As I continue to get in better shape, improve as a runner, and become a true fitness partner to my hubby (who is a budding triathlete), I realize that I need a Running Bucket List. I’ve run all but one of my adult races in the state of California and that is a HUGE mistake! It’s time to reach out, time to expand my horizons, time to connect with Charles (the hubby) on places we’d like to visit.
But this is not just about finding cool races to do in the US. This is about finding ultimate RUNNING EXPERIENCES. What specific experiences do I need to have as a runner to feel like I’ve really stretched myself and gone beyond and above what I think I’m capable of?
This is not an easy task. I could easily just Google “ten best half marathons in the US’ or “ten best running cities” and make a list from there – but that would be someone else’s list…not my list. So trust me, this is taking a lot of thought and reflection. And Charles has to be part of it since he will be traveling with me and hopefully competing from time to time, too.
So as I began to reflect on the concept of this Bucket List, here are things I considered:
11. WHO is McPeak the Runner, really? And where should she be running? How should be running? What experiences make her a more "complete" runner?
22. Do I need to do a race to have a running experience? If no, what about the experience makes it such?
3. How many of these “experiences” can be done in Major League Baseball cities (because the hubby and I have a goal to see a baseball game in every MLB stadium)
4. Travel cost – will it be an expensive trip to get the experience?
So, I reflected. And asked my friends (thank you, Jenny's Holiday Challengers!) Coming up with five was pretty easy:
Central Park – doesn’t have to be a race, I just have to run there. This is a no-brainer because a trip to NYC could knock out at least two ballparks, among other things. Done.
The Hogeye Marathon in Fayetteville, AR: the town of my alma mater, the University of Arkansas. I volunteered at this event for five years during my college and graduate school years. My 30th high school graduation will be in 2016, so this race is totally another no-brainer. Maybe Amy Graves Fujimoto will do it with me! And if my former Honors Complex RA and current “voice of Northwest Arkansas” Jon Williams will be my host, even better!!
I must visit Eugene, Oregon because that is where Steve Prefontaine attended college and where Bill Bowerman was the track coach. I’ve been slightly enamored with Pre since seeing the two biopics: PREFONTAINE, starring Jared Leto; and WITHOUT LIMITS, starring Billy Crudup. The latter is my favorite Pre movie, but they are both pretty good. And I reckon if I’m gonna go to Eugene, I may as well go to Portland, too. Crafting a running experience between these two towns will be all sorts of fun! And Voodoo Donuts after!
1 RunTahoe: the Lake Tahoe Marathon weekend is a crazy set of events – they offer something like three half marathons, three marathons, 5 and 10K races, duathlons, and a mess of other things. Would love to actually try running two half marathons in one weekend. Yes, this is a California trip, but talk about one heck of a “running experience.”
Glacier National Park: when I started talking to my hubby about this bucket list, Glacier National Park was the first thing out of his mouth. I also found that Runner’s World magazine did a “Rave Run” article about this one. No baseball, but I may actually have to go camping for this experience!
Coming up with five more – not so easy. I may have to treat this list as a “Living Document” that may change as I move through it. So in the hopper are these ideas…
A Ragnar Relay had never crossed my mind until one of Jenny’s Challengers suggested it. WOW – what an experience that must be! I need to find 10 more people to enlist in the craziness! Charles and I are at odds over what location we’d do: he likes the Florida Keys, I’m in favor of Napa Valley. Thank goodness we have time!
Another friend from Jenny’s Challengers mentioned a Rock and Roll event. Which I have done – San Diego. That was my first full marathon EVER. Another event would be great if it were in line with a baseball game. So possible cities would include Philly, DC, or Seattle. Or, shoot, why not a TriRock and do a triathlon instead? That might peak Charles’ interest more! Possible cities here are Aurora, Colorado (Denver area?) and Philly. Philly is a great choice either way because my sister lives just 90 minutes from there!
Finally, the concept of trail running has actually kind of scared the crap out of me. But the more I think about the kind of runner that I am (want to be?) the more I think that some trail running experience may really get me to more of a focused place in my running. I’m such a city girl – maybe the “country” can do me some good.
I can see said Running Bucket List kicking off in early 2015. Not sure where I will start or how I will plan, but these will for sure be most of the experiences that I want to have before I stop running. I give you my word, I will blog about them all!
"The real purpose of running isn't to win a race; it's to test the limits of the human heart."
- Bill Bowerman
- Bill Bowerman