2013 ZOOMA Texas Race Recap

Last weekend was the Texas edition of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series. It was the culmination of months of training by our Muscle Milk Light Athletes and Ambassadors alike.

Race day started at 4:30 for me since I wasn’t staying on property. I definitely recommend staying at the Hyatt Lost Pines if you can! The resort is gorgeous and you can stay cozy in your bed right up until the last minute on race morning. If you don’t stay at the Hyatt, there are several parking options for you.

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I parked at Cedar Creek High School around 6am and hung out in my car for a bit to stay warm. The forecast has called for a warm, humid day with a chance of thunderstorms. However, it was a windy, chilly (for my Texas blood!) 50 degrees that morning. I dressed for the former, which would come back to haunt me later. Close to 6:30 I hopped on a shuttle over to the Hyatt.

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A few of us met up at the information tent pre-race for a photo op:

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Caroline, Erika, me, Kelly, Rhonda

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the start! Everyone (with the exception of Ashley and I) was running the half so they jumped into the starting corral and got ready to go.

ZOOMA Countdown

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About a week before the race I made a decision to run the 5K instead of the half. After a hill workout on the treadmill my right arch was giving me a little trouble. I had the same issue after Philly and Decker, but fixed the problem by changing shoes. Then it came back. So anyway, I dropped my race distance down to the 5K just to be safe.

ZOOMA Texas 13.1 and 5K Course Map

The 5K course isn’t nearly as hilly as the half, but still enough to be challenging. It obviously wasn’t going to be a PR day with my angry arch so I took it easy. It’s been a long time since I took on such a short distance – last summer maybe? I actually kind of miss it. In fact, this resulted in a 5K race registration for Brad and I on April 21st.

Anyway, back to ZOOMA

When I made the right onto Pope Bend, I saw someone in the not-so-far-off distance pickup the Mile 1 sign that had blown away and put it back on the side of the course. I don’t think this was exactly where it was supposed to be because when I passed the marker, my watch registered 0.75 miles. Now I know there are all sorts of things that can alter Garmin accuracy, but to be off a full quarter mile seemed a bit much. IMG_20130323_075042_929

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When I passed the Mile 2 marker, my watch beeped simultaneously. So we were back on track! Just in time for this beautiful hill.

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After that it was pretty much flat for the remainder of the course so I cruised along and rocked out to my music.

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Passing the start line on the way to the finish…

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Done! Official finish time was 39 and change. Not my fastest showing but I really enjoyed the race. The atmosphere of ZOOMA races just can’t be beat!

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I positioned myself at the finish line with Erika and watched for a few of our friends to come through.

Here comes Carmen, a member of last year’s HEB Girlfriends Program:

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And fellow ambassador Ashley:

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The wind was really whipping at this point and after stopping running, it was really cold (again, it’s all relative – my southern blood has a different interpretation of “cold”). It was time to hit the post-race refreshments and grab a cup of coffee.

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But I got distracted on the way…

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If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, this shouldn’t surprise you in the least bit.

Wine at 8:30am? Don’t mind if I do!

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And THEN I made my way to the coffee. My priorities are certainly in order.

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I downed two cups in attempt to warm up a bit before heading out to spectate the half marathon but with no luck. T-shirt and shorts was perfect to race in, but not so much for hanging around afterwards!

Erika and I camped out near mile 10 near the entrance/exit of the golf course so we could see runners at both spots.IMG_20130323_095731_794

Lisa, from Growing Up Mo

Once all of our Muscle Milk athletes and ambassadors had come through, we headed to the finish.

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Love this shot of Nora’s daughter
running in with her!

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Muscle Milk Athlete Nora and ZOOMA Ambassador Lisa

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ZOOMA Ambassador Missy

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Kelly, Rhonda, Shannah, Nora, me, Lisa

I am so proud of all of the Muscle Milk Light Athletes and Ambassadors. Every single one of them has inspired me over the past few months and I’m so thankful to have met them. They are all amazing!

Please check out their ZOOMA Texas race reports to hear how it went:

Nora In the Books
Missy Race Report, Sort Of
Lisa ZOOMA 2013 Race Report – A Calling
Leigh Ann ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon Recap: Battling My Demons to the End
Caroline ZOOMA Texas Half-Marathon – I did it!
Jennifer Race Recap: My Take on ZOOMA Texas

And a huge congrats to fellow ambassador Jennifer Fisher who won ZOOMA Texas!

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It seems this year’s ZOOMA training and race flew by SO fast. While I ran the half last year, the 5K was a fun change of pace. I’d highly recommend either race distance. Don’t be discouraged by the hills – I saw quite a few women walking around with PR medals.

What other race will give you a water bottle AND a yoga mat in your race packet? This year’s tee is an awesome color and the fit is PERFECT (not too short or super tight). I’ve been using the cute bag to carry my lunch to/from work.IMG_20130331_085031_748

Grab a few of your closest girlfriends and register for the 2014 race!

Texas « ZOOMA Women s Race Series

2013 LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon Expo

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Yesterday afternoon I headed downtown to the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon expo at the Palmer Events Center for packet pickup and to work the ZOOMA booth with Tricia. When I pulled in at 2:45 there was quite the crowd waiting out front for the doors to open at 3.

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Packet pickup was fairly uneventful. The computers crashed nearly immediately after the expo opened but it didn’t seem to be a big issue. As long as runners had their bib number to provide to the volunteers (since they couldn’t look it up) the line moved pretty quickly. Thank goodness for smartphones! There were also booths to lookup your bib number if you didn’t have the confirmation email to verify it from.

Overall, it was a pretty easy process even though I had to wait in two separate lines since my bib number wasn’t anywhere near Brad’s. Afterwards I did a quick sweep of the expo and surprisingly didn’t buy a damn thing. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

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Then I made my way to meet Tricia at the ZOOMA booth.

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We registered a few ladies for the upcoming Texas race, as well as the newly announced one in Chicago.

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Have you seen the swag bag for ZOOMA Texas? It’s pretty awesome, probably the best I’ve seen from any race. Each runner receives a tech tee, yoga mat, reusable bag, and stainless steel water bottle.

ZOOMA Texas Swag Bag

Still haven’t signed up? Register using discount code TXAMB2 for 10% off the half marathon or 5K race fee! Wine, massages, and recovery yoga at the finish – what more could you ask for?

Back to Austin – LOVE the participant tee this year. I think this girl would love it too. FINALLY a shirt that is a different color! The lime green is awesome.

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Oh! And I also received a limited edition art card from Lasting Commemoratives for each of us. (These were available to the first 1,000 people who claimed one through a link provided in an email from the LIVESTRONG Austin Marathon)

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This will be my third year running Austin (2011 recap, 2012 recap) and while the course may be challenging, the crowds keep the energy up and it’s really an awesome race.

I can’t wait to run this amazing city tomorrow!

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Muscle Milk Light Half Marathon Challenge :: ZOOMA Texas

Have you conquered the 5K distance? Dabbled in 10Ks? Looking for a new challenge? Maybe you’ve contemplated clicking “Register” on a 13.1 race but just can’t bring yourself to do it. I think I can help…

Apply for a spot in the Muscle Milk Light Half Marathon Challenge!

ZOOMA Women's Race Series

ZOOMA Texas is giving five local runners the opportunity to take part in a 12-week program that will get them to the starting line of their first half marathon. This amazing challenge is definitely something I would have loved to have taken part in back in 2010. Big support system? Check. Training plan? Check. Nutrition tips? Check check check! You will be 100% ready to tackle 13.1 miles come race day.

Here are the full details:

Commitment:

  • Runners must be able to currently run 5k and committed to training for a half marathon
  • Must be willing to be interviewed and featured on ZOOMA blog and ambassador blogs
  • Weekly check-ins with ZOOMA staff and ambassadors through email, phone or video logs
  • Attend 4 events between January-March

Perks for 4 H-E-B Athletes:

  • Support network of amazing runners, our Texas ambassadors
  • Training Plan
  • Training shirt
  • Education: tour of H-E-B healthy living department with dietician meeting to help you learn how to fuel for your runs
  • Cross training: yoga session at local studio
  • Race entry into ZOOMA Texas half marathon
  • Recovery: Muscle Milk Light

Perks for one Muscle Milk Light Athlete:

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Apply here!

Run to ZOOMA Texas

Sometimes running is an individual sport. Headphones go in once you step foot on the track and you race against the clock to nail your mile repeats. Your game face is on when you set out on a tempo run, shooting to achieve those paces that will help you come race day. But when running long? Those just might be the hardest miles you run. While they’re probably done at the slowest pace of the week, you spend the most time on your feet during a long run.

The best way to power through these miles is to run with a friend. Friendly conversation and catching up with one another can make those miles fly by. And generally those are usually the best runs you’ll ever have, the ones which feel effortless, and – dare I say it? – enjoyable!

And what’s even more fun than running long with friends? Racing with friends!

ZOOMA Texas

Registration for ZOOMA Texas is officially open! To kick-off registration, ZOOMA has a Run to Texas Giveaway where you have the chance to win two race registrations and two amazing massages from Spa Django at the host hotel, Hyatt Regency Lost Pines!

Grab your best running friend and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an entry to run ZOOMA Texas in March. It’s the perfect destination for a girl’s weekend. Come run with us, you won’t be disappointed!

ZOOMA Women’s Race Series :: Texas Ambassador

A few weeks ago I submitted an application to become a ZOOMA Texas Ambassador for the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series.

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run. laugh. celebrate.

Imagine a powerful sea of women on the move–encouraging fellow runners, creating unforgettable moments, and celebrating personal running triumphs.  Picture a post-race party and expo all wrapped up in one memorable “after-party expo” where these strong goal-oriented women come together for well-deserved celebration.  This is the Muscle Milk Light ZOOMA Women’s Race Series.

As you may recall, I was both a Mentor for the ZOOMA Texas Girlfriends Program and an Ambassador for ZOOMA Texas’ 2012 race.

ZOOMA Ambassador

I loved the atmosphere at this year’s race. Women coming together with their girlfriends, running their first (or tenth!) half marathon or 5K. The thing about ZOOMA is that it’s not just about the miles from start to finish.

It’s the journey. It’s about the training and having a support system to help you get to the start, and properly celebrate at the finish. And ZOOMA does it VERY well.

ZOOMA Kickoff Party at Lukes Locker

ZOOMA Training Run - Brushy Creek

ZOOMA Training Run at Brushy Creek

ZOOMA Training Run Brushy Creek

ZOOMA Training Run - Cap 10K

ZOOMA Pre-Race Another Mother Runner Party

ZOOMA Texas Race Day

I’m excited to announce I have been selected as a ZOOMA Texas Ambassador for the 2013 race!

ZOOMA Texas

ZOOMA Texas lets you savor the splendor of spring wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country, as you wind your way through 13.1 miles well outside of Austin city limits. Bluebonnets and Texas paintbrush dance in the waving grasses on either side of the quiet roadways that make up this scenic race. For the last few miles of the half marathon, you’ll traverse exclusively on the gorgeous grounds of the host property, the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort. Less than 20 minutes from the Austin airport, the tranquil, gracious setting—complete with a few authentic Texas longhorn cattle—is the ideal retreat for a girlfriends-getaway. There’s even a secluded adults-only pool overlooking the Colorado River that borders the property, perfect for chilling post-race. The pool is part of the resort’s award-winning Spa Django, offering restorative massages, body treatments, and facials. Consider treating your tired feet to a Texas Two Step Massage after challenging yourself in the race.

Given that the race is in Hill Country, there’s no getting away from inclines and declines, but the course’s natural beauty and the race’s all-women’s vibe will carry you along. The after-race party expo, held under a rustic wooden roof on a pavilion overlooking the river, is the ideal location for sampling complimentary wine, shopping, perusing results, and sharing laughs and memories with friends old and new.

Sound like a race you’d be interested in? Registration is now OPEN! If you sign up before January 5, 2013 you will receive a special Training Care Package in the mail. Use discount code TXAMB2 for 10% off your registration fee!

Be sure to follow ZOOMA both on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on all the exciting ZOOMA news.

Have any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below!

Have you ever run a ZOOMA race? If you had your choice, which would you run: Amelia Island, Cape Cod, Annapolis, Great Lakes, or Texas?

ZOOMA thus far {photo edition}

The past few weeks have been non-stop and I’m loving every minute of it.

From the ZOOMA Texas Girlfriend Program group runs at Brushy Creek (even on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve – serious dedication!)…

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…to the ZOOMA Kickoff Party at Luke’s Locker downtown…

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…powering through 30 degree training runs during Austin’s cold snaps…

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…a fabulous Ambassador dinner at Roll On Sushi

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{the Rolltalian Stallion & Beefy Texan were my favorites!

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…a trip to H-E-B to meet with a nutritionist to learn more about their Healthy Living Section and making smarter food choices…

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…and an appearance on the ZOOMA website featuring the Texas Ambassadors.

Texas Ambassadors « ZOOMA Women s Race Series

Seeing our ladies come out week after week for training runs and develop a love for running has been incredibly rewarding. I’m inspired by each and every one of them and feel so lucky to have been chosen to be a part of both the mentor and ambassador programs.

If you’re in the Austin, Houston or San Antonio areas, we’d love it if you joined us on one {or many!} of our free training runs!

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If you have any questions regarding the training group or ZOOMA Texas in general, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at melissaliciatx@gmail.com!

Five Things Friday

1. I am super stoked for the upcoming 3-day holiday weekend. Followed by a short 3-day work week, followed by a 4-day holiday weekend, followed by a 4-day work week. Oh, and I didn’t have to use a single vacation day! Seriously awesome.

2. I absolutely cannot wait to put on these gorgeous shoes. I got them from my parents a few weeks ago but I’m not allowed to run in them until Christmas. Since Sunday is a rest day, I’ll be taking them out for Operation Jack on Monday!

3. I made it into the championship game in my Fantasy Football League. It’s total points over a two-week span, but I’m already off to a great start thanks to Arian Foster.

Tomorrow morning I have a ZOOMA training run with Leslie, but afterwards I plan on making myself comfortable on the couch with a mimosa to cheer the rest of my fantasy team on!

4. I’m really excited to be participating in the Operation Jack Satellite Run for the second year in a row. It’s such a great cause and I love that the proceeds benefit the Operation Jack Autism Foundation and Train 4 AutismSam is an amazing person. With it being so close to Christmas, I probably won’t ever be able to make it out to CA for the half or full marathon, but it’s awesome that there is a satellite option!

Added bonus: check out this medal – it’s even bigger than Boston’s!

5. I am officially an Ambassador for ZOOMA Texas!

I was just notified this morning so there will be more details to come, but I feel so lucky to have been chosen. It will be an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to become more involved in Austin’s running community while helping others train for the race in March!

ZOOMA Texas Girlfriends Program

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A few weeks ago Tricia posted about a program for beginning runners and those looking to get back into the sport after time off. One of my co-workers had just started the Couch to 5K program so I passed on the link to her. She submitted an application, went through the interview process, and shortly after was accepted into the program!

Another post from Tricia caught my eye: the program’s need for mentors. The thought of being able to help someone get to the finish line of their first 5K or half marathon is something I definitely would love to do. I sent in an email expressing my interest and was interviewed soon afterwards.

Last weekend I was selected as a mentor for the ZOOMA Texas Girlfriends Program! I am so excited – this is such an incredible opportunity!

Thursday night was the kickoff party at Bettysport.

All photos courtesy of Endurance Isn’t
Only Physical’s Facebook page
.
Thanks Tricia!

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Contrary to what this photo displays, we were NOT being anti-social. Germain and I were reviewing the training schedule Tricia had sent out.

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Everyone mingled and checked out some of Bettysport’s apparel and accessories.

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There were complimentary shoe fittings and gait analysis.

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Then we went around the room and shared our running stories.

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I’m Italian, I talk with my hands.

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This little girl was cracking me up!

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Hearing everyone’s stories, from both mentors and beginners, was so inspiring.

Afterwards Tricia introduced each runner to their mentor and we chatted a bit to get to know one another. I was paired a woman determined to complete her first half marathon. I am so excited for her and can’t wait to help her achieve this goal!

As we were heading out of the party, we were each given a swag bag. Mine included a sweatshirt, towel, and water bottle.

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Saturday morning a handful of us met up at Luke’s Locker downtown for our first run. It was short 3 miler on Town Lake to get a feel for where our mentees are running-wise. Leslie and I covered 3 miles in roughly 36 minutes, which was awesome! She hadn’t run in two months and I think she was happy with her performance that morning.

We parted ways after the group run was done and I set out on my own for a few more miles. I had 8 miles scheduled on the training plan but I also had a 5K the following morning. I did a 4 mile loop and called it a day at 7 miles.

I’m really excited for the ZOOMA Girlfriends Program! It’s so refreshing to spend time with a group of women passionate about running. I’m looking forward to spending the next few months getting to know everyone.

I’ve also applied to be an Ambassador for ZOOMA Texas! I’ll hopefully be interviewing for the position this week and will find out on December 23rd if I made the cut. Wish me luck!