13 Days. GULP. (and Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon recap)

photo 113 days until the San Francisco Marathon.

The Fueled by Fine Wine half marathon was a BEAST.  It was billed as a very hilly race and “you’ll have the BEST time but not run your BEST time.”  And they were not kidding. I was FREAKING OUT by mile 3. FREAKING OUT.  I was running and Facebooking my extreme angst. I asked someone to compare the elevation profiles of the race with the San Francisco marathon and let me know the outcome.

It turns out the Fueled by Fine Wine race is HILLIER than San Fran-motherfucking-frisco. 1,000 feet in elevation gains over 13.1 miles (almost all of it in the first 5-6 miles). TSFM is 900 feet over 26.2 and once you attain the elevation you pretty much stay up there until the end. You dip a bit but you don’t ascend it and descend it again and again and again like we did on Sunday in Oregon.  That did make me feel a bit better. Before that I was having the “I have NO BUSINESS” running the San Francisco Marathon thoughts. I figured I was either a mad genius for running this race or an idiot and I would not know the answer to that until the end of the race.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiles 1 through 6 were uphill across various terrains – paved roads, gravel roads, and red dirt trails. The race started out uphill immediately and by mile 4, many runners were feeling broken. I sure was. By mile 6 I found my groove though and had my fastest miles of the race in the miles from 6-12. Then at mile 12 we  rounded a corner and faced a hill through a vineyard that — well it looked like this except in a vineyard, and I am not even exaggerating at all. In fact, I think that last hill was even steeper than this.

But, after hiking up that last hill with burning quads and a flagging spirit, I shot off the top of that hill and through the last 3/4 mile like I’d been shot out of a cannon. There was still life in my legs. That’s new. Before marathon training the last 2-4 miles of a half were very challenging for me.

The course was a nightmare of hills, but it was also breathtakingly beautiful. We ran through (literally through – down rows of grapes) and around vineyards in Dundee, Oregon. At the post race festival, each participant got a wine glass in addition to the super cute medal and there were about 30 vineyards there for the wine tasting.

Needless to say we got pretty drunk. At 930am. It was fun and hilarious. Here are some pics: photo 2All in all, the race and the weekend were super fun. Sigrid and I stayed with my cousins and had just the best time. I discovered a number of new and amazing Pinot Noirs at the tasting, and this is, despite the hills, one of the better organized and fun races I’ve done.  Of course, after the 4th ounce of wine at the tasting, you start to forget about how those hills nearly broke your spirit.

My time was TERRIBLE but eh, I’m not going to sweat it. I spend a considerable amount of money and time traveling to these races and I chose to stop and smell the grapes along the way. I took a TON of pictures and enjoyed the course in spite of the killer hills.


Found some friends

I’m going to continue with my hill training now that I am home. But, I have to say, I am pretty ready for San Francisco.

13 days until the San Francisco Marathon!