Last year, around this time, if you would have told me that I would run 5 half marathons in 2014, I would have laughed in your face. At the time, the longest I had ever run at one time was about 7 miles. My goal for this year was to run 1 (yup, just 1) half marathon. And here I am, with number 5 in the books. It is an amazing feeling.
But what is even more amazing than that, is that my husband just completed his very first half marathon. And let me tell you, this was not a beginner’s half marathon. Quite the opposite. And he rocked it. I am so proud of him.
We got into Temecula Saturday afternoon.
We made it there in time to hit up one winery (Doffo), which I would highly recommend (and coincidently led to us purchasing the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever bought to date).
We then went to Garage Brewing Company for a casual dinner. Great restaurant. Sort of like the Subway of pizza. You go to the counter, pick your sauce and cheese, and then they build your pizza for you out of the expansive array of toppings they’ve got right there for you to choose from. They had a really yummy Mango Hefeweizen that I got to go with the delicious pizza. Great little place! After that we hit the hay so we could be up bright and early for the race in the morning.
We got up at 5am the next morning and I was really indecisive on what to wear for the race. It was in the 50’s and the weather predicted it warming up to the high 60’s by the end of the race. I wasn’t sure whether to wear pants or shorts, or a long sleeve shirt or tank top. I consoled Runner’s World’s nifty little website where you put in the conditions and it tells you what to wear. It told me shorts and a tank, sop that’s what I went with. We drove over to the parking area where we would catch the bus to take us to Wilson Creek Winery (the start/finish area) and I immediately was so worried about my attire choice. I was FREEZING. My body was shivering. But, as the minutes ticked by, it gradually started to warm up.
We picked up our race packets, got our bibs on and our bags checked and headed over to the stage area for a fun little warm up to Thriller (you know, it being Halloween season and all). After that it was time to go!
We lined up at the start line, gave each other a kiss and we were off!
If I had one word to describe this race it would be H-I-L-L-Y. Holy crap was it hilly. I don’t think there was a single flat section of the entire course. The first 5 miles was an out and back and were gradual hills. Then we ran past the start line for the back 8 miles. Those were the most intense 8 miles ever. The only thing that I could compare it to is the Xterra Trail Half Marathon I did. Every single hill was really, really steep and once you got to the bottom of a hill, there was another steeper, higher and longer hill in front of you.
A lot of people walked the hills. Some people started out charging up them, and then started walking halfway up. I ran up each hill, but ran very, very slowly. In fact, I think someone walking up a hill passed me at one point.
Honestly, as tough as the hills were to get up, they were ten times more difficult to get down. I really dislike running down hill. So much so, that I’d rather run an entire race uphill than have to deal with that kind of steep down hill ever again. It just makes my entire body hurt. Around mile 8, I was hurting pretty bad from all the up and down and I was really hoping that Vince was doing okay. We hit the turn around and a few minutes later I passed him on his way to the turn around. He was running with the 2:00 pacer! We high fived each other and instantly I got a second wind. That last 5 miles I felt much better. It was still hard work getting through the hills, but I started really concentrating on my form and was able to maneuver the down hills with considerably less pain that in the previous miles.
I finally reached the mile 12 marker and couldn’t have been happier. There were some people out on the course for the last mile with signs and cheering us on. I rounded the last bend, saw the finish line and ran like hell. When I crossed the finish line, I threw up my arms and smiled a big smile. It was over. I survived. I ran the entire thing without stopping. I got my medal and some water and waiting for Vince to finish.
About 5 minutes later he came around that bend, crossed the finish line and threw his arms around me. He had also run the entire race without stopping (and he didn’t even drink any water the whole time!). I’m so proud of him. This was a really tough course, especially for a first half marathon and he crushed it.
Our official times:
Me 1:55:17.5 (14th age group, 39th overall female, 99th overall)
Vince 2:00:27.1 (20th age group, 78th overall male, 135th overall)
And, boy, I tell ya. The competition was stiff on this one. Those Californians…they are amazing. The overall winner’s time was 1:18:04.1. That’s a 5:58 pace. On those hills. He is a 35 year old gentleman from Encinitas. Blew us away with that time.
In the end, I was really happy I went with shorts and a tank top, because it really started to warm up. The course was beautiful. Most of the race was on dirt roads through wine country. Beautiful hillsides of vineyards and you could see the hot air balloons in the distance. Very lovely.
After the race was over, we picked up our wine glasses and headed over to the tasting area. I really couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking wine at that moment, so I opted first for a glass of almond champagne to celebrate our finish, and then switched to beer. Great recovery drinks haha!
When we were done with our tastings, we took the bus back to our car, and went back to our hotel room to shower. After that we hit up some more wineries. Bel Vino for one of the most informative wine tastings I’ve ever had from Dennis, along with a beautiful lunch outside listening to their live house band and enjoying the view of the hillside vineyards.
Then off to Hart for some great reds and fun conversation with the wine pourers. And finally, Wiens for some yummy wine, but a not so informed pourer (can’t win them all).
After that we hit up Crush and Brew for some dinner and beer flights (we were a little wined out at that point) and then we went back to the hotel room where we were asleep in bed by 7:30pm.
It was a great little weekend getaway. I loved running with my husband. I am so proud of him and I love that we can have little race-cations. Good times, good times!
Did you race over the weekend? Tell me about it!