The Fall destination race is the Duke City half marathon in Albuquerque, New Mexico. My reason for this choice is to celebrate my friend Micki's accomplishment of finishing a full marathon in all 50 states. This will be State #32 for me. As for the other travel, this is a Crazy J trip so it will be adventurous. I briefly thought about going to El Paso and walking to Juarez, Mexico but I am afraid of the crime. If I am to walk around Mexico, Tecate (near San Diego) is the best choice. In any event, I think I've chosen the best possibly itinerary so here it is.
I have a 6 AM flight out of Birmingham on October 19th (4 weeks from today). After a short connection in Dallas, I land in Albuquerque, New Mexico just before 10 AM. From there, I will immediately hit the road towards Amarillo, Texas. It’s only a little over 4 hours driving time but I’ll have to stop for lunch and I lose an hour going east so figure I won’t get in until late afternoon. I’ve been to Texas 4 times before including Texarkana, Austin, Dallas and Galveston but have not been west of Ft. Worth with the exception of a quick stop at a DQ. West Texas will have a much different flavor than East Texas but I expect to find it to my liking. I’ve been told that I sound like I’m from Texas but I expect real Texans will know that I am an outsider.
Once in Amarillo, I plan to explore downtown and the Route 66 District. Dinner will be at the world famous Big Texan Ranch Steakhouse, which offers a 72 oz. steak free to anyone who can finish it. I will not attempt such a feat but may go beyond the 20 mark. From there, I’ll go out for a drink or two in the Route 66 District. I hope to get an early start on Friday morning because that’s the Nature Day. Morning will be spent in Palo Duro Canyon, one of the largest in the US, with some pretty cool rock formations. That’s located just 30 miles south of town so I will probably come back to Amarillo for a sit down lunch then head west back to New Mexico. I’ll re-gain the lost hour and see Sandia Crest at 9000 feet elevation just northeast of Albuquerque. It will pale in comparison to the epic road trip but it will be worth seeing nonetheless.
I’ll probably spend the night in Santa Fe since I’m already on the way from Sandia Crest. For art lovers, Santa Fe is a very attractive destination but that’s really not my kind of thing. I’ve seen the State Capitol on a previous road trip but the New Mexico history museum could be pretty cool. From Santa Fe, it’s only a little more than an hour back down to Albuquerque. I’ll pick up my packet at the expo and hope to meet up with Micki’s group for dinner. There’s not a lot of must see attractions for me but Old Town and the Museum of Tolerance, which focuses on the Holocaust could be worth a look.
Race day is Sunday morning. Though the course is nearly dead flat, the 5000 foot elevation will slow me down. Still, if I could run 1:45 at Teton, which is 1200 feet higher and net uphill, 1:43 should be do-able in Albuquerque. My flight leaves at 4:40 PM the same day so I should have time to see Micki finish but that’s about it. I’ll have to be back to work the next day. With another tight connection, I’ll get back around 10 PM.
Next year’s frontrunners:
Spring- Ocean City, Maryland in April
Summer- Minneapolis on the 4th of July (Wednesday) plus a Wisconsin race the following or previous weekend. That should be do able if I back off just a tad on the first race.
Fall- Leaning towards Utah in September so I can hit different parts of the country.