In nearby Washington D.C., an ambassador means one thing: official dinners, lots of red tape, cool license plates. On the ZOOMA race course in Annapolis, it means something else entirely. These eight ladies, who will be in the course in both the half-marathon and 10k, have been training hard and inspiring others to ZOOM to their best race. If you see them on the course, give them a shout-out. (That is, if you can catch them…there are some speedy ladies in this bunch!).
Bridget Holt, 32
Race goal: Among other things, to conquer the Severn River Bridge. No matter how many time I run that bridge, is doesn’t seem to get any easier on race day.
ZOOMA is: one of my favorite races. It is great seeing women living an active lifestyle and completing the race, and encouraging each other at the same time.
Favorite piece of running gear: hat or sun visor. When I am wearing it, I am in my own world. When I I’m not, I feel like the entire world is looking at me and it is hard to focus on my run.
My favorite part of running is: above all, seeing my husband and son cheering me on at the finish line.
My least favorite part of running is: cold weather and marathon training—although I don’t mind running marathons—and being injured.
Brittany Paulshock, 23
I started running: accidentally. I was a lacrosse goalie and was recruited for college and played for two years. After my freshman year, when I was lapping the entire team in goalie equipment, my coach decided to put me on the field. I decided to quit lacrosse my junior year, and I completed three half marathons before I graduated college.
Race goal: To run the half-marathon in under 1:40. I am aiming for 1:30.
Favorite gear: my Ipod. I have not run a single race without it. It keeps me focused and motivated during the long runs.
My power song: anything by Rhianna.
Courtney Howell, 38
I started running: in 2004, to train for the Race for the Cure (a 5K) when my husband’s aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Soul sisters: Last year, we had a group of about 8 train for ZOOMA and all supported each other until race day. This year, we moved and they had some injuries, but I’ve been keeping in touch with my ‘team’ of You-Got-This girls and continuing our virtual support. We all hope to run together on race day.
Growing by ZOOMs and bounds: Last year, I ran the 10k, and hitting the 5 mile marker was a big deal for me; I hadn’t run more than 4 miles before.
My mantra is: “You can do this, yes you can.” The word can’t isn’t allowed in our house.
Debra Patrick, 41
I returned to running: in 2006. It was my way of getting my health back on track after having 4 children.
Race goals: one goal is to finish it in less time than in the past. The other is encouraging others to gain control of their health through diet and exercise.
ZOOMA is: inspiring. Amazing to see so many women out there trying to make a difference for themselves.
Power song:Ohh Ahh by Grits.
My favorite part of running is: training for a race.
My least favorite part of running is: the day after a race. The excitement is over.
Katie Dondero, 25
Mixing it up: I run solo for my speed work and do long runs in groups to keep me motivated for longer distances. The social aspect of running is what keeps me coming back.
Race goal: To finish a tough course in my hometown and motivate my friends who will be completing their first race.
If I weren’t running, I would be: dancing, swimming, or doing CrossFit.
My favorite part of running is: completing a tough run and thanking my tired legs for working so hard for me.
Katie Murphy, 36
The happiness of the long distance runner: I love running alone. My long runs are my “alone” time when I get to think and pray and just enjoy quiet for a while.
Race goal: Enjoy the 13.1 miles. I am running another half marathon two weeks before ZOOMA; I hope to PR there, so at ZOOMA I’m just going to have fun running with other women.
Favorite gear: running skirts! I bought one last year and now wear them for most runs. There is no bunching, no riding up, and they look cute!
If I weren’t running, I would be: sleeping longer in the morning!
Lara Mish, 38
I started running: in 2002 after the birth of my first daughter. I trained for a half marathon because my husband and twin sister were training for their first marathon in New York City. As I cheered them on, I made the decision to train and run it the next year as my first—and I did.
Race goal: To see all of those in our training group finish with smiles on their faces—and tell me about their next planned race.
My mantra: Pain is temporary, pride is forever.
If I weren’t running, I would be: pretty bummed.
Running makes me feel: proud. As a full time employee, volunteer, busy mother, and wife I take a lot of pride in reaching my goals.
Liz Elko, 24
I started running: in the 6th grade, which was the first opportunity my school had to join the track club. It began as a fun way to socialize after school, make friends, and be part of a team.
Race goal: For the half marathon, my goal is to PR—as is my goal in most races. I’m aiming to be one of the top overall finishers, if the weather and course don’t work against me.
Favorite running gear: I love my racing flats. They’re hot pink, so they stick out in the crowd, and they’re so light – once I put them on I mentally get in the “racing game” and feel like I can fly!
If I weren’t running, I would be: socializing with friends or busy planning a party.