You Can Run The Salinas Valley Half Marathon

     The Second Annual Salinas Valley Half Marathon time is upon us again. The race is on Saturday August 06, 2011. There are still spots open for registration but get them in quick as this race filled up pretty fast last year. They are enforcing a 4 hour finishing time. The course will be closed at noon.
     Now that we have all that information out there we can actually talk about the race. It starts at the Soledad Mission in the Salinas Valley near the small town of Soledad. I didn't even know there was a Mission at Soledad until I came here. Of course I read in school of the missions at Carmel and San Diego but not Soledad. This is really a nice area you will be running in. It is known as the lettuce capital of the world. However it's really so much more than that. You will be running on small country roads surrounded by fields of yes lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower. Miles and miles of vineyards and old barns and tractors line the roads. The aid stations have lots of Gatorade and Hammer products as well as a full Strawberry aid station at something like mile ten. This I have to say was most peoples favorite aid station. It provided just that little extra boost of energy from real food to get you over the hump. This run let's you begin to see how this really is a place that can feed the world. Because as far as you can see there are crops as you look out over the Salinas Valley but on the other side of the road is the beginnings of the Santa Lucia Mountains rising up out of the valley. This is definitely a race to put on your calendar especially since it hasn't filled up yet.
     Okay where to stay? You can get a hotel in Monterey which helps if you want to do some sightseeing  the day after the race or make it a 3 day weekend. Monterey is about 1.5 hour drive time from the Soledad Mission so you will need to plan this so you can be where you need to be on race morning. Another option would be to stay in Soledad. There are two hotels one a Best Western and a Super 8 next door. I have actually stayed in them both and would recommend them. The Best Western has a pool and a hot tub if you think you might need that after the race. Staying in Soledad would only put you about 15 minutes away from the start line and help a lot with your scheduling. Then if you wanted to drive on to Monterey for that three day weekend you could do that. Personally I always like to stay close to the race location when I go out of town for runs.
     One of the great things about this event is it's a community event. It also seems to be an event that beginners flock to which is great for a sport like running or any sport really we always need new people to take up the sport. One of the reasons for this I think is the different training programs offered specifically for this race. There are training programs put on by the race itself that started on May 4 and go all the way through to the Success party on August 10th. If you are not local on they are providing 4 different training programs online through depending on your level of fitness. Then the Monterey Fleet Feet Sports is putting on a training program as well, not to mention the local Salinas and Soledad YMCA.

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