This past weekend I had the great opportunity to run at the Zooma Annapolis Women’s Race Series in Annapolis, Maryland. I had initally looked forward to this race as my first “goal” half marathon of the year, but moved down to the 10K due to the quad/hip issue I dealt with throughout the spring. While I was at first disappointed this wasn’t going to be half marathon #9 for me, I was happy I was able to downgrade.
Packet pickup: I got my packet on Thursday at a running store in downtown Baltimore, which was a very easy experience. I was given my number, shirt, and a small keychain. I didn’t expect to go to the expo on Friday, but made it with my friend and her aunt. It was teeny tiny, but their packet pickup was easy. I was disappointed that they had a bag with samples but those who picked up their packets early didn’t. Barefoot wine was there for a “party” but by the time we got there there wasn’t much left – but the sparkly wine was good!
Pre-race: We stayed up a little late on Friday so the 5:00 alarm came really early. I was a little spontaneous and had 2 pieces of cold pizza for breakfast and headed out! Thanks to easy traffic and parking, my friend, her aunt and I got to the Naval Academy Stadium at 6:15. There were plenty of porta-johns (for once!) and there was morning-of packet pick-up, which is a nice touch. I joined up with the ambassadors for a photo before it was time to get into the corrals (self-seeded). It was nice to get to talk to a few of them!
Miles 1-3: The first half of the course brought us around the Naval Academy stadium and then into downtown Annapolis. There were a couple of gentle hills, but it paid off when right before mile 3 there was a good downhill going into the harbor. Right off I realized it was humid. Oh so humid. I was running at a hard, but challenging pace, saving some energy in case the heat and humidity killed me.
Miles 4-6.2: This is when the heat/humidity and then the hills started to get to me. I walked for a quick minute to take an unplanned Gu (Thanks, AK!) and was still able to keep along, just a little bit slower. The hills were long and gradual, but I was happy to be passing plenty of people who were walking up them. The worst was running up the Naval Academy Bridge! It was just straight up at around mile 4.75, when I was starting to struggle a bit. The last .5 mile was uphill too, which was rough!
Finish Line: I finished at 1:04:30, which I was a tad disappointed with. However with the hills, heat, and humidity, I’m just happy I finished and that I did so without pain! The finish chute was easy – medals and water was given to us and it was just a short walk to the food. I had Pirate’s Booty for the first time and boy was it good! There were a few vendors out, but you know me – I headed right to the wine with my friend and her aunt! There was a great band playing and we were given two small (and I mean small) “glasses” of wine. I wish we could have stayed for longer but I had to be at work for 11!
Verdict: The race itself was pretty good. The 10K course was challenging and everything was well organized, aside from the water stops. They weren’t well spread out which lead to a lot of congestion. For the (few) people that choose to run through them, it really slows you down! (I lost at least 30 seconds from congestion). I would have liked there to be more wine available at the end, as that was a big promotion for whole “girl’s weekend” aspect of the race. The medal is cute and while the shirt isn’t a typical “tech tee” it is a nice tri-blend shirt that I’d wear on a short run. And there were free race photos!! Would I do it again? Yes! Will I do it every year? Probably not. It’s the same day as the Baltimore 10 Miler, which I also love.
I’d like to thank Zooma for having me as an ambassador! I had a great time at the race and can’t wait to be back again. Don’t forget that you can continue to use the code SAMANTHA16 for Zooma Cape Cod or Zooma Amelia Island!
Disclaimer: I am a Zooma Women’s Race Series ambassador and received a complimentary entry into this event. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.