Happy October! It is finally starting to feel like fall around here. I have a feeling it is in part of the impending storm that's brewing on the East Coast. Already some races have been cancelled ( one I was suppose to run).
Anyway, I had a fun fall weekend this past weekend when I ran the Harvest Hustle 5k at a local winery called Shade Mountain.
1. Pre-Race: My friend picked me up and we arrived with plenty of time to spare which meant no problem finding a parking spot. After we got our race bibs my friend wanted to pick up a few bottles of wine. She had been there before and knew which ones she liked, so she was able to purchase hers before it became too crowded. I told her I wanted to wait to get some because I wanted to be able to sample wines before I purchased them (this detail is important later). After dropping the wine off back in the car it was soon time to lineup.
2. The Course: It was chip timed at the finish, but no official start time. It went like this: Ready, Set, Go! And then we were off. I started right up front with a few men. Right from the beginning we had to run up a dirt hill which eventually turned into a grassy incline. It is a lot harder to run in grass than I thought. I kept thinking we have been running up a hill for a while now. It either has to eventually flatten out or we have to start going downhill. There was a slight downhill right before getting back on another dirt road to continue up yet another incline.
3. The People: While I was running there was one man in front of me that I kept trying to keep my eye on. He was holding the American flag. I kept thinking that I didn’t have any ladies pass me yet. I wasn’t sure if this was true or not because once you start running you just get in a zone. I wanted to think that was the case so I was trying not to let anyone pass me from that point on. I was starting to get short of breath but felt much better than I did in last week’s 5k. I saw that there was a water stop at the turn around point so I decided to grab some. I never usually stop and get water at 5ks but I thought maybe this would help me this time. After continuing down the hill I saw the next lady making her way to the turn-around point. I was determined for her not to catch me. It was time to make my way back down the dirt road to yet another hill before entering back into the winery. Still there was no one ahead of me except the guy with the flag. I didn’t even hear anyone behind either. I wanted to look back so bad to see where the next person was, but I know you are never supposed to do that in a race, so I didn’t. I knew I was on the home stretch when I saw a sign that said you are almost at the wine. After making the turn I saw the Finish line.
4.The Finish: After crossing the finish line I went to get some water and the lady said congratulations I think you were the first female to cross. I thought, wow that’s great! Guess it was true that no one ended up passing me. I went back to the finish line to watch my friend finish. Then it was time to celebrate with some wine. Every runner received a wine glass with one complimentary glass of wine. We enjoyed the wine and an appetizer while listening to the band. Then it was time for the awards. They announced the names in all the age groups that had won and mine was not one of them called. I thought that was weird, maybe I wasn’t the first one. But when I saw the lady go up to receive her prize, I knew she finished after me. There was even someone that came up to me and said Didn’t you come in before her? I decided I was going to go ask. When I walked up to ask, the lady that received the prize said you did come in before me. She was the first in her age group but I was the first female overall but they didn’t announce the overall winners, which I thought they were going to. The lady handing out the prizes did apologize and said I will be right back to give you a gift card for the winery. We waited around several minutes and she never came back. So we decided to walk in the winery to choose some wine. I got in line to receive my gift card and she said I’m glad you came in. I thought well so am I because I was waiting outside for you and you never came back. After getting my gift card I knew I wanted to use it right away because I never come to this winery. I am glad I didn’t end up buying wine before the race. After sampling some wines, I purchased some bottles and we were own our way home.
5. The Verdict: I really enjoyed this race. However, I think they needed to be a bit more organized and needed more help inside with samplings and checking out. The course was pretty tough for a 5k. Even though I’m sure people wanted to do this race just for fun and have wine afterwards. It is not a good first 5k race. I think it should have been clearly stated that it is a tough course for beginners. Another thing that would have made this experience better for runners would be having it be earlier in the day or later in the season. The race didn’t start until 1pm and it was very warm at that time. But with any first time races there are always things to improve on and I’m sure with their feedback they will work on some things for future races. I still can’t believe I finished first female overall. I never thought that would be in my reach. That evening I came home and celebrated by having a glass of wine. -L
Have you ever done a race through a Vineyard? Have you ever raced through grassy areas?
We are linking up with the lovely ladies of the Friday 5!