Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Weekend of Friends, Fun, Wine, and a Half Marathon

Last Sunday, I participated in the first half marathon of the Texas Wine Series at the Messina Hoff Winery with Ray and JL. This would be my second half marathon ever in my life (remember the first one), Ray's second, and JL's first. I was excited to do this run, because
  1. I get to see the Cordovas, my running partners for my marathon (along with the beautiful Helen).
  2. I'm running my second half marathon finally.
  3. This half marathon involves wine...duh!
  4. It was probably one of the most beautiful weekends ever complete with low humidity weather and Bluebonnets galore. We don't get many of these days in Texas. 
Look at these beautiful Bluebonnets and Indian Red Paints.
JL's picture of the Bluebonnets and Indian Red Paints on the side of the road.
We all decided to drive up the day before to settle in before the race the next day at 8 a.m. I live less than 2 hours away, but I didn't want to have to get up at 4 a.m. to get there and then take a chance of being rushed or not making it on time.

We picked up our packets at Downtown Uncorked where we talked with the helpful and friendly owner about our wine choice and cheese snack.

Our beautiful race bibs, a great Malbec (which I bought), and some of the best Sriracha cheese spread ever.
 We had a wonderful pasta pre-race dinner at Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen. I highly recommend it.
Thanks Dave for the suggestion.
After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where we started our rituals of foam rolling, taping, and massaging. JL worked on some of my pressure points to release pain in my back, which worked like a charm (more on why we don't do that the night before a big race). And then we were off to bed for a restless and anxious sleep. I mean I haven't ran a half marathon since 2011.

Bright and early, we were up, foam rolling again (and I talked to Jim for some last minute motivational words), had some breakfast (Cheerios, a banana, and an English muffin with peanut butter), and headed to the winery. I would like to point out that it was cold...OH.SO.FREAKING.COLD!

I couldn't stop staring at this amazing sunrise.
When we got there, we sat in the car for awhile with the heat on and then the debate of what to bring began. We didn't have anywhere to stash our sweaters or long sleeve stuff and we weren't sure if there was a bag drop. So, I ended up wearing my blue long sleeve shirt and left my bag in the car. I found out later there was a bag drop, but they should have that information on the website since we saw lots of people coming back to the cars with their bags.  

The Crossfit guys started their warm up and I joined in for a little bit, but then decided to do my own stretches. Then, we walked over a quarter mile to the start. The Star Spangled Banner started playing with no notice, while some high pumping dance music was playing. So, it was not easy to hear. People started getting ready at the start line, but the problem was that there was a half marathon starting earlier than the 5k people. Thankfully, someone came on the PA to tell the 5k people not to line up just yet. And more than half of the people were gone. Oh the joys of being one of 155 half marathoners. You will either look great and possibly win or you will be a standout for the worst. I will take my chances.
I'm pretty sure the girl in the pink skirt had an ambulance called for her.

She doesn't know what she has gotten herself in to yet.
Finally, the race started and we all ran a mile together. I kept the pace slow, because I've been reading about using the first two miles as a warm up and I also knew that JL's longest run up to this point was six miles (BAD JL).

 I love this picture.
Ray loves this one.

And then Ray was off like a dirty shirt.
But apparently, we have to look at his butt first.
As Ray left us (ALONE and COLD and SHAKING...ha, just kidding), JL and I got into our rhythm of five minutes run, one minute walk after we hit the first mile marker. Eventually, we started running along side of another blogger named Christi (check out her blog here). She told us that she was running 40 half marathons 2014 for her 40th birthday and this was her second one that weekend. Bajeebus. So, she asked if she could run with us since we were running at a slower pace.

I saw the one Porto-Potty coming up, but I figured there would be one at the turnaround. It wasn't right next to the road and I didn't want to lose the momentum. I was wrong; that was the only bathroom on the entire 13.1 miles. As we were running, Christi recognized another lady named Eyvonne from her area of Texas. So, she joined us, too. She had another amazing goal; she's trying to run a race at each of the counties in Texas. I thought these ladies were amazing for their running goals and I may do something similar in the future. 

We caught Ray right before the turnaround. That's Christi, me, and Yvonne in the background.

We (now group of us ladies instead of Ray) kept up with the five minutes run, one minute walk. I was the time keeper and usually the bearer of bad news when our minute was up to run again. I got a lot of, "I don't think that was a minute."

On a side note, I really need to get the intervals working either on my phone or my watch or something. I missed it a few times.

Finally, we made it to the halfway point and I could see lots of people still behind us. YAY! We weren't last. I started to feel the areas where JL released the night before, which made it difficult to run hard (and that's why you don't do that before a run the next day). At this point, I really had to go to the bathroom, but all of the cover up bushes were next to barbed wire fences. I did find an area by a creek where I went and managed to get thorns or needles scraping my butt. When I finally caught up to the ladies, I was picking needles out of my butt. Oh they had a laugh.

Turnaround point.

JL and I left our long sleeve shirts on the railing around mile 2, right next to a beautiful Bluebonnet patch. When we reached that mile marker again, I ran to get our shirts and stopped to take some pictures.

I couldn't help myself but take pictures.
It was also this time, that we started walking more and running less. We got down to five minutes run, two minutes walk, then four minutes run, two minutes walk, and always walking up the hills. JL was now glad that we didn't push ourselves too hard in the beginning. Eyvonne eventually said goodbye to us, because she couldn't keep up and then later Christi took off leaving JL and I together. As we got within the last mile, there were so many people walking back to their cars. I felt like a doof running behind and I started to pick up the pace. I left poor JL, but I had to go and I crossed the finish line at 2:49:58. This was four minutes greater than my first half marathon. Oh well. Next time.

Just after we crossed the finish line, we forced Eyvonne into a picture with us.
As soon as we high fived and got some water, we headed over for wine and food. I was so hungry. They had Olive Garden, but it was somewhat cold by the time we got there. It was still good though. And seeing someone win a Bundt cake, made me want one so bad. I was hoping they would have those for sale, but they didn't and thus, started my quest for dessert.
Our awesome medals...with a corkscrew.

Along with our awesome medals, we got a wine glass and four tasters. OH YES PLEASE!
And of course, we couldn't a miss a photo opportunity with Christi
We had post race beers at the famous Dixie Chicken.

And I got my dessert...yummy Drumstick.
All in all, it was a peaceful and beautiful down and back race, with some hills, but mostly flat. I loved it and can't wait to do it again next year. I just hope they have more bathrooms. Also, my BolderBands headband was amazing the entire race. I'm so glad I took a chance on this purchase. Thank you Ray and JL for joining me on both this adventure and our next one.

These are some of the other photos from our awesome trip. I swear JL and I make our exercise adventures into one hell of weekend travel getaway.

A cool sign at Downtown Uncorked. I need this.

JL and I enjoying the sun and the wine. Yes, I'm sporting a with it.

I get to run with these sexy people.
Our wine lady pouring the Reisling (yes, I bought) at Messina Hoff.
Visiting the Messina Hoff Winery is actually part of my Last American Hoorah mission complete.

My loot at the winery; I was appropriately placed by the belt buckles.
She bought a very cool wreath to hold the wine corks.
Ray and JL out in the back pond area of the winery. It was so beautiful here.
Well, hello there little guys. They (including about 10 more) rushed at us as soon as we showed up, which means they are used to being fed.

JL and I having some fun on the bridge to the back area.

Right by us, they were setting up for a beautiful looking engagement about to take place under the gazebo.

We stumbled upon this wonderful display of pinwheels at a bank. It was to honor the more than 800 children dealing with abuse and neglect in the Brazos Valley area alone. I can only imagine the number for Houston. And yes, we were careful not to step on any of the pinwheels. And I have to mention that the grass felt so good on my feet.

I may not be a fan of Texas A&M University College Station, but I do respect the Bonfire Memorial and what it represents. I was saddened to hear the news all those years ago and I was thankful that I saw this in my life before I died.

Ray surprised me with this sticker. He's so sweet!
And now the crew is gearing up for the marathon in Scotland. There is talk of Texas flag kilts, cowboy hats, and belt buckles. You never know with us folk. The Scottish will never know what hit them...poor Scottish people.


  1. Woohoo!! You make it sound way too fun...I could almost be convinced to try it someday. But wow, you were so lucky with that weather! And the bluebonnets! It really was a wonderful weather weekend and you put it to such good use. Way to go, Kristi!

    1. Thanks Beth. It was fun and oh so much wine...maybe too much wine. The flowers were just amazing this time. I think if weather was just a tad hotter, I may have more of a negative post. But it wasn't.

  2. Thanks! Enjoyed meeting you and running together. Chatting made the miles go by quicker. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the cool pics! Hope our paths will cross again one of these days. Good luck to you - hope you embrace the marathon!

    1. Thanks Eyvonne. Like I told Christi, it was so much fun having us a running group. I really do hope I get to see you and run with you again. Keep in touch.

  3. I love your blog. You did a great job and it looks like you all had so much fun. I appreciate you allowing me to run with you. I love your story and look forward to following you!

    1. Thanks Christi! It was great meeting you and I'm so glad you joined our little group. It was such a wonderful experience.


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