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Summer running- happened so fast, summer runnin’- had me an asthma attack.
Haha, couldn’t help myself. 😛
Every summer for the past few years, I’ve run a half marathon in July. Always near the beach, sometimes on the beach. Last year the heavy marine layer and my asthma conspired together to make me want to swear that off. 😛 Combine that with what is shaping up to be a crazy busy July and it seemed like a good idea to pass on running a half next month.
Instead, I’m taking it inland. I’ll be running the Salinas Valley Half Marathon on August 5. Salinas isn’t that far away so it will an early morning drive up to run the race before driving back home. This is actually a race that has been on my radar for a few years. The course is through vineyards and crop fields which is my favorite and it seems to be the perfect size crowd for me. Last year’s race was actually canceled due to the smoke from the Soberanes fire, we were on fire for what seemed like forever last summer. 😢
Ok back to some fun stuff-
13.1-mile course along the agricultural fields and vineyards of Salinas Valley
– Begins at historic Soledad Mission, ends at Pessagno Winery
– Travels along River Road Wine Trail, passing several wineries and tasting rooms
– Post-race wine tasting, music, awards, bbq lunch and more
– This is in the heart of “Steinbeck County” where many of Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck set his novels and short stories. (A humorous sign placed at one of the hills calls it “Beast of Eden;” a play on words to Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden.)
– Crops are identified along the route
Beast of Eden- how awesomely punny is that? Plus, it starts at a Mission. Fun fact- California has 21 Spanish Missions. I’ve been to 3- used to sing in the choir at one actually- so this will be #4 for me. And it will be half #27. 😛
As for that beach race in July? I may run the 10k. We shall see. 😛
A top 20 finish! I got lost! Have I peaked your interest? 🙂
Having been feeling under the weather for a week, hearing the alarm go off on Saturday morning was rough. It was cold outside, I was tired and my bed was so warm. What was I thinking? Oh I know, it was my pride. I wanted to prove to myself that even feeling crappy all the time, I could still pull a 30 minute 5K in a race. Stupid, I know. Since it was a cold morning and I was fearing asthma issues, I layered up in clothing. Yes, I know it’s cold air I breathe in that causes my issues but I just felt like the layers helped me be mentally prepared. As I still wasn’t feeling great I told myself 31 minutes would be a good adjustment. Like that made a huge difference. Head games, much?It was a smaller local race so I headed out around 8:15 for a 9:00 start time. My mom and the puppy were with me as well. I knew what winery it was at and its general location. Driving out I never saw any signs that said Villa 46, we came up on another winery that I had a run a race at and I knew that we had gone to far. We turned around and headed back the other way, this time paying attention to the street numbers. We find what we are looking for but it says Villa Toscana… and we couldn’t pull in the main drive. Continuing on a little farther we found a delivery driveway with yet another name but same street numbers. We pulled in there and parked next to some trucks that had already parked. Seeing the number of cars parked and then seeing the page of pre-registered runners confirmed that this was going to be the smallest race I have ever run. Only 17 people pre-registered. I think we barely hit 20 by start time. After a little announcement, a race volunteer told us there would be kids guiding us at each turn so we wouldn’t get lost. He also mentioned staying inside the fence. Then we were off! The first mile started on a dirt road but it fairly flat and wide so it was easy to run on. The kids directed us right and we headed out towards the street. As we got to the street I saw an arrow pointing right again but it kind of looked like it was telling us to run on the uneven grass. That didn’t seem right and everyone was running on the street so I followed. Let me clarify that the grass was on the inside of the fence.
As we ran down the street, we passed the delivery driveway. Some people turned up it only to turn around and run back to the street. A volunteer was yelling something towards us but we couldn’t hear him. A group of us chatted, figured they told us to stay on the street and all kept running towards the main driveway. Turned in there, headed back across the start line and back to the first Y. This time the kids sent us left. Mile 1- 9:22. I was feeling good so I was very happy with that time.
Then mile 2 came. Going left this time sent us down into the vineyard. Gorgeous views but I have run trails up mountains that had better maintained paths than that. I should have worn my trail shoes. By now I had decided to try to pace a tall guy wearing red in front of me and a woman in front of him. Then the inclines started. Ok, all were less than 100 ft but all were short and steep and on loose ground riddled with divets. I know I have maintained an average base lately but I don’t have it in me to run hills right now. However, I can power walk them faster than I can run them. So that is what I did. I lost red shirt here but was able to pass the woman who was struggling with the climb too. From there it was another small climb and out on a grassy section. Mile 2- 10:54. Ouch.
Mile 3 led us around another set of vines and through the actual vines. Have you ever tried to run between vines? It’s hard! Then a little down hill section that I flew down before heading back to the first set of vines. This is where I passed a woman in blue, caught up to red shirt and passed him too. I could have sworn we were going right and up that hill again but the kids waved us left. Wait, what? We should be close to done not running the opposite way of the start line!
I was also way too damn hot. Capri’s and long sleeves were way too much for high 50’s. I passed a guy in white shirt before rounding a corner and another little incline. Red shirt caught back up. No! I sped up. Another trek between two vines and it was up the last biggest hill and back towards the start. I briefly checked my watch because I knew I had to be close to 30. 32:something, ugh.Then I noticed the mileage. 3.2 miles and I still had more to go. What?! Rounded a corner to the start and a woman waved me on through another gate and up the main drive way and finally to the finish. Finaltime- around 34:4? It took me a moment to stop my Garmin. Finalmileage- 3.44. My mileage was echoed by other runners watches as well. According to my mother I was the second woman across the finish line.
So no, I did not hit the arbitrary time goal that I had set myself. But I felt good throughout the race, my lungs and my stomach behaved for the entire thing. And I passed people!!!! It has been so long since I have done that, it felt kind of awesome. Childish, I know, but still awesome. 🙂 The finish line was kind of gorgeous so we took enjoyed the scenery for a while before heading home. There was a man who ran the race with his chocolate lab so we let Zoey and her meet. Zoey was so excited to meet a dog that wanted to play and not attack her. The lab was small for the breed and super sweet. She put up with Zoey’s hyper level well. So it was a good morning all around! 🙂
Can you guess where we all got lost? The kids did a good job directing us which way to go. However there were no kids at the corner where we went on to the street. When we were supposed to stay inside the fence. Yeah. Oops. Poor listening skills aside, getting lost driving there as well, it was still a good race. I felt a little bad for the poor turn out. I hope they try it again next year. This time, I’ll wear my trail shoes. Oh and blogger fail, I didn’t go back down into the vineyard to get pictures of the course.