If there was one word to describe the Zooma Half Marathon in Annapolis it would be moist. I knew going into this race that we would be battling Maryland summer weather but 96% humidity and start temperatures in the low 70s was not ideal. Mentally I was prepared for that, but just not physically yet.
Upon arriving to the hotel I quickly picked up my bib and scanned through the Expo. It’s a small Expo but there were a couple of vendors to check out. It’s definitely not an expo to write home about. Since I had a little bit of time before our official Ambassador meet up and picture I headed next door to Chesapeake Brewing Company where I got to enjoy some of the local Brews. Shocking. Right? I also spent some time walking around downtown Annapolis. It’s a place I absolutely used to love to go.
The fun for this race actually started on Friday night. Since I’m an ambassador for the Zooma Women’s Race Series we get to pick which races we’d like to run. Annapolis was my choice for this year since I was free that weekend and since it was the closest. Over the past several months it’s been fun getting to know all of the other ambassadors. They have been such a supportive group and over 95% of them I had never met in person. I was really looking forward to putting some faces with names finally.
After the meet up I basically called it a night and headed back to the hotel room which I was sharing with another Ambassador and her daughter. Since we were given Ambassador singlets my outfit for the race was pretty easy to decide. A few of us actually talked about how the singlets were lightweight and actually very comfortable to wear. After gabbing with the two, finally around 10:30pm we called it a night. The 5:30am wake up call was going to come too quickly.
With the 7am start (which was needed with that weather), the morning started off early with those 5:30am alarms. The start of the race was only about a mile from the hotel, but I decided to drive over as I wanted to be able to quickly leave once I was done with the race. Parking at Navy Stadium was plentiful and free and there was no issues with it. Prior to the start of the race we had another Ambassador picture. I was happy for this as it gave me a chance to catch up with Aundra who was also an ambassador running the 5k that morning. She was unable to make the Friday night event so it’s good to see her. We actually went to college together and it was actually through her that I had even found out about the Zooma Ambassador program the year prior.
Finally after a quick bathroom run, I headed into the starting corral. I decided since I had no time goal and I knew I was going to be slow from the onset with that heat humidity, I lined up around the 2:30 pacers. Pretty quickly I was to the start line and the race was off.
The first mile of the race was run in the parking lots of the stadium and the roads around it. It wasn’t even by the first half mile that I was completely drenched in sweat already. In fact at some point way later in the race I actually thought it started raining but then I realized it was just my own sweat cascading from my body. Yes. I was drenched. I knew the course had some hills in it but I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect as we went into the race.
The first three miles took you down into the heart of Annapolis. Main Street is one of my favorite streets of Annapolis and it’s fun running down it toward the harbor. Being that early in the morning there was hardly anybody out there. In fact, if you are expecting a race with lots of spectators, this is not necessarily that race. There are a few people out there that was not a spectator heavy race. As we began to get out of downtown Annapolis we passed not only St. John’s College but also the Naval Academy. It was just at this time we then headed toward the Naval Academy Bridge.
Always remember driving over this bridge but I don’t ever remember just how bad it was and especially never remember actually wanted to run over the bridge. Luckily just as I hit the bridge one of my walk break started. I don’t remember it being as steep as it was.
On the other side of the bridge we had just hit mile 6. The back half miles were pretty hilly. They were that bad, but just continuously gently rolling. Again, if I felt that I needed to extend my walk breaks, I did. I was in no rush at this point to finish. The final time would be what it was. There were also two little out and backs during those back miles. In fact, once you crossed the bridge, it was about 5 miles of out and backs all together.
For the most part of the race, the sun was staying behind the clouds. I was not upset with the overcast weather. It wasn’t until I was coming off the bridge and into the last 2 miles that it started peaking out. Thankfully it didn’t get too bad while I was still out there. For that last mile and a half there was a lot of walking and a lot of hate that I was still out there. By this point the weather was getting to me and I had realized my heart just wasn’t in this race unfortunately. I was digging for everything that I had to get through to the finish line.
The last mile of the race was a lonely one. I had not only separated from most of the other runners around me, but there were also just no spectators out there until you got to the Navy Stadium. Finally I made it to the stadium area and was happy to just be done. I wasn’t happy about this race at all. In fact, this was my slowest half marathon time for a race I was running by myself since 2013. Not really what I was expecting for my 25th half.
Despite my personal results, I really enjoyed this Zooma race. The volunteers that were out there were AMAZING! They had water and gatorade ready and were also cheering everyone on as you went by. Logistics like free parking and ample port-o-potties was also great. The Zooma ladies really put on a fabulous race and I feel lucky to be a part of this family. If you’re interested in checking out of their races left this year, you still have 2 great opportunities: Cape Cod on 9/24 and Amelia Island on 10/22. You can even use code CHELSEA16 to save 10% on any of those registrations.
Official Finish Time:
70/106, F 30-34