Sunday, June 1, 2014

Race Recap: Zooma Annapolis 2014

Because I haven't had enough to do lately (you know, other than finishing law school with some awesome journal petitioning, traveling to GA to help my husband pack and get ready to move, and starting my summer job at Meade), I also ran the Zooma Annapolis Half this weekend!

While I usually like expos, I skipped this one since it was a Saturday morning race and I didn't feel like driving down to Annapolis on Friday after work. Instead, I picked up my packet on Thursday night at Charm City Run, which is just across the harbor from my apartment. The swag was pretty nice; in addition to the adorable shirt, I also got a super nice, lightweight hat, and a pair of feetures socks.

I drove down to Annapolis bright and early Saturday, which is a little over a half hour drive with no traffic. The start and finish line was at the stadium at USNA. Since my dear husband went to West Point, I've never actually had any interest in visiting the Naval Academy, so this was my first time there! Parking was pretty easy, and the race overall seemed to be pretty small and felt local, though I did hear some ladies talking about traveling from out of town for the weekend. There were only a few speakers, and no major announcements or music playing in the start area, which didn't really open until about 15 minutes prior to the gun time.
It's a good thing parking was easy and close to the finish area, because they apparently did not have a bag check this year. I ended up leaving my car keys in the gas cap and running back to change into flip flops after the race before going into the finish area.

Since this month has been SO CRAZY, I haven't really been running much since NWM four weeks before. And by not running much, I mean, maybe three or four miles two or three times a week. Training, not so much. Obviously I had not expectations or goals going into this race, other than finish because I didn't want to switch to the 10K.
I heard that last year, the weekend was very hot and humid and that definitely hurt a few people. This year, the week before was pretty cold and rainy with sun expected for Saturday, and the morning turned out to be pretty perfect. I actually saw a lot of people in long sleeves or pants, which seems like they'd be hot! I personally was wearing a new running singlet and shorts from Soas, and they were, quite literally, the best running clothes I've ever worn for a race. The pockets in the shorts are absolutely brilliant! I actually had problems getting my ipod out of the back pocket while running because it was so perfectly nestled in there. While I  plan on wearing my Team RWB kit for tri's this year, I am definitely investing in a lot more Soas gear!!

The race course was all at once awesome and terrible. The first few miles were right through the downtown, very quaint area of Annapolis with great views of Annapolis landmarks and the water. The middle half was through a residential area. And, throughout the WHOLE course, there were hills. Oh so many hills. At one point I wasn't sure if should take the downhills easy or the uphills easy, so I started going back and forth. There was also the big bridge, which I had been warned about before; it is every bit as long and sunny as you can imagine! The course support was pretty great, with regular water stops and great volunteers. I brought two gels, and took them with water. They also had Cytomax at each stop, which always upsets my stomach, so I avoided that for the most part.
As before every race, I studied the course map and elevation chart (so I knew about the hills in advance), but this course had so many turn arounds and different directions along the same road, I wasn't quite sure about where it went. Even during the course I wasn't sure where I was, and there were lots of places where it would have been very easy to jump over and cut a few minutes off my time.

As I said, I had no goals for this race, so when the 2:00 pace group passed me by around mile 5, I wasn't too mad. When I lost the 2:10 group on the way back around mile 11, I was so close to the end I didn't care either. I made it through with no major issues except some dehydration (not confusing due to the two birthday parties I went to the night before ;) ) and, of course, the hills. I even picked up a "floating pacer" in the last mile, who ran with me all the way to the end and kept my mind off the mileage! Great idea! Also, the DJ and cheer group at mile 5/11 before/after the bridge was great motivation!

There was a little, final hill going up to the finish line, and my calves definitely were ready to blow by that point. Finishing felt great, though! And, on top of that, the medals are absolutely adorable!! Honestly, the reason I signed up for this race was for the shirt, and the reason I finished was for the medal. Not only is a little ship's wheel, but it also has a detachable charm! Race charms are my favorite!!

Like I said, I then ran (hobbled) back to my car to change to flip flops and wipe down my face before heading into the finish area. I had some water and bananas from the finish line, but the real food was after! I got some muscle milk light, in both vanilla and chocolate, which I almost prefer to chocolate milk. Muscle Milk also had foam rollers set up to help stretch out. There was also more water and boxes of either hummus or chicken salad. There was also some Barefoot Bubbly, but seemed way too sweet after the hot race!
When I went through the finish line, I didn't mind missing the expo quite so much; there were tons of vendors there with booths set up, just like at an expo, for all that post-race shopping.
The best part, though, was the post-race yoga! While the yoga instructor there didn't seem too familiar with racing, it was a great idea to have an area to stretch and cool down. Having guided yoga was nice, but really, who wants to a chaturanga after running 13 miles? No one, that's who. This morning I was very glad I stopped to at least try.

After all this, I headed back and, after showering, promptly fell asleep for four hours. Oh, the bliss of the post-race nap! I was majorly dehydrated when I woke up, but still managed to hobble down to get some Chipotle for dinner (no time for groceries!). Today, I felt fine when I woke up, if a little tight in the quads, and am looking forward to a swim workout tomorrow. I even indulged in a little pedicure with some hot pink nails, all ready for summer!

On another note, Friday night I went to the grand opening party for Beachfit Baltimore. Since one of my friends and I got there early, we got some swag bags there too! They also had a raffle, and I won tickets for the Jack Johnson concert this week! Since K is moving up Tuesday, we were already planning on going, but this is even better!
Beachfit does Surfset fitness classes, as well as spinning and other classes. I can't wait to try it out this summer with K!