After having to pull over on the highway once to convince the girls that throwing ice at each other in the van wasn't a good idea (a piece got stuck behind Meredith's back and she was not happy about that) and to save Jude from eating a piece of a styrofoam Chick-fil-a cup (throwing a ripped-to-shreds styrofoam cup wasn't a good idea either, girls!), we arrived in Annapolis to Elise's exclamation, "Mommy! This is a really cute little town!" A girl after my own heart- I couldn't agree more!
A few minutes before 2pm, I easily found the hotel (thank you Mapquest.com) and pulled into the front to find parking. I decided against valet (probably too expensive) and against parking on the street because I had everyone with me and only a quarter in my wallet... probably not enough to feed the meter. So I followed the other cars in front of me to the hotel's self parking. While I was waiting to get into the parking area, I could already see women coming out of the hotel's main entrance with their race packets. Oh, the bags were so cute with their blue and green and chevron! I couldn't wait to get mine! I pushed the button and get my parking stub, and hand it to the lady in the booth just like the person in the car in front of me did. The parking attendant then told me parking was $5 (wish I had known beforehand) and I told her I didn't have any cash. So she gave me a different ticket and said I had to pay with my Visa (which I don't have!) inside at the front desk and then bring her the receipt when I left. OK, just let me get going!
Parking at this hotel was strange, to say the least, and the kids and I obviously weren't the first ones there to pick up our packet. We ended up parking quite a bit away and having to walk back to the hotel. Thankfully, I had the boys in the stroller and Meredith in a backpack, so I only had to keep Elise and Rebekah corralled close to me. We found the elevator and when we stepped inside, you could not imagine the oohs and aahs coming from the girls. This mirrored elevator was quite swanky! The lobby of the hotel didn't disappoint either, with sleek modern lines and the creative use of shipping lines in their art displays to tie in Annapolis' naval history.
We made our way to the atrium where there were tables set up by ZOOMA's three main sponsors: Every Mother Counts, Barefoot Wine, and Honest Tea. They were passing out information, freebies, and samples. There were also additional tables set up with piles of Luna Bars on them for the taking. They had S'mores, Peanut Butter Cookie, and my favorite- White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. I may have
Meredith enjoying her Luna Bar.
The expo itself was pretty small, but picking up our race packets was very easy. There were four lines available for pick-up, and this was the first race I have ever done where they assigned you your bib number at pick-up. So the very friendly volunteer (who also happened to be a twin- we're everywhere!) looked up my name, assigned me a number and handed me my cute little blue and green chevron bag with my shirt inside. Then we did the same thing for Deb's and we were set to go. Less than two minutes- easy peasy. There were signs at the foot of the table that said we would pick up our race swag (yoga mat and water bottle) on race morning.
Aren't these bags just adorable!?
We had a little time to spare, so we took a spin around the expo and checked out some of the vendors. The girls and I sampled some chocolate flavored Muscle Milk (I personally prefer good 'ole chocolate milk). I loved the shirts from Run Pretty Far and the colorful, no-slip headbands from Bani Bands. I also got the chance to chat with my friend Katye who works at Charm City Run and was a representative at their booth. It was fun to see a familiar face! The bright pink 3/4 zip, long sleeved ZOOMA running shirts caught my eye, too. Seriously, too much eye candy!!!
By then it was time to go, so I headed to the front desk to pay for my parking which ended up being $8 (maybe because I paid with a MasterCard?) but didn't have time to question it because I had let Meredith out of the backpack. Not my best decision ever.
It was inspiring to see so many women of different ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds coming to the expo to pick up their race packets. As I took a bit of a detour to go through historic downtown Annapolis, I was getting super excited to have the chance to run with so many like-minded women the next morning on those streets.