Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Marathon 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!
I’ve said it one and I’ll say it again, I love living in Northern California! Wine country to the west, mountains to the east, and San Francisco to the southwest! Last weekend, I headed to wine country to run, sip, and savor!
Race morning started with waking up at 1am. My mind was racing from all the fun I had the previous day at the expo, so I decided to write a blog about the Napa Valley Expo. I tried going back to bed at 2am, but was not successful. When I was still awake at 2:40am, I decided to get up and get ready since my alarm clock was set for 3am. I was out the door and on my way back to Napa by 3:40am.
At about 5:15am, I pulled into the parking lot of Justin Sienna High School, parked my car, and boarded the shuttle to the race start.
Finally, a little after 6am, after falling asleep on the shuttle bus, I made my way to the Napa Valley Marathon VIP race start area inside Conn Creek Winery.
Some of the VIP race day perks included a private pre-race area with breakfast, coffee and bathrooms at the start line, VIP gear check, and custom Napa Valley Marathon BibBoards. The breakfast consisted of plain bagels, fig newtons, and croissants. The only thing that was available to put on top of the bagels was honey. It would have been nice to have had some oatmeal, bananas, peanut butter, and/or yogurt. I did not pack a breakfast to eat while driving to the race start since I knew there’d be breakfast in the VIP area. My bad. Note to self: next time, eat breakfast. As for the private pre-race area and bathrooms, I appreciated being inside where it was warm and using an actual bathroom as opposed to a porta potty.
I waited to the very last moment to use the restroom since 1) I was not in a hurry to get to the race starting line 2) I knew that the race was not going to be a PR.
It seems like my new thing lately is starting in the back of the pack for a race. I don’t mind being one of the last ones to cross the starting line and then passing people to get up to my actual pace group. Quickly after crossing the starting line, I ran into Holly, the 3 hour Beast Pacer and then Jenn. I love running into my running friends while out on a course!
My last half, the San Francisco Half Marathon, was finished in 2:23:51. I was pretty confident that I would not be running a 2:23 half at the Napa Valley Half Marathon. I, in fact, doubted if I’d even be able to run a 2:30 half. I was tired and hungry before the race even started!
Within the first few miles of the race, I caught up to the 2:30 pacer, Hoang. We know one another from pacing with Beast over the years. I greeted Hoang, said I hoped to not see her again, and then ran ahead of her. This, however, did not last long. Miles 7 and 12 were my slowest miles. Hoang caught up to me at mile 7 and I fought to keep her in my sight from that point forward. I ended up crossing the finish line in 2:31:35. Not horrible. Not great. Grateful for another finish.
As for the course itself, who doesn’t want to run among the vineyards?! The weather was perfect, the sights were noteworthy, and I gained 232 feet of elevation while running, but lost 355 feet! I can see why so many people love running the Napa Valley Marathon & Half Marathon course!
I snapped the following picture with Mitch, a Napa Valley Marathon volunteer because he greeted me at the finish line with a water bottle in hand, congratulated me, and then asked me how I was feeling. He was so kind, so positive, and exactly what I needed at the finish line! Well done Napa Valley Marathon race directors for setting up your volunteers at the finish line in an organized manner that made finishers feel valued!
I snapped this finisher pic with Hoang and thanked her for another great pacing gig. Next time, I won’t let her pass me.
Would a finish line even be a finish line without my standard jumping pic?!
Post race I drove a little north to the Clif Family Winery, the location of the post race VIP party. I enjoyed sitting outside in the sunshine, purchasing a Funghi Bruschette from the Food Truck, and enjoying my delicious glass of Bici Red. As a perk of being a race VIP, I was gifted with a bottle of the 2017 Climber. (I enjoyed this bottle the next night with a friend. Another delicious Clif Family wine!)
Before making my way back to the Sacramento Valley, I snapped this medal pic among the vineyards of the Napa Valley vineyards.
About halfway into my nearly two hour drive back home, I pulled over to take a power nap. To say that I was tired would be an understatement. I had been awake since 1am and by 2pm I could barely keep my eyes open!
After waking up from the revitalizing 15 minute power nap, I continued making my way home. Sadly, about 30 minutes from my house, my tire pressure warning light went off. I knew this couldn’t be good. Since hubby dearest was at home with the baby, I decided to drive to my mom and dad’s house. Fortunately, I made it there in one piece because when my dad checked my tire pressure, it was down to 8 pounds when it should normally be about 40 pounds! There was an audible hissing sound of air escaping from the side of my tire! Dad came to my rescue, removed my tire, went with me to purchase a new tire, and then put my tire back on my car. I have the world’s best Daddy!
I drove to the grocery store after my tire was repaired for my weekly grocery shopping trip. I finally arrived home a little before 7pm, 15 hours after leaving my house early that morning! I was glad to finally be home and glad to be able to put baby to bed.
All in all, I had a fantastic weekend at the the Napa Valley Marathon expo and then at the Napa Valley Half Marathon race the next weekend! I highly recommend this race and hope to see you out there next year!
Until next time,
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