Let me start by saying it doesn’t take much to convince me to do a weekend event that involves wine, running, wine, yoga, wine, avocado toast bar…you get the idea. However, after I spent the weekend with ASICS at their inaugural Vine, Body, Sole weekend in Napa Valley, I had fewer excuses not to return next year. Let me convince you to try it out in 2017:
There’s wine everywhere. Everything—from yoga, to the Want It More fitness challenge, to the parties, to the finish line, to the centerpieces, had wine tasting involved. And we aren’t talking the cheap stuff you buy on Friday night when you have no plans; these are the good grapes, straight from the partner wineries around the event venues.
There’s yoga…inside a wine cellar. When I stepped into the giant, beautiful venue for our morning yoga session, I was in complete awe and shock that this was real life. The giant yoga class was held at Charles Krug, the oldest winery in Napa Valley, and the grounds and recently renovated cellar were simply magical. Talk about a calming morning of gentle breezes and sweaty ASICS towels all around you.
The Want It More training challenge truly did leave you wanting more. Anna Frasier—aka the most hyper, energetic, ripped person on the planet—led a very active, very challenging “bootcamp” immediately following yoga. Think: giant concert stage with screens and a gorgeous open lawn for sweating it out with some of your best running buddies. She definitely worked us, and I admittedly threw in my towel early due to screaming hamstrings.
An avocado toast bar (with wine) was definitely a thing. And I shoveled three pieces of bread slathered in bacon and avocado into my mouth after those 2 hours of straight working out.
The “expo,” otherwise known as the “partner marketplace,” was located next to tasting rooms—duh! Go to the expo, drool over the event apparel, have some tastings. Upon arrival, you’re greeted with a pleasant patio setup with comfy lounge chairs, then you’re led inside to flip through all the adorable prints made specifically for this event. The casual, sophisticated vibe follows you into the shoe area, with a fireplace lighting up a display of shoes, corks and classy candles as wall decor.
Registration comes with shoes. Yes, you heard that right. Oh, and it also comes with the yoga and training challenge I mentioned, plus…
There’s yoga (again) and meditation in the evening before the event. Find your calm before the half marathon, stretch out with yoga, then have a glass of wine to cheers to a great race. (Or just drink the wine while yoga-ing.)
There is a reception dinner at Hudson House with more wine and fancy things. This year, the great Deena Kastor gave the keynote speech and filled everyone with inspiration to be better runners and humans. The dinner isn’t included with registration, but with the three-course meal, endless pours of, yes, wine and the company of some very fancy runners, it’s pretty worth the investment. Plus, did I mention the Hudson House was the start line for the race?
Of course, there’s a half marathon that runs through the gorgeous winding streets of wine country to experience. The inaugural year saw an intimate field of 350 runners, which allowed the race to stay casual and run along not-busy open roads and next to outstanding rows of grapes. The course was unbeatable, and course support wasn’t sparse either. As runners finished literally right next to the vines, Olympic 800-meter runner 6 cheered them on from the sidelines.
The finish village has, yes, a tasting room—plus a bottle of wine for each finisher. ASICS partnered with Destination Races, the race organizers behind the popular wine country half marathons, and with that came a bottle of your choice upon crossing the finish line. So what’s the tasting room for? To figure out which vino you want to take home, obviously.