What is your favorite Fall Marathon?

As the Summer scorches on heading into July, my thoughts are on Fall racing.  I think many of us train hard during the Summer months in hopes of at least one awesome race in the Fall.

I love race planning.  Planning though, for runners, often is months in advance of a race.  My Fall schedule is already in place and includes several first time races, and some old favorites.  It gets the heart pumping just thinking about toeing the line at some of my choices this Fall.  Big Cottonwood Marathon in September, Chicago Marathon in October, City of Oaks in November.  I have a great line up.

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I recently looked up some info on the best Fall marathons, and I have to tell you, there are some amazing races to run.  A few that made the list of the top 15 Fall marathons are- Anthem Richmond, Chicago, Steamtown, Jackson Hole, NYC, and Las Vegas.  The only race on the list that I have run is Rock ~n~ Roll Las Vegas.

My question for you today is this…..  Do you have a favorite Fall Marathon or race that is a must run?  I ask because it’s never too early to start planning.  My race calendar is full this Fall, but I need a few suggestions to start looking at for next year.  Which ones are your favorites?

Upcoming Hallowed Half Race

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This coming Sunday I will be running a really cool event.  This event began last year, in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  This years race promises more themed race swag, a very cool medal, and plenty of spooks and scares on the greenway portion of the Half Marathon route.

Have you ever run a Halloween themed race?  Last year was my first, but it was very enjoyable, so much so, that I have to return for the challenge again.  This race course is no joke either, it has plenty of its own scares even without the costumed volunteers that will be out on the course ready to creep you out.  I was suffering PF last year during this race, and this year I am not, so maybe the hills won’t seem as difficult.  Well, from what I remember, it will be tough regardless.

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These images are from the race last year.  The haunted greenway will give you chills and thrills, as you run through the most fun part of the course.  The volunteers really got into it!  As you can see!

Last year I ran the race in 1:44:49, which was good enough for an overall finish in 25th place.  I placed 6th in my age group.  I ran injured last year, so I hope to do at least marginally better this Sunday.  Knowing what to expect this year may also be to my advantage.  I know where the tough sections are, and can plan my pacing strategy better.  I hope the event is more widely known about this time around.  Last year the Half only had 136 finishers.  It really is a great race, so I hope there is a bigger turn out this year.

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The weather forecast is a bit daunting.  When I arrive in Wake Forest on race morning, in the dark, the temperature is supposed to be around 40 degrees.  Brrrrr…. time to get used to running in the cold again.  I have to break out the arm sleeves, and warmup suit for prior to the race.

Are you participating in any Halloween themed races this year?  I’ve heard about so many fun ones.  I will post a recap of the event with pictures of the medal, shirt and more next week after the race.  Have a great week, and Happy Halloween racing!Image

Forecasting the Race

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I think that Fall is possibly the best time of year to run in North Carolina.  Over the past week we have certainly started feeling the effects of cooler days.  The Sun is setting earlier, making running in the early to late evening much more enjoyable.  The mornings are even better yet.  With the cool downs overnight, the mornings have just been fantastic this past week.  It’s actually begun a little early for my area, but I am not complaining.

I stepped out of my normal comfort zone yesterday and actually got up early to run before work.  Don’t get me wrong, I usually run most days, but normally do not set an alarm, and get out as early as I did yesterday.  With temperatures in the low to mid 50’s when I got up, it was just the perfect run.  As I head into the final days leading up to the next three weekends of racing, my mileage is down for taper.  I ran 4 miles yesterday.  I ran on a nice hilly loop around the area that I live.  My lungs thoroughly enjoyed the crisp morning.  I was able to push out an 8:28 pace.  Not bad considering the hills I run on.  In fact, several runs I have taken lately have been a lot speedier than my run over the Summer.  In addition to not feeling as drained post-run, it is just such a refreshing change.

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In this part of NC, the leaves will not be changing anytime soon, but the temps are approaching runner perfection!  My paces over the past two weeks range anywhere from a low of 8:21 for a 5k hill run, up to a 9:04 for my 18 miler, on a very hot and humid day.  Looking at the forecast for the next week, I have a pretty good idea what I will be up against for this Saturday’s Half Marathon.  The low overnight before the race is supposed to be 62.  Ok, not low 50’s, but we can’t have it all, right?  The high that day 83.  We will be finished racing long before the temps get too warm.

The weather in the mountains, approximately a four hour drive west of where I live, is often times much cooler than it is here.  The 10 day forecast in the Asheville area only stretches until the day I arrive there on the 27th.  The race is the 28th, but as it looks right now, the low is 53 that day, and the high is 73.  Plenty of sunshine, too!  I can handle that forecast, for sure.  It looks like it will be a nice chilly race start, and a gradual warm up.  My last Marathon in April was a perfect day weather wise.  The start was very cold, with not a cloud in the sky.  After a mile however, I never felt too cold, or too hot during the race.  That is the kind of weather you want.  Hoping for the same in Asheville.

Since we are staying in the area for the long weekend, I am hoping to see a little bit of Fall color in the mountains.  Asheville, Boone, Blowing Rock areas are all just beautiful in the Fall.  It’s a great place to be, in the North Carolina mountains during the Fall season, and I hope it will be equally great to run there as well.

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Here’s hoping for some really pretty scenery on our trip, and on my 26.2 mile journey in Asheville.  I hope you enjoy getting out there during this great time of year to run, as much as I do.  Cheers!