For my second race of 2015 I headed up to Amelia Island (with my momma) for the Zooma Florida race. I am an ambassador for Zooma and I was looking forward to the weekend and spending time with all the other ambassadors. Originally I was supposed to do the 1/2 marathon, but by about the Wednesday before I just wasn’t feeling it so I dropped down to the 12k distance – great decision!
I took off the day before the race and headed up to Amelia Island with my mom. We were staying at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation (more on that later) so we went straight there to check in. After checking out our beautiful room and amazing views, we headed down to Oceanside (their poolside/oceanside restaurant) for a late lunch. After lunch we spent some time wandering around the resort before we had to head over to the Ritz-Carlton for some pre-race fun.
Our first order of business was to hit up the expo and packet pickup. Changing to the 12k distance was a breeze! I got my packet and then picked up a super cute Zooma running hat. I don’t usually wear hats to run, this this one was just too cute to pass out. Mom and I wandered around the hotel for a bit to kill some time before the next event.
All of the Zooma ambassadors were invited to a champagne reception hosted by Feetures!, one of the race sponsors. They treated us to champagne, some healthy snacks, and a goodie bag filled with Feetures! stuff (hooray socks). It gave us a chance to hang out with fellow ambassadors before heading off to the Mocktail party hosted by Zooma and the Ritz-Carlton.
After the mocktail party a few of us headed to a sports bar in the hotel for a late night snack (and carb loading) before all going our separate ways. I was in bed and asleep by just after 10 pm and it was amazing! Man does the Omni have some comfy beds.
The morning got off to a chilly start! After getting dressed and having a light bite to eat my mom drove me to the start line… or at least I thought she had. The website gave directions for somewhere to park and then said “walk to the start line from there.” I had my mom drop me off at that lot since I wasn’t sure how much closer to the start line she could get. Unfortunately the walk to the start was a LOT longer than I thought and she could have gotten me a lot closer. Oh well, at least it gave me a chance to warm up.
Once I got to the start I hoped in a car with some of my fellow ambassadors and warmed up a little bit before heading to the start line. After a few pictures and the national anthem we were all off. Most of us were doing the 12k while 3 ladies braved the 1/2 marathon distance. About a mile into the race the 12k and 1/2 marathon groups split off and went their separate ways.
After a couple of miles on my own Jenn, one of the other ambassadors, caught up to me. We ended up sticking together for the rest of the race. I know I slowed her down a lot, but I was thankful for the company and the support. We had a great time chatting away and it definitely made those last miles go a bit quicker.
The last bit of the race is on the beach and I must say… it sucked. The beach is so beautiful and its a nice back drop for a race finish, but running on the sand after 7+ miles (or 13) is just rough. Jenn and I walked most of it and then ran into the finishers shoot. We met up with my mom and got a few pictures before heading to the post-party.
What a great post-party! There was a band, wine (thanks to sponsor Barefoot Wine), food, massages, and shopping – what else can you ask for?!
I met up with the rest of the ambassadors and we ate, drank, and chatted about the race. Once everyone was finished we took some fun group photos before all going our separate ways. It was such a great weekend, race, and overall experience. I look forward to coming back next year!
*Disclosure: I was given a free entry to the race as part of being a Zooma ambassador. As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.