This past Sunday I ran in the Zooma Annapolis 10K. I had originally registered for the half marathon, but several weeks ago switched down to the 10K due to shin splints. I was nervous to run this race because I have not run more than 3 miles at a time since the GW Parkway 10 miler in April and I had to stop running in May for three weeks due to the shin splints (and waiting for a Dr to tell me it was OK to run). I can be very stubborn and I had planned on participating in this race even if I had to walk the whole thing. I figured that since I already paid for it, I was going to do it.
The sports chiropractor I saw on Thursday gave me the OK to continue running as long as I used the Jeff Galloway method, so I was set! I let go of any sort of time goal and just set my sights on finishing pain free.
I went to packet pick up Saturday and was surprised at how easy it was. Plus, I thought the bag that the bib and timing chip came in was cute! There were not tons of vendors, but since this was a woman's race, all the vendors were geared towards women . . . very nice!
Sunday morning I woke up early, 4:30 AM, way too early, to get ready for the race. Since this race was fairly close to home, there was no rain in the forecast, and I could park right by the start and finish, I did not plan on checking a bag or even bringing much, so I did not have much to do in the AM. I got to the Navy Stadium (start/finish of race) at 6AM and was shocked that so few people were there. But, by 6:15 AM, the runners started to pour in. Before the race started, I headed to the port-a-potties. This was the first race that I have been to that actually had stations to wash your hands at!
The race started at 7AM. The start seemed very crowded. I have been in larger races that did not seem quite at crowded at this one. Again, my ONLY goal was to finish pain free, so I started out towards the back of the pack. I decided to run 9 min, walk 1 min for most of the race, unless I felt pain in my leg. And, I stuck to that for most of the race. The first couple miles took us out of the Navy Stadium parking lot and on to the adjacent streets. I was really hoping that there would be more room to spread out and find a good pace, but the race was still too thick even after we hit mile two. And, truthfully, it did not seem to thin out until mile 4. This made it very hard to get into a steady pace.
When the race started, it was a bit overcast, humid and warm. But, about 10 minutes into the race, the clouds cleared and it began to get hot. Somewhere in mile 2, there was a cute little girl with her mom, in their front yard, spraying passing runners. Well, I was hot and thought it was a good idea. The several runners in front of me got sprayed mainly in their torso area. Me? Nope, I got it directly in the face. Now, normally I would not mind, but it must have shorted out the ear bud of my ipod on that side because for the rest of the race I could only hear music in my left ear!
In mile 3 we crossed a smaller bridge by the Naval Academy and then headed up to Memorial Bridge. I was doing fine, slow, but fine, but really needed a port-a-potty! (Why did I have to drink so much water in the morning!?!!). This was the first race that I have ever broken down and waited in line for a port a potty! The "pit stop" was just after the mile 4 marker and right before we run onto Memorial Bridge. Running on the bridge was nice. It gave runners a beautiful view of the Naval Academy and the river.
The 10K turn around was on the bridge and, for the first time during the race, I was glad to only be doing the 10K. By the turn around point, I was HOT and tired. Plus, right after the turn around, a runner was down, and another one about 1/2 mile from the finish. Seeing that made me realize that I needed to run smart and take it easy. The last mile of the race went by quickly, although I certainly was NOT running quickly. I did not really feel tired, but I felt as if I had nothing to give. Maybe it was the heat. My time was not great either . . . my slowest yet. And, my time on the race website is 3 minutes slower than the time I had on my watch. Not sure why . . . oh, well.
At the finish, I got my finisher's gift. The Zooma race gives you a necklace. I had seen last year's and was very unimpressed, but I liked this year's design that was tailored to Annapolis.
I quickly grabbed some food and hit the after party. I went to the wine area, drank a little wine, grabbed my boxed lunch and actually got a massage. That was another benefit of running the 10K . . . . when I got to the race after party, there still were not many people there, so I did not have to wait in a line to get my lunch and I only had to wait a few minutes for the massage!
Overall, I really liked this race. It was a good experience: there was tons of parking and it was close, the course was not too bad at all, and the after party was nice. I loved the fact that they gave boxed lunches. And I liked the finisher's necklace and the goodie bag (from packet pick up). There were only two things I did not love about it. First: the race shirt. I liked the design, but did not like the DRAB GRAY color (see top of post . . . it actually looks nicer in the picture). Second, it took too long for the field to clear out. There is not anything that the race directors can do about that, but it was a bit bothersome at times.
But, with that being said, I would definitely run Zooma Annapolis again.