I’m so excited to post my ZOOMA Annapolis race recap this morning!
What a fun weekend it was – it started with the pre-race festivities and Expo, which you can read about in my last post about ZOOMA – it left off at not sleeping well the night before the race.
SO NOW.. ON TO… SATURDAY = RACE DAY!
5:45am came quickly! Courtney and I got ready in our hotel room and drove over to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at about 6:20am, which took just a few minutes and involved NO traffic – nada. It was awesome. We parked in the stadium lot easily, walked a hop-skip-and-a-jump (almost literally!) to the Blue Angels airplane and met other Ambassadors for a pic at 6:25am.
From left: Sue from This Mama Runs For Cupcakes; Lisa from Lisa Runs for Cupcakes; me (I feel left out of the cupcake thing at this point); Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC; Mar from Mar on the Run; Erika from MCM Mama Runs; & Natalie from This Mommy Runs.
Mar is ready to run this thing.
I also got the pleasure of meeting Deborah from Confessions of Mother Runner, whom I felt like I already knew but had never met in person!
Sue and I snapped a Headsweats Ambassador picture – she in her Black Supervisor visor, and me in my ZOOMA Headsweats race hat.
After a few pics, it was time for the necessary pre-race trip to the portapotties, where the line was moderate, but not terrible. I knew we’d have time to wait in a line, but I didn’t account for a minor panic attack as I left the portapottie and couldn’t find Mar anywhere. She was holding my Spibelt while I used the potty.
Note to self: don’t hand something to anyone pre-race.
Note to self: don’t hold anything for anyone pre-race.
After some running around and shouting (way to expend unnecessary energy before a half marathon), we found each other and hopped into the starting corral. We even had time for a DC Trifecta selfie before the race starting gun went off.
Everything was pretty compact at ZOOMA – not too much walking around to get from parking to potty to race start. That was awesome!
So… did I mention I forgot to eat the food I packed for breakfast? DOH! That’s not good, I usually have a banana and something else like toast for breakfast before a race. OOPS! Well… a Gu would have to do the trick.
I don’t feel hungry – YET!
It was self-seeding the starting corral, and that seemed to work fine with signs held for various expected finish times.
The course started out in the stadium and I added some extra mileage tracking wide through the parking lot. I realize I have a problem running the most efficient path on a race route – I’ll be working on that this year.
Mar and I ran together for the first 3.5 miles or so, and we were running with the 2 hour pacers for a while. After my fabulous experience running with the Baltimore Pacers during the Frederick Half Marathon, I toyed with the idea of sticking with them.
But I was dead-set on not forcing myself to go for the sub-2-hour-half-marathon – as I chatted about before the race, I hadn’t done a whole lot of running since the Frederick Half Marathon after losing my mojo for solo training runs after being grabbed/groped.
But I kept those pacers in sight for several miles.
When I let them go out of my vision, I embraced it and felt free. I was here to enjoy a half marathon! I had been looking forward to ZOOMA for months and I didn’t want to go home disappointed about a 2014 goal not being achieved. This race was not about a PR – I didn’t come here to stress and force myself up hills, I came to do as the ZOOMA motto says: RUN. LAUGH. CELEBRATE.
It was even printed on the hotel key cards!
So I soaked it up and decided to look around and not at the pavement.
Being a Maryland girl, it was nice to see the Maryland flags all around the town.
So around Mile 4 I started to get hungry. My stomach was rumbling and I was envisioning the banana in my car getting warm and mushy… ugh.
The course was SO gorgeous as we ran through scenic Annapolis. I loved seeing the town, boats, Naval Academy area, and all the remarkable things about the area.
It was a foot tour of downtown Annapolis.
Hey, it’s where we went to dinner last night!
I enjoyed the turnaround point in downtown Annapolis where we could see other runners. There were a few of these moments during the race, which was tons of fun.
So then there’s this bridge.
“The Bridge” – I had heard about this bridge since the day I heard the words “Annapolis” + “race” for the very first time (and not just with regard to ZOOMA – other Annapolis races have The Bridge too!).
I’m not afraid of a few hills on a course, so as we approached the bridge, I decided I’d just look around at the gorgeous sights before me and take a few pics.
Do I look like I’m suffering on the run over the bridge? It wasn’t terrible on the way over.
All over the race course there were groups of women running together – I loved seeing the camaraderie of friendships during the ZOOMA race.
Another fun thing was the course looping back on itself so I could wave to buddies along the way.
On the other side of the bridge the course was more residential, it was a totally different feel than the downtown scenes.
I downed a Hammer gel at about Mile 8. STILL HUNGRY. That packed breakfast was sounding pretty good about now.
It was almost like there were two different race courses – the downtown cute Annapolis and the residential part over the bridge. I liked both, but I’ll admit that the cute downtown part being in the first half of the race left less to look forward to for the second half of the race. But many races I’ve run have no cute downtown part at all, so at least that made the first part fly by.
But I started to fade a little…
Around Mile 10 I started running with an awesome lady who was pushing through some pain. She had run the Iron Girl Half Marathon and had some issues from that race, then running the Frederick Half Marathon a week later. She had to walk/run 9.5 miles of Frederick, which was incredibly impressive! That’s called determination. I didn’t get her picture but I was enjoying our chat.
We had a little down hill to give us some relief before going over the bridge again.
So… the second time on The Bridge. Not as much fun-fun as the first and my taking pictures trick didn’t do the trick.
At least I had my new running buddy to keep me company. We chatted about the Frederick half marathon, kids (she has 5 from early 20’s to 5 years old – she’s inspiring!), and all sorts of stuff.
We had another out-and-back and I was READY with my camera – Mar’s all smiles, check her out!
Okay, here’s the deal. I started struggling. I think the lack of breakfast had something to do with it, plus it was getting warm out. It wasn’t terrible like a mid-summer race, but it was sunny and I was getting tired.
Thankfully, water stops were plentiful on this course. Just when I thought I needed one, there it was.
The woman I was running with was really focused and we got each other through those last few miles. I kept my head in the game and didn’t take any pics near the end of the race – I needed all my energy to get my legs across the finish line.
Official Finish: 2:07:15! I made my goal of 2:05-2:10!
It was a thrill to finish with the announcer calling out names, and finish line party in sight.
Post-Race Festivities? Great! We were immediately greeted by a gorgeous medal, a water bottle, a foam roller station, Muscle Milk, and many of the vendors from the Expo.
I had a blast creating a Scott James Jewelry necklace at the finish. More details on my creation to come! Doesn’t it look pretty with my medal?
Erika, Mar, and I chatted with another Half Fanatic at the finish line – she has a super-impressive race schedule that rivals mine. I started to think she should have a blog called “You Signed Up For ALL THE HALF MARATHONS” – loved meeting a kindred spirit.
They handed out snack boxes and had an area where you could enjoy wine (if you were legal age!) with your pals.
The medal is a fab piece of bling for my collection:
I had a great time, a great race, and will definitely be back for ZOOMA next year!
Check out the race recap linkup below, hosted by the ZOOMA Annapolis Ambassadors. If you wrote up a recap of ZOOMA, feel free to add the link to your race report below. All the other ZOOMA Annapolis Ambassadors’ recaps will be linked up too so you can hear from all of us about our experiences, which might be totally different since some of us did the half marathon and some the 10K.