Despite my fear going into the Zooma Napa Valley Half Marathon that I would crash and burn around mile 8, last weekend’s first half of 2015 actually went surprisingly well. I ran faster than I anticipated and almost 10 minutes faster than last year.
One of the good things about running a race where you already know the course is that you can correct what went wrong the year before. Last year I came into the race mentally and physically a little exhausted. I had a bit of a tight IT Band and it was a rough race. This year I went in with a different game plan and here is how it turned out.
Twas the Night Before Zooma
Friday night before the race I attended the Mocktail party with the other Zooma Ambassadors at the Marriott in Napa, the host hotel for the event. I met Lynda, of the blog Fitness Mom Wine Country, as she was my host for the evening. We grabbed dinner at Whole Foods and then headed to her house and then off to sleep.
I had a 5:30 wake-up call and it was off to the race. I had a quick bite to eat, a blueberry bagel, banana and Nuun and was ready to go. We got to the race venue about 45 minutes before the race start and with plenty of time to apply sunblock, make one last bathroom break and take a photo at the start with the other wonderful ambassadors.
I began the race running within myself and my abilities. I have a tendency to start out too fast and this race I actually held myself back. I fueled with water and Clif Shot Bloks, my go-to race fuel for the first 8 miles and with Chocolate Hazelnut PocketFuel for the last 5 miles. The course itself is out and back and runs past beautiful landscapes and vineyards. Last year I forgot to bring my own fuel and the water stations only provided Cytomax and Water, this year I learned my lesson and brought my own fuel, which kept my blood sugar from crashing like it did last year after mile 8.
Mile 8 felt pretty good. I just kept telling myself to keep running and not stop. The last few miles of a race are always more of a mental battle than a physical one. I just stayed mentally strong and kept running. I even passed multiple people on my way to the finish and finished with negative splits (which means I ran a faster pace per mile on the last few miles than the previous miles).
The last sprint to the finish was an absolute blast and I was excited to be done. I was a bit disappointed that I missed my goal of sub-2 hours, but was overall happy with my 2:01:46 finish, especially considering my sub-par training.
A big shout out to all the ladies who ran and finished the Zooma Napa Valley race! Sending positive vibes to all my fellow Zooma Ambassadors as well. I hope to see you all back in Napa next year!
I also want to send a big thanks to all the Zooma Race Sponsors and especially to Feetures! Running, the maker of my absolute favorite running socks! Go check them out, your feet will thank you.