Wow, it’s been nearly three months since I wrote my last race recap! I mean, I’m happy with my decision to lay low this summer when it came to racing, but part of me definitely missed competing.
That’s why it was kind of hard to jump back into racing with a race — the ZOOMA 10K on Cape Cod — where my strategy was to “go out and have fun and not worry about the time.” Ha. That’s soooo not in my DNA.
But with a half marathon (Smuttynose Rockfest) the next weekend that I’ve been really training hard for, I knew that enjoying myself and not gunning for a PR was the right thing — the smart thing — to do for the ZOOMA 10K.
As you guys know, this is my second year running the ZOOMA races and serving as a race ambassador (which — disclaimer — included a free race entry), and things were in full swing when I arrived by the race expo at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth after work on Friday to grab my bib and swag bag, and meet up with Jess, who had graciously offered to let me stay at her house that night.
I scored a new Sweatyband headband (like I need another one!) from the Another Mother Runner table, then Jess, her little boys, and I went out to the back deck and on to the beach where, for the second year in a row, I caught the most gorgeous sunset.
After chatting for a bit with the other ambassadors, Jess and I headed back to her house and an early bedtime. The next morning, we caught back up with Dani, Nancy, and Nicolasa for a photo opp just by the start line.
Jess and I were the only two ambassadors running the 10K so we lined up at 7:30am. At first glance, it appeared to be a smaller group because we were literally at the front of the start line. I’m not sure if the other runners didn’t want to be up front, but all I know is that my toes were on the line. It was kind of an unnerving feeling.
But there wasn’t much time to dwell, because when the whistle sounded, I took off–much faster than expected. But I couldn’t help it. The temps were perfect (cool, sunny, low 50s) and there was nothing but open road in front of me and the ocean to my right.
I hit the first mile marker at around an 8:20 pace, although I noticed my Garmin read 1.1. Ugh. So frustrating, And that would be a trend for the duration of the race. The mile markers never seemed to match up. Normally, I would blame my Garmin, but given some of the issues Jess and the lead runners had (losing 2 minutes because their police escort didn’t indicate that they should turn onto the bike path), and the fact that I know I ran the tangents, I suspect the course was off by a good .20.
Anyway, even though I was a little speedier than I intended, once I entered the bike path just before 3 miles, I knew I had to slow my pace to something closer to 8:45. But I was feeling good. Not coasting but not pushing myself too hard, either.
After about two miles on the bike path, we exited on to a residential road with a few rolling hills that slowed me down some…and that I knew would lead to the whopper of a hill closer to the end of mile 5. Oy. It was just as painful as I remembered. But I chugged along, even as my pace crept up a tiny bit more.
Eventually, the hill evened out and then we headed down the decline back to the Sea Crest Beach Hotel, where I crossed around 56:23 minutes (their time) and 6.45 miles on my Garmin… but 55:10 when my Garmin hit 6.2.
So maybe we split the difference? Either way, I’m excited that I was only a minute or so off my 10K PR when I know I still had gas in the tank.
Overall I was the 34th finisher (out of 257 10K participants) and 9th in my age group. Guess who was first in our age group? Go, Jess!
After grabbing some water, I made my way down to the beach where I enjoyed the best post-race ice bath!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stick around for much 0f the post-race festivities. As I’m sure most of you parents can relate, Saturdays are our crazy day and I needed to hustle home (only an hour away) to make sure Buddy got a haircut and to get ready for the New England Revolution game that night that we were attending with our town’s soccer league.
Anyway, here are some final thoughts on the race…
- I love running a women’s only race (although, yes, there were some men there). Such a supportive and encouraging vibe, whether you’re a newbie runner or an old pro.
- Like last year, there is basically no crowd support during the race, and running on the bike path (while nice and flat) is a little boring and anti-climatic. But having now run both the 10K and the half marathon, I can also say I like how neither race is crazy crowded. You can get into a groove right away.
- Lots of aid stations, but the signage was tough yet again. Luckily there were always other runners around me, but I could see how easily you could get confused if you were running solo. It almost happened to me last year during the half marathon.
- Easy and free parking in a nearby beach parking lot and REAL BATHROOMS at the hotel!
- Massages, wine and — hello?! — the beach and ocean post-race.
- Love the early 7:30am start time. Most 10Ks I’ve run start later in the morning, around 11am, which not only messes with my head but also my fueling schedule, since I’m used to running at the crack of dawn.
Now I’m prepping for Sunday’s Smuttynose Half Marathon…and praying that this cold and cough I’m battling will be long gone. Oh, and also that the TROPICAL STORM (um, seriously?!) they’re predicting will take a sharp turn in the other direction.