Monday, October 22, 2012

Zooma Half Marathon Race Recap

Over the weekend, I drove up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin with some fellow Chicago area running bloggers for a weekend full of fun, games, food, and running (of course). The drive up on Friday took longer than expected but we were able to make it to the expo on time (after briefly stopping at the rental abode).
En route with Maggie (left) and Kelly (middle)
The expo had some vendors but nothing major (I think I'm spoiled with the expos in Chicago).

After picking up our messenger bag packets, we headed to a different conference room and caught the end of a presentation on Trek Bikes. To be honest, since I don't own a bike and don't have much interest on picking up cycling, I was more interested in the food selection available for snacking.

After the presentation (and snagging some free Sock Guy socks that I'm excited to try), we headed back to our house to start prepping dinner. We wanted to keep it simple so we cooked up some runaroni pasta and took some horrible food photos. (More to come on that later.)

Back L to R: Maggie, Bobbi, Kelly, Sierra, Emily, Jenny (?), Kayla
Middle L to R: Amy, me, Jackie, Marcia, Katie
Front: Kim, Kayla, Erin

Race day morning, we snapped a quick group shot before heading to the finish line where there were shuttles to take us to the start. (The race was point-to-point.) I feel this was pretty efficient way to start the race. Sara Hall gave some words of encouragement before we were on our way. I even ran into Jess who was running the Half Marathon as a training run for her marathon later this year. Erin and I started the race together with the 2:10 pace group. After a few miles and some ridiculous hills, we knew we were in for an interesting race. We got the chance to run along the lake and it was absolutely beautiful. It was hard to keep your eyes on the road with such beautiful scenery.
Thanks for letting me steal your photo, Amy

As we continued on, we would periodically pick up the pace, walk a few steps through the water stops and continue on our way. At the half way point, I turned to Erin and asked "I wonder if the best or the worst is behind us?" The hills seemed never-ending, but we tackled each one without walking and I felt great throughout the race. And then, we reached about the 10 mile marker and we saw the finish line party. We just had a 5k left and we made a right turn for the only "out and back" part of the course. Well, little did we know that this would by far be the worst part of the race. The elevation map gives you some detail, but the hill we had to climb up was steep and it Just. Kept. Going...

You thought it was over and then PSYCHEEEEE... there was more! It was an evil, evil trick to have at the end of the race! When the turnaround point came, all I could think about was going down the giant hill (where I was nervous I would fall as gravity kept me moving pretty quick). There were a few more teaser uphills as we made our way down, but we knew the worst was behind us. I shouted to Erin that we could make it under 2:05! She said that she'll meet me at the finish line as I sprinted off. I heard the cheers of some of my fellow blogger friends as I zoomed to the finish line as fast as I could go.

I happily finished in 2:02:34. They even announced my name as I was crossing the finish line! I knew I wouldn't PR during this race given the amount of speedwork completed (not much) and my fitness level hasn't been what I'd like given my study schedule... but I'm still REALLY happy with this time. I still had plenty of gas in the tank at the end and this was one hell of a hilly course. I just know I have a 1:4x time in these legs... I'm looking forward to getting there in January! :)

After I finished, I HAD to get a photo with Sara Hall. She was so sweet and nice and she even responded to my tweet (that makes me famous now, right??) Sara's mom crossed the finish line soon after this photo was taken. :)

Overall, here are some of my pros and cons about this race
Beautiful scenery course
Well-stocked aid stations (complete with adorable little girl scouts, happily helping out)
Enjoyed the out and back portion, just wish it wasn't on a ginormous hill

Post-race food (I think it was a good idea poorly executed. The wraps were soggy and I just kind of wanted some pretzels and a bagel.)
Course was on the side of the road, seemed dangerous as cars were still driving by
Seeing the finish line and then having to do the most challenging part of the course

I think my pros and cons mirror some of the other folks' thoughts as well. I'm not yet sure how I feel about the necklace versus medal. I like the thought of being able to wear my race bling any day of the week, but I also kind of wish I would have gotten a medal.

Overall, I had a ton of fun at this race, but I think it was mainly due to the great company. If there wasn't a group of some of my favorite people from the internet to hang out with, I'm not sure if I would have had as much fun.
Who wouldn't want to hang out with these gals in a house for an entire weekend??

Will I do Zooma in 2013? TBD. Will I run another race with these fab ladies? Absolutely!


  1. Your pros and cons are really similar to mine. I feel kind of "meh" about the necklace, even though I'm wearing it now.

  2. I thought about wearing mine today too. I think tomorrow's outfit will revolve around it. haha!

  3. SO FUN hanging out with everyone! Loved it!

  4. You kicked butt on this tough course. You definitely have a 1:4x:xx in you! F^3?!?!??!?!?!

    What a fun weekend we all had. We have to do this again, whether it is this race or another. :)

    Sara Hall was so nice!!! :)

  5. Thanks Kim! Yes, I'm aiming for that time at the F^3!!! Are you running that race too?

    I had so much fun and I really hope we get the chance to do this again!! :)

  6. This weekend sounds SO FUN!!! I am so jealous. And congrats on a great race!

  7. Hmm, I wasn't planning on it. But I do love to run in the winter :)

  8. Awesome job on a tough course!!! I

  9. Yes, Kim, sign up for F^3!!!!!

  10. I thought about wearing mine today but it didn't work with the neckline of the dress I'm wearing.

  11. Thanks for being a great driver and a great roomie!

  12. It was such a great race! Can't wait for the next go-around!

  13. Great finish Kelly! Love the ZOOMA group shot of you all!

  14. Thanks for letting me hang with you for 13.025 miles! The evil hill was slightly less evil since I was tackling it with you. Wait, no. It was still evil.

  15. Everyone seems to be saying the same thing. And if I had gone for the 5K, in my current state of poor fitness/partial recovery, it looks like I might have died.....quite literally, on the side of the mountain/road. At least, Maggie might have come back for me after she finished?

    Great job!

    On the necklace, I love the idea of it vs a medal cuz my medals don't get the respect they deserve but I don't wear silver, ever. So I like the concept but would have given it to Aby.

  16. We were definitely a great running pair! We chicked a few dudes and still got a great time despite the course. I would rather not re-live the last 3.1 miles ever again. Those were AWFUL!!!

  17. Yeah, I had like 2 bites of the wrap and was done-zo.
    Also, I almost got hit by a car no less than 5 times.
    However, the course was very pretty. After being in the city so long, I can appreciate a nature run...

  18. Congratulations and way to push through what sounded like a torturously tough hill at Mile 11. You looked AWESOME out there!!!

    It was so great to finally meet you in person this past weekend! Can't wait for our next running blogger getaway!

  19. so sad it's all over.

  20. Congrats on a strong finish! Those hills sound like killers. What a great weekend to spend with all the cool bloggers :)

    I have no doubt you will kill your half in January!

  21. Soggy iceberg lettuce just doesn't do it for me...
    The cars were definitely dangerous!
    Loved how pretty all the trees and the lake were.

  22. Thanks so much for being there to volunteer. It was great!

    It was so nice to meet you too. Hope to see you again at the next big race! :)

  23. PretoriaRunningManOctober 23, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I can see why you were so looking forward to this race. You guys definitely had fun there. And the green compression socks are just classic.

  24. Haha, thanks. It was easy to spot those in our group with those socks! :)

  25. Irina @ Chocolatea TimeOctober 23, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Gosh that Mile 11...I keep hearing horrific things about it in everyone's recap! With that said, congratulations on rocking the race :)

  26. 2:02 is stellar on that hillacious course! It was so great to meet you and hangout, if only for a short time. Here's to more racing adventures!