Sunday, November 16, 2008

Zooma Race Report...

The tag line for the Zooma race is "women running rapidly". Well, OK... It might not have been all that rapid but they still gave me the cute necklace at the finish!

Karen W
age: 39
gender: F
overall place: 192 out of 769
division place: 27 out of 137
gender place: 165 out of 710
time: 2:01:59
pace: 9:19

As with most races, this one started with an alarm going off at 4:44 am. Why must every race begin at 7:00 am? Seriously. Yes, I understand logistics, blocking off roads so the runners don't get smashed in oncoming traffic. I get it. It sure does make you think twice about whether or not the post-race banana/bagel/t-shirt is worth it. I got up the minute the alarm went off and then proceeded to screw around on the internet for waaaay longer than I needed to. For some reason, whenever I get up early I feel the need to look at tennis scores from my various leagues - why??? I know. You are all thinking it. I could sleep 20 minutes longer and check the scores later in the day. It is my crazy morning ritual.

I pry my fingers away from the mouse and throw on the outfit that I chose the night before. I opted for knee tights and a long sleeve dri-fit shirt. I love these knee tights by the way.

There is a small pocket in the center of the back which is the perfect size for your car key and a GU gel. This was the first time I wore them and thought they were AWESOME. The official temp when I walked out the door this morning was 34 degrees so shorts/running skirts were not an option. I did not choose to bare my navel as the model did in the pic. I am not Brandi Chastain after all :)

After a short drive downtown I arrived around 6:15 to the race. For this race, that worked out perfectly. They wanted everyone at the start at 6:45 so that gave me plenty o' time. As I thought when I got my race number, the race was fairly small. There were about 700 participants in all which is schweet when it comes to parking. I was able to park steps away from the finish line. I made a quick visit to the port o let (in the pitch dark I might add which is not cool - not that I look in the hole if you know what I mean... but I do like to be able to see when I am in that green closet! Flashbacks to girl scout camp at Stone Mountain trying to find my way to the latrine in the middle of the night via the light of a tiny flashight.).

After I escaping the darkness of the port o let, I got in line for gear check which for some reason took forever even though there was only a handful of people in line. It was a blessing in disguise that it did take forever because as I am standing there a lightening bolt struck my stupid brain and made me question why in the world I would check my gear if my car is 50 feet away. So, brilliantly, I stepped out of line and took my bag back to my car. I was spoiled today by this luxury, this will NOT be the situation at the Atlanta Half Marathon next week!

By the time I unload my gear in the car and visit the port o let another time (again, still pretty dark in that closet), it is time to head to the start. No corrals based on time, no trying to wedge past people, no drama, plenty of personal space. I line up near the start and wait. I turn on my foot pod, get the tunes going and am ready to take off. As I am waiting, I am kind of shifting back and forth trying to not think about how I am freezing my arse off (I don't run in a jacket because I know the minute I take off I will be too hot so I wait, and freeze.) Unbeknownst to me at the time, my shifting is ticking off mileage on my foot pod so as I get into the race the mileage on my watch which is normally dead on doesn't agree with the mileage markers I am passing. When I pass mile marker 6 for example, my watch is showing 6.6 miles. I was convinced the race was marked wrong the whole way until later when I realized what had happened. DOH!

The race starts and I can get some heat going. Unlike the big races where you gradually shuffle your way to the start, once the gun goes off I am across the timing mat within 30 seconds. Love it! My initial plan was to just get moving enough to warm up as I was literally jaw-clenched, teeth chattering waiting for the start. I am not joking, it took about a mile to get all that worked out.

I was really relaxed. My plan was just finish and not try to break any records. As I have said before, that is always the plan and then my competitive spirit comes out....

For your entertainment, several shots of Atlanta...

Crossing the 17th street bridge. I think this was mile 1ish.

The "W" hotel. I like to think it was named after me...

Headed into a bridge. You can see the lack of runners... It was right after this point that the main pack was separating from me and I began to feel like I was running on my own. Funny how you think you are the last person in the race until you get to the turn around and get some perspective.

The touristy Atlanta landmarks... World of Coke and CNN Center. (Someone once compared me to Ted Turner - the man who started CNN - not because I am brilliant but because he is bi-polar. Ummm. Thanks. Not.)

As I turned the corner at mile 6, I was blinded by the sun. This picture doesn't really capture it but I felt like I was in a scene from Poltergeist. "Go to the light Carol Ann..."

and at mile 7.5ish. This was at the turn around. My own Olympic rings :) At this point, I got excited because I saw runners coming back so I thought I wasn't that far back after all. As it turned out, the turn around was a loop around Turner Field (where the Atlanta Braves play), you can imagine the size of the loop. All the way around the outside of Turner Field and the parking lots. sigh.

For the first 9 miles I really was just running my pace, not passing anyone, several people passing me and I am fine with it. You go on girls, I will catch up with you at the finish party. For some reason shortly after the turnaround, I got a second wind and picked up the pace. Either that or everyone else was getting tired. I passed a decent number of people in the last 4 miles which was good for me as I was a little concerned that my foot might start hurting or I might not be ready for the extra mileage yet. At mile 11.5 or so I remember thinking "lets go girls". (I talk to myself that way...). At that point I really kicked it into gear. The last half mile was building to a sprint with a full on sprint for the last quarter mile. I was actually surprised I had that much left in the tank at the end. I think it was the fact that I knew I was close to my PR of 2:05 and wanted to break it. 2:01! YAY YAY YAY.

At the post-race, I picked up my finishers necklace - which was pretty cute by the way.

and few other trinkets. I have been dying for a "stick" to work out my muscles so was uber excited when I saw they had a booth. I also picked up a couple more Bondi bands and a long sleeve shirt. any excuse to shop...

and this is me on the way home... at this point my heated seats are on high and heat on 80. Freezing... My brain must still be frozen for me to post this pic but who needs pride? (Note to self, Lancome sells eye cream - get thee some unless you like the look of those bags!)

I feel really good about the race. I had no pain in my foot, no pain in my knee (like I did in the ING) and felt strong running. Of course, there were times I was tired but didn't feel the overwhelming need to stop and walk. I might have walked about 10 seconds total and both times were on crazy hills. (the course was very hilly - not rolling lovely country hills but HILLS - there were more than a few stretches where I looked up and thought the race director was a sadist.) Even with the hills, I felt strong - I guess all those miles at Stone Mountain paid off. I felt great about the time, a real confidence booster! I am not sure I can imagine doing those miles after swimming a mile and biking 56 more but we will worry about that after the marathon when I start training for the IronMan.

I had several friends that were supposed to run the race but didn't see any of them which was kind of a bummer as it would have been a good "hang out with the girlfriends" race. I think a couple might have been scared off by the cold.

Since I spent 1400 calories in the morning, the only appropriate thing to do the rest of the day was dance it out...

or not :) really, I ate pizza and caught up on my guilty pleasure - The Biggest Loser. Is it wrong to eat like a pig while watching people try their hardest to lose weight? Yeah, maybe. I always feel guilty eating while I watch that show but can't get enough (of the show that is). There is no way I would get on TV in a sports bra and tights and step on a scale for the world to see. God bless them. I couldn't do it. For those of you who watch, thank gawd Brady got voted off! That Vicky girl is really hateful. I hope that is just the way she is being portrayed. I would hate to think she is really like that in life. Anyhoo... eating, watching tv, napping. That was my day!

Tomorrow... Playoffs for one of my singles tennis leagues. Wish me luck!


Marcy said...

CONGRATS!! OMGosh that's a nice chunk of time off the old PR!! Sweet, sweet job my dear! Killer!

Kevin said...

Congrats on the new PR!

I was out there freezin my bum off cheering my wife in the 5K. It was so stinkin cold