15 October 2011

North County Wine Run Half Marathon Recap

Ready for my 3rd half marathon in 13 days!
When Will decided he wanted to run his first half marathon this fall I handed him the huge "wish list" of races I wanted to do and let him choose the one he liked best.  He selected the North County Wine Run down in Battleground, WA (near Vancouver, WA) on October 1st.  It looked like a beautiful course and we both enjoy wine so it seemed like the perfect choice to me!
The Rusty Grape Vineyard
We headed down the freeway the day before the race and arrived at our hotel room in the early afternoon.  We had prepaid for a dinner at the Heisen House Vineyard at 6pm where we could also pick up our packet and listen to some live jazz music.  I had some lasagna and Will had the pesto pasta and we each enjoyed a glass of merlot while relaxing at the vineyard.  After a little while we headed back to our hotel to get all of our "stuff" prepared for the morning.  One nice thing about this race was that it started at 10am- much later than most races so we could get a little bit more sleep!
Relaxing with some wine.  The band is playing in the background.
Will enjoying his glass of wine.  The Heisen House vineyard was really nice.
I had been watching the weather report and it was supposed to start raining by 7am of course!  I had been spoiled the last two races by being home so I could make last minute outfit adjustments if necessary- this time I just had what I brought.  I had intentionally left my tall socks home because I was going to wear my arm sleeves and I didn't want to be too warm.  We pinned on our race bibs, put the timing chips on our shoes and went to bed around 10:30 or 11pm. 
This was the first time I had alcohol the night before a race.  Yes, it was just a glass of
wine- but I am a light weight!
Our alarm went off around 7am and we headed down to the hotel breakfast.  Normally I don't get too adventurous with my food before a race, but I am getting really tired of Cliff Bars and the PB&J sandwiches I typically eat so I thought I would at least check out the options.  I had a small cup of coffee, a small glass of orange juice and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly.  Not too shabby for a hotel breakfast- they had waffles, yogurt, donuts, cereal and a few other things but I am not brave enough to eat those things just yet.  Stick with what you know right?

We headed back to the room and got ourselves ready and packed up since we would need to check out of the hotel before leaving for the race.  Since we didn't really know the area very well we gave ourselves plenty of time and left our room at 8am.  We had to park at a school and then shuttle down to the starting area at the Rusty Grape Vineyard.  Well, there was barely any traffic and we only had to wait a few minutes for the shuttle so we ended up at the starting line really early- better than a little late though right?
Killing time before the race
There were a lot of booths and vendors at the vineyard which was nice.  The running skirts booth had their new fall colors in so I got to see them in person- still can't make up my mind which pattern I like best though!  They were playing music and we had a chance to wander around the vineyard and take a few pictures.  It was rather chilly but the rain was holding off so that was awesome!  We waited until the last minute to check our belongings (including my warm jacket!) and get in line for one last pit stop before the race.  Will didn't seem too nervous for his first ever half marathon, and I was feeling pretty good too- more excited than nervous I think.

Soon enough we were all herded down to the start line, the national anthem was sung and the countdown started.  And just like that we were off running down the road!  We were being passed a lot in the first mile and I had to just tell myself that it didn't matter- I was running this race with Will and to just calm down and help him settle into a good pace.  I didn't want to end up pushing him too fast early on and make his first half marathon a miserable experience! 

Mile 1- 10:28 ~gradual uphill, trying to warmup still
Mile 2- 9:31 ~getting into a good stride, slightly downhill
Mile 3- 10:02 ~first water stop
Mile 4- 9:30 ~this mile was mostly downhill (yay!)

The scenery was really nice, mostly just along some country back roads.  It was nice to see the community support- there were people standing at the end of their driveways cheering us on and little kids giving us high fives.  Around mile 5 we arrived at the Heisen House Vineyard where their was a water stop and we were able to run through the barn which was neat.  Will was doing a great job, his energy was up still and we were running at a good pace.  I had estimated him around a 10:30 pace but we were definitely faster than that!

Mile 5- 10:15 ~was really wishing for a water station here, took my gel
Mile 6- 10:52 ~through the vineyard (grass, a barn, a water stop) which slowed us a bit
Mile 7- 10:32 ~I happily tell Will we are halfway.  I love halfway!
Mile 8- 9:56 ~I realize Will probably needs his shot blocks for energy, I can tell he is slowing down

There were sections along the road where the shoulder was small or non existent so we had to run single file- but mostly we were able to run side by side.  It is nice to have somebody to run with during a race, that's for sure!  We reached the third winery Olequa Cellars around mile 8 or so and there was another water stop.  I made sure Will was taking in his energy chews so he didn't lose his momentum and we were off again.  I told him we would probably finish around 2:15 and that seemed to make him happy- and maybe a bit determined to beat that.  I knew there were some hills ahead of us, but wasn't sure how big they were.  I thought I had remembered the last 2 miles being little or no elevation gain so I told him once we hit mile 11 it was smooth sailing.  I lied- not on purpose though!

Mile 9- 10:38 ~another water stop, and through the other vineyard
Mile 10- 10:00 ~Will's energy is improved, a little bit hilly here
Mile 11- 10:40 ~I am remembering how hard the last 2 miles of MY first half were

We turned a corner and up ahead we saw it at the same time- Mt. Everest at mile 11.5!  I kept my thoughts quiet, feeling bad for giving false hope about there not being any more hills and thinking "holy crap- that is HUGE!".  Will looked at me and said "WHAT IS THAT, I thought you said no more hills!!!"  I told him it was our Everest- and up, up, up we went.  We conquered that hill, but man- what a race killer!  121 feet of elevation gain in .22 miles- pretty much just straight up for a quarter mile.  After we recovered from that it was smooth sailing though- pretty much a slight downhill to the finish line.  With one mile to go Will said to pick up the pace and get it done, so that is what we did!  Finish time 2:12:37!

Mile 12- 10:47 ~hello Mt Everest!
Mile 13- 9:30 ~way to finish strong Will, excellent job!

DONE! finished with his first half marathon!
DONE!  finished with my 7th half marathon!  I think that lady
behind me is jealous of my arm sleeves.
We walked around a bit and grabbed some snacks.  Will made me laugh when he said "if you asked me to do this again next weekend I would say NO!"  We each got a 15 minute massage which felt really good- especially after my 3rd half marathon in 13 days!  I really enjoyed this race, it was well organized and great scenery.  The volunteers were great and the community seemed really supportive.  I would recommend this race to anyone.  It was the perfect 1st half marathon, the perfect 7th half marathon and the perfect 3rd half marathon in 13 days!
Relaxing after the race!
Oh, and it took a few days but Will is ready to run Rock and Roll Las Vegas with me in December!
I love this photo- sprinting to the finish line.  The difference between running your
first half marathon and your seventh!  My hubby was giving it his all, that is for sure! 
Congrats babe- you did it!

1 comment:

  1. sounds like a fun race. I like wine as well maybe i will do this one next year!! :)
    i love reading your recaps of the races!! Makes me want to run more races with you