It is 8:15 in the morning and I am already a sweaty mess. My heart rate is lingering in the 150’s, but I know in just a few minutes it will hit 160. Yahoo weather claims the humidity is only 36% but this can’t be possible. I feel like I am breathing into a thick wet blanket.
I am at Mile One, at the corner of S. 4th and Kent Street and it’s just beginning. The sweet voice of Lou Rhodes streaming into my ear buds gives me little comfort as I round the corner. I was smarter today in leaving the house early. The sun mercifully hides behind buildings at this hour and I move forward in their shadows.
Looking down at my feet, I wonder, “Why is it that I am doing this again?”
This is a question I ask myself every time I go running.
So I can eat bad things like pizza and cheeseburgers. So I can look good in a bathing suit. So I don’t get a muffin top. I might even say to be healthy and keep my heart from shriveling up and stopping.
This time around, it’s training for our 2nd annual Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. We went last year and it was amazing. Let me start off with this tidbit: they give you shots of wine at mile nine. Because, you know of course, wine acts as an analgesic to help numb the pain you are feeling at mile nine. It has antioxidants; it’s heart healthy! And, well, it’s just AWESOME that they do this.
It doesn’t stop there. Once you cross that grueling 13.1 mile finish line, you are given a wine glass (it’s real, not plastic!) with the Napa to Sonoma race insignia on it and then…wait for it…free wine for two hours! Hundreds (not sure if it’s hundreds, but it seems like it) of winery’s have booths set up for you to get in line for tastings. FREE tastings. Who needs a banana and a bagel when there’s wine? Not to mention the nice heavy finisher medal they sling over your neck (I may have mentioned this before, but I only do races that give you medals) once you fall over the finish line.
So, there it is. I just admitted it. I am busting my ass (literally, my glutes are killing me) so I can run 13.1 miles to get some free wine. Some may say, hey, you can actually just go buy a bottle and sit on your couch and save yourself a lot of pain and agony.
There is that. But, oh, the run from Napa to Sonoma. It’s hard to describe, but let me try. The weather is perfect. All the disgusting humid, hot running I do here pays off, because it is amazing there. It’s in the 70’s, never hot and you can even catch a slight cool breeze to make your undercarriage happy.
You are surrounded by miles and miles of vineyards. Cabernets, Chardonnays, Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs all sit quietly beside you, growing into plump little beauties. The sun never gets hot. Foothills line the horizon. Beautiful barns and houses are scattered about in the middle of this grape heaven. You are running through the fields of wine makers dreams.
Until you get to Mile Nine. That’s where the brick wall hits you and the pain smacks you in the knees. But you take your shots of wine, salt tabs, Gu energy gels and carry on. The crowds of people cheering you on and the minuscule buzz you just got pushes you to the end to wine country victory.
But, for now, I am suffering. The race is next weekend and I am probably not totally prepared, seeing how I just started training a couple weeks ago. But, whatever. Worst case scenario? I will walk amongst the twisty vines under a clear blue sky and make my way to sharing wine and memories with people I adore.
One mile at a time.
Photo by: millerpartyof5