Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Harvest Marathon half to review 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!
This race has been a long time coming for me so I was excited that I was finally going to run it. I’ve wanted to run it for the last 4 years but always ended up working an aid station during the marathon instead. Which was great but it wasn’t the same as running it. When the opportunity to run it with BibRave came up I was tempted but I had plans on race day. But I made it work! Woo hoo!
The race is a fundraiser for local schools and it has great potential. This was the first year without the marathon as it was canceled due to a few issues. 😢 Packet pick up was Saturday and went smoothly. You can read all the little details in my BibRave review. I admit I was nervous wearing BibRave orange in Bearcat Country (high school arch rival is the Greyhounds- orange!) but I had nothing to be worried about. My Bearcat coaching mother disagrees. 😛
The race is a big loop through back country roads. It takes you past numerous vineyards and farms and is very scenic. I drove it the day before and loved the sights. I was less enthusiastic about the hills. But it’s Paso and Paso doesn’t do flat. It is a quiet race- there is very little crowd support outside of aid stations and the finish line. Also the roads are not fully closed so it is entirely likely that vehicles will drive past you a few times or sometimes fly by doing 50ish. All of my early half marathons were similar so I am used to this but it can be alarming if you aren’t prepared.
I slept surprisingly well considering my recent insomnia struggles and usual race nerves but woke an hour before my alarm feeling freaky nauseous. I laid there and hoped it would pass. It did but I felt like I had been run over by a truck. Uh oh. I was suddenly thankful of the late start of 8:30. Once at the start I debated arm sleeves or a windbreaker. The skies looked ominous but the weather app said that rain was hours away if at all. The high school cross country coach said no rain was coming and it wasn’t cold so I decided to just go with my tank. We all lined up and it was go time!
Miles 1-3 9:43, 9:50, 10:17
The plan with Coach Jenny called for an easy first 8 before bringing the last 5 miles in at goal half marathon pace. Sounded good to me. I was trying not to look at my watch and run by feel but I was winded 1/2 mile in. I felt like I was working too hard so I checked my watching expecting to see something in the 8:30 range. Nope. 9:45. Crap, that shouldn’t feel this hard! My calves were also doing their lovely tight thing and the first 3 miles are flatter than I would have liked. Boo. I was running in the dirt on the side of the road any chance I got. Then, 2.5 miles in the skies opened up. Seriously?! It didn’t take long before I was soaked. It wasn’t pouring by any means but you got wet fast. And I was getting slower. I pretty much slammed into the wall at mile 3.5. Well crap.
Miles 4-7 10:50, 9:59, 11:16, 10:49
And the walk breaks started. Mile 4 was one of my toughest miles and I don’t know why. I ran past the second aid station and tried to pick it up but I failed. Why faster for this station? It was manned by my mother and her tennis team. 😛 Mile 5 was a long slow downhill and my legs were finally starting to loosen up. Second wind maybe? Nope. Mile 6 starts an out and back to add a little distance. I hate out and backs. And this one was all rollers as far as the eye could see. Plus whatever downhill you had on the way out was a climb on the way back. But I’m weird and even though my lungs hate hills, my legs don’t and mile 7 was almost 30 seconds faster than mile 6. Third wind???
Miles 8-9 11:05, 10:30
Haha, just kidding. My lungs were not happy with the constant cloud cover and rain. I knew the road to mile 8 was really pretty and I had been looking forward to it. For some reason, I remembered exactly where every mile marker was and it gave me something to look forward to. Mile 8 was in front of Graveyard Vineyards where I had just learned that there is a literal graveyard in the front of the vineyard. Mile 9 gave us a decent downhill and I tried to pick up the pace as I knew what was coming.
Mile 10 12:26
It’s the climb!!!! I knew from the drive yesterday that there was a long climb. Yeah, mile 9 to mile 10.2 was all up. It started slowly and then just kept increasing in slope as well. I was toast. It was still raining and I was starting to realize that I was having a giant chafing problem with my sports bra. I could feel it with every step. Stupid rain! I rounded a corner only to find more climb. Oh come on!
Miles 11-13 10:48, 11:39, 10:43
Yay! The crawl was over, I knew there was only a 5K left and the rain stopped! Let’s do this! Except that enthusiasm lasted about .25 of a mile. I didn’t feel overly tired but I had nothing. I don’t even know how many times I walked in those last 3 miles. A lot. I was actually passing people but I was still irritated with myself. I had just picked up the pace a little past mile 12 when I passed my mom and her team again, apparently they had moved stations and were now traffic control. With a mile left I told myself to run it in and I would at least be faster than City to the Sea. Haha. I am glad for small races because my proclivity for cursing like a sailor was in full force as I berated myself…out loud. Finally the finish line was in sight and I could be done.
That did not go like I had hoped. At all. The course was awesome. It really had a great amount of up and down for me but it wasn’t my day. I don’t know how much of it was the rain (very rare here) and my lungs. If it was the weird nausea in the morning ( I did actually get sick and miss some work) or if I am just burnt out from a crazy year. I also don’t want to make excuses though, for whatever reasons I was not all there on race day and my race effort shows it.
The rain screwed with a lot of us. I have never chafed this bad in my life, clothing hurts. I wasn’t the only one either. I saw more than few blood stains on shirts. We’re in a drought, what is this water stuff?? I can count on one hand how many times I’ve run in the rain and that includes this race.
I initially delayed writing this recap because I needed some time to think about the race. Then I actually did get sick and missed some work which delayed this post even more but I think the extra time helped me accept the race for what it was. I think I can finally admit that speed is not my biggest adversary, my head is. Half the battle is knowing who you’re fighting right?
This was my kind of race though and I will be back. Redemption in 2017?