Alrighty then, this is my official account of what I did last Sunday (a week ago now). But first off, a few opening thoughts on this race over all: I LOVED IT. Of the five half marathon's I've done this was hands down far and away my favorite.
1. It was a small race -- 1065 for the half and 211 for the full. I'm really finding that I love the smaller races.
2. Beautiful -- it is hard to go wrong in wine country. However, we did have to head back on a larger road -- but it wasn't bad.
3. The rolling hills were actually a bit fun. Nothing was horrible or too fast so it just made it interesting.
4. Wine and Beer at the end, along with rice, beans and chicken and totilla chips.
map if anyone really cares). Another woman and I were on the late shift and on our own so we went straight to the bib pick up and (very) mini expo. Which happened to be at Kendall Jackson Winery (in my next life, I'll make sure I do better with the picture taking). The winery was beautiful but we didn't do any tasting -- just grabbed our bibs and gender specific tech shirt (oh happy dance for gender specific shirts! This one is nice and it FITS!) and cruised the (very) mini expo. Not much there at all but that was fine -- we were headed out to the Healdsburg Bar and Grill to meet up with our friends and get our mid afternoon greasy food fix on.
Then we were off to the house we had rented -- and let me go on a bit about a great way to stay somewhere out of town for a race. The backyard was beautiful.
It even had its own vineyard:
After we enjoyed the backyard we moved into do cook the spaghetti dinner - and all of us were off to bed at a fairly early time. I'm so not used to sleeping communally, I had a bit of a rough time so went to a couch and managed to catch a few hours. 5am comes very quickly no matter what but let me tell you that 8 women and three bathrooms works! We all did just fine and were ready to head to the starting line (which was only about 2 miles away) by about 6:20 for our 7:00 am start.
Well to my delight, it wasn't that bad at all and my plan basically worked. The inclines kept me at a reasonable pace but they were manageable and thus I didn't have to gain too much speed on the downhills. It was really just a bunch of fun. The first four miles went by in record speed (not reality but in my mind). I was constantly paying attention to pace and how I felt -- and the miles still flew by. Long about mile 5.5 I realized I needed to take a moment to look around (when running hard for me I tend to concentrate on the road in front of me and seem to miss a lot around me!) and it was beautiful. But was really cool was at that moment it was so quite -- since it was a small race, the group had spread a bit but there was still a steady stream of runners and there were no talking pairs and many had music going (I didn't) so the only sound was that kind of a rhythmic beat of breathing and feet hitting the pavement. I was exactly 'in the moment' right then and that doesn't happen to me often!
I finally ate a gu at about 6.5 miles and around the 7 mile mark started chatting with this woman from Denver -- she was lovely and it was fun running with her but I lost her at about mile 8 water station. So from mile 8 on, I just kept telling myself to hang in so mile 9 could be wonderful. I wanted mile 9 to be wonderful because that is where I lost it in SJRNR and I was a bit worried still about the big hill at mile 10 I'd heard about. I hit mile 9 feeling fantastic so when the 'hill' (it wasn't much different that what we'd been doing) started at mile 9.5 I was feeling fantastic and decided to kick it in -- and started passing people going up hill (!!!!! which is always a fantastic feeling). In hindsite I probably could have stepped it up a bit sooner but give the circumstances I think it went very well. From 9.5 on -- I booked it as fast as I could on the downhill and pushed on the uphills. Was only passed by one woman (probably in her 30's) and three guys in their 20's -- so all was good. As I came into the finishers shoot I heard my name announced which actually almost made me stop -- it was unexpected so I thought someone was calling me. DUH!
Anyway, I loved this race and I how I raced it. It was kind of a 'A HA' race for me where a bunch of things clicked in my head.
I'm having trouble stealing pics from brightroom -- so I'll work on it and post them later -- there is one of the two sneaky guys at the finish -- funny really.
Anyway -- this race is definitely one I will do again. And I encourage any locals to put in on their lists -- especially if you like non urban races.
And now on to the Big M -- plans to follow.