The Interval, 3/21/18

Amber Reber running for the win at the ZOOMA half marathon. Photo by David Fuentes.

The ZOOMA Texas races were held March 10 on the roads around the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines resort, between Austin and Bastrop.  My wife ran in this event some years ago, it may have been the first year, and it is different from most every race in that the focus is on women.  Nearly 700 people, almost all women, ran in the 5K, 10K, or half marathon.

The atmosphere is different:  they have more swag (hats, totes, socks, shirts), and the after party includes recovery yoga, mimosas, massage, food, and live music.  All of this takes place at a swanky resort.  Not your typical race…

One of the goals of the event is to encourage new runners who might be intimidated by a big city race.  I believe they succeed in that respect while the races still attracted some fast runners.  The 5K was won by Elizabeth Ryan in a quick 22:45.  Ashley Fincher was just 12 seconds behind and Kelly Owens another 30 seconds back for third.

Amy Marsh, the former pro triathlete, won the 10K in 42:09, that’s 6:47 pace on a hilly course.  Leslie Branam was second and Meredith Veiceli third.

The main event was the half marathon.  Amber Reber ran a 1:33 to win by several minutes over Elizabeth Pfaff and Jennifer Fisher.  Amber sent me her thoughts on the race:

ZOOMA Texas was a great race geared for women runners of all levels, offering 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon distances.  After hearing positive reviews in years past from fellow runners, this was my first year to run ZOOMA, and I was pleased to come away with the half marathon win!  The course was challenging with long rolling hills, twists through the golf course along the Colorado River near the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort – a beautiful hill country venue.  Cows in the pasture and blue bonnets along the road made me smile.  The race was well organized and race director Sarah Ratzlaff was very personable at packet-pickup and on race day.  ZOOMA swag – race shirt, hat, finishers medal and awards were nicely designed and stylish for women.  Thanks to all the volunteers, the Gazelles pace runners, and for a great mix of vendors, refreshments, yoga and more at the post-race festival.  I was grateful my boyfriend, David Fuentes, was there to cheer and support me throughout the race, and enjoyed celebrating with him and friends at the finish.

One of the Gazelle pacers was Ivi Kerrigan, for the 1:50 group.  She also enjoyed the race:

Great venue and great event for the women, especially for the first timers.   I met several ladies who ran/walked their first 5K ever and one gal who had never done 13.1 before.  Since the race was designed for the women, the participants  came  all  shapes and sizes-  most of these people would not show up for a competitive race like 3M.   The course was fair- some hills but plenty of downhills as well.   We should have more events like this in Central Texas.

Full results are here.

ZOOMA Half Marathon top five.  Photo by David Fuentes.

Interesting Articles

I ran the Marin Ultra Challenge (MUC) 50K last week and I thought one of the fast guys ahead of me might be Scott Dunlap.  I’ve been reading his “A Trail Runners Blog” for years.  He runs lots of races and always brings along a camera.  His posts are a combo of photos and race recaps, always beautiful and entertaining.  I was right, that fast dude was Scott:  his post this week was about MUC, he was 7th overall and second masters, in 4:29, ahead of me by 40 minutes.  I don’t know how he runs that fast and takes so many photos…

If you’ve ever read a gear review by DC Rainmaker, you need to read this Outside article on the man himself, Ray Maker.  It’s hard to understand how he maintains that level of quality and content production on his own.

Another piece in Outside is about the author’s quest to get a course record on a Strava segment.  Funny in an almost too-close-to-home way…

The spring ultra season is starting up and, if you have one on your calendar, you should read this Trail Runner article on the Mt. Gaolingong Ultra in China.  A couple of US elite runners offer up some useful tips, particularly from Mike Wardian regarding his DNF.

This one is hard to believe.  Ultrarunner and SkiMo expert Mike Foote has set a new world record for 24 hour vertical, with over 61,000 feet.  He did 60 laps on the 1,020 feet Ed’s Run near Whitefish, MT.  Good article from Outside.

A troubling article on Mo Farah from The Independent.  I hope it’s not true.  The London Marathon is on April 22 and Mo will be in the elite field along with Eliud Kipchoge.  (H/T to Andy Bitner.)

The Boston Marathon is just a few weeks away.  Pam LeBlanc did a nice interview with Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

Also on Boston, check out the table below for the max qualifying times of the runners in each corral for the last 12 years.  For 2018, all but the last 2 corrals are faster than ever.  Does this mean that this set of runners for Boston is the fastest ever?  Matt Fletcher sent me the table and also his analysis:

The Boston Marathon starts later in the morning than most races, and there is a 25 minute gap between each starting wave, so the difference between wave1 and wave2 (yet more so for wave3) could be the difference between some normal biological function (like eating or … “un-eating”… er…) as well as exposing one to substantially warmer temperatures and a sun higher in the sky.   Your body, if you are like most runners, is also probably more accustomed to running long miles early in the morning than at lunch time!

There is, therefore, a suite of practical reasons to want to race from wave1.  There is also, naturally, … well… EGO.  Come on, admit it — once the BAA send out bib# emails, instagram is flooded with Rocky memes and an eye-rolling array of hashtags…  #iMadeWave1Baby!  #killinItBaby!  #wellAtLeastImNotWave3 (baby?)

This chart catalogs 12 years of wave/corral qualifying times, and even the least-nerdy running nerd can’t miss the overall trends toward faster wave/corral times.  For wave1 aspirants, your ego may well be tested…

Even if you scroll across the current corral 8, back in 2007 you only needed a 3:22:42 to be in today’s wave1/corral8, where today you need a 3:09:36.  The BAA added wave3 in 2011 even though there were actually 1000 fewer runners, which had the effect of reducing the size of wave1 by 5 corrals.  Then in 2014, the post-bombing year, they added the 4th wave to accommodate the 9000 more runners, the majority of whom were deferrals from the suspended race.  Wave1 got almost 6 minutes harder to race from, and wave2 almost 10 minutes harder!

Since 2015 the field size of 31,000 or so has become the normal with 4 waves.  One might argue that just having more runners will make it harder to be in the fastest wave, but the corral sizes are fairly consistent, having roughly 1000 runners each, so, again, if you scroll across today’s Wave1/Corral8, 2018’s time is faster than any other year and 12 minutes faster than it was 10 years ago!   

I’ll do the math y’all are thinking right now — that’s a MGP of 28 secs/mile faster to be in corral 8 and get the 10am start conditions.

The take-away is that, since this trend may continue, train hard, or else you may find yourself at mile 23 banging your head against the bacteria-laden wall of a 95 degree porta-jon wishing you’d found the 10 seconds on your qualifying run needed to get you into wave1.  

Upcoming Races

The College Station 10 miler is this Saturday.  I know a couple people running and I’ll try to get some quotes for The Interval.

On Sunday I’ll be running (without any specific training or high expectations) in the first of the Rogue Trail Series events for 2018.  This race is at Walnut Creek and there are 10K and 30K events.

Cap10K is coming up fast, on April 8.