Zoom - Zoom - Zooma

Sep 12, 2013

Three weeks post release from the doctor (more, here) was the race, destination, and road trip I had been waiting for, incessantly talking about, and dreaming of all summer - Zooma.

"Flat" course (more on that in a bit), wine at the finish, SWAG bag complete with yoga mat, and if you register early, a care training package. And that's the highlight reel. 

(via Instagram)

The night before we departed I spent entirely too much time packing a snack bag. All the essentials (coffee, nanners), plus road trip and train snacks. 

I'm a snack-a-saurus.

(via Instagram)

This gal (her race recap, here) drove six hours to STL and woke with the farm animals so we could be at the outlet mall when it opened  hit the road. And, for the record, I was on time with the road trip fun bus (this time). Which shocked the crap outta Amie and M. Both said some compelling version of "holy crap YOU, on time?!?" So supportive these two...

After a marathon (ha) lap around the mall, snagging the exact same purse Amie had (in pic above - $20 make you holla!) cuz I'm a follower and want to be just like her. I mean how could you not, I asked her to, "dress like your homeless cuz I fully intend to be comfy for our journey" and she shows up looking like she just stepped out of a magazine cover. Jerk. 

I digress.

After shopping we began my "plan" to not pay a zillion dollars (no lie I think it was $70/day + tax) to park the car. The plan: : drive up, park at our friend A's building in the burbs, cab a few miles to the train station, and ride Metra into the city for $30. Total.  Too bad our cab driver rolled up like a sociopath in a normal car without a taxi label and Amie spent the entire ride asking him questions (for the police line up), and making sure his hands didn't stray from the steering wheel. Bible. Hilarious town. The train ride took about an hour, and we hoofed the mile-ish to our hotel which ended up being awesome cuz we got to stretch our legs after the journey to the center of the earth. Or downtown Chicago. 

hotel lobby
We walk up to this nondescript skyscraper that ended up being the host hotel. Any runner knows the "host hotel" most times means you are shelling out major dough-ray-me to lodge near the start, but considering the entire world was visiting Chicago that weekend and it was either $265 for the host hotel or $750 to pop bottles with the Donald, we bit the bullet and called it a treat to ourselves.

As we entered (via doorman) we were greeted by a chic dressed attendant (in a Chanel suit) that escorted us up the elevator to the front desk. Walking up we were handed off to the front desk person who (already knew our names!). Since we love each other but not enough to share a king bed and spoon, we opted to wait for a room with double beds and hit the expo. When asking which way the expo was, the attendant from the lobby (appears out of thin air) and escorts us to the expo. Is this what Diddy feels like?

Originally registered for the half, bumping down to the 10k was easy peasy no big deal.  The expo was small, but like any good shop-a-holic with no willpower we managed to find new headbands (thanks Amie!), and sat in on a Q&A sesh' with Sara Hall(!). 

the frosted glass is their "reveal" glass
Made our way back to the front desk, greeted by our luggage and bellman who escorted us to our room. When he asked, "want me to show you how the room works?" should have been a sign.  That or me thinking the doorbell (yes, doorbell) was the key reader. It wasn't.  

I felt <this> big. 

55" LCD television
Dressing parlor with vanity table
Complimentary coffee and tea appliances
Dual wet room with tub and rain shower
"Reveal" bathroom glass wall with opaque privacy at the touch of a button
Botticino Fiorito marble, Alaskan White granite and Travertine bathroom (source)

When he showed us the "reveal" glass shower we knew we'd made it to the big leagues. 

Why can't we be tucked into bed like this every night?! Boise stereo playing soothing music, bottles of water, slippers, note on our pillow.

(via Twitter)

Once  stopped pressing all the buttons, face-timing everyone for tours, and screaming like it was Christmas showered,we headed out in search of pre race dinner.

(via Instagram)

Took a feast to the face here, complete with Veggie Burger (one of the best I've ever had), fries, and wine. 

After much needed walk to get fro yo we headed back to our hotel to catch some zzz's before race day. 

Race morning we woke, had a dance party, made coffee, and pranced around in our robes like royalty.

Pro Compression + tiny espresso cups. I "may" have had a tiny glass with tiny spoon, then took a giant mug of love to the face after that.

Sip like you mean it. Ugh, forgot to flip up that pinky - amateur

Cheers to a great race day - goal: win a second medal HAVE FUN!

The slippers were uber cozy

But at some point I traded comfort for comfort: Band Aid Friction Block, Balega socks, Orthotics (how sassy and purple-y are they!?), Mizuno. In that order. 

itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot - headbands
Perk of staying at the host hotel - shuttle to/from the start ftw. 

Got there with plenty of time to roam around, hit the porta potties (twice), and have a photo shoot/warm up on the beach. Naturally.

Side Note: while in Spin class I saw a lady with the tank I'm wearing in the above picture and went on a man hunt (this guy).

The start was not overly crowded, music was playing, and we made our way into the start chute with no issues. Even though Amie was running the half and I the 10k, we started together. It's our jam.  And every time we toe up to start I demand she prays aloud and we hold hands while giving it up to Jesus. Truth. Calms my heart err time. 

post race PARTY
The gun went off. Started out slow, focused on my breathing and made frequent check ins with myself to see how the ole body and leg was feeling. The course wound around Lake Shore path, the neighboring park, and bits overlooking the beach. 

My observations:

The course was not flat. More like rolling (small-ish) hills
Parks in Chicago are packed on Saturday morning (run groups, strollers, roller-blader's)
It was way warmer than anticipated
I wish we ran along the water front longer
Aid stations were well spaced with Cytomax and water
Running through the park was confusing - one girl took the cut off for the 10k, and she was running the half :(
Volunteers were well marked and friendly
A church along the course was handing out snacks and bottled water

First race post injury I knew this was not going to be a PR, I wasn't going to get the PB medal, and that I needed to take this race easy like my doctor said. Truth time - I did not run one walk two like he said. I ran conservatively (or so I thought), walked each aid station, and took off again. If I felt like I was going too hard, I tried to slow my roll. If I felt a twinge, I walked. I cannot tell a lie, when I saw my time and thought I could, in fact PR, I gunned it, only to lose steam about .25 seconds later. So I walked till I saw corner right before the finish. Held my head up, started running again, and pushed myself not to stop until I crossed the finish line. Taking it easy and being mindful of my injury I still refused to finish a race feeling like I didn't empty my gas tank. So I ran. 1/3 of the way I got winded, but didn't stop. As I approached the finish line, gave it everything I had, and slowed to a stop. 

I immediately dissolved into sobs as I collected my finishers medal, water, and banana (Finish Line video, here). Found a spot to sit down and collect myself on the beach. Called my family to let them know I finished. Took a few moments to collect myself and bring my conscious to the present. It was certain - I was in excruciating pain more than ever before. Determined to see Amie finisg I dusted myself off and walked over to get a  glass of lemonade.

Headed over to the PT/Med tent 

The therapist noticed my demeanor, quickly assessed my concerns, and began stretching me out, taking care not to illicit too much additional pain. As we chatted her thoughts were what I already knew deep down - I'd run the race too hard. She suggested I ice it, take Tylenol for pain, and rest. As it was a PT tent they didn't have ice so I went to the medics at the finish. No ice. They pointed me in the direction of a bait shop across the way so I set off, pain dulled, for ice, thanking God I had my debit card on me. Once inside I asked for ice (he only sold 10lb bags), and a zip loc (he didn't have any), and if he took debit card (he didn't). Defeated and on the verge of fresh tears another customer offered to fashion me an ice pack out of his ice. 

To the kind gentleman in the bait shop, my cup overflows with gratitude for your kindness.

Armed with my ice pack I made my way back to the finish to wait for Amie, finding a spot to rest and cheer on other runners.

After she crossed the finish line we headed for the post race P-A-R-T-Y

First up, wine. Endless bottles. It was like heaven. Cuz I think I'm classy I got a glass of champagne.

Found a cozy spot in the shade, grabbed our snack box and went to town. 

Oh my lands! It was vegetarian - and the most flavorful sandwich with pungent cheese, sauteed veggies, and doughy asiago bread. Add in the live band - home girl was in heaven.

Exhasuted, we nixed the idea of post race yoga and headed back to the hotel to shower and rest.

(via Instagram)

After a nap, some reality TV, and long luxurious waterfall shower we got dressed for shopping and headed out for Michigan Ave.

Stopping for hallway photo ops, compression socks, and comfy clothes - mandatory

Tip - if you order a grilled cheese in a burger joint, be prepared to get the stink eye. 

After a full lap on Michigan Avenue my leg was screaming, I became a bee with an itch, so we did what any red blooded 'merican would do - stopped for snacks and a little grape juice at a cute Tapa's restaurant near the Hancock Building.

Cuz we are super-duper popular, A and C drove into the city and met us for dinner. It was walking distance to our hotel #winning, but the food was just ok. 

Amie and her Moscow Mule
After a lesuirely dinner, a few drinks and lots of laughter we walked back to our hotel and passed out. 

The journey home:

I researched the train schedule yet didn't account for the fact Amie had a six hour drive so leaving on the first train (11am-ish) was out of the question. Our creep-tastic cab driver texted me (yep, weird, odd, and borderline unsettling), but since we didn't want to become a skin coat opted to cab it solo.  The bellman outside flagged us a cab at 5 am(!), negotiated a flat fee, and even paid part of it. Short hair slept pretty much the entire ride back home, waking like a jerk for food and when we got to STL. Friend of the year.

Final Thoughts:

My orthotics rock, though I probably should have worn them more prior to race day (holy blister town)
Mizuno Wave Sayonara are the bomb.com
Wearing a tank under your tank is stupid, especially if the first layer rolls up and strangles your muffin top
Triple check travel plan

And, because I can't not log them, my results - time: 1:06:25 (full race recap, here)

Bib: 6361
Time: 1:06:25; 119 of 321 overall; 115 of 311 female; 29 of 65 age group

Overall, the weekend was fantastic. Quality time with good people, impeccable service, amenities, and accommodations (Langham, you deserve all the stars in my book), and a unique race experience.

The ole leg? Well, it had thoughts of its own...

-- to be continued -- 

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