Looking for a race that will inspire you and give you free race photos?! Check out the Zooma Texas Lost Pines 10K. All the details are in this race recap.
After making the decision to step back from distance running for a bit to focus on the 10K distance, last Saturday I laced up and lined up at the starting line of the Zooma Texas Lost Pines 10K. I didn’t know what to expect from my first race of 2019, my first 10K in a long time and the first 10K I was actually running for time, but the Zooma Texas Lost Pines 10K was just what I needed to reinvigorate my love of running.
The Night Before
Even though I wasn’t running a long distance, I knew I wanted to race this race, and that still requires some solid carbs. Pizza night was on tap, and my favorite gluten-free pizza recipe didn’t disappoint. I also got to reacquaint myself with Flat Nicole, who hasn’t made an appearance since the Rock’n’Roll San Antonio Half Marathon last December.
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By 10pm, I was in bed
having nightmares about missing my alarm dreaming of race day.
The Morning Of
My alarm went off at 5:10am. I got dressed as quietly as I could so as not to wake anyone, made a piece of gluten-free toast with almond butter and was on the road by 5:30.
The drive to Bastrop took about an hour, but it was easy-peasy. I didn’t have a problem finding parking and followed a few other runners to the starting area. I was immediately impressed by Fisherman’s Park. It was so pretty in the dew of the morning.
When I registered for the race, I got a deal that included race day packet pick up. I found the booth and got my bib and drawstring swag bag, which was filled with a long sleeve tech t and a cute wine glass. Since I still had 45 minutes until the start of the race, I dropped it off at my car before heading back to the park to find the restrooms.
The park had a little restroom hut, a nice perk over porta potties! Once the obligatory pre-race pee was out of the way, I just hung out by the starting line.
After a slight delay due to weather, the Mayor of Bastrop welcomed us to her town, some local Camp Gladiator trainers took us through a warm up and the race was on its way!
The 10K and half marathoners all start together, and while there weren’t pacers for the 10K, the half marathon did have a few. I didn’t have a clear time goal in my head; all I knew was that I wanted to see what I could do. I decided to try to keep the 1:45 half marathon pacer in my sights until the course split. It turns out, the 1:45 pacer was the fastest pace group they had, so I found myself at the front of the pack from the get-go, which wasn’t something I was used to!
I had heard the course was pretty flat, but we were faced with a short but steep hill right at the beginning. It was a bit slippery due to rain and mud from earlier in the day, but once we got up that first hill, the roads were fine, give or take a few pot holes that had to be avoided.
The pack leaders and 1:45 pace group started to pull away a bit, but I found my groove and kept them in my sights. Before we even hit mile 1, I realized that if I could keep this pace, I might actually have a shot at my first age group award!
That motivated me to keep going when things started to get tough. I’m a distance runner, I don’t usually push my pace for an entire race, but here I was, pushing. The warmth of the day and the humidity were killer, but I put on some upbeat tunes and kept at it, using the possibility of a AG award as my fuel. The entire race, only one person passed me! That was pretty cool feeling.
That said, I did face a few challenges along the course both mentally and physically. Because the Zooma Texas Lost Pines 10K is a small race in a small town run on open roads (meaning the course is open to traffic), there wasn’t really any crowd support. There were a few cows cheering us on around mile 2, though! There were also a few points along the course where things weren’t marked particularly well in terms of where 10K runners should go vs. half marathoners. When I hit mile 5, I saw a bunch of runners cutting through a road I (and the runners in front of me) didn’t run through, and half a mile later, I had to ask the police officer patrolling the course which way 10Kers were supposed to go. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I believe some of the half marathoners unknowingly cut the course resulting in some too-fast finish times.
Anyway, once the police officer directed me which way to turn, I was in the home stretch! A bunch of the people that had been in front of me turned to complete the half, and there wasn’t anyone behind me. I was alone, in the zone and gunning for the finish line.
As I made my way back to Fisherman’s Park, I could see the finish line ahead. The time ticker showed what I knew to be true, a new 10K PR (by almost 4 minutes)! I turned my music off in anticipation of music blasting at the finish, but they didn’t really have everything set up yet. I crossed to the cheers of the few runners who had crossed before me. And when I say few, I mean few. I found out later that I came in 6th place overall!! HOLY MOLY!! I felt awesome.
I was a little disappointed that there weren’t jams pumping at the finish line when I got there. There actually wasn’t even anyone handing out medals. I ended up going over the medal rack and getting myself one (a little anti climactic), but the medal is awesome!
I grabbed an orange and some water and did some stretching while the Zooma Texas Lost Pines 10K finish area started to really get going. Soon I heard an announcement that the post-race party was ready just up a hill from the finish line, so I made my way up there. They had breakfast tacos, pastries, mimosas (all included with your race entry), as well as a few sponsor shops and a live band.
I made my way to the results tent and held my breath as I waited to see if I got the age group award I thought I might get. I typed in my name and there it was:
Second in my age group and 6th overall! I was so excited! I’ve never won an age group award before. I couldn’t wait for the award ceremony.
Due to all the confusion around the half marathon course, the award ceremony kept getting pushed back. It was originally supposed to be at 8:45am, but I don’t think it actually went down until 9:45am. Fortunately, the post race party kept me entertained while I waited.
Finally, the ceremony got underway and I proudly picked up my award!
I’ve been drinking coffee out of this mug every morning since, because coffee makes me feel like the winner that I am.
While the race did face a few issues with organization and the course, I have to say I really enjoyed this race (and not just because I snagged myself a shiny new PR). It’s been a while since I ran a small, local race, and while it’s tough to not have crowd support, I find I really enjoy them. I like not having to deal with crowded race starts. I like knowing that when the field is smaller, I push myself more. Plus, Zooma offers free race photos! So that just earned it about 5,000 points in my book.
Overall Pros of the Texas Zooma Lost Pines 10K
- day-of packet pickup
- smaller field means more opportunity to place
- fun race swag
- great post-race party
- killer medal
- FREE RACE PHOTOS!
Overall Cons of the Texas Zooma Lost Pines 10K
- little to no crowd support
- course not well marked for half marathon split
- finish line should have been pumping before the first person even crosses
Do you prefer big or small races?