At just a few minutes past 7:15 we were off! The course is generally flat with some rolling hills. The scenery is all rural wine country. Gorgeous. There were virtually no spectators, but I was feeling the energy of the other runners and had no problem getting into a groove. I started off very strong:
mile 3: 7:49 (ave)
mile 4: 8:04
mile 5: 7:56
mile 10: 8:08
Maritza charged in not far behind, we were waiting and gave her a roaring cheer as she passed (and I got a high-five!) and went and found her at the finish line. She did great!! GO Maritza!! She hadn't done many long training runs due to knee/shin issues and cranked out this half marathon on pure will. Not too shabby! Girl's got endurance.
We picked up our souvenir wine glasses and sampled some local wine, then got lunch at a local bakery. It was a long drive home, we were all totally beat! I'm so proud of Maritza and Zach, and of myself. What a team. :) Thanks for reading!
Here is Zach's First Race Report!
The race began at a steady uphill walk as the crowd approached the start line. I was alone at the start of a long run for the first time ever; Jen had started working her way up in the pack and I watched her as she jockeyed for position about 150 feet ahead of me. I crossed the start line, started the timer on my watch, took a deep breath, and started off on my first half Marathon. As I crested the hill at the start I saw the crowd ahead of me cruising downhill for the first half mile or so of the course. As I watched the different colored shirts, hats, shorts, and bandannas moving down the road it made me think of gasoline spreading out on a puddle of water (you know what I am talking about if you have ever seen it). My first mile came in at 8:45; I was on pace and felt good – 12 more miles like this and I would be good to go. Fast forward to mile 4; my pace had decreased and now I was hovering right around an 8:00 mile. I watched my next two miles come in around 8:00 and knew I was running a bit fast but figured it was a race and I was feeling good; when I hit my lap and noticed I had just done a 7:40 mile I knew I had to make myself slow down. My next mile came in at around 8:21 and there was a soreness creeping up through my hamstrings but now I only had five miles to go so I told myself to suck it up and keep on moving. When I got to the 10 mile marker I knew that a much deserved walking break was coming my way. I waited until about 45 seconds into the mile then pulled out my last two cliff blocks, threw them in my mouth (two eaten at miles 4 and 7 as well), then washed them down with a big drink of water. I now had about 10 seconds left in my allotted 30 second water break so I stretched my arms and shoulders before taking off again. I now knew that there was only a 5k between me and the finish line and I knew I could make it. I had expected to slow down quite a bit but miles 11 and 12 came in at 8:31 and 8:35; my mind was saying sweet while my legs were saying you have got to be kidding me, we did that?!!. I decided that a 15 second walking break was in the cards at the start of mile 13 which gave me time to get another big drink of water and prepare myself for the last mile. As I started running again I thought holy crap this is going to be tough but suddenly I realized I was running the last mile of my first half marathon!! I knew I had to stop whining about the pain and bask in what I was about to accomplish. I relaxed a bit and had a smile on my face as I pushed through the last mile. Once I passed the 13 mile market I picked up the pace as much as I could and headed toward the finish line. The crowd was cheering, I was feeling good, and best of all I saw Jen as I crossed the finish line! 1:47:48, an average pace of 8:14, some pain, some pleasure, some laughing, some cursing, but all in all it was a great experience and I am looking forward to my next race!!