Saturday, September 29, 2012

ZOOMA Cape Cod race report... LATE!

(My apologies to Megan in advance because she will immediately recognize that I failed to share the enormity of the laughs and silliness that ensued for us from the moment she got in my car until I dropped her off at home late Saturday afternoon. I wish I could do the trip justice, but at this point, I just want to get ANYTHING written on this blog!!)

Last Friday night, after many days of stress and lists and planning and stress and cleaning and stress, I took a night and day away from my family to run the ZOOMA Women's Half Marathon in Falmouth, MA... which is on Cape Cod. My dear friend and fellow Mother Runner, Megan joined me on the adventure and (spoiler alert!) it was AWESOME.

Originally, Scott & my boys were going to make the trip down, stay at my in-laws Friday night (while I stayed at the hotel), watch the race and then we would all stay one more night at my in-laws Saturday till Sunday. But... as the calendar crept up on the date, Scott's work life calendar began to get crazier and crazier and it became obvious that he wasn't going to be able to pass off all of the responsibilities for those 24 - 28 hours on other people. 

Next, the plan was that my in-laws would come up from Cape Cod (ironically) and stay with Tommy and Elliott while Scott worked, I would take Gabe with Megan and me to the race, and some generous friends would watch the baby while I ran. About a week before the race, though, I got thinking about how STRESSED OUT I was about leaving the boys, and how that stress was nothing compared to the stress I was feeling about dragging a 5-month-old to what was (theoretically, anyway) a fun weekend race/road trip. I decided that if my husband and in-laws were willing, the baby was going to stay home.

I must say: Best.Decision.Ever.

Enough back story. 

We arrived at the lovely hotel (the parking lot of which was literally the start and finish line for the race - BONUS!) at 8PM, a.k.a after packet pick up ended. Thankfully the lovely and talented Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell were there representing Another Mother Runner at the expo and agreed to get our stuff for us. (No race day packet pick up). After ALMOST signing in as and taking the room of Christine Van Horn of Maryland (all we "Vans" are the same, right?) we met a very tired Sarah and Dimity in the lobby. Sarah was speechless. Literally. Total laryngitis going on. She was a trooper though and kept her promise to go out to dinner with us... until I said, "Hey, you feel like crap. You really shouldn't go out to dinner with us," which is what she was hoping I would say! As fate would have it, she and Dimity could not take advantage of the hotel's room service (because it didn't have any!) and so we caught up with them at the restaurant there anyway. 

This was my first time meeting Dimity in person and Megan had never met either of them. Like most things Mother Runner, there was no awkward "getting to know you" time and we laughed and talked (or sign-language'd, as the case may have been) and generally had a great time.
Dimity and I enjoyed a Blue Moon and pizza. Perfect pre-race hydration/fueling plan! 
We were all off to bed at the very reasonable hour of 10PM. Megan set her phone alarm for 5:30 so we would have time to eat a little something and let it digest before the 7:30 gun time. My first full night of sleep in 5 months? PRICELESS!

Pre-race. Feeling good!
Race morning was perfect for runners. Cool (50s) and cloudy. There were only about 500 runners in the 10K and half so no chaos or jostling about finding your way to the starting line. In addition, though this race wasn't closed to men, there were very few of them... I guess "Zooma Women's Race Series" doesn't scream out to guys "run me!" The vibe was very supportive and upbeat. At the very last minute, I decided to throw our a prediction of my finish time, which I had not given much thought to up until that moment. I guesstimated 1:55:00, thinking that 1:43 was my PR and it would be a good idea to add at least 12 minutes given my post-partum-ness and my severe lack of training in the final weeks before the race. (You may have noticed I haven't posted? It's for the same reasons I haven't been running: between Gabriel's nighttime scream-a-thons and my new job and my church obligations and Elliott and I being in "Gypsy"... well, time slips away, blogs don't get written and early morning runs are just not in the cards!)

The course had almost constant rolling hills. Nothing terribly steep but each of them pretty much running right into the next. I was happy to have trained on the mountains/hills of New Hampshire because I was ready for it.

Being me, I greeted every car with a wave and thanked all of the spectators, race volunteers and officials along the way. I had Polly (my "Fight Like A Girl" boxing glove) pinned to me and each time I went by the guy I assumed (correctly) was the official photographer, I held onto her and gave him my best fighting face. I may even buy those pics, they are so funny!
Dimity was on the course taking photos and grabbed this one of me, which is a rare look at me NOT being an ass for the camera. I was feeling good and it shows, I think!

I was surprisingly comfortable through out the miles. I hit my watch at each mile marker and psychologically that helped me a lot: I could glance down and know - about - how far I was from the next mile and I didn't have to look and see "oh, god, I've already been going for an hour and a half and it's still NOT OVER!" To hit my guess of 1:55 I knew my splits had to be 8:45-ish. My fastest mile was 8:00 and my slowest was 8:44... so I was much better than my predicted time - COOL!

Megan caught me at the finish....

Feeling good, all things considered! 
Megan rocked her 10K and we both made our most important goal of all: a glass of wine in our hands by 9:30AM. Now THAT's a good Saturday!

A privilege to hang with the Original Mother Runners! How many lives have these two changed? Countless! With mine at the top of the list!

 Post race was a blast, as you may have seen from the pictures. There was a great cover band with handsome young guys all dressed in snazzy black suits. We got in line on the beach, glasses of wine in hand, for a massage. SO good! We used out vouchers for the free lunch. We wandered about the expo, trying new things to drink and entering raffles that we will never win... And generally beaming at the other runners who were just as happy as we were for our collective lots in life. I started to miss my boys as I watched the other Mother Runners getting enthusiastic greetings from their little darlings... but I still knew I had made the right call!

On our way back to the room for showers we heard the announcer say, "And finishing now, all the way from Maryland, Christine Van Horn!" Too funny, we thought, that we happened to catch the runner whose room we almost stole. Being us, we of course went over to the finish line and told her the whole story, which seems lame now but was hilarious at the time. (Thankfully she saw the humor in it, too!)

After showers and checking out of our room (a couple of minutes late, but not bad, really!) we headed back to the expo for a little more schmooze time. That was when Megan cocked her head, looked at the band and said, "Ummm, I know the guitar player." Pretty random, huh!? He did theater with her back in the '90s. Soon enough he looked up and recognized her, too. They had a chance to catch up during a break in the music. Gotta love the small, small world we live in!

Dude on the left. I think his name was Justin. Anyway, Meg knew him. Funny stuff. Also, I can apparently always predict when a band is about to play "Living on a Prayer".

Eventually the expo ended and we realized we had to go home to our children and husbands... but we were totally ready after having such a great experience. 

One of the greatest things about this race is the website. They post the results AND you get a link to a video clip of your finish! Had I known the camera was there I totally would  have played to it. You can hear me give the guy credit for coming pretty close to saying my name correctly.

Race results: 
Chip time: 1:50:26
Overall: 39 of 246
Gender: 33 of 232
Age group (35-39): 5 of 62
Pace: 8:26

So, faster than my marathon pace, at least! And a great great great great GREAT "back from baby" race.

See you next year, ZOOMA Cape Cod!

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