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This is a trail race on the Leelanau Peninsula about 20mi north of Traverse City, MI. It is run through 4 vineyards and some orchards and participants can choose from a 7 mile run, 5K run or 5K walk. <a href="http://www.lpwines.com" target="_blank">www.lpwines.com</a><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Harvest Stompede RR</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">After a long drive up North, DH and I arrived in Traverse City where the packet pickup and reception were located. The “reception” wasn’t as organized as last year—no food buffet or wine, but they had our race packets and t-shirts, so that’s what counts! They also had an elevation chart of the 2 race courses this year and the hills were impressive! I remember the 5k course being very hilly last year and seeing the 7mi course on an elevation map confirmed that it would be just as challenging. We hoped to take a copy of the map with us, but they only had one! I’ll have to email the RD and see if he can get one to me…</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Anyway, we went out to dinner and then headed to the hotel for the night. DH watched a movie while I got my stuff ready for the morning and then went to bed. There was no internet access up there, so I was anxious about the weather all night….Friday night had 30-50mph winds and rain, but the radio station didn’t indicate how long that was going to last. Getting to sleep was hard, but I slept soundly until the alarm woke me at 7am. I was happy to see that it wasn’t raining and the winds had died down to 10-20mph—I can handle that! I got ready quickly and then waited for DH to get organized. We headed out later than I had wanted, but earlier than DH was planning—compromise!! LOL</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">We arrived at the vineyard with about 20 minutes to race time. The line for the portajohns was surprisingly small! DH grabbed some coffee while I ran a few lengths of the vines to warm up. We were waiting for some kind of announcements like last year, but no one was doing that this time—again, not as organized as last year. The crowd started to move to the start line, so we followed. There were some brief announcements about the course (follow the orange tape and you won’t get lost…if you do get lost, there’s water within 8 miles in every direction..hahaha <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Rolling Eyes"> ) It was also pointed out that this is a true trail race. They went through the vineyard and orchards with a giant lawn mower—these are not regular trails, so we were to watch for roots, rocks and some heavily sloped surfaces. Then Tony Ciccone of Ciccone Vineyards (and Madonna’s father) started us off! DH was gone immediately. What a jerk. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"></span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">The first 1.5 miles is totally hill. You are either going up or down. We are also running with the 5Ker’s and the 5K walkers. DH and I started up toward the front so we didn’t have to wade through as many walkers this year—that worked marvelously. I took just a moment at the top of the second hill to look out at the beauty of this area. The leaves had just started to change color and it was a beautiful sunny morning with perfect temps for running~58*. I love this race! The first mile marker came up faster than I was expecting….10:25. Not fast for most of you, but that was a great first mile for me on a hilly trail! Just past the first mile the 7milers split off from the 5K runners and we were rewarded with our first length of flat ground! It didn’t last long, but it was fabulous! Because we were running around an open field, I could see that there were plenty of runners behind me still. (I was so afraid I would be last!!)</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">I stopped at the first water station around mile 2.5 to retie my shoes—my feet were sliding around in the shoes on the really steep slopes! I didn’t see mile marker 2, but hit 3 miles at 31 minutes. Mile 3 starts in an apple orchard and then goes up, up, up to the next vineyard—Black Star Farms. We started at the very top of the hill and ran up and down the rows of vines covered in white netting. It was beautiful! One row would be downhill and then the next would be back up the hill. Ugh. The hills were taking a toll on my legs and the slope we were on made the footing a challenge. After about 5 or 6 rows of vines, we ran down a steep hill to FLAT ground again and another water stop! The flat didn’t last long and I knew from the elevation chart the night before that mile 4 would be entirely uphill and very steep.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">up and down the vines at Black Star Farms:</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><img alt="" src="http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g150/jeans541/IMG_1344.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">coming down the hill from the vines:</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><img alt="" src="http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g150/jeans541/IMG_1354.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">Black Star Farms overview:</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><img alt="" src="http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g150/jeans541/IMG_1350.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">We started mile 4 entering a wooded lot and ran along a dirt road, which was soft and sandy in many spots. I started to feel dizzy here, so I backed off a bit and let the gal I had been following get ahead. We all alternated running with walking now. The dirt road became more of a sand dune as we headed up and my quads were burning! Just as it seemed the hill would never end, we came to a clearing and could see the runners ahead of us heading up another hill (I could see DH was about 2 minutes ahead of me)…..but first, we got to go down! Ahhhhhh! Another water stop was waiting for us at the bottom. I didn’t stay long—I had hopes of catching DH (never happened, but I could dream!), so I took off up the next hill. Here there was a sign posted that read “Look” with an arrow. I was almost to the highest point of the course and could see all the way to the lake. I wish I had a camera with me—this view was worth the aches in my legs!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">I had a DH to catch, so I didn’t linger long. The last 2 miles were what they called “rolling hills”. Lies! LOL We actually made a big loop and were back to the beginning of the out course which was either up a hill or down a hill. I hit mile 5 at 54 minutes, but don’t remember looking at my watch at 6—the mile marker there was on a sandy up hill climb, so I was just concerned with not falling over dead at that point!!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">There were a lot of runners walking on the last mile (even on the brief down hills), which made it very hard for me to keep going. It was soooo tempting to just stop running. I even yelled at one guy for stopping because I had been trying to catch up to him—now who was I going to chase down?? LOL He and I had been joking around earlier, so I wasn’t just yelling at a random person. At least I think he knew I was kidding???</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Finally, I recognized the very last hill from last year’s 5K. I didn’t have much left, but I was determined to finish strong. It was straight downhill to the mats and I passed a couple people who were apparently more concerned than I was about losing it and doing a face-plant at the bottom of the hill. Luckily, my legs kept going as fast as gravity pulled my body down the hill. Success!! Chip time: 1:14:56 and 14th in my age group.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I did not stomp the grapes again this year. (there’s a tub of grapes at the finish line that you can stomp) I like my shoes. They cost a lot of money.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">The race was fabulous. The organization of the pre-race stuff and the post-race awards was not as good as last year, but it wasn’t poorly done—just less “fancy”. I would have liked to see an awards ceremony of some kind—just to congratulate the winners. Ah well. I quickly forgot about that as we headed to our first winery tour! LOL</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">The rest of the weekend was spent tasting wines and being fed at each of the 13 wineries who sponsored the race. Each pairs a gourmet food of some kind with a wine they make—YUM! We drank a lot of wine, ate a lot of food and talked to some very cool people. I cannot wait to do this again next year!!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">one last shot--this is a beautiful winery called Willow Vineyards and you can see the water beyond the vines from their back patio.</span></span><br><img alt="" src="http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g150/jeans541/IMG_1357.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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Jeans - great race report. Looks and sounds like you did some serious hills there. Good job!!! Sounds like your pace quickened toward the end too. Nice. But where are the pics of you>??
 

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What a great rr! I love the pictures. It sounds like it was a challenging course. You did a great job!!!
 

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Great job, Jeans!! Sounds like a fun race and the winery tours and food after are just icing on the cake! thanks for sharing your race with us!
 
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