North County Wine Run Half Marathon Race Recap

As you may remember, I ran the North County Wine Run Half Marathon last weekend in Battle Ground, WA.  Battle Ground is a sweet little town in the midst of Clark County situated near the Washington-Oregon border.  It boasts 3 wineries and, yes, I ran through every single one of them.  We’re big geography geeks, so for those of you who are also GG, here’s a visual:

While this was my first official “BibRave Pro” race, I did pay for my entry.

I was extremely nervous about this race for some reason.  Maybe because it was an “open course” (meaning running in the midst of traffic), maybe it was because there were less than 200 people signed up.  Because of the nerves, I was unable to eat anything before the race.  I couldn’t even force down a couple of Belvita biscuits which is my normal pre-race breakfast.  Bad, huge, terrible mistake.

The horn blew and we were off, starting with a nice uphill climb.  No worries.  I got this.  What goes up, must come down.  I was still going along nicely amongst the farm land when we hit the first aid station at about 2.5 or 3 miles.  I took a shot of Gatorade as I hadn’t eaten anything and thought it would help me.  Mistake #2.  I’ve discovered I can’t eat or drink anything with sugar in it while I’m running unless it’s a quick-dissolve glucose tablet, which I actually had with me.  I did eventually end up with a tummyache.  *facepalm

Still going along nicely until about mile 7.  Miles 5 to 7 were all uphill, and by the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of gas.  Normal story for me… no hill training which, on top of no fuel, equals the biggest breakdown I’ve ever had with tears and a near full-blown asthma attack.  I recovered my breath after about a mile.  Thankfully a fellow Half Fanatic was behind me who eventually caught up to me at mile 11 and she pulled me across the finish line.  Yay!  I finished!  I was so very grateful to see James there and thankful for all the wonderful support he provided me.  I know it was hard for him to have to sit this one out.

Let me break down the details of the event for you…

PACKET PICKUP:  Short and sweet and organized.  It took all of 5 minutes.

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION:  We parked at a school and shuttle buses took us to the race start line which was at a winery.  There was no parking at the winery, but the buses were on point.

THE COURSE:  It was open and you ran facing traffic on busy rural roads.  This was the one downfall with the race.  Drivers could care less about your safety as they showed time and time again.  Cones had been knocked down that were marking the course, and there were zero policemen around to keep things in line.  Extremely unnerving.  Following is another visual.  The course was the white line to the cone.  For 13.1 miles.  The side of the road was a ditch.

And it was extremely hilly.  You’d think I would have learned from the Olympic Discovery Half to integrate some hills into my plan, but no.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Here’s the elevation profile for NCWR.

PEOPLE:  Super friendly and helpful.  Everyone was extremely nice at this race, great aura.

AID STATIONS:  There were 3, two of which were running through different wineries where they offered water, Gatorade, and shots of wine for those who wished to partake.  I chose not to and stuck with water.

POST-RACE PARTY:  Great pasta and bread to be coupled with some wine tasting.  When I was through with the race, I was so sick and nauseous I couldn’t even think about eating.  After about 30 minutes, I forced myself to have about 5 bites of the pasta, the first food I’d had all day.

THE BLING:  Lovely.  A fully-weighted bottle stop.  I could actually cut the ribbon off and use this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  Other than the course being amongst tons of crazy traffic, this race was well run, well organized, and well directed.  If they ever closed the course, I would consider going back to run this race again for the challenge alone, to redeem myself and to have a better race.

By the way… after my shower and nap, I was feeling my normal self again, well enough for mine and James’s traditional post-race celebration.  For the first time ever, I had fried Brussels sprouts topped with bacon… I highly suggest you try them.  They were da bomb!

Cheers!

 

39 thoughts on “North County Wine Run Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. Fallon @ Slacker Runner

    Sounds like my kind of race!! One of my favorite local 13.1’s is on “open” roads. Actually closed courses are more unusual to me. But I totally get how freaky they can be, the first time a semi came up behind I dang near screamed. 3 aid stations for a half?!?? That’s not enough. Yikes. So sorry you had a rough but congrats on staying strong and finishing it!!

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    1. Paula Post author

      Oh wow, really?! I’ve only run on one other open course and that was Maui. I wasn’t too comfortable then either, but at least it did have a nice shoulder. All my other races have been closed courses. Very interesting! Also yeah… I was kind of surprised about the lack of aid stations too… super glad I wore my hydration pack!! And thank you!! 🤗

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  2. runningtotravel

    Congrats! It looks like a killer course with all of the hills! I used to detest brussels sprouts, but I’ve found it’s all in how they’re prepared, and I love them now! Open courses can be tricky. I was on one where a woman was almost hit by a car. The man went by yelling obscenities and complained about all the runners being on the road. Some people just have some issues, I guess.

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    1. Paula Post author

      Thank you Donna! Open courses are so scary, especially this one. Some people sped up when they passed, I swear. And there was this one white truck who kept going back and forth and wreaking as much havoc as he could. I also got flipped off. It was maddening.

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  3. Doctor Jonathan

    Achievement isn’t easy! Pushing through nausea, difficulty breathing and physical pain isn’t achieved by most people. It is assumed it is easier to “give in.” In reality, it strengthens you and expands personal boundaries. I give you enormous credit for persisting as you do. This “will of yours” separates you from the rest of the “pack.”

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    1. Paula Post author

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! I so greatly appreciate it! My spirit was seriously deflated after this race, but your comment has helped me to realize that, yeah, no matter the snafus I run into, I still do okay. Thank you!!!

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  4. meesh107

    Oh my! You paint a very nice picture of so many things that would’ve gotten me all freaked out: a tiny group of runners, open course, and HILLS!! so wonderful to hear someone helped you finish up after battling all the way through. That’s what this sport is about!

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  5. Chocolaterunsjudy

    I’m so sorry the race wasn’t the experience you wanted. I’ve done courses that are open like that with no shoulder — thankfully not with a lot of traffic but with enough — definitely not a fan either. Awesome bling, though!

    Ok, how does someone who lives where you are manage to avoid hills, LOL? I mean, I guess I know the answer. But I HATE running at my MIL’s cause no one is going to drive me anywhere and the hills are killer!

    You’ve still got San Antonio on the schedule, right? That should be lots of fun!

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    1. Paula Post author

      Lol, I run on the trail which is actually relatively flat, albeit a steady uphill for a few miles. I avoid the roads at all costs, haha… but I’m going to have to suck it up, 😀 . Yes, San Antonio is still on. Really looking forward to my one and only flat race for the year… at least I hope it’s flat. Aww, geez… I better go look at the elevation profile now. 😀

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      1. Chocolaterunsjudy

        The trail I run on is VERY hilly (having just run it today).

        I don’t really know if SA is flat or not; I wasn’t a runner when I lived there I can tell you for sure that Austin isn’t, but many areas of TX are.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Chocolaterunsjudy

        This was actually my first year of fairly flat courses, or at least net downhill + fairly flat (with the exception of my trail half in WA, 3 hilly loops).

        You guys will have to branch out into the plains states to get flat!

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  6. AJ

    Thanks for the recap as I’ve read about that race and thought it might be close enough to do, but no thank you if you’re running with traffic! I’ve already been hit by an SUV- do t need to do it again!
    Great job on persevering and crossing the finish line:)

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    1. Paula Post author

      Thank you AJ! Yes, I hated to make a big deal about running with traffic, but it really was unnerving to me… I don’t like open courses as they’re quite dangerous, IMO.

      I hope you weren’t seriously injured when you got hit. I think that’s just awful and can’t even imagine!

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  7. My Kind of Fit

    Congrats on your finish Paula!! Open courses are no fun for me either!! But that course really didn’t give you much room from the cone to the white line.

    I would love to try the brussel sprouts with bacon!! Cheers for the post race celebration!!

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