Half Marathon on the Horizon

My fellow Book Clubbers, how are you liking this month’s selection?

wild cheryl strayed

I packed Wild in my duffle bag to bring with me to St. Pete this weekend, but didn’t end up diving into the book until we were back in Ocala last night. I am about 100 pages in and like it a lot, though I find myself thinking that Cheryl Strayed may be insane every other page. Talk about brave! I’m pretty sure I would’ve peed my pants and sprinted home after the first night on the trail. Gutsy!


Lunch today came together quickly thanks to a big batch of quinoa that I prepared yesterday to enjoy throughout the week.

quinoa chicken sausage

I added a sliced apple chicken sausage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and yellow squash to the quinoa and loved the combination of flavors.

quinoa sausage vegetables

If my lunch or dinner involves apple chicken sausage, it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m going to love it!

Half Marathon on the Horizon

Have you guys heard of ZOOMA?

It’s a women’s race series that is run by women and features “boutique” races of all different lengths with a “girls’ weekend atmosphere” all over the country. I started to get that half marathon itch again recently (I feel like my half marathon itch can be timed in six-month intervals) and received an email from ZOOMA telling me all about the company last week.

(Just in case you’re interested in running a half marathon and aren’t sure where to begin, here’s an old post I did with little tips I picked up along the way: So You Want to Run a Half Marathon. The comments on this post offer some great advice, too!)

I responded to the email, expressing my interest and spoke to the founder of ZOOMA on the phone about working together in the future. They’re teaming up with a handful of bloggers and you better believe I hopped on board! It’s safe to say that a ZOOMA race is on the books for this girl.

ZOOMA seems to be all about making the race day experience fun and memorable and embraces competitive runners and those who run just for fun or to challenge themselves (like me!). I’m excited! 

On Thursday ZOOMA will be announcing their latest race location and you have a chance to win a swag bag full of fun stuff from the mystery location.


Where Will Zooma Go Next?

To enter the giveaway, simply visit their site and comment saying where you think the next race will take place.

Now let’s talk races…

Question of the Afternoon

  • What is the best race you’ve ever run, walked, biked, etc.?

The best race I’ve ever completed is the Chicago Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon at the tail end of my bachelorette party in August 2010. It was so much fun and the race course was awesome! But, I must say that my most memorable race was the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon last year. I ran it with Ryan and he pushed me to break two hours, which was a really big deal for me. I’ll never forget it!


  1. says

    My very first half marathon was Zooma Annapolis in June 2011!! Great race series… you’ll definitely enjoy being involved. I’m considering their Austin Texas race, but I’ll have to see this “new location” they’re unveiling.

    My best race was the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. Fun and fast race… destroyed my PR!


  2. says

    I just finished the book this weekend. I liked it but I didn’t love it. Sometimes I just felt like she was complaining and rambling on too much. I kind of wish there had been a bit more of a plot too – I wasn’t left guessing too often. I’d love to do a Rock ‘n Roll race! The one near me this fall happens to be the weekend of my sister’s wedding though! Lame!


  3. says

    I just had quinoa for the time a couple weeks ago and I love it! However, as a “newbie”, I have no great ideas on what to eat it with since it doesn’t have that much flavor alone. I loved your recipe! Do you just throw a bunch of stuff together or do you have set recipes planned out?


    • Chelsie says

      Ingrid – Quinoa is fabulous because it can be used for any meal!! You can match it with nuts/honey/fruit/cinnamon/etc for a great breakfast food (think along the lines of oatmeal) or with veggies and meats and spices for lunch/dinner. Or you can toss it with a salad. The possibilities are seriously endless because of the fact that (like you said) it doesn’t really have a flavour. I like to think of it as an international grain of mystery – it can disguise itself as almost anything you’d ever need for it or want for it to be!! 🙂

      (Can you tell I’m more than a little in love with it? haha. There are tonnes of great recipes for all meals of the day all over the internet. Check it out – there are bound to be more than a few that suit your taste!)


  4. Kate says

    I just stumbled on your blog last week…love it:) I have done 4 half marathons in the last 2 years and my favorite was the all women’s half i did in May in Myrtle Beach, SC! I LOVED the all women atmosphere! My husband and I run together but it was so much fun having him cheer me on from different points of the race 🙂 A lot of men came out to support, it was a blast! It was the Divas Half Marathon series!


  5. says

    Read Wild a few months ago and really enjoyed it. I loved her bravery! She does seem to reveal more and more about herself as the story goes on, though, and you have several more crazy parts to go!

    I also read Becoming Odyssa, which is about another female solo backpacker, and now I have the backpacking bug!


  6. Kim Perry says

    Thanks for sharing this! Zooma sounds like an awesome race and there’s one near me 🙂 Definitely signing up! Thanks Julie


  7. Claire says

    I just ran the Chicago RnR yesterday!

    The best race I’ve ever run was the Soaring Wings Half Marathon in Conway, Arkansas. It was a super fun, small town race (and it didn’t hurt that I crushed my PR by nine minutes)!


  8. says

    Oooh so cool! I have heard of ZOOMA before but as far as I know, their races aren’t in Canada. 🙁 I hope to be able to do one in the US someday though! I’m about to do the Lululemon Sea Wheeze half mary in Vancouver in August, and I’m pretty sure that will be the funnest race I’ve ever done!


  9. says

    Zooma sounds like a lot of fun, unfortunately the closest one to me is 5 hours away and its during the school year. My best race was a 5k that i did in april which i pr’d in 28:30!


  10. says

    I just ran RnR Chicago this weekend and couldn’t agree more! Amazing course, great crowds, awesome volunteers and they made sure we were well taken care of considering the heat and humidity! They even had cold sponges at one point! Amazing.


  11. says

    My favorite race was the Coogan’s St. Patricks Day 5k in NYC. Lots of irish bands playing on the sidewalks while we ran up into the park and around a castle and back down to the finish line where there was fruit, green bagels, and beer waiting for everyone. It was a blast.

    Hoping to have a new favorite after the Color Me Rad 5k in September!
    ~ Cat


  12. says

    My favorite race was the NYC Half Marathon this past March. It was my first half, the weather was slightly overcast & cool plus running out into Times Square was pretty amazing! & I got to run with my little brother 🙂


  13. says

    Yay! Half marathons are so fun–such a good distance!

    I will have to check that out and see where the mystery place will be…..

    In August I am doing a Half IM, so there’s a half marathon at the end–training for that right now 🙂

    Love a good quinoa bowl!


  14. Melissa says

    So, I received an email from my favorite magazine Garden and Gun this morning about their best dog competition. Sadie won? I didn’t make the connection until I saw her name and where y’all are from. Congratulations 🙂


  15. says

    I have never run a half marathon but am seriously doing the Zooma Austin half in April. Austin Hill Country is gorgeous but I also imagine it will not be an easy course as that is a VERY hilly area. Thanks for the heads up about Zooma!!


  16. Christa says

    The best half marathon I did was the Halloween Half Marathon in Provo, UT. It was hilarious. It started up where they do the Sundance film festival and it was literally all down hill from there. There were all sorts of lady bugs and princesses with twisted ankles on the way down. I even saw a few runaway brides, a couple harry potters and even adam and eve!


  17. says

    My favorite race thus far has been The Color Run 5K that I ran in Atlanta this past March. It definitely wasn’t competitive as there wasn’t even a time clock at the finish! But it was so much fun to gather with 40,000 people (huge!) and start out in white t-shirts, then be covered head to toe in colored paint by the end of it. Definitely doing it again next year!


  18. says

    Thanks for posting this! I just signed up for the Boston Half Marathon and I’ve never run one before. I’m looking forward to your tips. Congrats for doing another half!


  19. says

    I’ve done a few triathlons that were so much fun! I just love the scenery at triathlons and all the different things involved. It makes it less daunting to me.
    I’ve never run a half marathon before, I’m not too much of a runner. I want to try and get more involved in it though. It just sucks going into it sucking haha.


  20. Krystina says

    I ran the RnR Savannah half with my boyfriend and best friend last year! It was definitely a fun experience and we all PR’d! But I think my most memorable race was RnR New Orleans 2011. That was mine and my boyfriend’s first half. We trained pretty hard and both finished in 1:48 and we definitely were the cheeseballs holding hands across the finish line….and I may or may not have teared up! 😉


  21. Reeca says

    I am not commenting on the marathon, hips won’t take it! I am commenting on the book. I loved itand I agree she is crazy, however, she matures and grows so much by the end. Oprah hasa wonderful interview with her on her website!! Thanks for choosing this! Love your blog by the way!! I am new to it and I love your workouts!!!


  22. says

    I am going to say Seattle because they dont have any in the Northwest yet.

    My favorite and most memorable was a 5k through a pumpkin patch and corn maze. It was like I was a kid again running through the fields in the fall. It was perfect.


  23. Annie says

    I’d absolutely love to run a half and I secretly have my eye on one in June next year. The only thing stopping is that I am a REALLY slow runner. Think 1h15 for a 10K. I know it’s not the be all and end all of running but it’s kind of holding me back!


  24. Irene says

    Yes, run one soon!!! I am hoping to run my first half on Oct 13 and I would love it if you were training for something too! It is so fun to see other people’s progress!
    PS: I have no interest in that book after reading her excerpt in Self mag, but it sounds like other people enjoyed it!


  25. Hesther says

    The Disney Half Marathon in January has been my most favorite race so far. Starting off with fireworks, running through the castle, characters giving me high fives as I cross the finish! 🙂 Plus it is an excuse to fly to Florida in the middle of a cold winter!

    I am signed up for my fourth Disney Half in January and just signed up for my very first Disney Princess Race. I heard the atmosphere is different (course is the same) and can’t wait to try it out


  26. says

    Haha I’d have to say the Chicago Rock N Roll as well! I’ve only run a handfull of races, but I ran it YESTERDAY! It was super hot and humid and I honestly thought I was just going to die during the last mile, but I still managed to break 2 hours and PR by 44 seconds! Ha


  27. Chelsie says

    I’m running my first half marathon the day after your Zooma (Sept. 23rd) – the Army Run in Ottawa. I’m super excited about it, I have a training plan, and I LOVE to run, but it’s still a little nerve-wracking. Is it alright that I’m going to be thinking of you as a “training buddy”? 🙂

    PS. Made your Butternut squash and wheatberry risotto today (added in some red cabbage and cauliflower) – and is it ever fabulous!! Portioned it out for lunches over the next little while.


  28. says

    I love quinoa. But I must tell you, yesterday i went to J Alexander’s and had their Israeli Couscous…OMG BEST STUFF EVER! You gotta try it. I like it more than quinoa.

    I ran the Birmingham Mercedes half in February and it was the best experience of my life. But I’ve had the half marathon itch again and want to do one in under 2 hours. I have a feeling my next one will be the Mercedes one again but I want to do the ANNAPOLIS one in June!!!


  29. Lori says

    I just started reading Wild today, without knowing much about it, and was shocked to find that she grew up only twenty miles from where I grew up. Aitkin county – in middle-of-nowhere Minnesota. Only a few thousand people live anywhere near there at a given time. Funny how small the world is!


  30. says

    My favorite race is the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, you have to run it!
    It is the 15k National Championships and yo can see the elites warm up while you wait in your corral!
    There are bands at every mile and crazy tribal drum music as you up the bridge in the last mile.

    So much fun!


  31. says

    The best race I have ever run is the Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon in San Francisco. It was an INCREDIBLE race. Awesome aid stations (including a ghiradelli chocolate booth), gorgeous views of the city and the bay, and at the “red carpet” finish line are firefighters in tuxedos handing you your Tiffany & Co finishers necklace instead of a traditional finishers medal. Plus the race benefts the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I highly recommend this race to anyone who can make it!! The course is pretty hilly but it’s worth it!


  32. says

    the boston marathon was one-of-a-kind, of course….but a close second is this little trail race in colorado, called the american discovery trail marathon. both wonderful experiences in different ways!


  33. Alison says

    It’s been such a long time since I’ve had apple chicken sausage but I know I love it! Should revisit it soon 🙂 The best race I ran was when I was 11 actually–I ran a 5K and got second place for my age group! I don’t run much at all anymore though…It’s too hard on my knees and I dance so I usually just do elliptical. But maybe I should bike more!


  34. Erika says

    Favorite half by far would have been the Jacksonville Marine Corps Half. Beginning of October, perfect weather, fast course, killer finish along the water and Marines placing your medal on your neck made it my favorite. And upon finishing the food, drinks and goodie bag made the 50.00 registration fee beyond worth it! This is coming from one who ran Disney Princess, Iron Girl (halves) and Disney and Ocala full.
    Julie have you read Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong? One of the best inspirational running books I’ve ever read. A must read if in training:)


  35. says

    I live right near Annapolis and was thinking about doing that half! It’s such a fun area! I ran my first half marathon in June and it was awesome, I had some it band issues and getting to 13 without pain was a big deal. It was in wine country va so going to town the wineries after wasn’t so bad either 🙂 definitely my favorite race I’ve ever run!


  36. says

    ZOOMA races are amazing. I did one in Annapolis a few years ago and I have to tell you the cleanest port-a-pottys before any race I have done ha!! The Chicago Marathon 2011 was my favorite race 🙂


  37. Kim B says

    I have been doing the Zooma race in Annapolis since it started…taking a roadtrip with my mom to do the Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon on Sept 22nd…can’t wait…the Zooma races are awesome and instead of getting a finishers medal you get a stering silver necklace…which is so much nicer to wear around than a medal 🙂


  38. Randee says

    I am running the Women Rock MN 1/2 marathon on Sept 1st. Its a Team Ortho event and the first year running. Very excited for an all women’s event with some of my favorite ladies. My best race was the 10k I ran this weekend. I was able to shave 7 minutes off my time from last year’s race & placed 1st in my age group (I just turned 30 a couple weeks ago!). My most memorable race was my first half marathon, The IMT Des Moines half in 2009. I ran in memory of my brother, who too was training to run his 1st half, but was killed about a month before in a work related accident at the age of 24. I ran with him carrying me the whole way. That truly is my most memorable race <3



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