ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon (September 28, 2013)

IMG_20131004_143435_230Leading up to Race Day:

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been having a hard time with my running lately.

In fact, I stopped writing about my training because I was so far off schedule and extremely frustrated that the more I trained, the slower I seemed to get.

My last long run, which happened a week before this race, was 11 miles shorter than it was supposed to be and I was actually in tears for the last three miles. It was bad.

Driving home from that run, I was seriously considering not running the ZOOMA Half Marathon at all.

But I had really been looking forward to it. I am originally from Cape Cod (or thereabout). Almost all of my extended family still lives there. So, in addition to running with my cousins and my sister, the trip would also serve as a family reunion of sorts. I didn’t want to miss out.

Interestingly, none of the family members actually running the race still live there, though.

My cousin Kristen was driving in from just outside of Boston and my cousin Jess was flying in from Maryland. My sister was flying in from NC. I was driving up from Virginia. I hate flying. If it is remotely possible to drive, I always choose to drive.

I was having a hard time with the idea of running another sub-par race. But, when I thought about it, I knew that I would much rather run slowly than not run at all. I was frustrated with myself for getting so hung up on time. I used to just run because I loved running. Why couldn’t I go back to doing that again?

So, that was my plan.

I was just going to run. I wasn’t going to worry about my time.

I didn’t even bring my Garmin with me.

Friday night:

I met Kristen and Jess at Aunt Alice’s house in Wareham and we rode to Falmouth together.

We were spending the night at the host hotel, the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, which was where the race would start and finish. The hotel was also the site of the race Expo and after party.

We met up with my sister at the expo. The expo was kind of small, but packet pick-up was easy and we got some really nice swag.

IMG_20131003_174734_466

I love the water bottle and yoga mat. The necklace in the picture is actually the finisher’s medal. It has “ZOOMA 2013” inscribed on the back.

The rooms were nice, and we had a spectacular view of the ocean.

1381557_10201486226891306_1208437053_nAfter dropping our stuff off in our room and admiring the view for a while, we went into town for dinner.

Race Day:

Everybody set their alarms for 6am, but I was up before that. I went down to the lobby and got some coffee, then made my way outside to get a look at the ocean.

Old Silver Beach is beautiful. It has white sand and crystal clear water. I will never understand why my family goes all the way down to Myrtle Beach every year when they have a far superior beach (in my opinion) so nearby.

Once everybody was up, we all went down to the beach and found somebody to take our picture.

IMG_20130928c-fixed

IMG_20130928_070639_118-fixJen (my sister) took off to do a warm-up run and Kristen made her way over to the start for the 10K.

It was Jess’ second half marathon and she’d run a 2:05 at her first one. She was hoping for a PR. We found the 2 hour pace group, which seemed like a reasonable place for both of us to start.

IMG_20130928_072141_212It was a beautiful morning for a run, even though it was unseasonably warm. Jess and I couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful it was.

At about mile three, there was a little out and back with a wide open view of the water at the turnaround. We saw Jen already on her way back as we were heading out to the turnaround.

I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling! It was by far the best I’d felt during a race in a long, long time. The middle miles were mostly on a nice, tree-lined bike path. I was thankful for all the shade.

I was also excited to try the new Salted Caramel Gu that I was carrying in my fuel belt. I had been looking everywhere for this new flavor, but wasn’t able to find it anywhere in Charlottesville. My sister was nice enough to take one of my Espresso Loves in exchange for one of her Salted Caramels so I could try it.

IMG_20130929_172248_419It was delicious.

The later miles were mostly through quaint, Cape Cod neighborhoods. There were a lot of rolling hills, which actually felt good. I live in Charlottesville. I’m used to hills. Jess and I were passing everybody.

It was the first time in a long time that I hadn’t started out too fast. I’d forgotten how good it feels to pass people in the final miles. I’d become all too accustomed to being one of the ones getting passed.

Anybody think I’ll remember this lesson for my next race?

It was nice to see my Aunt Mary, Uncle Bill and Aunt Kathy all cheering for us at the finish.

We crossed the finish line together in 1:53:10 and 1:53:11 (me). Jess had bettered her PR by more than 10 minutes!

I was the only one in our group who didn’t run a PR.

Jess said that I slowed down to run with her, but it was the fastest half marathon I’d run in a long time. If I hadn’t run with her, I probably would have started out too fast, and she probably would have come flying by me in the final miles. So I think we actually both helped each other. But, it doesn’t really matter. I had fun running with her and I was just so happy to know that running could actually feel good again!

We met back up with Jen and Kristen, who had both done really well.

photo 2It was Kristen’s first 10K and she totally rocked it.

Jen had run fast and ended up placing 10th overall in the Half.

We made our way down to the water.

IMG_20130928_094305_571After the post-race photo shoot, Jen and Kristen headed straight for the free drinks.

IMG_1179And Jess and I went for a swim.

IMG_1176photo 3We’re such big kids. The water felt so good, though.

We had a Champagne toast on the beach.

IMG_1182I’m so happy we all got to run together. I’m hoping this becomes an annual thing.

Thanks Kristen, Jess and Jen!

Family Time:

Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill were nice enough to host a cook-out so the whole family could get together after the race.

Everybody brought some sort of baked good. There was a table overflowing with every kind of sweet treat you can imagine. Restocking my glycogen stores was not a problem.

We took group photos of my generation

IMG_1190(1)and the youngest generation.

IMG_1201(1)I wish we’d gotten one of the older generation, too.

**Many of the pictures I used came from my Uncle Bill, Aunt Kathy and sister Jen. Thanks, guys!

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13 Responses to ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon (September 28, 2013)

  1. Meagan says:

    That’s some pretty nice swag and an even nicer view from your hotel room! With the finishers “medal” being a necklace, was the race predominantly women? I’m glad that you had a good race and felt so good running! You needed that. And congrats to Jess on her PR!

    I bet it felt amazing to get in the water after the race. I’ve always wanted to do that. The rest of the weekend with your family looks like a lot of fun, too. You have a big family!

  2. Danielle says:

    Nice job, Willow! Sorry the training wasn’t what you wanted, but glad you had a good race, even if not a PR, and felt good. That is the important part!

  3. Mary says:

    Just went back and read your blog for a lot of your training.I am always amazed at your physical abilities and now am also impressed with your writing abilities!! You should put this all together for a book. It would be entertaining and inspirational to people who are training for a race!! Good job JoAnne!!

  4. Kathleen says:

    Great job! I never knew of this Half and being that I live about an hour from the Cape may have to add it to my bucket list. I did Falmouth this summer and you can’t beat the view there 🙂

  5. lou says:

    Hi – congrats on your race! I just found your blog and wondered if you ever figured out what was wrong with your heel? I am having similar pain 😦

  6. dinendashrunners says:

    Just getting caught up! Congrats on the great race!! Sounds like an amazing weekend to me. I have always wanted to do a zooma race. I hear they are amazing.

    I think my favourite part of the weekend would of been the cookout and baked goods! Yum! 🙂

    – Leah

  7. Pingback: Zooma Cape Cod Yoga and Run Fitness Weekend (September 23 & 24, 2016) | Healthy in Cville

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