WineShine Half Marathon (1:43.36)

WineShine Half Marathon (1:43.36)

I had all of the plans to race the WineShine Half Marathon, but my body felt terrible when I started. So instead I ran it at a pace faster than an easy run, but not at a workout pace. I rarely ever run 13+ at that pace so it ended up being fun.

It was not a surprise that I didn’t feel great, as the week before, I moved my entire house, was trying to transition into a new job, and we left to drive to the race “super late.” So a lot was going on! It’s easy to tell others: “life stressors can affect your running” but tell myself that? lol…

WineShine Half Marathon (1:43.36)

Before the WineShine Half Marathon:

We left for the race after work. From Edwards to Napa, it’s about a 6-hour drive. (Sadly, I no longer live in Napa, where it would have been a 5-minute drive to the race…I digress). We stopped in Walnut Creek about 45 minutes outside of Napa because I just wanted to sleep (and Walnut Creek was cheaper to stay in). Race morning came early, and I felt tired. I hoped, with some adrenaline, my body would “wake up,” but it never did. Getting to the WineShine Half Marathon was easy, and there was plenty of parking. I picked up my race bib, walked around, and by the time I knew it, it was time to race. Another important thing about the WineShine Half Marathon was there was never a line for the porta potties. I went to the bathroom three times and never had to wait in line. If that doesn’t sell you on the race, I don’t know what will.

I got to chat with podcast host Ali F before lining up, and it was fun to catch up. The thing about WineShine Half Marathon is I saw many people I knew and had an enjoyable time; I didn’t feel good while running. I wish I ran well, because the WineShine Half Marathon race itself has been one of the best race experiences in California.

WineShine Half Marathon Race:

The WineShine Half Marathon went off at 7 am. The 3.9 milers and 13.1-mile races went off together, and during mile 1, they split. There were many people, and I wondered who was doing what. For the most part, people were running the 13.1-mile race. As I began running, I realized my legs felt stiff and tired. I thought: maybe they will get better. The first mile felt like it “took forever.” In most races, it feels this way, but this race especially felt like it was taking a long time, and I felt like I was overexerting myself far more than I should be. I hit the first mile of the WineShine Half Marathon in 6:53, and I knew if I continued trying to run that pace, I would likely blow up around mile 5 (if not earlier) and have to walk it in or run 10-minute miles and be super miserable. I didn’t want that to happen, so I decided to ease it back and run somewhat easy.

I still ran faster than I would alone, but I turned my mindset from “racing” to doing a long run. I rarely run over 10-12 miles, so it pushed me to run slightly longer. It was not an easy run, though, because even though I was running easier; running just felt hard that day.

We continued out, and I found myself running alone the rest of the race. People continuously passed me, and I just wanted to be done racing. But I was healthy and running in a beautiful area (and not running in 80+ degree desert heat).

Around mile 5, I stopped using the bathroom. I had drank a lot of water before and had to go. I rarely stop during races, but this had become a run for me, and I didn’t care. Did I pause my watch? LOL no. Most of my miles up to that point averaged around 7:40, but that mile averaged 8:30.

I continued. I knew part of the race was out and back, and I had assumed we would go out 6.5 miles and come back the same way. I didn’t realize we went almost 8 miles and made a shorter loop to get around. I started seeing leaders coming back, which motivated me. I do the best with out and back races because other people inspire me. I began averaging around 7:50-7:58 miles, but I was happy I somehow was still running. A lot of people say: “I didn’t know if I would finish but at mile 1, I really didn’t know”. Maybe it was because I knew so many people that day.

We turned around, and I saw Emilia shortly behind me. I hoped she would catch me so we could run part of it together, and maybe it would somehow give me some adrenaline. Around mile 9 or 10, I stopped and grabbed some Nuun. I’ve never physically stopped at a water stop, but I wanted Nuun, and after Mountains 2 Beach, I didn’t want to miss electrolytes either. So I stopped, grabbed some Nuun, and carried on. I ran another 8:30 mile after stopping for 30 seconds.

At mile 10 of the WineShine Half Marathon, I pumped myself up and said: “just a 5k to go”. I wish I knew what was in that 5k because the final mile was not easy. Emilia caught me around mile 11, and I was excited to run with her. Well, I was excited to see her, but I knew if I were going to run with her, I would need to pick up the pace a bit, and I wasn’t sure I had that in me. But somehow, we ran a 7:46, my fastest mile in a few.

WineShine Half Marathon (1:43.36)

Just after mile 12 of the WineShine Half Marathon, we made a turn, and I was surprised to learn what was to come. I had no idea there was a large hill in the final mile. I used to be ready for the Napa hills, but I no longer am, so it felt like a mountain (really, it was about 100 feet); when we got to the top, the woman cheering said only a couple more hills to go! All I could think was, excuse me, what? I thought this course was flat and fast with a fast finish. Not 200 feet worth of hill climbs at the end. We finally reached the top, and I just surged to the end.

WineShine Half Marathon (1:43.36)


Luckily the last .25 of the WineShine Half Marathon was downhill, and I finished at a 7:22 pace. Emilia sailed by me during the last .1.

WineShine Half Marathon Thoughts:

I had planned to run fast, but that wasn’t in my cards. I had a great time at the WineShine Half Marathon, and it was one of the best races I’ve done. It’s well put together, and there is a lot of swag. Seriously, I have never run a race with more swag. We got a whole bag of goodies, including Gus, other energy gels, snacks, a wine glass, and an entirely free bottle of wine and wine post-race. I highly recommend it and look forward to running (and hopefully racing) it next year.

You can see Strava here.

Love running? You can subscribe to my weekly newsletter or read more about running shoes in my ebook.

Questions for you:

Did you run WineShine Half Marathon?

What race has given you the most swag?