Healdsburg Half Marathon
I woke up at 4:30 to shower. I wanted to feel refreshed and I knew that that would be the only time to do it. My friends were uninterested in the shower factor and so I woke up, completely, alone.
15 minutes later coffee was served. I had nerves and rushed around trying to make sure that I did not forget anything.
I had my shoes. My chapstick. Visor. I considered not bringing it, but knew, that yes, the visor is my security blanket. I have run twice without it since I began this journey as a runner.
I left my ipod at the Box (our lodgings) since I knew that Lindsay and I were running the race together. The ipod was unnecessary.
Somehow we wasted 45 minutes. Originally, we planned on leaving at 5:15 in order to drive to Healdsburg and catch the last shuttle at 6:30. The race had shuttle stops that were conveniently located around Healdsburg. I felt if we parked at the Dry Creek Best Western that would be the best option. Post race, that particular shuttle, was supposed to run back to the location every twenty minutes. It would work.
Megan drove to Healdsburg in the complete dark. Our road was windy and there were stretches of one lane only. Thankfully, there wasn't much traffic. Still, we arrived at the Best Western at 6:30.
We arrived as a shuttle was departing. There was a considerable amount of people waiting in the parking lot and so I knew that they would send another shuttle. We took the Charter Bus and arrived at Francis Ford Coppola. I needed another potty break and so, Sara and I headed to the line and waited, and waited and waited. Seriously. That line didn't move and they kept saying---5 minutes til we start. The race started late since there were people still arriving from shuttles at 7:15.
Prior to the race, Megan decided that she would walk the race. She had an injury on her hip and was told if she ran, she would postpone her recovery by a month. Megan is a competitive person and waivered with what she wanted to do. I told her that she should listen to her body and decide what would work best. If she wanted to try to run, she should. Otherwise, she could take a shuttle to the end, I thought.
Race began with Sara, Lindsay and I running together. It was a beautiful day--overcast, humid, but incredibly beautiful landscape. We started off conservative. At mile 3, we listened to some chick yell---This is the only porta potty.....I am going here! It only stuck out since she was so loud about it.
Continuing on, I was a little ahead of Sara and Lindsay. Our pace was good and I felt the race was going extremely well. At mile 5, Lindsay and I separated from Sara. Sara is more of a solo runner and I knew that she wanted to focus on the race, figure out her pace/exertion rate; while, Lindsay runs for herself and prefers a conversation for the race. Me, I figured it was a training run and approached it as such. I felt awesome.
Mile 6 was in front of Quivira Winery. They had wine available at the aid station. We drank it.
The course was rolling hill and it was funny how easy it was to conquer the hills for us. I think elevation worked in our favor. Actually, I know it did. A little humid, but otherwise, the conditions were perfect.
At mile 10, Lindsay started to want to conserve energy. I wanted to race with her and so I hung back. We slowed down, a little. The next three miles, we ran and I felt that I definitely could have picked up the pace. I kept pushing for it, and she encouraged me to take off. I wouldn't though. I wanted to finish with her.
We passed by a male runner that had dehydrated. The Red Cross van was attending to him, but I didn't want to stare at this as we ran by since I had this unusual feeling that if I focused too much on his situation, it would happen to me. I know it was irrational. I just didn't want to feel his pain.
We crossed the finish line and was handed a lovely medal for finishing. I had turned around to get ready to root for Sara and she crossed before I could get my camera ready. Bummer! I wanted to cheer for her but was unaware of her proximity to us.
Our chip time (mine and Lindsay) was 2:15:57. Okay time--right dab in the middle, but I really enjoyed the race. I know that I could have competed and felt I could have PR'd that race had I not agreed to run with Lindsay. It was a training run, for me, and I ran it with someone.
We retrieved our bag which took too long and was about to head to the wine glass line when Megan showed up. She ran her first 1/2 Marathon, injured and all, and finished in 2:44:00. Amazing, especially knowing that she was attempting her first and not in the best condition to do so. Everyone told her that she should sit this out, but her determination aided her in tackling the 1/2.
At this point, we needed to head back to Napa, shower, and drive back to Calistoga/St. Helena area. We walked to the shuttle return area to find 3 huge lines. Disorganized. Messy to contend with. Other people had envisioned the great Best Western return, too, only to find that it wasn't every 20 minutes. More like 35-45 minutes. I was happy to be in line and grateful for the service. Unfortunately, there were many people that were bitching about the time it took to return to cars which did not help the situation.
I think that should be addressed when planning next year's race and even the porta potties, too. There were not that many available along the course. They definitely could have used more.
Instead of showering, we drove to St. Helena and arrived 5 til one. Wine tasting commenced in our workout clothes. More on that later.
I am so glad that we ran the Healdsburg Half. It was a beautiful course and something that I will always remember--food, wine, and friends.