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.
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.