Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

This was such an amazing race!! It was super low-key, but featured so many amazing things. For example 1) I bumped into Ryan Hall; 2) I got to hear Meb Keflezighi speak and share his story, and talk about his Boston win; and 3) hello, it's in Wine Country.

Meb Keflezghi
The race start was so beautiful!! We started at the Cuvaison Estate Winery, which has fantastic scenery.

Cuvaison Estate Winery
The race is a point to point race. You had to be dropped off at the race start (no parking allowed), or take a bus, which left from a couple of the hotels in town. I had Josh drop me off about an hour before the race start, so it was a lot of waiting around. They were playing good music, and although a bit chilly, the weather was beautiful. The perfect running weather!

There were no corrals to start, so you basically just waited where you thought you wanted to be. The horn blew, and we were off. The first .4 miles is challenging. You start by a quick steep downhill, turn left, and then for the next .3 miles, it's a steep uphill run. They call it Butt Burner Hill.

Butt Burner Hill
It wasn't too bad. We were moving soooo slow. Plus, there were a lot of walkers, and some were walking with friends in the CENTER of the ROAD. So irritating. But I ran, or slow jogged, the entire hill, and then we had a nice two mile down hill section. The course was amazing. Rolling hills, amazing views, and we had an overcast sky which was a blessing. There were hardly any trees, so there would have been no shade for the first 10 miles or so if it was a sunny day. Plus we had a light breeze, so I never really felt like I was sweating a ton.

I never once looked at my watch. I didn't care about my pace. I came in to this race undertrained, so I just let my body do what it wanted to do. I did have a stitch in my side at some point, and then it went away... and then I got a stitch in the other side. But overall, my lungs felt amazing. I stopped for some beef jerky at mile 7.5 (mmmm) and some Guinness at mile 9 (burp)... then some wine at mile 10.5 (refreshing). They had a live band at mile 7.5 because sometimes they had  to stop the runners to let cars pass on HWY 121. This is a major link between Napa and Sonoma, so I was curious how they would handle it. I didn't get stopped, so I just kept moving through!.

This was my ideal course... rolling hills. Which is making me a bit fearful for the Chicago Marathon since it's mostly flat. I had some energy to sprint it to the finish! Which makes me hopeful for my Chicago Marathon. We'll see!

Sprinting to the Finish!
I ran the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in 2:12:57, a 10:05 pace. Not my fastest, but not my slowest. I'm super happy with my results, and getting ready to run this bad boy this Sunday:

Golden Gate Bridge

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