Napa Half 2019

Napa Half 2019

I did not want to wake up this morning! I snoozed many times debating on how much longer to stay in bed. It was difficult to roll out of bed because my body was really tired and sore. At this point in my running career (I leveled up last month in Half Fanatics, a renowned club for runners), waking up sore is unusual so the only explanation I could come up with was, how the rolling hills of the Napa Half 2019 took a toll on me. FYI…this is not the same as the larger, fancier Napa Valley Marathon and Half, that I have yet to run. The Napa Half I ran is more like the Brazen Races put on by a running club. It’s very small (probably also put on by runners) and operated by the Athletic Feat, a locally owned and owner-operated running specialty and bicycle store in Napa, California.

In this latest race, the hills weren’t that big. There were just a lot of them. You actually loop back over some of the hills you climbed earlier in the race. Even when the hill didn’t look too bad, my glutes definitely told me that I was running up a hill. Or to be more accurate, my brain was trying to tell my glutes, “You’re not in pain! Run it out!”

The mile markers also messed with my head. I am a numbers person so I focus on the next mile and what I’ve completed. After the first two miles or so, I saw the mile 5 marker, but in smaller font it said something in parentheses about the second pass. Those around me commented and chuckled at the fine print. Our muscles were hardly warm at this point. In fact, numbness was inching through my legs and arms. It was really cold…I think 45 degrees. Besides being cold, I needed some electrolytes pronto. Bells rung in my ear drums, indicating help was close. Downing the electrolytes immediately made the numbness dissipate. Phew…I got this! Ahead of me, I could still see my friend’s red skull cap bobbing among the crowd of runners. I suddenly had a burst of energy and decided to catch up to her. She’s always been a stronger, faster runner, so I wasn’t sure if I could catch up. Days prior to the race, I told my husband, “I thought for once, I could possibly keep up with her because she said she was going to take it easy.” I ran up next to her and in between breaths, told her my goal was to catch up to her. She congratulated me and encouraged me to run ahead. I couldn’t do it. My little legs wouldn’t go any faster. Nonetheless, I felt good about the small feat. She, of course, then took off on me, later to tell me she had to keep with her normal pace.

I ran past the mile 4 marker, and shortly thereafter in front of the school, I saw the mile 11 marker. WHAT? I wish! Those mile markers really tricked the brain for a second and made you chuckle. On the actual second pass, I knew I had completed mile 11. We turned right and the two guys who had been rooting us on were still there. One yelled, “It’s downhill from here…until you hit the bottom, then it’s up.” We laughed in between breaths. 

Close to mile 7, I caught up to my friend again. Woo hoo! I couldn’t believe I was able to keep up for 4 miles. I celebrated in my head and decided that 4 was good enough. These hills were tough. I was just happy to be running and focused on simply completely the race. I trailed back, found a comfortable pace, and continued on my way through the beautiful vineyards. The hills might have been a challenge, but the views were spectacular. With it being the end of September, the leaves are just starting to turn color.

Grabbing some water at mile 10, a runner yelled out that we only had a 5K to go. She proclaimed we already ran 10 miles, so what was another 5K? She was right! We ran together with her slightly behind me. A decent came upon us and I took off because I needed the downward momentum to get up the incline. I looped around the left and then right, and the saw Skyline Park up ahead. My little legs ran as hard as they could. Once I passed the toll gate leading into the park, all my energy let out like air in a balloon. I could hardly go any further with my legs feeling like weights. I passed the Dog Run and the runner behind me started to pass me. I rooted out loud for her and she took off with the red finish line inflatable arch waving at us. All of a sudden, I saw my husband cheering on the left with Apollo on his shoulders. He set Apollo on the ground and Apollo ran towards me with people rooting for him. Our fingers brushed by each others as he ran towards me. There was a big gap between us because I kept my distance. I was afraid I was going to knock him over as I tried to rush past the finish line.

I turned around after crossing the finish line and was thrilled to see my family. Last race, they missed me crossing the finish line by 30 seconds. I found my friend and congratulated each other. Then we went to grab a banana and our bottle of wine, check our times, and get in line for our included tacos. People didn’t want to wait in line and handed us extra tickets for tacos. The Bistro del Salle tacos were delicious. It was just because we had run a half marathon. Even the hubbies said they were really good.

After washing up at the motel, my little family and I went to Rombauer Vineyards and hung out a bit, enjoying the beautiful view of the green vineyards. If you’re looking for a challenging run, I recommend the Napa Half. You’ll get the opportunity to stay in Napa like we did for the weekend and go wine tasting to celebrate your accomplishment. You can also do the same on the day before. hehe… Perks for running the Napa Half include a free bottle of wine. This year it was sponsored by Beringer. Yum! Again this is not the same as the Napa Valley Half which is held in the Spring. The Napa Half is a pretty small run, operated by the Athletic Feat, a locally owned and owner-operated running specialty and bicycle store in Napa, California.

Next month, I’ll be running in my all-time favorite race in Healdsburg. Last year, the Healdsburg Wine Country Half was put on now by the defunct Destination Races. I hope the Hallowine Run is going to be just as awesome. Based on last year’s experience (read on my blog), you should look into this race for a destination race in Northern California.