Race Report: Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon

This is one of those races that over the years, I have started to make sure that I register for this race. Not only is it an extremely flat course, it is a awesome overall event that is put together. This year my wife, son and parents joined me at the half marathon that starts and finishes at Woodbridge Winery in Acampo, CA (about 35 miles south of Sacramento).

Packet Pick Up – Friday, May 17
With the family going with me, I wanted to grab the race swag early as to allow for a little extra time to morning of the race. This allows for not having to wake up earlier than needed to plan for doing an on day of packet pick up. The pre-race packet pick up was held at Fleet Feet Stockton which is about 45 miles south of Sacramento.

This Fleet Feet is a location I am familiar with since it is just a few blocks from where I coach at one of the local Junior Colleges. The process was simple I got there, walked right in and got my bib, then I was sent towards the back of the store to pick up my other swag. The swag provided for this event was a technical shirt, a reusable New Balance bag, and other samples and fliers for other upcoming events. Along with my goodies, I also picked up my bib and giveaways for my wife who did the 5k while pushing our son in the stroller.

The pick up was simple and nothing too much to report, complain or get overly excited about.


Race Day – Sunday, May 19
Race morning came and the only down side of this whole event is that there is one road that leads to and from the freeway to the event. With this being said there is a little race morning congestion getting to the start line parking area. However the way that the event is set up, the parking area and the start line are just yards away from one another so getting ready upon arrival is pretty easy.

The race started a little late because there was an accident on the freeway near the one exit. However about 20 minutes after the scheduled start time it was go time! The course was simple, flat with minimal turns involved. Once the gun went off we were on our way.

course profile from my Strava account

 After a few yards out from the line we made our first turn left this stretch would last for the first 4 miles. Unfortunately, the way that the winds were blowing this created for a head wind. The first 4 miles had splits of 6:23, 6:37, 6:52, 6:48.

Finally a tail wind helped for the next stretch as we made a right turn for miles 5 and 6. I didn’t get to take advantage of this wind as I had to take a quick potty break, but still had splits of 6:38 and 6:56.

After a couple more turns on the route miles 7 through 12 were not too challenging because the wind was not as strong and was more of a crosswind at this point. I was able to find a decent rhythm at this point in the race getting splits of 6:34, 6:40, 6:42, 6:47, 6:44, and 6:46.

The final mile was probably the hardest crosswind along the course but at this point it was about finding what I felt comfortable with and stay consistent with my prior miles. I ran the final mile with a time of 6:40 crossing the finish at a time of 1:28:05. This is my 3rd fastest time in the half marathon distance and my second sub 1:30 finish in the last 2 weeks running a 1:27:23.

crossing the finish

After the event, photos taken along the course were printed out and given FREE! to anyone that wanted to them. Along with the free photos, the swag included a wine glass for some wine tasting and some post race eats. While we enjoyed the activities and entertainment the race provided for us, I decided to make my way to results table to find out that I finished in the top 10 as well as in the top 3 in my age group. This meant more prizes :). In this case my finish was good enough for a bottle of wine!

awards presentation
post race with my wife and son

2 thoughts on “Race Report: Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon

  1. Great job! Looks like a nice fast course. What's the weather like down there this time of year? Cool enough for someone from the coast to do well? I'm in Humboldt and don't do heat.

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  2. The weather can be all over the board this time of year. 2 weeks ago it was 90 degrees during a race. This past weekend it was cooler but with wind. Yeah you don't want to come down for late spring or summer races then if you do not do heat.

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