June 10, 2016

ZOOMA Annapolis 2016 Half Marathon Race Recap

Disclosure: I am a 2016 ZOOMA Women's Race Series ambassador and received complimentary registration for this event.  As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 


In my 2015 ZOOMA Annapolis race recap I described my race experience as hot, humid, and hilly. Those rang true again this year!  Although I said I would not be running the half marathon again and would do the 10K, I found myself running the half marathon again, whoops. Despite the conditions this time of year, ZOOMA always puts on a nice race weekend for women in Annapolis. This year in addition to a half marathon and 10K, a 5K race was added.  


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Pre-Race

Friday evening after sitting in terrible traffic from Baltimore to Annapolis after work, I finally made it down to the ZOOMA Annapolis race expo at the beautiful Loews Hotel in downtown Annapolis. The expo is really small, but there was some nice women's running vendors and packet pickup looked easy (I grabbed my bib the night before in Baltimore). 

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I grabbed dinner and a drink with many of the ZOOMA ambassadors, most of whom I've met before or were ZOOMA ambassadors with me last year.  It was fun to see everyone and especially those people whom I've never met in person or those who I interact more with online through social media. Those running the 10K and 5K got to have a few more drinks and a little bit more fun, which also made me regret signing up for the half! 


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I finally had the chance to meet Cori (She's Going the Distance) who was nice enough to let me share her hotel room after realizing a couple weeks prior that I had not booked anything and didn't feel like driving down 2 days in a row or the morning of. I think we're similar so we vibe together pretty well, and I was happy to meet her after lots of social media interactions. 



Race-Day

Cori and I followed a fellow runner out of the hotel, but a round about way got us to the start line with just enough time to get to the bathroom and run to line up. FYI, If you are driving over, there is free parking at Navy Stadium for the race which is nice! I'm sad we missed the ambassador group photo! 

I went into the race not feeling very confident because it was 87% humidity that morning and my body doesn't do great running in heat/humidity, especially since I'm not used to it yet this summer.  I kept telling Cori that if she wanted to go ahead or anything that she didn't have to run with me, but we ended up running the whole race side by side.  I didn't plan to push it and really just wanted to finish, but ended up staying around an 8:00/mile pace.  After making it around halfway at that pace, I knew I wanted to try to stick to it. 

The course was the same as last year and running through downtown is really pretty and scenic. I thought the water stops were well-stocked and the volunteers were great.  About Mile 5 my one contact lense had been bothering me all morning so I just tossed it out and ran the race half blurry-eyed for the rest of the time. Note to self: pack extra set of contacts in your overnight bag, even if you are rushing out the door. 

Once you get north of the Navy bridge, the course gets pretty hilly and there are lots of turns. A couple times I was glad there were volunteers to clarify which way to go because I would have gotten lost, especially with the smaller half marathon field.  The 10Kers turnaround halfway up the Navy bridge.  The course north of the bridge is the part I knew from last year is tougher physically and mentally. Cori and I didn't talk much most of the race but checked in with each other periodically.  

The only thing I don't like about the course is that there are a lot of small out and back stretches which mentally frustrates me during the race.  After making it back across the Navy bridge towards downtown, I know that I only need to push it for a few more miles.  

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It was overcast the whole time we ran which was a life saver because the humidity PLUS the sun last year made me feel terrible. Despite the humidity making me uncomfortable, I actually felt better running this course than I did last year. It was also great having Cori to run with. Without her I might have turned around at the 10K and shortened my race instead of pushing myself to commit to the half marathon distance!  


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Finish line photo and fist pumping cause it's over. #jerseygirl
The last 2 miles of the race felt like they took forever and once we got to the Navy bridge I sped up and tried to push it to the finish line because I really just wanted to be done.

I have actually become a big fan of singlets and the New Balance ZOOMA singlet despite being drenched with sweat, kept me cool during the race. It took me forever, as usual, to cool down and stop sweating a ton.  I felt kind of nauseous post-race so I just had some water and a banana and took some trail mix to go. I couldn't really stomach any Barefoot wine this year so after a few photos we headed back to the hotel to shower. 

My official time was 1:45:21 which actually had me placed 2nd in my age group and 14/580 overall. It's a pretty average half time for me and just a minute slower than my ZOOMA Annapolis time last year, but definitely something I'm proud of for the conditions! 


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Overall

With this race in June, the conditions are usually going to be hot and humid which makes the hilly course a little tougher. However I love the small, unique feel of ZOOMA races and also running around Annapolis is a nice change of pace for this city girl.  They keep women in mind throughout the race weekend planning and are always open to suggestions.There were great volunteers and always nice touches, including the free race photos and soft race shirt that I have been lounging around in ever since the race. 

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Do you like running races with others for motivation? Have you ever ran in Annapolis? 

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You can still register for the Amelia Island Florida and Cape Cod races later this year with my discount code!

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup ladies CourtneyMar, and Cynthia  as well as NicoleJilland Amanda .

28 comments:

  1. for those conditions and you not being 100% into it, you raced a fabulous time. way to go. glad you got to meet up with some ambassadors and have a friend pushing you to succeed.

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  2. You are so lucky to have so many great bloggers in your area. I'm jealous ! How much fun to meet up.

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    1. Thanks-it is awesome to have a bunch of us area bloggers get together!

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  3. I love your plaid shorts how cute! Yall looked like yall had so much fun!!! OMG that is a super fast time, congratulations to you and your AG placing!

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    1. Thanks they are one of my fave pairs of Lululemon speed shorts! Thanks :)

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  4. Congrats on getting 2nd in your age group! ZOOMA last year was SO hot and humid, it really does make a difference having a few clouds. It looks like you had a great time. Are you going to Cape Cod? Hopefully I'll see you there!

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  5. This was the first year I ran the 10k. I've never been so glad to see a turnaround point in my life! That humidity was just awful.

    Great to see you again!

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  6. Nice finish! Congrats on 2nd in your age group! Zooma is on my to run list if it's ever hosted locally.

    Thanks for sharing with the Fitness Health & Happiness community. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks so much! Definitely run a ZOOMA race if you get the chance!

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  7. I didn't realize you were so speedy!! Congrats on the AG placement and for kicking that half's butt despite the heat, humidity and temptation to party more and run less haha

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    1. Haha,thanks for the compliment!

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  8. Wow, congrats on the age group award. That's awesome. I like how this races has the option of so many distances!

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    1. Thanks so much! All the distance choices make it a great event for friends, not matter their running experience!

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  9. The humidity was nasty! So fun getting to hang though - I love all the fun people this race brings together!

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  10. I had no idea you tossed a contact lens! It was so much fun running with you. I'm glad we stuck out the half marathon. We will have a few drinks to celebrate eventually!

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    1. Lol yep I was running half blind haha. Yes! Hanging out again soon for sure!

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  11. Awesome job! Sounds like a fun race and I would love to run it one day- hopefully in less humid conditions!

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    1. Thanks so much! Ugh, I don't know if Junes in MD will ever not be humid and hot haha!

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  12. I ran Zooma Chicago a few years ago and it was the most hot, humid race I've ever run. Which is saying a lot since I've run a few in Florida! But I loved the camaraderie, the sisterhood--it was a great race. No wine at the finish for me either--I felt pretty crummy and beer is much more appealing to me after a race than wine.

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    1. Haha, humid summer races are no fun for me. I agree-I'm more of a cold beer after a race gal.

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  13. Kudos to you for tackling the challenge of a hot, hilly half marathon. Great recap, too!

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  14. You always look so strong in your race pictures! Even if it was crappy weather, you pulled of another great race :)

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    1. Aw, thanks! Believe me, there's a bunch of me with my eyes closed (why?!) and terrible pained faces haha.

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  15. Nice job! Running in the heat is so tough, but you did so awesome! And crossed that finish line looking strong :)

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    1. Thanks so much lady! I always try to finish strong!

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