On Friday, my husband picked me up after my last class so that we could beat the traffic to the Cape. We stopped for a quick lunch and arrived easily in North Falmouth just after 3:30. The Sea Crest Beach Resort, the host hotel and location for all of the weekend race events, was gorgeous. We took a walk around after checking in to get a peak at the pool, patio, beach access, restaurant, and courtyard.
After touring the resort, we headed to ZOOMA Marketplace to pick up my race packet and check out the vendor booths. Similar to the Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon, this was a small expo, but the BIG difference was the interactions. Tricia, ZOOMA's social media director, immediately greeted me and helped me get checked in. Then I met Dimity of Another Mother Runner, and immediately loved her positive energy. While talking to Dimity I also met Heather, who has read my blog at least once (thanks Heather), and lives in the town next to me!
After making a couple of purchases we made our way to sit in on the presentation by the team behind Another Mother Runner, but not before meeting Brae, one of the founders of the ZOOMA Women's Race Series. Sarah and Dimity shared tips on preparing for your race, how to get the best race photo, and recovery. Then Brae walked us through the course and pointed out some changes. Runners stood or sat comfortably on the floor during this cozy and intimate chat.
We made our way to dinner at Red's located right inside the resort after a quick room change because of a small problem (great customer service by the resort staff!). We started with the yummy Local and Imported Artisanal Cheeses spread. I ordered the delicious carb-loading Brick Oven Pizza and my husband chose the huge Big Red burger. The three season dining porch gave us great views of the approaching sunset over Old Silver Beach on Buzzards Bay and was perfectly comfy.
The Mocktail Party sponsored by Hint Water was set up on the Sunset Pool Deck overlooking Old Silver Beach and we met up with the other Ambassadors on the big blue lounging chairs. I got to meet Felice, Michelle, and Bethany for the first time IRL and see Nancy who I met at the Boston Saucony Party back in April. We had a great time chatting about our families, running, and packing tips. We also had a chance to meet Brooke, the other founder of ZOOMA.
Race morning arrived, but there was no stress since this race started literally steps from the resort entrance. Thanks to my husband for remembering to bring our toaster from home, I was able to have my normal pre-race breakfast of PB&J toast with a cup of coffee. On our way to the start, we ran into Felice in the elevator and then I spotted Sandra, another NH runner, who I have been trying to meet IRL but we've kept missing each other. Outside the organizers had music playing and were getting runners pumped up for the start.
Right on time, the race began. ZOOMA worked hard on the course design to have the start and finish right at the resort doors, which meant some normally not-so-runner-friendly maneuvers, but it was nice knowing these in advance and the reasons behind the choices. We turned left out of the resort for a quick 1.5 mile out and back. The nice thing about this is that we got to run past the resort and see our family and friends again. My husband took this video of me running by him:
My goal for this half was to finish in 2:10. My legs were still feeling the miles from last weekend and so was my sleep-deprived body. I read somewhere that it takes about 8 days to fully recover from RTB. Well, here I was on day 8 running a half marathon!
I made a rest room stop at about mile 3 and felt pretty good until the hills came. My legs were just not in the mood for hills. I ran again with the Rock My Run playlists, and it helped a little to keep my mind off the climbs. I got a couple of bursts of energy from runner Joan, an Ohio girl from DC who ran with me for a couple of miles, and Nancy, who was working the ZOOMA Ambassador Aide Station around mile 10.5.
When we turned the corner to head back up Quaker Road my gas tank was near empty. All week I'd been struggling with a lack of appetite and I think it caught up to me on this run. I took a walk break and caught this pretty picture of Buzzards Bay.
The rest of the race was a mixture of feeling like crap and being determined to finish with my head up. One final mental zapper was a short jaunt we had to take on a side street just after mile 12...but I knew that this was one of the course adjustments to allow for an awesome finish in front of the resort. As I neared the finish, I was giving all that I had left in me when I saw Dimity cheering. Then I heard the announcer say my name and saw my husband waiting. Somehow I pulled out a 2:08 finish according to my Nike+ GPS (my official ZOOMA race time said 2:10?).
I had some water, a banana, and some Muscle Milk and then we walked to the Sunset Courtyard to enjoy the ZOOMA After-Race Party & Expo. ZOOMA thought of everything: massages, chiropractic adjustments, foam rollers, instant results look-up, food, wine and live music by Mighty Groove.
|Photos from ZOOMA Facebook Page|
It wasn't until we got home, that I recognized some of the notable differences this race offers. First the finisher's medal. It's not one that your going to hang on your display rack and forget about. This one is going to hang from your neck so you can show it off all day long!
Second the finisher's video on the ZOOMA results page. Most of us are lucky to even get a race photo of ourselves, let alone a finish line photo. ZOOMA goes above and beyond by making the video available the same day. (Here's a iPhone recording of mine)
This running adventure ranks on the top of my favorite's list. If you have the chance to run a ZOOMA event, do it. You will have a blast. The ZOOMA ladies will make sure of it!
Have you run a ZOOMA yet? What did you think?
Are you planning to run a ZOOMA event? Which one?