Kelly the Culinarian: Race Report: Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Race Report: Zooma Great Lakes Half Marathon

This marks my third half marathon in one year, and it occurred almost exactly one year after Rachael and I traveled to Kentucky for the Big Hit Half Marathon. This was also my slowest half to date. I could make lots of excuses, but I think I'll just say that I have a lot to work on this winter.
Let's back up to Friday. Kelly and Maggie picked me up and we went off to our rental house in Fontana, Wisconsin. At the house, we met up with a ton of other Chicago Running Bloggers and friends, including Erin, Kim, Sierra, Amy, Emily, Kayla and Marcia. Jackie, Katie and Jenny also joined in on the fun Friday and Bobbi joined us Saturday, along with my coworker, Emily, who I ran a 5K with earlier this summer. I'm missing people, and I'm sorry. Please comment and leave me your blog!

We wandered over to the Abbey for packet pick up, which was about one mile away from our super awesome vacation home.

Packet pick up was painless, except that they didn't give me a shirt the first time around.  There were a few vendors there and we won a bit of swag.

We also stopped by a bike demonstration where Another Mother Runner and SkinnyRunner were hanging out.  I wish I was as cool as them .... or as fast as Sara Hall, who made an appearance the next day.
Back at the house, Erin made us an awesome pre-race dinner.  Bloggers: we know how to eat.
Saturday morning, we rolled out of the party house at 6 a.m. to head to the Abbey to take a shuttle at 6:30.  We hung around in the lobby to keep warm (and Kelly let me borrow some arm warmers, too). And I finally got to meet Run with Jess, who lives in the town where I went to college. Small world!

We decided to wear matching compression socks, which turned out to be a great idea. Any time I was bored on the course, I just looked for someone in identical socks to talk to.

After a shuttle that seemed really long ...

We ended up at the start line.  It was gorgeous with the sun just rising, but there were not enough port-o-potties. There were 400 women and seven toilets. Not enough, race peeps.
Once we were off, the actual running wasn't nearly as fun as hanging out at the party house.  I was doing OK for the first three or four miles, then I just started to lose steam.  My heart rate was really high and the downhills were trashing my knees.  My right leg felt like a rag doll's leg and like it might collapse under me.  It was the weirdest sensation. I was reduced to run/walking and watching countless people breeze by me. It was hard to deal with. However, my favorite sign on the whole course, which I should have taken a photo of, said "If it was easy, your husband would do it." Ha!

The course was straight up gorgeous, passing some super posh houses and beautiful fall foliage. Around mile 10, we went right past the finish line, which was also really disheartening, because the worst was yet to come. Around mile 11, we encountered a massive hill.  The hills Kim and I ran were nothing in comparison. I questioned my own sanity several times and I knew I was unprepared. And fat. And slow.

The end couldn't come soon enough for me. Volunteers handed you a finisher's necklace, a bottle of water and bananas.
Oddly, there were no bagels, pretzels or snacks. Instead, we got a little box lunch, coffee and wine.  Lots of wine.  They were out of champagne by the time I bellied up to the bar, though.
Thankfully, no one in our house came up short on the food. You know you're hanging out with runners when there are five sleeves of bagels, two bunches of bananas and three types of peanut butter in the kitchen.
Here are some of us, post finish:
The post-race party had the same vendors as the night before, along with a live band and a bunch of fire pits, which was a nice touch on such a blustery day.  My friend, Jackie, had her first sub-two half on this super challenging course, and Sierra got a new PR, so I shouldn't complaint about my 2:14 finish. It's my own fault for not picking the veggies over the candy for the past few months.
Compression, candy and veggies ... a perfect summary of the weekend
I have another post planned about our rental house, the eats and photos, but let's stick with talking about the race this time (EDITED: Here's more info about the party house!)

Finish time: 2:14:36

Cost: $85 if you registered early, up to $105

Pros: Scenic course, finisher's necklace, fun post-race party, celebrity blogger/runner appearances, vegetarian food options, well-run shuttle system, small runner field, female-owned race venture, great ladies getaway feel

Cons: Super hilly course, not an easy to get to destination, not a ton of freebies or post-race food options, not enough port-o-potties, pricey race, shirts weren't long enough for the taller ladies, the finisher's necklace is difficult to get Napoleon to model

Would I run it again?: Only to hang out with the Chicago Runner Bloggers and friends. I had a great weekend, but more because of the company than the race itself.  The course was probably too challenging for my current fitness level, and I would have preferred a medal to a necklace.


Xaarlin said...

SOunds like a great experience even though the course had some challenges. Looks like a beautiful place for a race and a nice girls weekend. Congrats!

Maggie W said...

Fat???? Hardly!!! It was a tough course, you've spent the past few months training for a marathon, and you're dealing with a possible injury, or at the very least, pain. You should be proud of your time!

Losing Lindy said...

I am having the same issues with my knees, I am finding if I used the stick and really rub out my tight muscles it is really helping.

Run with Jess said...

It was so nice to finally meet you in person!! The best part of the race (hands down) was all the girl time. The hills were torture - it was a hard hard course. Congrats!!

Kim said...

I have to second Maggie. It really is bugging me that you are calling yourself fat and are so upset with your performance. This is a really tough course that none of us could prepare for unless we lived there. And you just ran your first marathon and your foot is all effed up. I finished in nearly the same time of you and am actually really proud of my finish time. And I think you should be too!!!

But... the best part of the weekend was definitely NOT the race ;) I was thinking that would be the case going in ;)

KellytheCulinarian said...

I'm not all that upset about the time, because I was really out for more of a good time (Carly Rae Jepson style) than good time (Sara Hall style). And I got to start a bonfire and hang out with bloggers much cooler than me, so it's all good.

Anonymous said...

It was SO much fun! So glad to have finally met you and we really need to do this again sometime soon!

(totally had a longer comment, but I think blogger ate it. lame.)

ACW said...

I love all of the carbs pre-race! Congratulations on your completion, you had a really good time!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like it was a fun weekend, besides how you feel about your race. Be proud you finished, learn from it, and use that feeling as motivation for the next race!

Erin said...

The best part about this race was that it was on Saturday so we could party it up after the race! You left that out :-)

KellytheCulinarian said...

That is true, it was nice to run a Saturday race. They're surprisingly hard to find!

JessF said...

Three this year?!?! That's awesome! Now you know what to work on and maybe next year you'll do this one again to see how you improved!

emmers712 said...

Please - no using the "f" word and being so critical of your performance. You did AMAZING and I would kill to have run a half marathon time like yours!!! Be proud of yourself for pushing through an incredibly difficult course!!!

It was so great to hang out with you and the group this past weekend! Thanks again for organizing and I can't wait for our next running blogger getaway!!!!!

bobbi said...

You were awesome amidst some obstacles - be proud! I'm so glad we got to run together for a bit :)

Unknown said... rocked that race and owned those hills so be proud! I keep hearing about that hill at Mile 11 and it sounds like it was a killer. My knees would probably sob. I really hope that some sort of destination race will be planned in the future because I want to join in on the fun!

KellytheCulinarian said...

The next destination race is in the works. I'll keep you posted.

Tricia said...

Congrats on your race, thanks for joining us! We loved following along in all the #CRBZOOMA fun.