Lessons Learned from Zooma Florida 2014

A little over a year ago, my 3 girlfriends and I were nervously awaiting the start of the Inagural Zooma Florida 5K. The blustery conditions made the run trying but the entire weekend was fun.  The four of us vowed that this would become a yearly tradition – a girl’s weekend of fun!

Four months ago, I found out that we were expecting our 2nd child. While the fatigue and morning sickness subdued my training for the 2014 Zooma Florida, I was still running 3 times a week and looking forward to getting a new PR in the race.

Then on the day before Thanksgiving I went to the bathroom and saw bright red blood. Soon I was cramping, and I was convinced that I was having a misscarriage.  An emergency trip to the doctor and a quick ultrasound revealed that baby was safe, but I had a small bleed at the sight of the placenta.  Bed rest would be my prescription for the next month.

December came – and with it the news that my bleed was gone and I could resume limited exercise.  My doctor told me that walking, low impact aerobics, and light weights would be fine.  But no running!  And with her words, my thoughts of a PR at Zooma died.

I seriously considered bowing out of the race, using my pregnancy as an excuse not to attend. Because the truth was, a 15 pound first trimester weight gain, had me feeling uncomfortable and unhappy in my body.  However, my girlfriends convinced me to go – reminding me of the fun after party and the trip to the spa that we’d booked. I recultantly agreed to go.

And I am so glad I did.

On Friday night, during the expo, I snapped a “bump pic” in front of the Zooma backdrop.  Everyone stopped to congratulate me on the pregnancy and give me props for doing the race pregnant. Nobody cared that I would be walking, or that I was a good 20 pounds heavier than the year before.

Lesson 1:  Celebrate what you can do instead of focusing on what you can’t do!

Saturday morning came and brought with it bright blue skies, a gentle sea breeze, and lots of excitement as we took our place at the starting line.  I gave my friends hugs and told them to run their best race – and took my spot at the back with the other walkers. Soon the race was underway, I found myself strolling briskly along the shoreline, noticing the foamy waves, the birds flying thru the air, and smiling and waving at the runners going by on the return route.  I felt happy, content – better than I had felt at the 2013 Zooma 5K.

Lesson 2:  Sometimes you have to slow down and appreciate the world around you!

50 minutes and 19 seconds went by and I found myself crossing the finish line, just a few minutes ahead of the first Half-Marathon finisher. Instead of feeling bad that she’d covered nearly 4 times the distance I had, in about the same amount of time, I was clapping and cheering for her as she crossed the finish line.

Lesson 3:  Comparing yourself to others is the thief of joy!  Rejoice with others when they triumph.

My girlfriends and I headed up to the after party, then to our rooms to get ready for our spa day.  As I donned my swimsuit and hit the steam longue, I realized that I wasn’t sucking in my stomach or worrying about the size of my thighs.  I was content in my skin – something that I hadn’t been long before pregnancy.

Lesson 4: My body is amazing – no matter the number on the scale.

I shared with my girlfriends all that I had learned during our Zooma Florida weekend. I told them that I looked forward to next year’s race – partially because I am eager to run again, but moreover because I love everything that this fantastic weekend teaches me each year.