Disclaimer: I received an entry into Napa Valley Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
Napa Valley. People, I live in wine country but it’s not Wine Country. Prior to running, I actually paid little attention to the hundreds (not an exaggeration) of vineyards in my area. My first half marathon was lined with vineyards and vines. I learned harvest patterns thanks to a house I run past with a couple acres of vines. Vines grew on me you could say.
I am so looking forward to running in Napa. I’ve thought about it for years but for some reason, don’t go north as often for trips. Oops. Napa Valley Marathon has been running since 1979. In 2018, they added a half. Which is what I will be running. The race course runs down the Silverado Trail from Calistoga to Napa. The half starts around the midway point. I do love a good point to point race. Throw in rows of vines along the way and I am in!!
Now if only I spend more time running than taking pictures. It’s a toss up. I am a picture hoarder after all. Also this may be half marathon #40. Or 41…. I do have a tendency to throw races in at the last minute.
Oh, did I mention this will be my time trying the VIP experience at race?????? I’m excited!!
Want to join me on March 1? Use code BIBRAVE10 to save $10 on registration!
It’s the last Friday of the year. Hell, it’s the last Friday of the decade!!
Well, depends on who you ask. Anyways, my point is, how????? I am both in denial about it being the end of 2019 but ready for 2020. Makes no sense.
I think I may have reached my quota of Christmas movies this year. I think I watched a record too many. Even though I did squeeze in my last favorite one on Christmas Eve.
It poured here on Christmas Day… yay!!! I gave up long ago on a white Christmas so now I just hope for cloudy and cold. Not Sunny.
I tell myself every year that my December miles will improve. Then I barely run 20 miles. I don’t know if it’s the cold or the dark or the fact that I’m usually sick but my mileage in December is just sad. It’s not like I have a race anytime soon…. oh, yeah, 2 weeks.
Oh and have you seen the Flannel collection from Brooks??? Needs. Ok, want. Serious want.
I mean they would look great with my new pizza socks, right?
Another reason I was so paranoid about running last weekend is because I had big plans for the week ahead.
I was going to Disneyland!
It’s kind of becoming and annual tradition for my mother and I. Unfortunately, part of that tradition includes me being sick… every single time. So when I felt a sore throat coming on, I hibernated in hopes of kicking it to the curb. Not so much but I was able to get through 2 days of Disneyland and California adventure and 2 mall stops. Whew.
Disneyland was awesome, we hit all of our favorite rides. Made it into Star Wars land which looked amazing but the ride was kind of a snooze. I had higher hopes.
California Adventure was awesome- it was the first time I had been there. Riding the River Ride at 9:30 in the morning might not have been a good idea but oh well. I managed to ride the Incredicoaster without running away screaming. However, I literally screamed my way through the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Like the entire time. A nice woman next to me warned me that I needed to stow my purse much better before we started and then laughed while I screamed. Holy crap, that thing needs a better warning.
If characters are your thing, this trip was so much better than the last too. Last year, we saw no characters but this year- Chip and Dale, Stormtroopers, Rey, Woody, Jessie, Groot, Captain America, Lightnig McQueen and Mater. I feel like I am forgetting someone too. Oh- Chewie!
Then I made it home in time on Thursday for a later showing of Star Wars with my brother- another kind of tradition.
Friday rolled around and I told myself to go run but this introvert was tired. I kind of just hibernated again and recharged.
I did make it out for some miles on Saturday and crossed 5K off my list. I overdressed since I still wasn’t feeling great and alterated between being to warm and freezing. Probably not a good sign,
Sunday brought the pouring rain and an intensified cough. So instead of risking making things worse and running in the rain, I kept my workout indoors. I did 10 miles on the stationary bike and a few minutes with the kettlebell. It is sad how 6 minutes with a kettlebell exhausted me.
Is it sadder that I want to count all the days of walking around Disneyland as training for Napa? Oh, and I still need to tell you about Napa. Oops.
Ok, somewhere along the lines I messed up the weeks. Oops. Not gonna worry about it now.🤪
I started last week with some lingering pain in my right foot from the trail race. Also some super tight calves but those didn’t worry me. The foot pain on the other hand…
I ended up resting Monday through Wednesday. I couldn’t even make it through a day of work without switching to my stretchiest work appropriate flats.
Thursday dawned and I went for a few test miles in the evening. As night runs go, it was fairly speedy. There was a fair amount of walking interspersed- the trees on half the path decided to dump ALL their leaves and after almost eating it twice, I walked every time there was a pile on the sidewalk.😂
Friday dawned with a super sore throat. Of course, I just get back running AND am about to go on my first full week vacation in over a year and I wake up sick.
The weekend saw me hiding from a cold snap and hibernating. People, I was sick for the better part of 3 months starting in December of 18’ and I’m not going back!!!
So, a whopping 3 miles for the week. I suck at running in December.🤷♀️
Race dawned early, chilly and wet. I made my way out to Montana de Oro and arrived with plenty of time to pick up my bib, use the port a potty and chill in my car. My car was parked about 30 feet from the finish and 15 from the bathrooms, ha!
There were 5 distances running that day and we all started at the same time. The RD gave a few directions- which color flag to follow and where not to go. He called out all the distances and we all raised our hands each time- I was suddenly thankful I had done the smart choice and dropped to the 13K. Valencia Peak is rough on a good day and this was not my day.
The race started and we were off- uphill. Ha! The first mile weaves along the bluff which gave us great stormy waves to watch. It also brought the first rain and crazy wind. My hood flew off and never stayed on again. I was run/walking the flats as I knew the proximity to the ocean and the rainy, cloudy day were just an invitation to my asthma. My plan was to run/ walk the flats, power hike the climbs and run the downhills. This plan did work in the respect that I did not have even the slightest of a wheeze but it also resulted in a time I would not have predicted. And I was aiming pretty low.
The first real climbs started in mile 2 but also gave me some good downhills. I couldn’t run the downhills as fast as I would have liked as I learned real quick that black mud has similar properties as black ice- hit a patch and you will go for a ride. I managed to stay upright but a runner behind me on one of the uphills was not so lucky. I heard a thud and crumpling plastic and turned to see a woman down. She popped up and said she was fine and we continued up.
I was slowing way down as the climb got steeper and wetter. The wind was picking up and it tore my hat completely off my head. It was also wasn’t to bright of me to try to catch it as there were drops on either side of me. My right foot was starting to hurt as I was realizing that my trail shoes and I do not get along.
I was sliding and slipping but still climbing. I may have been taking a few breaks to catch my breath too. People, I legit turned in a 34 minute mile for mile 5. Yes that was the last mile to the summit but how in the hell? I mean that mile was by far the sketchiest mile and a mile I find hard even in peak shape and good weather but how on earth did it take me 34 minutes????
Once at the top, I grabbed my rubberbands- you know proof I was there, even if I did take a wrong turn at the end and go the hardest way to the summit- and headed back down. Time to run free!!!
Except not really. Every time I hit a rock with my right foot, pain radiated. I may have started cursing. Out loud. A Lot. So, if you were out in MDO on Saturday and heard someone dropping f-bombs along the trail for a couple of miles- yep, that was me.
I finally hobbled my way towards the finish, over 2 hours after I started. Seriously, at one point, my mother sent me a text asking if I had fallen off a cliff. Well, I came close, ha!
So yeah 13K in 2:22:36. Y’all I finished dead last.
Which honestly I am fine with but it does confuse me. There were at least 4 people behind me when I left the summit- and I swear their bibs were the same color as mine. Either they didn’t finish or they were running one of the longer distances. I am just confused.
Even last, I still had a blast. Even if I was cursing for 4ish miles of that. Now, I am going to go start a bonfire for those shoes and ice my foot. I have big plans for 2020.