It'll be fun, I said. There will be wine, I said. That's how I got Amy, Katie, and Raj all to join me in registering several months ago for the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon.
Fast forward to Friday night, when we set our alarm for 4:30am. Why do I think these things are a good idea, I said.
You know what would have been a good idea? Doing some hill training in advance of this extremely hilly half marathon is what. Going up one particularly brutal hill, I was quite certain that I was running in place. It was like running through pudding (to borrow a phrase from Scrubs, as I so often do).
Overall though, running the race had of course been a good idea (unreasonably early wake up time notwithstanding) as these things turn out to be. We had ideal weather, lots of shade, and lovely scenery. Also, a new PR, despite the many hills of suckiness. And at the end? Wine. But not until after we received THE WORLD'S MOST GIANT MEDAL.
Not only is it enormous, it's also a functioning wine stopper and corkscrew. (Admittedly, the corkscrew looks a little flimsy and I probably won't try to use it.) Internet, this is a Swiss army medal.
Once we'd all met up (some of us finished...after...others) we picked up our wineglasses and got wristbands to get into the wine tasting area. Let me tell you, folks, there was a lot of wine to taste. A lot. Fortunately, there had been water and other hydrating beverages at the finish for us to start out with.
Raj and I had decided to go to the finishers' celebration, a concert at Tarara Winery that night, so we'd reserved a hotel room nearby since wine country is over an hour from home. We had lunch with Katie and then ended up killing time at the outlet mall until we could get into our hotel room. We'd gotten Ben & Jerry's ice cream bars and were sitting on a bench, busily sucking the chocolate off the sticks, when a woman stopped by to tell us "You look just like a couple of big babies sucking on those." Um...ok?
We finally were able to get into our hotel room a few hours later and get our post-race showers and nap. I'm not normally able to nap, but post 13 mile run, I sure as heck can. Had we not set an alarm, I think we really might have slept straight through to morning. It was fortunate though that we didn't.
At the winery, we bought a couple of bottles of white, spread out Raj's orange Illinois blanket, and had a lovely picnic while Pebble to Pearl played lots of fun music. (DC area folks: we recommend you see this band.) There were even fireflies.
The next morning, we made sure to replace all of the calories we'd burned the previous day in the form of bacon, eggs, and biscuits from the hotel's breakfast buffet. Then we sat in our room and watched Kung Fu Panda 2 because it was on HBO and we didn't really need to be anywhere else. Eventually, we came back to real life, but it was a nice little getaway, even if it did begin with a 13.1 mile run.
Overall, I'd say signing up for the race turned out to be a really good idea. Please remind me of this statement when I wonder who ever thought it was a good idea to sign up for the Pensacola Half Marathon that begins at 6:30am. Because I'll be pretty sure it wasn't me.