Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zooma 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Here I am. Finally, back to blogging! If you're still checking back here, thank you for your patience!

I thought I'd start with a race report. It's been over 3 weeks since the race, but since I like to have a race report from every race (mainly for my records), I figured this would be the best way to ease back into the blogging world.
First, let me tell you that I was really looking forward to this mini-girl's weekend at the Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop. The best part of this race for me last year was relaxing at the resort afterwards - imagine this...relaxing on an inner tube on the "lazy river" sipping on a margarita....see? Sounds nice, right? But, before that part of the trip started, there was this one little thing we had to do. Yeah, that pesky 1/2 marathon. For some reason, I was just not wanting to run those 13.1 miles.

Here's the entrance to the resort. On the long winding road from the highway to the actual resort, there are tons of steep hills. At one point, my friend Erica and I were raising our hands as if we were riding on a roller coaster. Yeah, it's THAT frickin hilly!

We arrived at the resort a little after lunchtime. Fortunately, our room was ready and we settled in. We laughed about how each of us brought enough stuff for a week-long trip...clothes, running gear, food (the most important stuff), gatorade, plus make-up, hair dryers and all that stuff.
Here's a pic of our room...

The resort grounds are beautiful...I'm sure they're even prettier when everything is blooming!

The temps were in the high 60's/low 70's, so we had lunch on the patio. It was a gorgeous, sunny day! Then, we headed to the Expo, which was small, but had some great vendors...and free wine (free wine is good, right?). Zooma is an all-women's race, so there were tons of groups of women everywhere. It made for a fun vibe around the resort. Later, that night we had smores by the campfire...do smores qualify as carb loading???

After some gossiping and giggling, we finally decided to get to sleep. Of course, before we knew it, it was time get wake up and get a move on. Here we are ready to race. Well, sort of...I was still feeling that "I don't wanna run" mojo...

Much to our surprise, it was overcast and humid...that would actually be a blessing. We sang the anthem and were off. I knew from experience that the first 3 - 3 1/2 miles were REALLY hilly, so I was prepared for that. And last year, the route was an out and back, so there were some less scary hills in the middle and then you had to face the REALLY hilly area again before the finish. Mentally I was prepared for that, but the negative mojo was still with me for the first few miles. I really, really wanted to stop and return to the resort to relax in the spa all morning. Really! But luckily, I caught up with Katie and I knew that I would keep going. We left the resort grounds and instead of turning right like we did last year, we turned right....oh crap, I knew where we were heading...remember that hilly entrance? Yep, we were running that shiat.
On the upside, we did get to see some Texas Bluebonnets along the route. Well, that and cows...lots and lots of cows!

A couple of the hills were so ridiculously steep that Katie and I actually laughed about them. Unlike last year, we didn't walk up...we charged up them, determined to kick their butt and take names! We actually walked to eat our bee stingers during a downhill!

I wish I could say the miles just flew by, and for the most part they did...until we made it to mile 10. Mile 10 was back where we started the race. This was mile 13 last year, so we wondered where in the world we were headed. Turns out, the race directors decided to have us run the sidewalks of the golf course. To me, this was the toughest part of the race mentally. The sidewalks would wind their way back and forth, back and forth, over and over...you could see people heading toward the finish, but the distance was deceiving because of all the winding around. We felt like ants in an ant farm and it sucked. Finally, after all that winding, we could see that we really were finally near the finish line. We kicked it up a notch or two and headed it. It felt great to be done!

Here we are after the race...yes, my face is as red as my shirt!

After the race, we picked up our finisher's necklaces, grabbed our "light breakfast" and cupcake, and headed back to our room to freshen up. We were concerned that we wouldn't be able to enjoy the pool and lazy river, because it was still overcast and windy. However, by the time we made it back outside, the skies were clearing, hooray! We headed over to the spa, where we relaxed in the hot tub and had a few snack. Next, it was lazy river time!

Overall, I am so glad I didn't go back to the resort at mile 3 and relax in the spa. I felt like I earned that lazy river time (and the burger I had for lunch)! It was a great experience. I wasn't looking for a PR at Zooma - no way, no how on THAT course, but I did manage to PR the race on a course that IMO was more difficult than last year. My final time - 2:26...a 12 minute PR over last year. Like I said, not a PR, but not too shabby either!