Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Napa To Sonoma Half Marathon Race Report!

Hi everyone! It just took me 45 minutes to upload all of my pictures into this post! I will try to keep this short and sweet:) Do you believe me? Sunday morning I got up at 3:45 and got ready for my Napa to Sonoma half. Mr. Julie drove me to the Sonoma high school where the bus would drive me to the Cuvaision Carneros Estate start in Napa. Mr. Julie pulled into the parking lot and we were the first car....shocker, I know! I noticed that there were several people walking on the streets, making their way to the line of buses. I ended up taking a seat on the first bus and after sitting there for 5 minutes it took off with all ten of us:) It was still dark outside at 5:15 AM but I could still see the light layer of fog dancing over rows and rows of grape vines. It was so pretty to look at. The bus ride to the start was so much faster than the drive to the start of Grandma's half marathon in Duluth. The bus driver let us out and we walked up the very long driveway. It was so calm and peaceful. I started to take a few pictures but my camera was having issues with not having enough light.
You can see more people making their way up the long driveway.

These first pictures were taken early in the morning. If you look real close you can see blogger Tim in the right hand side of this picture. I was busy snapping pictures and when I turned around he said, "Hi, are you Julie?" I said, "Yes, I am Julie." I was so excited to see my blogger friend Tim who lives in the bay area of California!

I told him that I wanted a picture of us. I looked around and spotted a woman who looked like she was just standing around. I asked her if she wouldn't mind taking a picture of us. She was not happy and I knew that I made a mistake by picking her. She told me that she was busy waiting for someone and that she didn't want to walk around to take a picture. I told her that she could just take it right here. I gave her my camera and started to explain how to take the picture. She snapped at me saying, "I know how to work a camera....I don't need instructions!" I said, "Alrighty then...just take the picture." I looked at Tim giving him the I can't believe she just got snippy with me look! He smiled and said nothing:) She took the picture and I said thank you. Actually, if you look at my face in this picture you can tell that I am annoyed as hell:)
Tim was kind enough to take this one of me:)

Tim and I had at least 30 minutes to chat and just take in the breathtaking views! It was about 55 degrees early on but I would say it got up to 60 degrees by the start.

This was taken about 20 minutes before the start.
Tim and I decided to walk down to where the start line was. We were both curious if there were pace time markers so we would have an idea where to start. Tim knew that he was going to try to do about a 1:50 half and I was thinking of running a 2:10 finish.
This is about 15 minutes before the start. The area that is shown in this picture filled in later and we were packed in pretty tight.

This is a picture of all of the people in back of us. There was supposed to be 3,000 runners...there were actually 2,634 finishers. Tim and I started off together slowly making our way to the start line. The first portion of the run was a steep down hill followed by a sharp left hand turn and a daddy of a hill. Since there were no pace markers there were several different running abilities scattered all over. The hill was a little tough as I am not great at the people zig zagging and passing. Tim was an expert at this and I saw him making his way up the hill so much faster than me. After Tim made it up the hill that was the last time that I saw him until the finish. Once I was up the hill things got a little better and the runners started to thin out.
I have to tell you all that the feeling that I had when running this race was calm and safe. I was in awe of the beauty around me and just tried to soak it all in. It was very quiet running those first few miles and I was in heaven!
I was running not really caring about my pace. I felt fine and I ran smart by listening to my body. I did look down at my garmin several times within the first three miles. Most of the time my garmin read 7:40 to 8:30. I thought to myself, you better watch it...you are going to crash and not have the energy to finish strong.

Looking out ahead of me there was a sea of runners making their way down and up the road. This course was full of rollers but they were totally doable to me. Maple Grove is full of hills so they didn't bother me.
I think this was about somewhere between mile two and three. I love this picture....I stopped , turned around and took this amazing view of the runners behind me. If you enlarge this picture you can see that this road winds and turns. Look at all of the runners so far back down this windy road. It made me feel pretty good to know that even if I wasn't a front runner, I still considered myself to be somewhere in the front of the pack:)

I stopped and walked through every water station. I took my fuel gel at mile four and mile nine. I never felt like I was pushing myself, I just ran steady and easy. I was a little worried because my miles have been cut back so much. I felt fantastic when I was running and I was happy!

Shortly after hitting water stop number five, we were all at a stand still. We had to wait for traffic to move across the highway. I really don't know how long we were standing there. I was just taking it all in. People were chatting with the police officers and watching the cars drive by. A woman behind me was getting a little restless and said we have been waiting here for almost a minute. I really didn't care:) Finally we were off running again.

The temperature was perfect for running. Living in Minnesota I am so used to the heat and humidity. Yuck! Running in wine country was a dream compared to what I normally have to put up with! I was in heaven:)
It was mile ten where I saw my hubby taking my picture and cheering for me:) He asked me if I felt okay and I nodded. He then said, "Don't you think you are going a little fast?" I said, "No way, I am feeling great!" I had a huge smile on my face and Mr. Julie just shook his head:)

I ran the last three miles with this woman from Canada. We chatted and the time just flew by:)

When there was about a mile left I looked at my garmin and knew that I was going to come in under the two hour mark! I was elated:) I took that last right hand turn and headed down the final stretch. I passed my new friend from Canada and continued on steady and strong. When I saw the clock I threw up my arms in joy and smiled like a fool! I was happy! I heard the announcer say, " Here is runner Julie from Maple Grove, Minnesota!" People were cheering and I got the biggest running high of my life! This was even better then when I got my half marathon PR! I ran a half marathon a few minutes shy of my PR and I felt flipping fantastic every step of the way! I didn't feel like getting sick, I never had to use the Biffy and my feet didn't hurt! I was fine.....I was better than fine:) I am pretty sure that a tear drop fell down my cheek and that has never happened during a finish....ever!
Okay, my booty looks like Jay Lo's! Look what running does...I got my track ghetto booty back:) I am wearing my new Asics running singlet and skirt. I took a chance and wore it for the first time during this race. It was so comfy and I was flipping lucky! I broke a very important runner's law by wearing something brand new to a race:)

Tim was able to see me finish and was surprised...he was expecting to see me in about twelve minutes:) I introduced him to my hubby and had him take a post race picture of us:) We all chatted for a few minutes. I have been so blessed to meet so many of my blogger friends at races:) Tim, it was great to meet you...who knows...maybe I will see you next year!

Here I am with my wine glass! Did I drink any wine you may ask? Hell yes!

Here I am sporting the race t-shirt:)

Okay, so here are my official stats....
Final time...1:58:45 with an average pace of 9:00.
I placed 615 out of 2634 overall! Yes, this means that over 2,000 people finished after me:)
I placed 296 out of 1,863 women:)
I placed 53 out of 311 for my age group!
I absolutely loved this race! If there is anyone who is maybe thinking about doing it but not sure....I say flipping sign up! You will not be sorry! This race took place in one of the most beautiful places in California! This race is not crazy big so it is enjoyable! There is just something about it....something almost spiritual:) It is hard to explain but I can tell you that I am already bugging my hubby about next year! If I run this again next year I am going out with Anne Marie after the race...so that I can drink:) Anne Marie just did the Vineman Tri...you should check out her blog and read her race report! She did awesome:)
After the race we went back to the hotel to get cleaned up. We then went vineyard hopping and had a blast:) I love California and can really see myself living in wine country someday!
Happy running, biking, swimming and lifting! Cheers to you all!
MissZippy is hosting a Ryder's sunglasses giveaway!
Oz is hosting a $50 CSN giftcard giveaway!
Aimee is hosting her first all of her favorite things giveaway....very cool!
James is hosting a $40 GSN giftcard giveaway!
Adam is hosting a $40 CSN giftcard giveaway!
Holly is hosting a $40 CSN giftcard giveaway!
Molly is hosting a Run Like A Girl giveaway!
Marcia is hosting a $60 CSN giftcard giveaway!
Angie is hosting a mantra t-shirt giveaway!
Rad Runner is hosting an ALO clothing giveaway!
Thomas is hosting a ROAD ID giveaway!
MissZippy is hosting a $40 CSN giftcard giveaway!


  1. Hi Julie,

    It was really great meeting you in person. It was really fun to talk to you before and after the race. You did awesome! And, I love the pictures! Hopefully, we will meet in person again. One day, I'll get my race report up.

  2. Great report Julie, loved reading it and looking at all the pics.

    Amazing time you had there. Congrats on a great race.

  3. Lookie you out there in Cali running your big heart out on such a gorgeous course! I KNEW you could run it well and extra points for no GI problems! I'm thinking maybe the half marathon is your race, missy :). Congrats on a great adventure in sooo many ways! And that wine glass really cool...didn't even dawn on me you'd get a wine glass - duh!! Next year we'll ALL have to meet up and do that...or another one! BIG HUGS to you, Julie. Well done!

  4. Awesome job! Its soooooooo pretty out there!

  5. Wait a minute; she was "busy" "waiting"? I hope the Running Gods strike her down. Great pictures and a great race!

  6. Great race report Julie! What beautiful scenery. You did great!!!!

  7. What a wonderful race report! I'm so happy that you had such a great race and felt so good (because you *looked* amazing - "ghetto booty," LOL)! Hooray for you!!

  8. Great race and recap...The pics are amazing!

  9. Julie! That's awesome, I'm so happy that you had a strong race, and that you felt great! I'm proud of you girl!!!

    (thanks for posting my giveaway!)

  10. Wow, great job!! I wonder how the cranky woman did? LOL

  11. great job. i think it is funny that you guys had to stop to cross a highway

  12. Julie, it has been such a great pleasure to read your race recap as always and what a great finishing time! I'm so proud of you and happy for you. Well done!

  13. Loved reading the report...great race! Glad it went well for you and that you felt great! Can't believe the snippy lady at the start who didn't want to take your picture...who knew it was so much of an inconvenience!!

  14. Hi Julie,
    Great job in the half! You looked like you were having a fabulous time! Your race report is awesome. It makes me so excited to get out and run.
    I won't be able to make it to the MDRA Fun Run the rest of July because I have to take a class on the next 2 Wednesday evenings.

  15. Great rreport and I am definitely adding this race to a very long list of races I want to run. With the retention pond, it looks lik eit could make a decent spot for a triathlon as well.

  16. Wow Julie, that is a beautiful course, thanks for sharing all the pictures! And an awesome finish!!

  17. What a beautiful place for a race, it is inspiring! Congrats you are in the first pack!
    One day you will have to enter an event here, the prize is always wine and ... more and more!!!

  18. What? People from the Golden Coast are snippity? Unbelievable! LOL... You totally crack me up!! You totally got the Jay-Lo booty thing going on :-D Great job! I don't want to discount what this doctor friend told you, but 60% of runners suffer some kind of GI distress. You listen to your body and figure it out. I feel rather confident that you are not going to DIE :-)

    Congrats again! Great pic! I also love the winding road of runners. It's an awesome shot!!

  19. I guess that woman wasn't a morning person... Yowza!

    I'm so happy to read that this race went so well for you and that you had such a marvelous time running it! The pictures are stunning!

  20. Great recap, and great job on the race. Sounds like one of those infamous 'great days' that we all hope for.

    Thanks for the blog post. 40 people from your running group heading to the OBX marathon - that's great! Didn't realize it was such a big draw. Really looking forward to it.

  21. Great job on your half!! And, thank you for uploading all your photos to the blog. I miss that area.

  22. I'm going to read this when I get home tonight...but have to tell you I always LOL when you list hubby as Mr. Julie

  23. Great race report, Julie. Your love of this race really comes through! It is great how well you did while taking it easy. (In my dreams) You looked great and felt great, what more could you ask for? You always take such great pictures! I can't tell you how pleased I am that you felt so well!

  24. Well done! Under 2 hours in the end and so calm and relaxed. That's awesome! Lovely pictures of what seems a very beautiful and relaxed environment. Perfect for a race.

  25. cool pics, a great time and lovely scenery julie..what more could a girl want!

  26. Hip Hip Hooray! Love that you love Sonoma and wine country. Yah, come on and move on out here;-) It really is the best.

    and HECK YES! we're hooking up next year when you do it!! Even if I do Vineman again, we gotta make it work! Thx for the shout out too;-)

  27. Nice photos of you while you were running :) Beautiful scenery and good report Julie! I hope you'll met other blogger friends during next races.

  28. So glad you felt so good! What a relief for you. And then you got to hang out and drink wonderful wine--sounds perfect. I absolutely LOVE wine country...that's one to put on my list too!

  29. Hi Julie - great race report and congrats on such a good effort.
    Awesome pictures as well, what a beautiful looking place to have a race.

  30. That looks like an amazing place to run through. So green and gorgeous! Well done on a great race.

  31. Hey, Julie!!! Bad blogging buddy Psyche, here! Long time no visit! You are as race-happy as ever! I love it!!! Good race, girl! You are looking very good and obviously having a blast. Have a great weekend:)

  32. LOVE the pictures. LOVE. I need to get to napa during the summer!!!!

    Adding this race to my "must race" list! :)

  33. Sounds like the perfect race! I'm so glad you enjoyed the race and your time is awesome!!! I'm so impressed how you handle your GI issue. Keep up the good work.

  34. The question wasn't did you drink any wine but more of did you leave any for any one else?

    Well done and great that you felt great!

  35. wow you got lots of great pictures! I've never had to stop and wait for traffic at a race, but this one sounds like a nice fun race to do that!

  36. Sounds awesome! Napa is so beautiful!!

  37. Great job Julie and great race report!
    Sounds like a very delightful race.
    And you ran it easy and came in sub-2...Woohoo! That finishing pic is totally framable! Very nice. What a race! Congratulations!

  38. Great job! Sounds like your GI issues are in the past. Glad it was a good race and that you had fun.

  39. Julie,
    This is Great! was totally LOL at the woman you had take the pre race pic of you and Tim! hahaha -

    Love that you felt "fantastic" during the run and were "happy".

    Happy for you, this was a great run!


  40. EEEE! Julie!!! How you describe this race and all your happiness just REALLY pumped me up to move out there all over again!! And I fully support you moving out there, too!! I hope you got to see SF and tell her I say hi! Aren't the hills fun!?! I'm going to have the best ass in town after running all those. :)

    I've never been to wine country, but this looks so beautiful and I can't wait to go!! Sounds like the race was pretty much perfect and you definitely need to do it again .. maybe next year I can meet you there with Tim & Anne Marie!??! :)

    Your running outfit is so adorable, by the way, and yes -- isn't the weather there AWESOME?! Especially compared to the humid nasty storms we've been having lately. YUCK! I'm glad you got to escape it for a little while and head over to heaven. :) AHHH! CALIFORNIA!!!

    What an amazing race!! I am SOOOO happy to hear you've been happy and feeling well. :) How relieving. :) :) Keep it up!!!


  41. nothing like a good run and chrono to boost the morale !! well done, it looks like a fantastic course out there !
    best wishes

  42. Aww you poor fish out of water with that rude picture taker. That just wouldn't happen in Minnesota ;)

    Thanks for all the photos! This course looks gorgeous. Was it very hilly?

    And congrats on your awesome race! That wine glass picture is HOTT.

  43. nice race report, and great job breaking 2 hours, looks like a really scenic course...

  44. You did a great job with this race! I am so jealous...it was so scenice AND you got to drink wine- yum!!!!!

    Ps- I love that you call your husband Mr. Julie. Everytime I read it, I smile.

  45. Julie,
    Congrats on a great race! Not only does it look like a beautiful course, it was probably even better because you were feeling well. I love that you got to meet Tim! I was wondering what he was up to. Take care an have a great weekend.

  46. Great race Julie! Thanks for taking the time t share your experiences and all the photos with us.

    By the way - I *live* in California - but have never been to wine country! Glad you had a good time.

  47. Congrats! I can't believe that woman at the start, some people are just so grumpy! And I'm so jealous you're meeting up with Anne Marie that sounds like a fun bloggy meet up :-)

  48. That looks like it would be such an awesome race!!! Way to go :)

  49. I wish I could run into that camera lady at my races, too. Very jealous.

    Great job in the race, with a phenomenal finishing time for taking it easy and snapping so many nice pics.

  50. What a beautiful race! I love the recap. What a jerk that lady was. Congrats on running such a great race girl!

  51. Hi Julie,
    I so love your race reports!! After reading this report and checking the pictures, I am totally convinced that I have to run this race next year. I am SO happy that you did not have GI issues and that you really enjoyed the race! BTW, Jay Lo wishes she had a booty like yours, HA! You rock!!

  52. okay, seriously ---- I'm sorry but how do you look like you just hopped out of the shower? OMGosh. I'm always dripping.

    The photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing them! I MUST get out to NAPA "ONE DAY"!! beautiful!!

  53. OMG! That race looks amazing! Seriously, I want to do it! It's soooo pretty! way to totally rock it and feel great at the end!

  54. You looked awesome and those pictures were great! So glad you had a race where you felt good. Hope this is a new trend for you.

  55. Hi Julie, Just catching up on my blog reading. Sometimes I WISH I was a runner for I live in this beautiful wine country!!! So glad you enjoyed yourself here. It is a great place to live. So GLAD you did well and felt great. You Rock, Congrats.:)

  56. Congrats on the Napa half, a sub-2, nicely done!

  57. AWesome job Julie!!! Sounds like a beautiful race!

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  59. Sorry for the double comment, but I wanted to answer your question. I've been living in Columbus, OH (and for about 2 years in Madrid) for the past several years, but my husband and I are moving to Mankato this week. I took a one-year position as a professor at a university there.

  60. Great report and photos Julie. Well done on your sub 2hour time. Do you have to look so good at the end of a race. I always end up looking like a dog's dinner.

  61. Impressive as always, I wish I could run like you

  62. Great race report! You must have been just in front of me the whole time! I love all the pictures - I really want to start running with a camera, but I hate having to hold anything. I'm not sure about running this race next year - I'm thinking maybe of switching it up and trying the new one in Oregon.

  63. This race is on my to-do list. My husband is from Sonoma County and I went to college there - in my pre running days.
    You did fantastic! What a great race report!!

  64. What a great event! And what a great job you did! Honestly I've never even thought of doing this race, as I only started running a year ago, but now I'm going to google it and strongly consider it for next year or the year after!

    LOVE the outfit!

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