After months of anticipation, this weekend was the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon, 10k and 5k. I was lucky to be chosen as an ambassador for this race, and it was such a fun experience! As part of my ambassadorship, I participated in several different runs leading up to the race, which was a great way to meet other runners.
The race is held about 20 minutes outside of Austin. So, I opted to not stay at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and drive in that morning. I was one of the lucky that got a parking pass for the high school across the street so our ride was only about 15 minutes to get to the start.
Thanks to no traffic (a rarity in Austin!), we got to the parking lot super early and to the race quite early as well. But that’s OK. 🙂 After wandering around the hotel and the Hummingbird Garden for a bit, we headed to the start. This is where I found out there was 17 hills in the first six miles. *GASP*
I knew there were going to be a lot of hills, but I didn’t expect that many. That being said, there wasn’t much to do about it about 45 minutes before race start.
Before I knew it, we were off! The race starts on the edge of the parking lot of the resort and takes you down a country road on the outside of the resort property. Here, there were a series of rolling hills. Right before mile 4, you hit the highway for a brief bit and it was flat. I was happy. And starting thinking to myself “this isn’t that bad!”
And then we went back onto the resort property, running on the path that takes you to the entrance of the resort. This is when I started to get really crabby and basically spent the next four miles yelling at myself in my head for not training hard enough for this race (or looking at the elevation profile). The hills were rolling, but to the point where my legs just did not want to move. The downhills were nearly as challenging as the uphills.
Side note: towards the end of the rolling hills, I experienced heart pain? I’ve never had this before while running and it freaked me out a little bit. Luckily, we went into a flat stretch and it went away… but yeah. Thinking my heart rate may have been super high from the hills?
At this point, you are back on the country road that you started on and do an out and back, heading back to the resort to run through the golf course. Here, ZOOMA smartly placed a bunch of motivational quotes and jokes along the way, which was AWESOME to see. Apparently I was zoned out during the golf course because I didn’t even realize that we ran around a pond until my friend Casey told me afterwards… 🙂
Finally… passed some longhorns and hit the finish line. I have never been happier to cross a finish line in my life. I finished in 1:49.21, fourth in my age group and 29th overall.
Afterwards, we stuck around and enjoyed some fresh fruit from HEB, some vino from Barefoot Bubbly & Wine and enjoyed the views of the resort.
Bottom line: This course is HILLY but it’s absolutely beautiful, which makes them less painful. I was not prepared for all of the hills, which led to some very angry moments while I was running.
I would say this is the most challenging course I’ve ever run (even more so than the Big Sur Marathon).
So, will I be back? YES. I want to train for the course and show those hills who’s boss!
What you need to know about ZOOMA Texas:
- The hotel fills up fast. I think when I run it again, I will try to stay at the resort the night before. I think I would have gotten a better night’s sleep and it would have been fun to enjoy all the race festivities that ZOOMA organizes for runners.
- If you choose not to stay at the hotel, register early — the first 500 get that lucky parking pass across the street, which makes it super easy to get in and out of the race.
- There are LOTS of hills. Not sure if I mentioned that.
- The whole point of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series is the experience of a race weekend. They work really hard to put on events (even during training) to help you have fun with the experience. The registration fee may be a bit higher because of that, but it’s definitely worth it. I loved the atmosphere of the race and that they had so much fun stuff to do afterwards!
- Did I mention there are hills?
- Men do run the race. There are a good number of men that run the race, so ladies, if you want your husband to join you for race weekend, tell him he can run and he won’t be the other one. He’ll just have to deal with a women’s race shirt. 😉
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