Austin Racecation: Zooma Half Marathon Recap

Our runcation/racecation to Austin was my first out-of-state race adventure! I was very excited to do my 5th half marathon in one of my favorite cities and vacation at the same time! I’d had the chance to meet the ladies of Zooma at the Princess Half expo in February, and knew they were going to put on quite the race!
Leading up to the race I’d been checking out the weather forecast like a feind so that I packed properly. I didn’t quite understand how it could read 38 for a low and 88 for a high until I experienced it for myself. The mornings in Austin are pretty chilly and then around early afternoon it warms up like nothing ever happened. (Most people say to live clothed in layers there.)

I planned on wearing a Brooks Mesh skort & my Glycerin top – with a jacket overtop, of course.
My cousin and his girlfriend came into town on the Thursday before the race and, knowing how early races start and how far we had to drive (about 40 minutes away from our hotel in Austin,) I let them know that they were A-ok to not come with us when they found out the wake up call was at 430am. Still, they insisted on coming to hang out with hubs and cheer me on at the race – tear 😉 So, race morning, we headed out to Bastrop from Austin around 515am to catch shuttle buses to the race start at the Hyatt Lost Pines resort.
 
 
 
Me with my family. Newfoundland doggies greeting runners and spectators. Me at the start!
I’ll preface this race recap with a “whoops, I didn’t read the race description well enough beforehand” precursor.
The ZOOMA Texas half marathon is a challenging course through the scenic Texas countryside with rolling hills. The 5K course includes portions of the half marathon course outside the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort property. (source)
I’ve also included the coursemap and elevation chart that I didn’t look at in a whole lot of detail beforehand either.
 
Miles1- 4: I knew to expect “rolling hills” but had no idea what I was in for. None. Nada. Florida hills are nothing compared to what I had coming….everything WAS bigger in Texas! Once I headed into the first stretch of the race I knew what I was in for. Incline after decline after incline after decline ensued all the way through this segment of the course. I had it in my head to do my absolute best at this race should the weather and my breathing feel up to it. I’d bought an IT band at a local Texas running store to help out my right leg, too. With all conditions met, I repeated “no excuses Kat, no one can take this race away from you except YOU” and held a steady 8:45 decline and 9:45 incline pace through the hills. Blue bonnets and other wildflowers threw in a splash of color as I enjoyed looking around at the country-like surroudings.
Miles 5 – 8: After I began to feel somewhat of a decline begin, I finally felt like I was cruising around this point. Kind of. The hills still had eyes, don’t get me wrong. At each water stop, I slowed down to take a sip and I’d taken E-caps that morning to help with hydration. Physically, I felt good. My right IT started to slack a bit after the work my leg’s put in up to this point but I was still able to move along. The hills calmed down just a smidge and we were on an out and back stretch that seemed someone flatter than the rest of the course. I saw a twitter friend, Jen (thefitfork.com), come towards me (a good 20 minutes ahead of me) and knew she was a shoe-in to win – she looked strong and happy, motivating me to keep going!
Miles 9 – 13.1: Ah, the elusive 9 mile wall – gets me every stinkin’ time. For most of the race I felt at peace – kind of in a zone I hadn’t been in before. I used a lot of my time to pray and focus and enjoy the new scenery around me. When I hit my wall, I said to myself “you need to motivate and inspire!” repeatedly to push towards the front of the Hyatt Lost Pines resort – I knew there was about a 5k left of the race a.k.a. about 30 minutes left of running! Once we came into the resort I found myself looking for the finish – “were we almost done? where’s the end?” There were many spectators cheering us all on. Around Mile 11, I paused to walk – I didn’t mean to, but my legs were tired and I slowly came to a walking pace. A girl I’d been near most of the race, who was running for ovarian cancer, said “we’re almost there, 2 miles to go, come on!” Usually I’m the one going faster at the end helping others along so this time someone gave me a little of what I needed. I thanked her and pushed forward using my arms to semi-propel me. A few of us were reeling each other in on and off and soon I saw my cousin and his girlfriend cheer me on – “push hard, Kat, almost here!” I looked at my watch, which I didn’t look at much during the race, and saw I was at 1:56 – could I PR? Probably not – a tough course, but still a good finish and finishing time in sight! On the home stretch, I saw another woman run in her friend who was racing to my right – in my mind, I pretended she was running me in and increased my pace to his my 2nd goal: hitting another sub 2 finish … solo.
Final results:
 
I was 32 seconds from a PR. Thirty-two. BUT I couldn’t be more proud of this race. I really battled mentally through a tough course and to get a sub-2 hour finish solo meant a lot to me – I only had myself to push out there. I thought back to when Kris pushed me at the Womens half …. I had her to drag me when I needed a lift. Relying on myself took a lot of focus, focus that’s taken me a while to get better at.Thanks to those hills I have to shiny new black spots on my toes too -ah, battle wounds.
 
The Hyatt Lost Pines resort was gorgeous and very Texas! My cousins were so awesome to wake up super early and brave the cold while cheering on me and the other runners coming into the resort – they deserved to stay warm by the fire!
Me coming into the home stretch – the lady in purple to my left was gunning in the lady on my right in blue – I pretended she was running ME in 😉 I was happy to see the awesome line up of mats to stretch on and foam rollers – how fancy! I even made a few friends while pretending to not hurt as much as I did.
Half #5, done!
I absolutely LOVED this race! Not only was it a new course, new state, new scenery, but the gals at Zooma did a fantastic job putting it together! I was able to have my packet sent to me beforehand so that I didn’t drive out and back 40 minutes while on vacation. They also sent me Muscle Milk goodies along with a parking pass since I was one of the first 500 women to register! I didn’t get to take home the elusive “PR medal” – which was pretty sweet – but did get a Zooma 2013 Satya necklace instead of a finisher’s medal along with a yoga mat and water bottle! The course was well-stocked with refreshment and staff along with an awesome post-race celebration including wine, yoga, massages, healthy eats, and Texas-flair!
 
Happy around the halfway point

Gunning in for the finish

Only to post for photos 😉

 
I hope to do another Zooma race in the future for sure! One month until my 6th half, level 2 of the Half Fanatics, and a break from these babies!
Have you ever done an out-of-state race?
Hills: love them or loathe them?

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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67 Comments
  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:11 pm

    OMG that dog in the Zooma bib is to die for!! Fantastic job (as always) getting your sub 2 half and eating those hills for breakfast. Austin didn’t see that coming did it?

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:27 pm

    That sounds like a great race to run…I love that they sent you your packet in advance! Congrats on a really great race, especially when you aren’t used to hills!

    I have raced out of state quite a bit. I love trying new locations…in fact, whenever I go on vacation, I look to see if there are races nearby b/c I really enjoy the experience.

    There’s a Zooma half in Annapolis…just saying!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:30 pm

    Congrats on an awesome race!! Im soo proud of u!!! Especially kickin ass.on a tough course.. i know those hills dont get along with the IT issues but u stayed mentally strong and u killed it! Love the necklace.. its nice because u cam wear it all the time.. well u could wear a medal all the time but u may get some weird looks lol. I prefer no hills… obviously but it is challenging and i guess a challenge is good to push our limits sometimes. Looking foward to Divas! Will b my first out of state race!!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:38 pm

    Great job!!

    I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll St. Petersburg last year and that was my second out of town race. The Baltimore half was my first but I don’t really count it since Maryland ins’t that far away.

    I loathe hills but deal with them since my neighborhood is nothing but hills.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:48 pm

    You are killing it girlie!!
    LOVE!!!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:50 pm

    Ah yes…wouldn’t be a ZOOMA course without hills 🙂 Great job Kat on a tough course – you ran a great race!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Great job lady!! Sounds like a tough course – I can’t WAIT to get back to running already! haha Half Fanatics huh? That sounds fun!! Good job — and that necklace is beautiful!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:03 pm

    It is absolutely GENIOUS that they had mats and foam rollers set up for runners after the race. Awesome! Also, love the bling! Cheers! Tara xo

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Wow, just 30 seconds away from your pr on such a hilly course is awesome, Kat! You definitely have another pr in you. That part of Tx is crazy hilly…. and then just a few hours away, we have NO hills here. Glad you had such a good time!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:12 pm

    That looked like a really fun race. I am proud of your finish with all of those hills. It looked like a really tough course! It looks like you are going to be getting a half PR really soon!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:17 pm

    Great job girl! Love the necklace!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:30 pm

    Awesome job girl – Texas hill country is NO joke but you did amazing! Congrats on your first solo sub-2! You rock!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:46 pm

    Congrats on the sub2! That necklace changed a bit from the Zooma Florida. I wonder if that’s going to be their standard one from now on. I love the idea of a cute necklace.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:46 pm

    That is one heck of a race course! But great job anyway!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 1:53 pm

    Wow! Congrats girl!!!!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 3:10 pm

    Wow, Awesome job on those hills Kat! Looks like you really rocked it!
    I love the foam roller, as much as it hurts it gets rid of any issues I have with regular use.
    So, any thoughts on doing Half2Run where you run 25 Half Marathons in 25 States? I started that a few years ago as I LOVE mixing running and travel.
    Great job again!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 3:25 pm

    I love Texas. and that zooma swag looks AMAZING. I wish they had a race closer to me!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 3:57 pm

    Wuhoo! You rock! I’m so proud of you fighting through the mental struggles and pulling an AWESOME time all on your lonesome! Texas hills are probably mountains to our puny ones and you barrelled right on over them… imagine what kind of sweet PR you can get on a flat course next?! 😉

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 3:58 pm

    I can’t wait to run Zooma Cape Cod this fall!!
    -Kim Perry RunHunny.com

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 4:00 pm

    What a great race! I’m looking at doing zooma cape cod in the fall. Live the swag!

    Mile 9 gets me all the time too. Great job pushing through!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 4:08 pm

    I hate hills! But when you live and run somewhere other than FL, it’s a necessary evil. Great job on the half!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 4:47 pm

    Crazy. I cannot imagine running real hills! Go you!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 5:34 pm

    I really despise hills. I grew up in Pittsburgh surrounded by hills. You can’t walk, drive or bike anywhere without at least walking up one incline. So I think that is partially where my loathing comes from. When I was younger, my father would make me ride my bike up the steepest hill in the neighborhood because he told me it was good for my leg muscles. I HATED it and I still don’t think I’ve gotten over those early mornings of struggling to make it up, but afraid to be yelled at if I got off the bike and walked it.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 5:40 pm

    That sounds like a fun race. I love the atmosphere. I can tell it in your pictures. I love the scene of runners foam rolling. 🙂

    I’ve done an out of state race and planning to do more in the future. 🙂
    I live in a hilly place so I have no choice but to love hills. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 10:23 pm

    Awesome job Kat!!! So proud of you for battling it out solo! Hills? I HATE them lol!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2013, 10:33 pm

    Woohoo, Kat! Sub-2 is awesome–nice job! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013, 1:15 am

    Great job on a tough course! Zooms races seem to be notoriously hilly. I did Zooma great Lakes. Ouch. Fun though!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013, 1:39 am

    I am so proud of you for killing it with the hills. We don’t have hills in the south we have bridges. The hills in Nashville are gonna kill me, i May need to phone a friend… beam you up!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013, 2:14 am

    Great Job! I saw the link to your blog on Twitter and then realized that I took your picture that morning with your friends. Small world:)

    Glad you had a great race. Come back and race in Texas soon!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2013, 5:45 pm

    Great job, Kat! You can always come to the Cape and try again 😉 I ran the NWM out of state woof, that is one course that I want to tackle when I am stronger and faster.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013, 1:15 am

    Great job!! So proud of you 🙂

    I’ve never done an out-of-state-race. Out of state spinning, yes 😉 A race is one my bucket list.

  • Reply
    March 30, 2013, 11:43 pm

    How fun to do a runcation! Looks like awesome scenery, and of course you look great in all your pictures! I saw the ones on FB and seriously I think you hae a permanent smile on your face! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 2, 2013, 1:26 am

    Congrats on a great race! Sorry about the PR, but a sub-2 hour is incredible!! I strive for a sub-3 hour and only have one of those, my PR.

    And so far, I have run only one half marathon in-state: FL (Princess, 1st), Philly (current state), VA (PR), Atlantic City (home state), VA (same race as before). I’ll be doing Zooma Annapolis in June, so add MD to my 1/2 list, though I’ve run a ton of shorter races in MD.

    • Reply
      April 2, 2013, 1:59 am

      Thanks Chris! I did the princess too! You’ll love Zooma for sure! Ill be in Md/Va when I do MCM in October! Thanks for visiting!

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