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The North Olympic Discovery Marathon in Port Angeles Washington has been called the best boutique marathon in North America (according to their website).
What is a boutique marathon? Is boutique even a category? Googling this term didn’t yield many results.
Here’s what I can tell you about this marathon: (1) the scenery is grand, (2) parking is easy, (3) people are friendly, (4) the medals are cool, (5) and the post race food is plentiful.
Although I’ve got a few marathons under my belt I still learn something about myself at each race. Here are my discoveries from the North Olympic Discovery Marathon.
I Love a Small Town Race
I’m a small town girl from Lewistown Montana so small town races are just right for my comfort zone. At boutique marathons you can expect to share the road with only a couple thousand runners. Race officials work hard to add a personal touch. Each runner who crossed the finish line in Port Angeles was personally escorted through the finishing area by a friendly race volunteer.
Here Are Some Small Races You Will Love
- Napa Valley Marathon– rural feel, running through wine country, 2,300 participants.
- Amica Marathon in Newport, Rhoad Island- run along the bay; voted 4th best marathon in a Runner’s World poll.
- Missoula Marathon, Montana- July race in a beautiful place!
- Mount Desert Island Marathon, Acadia National Park, Maine
- And here’s a list of ten more
The Mountains Were Cheering Me On!
Washington’s Olympic Mountain Range is eye candy for photographers. Port Angeles has the double blessing of being by the ocean and the mountains. The mountains inspired me the most. Enjoying the course scenery always keeps my mind off my tired legs.
Trevor Gets a PR
Be sure to read his funny blog post about accidentally setting a personal record. He ran the half marathon and finished in 1:59:22. Maybe my competitiveness is rubbing off on him.
Running Back to Back Races
I talked to a couple of ladies before the race who were doing back to back races. One lady had just ran a marathon the day before. She is trying to become a Marathon Maniac. Her friend had completed 34 marathons with a goal of getting to 40 by the end of the year.
Now I find myself fantacizing about becoming a Marathon Maniac. Sometimes you can’t get an idea out of your head! I’m sign up for another race this weekend not too far from home.
If You Want to Run Back to Back Races I’d Suggest . . .
- Ice after running to decrease inflammation
- Refuel with healthy carbs and rehydrate
- Get extra sleep
- Get a massage or at least use the tiger tail roller
- Reverse taper (incrementally increase your distance after a race)
If you have a solid running base and train smart your body can adjust to back to back races. Soon you will need to buy a bigger house to hold all your medals. And you might need an extra job to pay for all the entry fees.
[Quick Tip] How to Balance Running and Raising a Family
Here is a question we received on our facebook page. . .
Hey guys, love the show. I’d love to get a parent’s perspective on training. My wife and I are expecting our first in a month. . . and I’m curious how you balance running/kids. Running strollers? Getting up super early? Thanks.
Good question! Here is my reply . . .
It’s exciting to hear about your upcoming little blessing. When I had my first baby I used a combination of a jogging stroller and getting out when Trevor was available to watch our son. Now with three kids it’s a matter of communicating about when we each want to run so that the other can watch the kids. It all comes down to being intentional and flexible. Good luck! Angie
If you’re a serious runner and plan to log lots of miles with your little one, the Baby Jogger High Performance Jogging Stroller, IceJogging Strollers)is the jogging stroller for you. It’s pretty expensive (I think we got it as a gift). But I’ve had the same stroller for six years and it’s still good as new.
Pictures from our Vacation
Port Angeles, Washington (a beautiful place for a race)
Trevor, Angie, Riley, Gavin, and Liam posing at the Salish Sea Circle in Port Townsend, WA
Liam prepares for an Irish dance in the Salish Sea Circle
Riley and Gavin captain this worthy vessel
So what do you think? Does anyone know of a good small town race we didn’t mention?
Trevor – great job on your race! I’ve just started my 21-week training program for an ulta (50k). Your improvement is inspiring!
50k! That’s awesome. I would love to be able to handle that distance.
Thanks for the comment Ryan.
The Bellingham Bay Marathon in Bellingham, Washington is a great one. It’s a beautiful town, and a great course. Last year I did their 1/2 and got a PR. http://www.bellinghambaymarathon.org/
Angie’s grandmother lives in Bellingham. Thanks for telling us about this one.
Really, really enjoy listening to the post race experiences.
What great memories you two are creating for your family.
Did I miss the pictures of the Bling ? 🙂
Thanks Rusty. We didn’t get any pictures with our medals although I originally thought we did. I guess we can pose for one back at home.
Another great small town marathon and half-marathon is the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I believe it is October 16 this year. Only a couple thousand runners, easy parking, great scenery (mostly flat), friendly race director with frequent emails prior to the race, and great post-race food (chili, frozen custard, and the usual fare). You won’t be disappointed.
I would love to go to Grand Rapids some day. Actually, I would love to explore many places in Michigan (I’ve only been barely over the state line).
Thanks for telling us about this race. Frozen custard would be enough to get me to sign up.
You should come sometime! We have friends in Cape (close to you, right?) and it takes us about 9 hours to drive from Cape to GR. Lots to do in Michigan and it would be a beautiful color tour in the fall! I enjoy all your podcasts. Thank you.
You asked if there are any small town marathons?
Have you ever heard of Lake Tahoe in Nevada ? My sister has been there and I have heard it is truely beautiful. I googled just to see if the have a Marathon.
They offer a Triple for the weekend, Friday, Sat. and Sun. That is just so mind boggling for me to wrap my brain around. 🙂 Amazing what people out there are doing. Anyway, keep up the great work.
Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place. It would be a fun vacation/marathon combo. Not sure I’d want to do the triple either 🙂
Trevor and Angie – I just completed the Columbia Gorge Marathon in Oregon yesterday. They say its the ‘most scenic’ marathon. You HAVE to do this one to believe it. The views are astounding, race officials and volunteers are amazing. I must warn you its either up or down but nowhere in between for most of the race! When you are done you will truly believe you can run anything.
Check it out: http://www.columbiagorgemarathon.com
Thanks Debbie. I just might have to add this marathon to my “list.” Awesome job conquering those ups and downs!
Hi Angie. I am considering running the NODM marathon in 2012. I ran across your blog and am intrigued, I am from Lewistown, MT also. I live in Denver now, but what are the odds that I find someone from my home town that ran this race. 🙂 I ran Chicago and am ready for a small race.
Hi Sonja. It’s great to hear from a Lewistown native! I haven’t lived there since 2000 but still get back to visit occasionally. The NODM is definitely a wonderful marathon and one I’d consider running again. You should sign up for 2012.