I signed up for ZOOMA Annapolis pretty much on a whim. I’d run a half the beginning of May, and it went so well that I felt I might as well do another one. Soon. I actually wanted to do Shipyard Maine (which I would go on to run in 2016), but the race sells out early, and it was a week after the race I’d run at the beginning of the month — so I couldn’t do that.
I lived in MD for one year after graduating college, and two of my high school buddies still live down there. Somehow I sweet talked Mr. Judy into it.
Hot and humid. It was 72 at the start (and would go up into the 80s by the time I was done). Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of shade on the first half of the course, and none on the bridge, which you cross twice.
At least I was dressed for it! Except I’d ditch the compression sleeves if I had it to do over again. I wouldn’t change anything else — at least not how I was dressed.
Annapolis is hilly, but hey, the half I’d run the beginning of May was hilly, too. And unseasonably hot. That first May half was a surprising PR and I really enjoyed it. Looking back at the elevation chart now, I know I’ve gone on to run far hillier halfs. Maybe it was the heat and humidity that made them seem so hard.
I planned to either start at a 12:30 mm pace and just hold it, or shoot for negative splits. I wanted to finish pain free and feeling like I could still run. Spoiler alert: I didn’t meet any of my goals.
So how’d that work for me?
- Mile 1: 12:19
- Mile 2: 12:39
- Mile 3: 12:43
- Mile 4: 12:38
- Mile 5: 14:30
- Mile 6: 13:25
- Mile 7: 14:11
- Mile 8: 13:53
- Mile 9: 13:46
- Mile 10: 13:57
- Mile 11: 14:29
- Mile 12: 14:34
- Mile 13: 15:22
- Last .29: 13:46
I can’t really give you a mile by mile synopsis; it’s been too long and I didn’t take good enough notes. Aside from one half with an injury (and the one I walked with a friend), I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 15 minute mile on my splits. And I hope I never do again!
What I Saw/Felt
It’s a couple of years in the mirror now, and my notes are kind of bare boned. I remember I lined up with a woman who ran about my pace, was also trying to do a half in every state, and was about my age.
I hadn’t yet started this blog — in fact, I’d start it (also almost on a whim) a couple of weeks after this race. Which definitely sucks — so many bloggers I’m now friendly with routinely run this race. I, of course, knew no one.
I didn’t even meet Sean Astin, one of the lone men running the race (that hobbit was much faster than me). I reached out to him with a blog post in mind afterwards, but I never heard back.
We arrived early and parking was a breeze. Unfortunately I woke up not feeling well — nothing dire, just feeling a slight temperature and general fatique. I’m sure it didn’t help, but that’s really not what made the race so miserable nor do I think it really effected my performance. It was just unfortunate.
Basically I remember the first half of the race going fairly well. Running near the water in downtown Annapolis was very pretty. I remember I ran all the way across the bridge without any problems . . . the first time. I thanked God for my small handheld water bottle more than once; they ran out of cups at mile 6 and water at mile 10.
I do remember being afraid at one point that I wasn’t running the right course; the 10k and half runners are together until the bridge (where the 10k runners turn around — smart people!). And the bibs are different colors for the half and 10k. No doubt it was just the fact that I was BOTP.
On the other side of the bridge is where the hills really started. Not much shade. By the time we got back to the bridge for the second time, the wheels hadn’t just come off, I don’t even know where they went. I mostly walked across the bridge. And I didn’t pick it up much after that, either.
I totally “pulled” it together at the finish line, when I knew my photo was being taken. I did not really feel like smiling. At all. Oddly enough, I never cramped at all. No doubt because I was so slow.
Was the race well run?
Yes and no. I have run several hot races now that have run out of water and/or cups for this BOTP runner. And it really kills my race. RDs, please, I’m begging you, cups aren’t that expensive!
Packet pickup was easy except . . . there was only one entrance into the host hotel. And it’s on a Friday and the traffic backs up really quickly. There wasn’t a whole lot of direction about parking, either, as I seem to recall.
On the plus side, parking wasn’t difficult at the start and there was still all the promised food, wine, etc. at the end, even for BOTPers like me. I don’t know about the yoga . . . much as I love my yoga, I definitely had no interest in it after the race.
Would I have felt differently about this race had I already been blogging and met up with some of my blogger friends? Maybe. If it had been a less humid day? Absolutely.
What I learned
Of course you learn something from every race. I learned that I need to start out a lot slower for a race this difficult (and humid). In retrospect, I think if I had started to do Galloway by this race it might have gone a little better for me. I definitely learned that I can push through hard things. I definitely didn’t run the race I wanted, but I did finish.
In the end, between this race and the cancellation of ZOOMA Cape Cod last summer (well, technically it wasn’t canceled it was changed into a yoga retreat), I have no interest in running ZOOMA races in the future.
My advice to you if you’re considering ZOOMA Annapolis? Do the 10k. I am not kidding. Unless you truly enjoy hot races.