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Zooma Annapolis! A great day for a race!

This past Sunday was Zooma Annapolis Women's Race Series 10K and Half Marathon.  I was blessed enough to be an ambassador for this race.

Zooma Annapolis Ambassadors from kick off party in March (this bad blogger did not bring her camera to the race!)
On Saturday, I headed down to the expo to pick up my packet and to help with packet pickup.  I ended staying the whole afternoon!  Packet pickup was swamped all day long and needed as much help as possible.  Plus, I was happy to stay.  It was so great to see the runners who had come out for the training runs and to wish them good luck!

Later that evening, I sat to work out my "game plan" for the race. About a week before the race, I had decided to switch down to the 10K, instead of running the half marathon.  When I signed up for this race, I had planned on helping a friend run her first half marathon.  But, early in the summer, she became pregnant (yay!) and could not run the race. Originally, I planned on still running the the half, but take it easy since I had run one just two weeks before.  And because I did not PR at that race (stomach issues!!), I was not sure what to do about Zooma.  I did not think I could PR in the half.  I was not really ready to PR at it and it is very hilly.  My husband suggested I try to PR in the 10K.  And, that was a great suggestion!

So, Saturday night, I sat down to figure it all out.  My PR was a 55:45.  I made a plan to run a 8:45 min/mile pace.  That would have me finish in 54:XX . . . more than enough of a cushion to get me my PR.  I planned out my splits per mile, wrote them down, and packed it for the next morning.  I even had the brilliant idea to stay with the 1:50 pace group for the half.  They would be maintaining a 8:40 min/mile pace and the 10K did not split from the half runners until 4.5 miles.  If I could keep with them I would get my PR!

Sunday morning came quickly.  I got up a little before 5, ate, got ready and was out the door by 5:45AM.  Luckily I only live about 25 min from the race, so I knew it would not take me long to get there. I hit the port-a-potties, talked with a few of the ambassadors (And one of their sons!! Such a cute 4 yr old!!), and headed to the start.  As I made my way into the corrals, I tried to find the 1:50 pace group.  I finally saw them, but they were far enough in front of me that I could not make it to them.  I figured I would just keep them in my sights until I could catch up.

7 AM we were off!

Mile 1: 8:40 pace (just under goal pace!)
This mile went by fast. It looped out of the Navy Stadium parking lot and onto the streets.  It was hard to get into a good groove because the crowd was so thick still.  I felt like I was running well.  I searched for the 1:50 pace group, but could not find them anywhere!! I decided to forget them and just run.

Mile 2: 8:23 pace (under goal pace)
Felt good this mile.  In this mile we headed into downtown Annapolis. Near the State House and down by the docks.  It was a great mile and I felt like I was getting into a good groove.

Mile 3: 8:35 pace
By this mile, I felt like I had my PR for sure.  It was my 3rd mile under my goal pace.  It rained just enough to cool the runners off.  What could go wrong?????

Mile 4: 9:03 pace
Now, I started to feel tired.  The course was heading up next to the Naval Academy as I made my way closer and closer to THE BRIDGE.  This was a slight incline and I was starting to feel the pace.  Mentally, I began to struggle. I wanted to walk.  And, I began to have a discussion with myself fin my head.

"Oh, you can walk.  30 sec. won't hurt you.  You will catch your breath and be able to run faster.  Just walk."

"No, if I walk now, I will want to walk again and once I do that I will not be able to regain my pace.  The PR will be gone!"

Luckily, the "no walking Katie" won that battle.  I did walk for like 5 sec to get a drink at the aid station, and then I was off and running again.

Mile 5: 9:25 pace (way off my goal pace)
Not much to say here except that the bridge leveled me!!  I felt like I was crawling up it and the turn around felt like it was miles away.  I struggled up and over the bridge, only to turn around and head back up it for a short distance before I could enjoy the down hill.  Once I turned around, I knew I needed to really start running fast again. At this point, I figured the PR was gone.

Mile 6: 8:47 pace (pretty much right on pace!)
Once off the bridge, I really started moving again.  I was focused.  I had the 54 min time limit stuck in my head and I kept thinking, I had to get into the finish under 55 min to PR.  This part of the course was fairly easy, just a few turns, before we headed back to the stadium for the finish.  I felt like I was running well.  As we approached the stadium, I began to run faster. At this point, I really thought my PR was gone, but I kept telling myself not to give up.

Last .2 : 8:27 pace
We turned up into the GRASS (who planned that . . . that really was miserable) until we hit the straightaway to the finish.  Once off the grass, I began to move!  I was running hard, and I obviously threw all form out the window (as seen by these pics) to cross the finish strong.
Isn't it strange, this is a women's race and the only other person in the picture is a man!

Warning: Do NOT run like this! I could be picked apart for poor form!
I hit my Garmin: 55:25

First thought, darn, did not make my PR.

I went to go get my finishers necklace (which I love!), and my lunch and ran into another Zooma Ambassador and asked her how she did. (She took 2nd overall in the 10K!!! Not only is she fast, but she is one of the sweetest runners I have met!!)  I then walked around the vendors a bit and then went to check my offial time:

Um, wait. What was my PR again?  It hit me in that moment.  I PRed!!  I was thrilled!

After that, I was on cloud nine! I hit the Barefoot Bubbly Wine tent (awesome wine!), had a great converstaion with another runner and then sat and talked with a few other ambassadors before I headed home to get ready for a meeting about the Marine Corps Marathon Run for Voactions team.

This was an awesome race! I am not just saying that because I PRed.  The weather was perfect. The atmosphere was awesome.  Being an ambassodor and getting to meet so many awesome women who run for so many different reasons, inspired me.  It made me fall more in love with running and racing.  I do not race to win.  I know I will not be fast enough for that.  But, being a part of Zooma helped me to see more that I am surrounded by so many amazing women when I race and that each has an incredible story.

So, with that being said, I challenge all you runners out there.  Whether at another Zooma race or just a local 5K, start a conversation with another woman at the race.  Encourage her and cheer her on.  And have fun!

BTW: Zooma has added several more great races.  Check them out, there may be one close to you.  I really, really, really want to run Zooma Cape Cod!


  1. It sounds like a great race! I love your conversation with yourself. I do that too. And congrats on your PR! I love that you were an ambassador. What a great way to connect with other women and encourage others. Running is a give and take thing.
    And I shouldn't be surprised that you practice that book. It clearly shows.

  2. Wow! Congrats on the PR. So awesome that you were an ambassador too! Zooma was my first ever 10k (last year) and oh, how I remember the hills, bridge, and crazy heat/humidity! I'm sort of kicking myself this year not doing it b/c you guys had such great weather.

  3. Good for you! I don't ever think I'll be that fast. I love that feeling of doing your best. Congratulations!


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