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Name: merrymishaps (Lauren)
Home: Annapolis, MD, United States
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

zooma race report

Some of you may have seen my brief mention earlier this week about the Zooma Half Marathon I ran on Sunday. It's always fun to participate in a big race in my own hometown!

The weather wasn't cooperating with us on Sunday morning. It looked a little questionable when I got up, and I heard some thunder around 5:30 a.m. I was a bit worried, but hoped it would pass.

I've read a lot of people had trouble with traffic and parking. However, I don't live far from the stadium and could avoid most major roads.

I got there around 6:15, with more than enough time to hit the bathroom before the 7 am start. They had a row of port-o-pots (with quite a long line!), but they actually had the stadium bathrooms open. I'm sure most people didn't realize this -- I waltzed in with no line! (There was, however, a line as we got closer to the start.)

The thunderstorms seemed to have passed, but it was still raining as we gathered at the start line. Huge puddles had formed throughout the start chute, and runners tried to stick to the edges where it was a little better. I managed to make it across the starting mat without too much water damage!

The rain threw off my plan to meet up with my friends. We had a meeting place, but it wasn't sheltered. I wasn't able to find them, so I started on my own.

Within a mile, I caught up with one of my friends. She really should be faster than me, but she hadn't really trained well enough. We ran and chatted, and the rain stopped within a few miles. We stayed together for about seven miles, and we keep a good pace.

I started pulling ahead of her when she announced we were at the halfway point. I checked my watch -- 6.5 in about 1:06. It wasn't until then that I realized I had a chance to beat my 2:13:11 PR from 2005. I really wasn't expecting to do that well. Even without the rain, this was a tough course!

The first seven miles:

  1. 10:04
  2. 9:52
  3. 10:04
  4. 9:53
  5. 10:00
  6. 9:54
  7. 9:42
The turnaround point was around mile eight -- we had to make a U-turn on the trail and headed back. Since the trail is narrow, it got a little congested with runners going both ways, but it eventually thinned out. Around mile nine I walked through a water stop so that I could refill my water bottle and grab a few sips of Gatorade.

I was feeling good. Very good.
  1. 9:25
  2. 9:55
  3. 9:36
As I passed mile 10, I glanced at my watch. 1:39. (And actually, my Garmin hit mile 10 a little sooner, 1:38:27) Huh. My 10-mile race PR is 1:40:12.
  1. 9:16
  2. 9:03
  3. 9:28
Now, I just want to note that I NEVER run negative splits. So I really think all this speed work has helped me learn to run faster on tired legs!

Also, most of that last mile is an incline ... and I got a side stitch after mile 12. But I forced myself to keep moving!

At least the finish was downhill. My Garmin tells me I had a 7:51/mile pace going for the last .19! (I tracked a bit long, but it's not unusual to be a little off, especially on the shady trail. )

My chip time was 2:07:43. I would have been happy under 2:20, with the weather and this course. I'm still pretty ecstatic!

My Nike+/ipod thought I ran 13.48, but it's usually a little long. I've calibrated it, but it only seems accurate when I'm at my 5K pace. But still ... I've never had such a consistent line (even though we can see I did speed up!)

I started it with the clock start, but didn't actually move much for a minute or so -- which you can see in the beginning.

I had a great race ... but I probably won't do it again.

  • Close to home
  • Tech shirt
  • Race route I'm very familiar with
  • Box lunch (hummus and pitas, celery and carrots, and an apple)
  • Wine tasting (I think this one should count for more than one bullet point)
  • Finisher necklace instead of medal. So I can finally walk around wearing my race medal without looking like a dork.
  • Expensive. I paid $80 after applying a $10-off coupon.
  • No splits or clocks on the course (I don't really need it because of the Garmin, but it would have been nice)
  • Expo was really small, and not many more vendors were there for post-race shopping
  • Necklaces are kind of crappy
    When you are told you are getting "a custom-designed silver necklace handmade by women artisans in Guatemala" what would you expect?

    Well, this is what we got:

    zooma necklace
    And while not the greatest photos, yes, there are random black spots on the 'Zooma' side, and lines and scuffs on the 'Annapolis 05.31.09' side. Oh, and I exchanged my necklace at the finish, because the clasp fell off before I even put it on. The replacement chain wasn't much better, so I'm using another chain I had.

    Also, they had a 10K and a half marathon. But the same necklace for both. I would like some credit for picking the longer option!

    At least while wearing it, people can't really see its imperfections. But they also can't really see what it says at all! (I'll wear the 'Annapolis' side forward. I don't need to wear a boring logo.)

In the final race instructions they had this note:

Yumm! Nostalgia Cupcakes will offer complimentary celebration cupcakes for all ZOOMA finishers.

In the instruction sheet handed out at the expo/packet pickup, they changed that line to "mini cupcakes." OK, a little disappointing that we weren't going to get full-size cupcakes, but what are you going to do ...

But when we got done with our race, they were gone.

The race director gave this lame explanation on their blog:

Where were the cupcakes? Our poor, poor sweet cupcake vendor… Spent all weekend baking over 3,000 mini cupcakes and was overrun with eager children and husbands on race morning! Plenty of cupcakes were baked for all runners, but keeping hungry non-runner cupcake-lovers at bay was more difficult than anticipated.

Uh, we had a ticket on our bibs to claim our lunch box. Why not have another ticket, or put a mark on our race numbers, to make sure only finishers are getting cupcakes, and that finishers are only taking one?

I'm still mad about that one. I need a cupcake.


At 12:09 PM, June 04, 2009, Blogger Tess said...

Congrats on your great time! Sounds like a really fun race - I was reading your pros list wondering why you were saying you wouldn't do it again, and then I read about the lack of cupcakes. That would upset me too!

At 2:41 PM, June 04, 2009, Blogger RunningLaur said...

Congrats in the PR!

Sounds like a unique race. It's nice it's so close up home. I did a 10 miler that was similar - there was a 5k and they got the same medal as the 10ers, and they ran out of food before I finished - every last ounce. I fontblame you forgot running again!

At 8:08 PM, June 04, 2009, Anonymous Heather C said...

where is Nostalgia cupcakes?! I vote you go and demand your free cupcake! ha, seriously. I'd do it. ;)

But wine tasting AND box lunches?! That's quite a deal, they did good with that one!

Great negative splits in the second half!! Sounds like you definitely got that second wind :) CONGRATS on the awesome finish!!

At 9:38 PM, October 07, 2009, Blogger Bring it on. said...

If you need 13.1 jewelry, send me an email at info@inspiredendurance.com. I'll give you a great discount and I promise you'll love it! Marie.


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