Hey there! Hope you had a great weekend…it already feels like it was so long ago!
For the first time in awhile I’m linking up with Tuesdays on the Run, hosted by April, Erika, and Patty! The theme this week is The Benefits of Taking a Running Break, so be sure to head over and check what everyone’s posting on their sites!
Today, I’m finally sharing my recap of the Zooma Annapolis 10K, which took place last Saturday! There is actually a linkup of race recaps being hosted by Cynthia from You Signed Up For What and the other Zooma Annapolis Ambassadors, so fun!Check out my recap of the Zooma Annapolis 10K! #sweatpink #girlsgonesporty #runchat #totr Click To Tweet
I found out about Zooma Annapolis from Jo, a former coworker who is now retired but still serves as an awesome mentor and friend! She has been killing it with her races over the past couple of years, and she invited me to come down to Annapolis for the weekend to take part in the race! I asked her whether I should do the 10K or the half marathon and she instantly said 10K! I didn’t really understand why until the day before the race…
Jo picked me up after work to head down for the drive from Philly to Annapolis. The time went by so fast since we talked about running the whole time. It was great because I don’t have too many people (outside of blogging) who would find that enjoyable! When we got in, we picked up food at an Italian restaurant for dinner, brought it back to her place, picked up our bibs at the expo at the Loews hotel, then I got a drive-by preview of the race course since Jo has run it several years now.
The Expo was held in a couple of conference rooms in the hotel, with lots of vendors selling cute T-shirts, socks and such. Being the non-impulsive shopper that I am, I didn’t buy anything. When we got our bags from registration, I checked out the T-shirt and realized it was a bit snug. I wanted to change out the shirt to a medium but was told I’d have to take care of it on race day…I’ll get into that a little later.
When it came to checking the race course out let’s just say I was glad I got that preview because hello, hills! If you remember my post about avoiding common race day mistakes, my #2 tip was to do your research on that race course! It’s so important to know what you’ve signed up for in order to do your best.
I had a delicious chicken, veggie, and whole wheat pasta dinner, but I was a bit of a wreck after seeing those hills. Coach Kristy has had me doing hill training for a while, but still! That and the forecast of high heat and humidity, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make my race goals!
While I slept pretty well, my stomach actually felt a bit funky in the middle of the night, so I was worried that I could have some issues as I woke up for race day. The weather was already very humid (like 70% humidity) and it was going to be around 70 at the start of the 7:00 am race. Thankfully Jo lives close enough to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium that we could walk.
When we got there we saw all the women, in many shapes, sizes, and ages, which was pretty cool! What was NOT cool was that the Port-o-John’s were located way far away from the race start and that there were MASSIVE lines! Everyone looked confused as they gathered around to get in line. We knew it could end up being a 20 minute wait, and then for some reason there were cars parked in front of the potties so we were snaking around the parking lot. Geez. Then, once I finally took care of that I went to get hand sanitizer and they ran out! I could see that happening at a race for 40,000 people, not 4,000.
Due to the bathroom mishap, we got to the starting line just a few short minutes before the initial start. But the craziest thing was that I saw Sean Astin, of Lord of the Rings fame, in the race line! I just kind of stared for a few moments haha, and Jo casually confirmed that it was him. I didn’t get a picture, a hello, or anything…but believe me, it was him!
We crammed into the starting line. There were pacers for the half marathon runners, but we got in where we could since there was no corral system. Before I knew it, we were off!
The race started out in the stadium parking lot and then we headed out to the street to meet our first hill of many. I was SO glad to know what was coming because it feels so much better to be able to anticipate what’s up ahead! Once we were running, the humidity really started to kick in, so I was a little nervous. The first mile was definitely speedier than I thought I would be, so I was worried that I was going to crash and burn. Thankfully, Jo committed to running with me at my pace. She had her watch set to make sure we’d stay around a 9:45 pace. She’s actually battling a foot injury right now so it was even more amazing to have her support.
Unfortunately, the mile markers did not line up with my Nike+ watch, so I always hit the mile before we came across the official mile marker. I didn’t want to stress too much about my pace, even though I had far off dreams of running a sub-60 minute 10K. The heat, humidity, and hills were not going to make that easy for me! Still, I was surprised I was able to stay under or around a 10-minute pace under these conditions. You could never enjoy a downhill for too long because you knew there was going to be another uphill soon after! There was more than a couple of times where I told Jo I needed to slow down. There was even a point where she told me to stop slouching! My breathing was gradually getting heavier as the race went on. Still, I had flashing moments where I felt like I was in the zone. I had my water bottle so I sipped at each mile and occasionally stopped for water, trying to keep moving as best as I could.
Splits: 9:51, 10:06, 9:51
The first 3 miles went by so fast, I couldn’t believe that I was already on the last half of the course! We got to the dock around mile 3 and it was time for me to hit my Clif Shotbloks. Unfortunately, this required me to walk, so I felt bad about losing some momentum. But the Shotbloks always give me a surge so I was happy to take it! We turned around a couple of corners and then came up to a very long hill on a residential street. It was endless! Around this point, the half marathoners took a left since they had a LONG way to go, while we went straight ahead. We had a decent descent once we reached the peak of that hill, but we were quickly coming to the big boy: The Naval Academy Bridge.
We only had to go up the Bridge halfway but that was more than enough! Jo told me to look to the side towards the water instead of looking straight up. It was SO steep! And meanwhile the sun was beaming! I was really tested here, and Jo told me later that she thought this might be the point where I’d walk…but I didn’t! I kept running. I was so happy when we made it to the top – the half marathoners went straight on as we turned around…I knew at this point everything would feel a lot easier! So around mile 5 I was supposed to pick it up to the end. It was a bit tough (because again, more hills!), but around the last half mile of the race, I found a surge. Jo told me to “Go, go!” and I went ahead. I still couldn’t see the finish line but I knew it was close. I had 2 more hills to climb before making it to the finish, but I was so happy as I heard them say my name over the loudspeaker. This is it!
Splits: 10:05, 10:26, 9:38
And then I was finally crossing the finish line! I did it! I knew I didn’t break an hour, but after getting my medal I finally checked my watch, which I stopped at 1:02:53. This give me a distance of 6.31 miles. My official race time was 1:02:31, which is a personal record! I beat my time at the Norcross Run the Bridge 10K by 4 seconds, even though this race was much hotter and hillier! I also stopped to walk more times at this race than the one back in November, so it really shows me how much I have grown as a runner in the past 6 months!
The race was done and I enjoyed the runner’s high for a little bit. I got my medal and a bottle of water and waited for Jo who arrived maybe a couple of minutes after me. We went to stretch, take a couple of pictures, grab some food (they had hummus or chicken salad to choose from), and then go for a free post-race massage. My massage therapist was a really nice guy and did a great job! Unfortunately even with massage, Jo’s foot was hurting pretty badly. We ended up going over to drink our free Barefoot wine, and yes, I had one of each flavor! They were offering their Barefoot Refresh brand: Crisp Red, Summer Red, Perfectly Pink, and Sweet White. Summer Red was definitely my favorite!
The last item of business was my T-Shirt. It took a bit of effort to find the table where Zooma was exchanging T-shirt sizes. We had to go back to Jo’s place so that I could bring my small to exchange for medium, but when we came back they were packed up and apparently gone! I was ready to let it go, but Jo was able to find one of the organizers and they got a medium that was packed in someone’s car. So I really appreciated that. It’s a cute shirt! Now I have two of them, lol.
We left the race one last time and I was able to enjoy the City of Annapolis for a few hours. Annapolis has such a cute, small town feel! I really enjoyed seeing the local businesses. Everywhere we went, Jo knew the owners, so it was a very friendly atmosphere. As we relaxed at lunch (which was SO good!), we were able to talk some more about life in general. I think we definitely got to know each other a lot better! The weather was SO HOT by this point, well into the 80’s. It really was a beautiful day for a run!
I had an amazing time at the Zooma Annapolis 10K. I’m so glad I was able to try a new course in a different city. I need to make this more of a habit and get into going on racecation! It’s definitely a lot of fun!
Thank you SO MUCH Jo for being my hostess and allowing me to take part in this race with you, even though you were battling injury. You gave me that final push to finish strong and I don’t know if I could have handled those hills without you by my side! I had such a great time hanging out with you for the weekend!
Once again, I was well prepared for this race because of my training with Coach Kristy. I had been feeling a bit lethargic training this go-round, but I’m glad that I was able to run Zooma successfully! This race will hopefully prove to be a great warm up for the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Half Marathon!The Zooma Annapolis race was awesome! Here's why you should try it! #sweatpink #runchat Click To Tweet
Note: I’ve also posted my review of this race on bibrave.com – it’s a free site 100% dedicated to race reviews. I’m a BibRave Pro Ambassador for 2016, and I’d love if you considered joining the site!
What was one of the most challenging races you’ve run? Do you do a lot of hill training?