Race Report: Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

Well I finished another half marathon….very slowly this time, but I finished.  This time, I went back to my neck of the woods of Virginia for this race last weekend.

The Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon is a part of the Destination Races race series, and it’s the only one on the east coast (so far).  This was my first time running in this series, and what a good first impression!  From packet pick up to the post race, everything went smoothly, was well-organized, and of course a beautiful race course.

The race expo was at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Va. Nothing really special, just a small race expo.

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Race expo purchase: a silicone pint glass.

Race expo purchase: a silicone pint glass.

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Since we’re Subaru owners, T and I got a couple of perks.

1. VIP race day parking–this one was the standard perk. No big deal, just a good parking spot at the vineyard—since we got there so dang early we would’ve gotten a good spot anyway.

2. For the second perk, we chose the VIP Subaru post-race brunch.  It was between that, a discount on a tasting tour (sadly, I don’t care much for Virginia Wine, I much prefer wine from the US from the PNW), and early packet pickup.  More on brunch later.

Back to the race.  We were up bright and early at my mom’s house at 4am, so we could get ready and have some breakfast.  I had my standard bagel with butter–the only thing I have found doesn’t upset my stomach–with green tea.  After getting ready way too early, we took the dogs for a walk then headed out around 5:30am.  We arrived approximately 10 minutes later.

IMG_0215 Since we arrived at Doukenie (the host vineyard) so early, we were able to walk around and snap some sunrise photos…and make a friend.

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Just gorgeous.  I love that I’m from here.

The race started a hair late due to an traffic back up on the highway–and there was a shuttle bringing runners in.  No biggie, the theme of the race for me was relax and enjoy.

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We took off around 7:17a, and at that point it was likely over 75 degrees and humid.  I knew this was going to be a challenging race, but I wasn’t prepared at all for this kind of weather.   I never am, actually.  The first 6-7 miles were good–I walked through every water stop and took a sip of Nuun after each to further hydrate.  T toted the Camelbak waistpack just incase there weren’t enough water stops/water ran out.  We started the run/walk thing around mile 7 I think, it’s kind of a blur.  I felt bad for T because he was wearing is super-minimalist shoes, and a good portion of the race was on a gravel road, which I don’t remember reading about on the website (but something I could’ve easily overlooked).  The gravel/dust/dirt made it difficult for me to keep my pace up and I tired very easily.  And the hills!  The rolling hills were killer, but we managed to get through it.  Before we knew it we were back on pavement and about 5k from the finish.  At the last water stop the 2:30 pacer was right behind us and I refused to let them pass.  We ended up finishing (per my Garmin) 13.26 miles in 2:29:51.  My third slowest half time.  I think this picture tells all:

 

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A very painful looking face, but despite that look, I was having fun.  This was a tough race.  If the weather was a perfect 60 degrees and dry, no doubt I would’ve gotten a better time.  But time wasn’t my goal for this race:  hydration, fun, and finishing were my three goals–and surprise, I managed to accomplish all three of them!

T and I got our hard-earned medals (which double as coasters-score!) and got our picture taken.

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After getting through the crowd, we went to the VIP Brunch!  Holy crap, I was in food heaven.  I was surprisingly starving–normally after a long run in the heat the last thing I want to do is eat.

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It was nice that it was under a tent, to shield runners from the heat/sun.  I had eggs, potatoes, some croissant thing with bacon in it, fruit, and brioche.  And a lot of water.

After brunch, we headed back to my mom’s house and showered.   I discovered I missed one area of sunscreen application:  the tiny space between my Zensah and my sock.  And yes, I realize I’m as pale as can be.  And I love it.

a very faint tan line.

a very faint tan line.

Now that marathon training is officially underway, I don’t have too many races scheduled between now and October 20th.  Just one outside of Philly in August and also my first (mini) sprint tri in Richmond in August as well.

 

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2 thoughts on “Race Report: Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon

  1. I ran this last year…they started late then, too…traffic was a disaster coming in. We ended up taking the shuttle, which was much easier than trying to park. But it had rained really hard the night before so it was muddy, making parking even worse. I’d like to run it again in the future though, it was great having a race in Loudoun!

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