The ZOOMA Napa Valley Ambassadors are excited to bring you our Zooma Napa Valley Runner Reports! Each week we’ll be featuring a ZOOMA Napa Valley half marathon or 10K runner on each of our blogs. As women runners, we want to use our role as Ambassadors to highlight and share the stories behind the incredible women preparing to run ZOOMA in June. Each runner has a special and unique story, and we invite you to learn about our runners through this series. Please feel free to click through the links at the end of each post to read about additional ZOOMA racers.
Runner Report: Caryn Nowak
Current City: San Diego, CA
Race (10K or half marathon): Half Marathon
Why are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley?
In September last year I completed the ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon and loved it! Great course, great swag, and awesome event geared towards women. I was happy to hear that the series was coming out West. When I heard that is was coming to Napa, I asked my friend Susan Carino if she was interested and let her know I liked the atmosphere and event that ZOOMA put on compared to other women’s races. So we planned this back in January, and it will be our final race for June with two other races that month- San Diego and Seattle. I am looking forward to the event and a weekend in Napa!
When & why did you start running?
I started running when I wasn’t able to play indoor soccer anymore. I had suffered an injury in which my ankle twisted in and out, and was told no more lateral movement. Ironically, I HATED running although I played both indoor and outdoor soccer most of my childhood and adult life. I started out doing 5ks about 10 years ago and did my first half marathon just before my 30th birthday. Then I said what most runners say “I’m never doing that again.” So much for saying that as the planning is in the works for my 40th birthday by running Center of the Nation and 50th birthday running in Maui.
How many races have you done & which was your favorite?
To date, I have completed 58 half marathons in just over 5 years. Favorites… tough choice but the ZOOMA Cape Cod half tops the list for the all around well put together event. The night before the race, I attended the Honest Mocktail party, where Honest had a display of their soda selection and coupled it with some rootbeer cupcakes and rootbeer floats. Race day was easy if you stayed at the host hotel, it was just steps outside the front door of the hotel to the start/finish line. Post race there was yoga on the beach, a great way to engage runners into stretching out post race (since most of us do not do enough stretching), and one of the race swag items was a yoga mat. I liked that in lieu of a medal last year they gave out necklaces with a runner girl on it, something that sets the race apart from other races with something unique at the finish.
What is your favorite running memory?
My favorite running memory has to be running with friends. Your running friends become like family……you miss them when they are not running the same races, you miss and worry about them when they are injured, when you aren’t running with them for whatever reason you miss being out there on the pavement with them.
What is your one running must-have?
Body Glide! Nothing worse than taking a shower post race and the burning sensation that comes along with just finding out you chaffed on your run.
What is your favorite post-run indulgence?
Cheez-Its! As funny as it sounds when you are unable to get a full meal in post race, it can hold you over. Some friends and I ran San Antonio back in November in the morning, and then flew to Las Vegas to run the half at night and believe it or not we still talk about how Cheez-Its saved the day! We were all cautious about eating a big meal since we had to do another half marathon again in a few hours and didn’t want GI issues. I had brought some Cheez-Its on the plane to share and they were gone quickly as everyone needed a little food and some salt. More races should have these in their post race snacks J
Who is your running inspiration?
When I see any challenged athlete who has over come some type of leg amputee, they become heroes. These people are determined to get back on their feet and hit the pavement no matter what it takes, that is truly inspirational. As they could be on the couch, but instead have the desire and will to get out and be active and participate in races.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from running?
No matter how tough a day you are having out there, you can do it! Believing in yourself is half the battle, getting out there and doing it is the other half. I have learned that when I have a bad day, sometimes I just need to go for a run to change my mood. The fresh air, the scenery, and good company makes one happy!
Read about more of our featured Napa Valley Runners on the ambassadors blogs here:
If you want to get in on the fun be sure to sign up! For more information about the race head over to the Zooma Run website. Sign up and receive 10% off registration with code: NAMB3 I hope to see you there!
Are you running ZOOMA Napa Valley and would like to be featured in our Runner Report series? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!