This past weekend we made our way to Annapolis! It was the first time we’ve been there and were excited to see all it offered! The purpose of the trip was for the ZOOMA Annapolis Women’s Race that was being held on Saturday! I’m an ambassador and received a free entry to the race, but this weekend was more than just about racing for free. I got to see and meet fellow ambassador friends, I was able to speak with the Every Mother Counts representatives, and the best part was just enjoying my time with Xander, John, and our friends Lauren and Mark!
John left work a little early and we arrived to our friends place in Annapolis around 3 pm. We got Xander’s pack and play set up, got the lay of their house, and just relaxed a little. Before we knew it, it was time to head to packet pick-up! We were staying about 15 minutes from downtown, but the drive was super easy and felt quick anytime we had to make drive back and forth. Lowes was the host hotel and packet pick-up was right on the first floor. We were able to park in the hotel lot for just five bucks all night! We stopped into packet pick-up, went out to dinner (Rams Head Tavern – delicious!), walked around, and then headed back to the hotel for some pictures with fellow ambassadors. Five bucks well spent! Honest Tea was hosting a mocktail party, but we had get Xander back to the house for bedtime. It was already past his time, but he hung in there like a trooper! With minimal fussing for bed (it’s always the hardest on the first night of a new place), Xander was asleep and Lauren and Mark had arrived! We chatted, formed a game plan for the morning, and hit the hay!
Lauren and I woke up at 5:30, ready to leave the house by 6:00. Xander conveniently woke up and nursed but then stayed awake for daddy instead of going back to bed. Lauren and I drove down to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and the boys would meet us at the end of the race. We were wondering why the ZOOMA website told us to arrive at 6:15 (race started at 7:00), but when we pulled into the street to park, we quickly realized why! There was quite the long line to park, but it went quickly and smoothly. We got ourselves situated, used the port-a-potties, and got into the corrals with 7 minutes to spare!
I had made the decision to only run the 10k and Lauren was aiming for the half marathon. We decided to run the 10K together (or up until the courses weren’t the same anymore) and then we would split. Our goal was also to have fun and take our time… especially at the water stops since it was over 80 degrees and the sun was already loud and proud at 7 am. The race started right on time and we were off!
We ran through the parking lot and around the stadium for the first mile and then started to run through cuter parts of town. It was honestly hard to focus on all the scenery at times because I should have run with sunglasses on! It was squint city! The first water stop was around 1.5 miles and I was happy to see it! The website said there would be four water stops along the 10k course, which I thought would be ample enough to not need to carry my own hydration (plus wearing a camel bak would have made me even hotter!)
Neither of us were wearing running watches, so we didn’t know our pace or distance along the course, but we started to wonder why we never saw the mile 3 marker (and I was getting very cranky about needing more water!) Around mile 4 and still no water, Lauren handed me one of her bottles on her hydration belt. She’s had an unfortunate history of heat stroke, so she wore the hydration belt as back up for the half marathon. I’m not sure what I would have done without her! Finally, around 4.5 miles there was a water stop!! Yip yip hooray! Errr… hip hip we were being yelled at? There were barely any cups left, we were being told to only take one cup, and anyone carrying a water to get those refilled instead of taking a cup. It was odd and I was feeling a little confused. I tried to ignore it and focused on getting up the hill – which we decided to walk up and then stop to take some pictures!! I’m telling you, even with the race hiccups and heat, Lauren and I had fun!
Those running the 10k turned around on the hill. At this point Lauren decided to drop down from the half and continued the 10k race with me. So down the hill we went, where we grabbed a handful of gummy bears (so thankful for that girl with the big o’ bucket!) and more water. The rest of the course had some gradual hills and we just took our time and walked a few more times too. The sun was really blazing and we coveted the shade when we hit a stretch with it. Before we knew it, the stadium was within view and we were crossing the finish line.
We received a specially designed necklace by Satya Jewelry in place of a finisher’s medal and then proceeded to pick up the rest of our swag – a yoga mat and water bottle. Then we picked up our yummy snack box where I had chicken salad and Lauren had hummus. I heard some people complaining that there should have been breakfast foods instead of these options – but I absolutely LOVED the snack boxed! They came with an apple and carrots too! Plus the water bottle was ice cold and just what I needed. Typically breakfast food options are stuff for me after a race because that means bread products which means gluten. LOVED the snack boxes.
We waited for the guys while eating in the shaded grass. A cover band was playing and we glad to be done running! Before too long we were headed back to the house where we got cleaned up and napped. We were all starving when we woke, so it was back downtown for some grub and exploring! It was during this time in the car that I started to stalk the ZOOMA Facebook page!
Turns out the reason we never saw the mile 3 marker was because there was a miscommunication and .25 miles of the course was never run! It also turns out that during this .25 there was supposed to be the other water stop I was anxiously awaiting! On Saturday we still didn’t know all the details of what happened, but here is the official response from ZOOMA founder, Brae Blackley:
Both the ZOOMA Annapolis half marathon and 10k courses are USATF certified (#MD13009JS, MD130109JS). However, due to a miscommunication between the City of Annapolis police and race staff, the course run by both the half marathon and 10k participants was approximately .25 miles short on Saturday. At approximately mile 2.75 on the half marathon and 10k courses, runners were not directed to make the turn at Dock Street in downtown Annapolis, effectively cutting .25 miles of the certified course. The second planned aid station on both the half marathon and 10k courses was positioned on Dock Street at approximately mile 2.75, and, as a results, participants did no meet an aid station between miles 1.5 and 4.5.
We ate a delicious late lunch at Boatyard Bar and Grill and quickly learned that once we gave Xander a bite of crab that he was only going to eat crab the rest of the meal – too funny! We did a ton of walking around afterwards and got some ice cream too! It was a fun afternoon capped off with lively board games in the evening!
We found a yummy brunch spot and traveled back home! Our fun weekend was over and it will be fun to see Annapolis again!
I know this weekend recap was long, so thanks for sticking with me! I wanted to be able to remember everything all in one post! And while there were hiccups with this year’s ZOOMA Annapolis race, I truly think it was all an honest (yet unfortunate) mistake. As an ambassador, I’ve had the opportunity to get a glimpse into how hard these ladies work to create a great race experience, so don’t count ZOOMA Annapolis 2014 out of your race wish list!
How do you handle race hiccups? What’s the best/worst race you’ve ever run – why?