State #37 California
Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon
July 15, 2018
Finished Time 2:09:16 ( this includes mile 10 wine stop)
Division/84; Gender 528; Overall 924/3,999
To date, this has been my most expensive race, damn California. From the registration $175, flight $330, rental car $350, Airbnb with three other girlfriends $491( total for four days). I haven’t even included food, gas, wine, or Yosemite Pass ( $35). I would do it all again. :)
Pre- Race Exploring
Non-Stop Boston(BOS) to San Francisco(SFO). Flight left Wednesday at 7 a.m. When I arrived in San Fran it was around 10:30am, so I had the whole day to explore. Going back. I left Monday night at 9:40pm, which left more day time exploring San Francisco before arriving in Boston at 6am Tuesday morning.
I've been to San Francisco many times but I've never been north of the bay area. After State #36 and visiting Yellowstone, I wanted to see more of the National Forest and explore that part of the state. Yosemite is a three and a half hour car drive from SFO airport. The drive from the airport to Mariposa was a beautiful and easy drive. I even stopped at a local farmers market.
I stayed for a night at Yosemite Inn in Mariposa which is 45 minutes from the Western entrance of Yosemite National Park. The price was reasonable because the closer you get to the park, the more expensive it would be. Luckily the hotel was across the street from the visitor center and they had all kinds of information about Yosemite as well.
After getting information I drove to western entrance of the park. The magnitude of the trees was just incredible. I spent half of Wednesday evening there. Thursday morning I explored the lower falls area of the park before driving four hours to Sonoma Valley. ( Side note: I saw a bear in Yosemite and there was no Bear Spray for $44.95 to be found( cost of bear spray in Montana).
I would love to go back and spend more time in Yosemite.
Racers stayed in both the Sonoma and Napa area since we started in Napa and ended in Somona. I picked Sonoma because I wanted to be where the race ended. There was a shuttle service that would pick up and drop off the runners on race day.
Sonoma- winery visit- Gundlach Bundschu
This is one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma. This was such a gorgeous, chill, and amazing place. One Saturday, before bib- pick up we had our tasting, ate lunch and just relaxed and took in the beauty.
Napa- CIA/ Brown Estates
The race organizers had planned a pre-race dinner at the CIA( Culinary institute of America) on Saturday for $95. Unfortunately, we would not be in the dinning room or on the grounds of the CIA but a large classroom-like setting. My crew decided to have lunch there on Friday on own our( which would be cheaper and we could get the full CIA experience). We had like queens from the chief's to be. If you love food and wine, this is the place and race to go! Our pre-race dinner was at Napkins Bar ad Grill in downtown Napa instead.
The only African-American OWNED winery in NAPA! Had to go to the tasting room on Friday. This place reminded me of a speak easy. The music was chill old school and the decor was classic funky. Even the bathroom was badass with wallpaper of Angela Davis and Too Short. Only wine members could go to the vineyard. Since we aren't member's yet we had a fabulous food and wine tasting.
Because people stayed in Napa/Sonoma there were buses to take people to the start and finish of the race.The first shuttle left at 5:20 and they came every 5minutes until 6:15. The shuttle pick up was 5 minutes from our airbnb. At 5 am in the morning there was plenty of parking for our car. My only issues was a lack of signs and directions for where the shuttle pick- up was. After following people, we found the shuttle buses.
The race started at the Cuvaison Caneros Winery in Napa. You walked up a mini- incline surrounded by grape vines. This place was massive. It was hauntingly beautiful with the fog, cool air, the grapevines. I've never experience anything like this on race day.
And the port-a-potties were so clean and smelled good. That was a first for me. :)
7:10a.m. the race started. We ran down the incline, turned left and starting running up a hill. And it was " on" then. The race was rolling hills/incline " flat". All was forgiven because the scenery was incredible and the weather was perfect for running. I forgave them for the route. After running in West Virginia and the uphills of Montana, I was ready for this. You had to be mindful of some of the potholes on the pavement.
With so many people and a narrow space, it was hard to break away. I was always with people running. This is a race I wished I had a go pro. I understand why the race sells out. They only allow less than 4,000 people in this race. I was surrounded by a sea of people and a sea of grapes.
-Mile 8 and Mile 10 there were wine stops. My goal was to stop and have wine at mile 10 and toast my mother. I always run a race on her passing day and Sunday was the 7th year of her passing. It was a perfect race because she loved wine and would have gotten a kick out of exploring Napa and Sonoma. What made mile 10 even better was in front of Gundlach Bundschu.
We had there wine again. YAY. After mile 10 it was completely flat and just 3.1 miles to Sonoma Square. I was focused on finishing. Once we finished it was a wine festival. There was lots of people and activities. It really was a fun and festive way to end a race.
Medal - And it's a wine opener. Very cool. I'm not too knee on the white legs of the runner but that aside, it's a nice and usable metal.