VA Wine Country Half Marathon Recap

I’ve been trying to think about how to recap my half marathon… I will save the suspense and put it out there that I did not, in fact, break 2 hours. I came in at 2:06 something, a good 3 min slower than my PR. Meh.

The race went something like this:

We started. It was exciting and crowded, like races typically are, and in the hub-bub, I forgot to turn on my Garmin until .35 miles in (math I did over the course of the run based on when other Garmins would beep and where the mile markers were. Ended up being a good mental occupier…) So, I never had an EXACT time on my watch but I did always have a good idea of my pace. Sort of like a compromise on the whole going naked thing. So that was cool, I guess.

I started fast, way faster than I intended to but continued to feel really good so just went with it. I was approaching it as “I’ll go this speed until I can’t then I’ll back off a little and recooperate.” I did the first 6 miles at under 9:00/mile… my pace was mostly 8:30ish whenever I checked it. My energy slowly faded and I just felt like I needed a walk break. So I did. And then the 2:00 pace man passed me and just kept on running and I just said “aw, whatever.” He was a dream crusher, and a memorably sad moment for me, Allyson and Heather. I definitely heard the Debbie Downer “womp womp” in my head.

Well, before I knew it, I was walking more than I intended. You know how when parents argue that you should wait till you’re married to have sex, because you’ll do it once and then you’ll do it all the time with subsequent boyfriends without even thinking it’s a big deal? Well, pardon the inappropriateness of that comparison, but I became a walking whore during the middle 5 miles of this race. The hills really got to me (and I really don’t know how many more hills I could have trained on…) I was also really tired and the stress of trying to keep up the pace was sort of sucking the fun out of the race.

I started to enjoy the race a little, during that Gallowaying it portion. I started listening to my body and looking around at the farms and hills and stuff. It was sort of pleasant, although I also really wanted to be done.

And that’s the motivation that made me start running again at a normal race exertion level around mile 11. I was just like “Come on, finish this thing.” It was obvious that I wasn’t going to break 2 hours, but I really didn’t know if 2:10 was in my reach. There was no way to know just how much I walked, but it felt like a lot. I finished strong, but there wasn’t anything left in the tank, so not like I’m questioning my run too much.

Heather, Courtney, me & Allyson pre race. Not pictured: Stuff holders Jackie & Amy

Here’s me & my friends before we raced. Can we all take a sec to appreciate how tan and awesome we are? Oh wait, that’s the instagram filter. F-T-W!

Now, if I may make some opinions known about Destination Races and the Virginia Wine Half Marathon. To be blunt: Don’t do this race. It was a logistical nightmare and pretty underwhelming all around. And also the most expensive race I’ve ever done (including the marathon I’ll be doing this fall.)

It rained the night before, and they emailed us at 10:25pm to say that there would be very little parking and we should take shuttles or allow for more time pre-race. When I woke up and looked at my email (since I was certainly asleep at 10:25, tyvm) that was pleasant. Love stuff like that on no coffee. They also promised more details at 5 am, which were never provided. We drove (thank God, since the shuttle that was coming to our hotel was a no-show!) and sat in traffic for an hour. The start time was delayed so we were there for the start. But honestly, there wasn’t much that seemed logical or well-thought out in the organization for this race. I chuckled bc on their FB page today they posted a link that “the Brightroom pics are up!!!” and when you click on it the Brightroom link says it’s “coming soon!” That pretty much sums it up.

I hate to be all condescending, but I used to plan events like this, and there was just so much to be desired here. I know it’s hard & some things are out of your control, but this was just inexcusable, esp at the ridiculously inflated registration price. So I sort of un-recommend this one.

Although, I did get cheered on by a goat on the route, so there’s that. Goat crowd support. 🙂

All that negativity aside, it was a fantastic weekend away with my friends. We got to do a few wine tastings, eat some awesome food (and steer clear of vegetables) and laugh our asses off. Repeatedly. Def PR’ed in that.


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