Last fall, my sister mentioned that she was going to start running and maybe run a half marathon at some point. I was chosen to represent the ZOOMA Texas Half Marathon as an ambassador for the second time, so it turned into the race that we committed to run together (actually, I put that in my bio, which was published on the ZOOMA website so she couldn’t turn back, ha!).
After picking her up at the airport on Friday, we had a quick dinner at Which Wich (love that place!) and then headed out to the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines, which is about a 30 minute drive outside of Austin. We got there just in time to grab our race bags and participate in the “mocktail” hour, as well as meet some of the other ambassadors.
We spent the rest of the night relaxing and getting up for the race, plus an early bedtime (10 p.m…. oh it felt so good!). Last year when I ran this race, I didn’t spend the night and I must admit it was really nice to wake up, roll out of bed, grab some breakfast and be at the start line in a matter of steps. The hotel itself has somewhat expensive prices, but I do think it was a nice way to splurge to enjoy the race.
I ate 3/4 a whole wheat bagel and spoiler alert, no gut issues! I may stick with this to see if it keeps up.
All of us ambassadors met up to say good luck to each other and then we were headed out to the start. It was a cool morning, which was perfect for starting the race.
Before we knew it we were off! My sister agreed to running 5 minutes / walking 3 minutes throughout the race. It was about seven minutes in and I asked her if she wanted to walk and she said no, so we kept going. We didn’t walk the first time until 17 minutes in, and I was so proud of her!
If you haven’t heard, the first six miles of this race is ridiculously hilly (it is Hill Country!) — I think someone told me there are 17 hills during this time! I would push her to run halfway up the hill and walk the other half if she needed to, and then run down the other side. I think she must have been swearing at me in her head quite a bit during those moments. 😉
Once you get past the hills, you do a bit of an out and back and see some of the people in front of you. From there, you head to a mentally tough part of the course: running past where you turn off for the finish and then weaving through the golf course for the last few miles. The ZOOMA organizers do put up signs with inspirational quotes and funny running jokes, which are a good distraction… but it was still a little rough.
My sister said she was done around mile 9 and felt like she was moving super slow at the end, but I couldn’t really tell! She did such a great job finishing strong!
We finished in 2:38!! Betsy did an amazing job in her first half marathon, especially since she had the worst training cycle ever (most people would have quit or given up but she pushed through). She was aiming for 15 minute miles, and finished well below that with an average just over 12 minute miles.
What to know about the ZOOMA Texas Races:
>>> There’s a half, 10k and 5k that all run in about the same area. The half definitely has the most hills. I’ve heard some people are scared of running this course because of the hills, but don’t let it! It’s extremely beautiful and if you can conquer hills in a race, you can conquer anything.
>>> The hotel books up super fast! Make sure you book early so that if you want to stay over, you have that option. If you do not want to stay, they do have parking with the high school down the road and use shuttle buses to take you back and forth.
>>> Registration for next year’s race is already open! It will be held on April 16. It’s a perfect race getaway for a girl’s weekend!
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