Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ZOOMA Run-cation Weekend!

As many of you know I was selected to be an ambassador for the ZOOMA run held in Austin on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  I decided that after a few weeks of solid stress that I'd capitalize on the situation and turn this into a little "me time" run-cation! On Friday, I loaded up the car and headed south!  You honestly could not have dreamed up better weather for this weekend so the drive down was so quiet, peaceful and relaxing.

I arrived at the gorgeous Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa around 11am and was promptly checked in by a young man who was easily one of the nicest people I've ever met.  I unloaded everything into my room and then wanted to take advantage of the weather so I set out for the trails.

If you've never been to Hyatt Lost Pines I HIGHLY recommend it!  There is so much to do from running the trails, hiking, swimming, kayaking, trap shooting, etc.  Speaking of the trap shooting, I had no idea they even had that until I was out on the trail and heard gunshots >insert slight panic< and then realized based on sound it was likely trap shooting.  This was my second visit to this resort and the next time I go there will definitely be some trap shooting!  

Back to the running...I made my way down to the river for a quick pic.  Side note:  I never run with a phone or sunglasses but I wasn't exactly sure where the day would take me so better safe than sorry.


I did a 4 mile out and back along the trails and then my stomach decided it was ready for some lunch and a beer...I mean this is vacation after all, right?!?


After lunch I headed back to relax and do some reading.  With a view like this from my patio, how could you not just want to sit out here and read for hours?

This book is awesome by the way.
As part of race weekend, the sponsors of ZOOMA host a mocktail/cocktail party the night before. This was where I FINALLY got to meet some of the awesome ladies I've interacted with through ZOOMA.

Chatted it up for a little bit and then headed to the room to catch some shut eye, race day was a few hours away!

Saturday morning I woke up and went through my usual pre-race routine with breakfast, drank my Arginine Extreme, and a little warm up with stretching.  All of the ZOOMA ambassadors were meeting up in the lobby before the race to catch a quick photo.  Hands down the best part of this weekend was getting to meet these ladies.  Many of us have been following and supporting each others running endeavors via Instagram so it was so nice to meet in person!


After a little chatting and picture taking it was off to the races!  Literally.  The start/finish line for the 5K was right outside my patio, so that made for a really convenient start line experience.  I met up with Candace in the starting corrals and we both laughed and talked about how "not-fast" we were feeling that day.  I downed a gel for good measure and then we were off!  I approach 5K's much differently than I do the half or full marathon distance.  You can survive anything for 3 miles so my game-plan was to push myself that first mile and if I didn't feel like total death I'd keep going for it.  The first mile marker came up at .86 miles on my Garmin so I was thrown off on if either a) the marker was wrong or b) my Garmin was super confused by all the trees.  Either scenario was likely so I just decided to ignore it and run.  Just after I passed the 2 mile marker I knew I had it in me to keep truckin' and possibly hit a PR, but then I started to feel a little woozy.  (I'm sure the burger, fries and beer I had on Friday had nothing to do with that.  Oops.)  A few minutes later that woozy was magnified by the overwhelming aroma of fresh poo, to which I then see this guy:
That explains it.

Luckily he was so pretty to look at and the finish line was in sight to keep me distracted.   I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:19.  I was 3 seconds away from a new PR.  :03.  I had two initial thoughts on this:

1) >four letter words< >kicks dirt<  Why couldn't I have picked up the pace on that one part??  Ugggghhhhhh.
2) I completely changed my thought process and was really proud of that time.  Why? Because I was consistent.  Back in February I ran a 27:17 at a local 5K.  You know how when you set a PR you hope that you can do it again and that it wasn't just a fluke "you had a super excellent" kind of day thing?  I walked away from that finish line thinking I can officially say that 8:48 is my 5K pace.  This time last year I couldn't break the 30 minute mark in a 5K.  One of the biggest tools we have as runners isn't a pair of shoes, or fancy gadgets, or the best diet in the world...it's our way of thinking. 
If you think you can, you will.  Just takes time to get there and knowing HOW to get there.  I've grown leaps and bounds over the last year in how I train.  It's one of those things where I so wish I had known then (when I started running 5+ years ago) what I know now, but what can ya do? 

After gathering my thoughts, and a banana, I made my way back to my room.  My plan after the race was to take a quick shower and then hop in the car to make the 4.5 hour drive back home.  I got back to the room and decided to check my official results and see where I placed, hoping for a top 10 in age group.  I pulled up the results and my jaw about hit the floor, 2nd place in my age group!!!  Shut the front door.  Y'all, this was my first time to ever make the top 3!  I've come in 4th on a couple of occasions so to FINALLY sneak my way into the awards category was so exciting!  

Proof.
Garmin Stats:


Obviously knowing I was getting an AG award meant that the shower and drive home would just have to wait a little bit.  I find it fitting that the first time Brandon won an AG award I wasn't there, so he wasn't there to see me get mine.  However a sweet lady from the hotel offered to take my picture:


I'd hang this on my fridge if I could, but for now it will live in my office.


I called Brandon to share the good news and then I showered up quick and made the trek back home to celebrate with him!  He ran a local 5K that morning and ended up taking 1st in his age group so it was a great running weekend for the Culpepper household!

This little trip away was short but so needed and so fun.  It made me realize that I should take this time more often and seek out more adventures.  The Hyatt Lost Pines Resort was exceptional and I can't wait to go back for another trip!