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!