This was my first time running the Zooma Annapolis 10K. My friend is a huge fan of the race so she invited me to run it with her. We made the drive down from Philadelphia to Annapolis the day before the race.
The Expo was held in a couple of conference rooms in the Loews 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Well-organized race. Zooma did a great job with the race. While I would have liked more communication leading up, I thought for the most part things were done well.
Challenging course. As much as I may have complained, this race course was awesome. The map doesn’t do it justice. I really enjoyed running over the big bridge!
Not too many runners. After the crazy crowd of the Cherry Blossom Run, it was nice to feel like I could breathe during the race. This was the perfect size.
Great band. There wasn’t any music along the course but the post-race entertainment was really good. The band played Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, and even Will Smith. It was a lot of fun!
Great post-race massage. It’s not often that I get to get a massage after a race and it was worth it!
Wine! We probably could have stayed and drank for a long time. They kept the bubbly flowing!
Bathrooms were disorganized. I mentioned the mess earlier. Hopefully they don’t make this mistake in future races. I didn’t recall see any bathrooms along the course either, but I wasn’t really looking!
The crowds lacked energy. I was happy to see that people were out along the course, but they were SO quiet! Jo kept on telling them to cheer for us! So many times I could have used a surge from the spectators but most didn’t even clap!
Water stations were a little hectic. I know Jo got handed Gatorade when she asked for water, so that could have definitely been a problem if that happened to others. It looked like they added additional stations along the route due to weather, so I do appreciate that.
I definitely recommend this challenging race and hope to do it again next year! I give more details on my blog: http://www.runwithnoregrets.com/2015/06/zooma-annapolis-10k-race-recap/