Thursday, June 9, 2011

ZOOMA Annapolis and Kristen's Half Marathon Debut

This race was different…in a great way.  Kristen was running her first half marathon!  About a week and a half before ZOOMA, Kristen went on her long run, and did a great job running over 13 miles!  She sent me the link to the training data and told me about it, so I suggested she join me for ZOOMA.  Though she’s planning to run Rock n Roll Virginia Beach with me in September, that’s a long time to wait if you’re already trained and ready for a half.  She said she’d think it over.

A few days before the race, she told me she was going to join me.  I was so excited!  We decided we would run together no matter what.  For one, it’s just a fun experience and great to share with her.  And two, I made a lot of rookie mistakes in my first few races, so I thought by now I knew enough that I might be able to help with them (like when to eat GU packets or drink water), or to motivate her.  Little did I know she’d give me a run for my money (no pun intended).
Race day came and 3:45 AM was here!  We had to be up early to make it there from Arlington.  Everything was very smooth for me at the start of the race.  However, I did see that a bunch of people didn’t have safety pins, and they were trying to tape the numbers onto their shirt.  Big error on the race director’s part.  With sweat and 13 tough miles, tape would never stick.  I’m an overplanner and always have extras, so I was able to get my bag out of bag check and find a few extras to share.

Despite that, it was a very smooth start.  We were off!  We got to see Adam early in the race, but then it was an out-and-back course so there wasn’t anywhere to see him in the middle.  The race had a fair amount of hills, including a big bridge that you had to cross around mile 3 and then cross again on the way back.  It was not easy, but there were lots of people cheering and some hilarious signs!
Here we go!

Kristen’s goal was under 2 hours but she said she’d be happy under 2:10.  I let her set pace, and she was going waaaay faster.  I pointed this out to her, and she said she felt good so we went with it. 
Kristen mid race
It was supposed to be a really hot day, but we got lucky and it was overcast the whole time.  It started pouring for about 30 seconds or a minute early on, but then it was fine and stayed clear.  Very lucky.
That was nothing compared to some others...but notice the hills
Another picture I tried to take while running
I decided to try to take a video telling what we were doing with the 11, 12, 13 Challenge, but it came out looking more like the Blair Witch Project than a useful video.  Oh well.  Around mile 7, the 1:50 (8:24/mile) pace group passed us, and Kristen told me she wanted to try to stick with them.  I knew this was not going to be an easy race and I was pumped.
The dreaded bridge.  Quite an incline!

Somewhere during mile 12, we saw a woman walking who had been staying around us the whole time.  I couldn’t help but think of the encouragement I received during National, and Kristen and I started cheering and told her how close she was to the finish and to keep going.  We saw her smile, and then she started running again and joined us to the finish.  After the race, she actually came over to say thanks for the encouragement and getting her back in it.  That, to me, is exactly what this is about.  Being teammates with people even if you’ve never met them before.
So close!
After the race, we got our stuff, drank some terrible tasting sports drink lemonade, got our bag of food, and headed over to sit down.  ZOOMA doesn’t do medals - they do a necklace.  Personally, I have no desire to wear a “Z” necklace regularly and would have preferred a nice medal, but that’s just me.  You should know by now that I love the “bling”, but it was a good idea for a women’s race. 
Just seconds from the finish line
  They also had wine at the end which was a good touch for a women’s race.  I got my bright pink compression socks on to help with recovery, and took a picture because Adam thinks they are the funniest/greatest things ever.   
When I bought the socks, I asked Adam if I should get white or bright pink.  There was no question in his mind.
Kristen, congratulations.  That was a huge accomplishment and I’m so glad I got to share it with you.  I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to keep up you were doing so well!  After the race, we hung out for awhile and then headed home.  I had to be at the National Volunteer Leadership Conference (NVLC) starting at 3:30 PM later the day, so I was excited for adventure #2 of the day!  More details to follow soon…
Half marathoners!

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