The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon


I was planning on a costume for this race. I wanted something fast, but clever. It turns out that I didn’t exactly wear a costume for the race afterall. I went as the boy’s girlfriend. Very supportive girlfriend. Very awesome girlfriend. Super star pacer girlfriend. The girlfriend who paced the boy into a 16 minute PR. The girlfriend who sacrificed a “race” day so she could run with a camera and photo-doc the whole event.

But this really isn’t about me. This is about the boy; and his great accomplishment. I probably shouldn’t mention that he is good at everything. Or, that he didn’t even train for this half marathon. The 8 mile run he did the week before and the measly 20 mile week he put in the week prior to that, hardly count. Especially since that is all the training he did for this little race. All. No more. Done. That’s it.

Yes, he is that spectacular. (Hi boyfriend! Are you reading this?!)

The boy and I arrived in sunny CA on Friday morning. I had never been to San Francisco before and I was super excited to see the sites! The boy humored me and we touristed Lombard Street, walked around Ghiradelli Square, the boardwalk, and drove over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Lombard Street

Ghiradelli Square (from afar)


Golden Gate Bridge

After a little sightseeing, we made our way north to Santa Rosa for hotel check-in and packet pick-up. At this point, I was toying with racing or running this for fun. If you’ve read that other blog of mine, you know that this has always been a struggle for me. I have always taken races entirely too seriously, and feel that, in many cases, I have missed out on the fun of the race: the entertainment, the scenery, my companions… I suppose I place too high of expectations on myself and want each race to be at a better time than the previous. Since I don’t race very often (only a handful a year), I want to take advantage of every race. In doing so, I know I’ve missed out on the enjoyment of running and racing.

So, when the topic of racing or running for fun came up with the boy, I was a little surprised with myself when I said I’d run it for fun. Yet it was also a relief. I just took an enormous amount of pressure off of myself. The pressure to run fast; do better than before; to PR. But afterall, the boy and I did register for this race together. Wouldn’t it be sweet if we ran it together too? Yes, I think so. I would even bring my camera. A first for me.

Race morning came early. 4:30 early. We drove out to the finish and shuttled to the start at Coppola Winery. It was a chilly 40 degrees.

But the sun came up and we made our way to the start, amid a race crowd of 2000; some costumed, but most not.

As mentioned before, the boy didn’t really train for this race. He has a history of couch to 1/2 marathons, which has left him with a 1:59 PR and some very sore legs the following day. Okay, okay, the history is really only one other 1/2 marathon. Now with this couch to 1/2, we can easily say he is making a name for himself…but, I wanted to help pace him to a new PR.

The first few miles were conversational. It was cold and it was probably the only thing we could do to stay warm. As keeper of the watch, the only watch now that I stole from the boy until I get a new one that we share between us, I was fortunate to be glancing at the pace. A habit I will never break, as a number whore. Typcially, sub-8:00. I wasn’t sure if we were pushing too hard for him or not, but I figured he would say something otherwise. Or, he would just push through no matter what. I kept talking and taking pictures.

This was a fairly hilly course with undulating ups and downs. At about the halfway point, we were warming up nicely. And our pace was maintaining at 7:53. I kept thinking through the pace and the overall time, and knew we were well ahead of breaking his previous PR. Crushing it, really. At mile 9, I casually said, “hey, guess what, you’re gonna PR today.” More pictures.

I asked how he was feeling. Cramps in his legs. He dug in for the final 5k; the final hills. I told him we should hold hands and cross the finish line together in victory. He chuckled. I was mostly serious.

We crossed the finish holding hands, arms raised, in 1:44 and some change! A 16 minute PR for the boy! I am so proud!

We enjoy the accomplishment drinking, and being merry at the post-race wine festival. To the victor, goes the spoils…

For the remainder of the trip, we discuss his strong dislike for running, but his natural ability to do well at it; the fact that with essentially no training, he is within 5 minutes of my own 1/2 marathon PR! I told him to start training so he could pace me from now on!


8 thoughts on “…the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon

  1. I admit I didn’t REALLY think you were going to go with the Lady Godiva outfit, even though it’s the fastest thing you could wear. What I’m really impressed with is that a sub 8 mile is “conversational”. For me that would be pukeational, followed quickly by collapsational.

    SF is great! I haven’t been for many years now, and would love to go again. Why not suggest to BF that he try triathlon? Maybe he’d find he’d like the running more in comparison to the others, and wouldn’t that be a good thing?

    • Funny you should mention triathlons. We have been discussing his participation in a 1/2 next summer and he has been voraciously looking at tri bikes. I think it is imminent…

      • Bike porn. The dirty little secret of triathlon. But unless you know you want to do lots of them, better to get a road bike. Calgary has a really nice half. Beautiful clean lake to swim in, totally stunning scenery for the bike on a net downhill course, and a nice run. He could do much worse for his first half. But I suppose, given that you are so close to the Boulder 70.3, the temptation will be to do that one…

  2. Love this! So glad you were able to enjoy and have fun in this race – it’s such a great one to soak up! Impressive job to the boy too!!! That’s not an easy course to pull out a PR with no training on 😉

    Glad you had such a great trip and enjoyed Cali again! Maybe you should just move Herr? 😉

  3. I found your blog via Keith’s…and saw your headline. I ran the Napa to Sonoma race this past summer and LOVED it too. Your blog made me laugh. My husband is the same way…barely runs, then either keeps up with me or runs faster than I do in races…you are much more generous than I am. I’m just jealous!

    Love your blog.

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