Bibrave Race Review: Napa Valley Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews

Race weekend has come and gone and this was probably one of my favorite California races to do! If you’re looking for something with great scenery and downhill, definitely look into the Napa Valley Half Marathon and Marathon. This year was the 41st running of the full marathon, but the debut of the half marathon, which made the trip worth it.

I flew out Thursday afternoon and ended up delayed an hour and change out of Seattle due to maintenance issues. I made it to Sacramento in one piece, picked up my rental care and drove just over an hour to Napa. If you have a choice between SMF and SFO, flow into/out of Sacramento over San Francisco. Less of a head ache, same amount of time to get where you’re going. I got to the hotel somewhere after 9 pm and got checked in before finding some food. After getting some sleep, I spent Friday getting a much needed run outside, as I’ve been cooped up on the treadmill much of February due to snow and ice in Spokane. I’ll take a cloudy, nearly raining run any day! Got to run on the Vine trail, which started just outside of my hotel and have some fun with it.

After getting a shower in and some shopping, I went into downtown Napa for some lunch and spent most of the day hanging before heading down to happy hour at the hotel and then on to dinner.

Saturday morning, the marathon had a shake out run that started at 830 AM. It started with a raffle, in which I won a hat! You could also win wine and KT Tape, which was fun. We had the option of 3-4 miles on the Vine Trail and after finishing up, could head to the expo. I met up with fellow Bibrave Pro Brenda, who flew in from Massachusetts for the full (it’s always fun meeting up with other pros!). I picked up my bib, shirt and bag, walked around the expo a little bit before heading back to the hotel for a shower. I found some lunch and then went off the Hendry Winery for a tour and wine tasting (do it if you can, ended up getting to taste quite a few different wines!). After getting to church, I went to the Pasta dinner where we had some pretty fun speakers. At that point, I called it a night and changed into my sweats at the hotel.

Race morning started early. I was up around 430 to change and make the shuttles to the start. The half started at 7 am and the shuttles left at 5:10/5:15 in the morning. The start was at the Coon Creek Winery and having VIP access was helpful. Had some breakfast to munch on and indoor bathrooms to boot. Weather was overcast, but in the 50s, which I’ll take any day. If you checked bags, there were busses to take them to the finish. We started right at 7 am and were at the half way point of the marathon (they started further up and at 730 AM). The course was pretty much all downhill. One kind of hill close to the start, but really nothing after. Nice change for me after the amount of California races I’ve run with hills all over the place. The first 10 miles or so were on the Silverado trail before we turned off a few times to some other roads and finishing at Vintage HS. One thing that needs looked at is the amount of water stops. I think there were only 15 total between the half and full and the first one on the half didn’t come until 3-4 miles in. They were pretty spread out and I don’t know if it was planned like that or something happened with volunteers. I feel like they could have had some more, especially towards the middle/end.

The race finished at Vintage HS. You were greeted with medals and water, led to some food and then could go find some soup (which was much appreciated!). At the finish, you could search results, listen to some live music and hang out. There were shuttles back to the hotels and another area HS if you parked there or were staying at the Marriott/Hilton/Embassy Suites. The one thing that needs looked at is the post race shuttles. There was at least a 30-40 min span with no hotel shuttle. I ended up getting an Uber back to my hotel because I was getting cold, and it showed up as one of the shuttles was showing up. I think there was a communication issue or something, but people going back to the hotels were getting frustrated for sure.

Overall, a great race. I’m glad there’s now a half marathon option to go with the full. Fun race and definitely a must do. The few things to work on is making the half/full marathon shuttle buses pre race more spaced out to account for anyone who might miss the first string buses. Also, more aid stations and fixing the post race shuttle bus situation back to the hotels. If you’re looking for an excuse to get to Napa, here you go!

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Napa Valley Race Week!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Napa Valley Half Marathon race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’m heading back to California! Over the winter the past few years, I’ve noticed increased California trips to get out of the winter weather, and the snow that is taking over my yard in Spokane (I’m running out of places to put it! I just finished a 10 day stretch at work and the Napa Valley Half couldn’t come at a better time!

This year, the half marathon is in it’s first year for Napa Valley and I’m so looking forward to it. The course (between the half and the full) has something like 6 wineries on it. Is it wrong to hope they have wine at some of the aid stations?

Big things to look out for this weekend:

1. Follow Napa Marathon on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter and http://www.napavalleymarathon.com) because we’re looking at rain this weekend (seems to be recurring theme for my CA races this year!). Hopefully no course changes though

2. Bib look up: be ready for the expo!

3. Shake out run: good way to get the legs loose: meet up is on Saturday Morning at the Marriott. RSVP here!

4. Don’t forget your bib. Expo happens from 9 am to 8 pm with a whole bunch of fun stuff. Check out what’s happening!

5. Pasta Dinner: get some good carb loading and hear from some awesome runners on Saturday night!

Things to do in Napa:

1. I’m probably spending most of Friday finding some wine in the area, not going to lie

2. Hot air balloon rides

3. Wine train, this sounds kind of fun!

4. For more, head here http://napavalleymarathon.org/race-information/

Hope I catch up with anyone running while there and look for the Bibrave orange!

Napa Valley Half Marathon…All The Wine!

Disclaimer: I received free entry into the Napa Valley Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Winter is always rough, especially when you go to work when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark. You get no sun and, for my entire life, I’ve lived in places where snow is involved. These days, I try and get out of the cold and to somewhere nicer. Come March of 2019, I’ll be making my way to Napa Valley for the Napa Valley Half Marathon. Somehow, California’s become a hot spot for me in the early part of the year, and next year will be no different.

What I’m looking forward to is a race that’s all downhill (I’m one of those who likes to know what I’m getting myself into). Don’t believe me? Take a look below. What’s more exciting is this is the first year for the half marathon distance for the race.

I’m also looking forward to spending some time in wine country itself. I’m hoping to get to some wineries while there and do some tours.  I’m sure that Visit Napa Valley  will become my best friend come early next year. I’m also taking suggestions if you’ve ever been!

If you register soon, you can get an in training shirt for a limited time. Currently the half is $100 and the full is $125. I’m still waiting on discount codes for this one so hang tight and follow me on social media (CGinPNW for IG and Twitter)!

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