We dropped the Little Studs with the in-laws in Lincoln City, OR which was where we would start Vacation after the race. We then ventured around to get our bearings and find a place for Dinner. Golden Valley Brewery in McMinville was FANTASTIC, relaxing and a great fit for us. Our hotel was less than ideal but was super close to the start for the 7AM call time. Parking and Honey Buckets were a breeze, we even picked up our packets that morning including an AWESOME dryfit Nike Shirt gender specific thank you!! The number of Super Fit looking folks was impressive, way to go Oregon!! I felt a bit self-conscious being one of the bigger/taller gals in the crowd.
Going into this race I was WORRIED about the HILLS, the terrain, everything.. My buddy Kim had run it before and shared the gory details.. As I mentally prepared I kept repeating in my mind "It is not about the Finish time! Enjoy the Journey." The race started in Stoller Vinyard which was so pretty!! We snapped a few pre-race photos then waited and waited… the race started 20 minutes late. The race start was a little wonky, they did not rope off the start corral type area so people fed in from everywhere and were in no way sorted by pace. We finally crossed the Start and were in a sea of people, we could not get out…my legs wanted to run but there was nowhere to go. We did the best we could to weave and get into our rhythm. From Mile 1 the markers were off by .3, not sure why?
At mile 2 we were already climbing..and it was a big hill… CRAP!! It honestly crossed my mind in that moment that I may not Finish the Race...If I was already dying on this hill how would I managed the rest??? My right calf was on FIRE.. Just then my MM said he was feeling bad.. So we walked.. This was the ONLY boring section of the race because it was on pavement and sort of Residential.. Soon we were on red dirt paths amongst the vineyards and wineries.
It was hard, some of those hills were CRAZY... but we walked when we had to and ran when we could. I soaked in the BEAUTY of the day, there was a mist in the air as we toured the local Oregon Wineries on foot. AMAZING!! Truly amazing. I was so glad to have my husband by my side, stride-for-stride, I felt bad for people who were on their own. This course is meant to be enjoyed WITH someone and not to be taken too seriously (in my opinion).
I was in the ZONE, not the Running zone but in the ZONE of being truly present in the moment. The water stations were great and included chews and Gu’s. There was a sign which read “Run Now. Wine Later.” Made me laugh because this course would normally have made me a huge Whiner for sure.. and I liked the play on words..As we were Running around the Domain Serene vineyard out-and-back I spotted a photog and started to think of fun poses, thankfully my husband is my dorky equal so he was game.. the result was this.
My AWESOME Tall buddy Kim came to the Finish to cheer us on and take pictures...LOVE HER! I spotted her almost instantly from 100yards away and it gave me the last push…
Finish Time: 2:20:50
Half Marathon #11 for me and #2 for Muscle ManThe course changes every year so who knows what you will be in for.
I teased Muscle Man for Months that I would never let him pick another race for us….but I eat my words, it was AWESOME. My shoes are forever ruined by the red dirt paths that captured my heart.