Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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!
Race morning dawned clear and sunny. The night before had shown projected temps to be in the low 40’s at the start and only reaching 60 around 10. I planned for a tank with long sleeves. It was a little warmer than predicted in the morning but I stuck to my plan. As I mentioned in my last post, I woke to an unpleasant surprise on race morning, oh the joys of being female, so I knew I was going to be a little more sluggish than I had planned. With 2 weeks of next to no sleep and an extremely achy left leg, I was already planning on taking it easy. I told my mother 2:20-2:25 but I also knew Ashley was pacing the 2:30 so I figured whatever worked.
The start was in Santa Ynez and we were running to Solvang. My mother was able to get me within a block of the start line and damn it was windy and cold!
I found Ashley at the 2:30 sign and we chatted before the start. It’s been so long!!! I met another BibRave Pro too, Carolyn but I didn’t think to take a picture until after. Duh, silly Slacker. After a little more shivering, the race started just a few moments behind schedule.
The first few miles were pretty crowded, this wasn’t a large race but the neighborhood streets were smaller. That said, it looked pretty cool just seeing a crowd of runners ahead for the beginning miles. The race profile had made the course look like a gradual incline through mile 7 but I quickly realized it more flat. At least by my standards. My calves were feeling kind of tight but they loosened up around mile 3. Those first 3 miles also had some of the cutest furry race spectators ever- a woman was standing on a corner with her pet goose. Seriously, this goose looked so chill while thousands of runners ran right by. Further down, 2 goats came running to a fence and looked like they wanted to run with us. Then there were the miniature horses!!! So cute.
I was staying steady, sluggish but steady and that was fine. The course so far was more back roads and neighborhoods, I was waiting for vineyards. I was actually surprised that the roads were completely closed- it was awesome but I was surprised- I’m only used to that at races with much bigger crowds. A little past mile 5, we were running into the town of Los Olivos- it’s so small, it’s so cute! Crowd support picked up too because mile 5.8 was the relay transition point. I won’t lie- getting a medal at 5.8 looked pretty awesome. I knew we were almost to the end of the “climbing” section but since the uphill hadn’t been so up, I wasn’t counting on much of a downhill.
Oh holy hill. Found the elevation gain, it’s all in mile 7. Seriously, my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 235 in mile 7 and really maybe all in a half mile. I knew the hill was coming but not like that. I rounded a corner and saw it with runners dotting the way all the way up. Just as I did, my headphones were playing Papa Roach and Jacoby sang/shouted “I don’t want no part of this, None of the above”. Dude you have no idea. 😛 Knowing I was tired and that I still had 5+ miles left, I walked it.
I knew it was the smarter choice. Ashley and the 2:30 group caught up to me and passed me. The hill may have been kicking my ass but now I was hopeful for at least one good downhill somewhere thanks to this monster. I’m used to hills but this was a beast.
Miles 8-10 9:33, 10:08, 11:20
Thank you downhill! I caught up to Ashley and her group again, said hey and continued running on. We were now running through vineyards which I love but it was a little warmer than I would have liked. Correction, I shouldn’t have been in long sleeves even though I was thankful every time the wind had a crazy strong gust. 😛 I took my phone out around mile 9 to take a picture only to see the low battery alert and that it was at 10%. What the hell?!? I sent a quick text to my mom letting her know I was turning it off, shut off my music and turned off my phone. Boo. I also realized 2:25 wasn’t likely anymore.
Miles 10-13 11:32, 12:51, 10:58
Ok, the last 4ish miles without music is way different than the first 4 without. It made things feel so much harder. Well, that and my stomach was starting to cramp. Stupid stomach, stupid hormones. That last real hill was mile 12, it wasn’t even big just steep but for some reason I crawled. We were out of the vineyards and back into neighborhoods, I knew the finish line must be close- I was so ready for it. I admit I was walking more than I wanted to. The crowds were picking up as the finish line neared. A fire truck also ripped through the course but I didn’t pay it much attention- I had a 1/4 mile to go.
Slower than I had hoped for but it’s all good. The course was super pretty- yes I would have preferred more rolling hills and less of a beast in the middle- but I say I like hills, right? I wish I could have taken more pictures but I’ve known I need a new phone for while now, wasn’t expecting it to crap out on me like that though. And I got to catch up with a good friend. It was a good race.
*This may sound more positive than I normally am because in all honesty as I was crossing the finish line I realized where that fire truck had been headed. Reading about things happening at races and seeing it real life are 2 entirely different things. It puts things into perspective. I’m also choosing to believe that no news is good news and there was positive outcome.
I met up with my mom post race. We hung out for a bit and I tried to find the other BibRave Pros that were running it but it was too much of a madhouse in too small of a space. The finish was in Solvang Park but it is a small park. It got crowded fast.
Overall, this was a good race. I really liked the course and the aid stations were all run by very enthusiastic kids and teens. This is one I would look forward to doing again…just maybe a little less tired? 😛
Half #25 in the books. 😉