"In the Heart of Northern Californian Wine Country" Napa by mydreamquest

Napa Travel Guide: 441 reviews and 1,237 photos

Home of the Napa Valley Marathon

Northern California is among the most populous areas in the world when it comes to runners. There is a big health craze and one of the highlights of running events is the Napa Valley Marathon which begins in Calistoga and ends at Vintage High School.

Last March 5, 2006, I ran my first marathon ever, the Napa Valley Marathon. If there is a painful way of appreciating the natural beauty of the Napa Valley Vineyards, running for over 4 hours in 45 degree Fahrenheit windy, rainy weather is the way to go.

I ran this with lower back pains, after only 13 weeks of training, weighing over 210 pounds, and after not training for 2 weeks prior to the marathon because of the lower back pains (diagnosed by my doctor,who recommended I not run the marathon).

Well, I finished it at a very slow 4 hours 41 minutes and 15 seconds. You really experience the Napa Valley and roll up and down hills. The night prior there was a marathon runners "pasta fest" and an expo where you could purchase various runner supplies.

If you are a runner, i cannot suggest a friendlier group of volunteers and marathon to run. I was an experience that one never forgets. If you can, read Richard Benyo's book on training for a Marathon. Great stuff that got me through some of the toughest miles.

When you run a marathon, you eventually "hit the wall" which basically means that the run slows down and you feel as if you will never get to the finish line. Normally, it occurs between miles 18 and 20. Because I lost 3 weeks of training, I hit the wall at mile 12!!!! I wasn't even at the half way point! All you can do is fight thru the distractions. In my case it was the freezing cold weather, the endless uphills (and this is supposed to be a run that gradually declines over 3,000 feet!!! The downhills seemed like uphills), sudden hunger cravings, and knee and back pains.

It was only when I was at mile 25 that I actually thought I would finish the race. I was glad to be done with this race. When you finish running a marathon, the natural thought is: "I'll never do that again."

Then you wake up the next morning thinking, "ok, let's run two miles just to see if everything's functioning properly."

If you are a runner and love food and wine, register for the Napa Valley Marathon. Book for a Bed and Breakfast at least 6 months in advance, arrive on a Friday, and, stay until Thursday. That way, you can visit the various wineries and great restaurants that Napa has to offer.

Do not drive to Napa from San Francisco after 4pm. It will take you up to 2 hours to get there with the end of work day traffic. Leave for Napa at 10am on a week day when Bay Area native is working or studying.

Get there at noon and enjoy a wine tour of Copia and then just hop from winery to winery.

There are two major wine regions that are next to each other: Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. You will have plenty of places to hang out day or night.

The Silverado Trail

Living only 30 minutes from Napa, I've never looked into the history that has turned this quiet region into a Wine Region gold mine, like Argentina's Mendoza or Italy's Tuscany. I will say that if you look information on the Silverado Trail, which is the primary path of the Napa Valley Marathon, you should find some fascinating information.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wine, Great Marathon, Friendly People, Quiet, Peaceful
  • Cons:Expensive Lodging
  • In a nutshell:A Beautiful Pastoral Wine Region Away from the Traffic and Noise of Urban Life
  • Last visit to Napa: Mar 2006
  • Intro Updated Apr 21, 2006
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  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2006 at 8:17 PM

    Try a little olive oil befor you eat rich foods and drink wines. Seems to help a little. Your photo of the Foie Gras looks a lot like rack of lamb. Enjoyed reading about Julia's Kitchen.

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