Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rock N Race, Pineland Farms and a Trip to Napa

This weekend had it all: 2 races, a fun trail run, 10 vineyards and Full House!
On Thursday night after work, I ran the Rock N Race. It is a race for the Payson Cancer center at Concord Hospital and is a great fund-raiser. I have been biking to work on Thursdays so this would be my first brick workout in over two years. In fact, this would be my first 5K in about that same time. Having done no speed work or fast races for quite some time I didn't know what to expect but soon remembered how much 5k's suck. The pace starts out fast but manageable but slowly inexorably becomes ever more uncomfortable. Each of my miles was slower than the previous. As with everything in life though, it did eventually come to an end and after cheering on fellow runners, I headed over to the Barley House for much needed carb reloading. Yes. I am probably the only person who gains weight running 3.1 miles.
Runners leave the starting line of the annual Rock ‘N Race 5K in downtown Concord on Thursday, May 21, 2015.<br/><br/>(ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff)

Kendra and I took off for California at 3am the next morning and arrived in San Fran with enough time to explore Ghiradelli square before heading north out of the city to Muir Woods and the Dipsea trail. There is a race there every year which is heralded as the oldest trail race in the country dating back to 1905. What makes it even cooler is that it is a handicapped race so a 7 year old female can(and has) win the race.

Can you spot the runner?

After running and communing with the Redwoods, we continue up Highway 1(one of Outside Magazine's best drives in the world) and stayed the night camping at Bodega Bay.
Upon waking, we started our 4 town, 8 vineyard extravaganza! We started in Healdsburg and, after stopping in Santa Rosa and Kenwood, made our way down to Sonoma. If you are planning on going to Wine Country, make sure you pick up the Sonoma Passport! It gets you discounted or free tastings and percentages off purchases. Well worth its cost! Don't drink? It is still well worth the drive for the scenery alone but also for the snacks and interesting info you learn at each vineyard. And if you drink but just not wine, don't forget all the amazing breweries this area has to offer. Bear Republic in Healdsburg and Laguinitas in Sonoma are just two more well-known ones.
Sunday was more laid back with us doing a vineyard tour and only a few tastings. A nice low-key Sunday after  a busy Saturday.
Relaxing view from the Vineyards

Low-key for us. Busy for Amber. After two months of training, Amber returned to racing this Sunday at the Pineland Farms 25k trail race. I had done this race several years ago but did the 50 miler so the pace was pretty slow. It is amazing how different a course can feel when you're racing it rather than jogging: those "little" hills aren't so little anymore. Amber asked me how the course was and I had told her that it was rolling with a few little hills. After the race I think she wanted to kill me.

Not before winning the race though. She came in 18th overall and 1st female finishing 15.5 miles on undulating trails in under 2 hours. This was after a six hour training ride the day before and running 7 miles earlier that morning, cheering on her sister who was running the 50k!

I imagine Amber used her Monday Memorial day as another huge training day. Meanwhile, we made our way back to San Fransisco, took the ferry out to Alcatraz Island and then rode the Cable Car across town. We spent a few hours just walking around the city and did find DJ Tanner's house. That alone made the trip worth while. Ended our day at the 21st Amendment Brewery in South San Fran which, if you like IPAs, you should definitely check out.

All in all a fun and productive weekend.


View from the Park by the Full House house

View of Lombard st from the Cable Car

Pier 39 Sea Lions

 Up Next: Rockerford Marathon May 31st(Danny)
                IM CDA for Amber(June 27)

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