Race Recap: Apple Hill Harvest Run 3.5 Miles

11:00 AM

The Now I get why they call it Apple HILL!

My love for Apple Hill has an all new level of appreciation. I never stopped to think why it was called Apple HILL. Yes, apples...they are everywhere and I eat them in copious amounts when I'm there. But never did I pay attention to the "HILL" part of the name. Even when you are driving through the town, you don't pay attention, because you are normally going at snail pace due to the traffic. Oh, but it's a whole different story when you race here. Lesson learned!

I've been dying to do an AH run and it finally worked in my schedule. I know Lot has an affinity for AH, so I asked if she wanted to sign up with me. Of course she did, we were using it as a reason to just to go AH. Because, we couldn't just go on our own or anything ;)

This race is a little different, logistically. It's about 45 minutes away at Para Vi Winery, so attending packet pick-up the day before the race wasn't really in our plans. We had to plan for plenty of time prior to the race to grab our bib and our race shirt, while also getting to the race.
This is the second run of the year that is offered in Apple Hill, the fall race. I've heard rumors of the course, but I just didn't want to believe it. This race offers two distances, not including the kids half mile race - 3.5 miles and 8.5 miles. Both of which are the same price, $30, which I came to appreciate by race day.
Originally I had signed up for the 8.5 mile course. Up until the night before the race, I was ready to attempt 8.5 miles, even though I'm not in the best running conditioned shape. However, as the time was approaching, I was getting more anxious and nervous. As my running career (non-paid, by the way) continues to grow, I like to think I'm becoming a smarter runner. With that said, I was on the cusp of realizing that pushing my body through the 8.5 miles was probably not the best idea. I literally had the biggest onset of runner's guilt as I contemplated this. After I left the birthday party, I text Lot that I'll probably run the shorter distance. It didn't cost any more so I wasn't really losing anything and they also told everyone you could switch on race day.
Gear Grid
I should have just fully committed to making the change right then and there, but the stubbornness in me wouldn't fully accept it yet. So, I went to bed still uneasy. Thank goodness for Day Light Savings, even though it gave me a little anxiety...because I still think my technology will fail me one day and not make the time change. But, of course, both my iPhone and my alarm clock made the time change for me. 5:45AM wake up call for a 9AM race start. So early, but we needed time to get up to the race and pick-up our packets. 6:50AM, on the dot, I arrived to meet up with Lot and she drove us to the race.

Typical breakfast for this distance.
Let's roll!
You have to park at Camino School and then you can take the shuttle or walk to the race. Being the lazy humans we are, we chose the shuttle. We only had to wait a few minutes, but it was us and then only two other women. It was a bumpy, but quick ride. They drop you off at the main road and then you walk down hill to the start...which is really the up-hill start of the race! 

The start line is on the main road and all of the pre and post race festivities are in the muddy, orchard area to the right of the road. They have pop-up tents for the usual stuff - bibs, shirts, race day registration, and sweat checks - all in one corner. They have the Porto's near there too. It was pretty muddy in this area. Lucky me again, I picked the worst porto to go into (again, I'm two for two lately). Also, this one was not sturdy, I'm pretty sure if I made any sudden movements I would have tumbled down the hill in that thing :/

We were there way too early, but I ran into my running friend Haley and her boyfriend and all time supporter, Corey. We chatted with them for a long while, basically until the race started. We also watched the kids race, those poor kidlets took that hill like a champ. We literally thought they were going to fall, because they were flying down the hill so fast and they are so small!

Me & Lot
Haley & I
Haley sauntered off to start her race, the 8.5 mile course, which started 10 minutes before the shorter course, at 8:50PM. We made our way over shortly after, stretching and trying not to think about the hills that were ahead of us. 

9AM! Race time, gun went off. Of course, right before the timing mat I noticed my shoe lace was untied. Rook move, again! I ran to the side and tied it, but it was hard to jump back in, because of the influx of runners. Eventually I skirted my way in, probably pissing of one or two runners, and then I was off. Well, as off as I could be for 0.4miles of uphill that starts the race.

My lungs were burning within the first 5 minutes of the run, that's never a good sign. I was literally waiting and praying the uphill would end. Luckily after the initial up-hill, it is a slow grade up, through the residential neighborhood. Once you hit the peak, its all about the downhill until mile 3. Some parts you are going super fast, others are slow grades downhill. Both of which I welcomed, but in the back of my mind was "if you go down, you must go UP!"

I was taking full advantage of the downhill, however probably a little too much. By the time mile 3 hit, I was exhausted and my legs were spent. Sadly, I didn't enjoy the scenery as much as I should have, because all I could think about were the hills. I did take a second to look at most of the local orchards that I frequent when I'm here, some how I missed the Jack Russell brewery along the course. Little did I know I had half of a mile of slow up-hill to finish the race. It's been a long time since I've walked in a race, but at the pace I was going, I decided a 20 second walk was in order and deserved. I pushed my pride aside and did what my body wanted. After that little walk break I was slightly invigorated, until I hit the last 0.25mi of the race...it was the steep uphill to the finish. My tank was empty, I finished as strong as I could.

Finished! Barely, that last ascent up hill was brutal! I didn't have any gas left in the tank, but cross the finish line with an official time of 31:31. Mr. Garmin wasn't far off, but it did say that I was .08 mi short of the course distance. I guess I ran some good tangents on the course that day ;) 

Race Splits
Mile 1:
Mile 2: 
Mile 3: 
Mile 4: 
Average Pace/Mile: 9:13
Official Time: 31:31
I needed to regulate my breath after I crossed the line. However, the only place to go was up. Uphill to be exact, so I walked uphill for a few minutes, took a few deep breathes, and then headed downhill to the post race FUNstivities. I grabbed a water, an apple, and a KIND bar. Then I went to look for Corey, near the finish line, so I could cheer on Lot. She wasn't much further behind me. Once she crossed the line, I said goodbye to Corey and met up with Lot. We took our post race selfie and then overheard someone say there were BD almonds, so we went to find them.

Not my typical race shirt shot, post-race!
After our collection of goodies, we just wanted the infamous apple donuts. Although the race was at a winery, we didn't even take advantage of it. We aren't actually sure it was even open. We attempted to take the shuttle back to the car, but I don't think it was in service post-race. So, being the lazy humans we were, we started the trek back to the car. By the time we reached the car, our heart rates were up again. The hill up to the parking area was no joke. It's like the race that keeps going...

Post race outfit change,
A little High Hill fun!
I sound like I'm complaining, but I enjoyed the race. I absolutely loved being in Apple Hill and running around the streets, which I normally only enjoy through a car. The hills were hard, but I'm happy I signed up. My runner's guilt is still resonating, but running smart makes me feel a little better. I'd do this run again, maybe even the long course...if I'm in good running shape, that is.

Let's be real...I go for the food, not the hills...

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