I was really excited when one of you told me about this race! I went to college in Oregon a few minutes away from the start line at the Stoller Family Winery. The night before, we staled nearby in McMinnville (that is where I went to college at Linfield). We had Italian at Nick’s and the next morning I got up at 4:30am.
I did my usual pre race things of taking a fast shower, eating a bagel with cream cheese, a banana with peanut butter & coffee, and braiding my hair and putting on all the sunscreen. I don’t know why I like taking a quick shower before a race – but it feels good and I usually have a good race when I do it, so it has become part of the routine.
I took an Uber to the start line & it was DARK when I got there around 5:50am. The Stoller Family winery was really beautiful and really accommodating. They even had these amazing women’s portas that had flowers, track lights & individual sinks inside lol.
I did wish there was a bit more of a place to jog around for a warm up. I managed to get about 1.2 miles in – but gave up on trying to get 2 miles. There just weren’t a whole lot of places to run.
The course is a point to point with some rolling hills. My watch showed the elevation said as 561 instead of 328 – so I’m not sure which is right. None of the hills were very long, and they all had good downhills after the climbs, so it wasn’t too bad.
My plan was to run by effort and see how I felt. I had a really rough race at the SF marathon (half) & wanted to get my confidence back up. I also wasn’t sure how warm it would feel. It had been sticky and high dew points in the morning in Portland earlier in the week, but race morning felt cool and comfortable. There were some sections of sun with no shade and those did feel a little warm.
I took the hills by effort and really tried not to worry about my watch too much. I wanted to run somewhere between 1:33-1:40, but again, my main focus was to run a smart race.
In the last 5k there was a gravel section for about a mile (I think? Maybe a little longer). It was pea gravel – so it felt like running on marbles and it really threw me for a loop. Every little stabilizer muscle I had was screaming at me lol. There was a bit of an uphill finish, but I was still able to kick. This post from the second place woman – Lyndy Davis – talks about the course a little bit too.
I took a gel around mile 6.5 and drank water at every water stop. I think they were about 2 miles apart. I could have definitely drank more water had there been more water stops. The sunny sections did feel really warm, even thought it was a pretty cool morning overall.
I didn’t run much faster than I did at the SF half – but I raced more by effort and didn’t go for a goal that I’m undertrained for. Nothing wrong with trying that, but it felt good to get a strong race under my belt.
I still want to break 1:30 – but I discussed with my coach that I’ll need to do more work at 6:50 pace if I want to do that.
I ended up second in my age group (31-34) & won a nice bottle of wine. The race put on a really nice awards ceremony and gave a bottle of wine and a hat to all of the top 3 finishers in age age group.
The finish line festival was awesome too – they had over 20 wineries pouring – most had several different kinds of wine, plus a huge booth doing fresh oysters.
I loved this race and would definitely recommend it to anyone. It’s not the fastest course, but it is beautiful and a smaller race is really nice. It was really well organized and they gave out great swag and prizes.