This is the race that almost wasn’t for me. I signed up on a whim after seeing friends talking about it on Facebook and promptly forgot that I signed up for it.
And then remember.
And then forgot again.
And then got an email about the event and re-remembered.
To say I’ve been a little preoccupied would be an extreme understatement. We’re selling our home. We’re buying a new home. Our entire family was in the best wedding of 2016 (not biased, just saying). And oh yes, I was a chairperson of the Color-A-Thon fundraiser at my kiddo’s elementary school, which was held on Saturday.
Anyway, what was I saying?
Oh yes, Run the Vineyards 5 miler was one that sounded really great when I signed up for it but then with all that’s going on, I was second-guessing my decision.
But… packet pick-up was at my favorite local Running Co., the race was held practically in my backyard at Heritage Vineyard, and some of my favorite local friends were going to be there. Not to mention the best part, WINE AT THE END. Hello. All the second-guessing was for naught. I was in!
When I heard that it was partially road but mostly trail running, I got a touch of the nerves. Beat the Blerch NJ showed me just how much of a trail runner I am NOT. I really didn’t want a repeat of that experience. Kate and Brandi both reassured me, multiple times, that it wasn’t going to be anything like that which helped calm me down.
The race had about 600 runners, which felt like the perfect amount. I strategically placed myself among what I hoped would be similarly paced folks and hoped for the best. My goal was to run the first mile and then fall into 1:1 intervals, 1 minute walk/1 minute run.
Thankfully, I actually got my corral placement right because within the first mile, there wasn’t much room to do a lot of bobbing and weaving. This area was all dirt/grass trails and the smell of farm animals wafted through the air.
Soon we turned onto paved roads, which lasted for 2-ish miles. I loved this portion of the race because it was right near the house that we are moving into in just a few short weeks!
It’s really easy to forget just how beautiful New Jersey can be, but runs like this help you to remember.
Soon after we saw the Heritage Vineyards sign, we took a turn off the road and actually through rows and rows of vineyards. There were volunteers placed along this portion of the route to make sure we didn’t take a wrong turn.
As a wine (drinking) expert, it was really neat to see all the different grapes and signs for each.
I ran without music, something I’ve been doing more of recently, and just took in the sights and sounds.
We weaved through more of the vineyard and by this time the field had spread out a bit so there was plenty of room to open up with running.
Did I mention the fact that I was feeling really good the entire course? Pushing on the run intervals, I was able to keep a pretty consistent pace. I had a goal of finishing in an hour, which would put me at a solid 12 minute mile. It’s not my best but it’s given the terrain, I figured it would be achievable.
I was warned about a hill near the end of the race. I don’t feel like you can get the full grasp of the angle from the picture, it was definitely a bit more intense than the other hills throughout the course.
I kept going with my 1:1 intervals and motored up the hill. Eh, it felt like I was motoring anyway.
After this there was only about a half mile to go before the race was over and the majority of it was downhill, so I picked up the pace a bit more and crossed the finish line at an hour… and one minute. I missed my time goal by one measly minute. Figures!
Immediately after crossing the finish line, I ran into more friends; another perk of a local race. Friendly faces everywhere!
I got my finisher’s “medal”… a wine tumbler! Of course, I took advantage of my wine ticket.
Busy Bee Brandi had to leave for another engagement but Kate and I planted ourselves on the ground and enjoyed our wine while catching up with one another. It was a Good Day For A Run, for sure, and I can’t wait for another.
You can find me this Sunday running with 40,000 of my closest friends at Broad Street in Philly. What race do you have next? How’s training going? Have you ever chaired a fundraising event?