Napa Valley Vine Body Sole Half Marathon!
Loveliest lovers! I just got back from the most glorious weekend in Napa Valley for ASICS‘ Vine Body Sole weekend + half marathon!
It was the most incredibly enjoyable weekend, especially considering I had just been gone for 6 nights in Mexico and am not usually all about traveling back to back. (So hard for me to leave the Hudster… #catmama to the 9849th degree.)
But heading home to Nor Cal always has the most calming effect on my mind, body and soul. It’s crazy how even just flying into the Sacramento airport can make me feel instantly calmer and more clear-minded.
(Never mind the fact that Alexi & I missed our first flight from LAX to Sac… Totes my fault, with a little help from LAX being packed and shuttles being slower than life. But hey, at least I got to eat a bomb macro meal from Real Food Daily & do some airport yoga while we waited an additional 3 hrs…!)
Once we flew into Sac, we hopped in our rental car and headed straight to our hotel in St. Helena to unpack and change so we could meet the ASICS team at Beringer’s Hudson House for our welcome dinner.
We stayed at the Harvest Inn, which was the cutest hotel in such an adorable area. I have always been in love with St. Helena, ever since my trips there in high school to mosey around the shops, chocolate / olive oil specialty stores, and amazing restaurants. Call me a 67 year old, but cozy cuddly Napa is my kinda place.
We met the crew for dinner at the CUTEST part of Beringer winery — and you KNOW that I loved the name Hudson House. 😉
At dinner we met the other bloggers + influencers that we spent the weekend with — Christine Bibbo Herr of NYC Pretty, Lauren Kay Sims of Lauren Kay Sims & Anna Kaiser of AKT InMotion! We also met Christine & Lauren’s fab husbands who hung with us all weekend and snaps lots of great photos! (I guess that made Alexi my hubby for the weekend?! Lol!).
After dinner we were more or less exhausted from our travel day and a crazy week leading up to the trip… So we went back to our hotel & passed out! COZIEST beds in the rooms, btw. And huge bath tubs… Always a plus in my book.
The next day was full of lots of great workouts, exploring Napa (Indian food in St. Helena, anyone?) and an EPIC sunset yoga class that was so beyond necessary after the travel & the morning Anna Kaiser cardio dance class.
Plus, there is something so fun about doing yoga and watching yourself on the big screen in front of you — those ASICS videographers had us on our toes with that all weekend! Loved it. (Alexi told me I looked like a pro on the camera… Big compliment because I almost never look like a pro doing ANYTHING, lol. Can’t wait to see dat professional footage!)
Say hi to MIA from the ASICS team in the photo above, with me and Lex! She is my new favorite human. Such a gem — along with the rest of their team. They were all so fun which made the entire weekend even more pleasant than it already was.
That night Alexi & I had dinner at the Harvest Table — the super cute farm to table restaurant at our hotel. We shared the scallops, halibut, roasted carrots (with GRANOLA and curry — most interesting + delish / innovative presentation), and a shaved veggie salad! Perfect pre-race meal… Plus a few bites of banana & PB afterward (my ultimate fav late night snackity snack before a race).
We got back to our hotel room about 9:30pm and I started with my pre-race routine of natural supplement sleeping meds to ensure a deep & legit night of sleep (we know how my insomnia gets), set my alarm for 5:15am, laid out my clothes, race bib & flip belt, and miraculously fell asleep sort of quickly!!
I woke up a few times as I usually do, checking my alarm like a psycho and envisioning the horror of sleeping through it, but for the most part got a pretty restful night of sleep until that pre-dawn wake up call!
Thennnn came race day! The morning was extremely low key compared to getting ready for a few of my bigger races like the LA Marathon or the Hollywood 10k, considering all we had to do to get ready was put our clothes on, have our breakfast and hop on a shuttle at our hotel to take us to Beringer winery down the road.
We had an awesome VIP lounge set up in the Hudson House with breakfast, water, and more tea (I downed a ton of green tea in our hotel room before we left, too, AND spilled it all over myself chasing the shuttle down bc it almost left without us). I drank so much the that I later started realizing A) I was going to have to pee during the race, and B) I would not be as hydrated as normal because I was drinking tea instead of water!
Let’s just say I am still getting used to being a tea person versus a coffee person. Regardless, the tea was delish and I actually didn’t have to stop once during the race to use the bathroom. Had it been a full marathon or even a few miles longer, that would have been another story.
When it was about 10 minutes to 7, we headed to the start line to get ready to run. I was astounded by the calmness I felt with the fewer number of people around as opposed to the thousands at bigger races. I think I can definitely get on board with this smaller race kinda thang — especially when it’s in wine country!
I was a little nervous, mainly because I didn’t train with the same intensity that I did for the marathon and I wasn’t sure what that was going to mean for me… But I also had a really good feeling about it. Running has been such a therapeutic thing in my life lately and I knew I wasn’t going to be competing with myself for a really fast time.
I also knew that because I ran my last half marathon at a really leisurely pace because I was chatting with a friend the whole time, that I would likely PR (get a personal record) without having to try too hard!
THE RUN ITSELF…
We took off right at 7, and I ran the first mile or two alongside the lovely Rebecca Sinn from SELF mag. We met back when I was doing my SELF shoot in November, and we have kept in touch ever since. She is such a gem and it was so fun catching up with her while we ran through the gorg vineyards. We chatted and chatted until I realized she was running an 8:30 min/mile pace and I usually keep my pace closer to 9:45 min/mile.
Hey Rebecca & Lex — twinning in da neon. 😉
It was awesome to notice that I had been keeping up with her pace no problem, but I also knew that I had to pace myself for the miles ahead of us, so after a few miles together she ran ahead and I clocked into my steady pace of about 9:15 min/mile.
Even that is on the faster side for me… Especially because my last big race was a full marathon so I was training for distance versus time. I was stoked to see how seamless the speed came for me, and how much my body was enjoying running faster! I could feel it everywhere from my legs to my abs, in a GOOD way, like my whole body was working.
I was also super pleased to see that there were water stations every 2 miles or so, and the CUTEST signs made by the ASICS team that said adorable Napa-esque things like, “If You’re Tired… Call a Cab-ernet,” “99% Chance of Wine at the Finish Line,” and “Sip, Sip, Hooray!”
Those little signs made me way too happy while I was running, AND taking a look around at the vineyards and rolling hills we were running through was legitimately breathtaking. I even snapped a ton of selfies DURING the race itself, which is the tell-tale sign that I was having a ball and wasn’t struggling or too tired to be my goofball self. 😉
The weather was also AWESOME which helped a lot. It was cool and overcast, but not too cold at all. When I was about 5 miles away from the finish line I realized that if I kept up my pace I would finish the race somewhere between 2 hours 5 mins and 2 hours 10 minutes… My exact goal!!
I played around with speeding up in certain areas, but there were a few hills at the end that brought my pace down again. Regardless, the miles I ran with Rebecca at the very beginning worked in my favor, and by the time I rounded into the final mile at Charles Krug winery, I knew I would make my goal of under 2 hours, 10 mins.
Running to the finish line was an epic feeling — it was calm and serene compared to the highly emotional and chaotic finish line of the LA Marathon, and there was something super tranquil about coasting right through, smiling for John’s camera (Christine’s husband!), and strolling off to find Alexi and the ASICS team at at the after party.
I felt like I was on top of the world, and I had finished in 2 hours, 6 mins! Total PR by 14 mins, which was amazing considering I didn’t train a whole lot this time around.
NOWWWW I officially have my running bug back, and all I want to do is find another HALF to train for in the next few months!! New goals are a’ brewing in my head… Ideas?! Suggestions!? Tell me!
PS, Alexi crushed the race in an hour 52. She is a beast.
PLUS I am so stoked to train in my brand new ASICS this time around. I fell in love with their team, and their shoes are top notch. I want to partner with them again and again!
That afternoon I got the best surprise by my BFF’s Katie & Danielle (I know you recognize their names from my book!!) at the after party, and then Alexi and I had a super nice early dinner with my parents in St. Helena.
How ridic cute are my parents?!
St. Helena Soaps = Artwork.
TBB being TBB… In the most TBB way ever.
Don’t you love when your dad turns into a full blown photographer?
I run for fudge campfire pie…. LITERALLY, this time around. #BALANCE
The fab girls who won my TBB Instagram Giveaway to Run the Half!!! Shoutout to Lindsay & her crew — you gals are awesome. I want to be friends.
We even got to go to Sactown on Sunday morning for some much needed relaxation and a delish brunch before we headed back to the airport to fly to LA.
CONCLUSIONS: I love traveling with my best friends, I love seeing my family when I am on a semi-work trip, I love running half marathons, I love ASICS, Napa makes me happy, I freaking love yoga and moving my body, I love eating yummy food, I love exploring cute lil’ towns, I looooooove Sacramento, I need to get to the airport earlier in general, and I love that I am finally old enough to drive a rental car. (LOL.)
Can you tell I’m on another level today? Like lists on lists on lists kinda level? Back to the grind, baby!! XO