It was Ferrell's Birthday, and this year, it was on a race day. Dave D and I helped him celebrate with a special half marathon in wine country, put on by Destination Races, and including wine-tasting, and plenty o' pasta at Mary's Pizza in Santa Rosa for dinner before the big day. We loaded up the vehicle and decided to head up Hwy 1 to go the scenic route.

Pigeon Pt Lighthouse, up ahead

After forever in traffic, we arrive north of Santa Rosa where a winery is hosting the sign-in. Dave and I check out the course map...

... while Ferrell gets his race packet

A Ferrell Birthday is certainly worth some free gourmet jerkey samples. Protein for the long race

Then a few miles back down Hwy 101 to Santa Rosa and our motel

For dinner, Dave suggested Mary's, which is where we've had dinner before at Vineman triathlon trips, and they've got great pizza. Sounded good to all.

Dave brought along his pumpkin-colored racing shoes for this Holloween race

More. More orange needed...

Slim pickings the night before Holloween. Dave and Rick settle for these stockings. Totally too big for arm warmers, which will be mission. The check-out lady was incredibly nice about pulling out the needle and thread to try and salvage the situation.

So there it is - the morning's wardrobe set out for birthday boy Ferrell.

Morning rituals - my stork routine, to stretch out my hip flexors, psoas.

Pre-dawn walk from the parking area to the starting area at the winery

I went with the standard attire

What's Rick thinking? Maybe... "darn, why didn't I go with the catholic school-girl look?...

... like that guy!"

A couple miles into the race, the sun came up.

After crossing the ridge and getting down into the Russian River valley, there were endless vineyards in rolling countryside

Rising back out, going over that ridge line again, into the valley with Hwy 101. I chatted with a lady who had been all over the world doing half's, from mile 10 to 12. Left psoas inflammation slowed me to a walk about this time.

Finish line in sight

3:08:02 for me - it was not a big race for me, and I decided not to push my pain limits this time. Rick and Dave finished over an hour ago, but were enjoying the finishline festivities so no worries for me to hurry up.

Dave's in great running shape, ran with Rick most of the way, and then took off ahead in the last mile or two. Like me, he didn't register; just a fun celebration adventure for Ferrell


...Nice legs under that skirt - schoolgirl man wins his age group

Hardware time! Rick came in at 1:39:45, an outstanding half marathon time on any course, especially a hilly one like this.

Good enough for first place!

Congratulations! A nice birthday present you gave yourself

smiles all around

Some friendly outgoing fellow runners met on the walk back to where we'd parked

hearty eating is de rigor after a race. Chipotle - why not? Well, it was just a few days later that all the sickness scandals hit the news.

But our iron stomachs seem to have survived our lunch, and it was tasty too

Here's the official results page . Great weekend with good friends. We'll look for another birthday half marathon to celebrate in '16.