The first I heard about the Napa Women's Half Marathon was when they were advertising for a ridiculously cheap entry. And I got really excited, because the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon is one of my bucket list races.
And it wasn't until months after I signed up that I realized that this was not that race.
I'm not sure why I thought it was - I'm fairly certain it said "inaugural" all over the race advertisements and sign ups. But here I was, all signed up for a race.
Luckily, I had a lot of friends who also signed up, and we decided to make a girls' weekend of it.
We headed up on a Friday afternoon, and got in on Saturday morning - to be fair, it had JUST turned Saturday morning moments before, but still.
After we all got a little sleep, we headed for breakfast, and then to pick up our bibs.
And then, well, when in Napa...
There was a little wine tasting...
Not too much, because we all had a race to run the next day.
But we couldn't be in Napa and not take advantage of the wineries.
The race had a lovely start as we ran across the bridge and through downtown Napa.
Right after mile 1, my calf started acting up. Which was unusual for me. I've had plenty of other aches and pains, but never had calf issues before!
The course was rolling hill after rolling hill - which is my second least favorite type of course (after straight uphill ;-)) but I decided to just take it easy on pace and enjoy the view. With all the rains, the wineries and fields were just the most vibrant shade of green.
And there were plenty of cool things to stop and look at.
My biggest course complaint, however, were the lack of port-a-potties. As one other runner said to me, "it's a race for women, most of whom have had kids, of course we need port-a-potties!" For me, I don't usually have to use the bathroom during the race, but my bladder has never fully recovered from my second child, so if there's anything in there, it finds a way out. I use the port-a-potties mostly to empty my bladder to prevent this. So it's not a necessity, just a way to not embarrass myself. The lines were so long though for the few port-a-potties, that it didn't pay to stop. I finally did at mile 9, because there were only 3 people in line in front of me, and it still added an additional 17 minutes to my time. (The difference between my app, which pauses when I stop, and my official race time).
I will say, those last 4 miles were definitely comfortable at least!
My friend, MV passed me while I was waiting for the port-a-potty, figuring I would catch up to her when I finished. I didn't, but that meant she was there to capture my finish!
And pick up our finisher wine glasses!
MV and I sat and watched the band while we drank our first glass of wine, then went to watch all of our friends finish.
And once all our friends finished, we sat and drank more wine with them!
The race finished right beside Oxbow Public Market, so we all headed over there to grab lunch before heading back to the room to shower and rest up a bit. The original plan was to fit in a few wine tastings, but we were all pretty exhausted, not to mention we didn't actually have reservations for any tastings. So instead while we rested, I spent the time finding us a fantastic restaurant for dinner.
I cannot say enough nice things about The Charter Oak. We were initially drawn in by the female chef, Katianna Hong. Because if you're doing a girls' weekend, you might as well go all in on the "girls" part. But then came the fact that the menu looked accommodating to some of our food restrictions in the group. Once we arrived, we learned what "accommodating" really meant as the waitstaff and kitchen went out of their way to ensure that everyone's dietary needs were being met, even offering to create dishes if none struck our fancy on the menu.
But strike our fancy they did - from the very first brussels sprout laid on the table, all the way to the mochi cake at the end, the menu had more than enough choices. And everything we chose was amazing. We were giddy as each new dish arrived and left full and happy. And all of us planning our return.
The next morning we made a quick stop for coffee and were on our way home.