Last week I started looking at the possibility of running in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon weekend. I’m trying to add new states, because I haven’t done a very good job of that the last year and a half. I had a free weekend from work and a Tourpass that provides entry to any RnR event so I checked out flights to see what was available and was shocked to find a round trip for under $150! Then a fellow Rock n Blogger, Anna, offered to let me stay at their apartment for no charge about 10 minutes away from the race, plus she was running the 5k and the half marathon so no need for a rental car. The deal was too good to pass up so I packed a bag and took to the skies for North Carolina.
I booked my flight on Allegiant Airlines. Until last week I had never heard of the company, I’m not sure how long they’ve been flying out of New Orleans. I did a little research and found that they run a very limited flight schedule. Only one or two flight routes per week and all of their flights are direct, there aren’t any connections. Luckily the times for flights to and from Raleigh worked in my schedule. The airline offers low cost flight tickets, but is full of extra charges if you do not plan properly. There was an unavoidable $12 fee to choose your seat, or $14 for one of the extra legroom exit rows which was worth every extra dollar I spent on it. They will also charge $5 to print a boarding pass at the airline counter, but free to print at home or just present the pass on your phone. The most notable though is the carry on policy. You are allowed one carry on that will fit under the seat in front of you (a purse or backpack) & anything that goes in the overhead bin is a $40 charge. Packing for 3 days, a hot yoga class, and two races all in 1 backpack was a challenge, but there was no way I was coughing up that extra cash.
I made a few extra plans to try some new things in the area to burn a little time. The expo didn’t open until 3 on Friday so I found a yoga studio called 110 Yoga & signed up for a hot yoga class at 1. The thought of doing yoga & trying to relax for an hour in a room that was 102 degrees seemed absurd to me, but I really enjoyed it. After getting past the initial shock of thinking I was going to die and my eyeballs were going to melt inside my face, of course. It was a fantastic workout with a knowledgeable instructor in a small class of myself and one other person. I couldn’t help but include a little Power Rangers humor in my before and after post across social media. (side bar, the look of Goldar in the new PR movie is still my biggest issue with the film)
After a shower and a very important change of clothes I went off to the expo not pick up my bibs for the weekend.
I was a little disappointed in the expo quality. There were most of the RnR standard vendors that I enjoy visiting with; Garmin, Geico, Toyota, Smartypants, and that rice company that always seems out of place. But there were a very small amount of local races and there wasn’t a race present that was really geared toward the traveling runner like myself. I don’t remember seeing any in the Dallas expo either and wonder if RnR is not allowing other race series from coming in. I seem to remember at one point runDisney, Ragnar, and a few other companies would be at their races. Looking back, I realize this is the same issue I had with the expo in Dallas a couple of weeks ago.
I stayed and wandered for an hour or so to wait for Anna to get off work to head to dinner. I may have also found myself napping in a chair in front the convention center under the shadow of the statue of Sir Walter Raleigh.
After Anna made it to the expo to pick up her bib we went out to dinner with a few of her friends in for the race at a local restaurant near the campus of NC State. I enjoyed a pineapple and jalapeño burger and a couple of local craft brews and had a wonderful chat over dinner. After dinner we made our way home to get ready for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh 5k happening the next morning.