Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weekend Trip to Cali + Half Marathon 'Race' Report

I owe a race report from this weekend’s half but I think the best thing to do here is just combine the “race” report and a recap from the weekend!

Friday I left work about a half hour early to get to the airport. Once I was boarded and on the plane I got to stare at this for 1 hour 15 minutes. I love that it only takes 1 hour 15 minutes! Short flights are the best.

Saturday was a busy day. I got up and went to visit with my Mom, step dad and Grandpa. They all live about an hour from my Dad’s where I was staying. I wish I’d taken some pictures at my Mom’s as she does have a pretty awesome view but I didn’t. After a nice visit, I came back to Sacramento and got to relax for a little bit. I made a salad to take to dinner and even squeeze in quick 20 minute cat nap. Once my Dad and step mom arrived we were off to see my step sister and her baby for dinner. We drove out to her house and had salad and costco pizza (I love pizza or plain pasta before races) and visited. Her little son Dominic is pretty darn cute.

Sunday was even busier than Saturday! We got up at 4:30 and were loaded in the car by 5:00 to get to my race. Gotta love parents that are willing to get up at 4:30 am on a Sunday and then wait 2+ hours for you to run your race. They are the best. We got to the race location in plenty of time for me to pick up my packet, which included a gender specific tech shirt (I’ll take a picture of it this week when I wear it---it’s a really nice shirt) and hit the porto’s twice. Smaller races are nice since the lines aren’t very long. Here is me pre-race!

I was soooooo worried about the weather but I truly lucked out. It was cloudy and pretty windy but the rain totally held off. I opted for the running skirt, a tank and my long sleeve. Honestly, I probably would have been okay with arm warmers but with the wind I wasn’t sure how warm I’d get. I ended up taking off my long sleeve about mile 4.

Mini-Race Report: Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon

Not a lot to say here. The course, which I did in 2007 as my very first half marathon, is flat as a pancake. It’s definitely scenic, you run through wineries and rural farm land---it’s nice and peaceful. I set very low expectations for this race as my Morton’s Neuroma has been an ongoing nagging injury that’s really slowed me down as it hurts less to walk than to run. I’ve also just not been fast lately. Most of my long runs were in the 12:45mm range so I figured I’d aim for a 2:45-2:50---this is about 25-30 minutes off my 2:25 half PR.

My whole goal was to complete the run and have a good time. Running at the back of the pack has some serious perks. Most people are super friendly and always genuinely seem to be having a good time even if they are struggling. About mile 10 my foot was really flaring up and I also got calf cramps. I have never had leg cramps of any kind running---I’ve had them on the bike before but never running, it was not pleasant. Anyway, the last 5k was really slow and there was a lot of walking BUT I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the runners around me. I knew once I rounded the corner to mile 12 that I’d be able to see the finish line---this is a blessing and a curse. I was glad that I knew about it in advance because the first time I did this race I was NOT happy about seeing the finish line with a mile to go. I was expecting it and welcomed it. As I got closer I saw my Dad waiting patiently, I waved and gave him a smile as I headed for the finish line of my 8th half marathon. According to Garmin (I couldn’t get the race results from the website it wouldn’t load), I crossed in 2:52:10 which is definitely slow---but not my slowest half marathon. Given the amount of walking I did and my ailments I was pretty happy. I gathered my wine glass—which is bigger than the one they handed out 5 years ago (I am lame and didn’t get any photos), stretched and we hit the road. They had free tasting for runners but I skipped it because we had our own wine tasting to get to.

In the warm car with my medal!

We drove about 40 minutes to my favorite wine region—the Shenandoah Valley/Amador County. This valley is better than anything out there I’ve tried and I’ve tasted wine in several states, including all the famous spots in CA, plus France, Australia and New Zealand. This valley also holds a special place in my heart as it is where Mr. Pi and I were married almost 4 years ago.
Picture from our wedding day!
It looked very different than the photo above as the crazy weather had set in! It would POUR down rain, then the sun would come out, then the thunder and lightning started, then the hail and the sleet. Here is a pic of my Dad’s car door with the accumulated sleet—YIKES! I was anticipating 80 degree sunshine.

We tasted at our favorite spots and as my wine stash began to grow I realized I was going to need to borrow a suitcase for the plane ride home as all I had brought was my tiny duffle bag. Oops! We left the wine region and headed back to my Dad’s and the weather continued to be just nutty. We got home and I had to snap a picture of the pool. I was hoping I’d be able to sit out by the pool with an afternoon snack---fat chance!

Pretty soon it was time for me to head back to the airport, sad, but I did have an amazing weekend. When I went to check my bag the lady asked if I rocks in my suitcase since it was so heavy! Nope, just this…

Homemade cookies and wine!