Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring Road trips

Trip #1- Virginia (4/24-4/28).  I've been here countless times but never raced here at any distance.  That changes on the last weekend in April when I tackle America's Toughest Road Half Marathon on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Roanoke.  The course is so ridiculous that I have no time goal at all.  It's purely a training run.  In fact, there are 2 mountains that are so long and steep that I anticipate doing some walking.  The first comes from about Mile 1.0-3.5 then it's sharply downhill until Mile 6.  There's another monster from about Mile 7-9.5 that's not quite as steep but just as long.  It's back down from there but I'm sure there will be a few rollers thrown it.  All told, it has nearly 1,900 feet of climbs and 3,800 feet of total elevation changes.  Ouch!

 I chose this race for 3 reasons.  First, it's a manageable drive for my parents so I'll get to see them.  Second, it's really the only option in Virginia (State #19) for me that is can be driven.  It's about 8 hours from Birmingham so a race in Virginia Beach, DC or even Richmond would be a flight.  Third, I know that I am in no condition to run a fast time so why not just do a fun run?  Louisville, Kentucky has a race the previous week that is also on my list to do but it is a PR chance and I want to save it for when I am in top shape.  I do have the option to downgrade to the 10K if I really feel awful but I'd prefer not to do that.  I want my Virginia 10K to be the Richmond Monument Ave. which is a mega race similar to Peachtree but on a faster course with better weather.

Road Trip plan:
-leave work early on 4/24 and drive part way.  I'll probably be somewhere between Chattanooga and Knoxville then it will be a fairly easy drive the next day.
-After the race on 4/26, we are going to Lynchburg and Appomattox then Charlottesville.
-I'll take 2 days getting back and this time, I'll drive through Greensboro-Charlotte-Greenville on my way home.

Trip #2- Destination Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The Blue Nose Half Marathon is just an excuse to go.  I have always wanted to see the Atlantic Provinces of Canada.  The race course is not as tough as Roanoke but it is not a PR course either and has a killer hill in Mile 11.  Still, I hope to be in decent shape by then and want at least a respectable time (mid-high 1:30s)
Here's the plan:
5/15- I'll have to get up super early but it was the best available flight.  I'll land in Bangor, Maine at 3:38 PM after a connection in LaGuardia.  I thought about driving to Canada that evening but decided against it.  After 2 flights, I will be very tired.  Also, it will take time to get the rental car and I'll want a decent dinner.  There's nothing in between Bangor and the border town so I'll just spend the night in Bangor.  I have been to Maine before on a 2005 road trip but Portland was as far as I got.

5/16- The only downside to staying in Bangor is that the next day's drive could be tough.  The plan is to get to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, which is just over 6 hours away.  It's 2 hours to the border and I don't anticipate any major delays then about 1 more hour to St. John, New Brunswick.  I figure that will be a good lunch stop.  I'll also pass through Moncton before I reach the Confederation Bridge into PEI.  When I get to Charlottetown, I will treat myself to a seafood dinner and a brief night on the town.  It will be a very scenic route through lake country in rural Maine, the Bay of Fundy area in New Brunswick and I hear that PEI is beautiful as well.

5/17- If I get into Charlottetown later than expected, it's okay because I can take the morning to do a bit more touring.  It's only 3-3.5 hours to Halifax from there.  I want this day to be fairly relaxing.  I'll go to the expo and maybe check out a park.

5/18-Race day and drive back to the USA border going the alternate way through Fredericton (5.5 hours).

5/19- Easy 2 hour drive from Houlton, Maine back down to Bangor.  My flight does not leave until 4 PM so I have plenty of time.

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