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…
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.
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.
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.
Questions for you:
Did you run WineShine Half Marathon?
What race has given you the most swag?