Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ZOOMA Annapolis 10k

We were pretty psyched for this race.  Deb ran it last year, and Em wanted to run it this year.  Em likes participating in women's races and also thought this would be a great first post-twins 10K race.  We went into the race with goals of PR-ing (achieving a personal record), and ZOOMA encouraged us to do so by allowing participants to register for extra bling.  If we registered for the ZOOMA Personal Best 2013 program, and ran a PR at the race, we would receive a medal at the end of the race; PERFECT!

Here's Deb's 'flat mama' for the race!  Notice the green; it came in handy for a runner... She came up to Deb at the end of the race and thanked her for wearing it.  She said, "As long as I could see you, I knew I was keeping a good pace! Thank you so much!"  She ran her first 10k; it was so cool!

Race morning; we (with our families in tow) left the house at 5:30 for the drive to Annapolis.
Don't they look like happy campers!?

We had easy parking at the Naval Academy Football Stadium parking lot, and we went to the information tent to meet up with other members of Moms RUN This Town (Howard County, MD members and a Virginia Beach, VA chapter leader).

Here is a photo of the elusive 'swag' items; only to be received following the completion of the race!

These five (and the two not pictured) are the best cheerleaders any mom/aunt could ask for!

We kissed our family members goodbye, walked to the 10:00 minute pace corral, squeezed our way in, listened to the Anthem and then we were off!!!
See, the neon green came in handy!
(We didn't bring our cameras on the course, because we were focusing on PR's; please enjoy the descriptions that follow!).  A hot, hilly, and crowded start lent itself to Deb weaving around people to find a comfortable spot.   Em lost Deb somewhere during the lap around the parking lot and was determined to hit her stride to catch up.  She had to stay to the left for much of the race to pass other runners (something very new to her!) Em passed Deb just before mile 2 with a little bit of whoopin' and hollerin' and encouragement; not to be seen until the turn around at the bridge.  At mile 2 there was a water station that Em skipped and we went over a bridge on Rowe Blvd. into historic Annapolis; Deb took the water and walked so as not to splash it all over the place.  We took a quick left around the famous circle in the middle of town, and we both enjoyed running down Main Street to the docks!  You just had to be a careful with your footing on the cobblestone and brick streets, but it was very picturesque and just what we were hoping to be able to experience on this course.  We could smell delicious breakfasts cooking in the many restaurants downtown! Coming away from the water, through St. John's College, and up to the top of the Naval Academy Bridge for the 10K turn around was also nice and scenic.  The historic brick homes and buildings made the miles pass quickly, and we were also very thankful for the shade they provided!  The turnaround was really fun with a cheering section and music blasting.  This was without a doubt the most crowd participation on the course.  The bridge allowed for runners to encourage and cheer each other on; which Em did for Deb, and Deb did for another MRTT mama.  While there were lots of spectators along the course route, they were pretty quiet.  Coming back down the bridge felt awesome because of the wind, it really helped to cool you off and give you that last little boost you needed to tackle the last mile.  
When Emily got close to Naval Stadium, she had to resist looking at her watch. She was really pushing for that PR, but didn't want to be disappointed.  Em kept going and rounded the corner to the finish.  She couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the time clock.  There was an announcer at the finish saying ladies' names as they crossed, and Em was hoping she would say her's.  She didn't- bummer. Em was also looking for her family and personal cheering section, but couldn't find them.  She crossed the line with a little woop and was so happy to get her PR!  Then she  heard Ray call her name, and he had a huge smile on his face and said he couldn't believe how fast she was.  It's always nice to hear your husband's proud of you!

Deb's realization of hitting a PR came around mile 4, when her watch read 38 minutes and change.  She knew that even if her pace slowed she would get in under the 1:07 time she previously posted, but she also thought something was a bit off.  She 'knew' she hadn't run the last almost two miles at a 9 minute pace.  Ah, well!  As the last mile drew near, she saw her ultimate goal of under an hour get squashed, but crossed the finish line in 1:01:51; still super stoked!  She spotted the hot green stroller and her family just to the right after the finish line.  Julia had participated in the kids run and was wearing a ZOOMA volunteer shirt, with a Walt Disney quote on the back!  Just what her mama needed to see! (Papa was pretty psyched about the quote, too!)
Em grabbed some water, Cytomax, and went to meet the Harmer 6.  But before she left the runner area, she got her necklace (Em forgot that was at the finish!) which was a nice treat.  Because Em PR'd, she went to the runner info tent to ask where to pick up her Personal Best Bling.  The woman working there told her that the system wasn't up yet and to come back in five minutes.  So, while she waited, Em got in line to pick up her yoga mat and water bottle.  There was one person giving out yoga mats and one person giving out water bottles.  This made the line go pretty slowly, and then we ended up having to carry it all around during the After-Party Expo.  We were thankful we could tuck it all into the baskets of our strollers.  It would have been easier on the runners to get this swag at packet pick-up.  Then Em went to get pictures taken with the Personal Best back drop. Deb followed suit, because that's what the second twin does!!
 That was one hot sparkly skirt!
Couldn't have asked for better cheeleaders!

And look who else we found that also PR'd!
Yay; 6 minutes faster than last year!

We checked again at the runner info tent about picking up our PR bling, and we were told to come back in 15-20 minutes.  So we decided to take that time and pick up our boxed snack (chicken salad, an apple, and baby carrots; there was also the vegetarian choice of hummus) and check out the After-Party Expo.  Many of the same vendors were there from packet pick-up the day before.
Bani Bands- check out all the sparkles! Deb and Em LOVE these (they're adjustable)!!
 Every Mother Counts- ZOOMA's official charity partner
Honest Tea- we highly recommend the Pomegranate Blue and suggest staying away from Zero Calorie Lemonade (not such a good aftertaste- but you be the judge, or take it from Deb- blech!)
Deb also picked up a fabulous Maryland Flag inspired skirt from Spunkwear; it's amazing!  You'll be seeing her representing our great state with this gem of a skirt.
After shopping, we saw a line forming for the PR medals; so, we hopped in line.  While waiting we met up with some familiar faces; a BWC training participant and coach, and a fellow MRTT Chapter leader and blogger.  It was great to chat as we waited for quite some time to receive our PR medal.  Ultimately, the wait was worth it, and we were able to add more bling to our collection!  Then we booked it to our vehicles, because our families were ready to hit the road back to Catonsville!

We did it!!!

The Good:

  • Women's races are super fun and encouraging!
  • Extra bling for getting a PR was a great motivator to truly train and push ourselves.
  • Boxed snacks are fabulous; so much easier than juggling multiple food items.
  • The swag (super cute race t-shirt design, yoga mat, and water bottle) were nice perks.  The bag was the perfect size to put sandals, an extra shirt, and a towel for the ride home.
  • Running with my best friend: PRICELESS!
  • Easy parking on-site race morning at the Naval Academy football stadium.
  • Great sights in our state's capital.

The Suggestions:
  • Label tents at the After-Party expo, please.  Long lines made it difficult for finishers and spectators to know where to go.
  • Notify participants about extra charges; i.e. paying for parking for the race expo, that was an unexpected expense!
  •  If possible, more volunteers to help as course marshals and with distribution of swag post-race (better yet, just give that out at packet pick-up); additional assistance in handing out PR medals (I think this was the first race that had the PR option, so it was probably a learning experience).
**When Deb got back to the car, she checked Twitter and was surprised and deflated to see the following message: Due to misdirection on the course the half marathon & 10K are .25 miles short We know this is frustrating and we are so sorry this happened. She immediately thought, "No PR!!??!" but, thanks to social media and MapMyRun.com, she realized she probably ran pretty close to 6.2 miles.  There seemed to be a small portion of the run that was blocked off by a police car near the City Dock area.  None of the runners were able to complete that portion of the course, or hit the water stop that was there (and definitely necessary on such a warm morning).  Additionally, there was major confusion when half-marathoners came back over the bridge; no one was there to direct half-marathoners to take a left and 10k-ers to go straight.  Many half-marathoners completed the course, but ran 11 miles... ZOOMA has apologized and will be issuing discounts to 2013 Annapolis participants if they wish to participate in another ZOOMA event in 2013 or 2014.  Emily and Deb have had the opportunity to meet the ZOOMA race directors and have been in contact with them via e-mail and social media prior to this event; we aren't ready to give up on ZOOMA and we know these ladies are feeling as much regret and disappointment over these events as the participants feel/felt.**

Happy Running!

Emily and Deb (sticking with the neon green theme!)


  1. I'm obsessed with all of your children...but that's a known fact ; ) great job ladies way to rock it in the heat!

  2. I'm obsessed with all of your children...but that's a known fact ; ) great job ladies way to rock it in the heat!

  3. Katye- you are hilarious, and we know you would have rocked it in the heat too because you're amazing like that!