Sunday, September 15, 2013

Diva's DC Wine Country Half Marathon Race Report, Part I

Well, hello, dear readers. I hope you've all been well during my prolonged absence. Don't worry, nothing has happened to me to cause me to vanish for awhile other than laziness.

I'm still plugging along. I did cut down a bit on races this year, focusing on quality over quantity. I completed 4 halfs, mostly local, during the first half on the year, some were good, others not so good, but all were learning experiences.

To kick off the fall racing season, a few of us decided to run the inaugural Diva's DC Wine Country 1/2. More importantly, Betsy, with our encouragement, selected it to be her first half marathon. Having wanted to do a Diva's event for some time after hearing friends talk about the organization's races in other states, we jumped in with both feet when registration opened in early January.

I trained for this in conjunction with the Annapolis Ten Miler, which was three weeks before.This included lots of hill training during the heat of the summer. I've noticed over the last couple of years that I always feel strong for fall races as a result, a nice confidence booster.

Race day was Saturday, 9/14/13. With no race morning packet pick up, and the race taking place in Northern Virginia, we all decided to take Friday off and head to Leesburg after morning rush hour. The race expo opened at 11, and we were there not long after. It was held in a large ballroom at a local resort conference center. It was small, but decent. I'm glad we were there early, as I could see how it would get difficult to move around in there as the day wore on and crowds grew.

This was a girls getaway afterall, so after a quick lunch it was off to the outlet mall! And yes, we shopped til we dropped. We popped into the hotel to pick up our keys and headed off to dinner. Soon it was time to get back to the hotel and settled in for the night. Alarms went off at 5:15am, and we were on the road by 6:15am. Our hotel was 12 miles for the race start. Plenty of time to get there for a 7:30 start, or so we thought.

Halfway into the drive we started crawling in traffic. We started stressing as we saw the clock, but knew there was nothing we could do about it. A friend already on site txt'd updates as she walked around trying to find out information. Among the things she was telling us - the Sheriff's office couldn't find race staff onsite and threatened to pull permits, staff began to guess at what time the race might be able to start, and finally, that the race announcer thanked those present for following race instructions and thereby implied that those of us stuck in traffic had not. Not cool.

By this point we had been stuck in traffic for an hour. Had I been traveling alone, I admittedly would have turned the car around and headed back to the hotel for a hot shower and some breakfast and then headed home. Finally, race organizers posted on facebook that the race start would be delayed until everyone could get parked. One of the problems was that the two lane, country road everyone was stuck on was the same road we'd be running on in the opening miles.

We continued to inch along and began to think of the implications of a race start. Among them, the fact we last ate around 6am, so fueling for this was already off to a bad start. Also, our hotel check out was noon. We had not packed up before leaving since we figured we'd return no later than 11:30am and could grab quick showers before heading for home. Knowing we'd be finishing around the 3 hour mark, any kind of delay was going to make this extremely tight.

Finally we turned into the winery's main entrance and were directed to parking near bag check. It was about 8:15am. Yes, almost exactly 2 hours from when we left the hotel. Our first mission was to find bathrooms and find out when the race might actually start.

To be continued.


  1. find bathrooms... or trees... or shrubs... I think some girls got creative, haha!

    1. Don't think I wasn't eying that line of trees....