Tuesday, June 4, 2013

VA Wine Country Half Marathon

So this past Saturday I ran my first half!  It was scary, fun, amazing, and so many other emotions all mixed in to one!  I ran it with my friend Lindsay and we had two goals:  finish in under two and a half hours and to run the whole thing, no walking.

Leading up to the race, I was pretty nervous.  I had tried for one final push of hitting 10 miles before race day that Monday.  And failed miserably.  I managed 9.5 but did a LOT of walking.  It was so hot and humid out that I just couldn't make it the whole way without walking.  I had also been trying to get a lot of hills into my workouts since I heard the course was hilly, but also heard that it was gentle rolling hills so not to worry too much.  Not to mention the weather forecast...HOT!

Race morning rolled around and I was up and at 'em by 4:30.  Ugh!  Lindsay and her fiance met us at the house at 5:15 and we were on our way.  And it was already pretty warm.  We tried to get our energy up during the 45 minute car ride by trying some Jelly Belly Extreme Beans (we'd both been using the regular ones during training but these had caffeine) and good God did they taste horrible!  We were gagging them down!  SO gross!

We got to the starting line about 6:45 and made our way to where our finishing time group was corralled (we may have been some of the few people who actually went where we were supposed to) and tried to get excited.  But nerves were setting in.  The guys wished us luck and headed to the start line in hopes of getting some good pictures.  At this point, the start of the race was delayed due to traffic and I wanted to cry.  What in the world had I been thinking signing up for this?!?!  Around 7:15, we were finally off and running!  The temperature at the start already had to be up to at least 70 - 75 degrees!
Starting Line

Ready to Run

The course was beautiful!  We ran through the countryside and passed cute little farms, vineyards, adorable stone churches.  But rolling hills?!?!?  LIES!  The hills were no joke!  And a good 6 miles of the course was run on gravel roads!  It was pretty tough!  Lindsay and I managed to stick together and kept a pretty consistent pace.  At the half way point there was a wine tasting so after some water I grabbed a Dixie cup of white wine and went on my way!  How could I resist?!?

We were just about to mile 7 when we came to the first spectator viewing spot and as we came around the corner we spotted this:

We were dying laughing!  The best parts?  Runners were actually stopping to take their picture and they got tanned around the body paint.  Here we are when we first spotted them:

I felt really good until about mile 11.  I started struggling!  I had half a pack of those nasty sports beans with me, and let me tell you, they were just about the best thing I had ever eaten!  They gave me the boost I needed to finish!   By then it was already in the 80s and SUPER hot!  All of the sudden I could see the silo of the winery where the finish line was!  I had never been so happy!  I checked my GPS watch and realized there was still another half a mile to go.  Doesn't sound like much but when you've already done 12.6, it's torture!  So close but so far!  As we got closer, the earlier finishers were cooling down and cheering us on.  There were crowds of people on both sides of the course so I took my headphones off and just enjoyed that last little push.  We had enough left in us to really push it at the end and beat our goal time!

Our official race time:  2h, 26m!  And the only times we walked was through the water stops, so that totally doesn't count!  It was an absolute blast!  And look at this medal!

We made it through the recovery tent, grabbed bottles of water, and headed to the shade to cool down before heading to the post-race wine festival.  Unfortunately, it was too hot to stay too long but we did enjoy ourselves while we were there.  We ended our morning with a little grape stomping!

And now I think I'm addicted!  I'm signing up for another half for September!  :)


  1. What half are you doing in Sept? The Navy/Air Force half in DC is really nice.. pretty flat..except for one hill up towards the zoo but it is downhill coming back :)

    1. I'm doing the Diva Half in Loudon County. I just looked up the Navy/Air Force one and it's the same day.

  2. This race looks awesome! Although I have sworn off halfs for a while, haha! The guys with writing on their chest is classic! You should come to VB for Shamrock in the spring. It's flat and a really fun weekend.

  3. It was a blast! I'd love to do a flat one and see what time I can get! I'm signed up for the Diva Half in the same area and really want to sign up for the Hershey Half in PA. We were two lucky ladies since those were our guys waiting for us! haha