Women Empowering Women: ZOOMA Austin
OMG, runners/walkers and anyone who enjoys forward movement let me tell you about an awesome women's empowerment run: ZOOMA Austin!
The ZOOMA advertisement challenged you to imagine a powerful sea of women on the move, well let me say you cannot imagine the powerful energy in the atmosphere at this event. ZOOMA Austin was more than a race it was a women’s empowerment weekend. When you drove on the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa property and connected with the race community it was as if you left all the negativity and stress of life at the gate and entered a lively, energetic, encouraging and stress free environment. I’m here now so where do I start?
It’s packet pick up time! The expo was a small but impactful setting. All of the vendors were women and a select few were the originators of their product. As I moved through the expo I discovered a new gadget that caught my eye, a portable roller called the original Worm, which is a combination of therapeutic balls and a foam roller. This product was invented by Karen Atkins who was actually at the expo demonstrating her product. Now playing with worms outside of fishing is not my thing but this “worm” saved my life or should I say my calves because after running 20 flights of stairs on Wednesday I was hobbling around wondering how I would make it through the race the next day. So now all I can say is “This is the way I roll.”
NUUN was also featured at the expo, which made my day because I didn't pack any fuel. NUUN offers a great hydration and vitamin product, I have grown to really enjoy this product so much so that I add the vitamin tablets to my water or tea (yes you can use it in hot water) daily. The other plus to NUUN is the price, I purchased 3 tubes for $15 which came packaged in a handy water bottle (can you say “winning”), because as you know runners are always looking for something to carry water in on those long training runs.
The expo also featured a pasta buffet. Although it was an additional fee outside of your registration it was definitely well worth it. The worst thing for runners when attending an out of town event is figuring out where to “carb up” the night before the race. Problem solved! Remember when I said you left the stress at the front gate of the resort this would be considered one of those stress relievers.
Let’s not forget the “SWAG”, I would have to say this has been the best swag bag I have received. It included a dry fit shirt (fitted designed to show off those curves), a pair of feetures running socks (never received socks before) and a running cap with the race logo on the bib and the word “Run” across the front, all of this was found in a bright blue and yellow tote with the race logo down the side. Then to top it all off free raffle giveaways every 30 minutes. You could win a prize, and you could win a prize! (in my Oprah Winfrey give away voice)
Ready, set, go....it’s race day! Runners are up full of energy and greeting each other with energetic tones and smiles. There were running crews, friends, sisters, husbands’ and wives’ (they let a few men experience the magic) and mothers’ and daughters’ all running together. I was blessed and happy to have my 67 year old mother at the race and she placed 2nd in the 5k for her age category.
The course was beautiful but challenging. The 5k runners ran primarily through the golf courses. The 10k course consisted of rolling hills (disrespectful hills, the kind that make you wonder “why”) for the first 3.5 miles then we headed to the golf course for the remaining miles and the half marathon runners had the pleasure of running the 10k loop twice. If I had to point out a negative then running a loop twice would be it for me. On the other hand some people would find the hills a negative but I like hills not that I’m a beast on hills but it keeps things interesting during the race.
On the first 3.5 miles of the race there was very little crowd support due to the area. The country scenery was beautiful and that made up for the lack of crowd support. Also, the other runners were very motivating and encouraging. As you pulled another hill someone might run up beside you and say things like “you got this,” “great job,” or “keep pushing” (wait a minute that’s normally me saying that, now I know from hearing these statements from others that it really does work).
While running through the golf course there were plenty of encouraging signs which made the run easier. I just love the signs, one of my favorite was “ When you hear PR you don’t think of “Public Relations,” I don’t know about you but I love to look at my results at the end of a race and see that I have just PR’ed. Crowd support at the finish line was amazing other runners cheered you in and the announcer called your name for the crowd and you to hear.
Now you might be saying I would love to see my family on the sideline encouraging me along the course, well ZOOMA heard your thoughts and signed up with Motigo, a great app which allows your friends, family and supporters to pre-record cheers for you along the course. I love this app and I use it whenever it’s available, when I hear the cheers in my ear sometimes it brings me laughter or tears of joy but it always encourages me to keep going. If you have never tried this app, I encourage you to try it on your next race if it’s available.
I’ve crossed the finish line, received my awesome medal but the party has just begun. ZOOMA provides an awesome after party which included mimosas (not beer) sponsored by Barefoot Wine, complimentary full body massages, and recover yoga. Didn’t get that one item from the expo you dreamed about all night don’t worry the vendors are available in the gazebo. All I need now is a little bite to eat before I get out of my running clothes, say no more you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast taco (vegetarian options available, yes they thought of me) and fruit. Need a little more than that? A pancake buffet was available for an additional cost.
ZOOMA Austin, run and done ✔️. This was an experience I will never forget! There is a quote that says it all about this race, “The power of women gathering is immeasurable.” So, mark your race calendar, call your running crew and plan for the runcation/girls trip of a lifetime and join me next year at ZOOMA Austin!