So today was my 10 mile race at a local vineyard. I began my morning with a quick run, about 1.5 miles just to loosen up. I have learned that this is a good way to work through some of the annoying foot pain that I begin almost every run with. The weather was perfect, when I ran, about 48 degrees with tons of sunshine.
The race began at 0900 so I left around 0715 to pick up a friend I had talked into running with me and make the trek to the race. It was so pretty in the town we ran in. Mullica Hill, plus there were several other vineyards and cute little antique shops on the main street. I will be making a drive back there again.
There are some definite perks to running a small race. There was a total of 55 people running this morning. For one thing, no crowds. Which means easy parking and barely any waiting in line to pick up your bib. More importantly, no lines at the port-o-potty. This was one the nicest ones I’ve ever seen I must add. It had a table inside to set your stuff of and a hand washing station with actual water right outside. I know there was a small turnout due in part to the Broad Street Run taking place today as well. If you ask me though, I will pick the small ones any day over battling 40,000 other runners for parking and the bathroom.
So since the race started at 0900 it meant the temperatures had gone up and the sun was high in the sky. Really high. The course was along the back roads in Mullica Hill and there was no shortage of pretty things to look at. That area is farm country, so lots of fields and a few horses and very few cars on the road. My friend and I quickly realized the sun was going to get old. We were excited every time we saw a patch of shade. I also realized sunscreen would have been a wise addition. We set off at about a 9min pace and felt pretty good about that. We began running with another woman running the race. She had signed up with a friend, who had to back out of the race, so she was out running on her own. On top of that the only race she had ever run before was a 5K, Denille and I were impressed, that’s a big jump in distance.
I think we encountered the first hill around mile 2, it wasn’t a crazy hill and we were both under the impression there wouldn’t be many more. We were wrong……there were about 6-7 hills that got steeper as the miles increased. Our pace began slowing around mile 5 or 6 but we kept moving. Our new running friend was using Siri on her run, I think Siri was a little crazy though. She said we were running a 4-5min pace and by the end said we had logged 24 miles. Siri was a nice distraction from the hills that kept coming.
Around mile 8 we saw there was a massive hill, after a short discussion we decided why torture ourselves. We grabbed some water from the aid station and walked the hill. While walking the hill was a nice break, it brought to light the fact that I had some blisters forming on my feet. I made a rookie mistake and used the inserts I had bought on Friday in my shoes. I know better, these weren’t full length inserts so the spot where the insert ended rubbed repeated and I know have a series of bilsters on my toes. None of them are horrible, just annoying.
Just before mile 9 it looked like we had another hill to enjoy. By this point all three of us were a little disgruntled. There were some curse words thrown around. Then we saw that we weren’t going up the hill, we were making a right hand turn. Thank GOD!! An added bonus was a woman handing out cups of beer. Yummy! Until we began running again, then all three of us wondered why we drank it, it caused some slight discomfort. We only had a mile to go though, that is what really mattered.
We were finally back in an area we recognized and could see the vineyard. This was good and bad. Good because we were almost done, bad because the last two tenths of the race were through the actual vineyard. This meant lumpy dirt and grass. I am always a little nervous running in the grass, you never know what the actual ground is like.
We all finished about 15 seconds apart. My time was 1:38:11, not near my goal of 1:30 but considering all the hills and the sun beating down on us almost the entire time I can’t complain.
I was grateful to be running with some great women, I truly believe that the three of us kept each other going when at one point or another we were all wanting to walk. So between the great company and the promise of wine at the end I had a great experience.
- Bring sunblock, don’t just think about bringing sunblock.
- Look at the course map, it does wonders. I would have at least known about the hills.
- Find hills. Run them. Or embrace a treadmill.
- Don’t try new footwear accessories on such a long run. It will be something you will regret.
- Run with friends, it makes even the toughest moments a little easier.
- Don’t be afraid to make new friends. One of the things I love about runners is how supportive we are as a group, I was pleased to pay it forward with a newer runner.
- Maybe skip the beer. It sounds great in theory, it’s less so in practice.
- Always have something to look forward to at the finish line. This may be the thing that keeps you moving forward when all you want to do is stop. This time it was wine and really good wine at that. That may be my new reward at the end of long runs.
If you ever happen to be in the New Jersey area and want to enjoy some amazing scenery and wine I highly recommend finding yourself a race through Good Day For A Run. Or if you’re more into the wine than the running check out Wagonhouse Winery, you won’t be disappointed!
Until next time!!!