Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Victory, Sweet Victory

Still riding the high from the victorious race a little more wine tasting was in store.  I had purchased a Groupon for Chocolate and Wine tasting at Rutherford Ranch Winery. 

I realize I come off as very chic and sophisticated (wink wink), but this was a new experience for me.  I would never dream of pairing chocolate with wine, the extent of my wine knowledge is "red meat, red wine, chicken and fish, white wine".

First came a Chardonnay paired with a Lemon White Chocolate, amazing.  Next was a Pinot Noir with a Light Toffee.  Then came a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with a Dark Cherry Chocolate.  Last but certainly not least was a Zinfindal Port paired with a Chili and Sea Salt Cocoa.  My taste buds were awakened in an amazing way!

Beautiful setting, beautiful wine, decadent chocolate, this is the life!

To top off a fabulous day, a fabulous meal was next.  The sommelier recommended we stop in Yountville for dinner at Redd, so glad we took her advice! 

More flavor explosions!  This is from the bar menu, pork buns with hoisin and asian slaw, tastes even better than it looks......dang forget Fuzio!  Now I'll have to go back to Yountville for Pork Buns!

What a way to end a race day!  Fabulous wine, fabulous chocolate, and fabulous food!

Thing #13, Chocolate and Wine tasting.

Think #14, ate at Redd in Napa Valley.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Zombies, and Wine

It is finally here! I feel like I've been waiting for this race for years.....actually I have, I discovered this race a few years ago and have been wanting to do it ever since.

We parked in Napa and took a shuttle to the race start in Sonoma.

Registration is limited to 3,000 runners, this is the most intimate half I've ever done.  What a joy, no crowding, no bottle necks (well except for the wine bottles). 

I hate to give myself a time goal, cause I'm really not that competitive, and I abhor failing.  But I did allow myself to think "If I could do this in less then a 13 minute pace, I would be very very pleased"  I even said it out loud to a couple of people, something I rarely ever do.  The fear of failure thing, I'd just as soon keep it a secret so I'm the only one who knows I've failed and can beat myself up for it in the privacy of my own mind, all by myself with no one being the wiser.  But for whatever reason, maybe temporary insanity, I did speak it out loud, I said "If I could have an average pace of 12:59 or less, I'll be so happy" 

A pace of 12:59 or less is very ambitious for me.  My last long training run was 13:07 pace, and I was running strong.  I had checked the pace at about mile 9 and thought then, heck, I can get this under 13, and tried for the next 4 miles, but couldn't.  While 8 seconds per mile doesn't seem like a big deal, I would have to make up 8 seconds for each of those previous 9 miles.  I could probably do it for the next 4, but it's too much to catch up. 

For the race my plan was to watch the pace from the very beginning, and try to keep it under 13 from the start.

Race started right on time, heck venue was so small I don't think there were even wave starts!  Maybe the elites were given a little head start, but this was fantastic.

My plan was to run one minute walk one minute.  I knew I needed to keep a fast pace during walk breaks to try for the 12:59 pace goal.

I swear I felt my baby toe every single step.  Average person takes approx 10K steps to cover 5 miles.......so rough calculations.....16,200 steps for 13.1 miles, divide by half (cause it's my left baby toe) equals 8,100 steps of pain....actually, now that I think about it, my right knee was hurting too....so....  Ok, I'm being a drama queen, wasn't a lot of pain, just enough to register in my brain "wow, every time I step on that foot, I notice that toe, and every time I step on the right side I notice that knee.

Oh, and then to put the icing on the
Alicia was having a problem with her Garmin....actually I was having a problem with her Garmin....it was beeping every 10 seconds. 

For the first five miles. 

I probably could have drowned out the beeping with my ipod, if I had remembered to charge my ipod.  Unfortunately it was dead.  I fantasized about tackling her, removing the offending Garmin from her wrist and chucking it into the vineyard.  I didn't think about my toe, or my knee while I was thinking about that.

And now for your viewing pleasure.....this is a small sampling of the course:

My kind of weather

We caught up to the 2:45 pace group, played leap frog with them for about a mile and then surged ahead.  Every mile or so I would sneak a peek behind me to make sure they weren't on our heels.

This is towards the end, everyone must be getting tired...they are all walking.....

More of that future wine......

My pace fluctuated between 12:15 to 12:21 the entire race.  I was starting to get tired sometime after mile 11, but figured if I just kept doing what I was doing I would make my goal. 

Halfway into mile 12 I stepped into a horror movie.   A Zombie's hand came up out of the ground and grabbed my right calf and squeezed the hell out of it.  Stopped me in my tracks.  I've never had that happen to me before.  I was able to walk it off.  When I started running again another zombie grabbed me. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  This can't be happening so close to the finish!  

Zombies leave me alone!!

It happened about 4 times and each time I had to stop running and walk it off.

Finish line in sight, hoping I don't have to drag a zombie with me over the finish line.  Watching the seconds tick away on the clock, feeling zombie fingers grazing my calf but they aren't able to get a firm grip.  Almost there, just a few more steps, I think I'm gonna make it....


Napa to Sonoma in 2 hours, 43 minutes and 15 seconds. 

Average pace.....


Under a twelve and a half minute mile!  Better than I had hoped for!


Coolest Medal Ever

In addition to coolest medal ever, you also get a wine glass at the finish line....which comes in super handy, as the race ends at the wine festival!

So what does Charlie Sheen have to do with all of this?  Well, after tasting numerous wines (some of them more than once), the phrase of the day became "Winning!".  I must admit, we were a little tipsy.  Good thing we had to wait in line about 30 minutes for the shuttle to return to Napa.  We were able to sober up rest on the way.  Walking through the parking lot to the car we saw an In-N-Out so decided to have lunch there to soak up some of the alcohol fill our hungry tummies.

This was definitely one of the best races ever, and the fact that I was able to do it in under 2:45 is still putting a smile on my face.

Thing #12, Ran from Napa to Sonoma.  

Total Race miles completed:  37.36, leaves 12.64 for my goal of 50 race miles for the year.

Miles completed for my 1,000 mile journey:  did a little run Saturday morning of 1.86 miles, add the 13.1 race miles for a total of 19.78 completed, 975.40 to go.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Exploring Napa

So rare to have a day when you can just relax and take the day as it comes.  All we really had to do today was pick up our race packets and eat a "carbo load" dinner.  Packet pick up was in Sonoma at Corner Stone.

I'm wearing those lame shoes because all the cute sandals I brought with me hurt the baby toe, so I'm stuck in ugly shoes and lame jeans.

We did a little window shopping, ate fire grilled pizza for lunch and of course......a little wine tasting.  Met "Coach Jimmy" and his girlfriend (a totally fit firefighter who thinks we are brave because we are running a half marathon, and she would never attempt such a huge feat).  Jimmy is a teacher at a Las Vegas middle school (now that's brave) he's one of the coaches for "Team Challenge" benefiting the fight against Crohn's and Colitis disease.  We had a very nice chat with them while drinking our wine and eating pizza, sitting in the shade. Good Times.

Just to share some of the awesomeness of the day:

Soon to be wine.......

Met the rest of team "Running Winos" for dinner, Italian of course, plenty of pasta, plenty of bread, yum yum!  Unfortunately half of the Winos did not make it up to Napa due to work and health issues, but Monica, Monique, Alicia and I will do us proud!

Thing #11, saw the sights of wine country.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Running Buddy Alicia and I arrived in wine country early this evening, in preparation for the Napa to Sonoma half marathon on Sunday. 

Driving up we talked about our favorite place to eat in San Francisco, Fuzio.  We discovered it with Helen C and Pam in 2009 while in town for the San Francisco half, and have joked about flying up sometime just to eat at Fuzio and then go to Ghirardelli Square for Kara's Cupcakes.

And then I had an epiphany.....why not drive over to SF and eat there for dinner?  Well I can think of several reasons why not.  #1 I've never driven the streets of San Fran.  #2 I'm afraid to drive the streets of San Fran.  #3 I don't want to drive the streets of San Fran.  #4 San Fran has A LOT of one way streets.  #5 How am I ever going to get parked in San Fran.  #6 it would require driving over the Bay Bridge and I don't want to do that either.

But the food at Fuzio is so good......

And I have committed to doing 51 new and possibly uncomfortable things this year.

And it is now July.


Dang I am lousy at the holding the phone and taking a picture of myself thing

Thing #9, Drove over the Bay Bridge, (was very, very, cool)

Thing #10 Drove the streets of San Francisco (was very intimidating, but we got through it with the help of my trusty Garmin and only had to go around the block like 2 times).

Amazing how doing the thing that really scares you can be so rewarding.....well and we did get to have a delicious dinner that we've talked about for 2 years now!  Lots of yums, mmmmmmmss, and this is soooo goods, were heard at our table.

We did not get cupcakes though, I am not brave enough to drive that deep into San Fran. besides, I think they have a location in Napa..... 

Tomorrow we pick up our race packets and do a little exploring....I think I'll count "explored Napa" as thing #11.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baby Toe

I was able to run last night.....so......drum roll.......... 4.82 miles done, 995.18 to go.  Why the heck didn't I just run an additional .18 to make it an even 5?  Would certainly make the math a lot easier.  Note to self, run whole numbers or at the very least quarters, halfs or three-quarters!  I'll be running around in the parking lot afterwards trying to round it up, sheesh!

And just so we are clear, if I run in a race (still have to complete my 50 race miles this year, I'm at 24.26 down, 25.74 to go), I can count the race miles and count those same miles towards the thousand too, this will not be considered double dipping. 

So why did I name this post "Baby Toe"? 

Blogger has this page that shows if your blog has had a "hit" from google.  Shows the search words that matched.  Would you believe someone searched "baby toe".    This makes me so curious..... I wonder what they were lookin for. 

I do not get a lot of google hits, but some of them include "benefits to committing to running one mile a day", "goddess of victory has spoken" Winged Goddess of Victory Has Spoken "outside of comfort zone", "13 year old girl" Fickle as a 13 Year Old Girl "home of fabulous pizza" Why Crack is Bad (or Chuck E Cheese escapades)  and now "baby toe". 

Wonder what pervs were searching for a 13 year old girl, gross, no pervs allowed!  Bet the "Home of fabulous pizza" searcher was disappointed.  And still I wonder......why just "baby toe".......

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I think I'll change the name of my blog to "Journey of a Thousand Miles".  Too easy to neglect my blog unless I have a real project to blog about.  So I'm thinkin I'll start counting my miles run until I get to 1,000.

Tonight I should log my first miles of my thousand....assuming I can run cause I stubbed my baby toe Saturday afternoon (stubbed is actually not the right word for it, more like tried to rip it from my foot), OMG it hurt so bad, all I could think was please don't let it be broken I have to run a half marathon next weekend!

There is some bruising and some swelling, but I don't think anything is broken (more like ripped and torn probably) LOL, gawd sounds awful doesn't it?

I limped around rest of the day Sat, and then limped some more on Sun. Monday I had a serious pain in my calf half thought maybe it was a blood clot (from all the bleeding around my baby toe), but that's stopped too so maybe my calf was cramping cause of the limping, geeze, I really can be a drama queen.

So as long as I can stuff the foot in my running shoes (most of the swelling has gone down), and it doesn't hurt I'll be running tonight, and starting my Journey of a Thousand Miles.