Zooma Chicago Half Marathon Race Review ……

The Zooma Women’s Series came to Chicago on Saturday for the inaugural event.   Zooma Chicago offers both a Half Marathon and 10K run.  It is a ladies race that is geared toward bringing women runners together with an entire fitness focused weekend. 

The fun started with a small expo at the swanky Langrahm Hotel

Zooma_langrahm lobby            Zooma_langrahm_hall  

We were able to mix, mingle and shop with several vendors and I was excited to see a few of my all time favorites:  Whooha Gear and the lovely Dimity and Sarah from Another Mother Runner.  I “may” have purchased a few things.  The new “Regret Nothing” tee from Whooha Gear and the “I Run Things” tee from Another Mother Runner.  Both of these fit me to a “tee”.  Smile

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Zooma can easily claim the prize for the best swag bag in town.  Our goodie bags included a navy women’s specific performance tech shirt with a cool logo, a beautiful water bottle that Aby already stole for Cross Country, a yoga mat & cool reusable bag.

Zooma_bag        Zooma_SWAG

The race venue was at Montrose Harbor on Saturday morning.  This is a massive area that is really hopping on the weekends.  However, it was easy to spot the venue as it was close to Lake Shore Drive and not too far into the park.  I was easily able to unite with my fellow Team Tough Chik members, the Chicago Running Bloggers and the Zooma Ambassadors and hit the start line on time.

Fellow Toughie – Margaret, Casey, Nicki & Myself:

Zooma_Team Tough Chik

Chicago Running Bloggers:

Zooma_Chicago Running Bloggers

The race started right on time at 7:00am with both the Half Marathon and 10K runners starting together.   The event was chip timed and the course was primarily on Chicago Park District property, thru various parks and on the Lakefront Path.

Without getting into my personal race which was merely a race from one potty to the next I’ll break the event down by Pros and Cons.

Pros

  • Ladies Only
  • Amazing SWAG Bag
  • Vendors who work to empower and encourage women of all shapes, sizes & skill levels
  • Free shuttles to/from host hotel
  • Small Race for first timers with 652 half marathon finishers & 311 finishers for the 10K
  • Large Venue that is easy to find
  • Lots of public parking if you get there early
  • Lots of people on the public park & lakefront paths so that you don’t feel “alone”
  • Lots of shade thru said parks

Zooma_lake front path 

  • Aid stations with potties every 2-3 miles
  • Cocktails and a boxed lunch at the finish
  • Cool PR medals to all those running the distance for the first time or crushing a new PR
  • Lovely Finisher’s Pendant that Aby already claimed as her own

Zooma_necklace    Zooma_necklace2

Cons

  • Costly, early bird registration was $105 for the half
  • Packet pick up was at a downtown Chicago hotel so parking was an issue
  • Course was on heavily populated trails during prime usage time for marathon training & recreational use for local residents
  • Non Zooma participants weren’t excited to have us on location, and “may” have yelled obscenities at us
  • Course was confusing in spots without proper signage or race marshals for direction.
  • Half & 10K courses crossed at times creating more confusion
  • Boring – Felt like a training run with so much chaos and so many non race participants milling around
  • Most runners expected an out and back lakefront run with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and we only had one small section, which we ran 2x, that offered the beauty of the Chicago lakefront.

Zooma_lakefront path 1

Overall, I liked everything about Zooma Chicago other than the actual 2013 course.  I’m hoping they make a change for 2014 so that our ladies have a bit more direction and also space to run or walk as they please. 

Note to those who use the Chicago Lakefront Path – Please respect one another.  I’ve now on several occasions had the opportunity to personally witness certain users of the path yelling at, or being rude to others.  It’s a public path.  Share.  Your activity is not MORE important than anyone else’s.  In some instances, it’s absolutely impossible to “GET OUT OF THE WAY”.  I’m sorry.  I’d move if I could because I don’t want you to run me down.  You are making us locals look bad and quite frankly you downright scared some of my Zooma friends.  I’m embarrassed.  Grow up and take your rage to a more appropriate venue, like the boxing ring. 

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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Zooma Training Run at Running For Kicks & Discount Code

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Monday night I attended a training run for the Zooma Women’s Race in Chicago on August 10th. The event took place at my favorite local running store in Palos, Running For Kicks!  We had an amazing turnout of regulars who show up EVERY Monday night for the free 6pm run and then a mix of new people who were there specifically for the Zooma event.  Photo below from Gail R.

Zooma RFK Run

We went out for a run with two options of either running the hills of Ishnala or the flat subdivision north of the store.  I always head for the hills then realize that I’m 1) too slow for the main group, 2) don’t know the route, and 3) not used to running hills!  However, I managed a little over 3 miles before heading back to the store to use the washroom.

Upon our return from the run, Megan from Muscle Milk was on location with samples of several flavors of Muscle Milk & Cytomax.  I was super excited to get ahold of a vanilla crème flavored Muscle Milk, that stuff tastes sooooo yummy!!!  Probably too yummy.  She also explained the benefits of Muscle Milk and talked with everyone about the importance of proper recovery after a run!  Thanks, Megan!!

Zooma RFK Run_Muscle Milk

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I’ll be searching out the vanilla latte flavored Muscle Milk Light next!

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Then Liama (pronounced Lima) was on site to register everyone for the race!  She offered a 10% discount and a special goodie bag to everyone who registered onsite!  Super fun and nice goodies too!  The onsite registration goodies included 1)  a cool Zooma bag which is reusable!  I want one!!  2)  A Cytomax water bottle with powder drink mix samples.  3)  A blue sparkly headband and 4)  the new Zooma 2013 shirt.   run. laugh. celebrate.  I mean really, isn’t that why we do this?  Running has brought me so much joy.  So many friendships.  And allowed me to celebrate my hard work.  This shirt really sums up what running means to me. Photo below from Jenny G.

Zooma RFK Run_registration goodies

I’m so excited for this race!!  I know it’s not cheap but I have high expectations and I really think Zooma will deliver us a one of a kind race experience that will leave us with great memories of the run, the celebration and most importantly of the laughter which brings us together.

If you weren’t able to attend this training run, then you can still use the 10% off discount code when you register for either the 10K or the half marathon.  Go HERE and use the discount code:  CHIAMB6

This registration will net you not only a great race but arguably one of the best goodie bags & after party in town.  Join us.  Race goodie bag below!

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I hope to see you at Montrose Harbor on August 10th!!  Please say hello if you see me!!

** Run. Laugh. Celebrate. ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Zooma Chicago Ambassadorship & Discount Code!!

I could spend a bit to time today bitching complaining about the weather but I think we all feel the same way.  I’m cold.  You’re cold.  BRING ON SPRING!!  Let the crocus bloom!!

I had a very bitter start last night to my Jelly Bean Virtual Race Series as I was bundled up from head to toe and couldn’t help but reminisce about the start of last year’s series when I ran in a tank top.  I know last year was unseasonably warm in March but I’m looking for a slight warm up!

                              Jelly Bean Virtual Race Start

                               2012                                        2013

Me&Susan_Jelly Bean_4-4-12      Jelly Bean_2013

But that’s right, I’m not complaining so let’s move on to something fun!! 

I was recently selected as an Ambassador for the Zooma Women’s Race Series event in Chicago!  Last year the Midwest event was located in Wisconsin and I “may” or may not have been green with envy as all my friends traveled up north for the race.  However, this year, they moved the Midwest event to Chicago so I’m IN!!!  I get to race and I was lucky enough to be accepted as one of their 2013 ambassadors.

Zooma_CHI

Zooma is a ladies event and they offer a Half Marathon and 10K distance along the north shore of  Chicago at Montrose Harbor.  I always love running up at Montrose and I’m excited to go back for the Zooma Chicago race on August 10th!!  Although I will, no doubt, be begging for the return of cold weather by August, I’m currently in love with the idea of basking in the sun with my friends at this amazing event.  There are so many great offerings for Zooma that I’m going to bring the description directly from the website so that I don’t miss anything!

Zooma Chicago promises:

  • Entry into an unforgettable, professionally-managed and timed half marathon or 10K race
  • Access to a full weekend of yoga, sponsored cocktail hour, and a Fitness Expo
  • ZOOMA Signature Swag Bag, including a cute tech tee, yoga mat, reusable bag, and stainless steel water bottle (over $50 value)
  • Water and Cytomax Sports Performance drink on the course
  • Water, Cytomax Sports Performance drink, Muscle Milk Light and food at the finish line
  • GU Energy Gel station along the course
  • Wine from Barefoot Wine & Bubbly at the After-Party Expo
  • Necklace designed exclusively by Satya Jewelry for ZOOMA for all finishers
  • Post-race massage, shopping and live music at the ZOOMA After-Party Expo

ChicagoSkyline

I’ll be honest, this race isn’t cheap.  It’s pricy.  It’s women only.  It’s the only race my friends and I signed up for the first day it was available.  We are in.  We were in before I was accepted as an ambassador.  We are in for the fun, the friendship, the camaraderie, the necklace, the bubbly, the post-race massage.  We are ALL in.  We won’t be missing a thing.  In fact, I “booked” my mom babysitter for the weekend over a month ago.  I’m super excited!!

If you want to join the fun at Zooma Chicago on August 10th, here is a 10% discount code that you are welcome to use and share with your friends.  Discount/Promo code is:  CHIAMB6

The half marathon is currently $105 and the 10K is $75.  You can register HERE.  And if you want to get really crazy and take full advantage of this girls “fit weekend”, including the FRI night activities, then go ahead and book a room at the host hotel, Landgam Chicago.   I’ll be there with my girls and we will be having a blast without our lil ones relaxing.

If you are feeling lucky,  Zooma is giving away an entire weekend package for two, plus many other goodies in the Zooma 2013 Run the CHI-TOWN Sweepstakes.  Please enter HERE to win and tell all your girlfriends to do the same!  Good luck to you!!

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  Hope to see you at Montrose Harbor on August 10th!

** Run. Laugh. Celebrate.  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz **