if I will wear my Orange Mud HydraQuiver single barrel hydration vest.  All things to take into consideration when preparing for a runcation.  A little more work goes into packing for an event that requires travel, but worth the experience for such a cool adventure!  I cannot wait to get out to Arizona.

Previous post from 3 months ago:

Now that Fall running season has come to a close in Wisconsin it gives my running brain a chance to  wander and dream of all the possibilities in the coming months, so…what’s next?

Considering that we are days away from the snow starting to fly here in the Midwest, I’m intrigued by the concept of a “runcation” (vacation that incorporates a race).  If you have ever spent a few days in Wisconsin in the dead of Winter it will quickly become apparent that this is a cold location.  Now don’t get me wrong we are a tough breed and extremely proud of that fact.  As runners we tough out frigid temperatures, snow, ice, sleet…you name it and we will train through it, but the thought of warming up for a weekend race is quite alluring, but is traveling so far away for a race going to be fun, stressful, or just plain nuts?!?!?

Internet you are such an evil temptress..after a few hours of combing through all the races available I find myself drawn to the warmth of Arizona.  I adore Phoenix! As a current ASU graduate student I jump at any chance I can get to visit campus and touch base with my professors.  Add the opportunity to run in a marathon in a warm location – I’m in!  Phoenix Marathon 2016 here I come.

Just a few other factors (besides the weather & ASU) that helped to sway my decision to select this marathon:

  • Early start 6:30 am. This gives me time to enjoy the post-race party & have time to sight see after before flying home.
  • 1000 feet of net elevation loss. Could make for a potential PR.
  • Lots of sponsored hotels with transportation to the start of the race. Booking a hotel was a quick, easy process and the rates were not outrageous.
  • Parking spots available around the finish. Which makes my husband happy when he has to come pick me up.
  • Beautiful scenery along the course.
  • Every picture I have seen from 2015 people are smiling, laughing, and having a blast, plus there is music along the course. PARTY!
  • Registration cost were reasonable in comparison to other races I have entered this year and the swag is impressive.
  • 6 hour finish time. I typically run a 4:40, so this gives me plenty of time to complete the course in case something goes wrong.
  • Race charity partner Phoenix Marathon Foundation which aims to provide scholarship funds for high school runners in pursuit of higher education. As a high school teacher I LOVE this!
  • Phoenix5 – For the next 5 years participants in the full or half marathon can earn the bird and all 5 Cs (Copper, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus, & Climate) themed medals that all fit together.

I’m spoiled…most of my races I have the ability to drive to the location giving me the freedom to pack whatever I would like.  Now that I have to fly to Phoenix this opens up a whole host of questions and challenges. Packing to travel to a race with limited space in my suitcase is something that is new to me.  I get nervous before races and like to know that I have everything that I could possibly want or need.  That is not going to be an option for this runcation.  I am going to have to really be specific with what I pack.  This kind of stresses me out.

Here are a few tips that I found during my research to help me prep for this new adventure:

  • Plan ahead and test everything on training runs. Clothing, nutrition, shoes, ect.  Know what works for you so that are not left guessing before the race & struggle when packing.
  • When traveling with gels or liquid put them in a ziploc bag in case they leak.  You don’t want your clothing to be sticky and gross. Also if you are only taking a carry on check the ounces to make sure they fit with FAA regulations & include them in a clear quart bag for ease through security.
  • Charge music, watches, ect before you travel and make sure you pack chargers.  Having them ready to go prior to packing will ensure they work so you don’t find out race morning that there is a problem.
  • Bring a waterproof or large ziploc bag to put stinky running clothes in when you head home.
  • Check the weather forecast before selecting race day attire.

I’m sure there are many more tips out there to help make the most of a runcation.  Please feel free to comment below. I will continue to update this post to include them. Let the fun and training begin!


3 thoughts on “Runcations…fun, stressful, or just plain nuts? #PhoenixMarathon2016

  1. I love runcations! I live in Ottawa Canada and do most of my races here. But I have packed up the family so I could do half marathons in NYC, Vancouver, and – best of all – Prague, Czech Republic. My husband and I also headed to Philly so I could do a race there. And this past summer my husband, 2 kids and myself headed to the Canadian Maritimes for an orienteering holiday.
    My best advice – go with only the expectations of having a great time. I don’t make my traveling races “goal races” although surprisingly Vancouver ended up being a PB. I just look at these races as a fun way to see a new city and take in the racing atmosphere.
    Enjoy your runcation!


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