Last weekend I ran the Asics Vine Body Sole half marathon in Saint Helena, California. Not far from Napa. I was lucky enough to have won a free entry from Running Loving Living. I was excited to run this race because of the hype I had been hearing on social media and because it is fairly close, just an hour and a half from my home.
I was a bit worried because I had run a half marathon just two weeks before, then gotten the flu in between, and had this half marathon, as well as Bay to Breakers 12k, the following day. More on that later.
The Vine Body Sole Adventure Begins
Friday morning I headed out first to San Francisco to pick up my Bay to Breakers race packet and second, up to Napa area to pick up my race packet for Vine Body Sole. It was a long day of driving.
I originally thought the race was in Napa and had planned on staying with a friend, but when I put in the address I realized the race and packet pick-up were about 30 minutes outside of Napa, in Saint Helena. No problem and actually closer to home for me.
I followed my GPS to the winery listed by Asics for pack pick-up and the expo. I arrived about a half hour before the expo shut down at 4 and it seemed a little dead. Oh well, I figured it was probably hopping all day and since I arrived at the end, they were already packing up.
I wandered in the front and through the 5 or 6 vendor booths to find packet pick-up. It was quick and I only had to wait for 3 people in front of me. Here I was handed a shirt, socks, bag and my bib. Then I was directed over to the shoe pick-up area where I was given a brand new pair of Asics. Their swag was definitely a perk! Though, if I had to pay the $250 entry fee on my own dime, I would have felt like I just purchased the “swag.” Still, a pretty nice race perk. Not many give you free shoes.
Shoe display at packet pick-up
The welcoming fireplace as you tried on your shoes.
Asics was hosting training events throughout the weekend leading up to the race as well. I missed Sunrise Yoga due to my having to rush to San Francisco, but I headed over to Charles Krug winery to take part in the Guided Meditation portion of the evening.
I’m not going to lie. I suck at meditation or sitting still in general. So this was ok, but not my favorite. Asics, however, did a great job of setting up the room and making me feel welcome. I lasted the full 40 minutes and maybe felt slightly more zen after? I’m not completely sure.
Following meditation was a yoga session on the lawn. I was still getting over my flu and since I was tired I decided to skip out. In fact, instead of going to stay with my friend, I drove the hour and a half home to sleep in my own bed. It was only 5pm when I was done with meditation and packet pick-up, so I had plenty of time to mosey on home. Might have been a little crazy – but with Napa traffic. Going home was probably just as fast as trying to get through Napa!
Once I got home I ate, showered and got my race gear ready for the next morning. Then I went to sleep and got ready for my 4:45am wake-up call!
All the necessary race day gear!
Race morning I packed myself in my car and drove the hour and a half back to Saint Helena. When I arrived around 6:30am, there was plenty of parking at Charles Krug Winery, where the race would finish. But from here, I felt like I walked a mile to the start. In fact, I just made it before 7am, when all the runners were suppose to take off! Luckily, the announcements were a little late, so I had time to make it to the rest stop before the race. If I had to change one thing about the race it would be this long walk! Oh well, at least it warmed me up. Once I arrived, I snapped a few selfies and got ready to race and fight back my lingering cough for 13.1 miles.
Around 7:05 the race was off! Vine Body Sole was a small race, with only about 300 runners, so we ran on open roads, with a separate coned off lane for us runners. I know in Napa it is especially hard to get permits to close down the roads, so this was nothing unexpected for me. And with so little traffic at 7am, it was hardly a problem.
The race wound around back roads, through twelve different vineyards, up and down a few rolling hills and through gorgeous countryside. I really enjoy these smaller, friendly events. In fact, I heard a group of girls behind be saying how excited they were about this race being more laid back and about everyone having fun. It really felt like a relaxing girls weekend.
After a few coughing fits and multiple water breaks, I finally was nearing the finish! I sprinted hard on the road and then we turned into Charles Krug winery with about a half mile left of the course run on the dirt road through the vineyard. It was a welcome change for my tired legs.
After crossing the finish I was handed a bag of snacks and Hint water (one of my favorites!) and ushered to the finish line festival. Here I picked up my souvenir wine glass, medal and Asics branded bottle of wine. I myself am not a wine drinker, but I gave it to a friend who I am sure is enjoying it! The bottle itself was very fun – as it had a runner girl and Asics branding which made it unique.
I milled around the finish a bit. Grabbed some Zico coconut water, Starbucks coffee, water and snacks and then decided I was ready to get home, warm up, and rest up since the next day I would be running Bay to Breakers.
The Asics wine bottle I gifted to a good friend.
My Recommendations – Would I Run Vine Body Sole Again?
I loved the small town feel of this race and all the runner swag and perks. It felt very relaxed to me and like a fun girls weekend event. I would love to have had more of my friends running Vine Body Sole with me. If you are looking for a big city race feel, this isn’t it. But if you like to enjoy beautiful, picturesque views, fresh air and open roads, this is for you.
I would definitely run this again next year. What ladies want to join me?!