Race Review: Napa to Sonoma

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Napa to Sonoma as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Is there anything quite as wonderful as racing and wining?! The Napa to Sonoma Half has been on my bucket list for a few years now. When the opportunity came, therefore, to run the race I quickly signed up!

Aren’t those medals SO super awesome?! New this year, the Napa to Sonoma race decided to add on an optional Rosé 5k race the day before the half marathon. I just HAD to run both races. #alltheraces Participants who ran “the pairing”, both the 5k as well as the half marathon, got to choose from a commemorative wine kit or a bottle of Rosé at the finish line of the half marathon. Can you guess which one I chose?

Inaugural Rosé 5k

I’m blessed to live less than two hours from some amazing, world-renowned wines. After talking with a runner who was from New York about how many great wineries are around, I realized that I take for granted my proximity to wine country. Since the race was fairly close to my house, I did not choose to stay overnight. (Not to mention the high cost of accommodations!) My seven month old and I drove to Napa on Saturday, ran the 5k, and drove back home. On Sunday, I left baby at home with my husband, drove back to Napa, ran the half marathon, and then returned home. I’m grateful for my hybrid vehicle that gets great gas mileage!

My first stop when I got into Napa on Saturday was Starbucks for some coffee and to use the restroom. #irunoncoffee

We then found a place to park close by the Sonoma Plaza, the location of the expo as well as the start & finish line of the 5k. There was a lot of free three hour street parking spots. The race gets an A+ on ease of parking.

I’m not one to arrive to a location with a lot of time to spare. I like to give myself just barely enough time. lol With that said, after parking, I put baby in our Bob Blaze and we made out way over to bib pick up. There’s was a significant line to pick up the 5k bibs, but it moved fairly quickly. After picking up the bib, we headed over to pick up my shirt, threw it in the lower storage compartment of the Bob, and made our way to the 5k starting line.

The 5k course was well marked, enjoyable to run, and only had a couple of little hills. It was nice to see other stroller runners out of the course!

Before we knew it, we were at the finish line!

After finishing the 5k, baby and I picked up my bib/shirt for the half marathon the next day and enjoyed some time walking around the expo.

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

I left my house at about 4:15am for a 7am race start. It was an early morning. As stated previously, I made it to the Sonoma Plaza with barely enough time to spare. Since there is not parking at the start of the Napa to Sonoma half marathon, runners are encouraged to either take a shuttle to the starting line or get dropped off. Since I drove myself to the race, I had to catch a shuttle. The website said that the last shuttle was departing at 6:30am. I, of course, arrived at 6:25am. As first I didn’t see anyone around. I reread the shuttle information page and realized that I was standing at the corner of 1st Street West and Spain instead of 1st Street East and Spain. Uh oh! I quickly ran one block to the correct location in just the nick of time.

Before I knew it, I was standing at the race starting line and the countdown was over.

Next to water as one of my favorite things to run beside, I’d say that vineyards would be a close second. So many vineyards and wineries along the course of the Napa to Sonoma half. I think a fun add on to the race would be a wine tasting bus tour that visits all the wineries along the course. 😉

Some of the highlights of the race, besides running past vineyards, were running into one of my fellow BibRave Pro Linda and drinking some Rose while on course. #roséallday

The course was well marked, traffic was controlled beautifully by law enforcement as well as volunteers, and the views were next to none! Next, it was time to cross that finish line and enjoy the finish line festivities. (I was hoping for a time that was a little faster, but I had too much fun taking in the views while out on course.) . I trained with team Endure Strong for this training cycle and would highly recommend checking them out! (More about Endure Strong in a future blog post.)

Before picking up my wine glass at the finish line, I walked to my car that was close by so that I could change my clothes and pump (I’m still breastfeeding my 7 month old baby).

Twenty minutes later, I felt like a whole new person and made my way back to the finish line festivities. The Napa to Sonoma half finish line was probably one of my favorites! There were quite a few wineries all pouring at least two different wines (usually a red and a white). The best part is that with your wine glass and a wristband showing you were over 21 years of age, there was unlimited tastings! I have already contacted several friends to tell them that we need to run this race next year and spend the night Sunday night to fully be able to enjoy the finish line festivities. 🙂

Speaking of running this race next year, race registration is now open and will sell out. Who will I see at Napa to Sonoma next year?

Check out my race review at BibRave.com!

Until next time,

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