Cuvaison Winery: Runners lined up Here for the Start...
This week's blog is about fitness and food on a quick weekend trip to Napa for the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon which started at the Cuvaison Winery in Napa and ended Sonoma's town square. Although the goal was to keep it healthy and a good competitive run, equally important is having fun in the run and in the food too. So what were some takeaways?
Cuivaison Winery Start
FITNESS TAKEAWAYS FIRST: 1) Stretch People! I haven't been stretching as I usually do so the day before on Saturday I stretched too aggressively and pulled a lower back muscle for the first time in my life. I should have been stretching regularly. Sunday morning I wasn't sure if I could even run but I fueled properly in the morning, had my electrolyte drink (Heed with Endurolytes added) and just thought to "relax" as I ran. Came in #108 out of 2401 runners so better than expected but the cramp was there in the background. Afterwords, I had some recovery drink with protein and carbs, and a drink with some added electrolytes to avoid cramping. Felt great.
Near the Finish ...Fuel Right to Finish Strong
2) Proper fueling. As mentioned above I had the right electrolytes to drink with some simple but slightly longer-chain maltodextrin carbs in my energy drink for even energy. And fueled properly afterwords and during race. But the night before for the first time I did not eat enough (I'll talk great food in a minute). Had some pasta but not enough protein and could feel that I didn't have all my normal energy/speed.
FOOD AND WINE TAKEAWAYS NEXT: 3) Try some new things along the way! The Saturday afternoon before we stopped at Cornerstone Sonoma and had a couple bites: a small simple Margherita pizza, an Argentina empanada from the Alsina Station Grill, and on way to our hotel in Napa stopped off for a quick wine tasting in the Beringer Private Reserve Tasting Room in the Rhine House where we had two of their favorites: Bancroft Ranch Howell Mountain Merlot and their top-of-the-line Private Reserve Cabernet. But we also had for the first time two of their small lot wines you can only get at the winery: a Steinhaurer Vineyard Cab and their 2007 St. Helena Home Vineyard Cab. Bancroft Ranch is still one of my favorites but the Steinhauer was different and great. Good to start mixing it up with a little wine and some food. And even with a race coming up we probably didn't have more than a large glass in total each - so had fun but kept it healthy. Good balance.
Outside at Bistro Don Giovanni...talk about different!
4) Try some new things at dinner...For dinner we avoided some of my favorite super-high-end restaurants since when I go to those I like to take a more "no limits" approach and eat and have a bit extra wine (not good for a race!) but still went to one of my favorite more everyday type very good restaurants: Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa. Had a nice Franciscan Magnificat to start it off, a simple salad with a moscatel vinaigrette, lean beef carpaccio with lots of parmesan regianno, and just some great healthy Puglia-style bread. As they had just updated their menu, for a main course I tried a totally new Lemon Cream Ravioli that had some pine nuts that were smoked over a fire and the taste was awesome. From a race perspective, I often over eat the night before a race so this time held off on more protein and the pasta dish was a small portion. Should have had a bit more protein and pasta but the food was perfect.
Final thoughts? Well ...wish we had more time as it would have been great to stay on Sunday and spend time wine tasting and eating some more...but we all live lives that are too busy and I wanted to drive home to see the USA Women's Soccer Final. So it was too fast of a trip: in on Saturday and out Sunday morning....Race was fun and the scenery was beautiful. And my last thought is as we race through everything we do (sorry bad pun): don't forget to enjoy the scenery.