This past weekend I ran the Annapolis Running Classic and my 12th half marathon! For the days leading up to the race, we weren’t exactly sure what to expect…rain? wind? cold? But the morning of the race proved to almost perfect – sunny and crisp!
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn just 3 miles away from the Navy Stadium. It was a great rate because the hotel partnered with the race and it was a quick drive in. I kind of fell in love with this hotel considering they had complimentary coffee all day and they baked us fresh cookies Saturday night (win).
Yes, there was traffic getting into the parking lot but I think that’s normal with most races. We gave ourselves almost an hour to get there and we were parked and ready to go 25 minutes before race start.
It was cold, 42 degrees, and breezy, so we stayed in the car to keep our muscles warm. At about 10 minutes till the 7am start, we got out and prepared ourselves to tackle 13.1!
We didn’t see any corrals, although I did hear that they had a few, so we just stood near the back. It was such a pretty morning. When the gun went off it didn’t take us any time to get to the start since it was a small field of about 3,000 runners. Nice to have a smaller race – less jostling in the first mile.
Nikki and I started out together while Maria hung back and raced at her pace. I knew I wouldn’t keep up with Nikki for the whole thing but I wanted to push myself and see what I could do.
The course took us around the stadium, over a bridge, and into downtown Annapolis. This was by far my favorite part of the race! Nikki and I couldn’t get over how awesome the views and sights were. Great start.
My Nike+ GPS watch kicked the bucket a few weeks ago, so I was running this race sans watch. Nikki had her MapMyRun app on and let me know when we hit certain mile markers. That was a blessing in the beginning because I missed mile 2 and 4. The mile markers seemed inconsistent.
At mile 3, we stopped for a few photo ops near the water. We told ourselves we weren’t really running for time and with it being this early in the race it felt like we had nothing but time to burn! I’m glad we did – made for good memories
It was also around this time Nikki mentioned our quick pace to me. It was about 30 seconds per mile faster than I usually run – but I was feeling great. I told her to just let me know when we hit certain mile markers and not our pace. I wanted to see what I could do when I wasn’t freaking myself out about going too fast…
Between mile 4 and 5 we left downtown Annapolis and headed towards the hills and neighborhoods. From mile 5 till the end I was less than satisfied with the course. Nikki was feeling pretty good and wanted to go faster, so we broke off around mile 5.5.
We went over a large bridge with a large hill and into the neighborhoods. There was a lot of turnarounds in the race so you could see others coming the opposite way from you, whether you were ahead or behind them.
Coming back, we had to cross the same bridge and that came between miles 9 and 10. Nothing like a hill to wake up your legs and get you ready for the last 3.1!
Naval Academy Bridge….woof.
Going up all I could feel was wind but the views were awesome and I was so thankful for a little entertainment at the top
Worst parade ever. Seriously, you’re telling me.
I think most of us running the race can agree that mile 10 had never been so sweet!
From there we were heading back towards the stadium and this is where I really got pissed off with the race course. I felt like they were struggling to get 13.1 and they kept making us run down a road, around a cone, and come back. It was especially frustrating when they did that right before the stadium. You knew the stadium was the finish but before you got there you had to run down a road, around a cone, and do a lap around the stadium — grrrrr!!!
The finish finally came and the frustration was over…kind of.
They had all the runner’s refreshments down the hill and in a tent. You had to go so far to get water!! Typically that is the first thing. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I was just very disappointed in the organization of the after race snacks and shirts. Onion bagels, under ripe bananas, and tomato soup do not make a runner happy. Gatorade, plain bagels, and ripe bananas are what this girl was looking for. Oh well, bigger dragons to slay next time.
Three runners who could think of nothing but hot coffee, hot showers, and dry clothes Nikki and Maria were two of the best people to run a race with! Love ya girls!
After a little TLC, we were ready to eat some lunch and explore Annapolis. We decided to make a girls weekend out of race before the holiday hustle started.
Ram’s Head Tavern was our first stop. It was a cute saloon type restaurant with a good menu of sandwiches, salads, and Irish inspired entrees.
My favorite part of the meal was my Crispin Cider – mmmmm mmmmm good. I think a little alcohol helps with recovery.
And pickle chips too! The salt helps replenish lost electrolytes… right?
After a filling lunch, we walked (gingerly) around downtown Annapolis. We shopped and explored the harbor. There were definitely enough shops to keep three girls occupied for a few hours.
It was a beautiful day, but we could feel it getting colder and windier the longer we were outside. Good thing our race was Saturday and NOT Sunday.
Great photo op!
I think I wouldn’t mind living in Annapolis. It’s too bad it’s soooo darn expensive!
One of our last stops before heading back to the hotel for a long nap was Kilwins. I’ve come to Annapolis a few times since moving to Maryland and Kilwins is a must each time.
Post race chocolate for the antioxidants – helps fight inflammation.
And post race ice cream because it’s just good for the soul
I had the sea salt caramel with chocolate sprinkles. All ice cream is better with sprinkles. It was the perfect treat before a long nap.
I had a great time exploring Annapolis with Nikki and Maria. And while I was happy with my effort on the race course, I’m not sure the Annapolis Running Classic is going to be a race I do again. At least I crossed Maryland off my list of states to run a half marathon in!
How did you spend your weekend?