ZOOMA Annapolis 2017
June 3, 2017
What I wore:hat, tank top, a Skirt Sports Happy Girl, Feetures socks, and Altra Escalante (Note that I changed my outfit at the very last moment and did not wear compression socks…)
ZOOMA Annapolis 2008 was the first half marathon I ever ran. I made some rookie mistakes and had a miserable race. Since then, I ran it once as a half marathon and once as a 10K, both times as a ZOOMA Ambassador (use code ERIKA2017 for any ZOOMA race). Since 2017 was the 10th year of the half marathon, I decided I needed to run it as a half marathon again, even though I prefer to run the 10K.
Why do I prefer the 10k? These ladies.
Friday night before the half marathon has become a chance to hang with the other ambassadors and catch up. It may also involve bottles of wine and glasses of beer and staying up way too late.
While I love everything about the race weekend, I have to admit that hanging with my posse is my favorite part. As you can imagine, a 10K is a better choice the next morning. But, I said I was going to do the half marathon, so half marathon I did.
And it didn’t suck!
Saturday morning dawned bright and early and not quite as hot and humid as years past. In fact, unlike last year, I’m pretty sure I didn’t start sweating until after I started running. I met up for the Ambassador picture and then headed over for a last portapotty stop.
I *barely* made it through the line in time, but I managed to get to the start line and jumped in with the 2:30 pacer. The gun went off and we headed out.
It quickly became apparent that the pacer was doing an even split race and that was not going to work for me. The Annapolis course starts with a nice jaunt around the historic downtown with only minimal hills. Then, around mile 5 or so, you head up the Naval Academy Bridge. From there on out, the course is hilly, unshaded, and often hot. I knew that I needed to bank some time to make up for the walking I planned. Also, I had given my hand held water bottle to a friend, so I was a touch worried about the later miles. Thankfully I picked up a small Polar water bottle in the hotel lobby and decided to run with that until I got tired of carrying it.
After the first mile, I slowly pulled away from pacer. My goal was to run just a little slower than a tempo pace and I did a great job until we hit the bridge. But the bridge was not a surprise and I walked as planned. After the bridge, I saw a friend working the course just before mile 7. It was awesome to see a friendly face as I was starting to fade. I had refilled my little water bottle with sports drink at the previous water station and would continue to add to it at each stop from then on. (I was so thankful I’d grabbed it.) Mile 7-10 were warm and hilly. I walked every.single.hill. I had planned it that way, so I walked hills and ran everything else. I saw my friend again at mile 10 and knew I only had a 5K left.
I hit the start of the bridge and started walking. It wasn’t as hot as some years, but the wind had really picked up, so that added a bit of a challenge. But I just kept plugging along and before I knew it, I was heading up the hill towards the stadium, with close to 10 minutes to finish under 2:30! I ran as hard as I could (AKA not actually very fast) and finished my 68th half marathon back at the same race where my half marathon racing adventures began!
- I love the ZOOMA race organization and all of the ladies associated with the race.
- The weather was beautiful and not too humid this year.
- I was feeling surprisingly good for having run 4 half marathons in the days leading up and then having to ride in a car for two days to get back in time.
- I executed my race plan perfectly and beat my goal by almost 7 minutes.
- The swag is always excellent and this year did not disappoint.
- The wind coming back across the bridge.
- The hills from mile 6 on.
- It wasn’t actually ugly, but I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I had not grabbed that little water bottle. (You can see it in my hand at the finish line!)
Would I run this race again?
I will run the 10K for as long as I’m invited back as an ambassador. I love ZOOMA, but the course for the half marathon is super challenging and often on the first really warm summer day. I’d much rather have more fun with my friends and run a shorter race. But either way, it’s a great race to run.