Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Zoom Through the Zoo Recap

Last Thursday night I got to participate in my first night race, the Memphis Zoo's Zoom Through The Zoo 4 Miler.


I rode with my running buddy Kristan and her BIL Doug down to the race because the event organizers had advised us that there were other events going on in the area that night and that parking might be a bit difficult.  Boy, they weren't kidding.  I brought my running clothes to work and went straight to Kristan's house when I got off and we arrived in the Overton Park area about an hour before the race started and there were cars EVERYWHERE.  We managed to find a spot to park but it was honestly a good half mile from the starting line, so we got to walking because we still had to hit packet pick-up and take our bags back to the van!


I decided that night would be a good time to take my Cheshire Cat outfit for the Disneyland 10K out for a trial run.  I rocked the purple and pink Asics top with my purple Team Sparkle skirt!  As you can see the weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL for an evening run through the Memphis Zoo!

After dropping our bags back at the car we once again hiked to the starting line and they started us at exactly 6:30 - I had a pretty decent position close to the starting line but we'd lost Doug so in our efforts to find him we found ourselves further away from the starting line.  Once we got going it did not take long to realize just how crowded this race was - they had us start by running through the zoo parking lot and then in through a side entrance and people were moving like herded cattle :(  Needless to say the first mile was rather painful and the slowest of the 4 miles but once I broke free of the crowding I was able to make up some of the time.

I have to admit running through the zoo is pretty neat.  We have been there countless times but something about running a race THROUGH the zoo just puts things in a bit different perspective.  I decided not to carry my own water when I found out there would be 3 water stops along the route, however, the first stop occurred before the 1 mile marker and the table actually served as two stops - the route took us out and back so when we came by the table again, it was water stop #2.  I did not care much for this because by the time we came back by a second time they had run out of cups of water and even though the wonderful volunteers were quickly trying to put out refills, most people missed out at water stop #2.  It was also located in front of the elephants, one of the more "odiferous" sections of the course.

Once past water stop #2 the course actually took us out of the zoo and through the Overton Park area.  I actually really enjoyed this section of the course because it was more open and allowed more room to spread out, plus in the heat of the afternoon most of it was shaded by trees so the temperature was very pleasant.  I quickly found myself at water stop #3 and I decided to pick up a cup this time to get a little hydration in for the last mile, and I was glad I did because coming along the front side of Overton Park heading back towards the zoo we hit the hilly part of the course.  The finish line was at the actual entrance to the zoo and on our way out I had to snap a pic because I thought it was really neat:


No, that was NOT my time, the race was over at this point ;)

I finished in 41:56, an average pace of 10:28.  I was extremely pleased and ready for a yummy BBQ sandwich at the after party!!!

My overall impression of this race was that it was a lot of fun but the crowding was a real downer and could have resulted in people getting hurt as they were trying to run through the parking lot.  I am on the fence about doing it next year - oh heck, you guys know I probably will ;)

QOTD:  Have you ever run a race through a zoo?  What is your favorite animal at the zoo?? This was my first time running through the zoo and I have to say my favorite animal is the sea lions - they are so fun to watch.