The Wine Run - T-Shirt


10 down 42 to go.

We went camping! The only other time I did anything resembling camping was over 20 years ago, on a geology field trip to the Petrified Forest in Arizona. I had only a sleeping bag and didn’t sleep at all. So I was dubious when Tim said that camping would be fun. And he was right – it was fun. We didn’t exactly rough it. We brought our memory foam mattress and put it on top of yoga mats in out tent. We also brought every blanket we own. The race started at Wooldridge Creek Winery and that is where we camped. The winery stayed open late for the race so I had a glass of wine before turning in. I recommend camping next to a winery. The cool air felt good and the stars were amazing.


Us with the tent at Wooldridge Creek Winery

Wow, I don’t hate camping


This race had the best swag bag yet. Besides the normal bars, gels, chaptstick, and cupons it has are sleeves, socks and wine with a glass to take home.



I have to admit that when we signed up for this race in July, I thought I would be in better shape than I am by now. It’s run in the mountains and has a lot of climbing. This is the race I most feared. Usually, when I stress out about stuff, reality turns out to be kinder than my imagination. Not this time. This race destroyed me.


The Wine Run - Course Profile

How hard could it be


I went into this race feeling both tired and sick. I had been fighting a cold or flu all week so my timing could not have been worse. I felt off from the beginning. My legs felt heavy and I couldn’t get a deep enough breath. I knew I was in trouble when my legs felt dead before I had done any climbing. The race started at the winery and went through rows of grapes. We started out in the back behind 2 adorable fairies. The run had an enchanted forest theme and a number of people were in costume, mostly as fairies or gnomes. I ended up going back and forth with these 2 for a good part of the race. They were really nice.


Enchanted Fairies


Because we were camping and because the race started at 11am instead of early morning, our race routine was thrown off. We forgot to take B-5 (my secret weapon) and we even forgot to drink coffee! I was feeling so off that I had to walk within the first mile, before the terrain even got hard. Tim knew I wasn’t feeling well and was going to run with me but luckily I was able to convince him to run his own race. I’m glad he did for a couple of reasons. First of all, if he had stayed with me I would have been worried that I was slowing him down. Also, I would have been worried about him worrying about me, which I didn’t have the energy to do. And most all, if Tim had run with me I probably would have spent the whole run complaining. I’m not one to suffer in silence.

Timothy Olsen is my favorite male ultrarunner. He is one of the race directors of this race. Here he is at the transition from grape fields to a road leading to the trails. I think he rivals Johnny Depp for the best Mad Hatter.


Tim Olsen - The Mad Hatter


I was walk/running my way up that crazy mountain when I got a headache that reminded me that I hadn’t had any coffee that morning. I have a large cup or 2 of coffee every morning. I remembered reading that some of the aid stations had coffee. At the next aid station I asked about coffee. Turns out the aid station before and after that one had coffee. I must have looked pretty disappointed because one of the volunteers offered me some of his coffee. I tried to refuse because it seemed rude to drink someones personal coffee but he insisted and poured half of his coffee in a paper cup and handed it to me. I was so grateful – who forgets to drink coffee? I wish I could remember his name to thank him. I guess I will just think of him as the angel of caffeine. At that point I was having trouble breathing because both damp and elevation are asthma triggers for me. I was also feverish, nauseous, exhausted, and headachey (but no chafing). That half a cup of coffee helped bring me back to life.


Bear Crossing

Are you sure this is a safe place to run?


I walked all of the uphills and much of the flats. The aid stations were full of yummy looking food but I was so nauseous that I didn’t try anything except a tiny piece of raw chocolate (bad idea) and some more coffee (good idea). I did not even partake of the wine at the last aid station. I learned my lesson last week. Don’t drink and run is now as much a rule with me as don’t drink and drive. I had my first real asthma attack during this race and I had to sit down until my breath smoothed out. While I was sitting down sucking on my inhaler all 5 people who were behind me passed me. Luckily, it was a small race, 73 total, so only a few people looped me. On the last loop me and one other guy were fighting it out for last. Considering I practically stopped and took a nap during my asthma attack, he must have been having a really bad day. I finally passed him on a downhill and stayed ahead. Even during the hardest sections of the trail some part of me was loving the whole sufferfest aspect of it. I love trail running. I felt like the trees were on my side and trying to give me energy. The mantra, “no place I’d rather be”, kept repeating in my mind. Even though my legs felt like jello around mile 11 there was a nice downhill so I ran. Much to my surprise I saw the fairy friends in front of me. I thought they were long gone. I felt guilty passing them in the last mile but I wasn’t going to let 2 girls in full costume beat me if I could help it.

As I came through the finish line the announcer said something like, “Hey, where did you come from? Did you get lost?” I’m sure he thought he was being funny but I thought it was mean. I hope he didn’t say anything to hurt the feelings of the 3 people who came in after me. I can’t imagine what would make him think that making fun of runners for being slow was a good idea. That really was the only sour note in the whole race. I probably need to stop being so sensitive.

After the race we had tacos, a huge glass of wine and listened to the band. Life is good.


I think this counts as two glasses of wine

I think this counts as two glasses of wine


Even though I felt like an idiot for asking I had to get a picture with Timothy Olsen. He was very nice about it. You can tell I waited until the last moment because he definitely has the Mad Hatter after party look.


Fans with Tim Olsen


  • They could have had a few more port-o-pots


  • Great swag bag that included socks, arm warmers, and a wine glass to take home
  • Wonderful volunteers – Special thanks to the man who shared his coffee with me
  • Well organized
  • Well marked course
  • Fun event with costumes, food, wine, music, and special aid station treats
  • Beautiful course – vineyards then running through the forest
  • Great after party
  • Wine

Although I had a hard run and Tim’s a-fib made a reappearance we both loved this race. This is not a race I would recommend for a beginning runner. The climbs were brutal and the course was a little technical in parts. If you are a trail runner who enjoys a challenge this is the race for you. In spite of being hard the trail is runable. This race has a fun vibe and a great after party. Although I was joking when I wrote it, me and Tim have been talking about redoing our top 10 races. So far our list is Newport and this race. I really want to do this race when I am feeling better.

Luckily our next race is on a Sunday so we have time to recover. Both of us were still sore as I began to write this on Wednesday, a full 3 days after the run. As usual, Tim is recovering faster than me.


  1. You two continue to amaze and inspire me. What a difficult run this was for both of you! I love that it was at a winery – and I did especially love the fairies and the Mad Hatter. Must make it more interesting to be running with the fairies! And wine! Hey.

    I aspire to having the stick-to-it-tiveness (??) of you two, running a race every weekend. I’ll bet in your secret mind, there are times you are convinced you are insane to do this! But keep it up – you have no idea what an inspiration you are – to me personally, and I’m sure to many, many others. Continuing on even when you’re not feeling well and having an asthma attack on top of it – well, that’s just pure determination. I suppose by now you and the others reading this blog are getting tired of my cheerleader attitude, but I just am in awe of you two. So, I’ll keep saying it. And, please – keep running the races. I don’t know where or when the last race is, but I sure would love to be there at the finish line to give you two wonderful people at huge hug (and perhaps a rather expensive bottle of wine?)……..Love that you post photos. It makes me feel like I was there with you.

    • I’m not getting tired of what you call your cheerleader attitude I appreciate it. Thanks for leaving a comment. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is reading my weekly rumblings. Super congrats on hitting your weight loss goal! I’m so proud of you and will call soon

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