Would you like to run a Half or 10k that ends on the beach with wine, massages, snacks and foam rollers? Okay okay I know that not everyone has a love relationship with the foam roller, but still foam rolling while looking out to the ocean makes it less painful. Sort of. ;)
Well ZOOMA Women's Half on Cape Cod offered all of the above plus some pretty gorgeous views along the course.
2014 marked my second-straight year as an ambassador for the ZOOMA Cape Cod race. I ran it in 2013 before completing the Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half the following day to qualify for the Half Fanatics! :)
What brought me back besides the things mentioned above? The great atmosphere at the race. With a 3.5 hour cutoff for the 10k and Half, it is a great race for all fitness levels and paces. Seeing groups of women out on the course walking, walk-running and running is so inspiring to me.
And of course ... The other amazing ambassadors. It is a group of amazing female bloggers, who I am lucky to call my friends.
Amy & I - photo courtesy of Amy
Me, Amy, Nancy - photo courtesy of Nancy
The Expo is pretty tiny so we were able to breeze through it easily on Friday. After the Expo and the mocktail, we had a quick little dinner (mmm pizza and wine) before calling it a night.
I owe a big thank you to Ms. Nancy who lets me crash on her guest bed so I don't have to pay for a hotel. Woo! This year she even hung up photos in the guest room. Fancy.
The alarm was set for 5am on race day, but I didn't manage much sleep. I was in bed by 10 and immediately had a dream about sleeping through the race. This resulted in me waking up at 2am, 3am, 4am and just before my 5am alarm was set to go off. Ummm yay!!
After a night of on and off sleep I was pretty happy with my decision not to race the half. I really wanted to run with people on Saturday so I took Nancy up on her offer to run with her and Jess from 30SomethingMotherRunner. Nancy was hoping for a PR, which mean beating 1:52:24 and I was happy to try and help the best I could.
We headed out from Nancy's house just after 6 so I snacked on my banana in the car and saving my LUNA Bar to enjoy onsite. Neither of us could remember if the race was at 7am or 7:30am. Pretty good bloggers, right? Ha.
Amy graciously opened up her room to the blogger crew to hang out in pre-race. Thank goodness because it was chilly out there.
Plus we could avoid some port-o-potties for awhile. It is really the little things in a racer's life. :P
Thanks to Amy's husband Chris for being our photog
Before the race it was all about mingling with the fellow bloggers and racers. You all know I love meeting new folks - especially social media friends/blog readers - at races so this was another great opportunity.
Big thanks to Kim for coming over and saying hi! Kim blogs at BarkingMadAboutRunning!!
Plus I drooled over the medals before the start of the race. It would be mine in just a couple of hours.
We snapped one last ambassador photo before sending the 10kers off. About 5 minutes later, it would be our turn.
Photo Courtesy of Nancy
The countdown began and BAM we were off for 13.1 glorious miles.
It is wicked cool seeing a sea of women run down the street with a few boyfriends/husbands in the mix.
The morning air was nice and crisp giving the perfect temps for a Fall race in New England. The beginning of the course is pretty flat, which I did not complain about. :) Having run the race last year I knew there would be some hills to battle within the last 3 miles so I tried to keep that in mind while we were running. I wanted to help Nancy have a nice consistent run.
And make sure I was taking in the sights around us.
I mean how lucky were we to be running along this.
Mile 1: 8:33 Mile 2: 8:13 Mile 3: 8:09
Let Nancy know that the 8:09 mile was great, but we needed to pull it back a little. I think the excitement of seeing her film crew from Feetures put a little pep in her step during that mile... or maybe the Sparkle Athletic skirt she borrowed from me. :)
I love the 2-3 mile area since there is an out and back so you can actually wave to other friends or cheer on the other runners. This is where I saw a few of my Tedy's Team running mates who were taking in the race as well. Yay!
Mile 4: 8:27
During Mile 4 I decided it was selfie time. But with a bad internet connection I wasn't sure how long it would take me to actually upload the photo. FYI It took until just before Mile 7.
Mile 5: 8:30 Mile 6: 8:32 10k Split: 52:32 (8:28 min/mile pace)
The middle miles take place along the gradually inclining rail trail. I really appreciated the path being nice and shady.
Mile 7: 8:33 Mile 8: 8:31
And it was the perfect time for a group selfie.
Hi From Mile 8!
Action shot baby. You can see a 4th girl behind us. That was Courtney. We met her while on the path and had a great time chatting with her for awhile. She is turning 26 on Wednesday (October 1) and will be running her first marathon (26.2 miles) on October 26. How about working the 26 on that one? Courtney, if you are reading, it was our pleasure meeting you and running with you for awhile. Good luck!! :)
Mile 9: 8:36 Mile 10: 8:38
It was great chatting with Jess and Nancy about life, blogging and running.
We were cruising along, but I knew the hills would be coming as would the sun and heat. It was definitely getting warmer while we were out there and the shade would be decreasing.
Nancy was testing out new fuel on the day of the race and it started to backfire causing some stomach pain. Jess and I reminded Nancy that we were there for her race and whatever she needed. If she needed to walk, we could. She called the shots.
I could tell the stomach pain wasn't fun and was hurting the PR chances, which was upsetting to Nancy. Jess and I tried to keep the mood light and spirited. No matter what she would be finish and under 2 hours. Since I love being someone's cheerleader, it was a blast trying to keep the spirits of the troops up.
Mile 11: 9:05 Mile 12: 9:11
The final mile included the biggest of the inclines of the course. This is where my Garmin came in handy. Letting Nancy know we had 0.6 miles to go and Jess translating it into repeats: "just two repeats left." Doing whatever we could to keep the three of us moving forward.
Mile 13: 9:19
Right after passing the Mile 13 sign, we went to turn into the Sea Crest hotel parking lot towards the Finish before the volunteers yelled at us that we needed to "continue straight." Ahh we were about to go the wrong way. Oops! Thanks volunteers. :)
We had decided during the last mile that we would all raise our hands over the Finish. I mean you gotta get a group on the same page for a good Finish Line shot.
Final Time: 1:54:17 (8:43 min/mile pace)
YYAAYYY!! While we missed Nancy's PR goal by 2 minutes, we still had a blast out on the course and made some memories. :)
Pretty pretty bling for my 21st Half Marathon.
I want to thank ZOOMA for improving the signage, volunteer presence and number of safety cones on the road when we were crossing. Last year I had some close calls with some cars that almost hit me whereas this year was a breeze.
Additional thanks to the Falmouth Fire & Rescue for patrolling the course keeping the ladies safe. We did have to see them go into action for a woman that fell and I hope she was okay. Her knees were all scraped and bruised.
Even though the run was done, the fun was going to continue with the post-race party on the beach.
Yes the foam rolling was less painful with my toes in the sand. :) Thanks Muscle Milk for laying out at least half a dozen yoga mats with foam rollers.
There were a ton of tables set up along the beach for ladies to enjoy their post-race snacks (hummus wrap or chicken salad wrap) and wine.
Don't worry folks I made sure to test them all and they were all delicious! :)
Of course post-race was additional chances to see some of my favorite people.
Nancy & I snapped another photo together
Jen & I - make sure to read Jen's weight loss story on the blog she has with her twin sisterTwinsTakeOnLife
Some of the amazing ladies of Tedy's Team :)
Angela, Nancy, Amy and I
After a bunch of hugs and celebratory high fives, it was time to head out and enjoy the rest of my weekend on the Cape.
Until next year ZOOMA...
Did you run the ZOOMA Cape Cod 10k or Half? What was your favorite part?