Phew. Holy cow, you guys. This is one tough race. There is a 5k and 7-mile distance, I ran the 7-miler. Both races are the same price, how crazy is that?! Why wouldn’t you sign up for the longer distance and get more bang for your buck? Anywho, this is an insane and beautiful race.
The race started at Ciccone Vineyards promptly at 9AM. Both the 5k runners and the 7-mile runners started at the same time. This was new for me, as normally different distances start at different times. It was a very crowded start, as all runners were corraled through three rows of grapes in the vineyard. Don’t count on a fast start, but people spread out pretty quickly over the first mile.
Immediately after the first mile, the 5k runners and 7-milers split off in different directions. For the 7-mile course, runners are greeted with rolling hills – literally the whole time. Ok mayyyyybe there were a few straight shots, but all I can remember are the hills. The course was a little slippery, as the grass was still wet from the morning dew. There were plenty of muddy areas that added to the slipperiness as well.
After running through the vineyards of Ciccone, runners head to the vineyards of Black Star Farms. The views along the whole course are amazing. You run through rows of vineyards, past pumpkin patches, past howling beagles (my favorite part), and by overlooks of the bay.
This course challenged me more than I expected it to. I plan to tackle my first ultra this spring. It’s a 50k on trails and this 7-miler showed me how much trail work I need to do before I’m ready for that ultra. I’m just happy I realized this now so I can adjust my training accordingly.
At the end of the course, runners get to jump in pits of grapes to “stomp” them into wine. Duh. My running shoes are still wet and may forever smell likes grapes. This is definitely an upgrade though, as my running shoes were not the best smelling things before this race.