This past weekend I was in Annapolis for the Zooma Annapolis Women’s Half Marathon & 10K! I’ve been an ambassador for the race for the past few months and I have had a blast building up to this weekend. Although I was unable to run (see this post), I still had 3 awesome runners to cheer on and other fun festivities to take part in. Oh, you gotta love the running community!
Expo & Dinner
On Friday, Wendy and I got into Annapolis and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the O’Callaghan, which was just a block away from the Expo and about a half mile from the race start. So convenient!
The expo was held at the Lowes hotel, and because this is a smaller race – 4,000 runners vs. the 30,000 that I’m used to – it was a breeze getting our race packets. The expo had awesome vendors such as Charm City Run, Barefoot Wines, and Honest Tea.
Also, how cute are the SWAG bags? In love!
After scoping out the expo, my tummy was growling! Well, actually it was pretty much screaming for food and I was getting’ a little hangry. We walked just a few blocks away to an Irish pub called Fado’s. It was happy hour, so we thought “why not!?” let’s get something yummy to sip on Wendy needed to calm her pre-race nerves and it was just plain Friday for me. I guess the popular drink in Maryland is an orange crush, but Fado’s had one with grapefruit…SOLD!
Yeah, we were happy!
Also, since it was happy hour, all appetizers were only $4. So I got the fish tacos, which were extremely yummy and fresh. It was just enough to calm my raging tummy, but I knew that I’d be in need of more food a little later.
Zooma and Honest Tea partnered up to host a “mocktail” party featuring their new Honest Fizz which is an all natural, zero calorie soda (or pop to yinz Pittsburghers). There were three drinks to choose from and I had the super fruit sprinter – how cute was the name?
During this time, all the Ambassadors were able to meet, chat, and catch up after a season of working together virtually! This is one of my favorite things about the blog community. You feel as though you learn about someone via the internet and email for so long and then you meet them and realize they’re even more awesome in person!
I caught up with Anne (she’s now a practicing RD in the DC metro area) and also got to meet Tina and Theodora. Wendy had a little bit of a star struck moment when she met Tina and got so giddy! Everyone was fun to chat with and I hope that we will be able to meet up on more projects and just for fun some time soon!
Friday Night in Annapolis
After the mocktail party, Wendy and I had some time to kill before Kelly, Emily, and Erica got into town. We headed down towards the harbor, and as promised, I needed more food. What’s better than fresh ice cream on a 95 degree day? Nothing my friends, absolutely nothing!
I had the salted caramel which was perfect with small chocolate pieces swirled inside.
I’m pretty sure Wendy enjoyed her ice cream as well ….
Kelly, Erica, and Emily got into town late Friday night and after that we just crashed knowing full well we had a 5am wake up the next day.
Race morning greeted us early, but the sun was shining and we could see it was going to be a beautiful yet hot day.
Lots of sunscreen was slathered on by the runners and we headed to the race start which was by the Navy Memorial Stadium.
Like I said earlier, this race was a bit smaller, so it had a friendly feel to it. Also the porta potty lines were super short (relative to sharing 50 porta potties with 25,000 runners at my last race).
Kelly, Wendy, and Erica were in great spirits ready to tackle 13.1 in a little Maryland heat and humidity. Kelly and Wendy were after their first half marathon while Erica was completing her 2nd.
Around 6:45, they headed to line up and I got my spot near the start line to take some pictures. I’ve never seen a race start before and I have to say, the people up front are FASSSTTT!!!!! Holy smokes!!
At 7am on the dot, the race got started! I thought it was a little funny because instead of a gun being shot to signal the start, the announcer simply said “GO!!” It was a little underwhelming hahaha!
I waited for them to go by and then I headed out to figure out what to do with myself for 2ish hours.
At first I tried to help out at the volunteer tent, but they were in a bit of a lull, so I headed back into town to grab a coffee (girlfriend needs her coffee) and then came back to the race area. There really wasn’t a great place to spectate from since it was a mostly out and back course. Also, it was a bummer for spectators since they were not handing out maps.
But I found my own entertainment…
I know you want to bring your dog with you to the race, but I’m not sure Fido really appreciates being tied up outside your porta-potty sir.
I walked over to the stadium and was able to walk in and look around. I may be a little spoiled by Beaver stadium, but Navy has got a beautiful stadium as well!
Around 1:15 into the race, I set myself up at the 13 mile marker ready to cheer on the runners coming in and wait for my runners to finish the race strong. I caught the end of the 10K’ers and then saw the first of the half marathoners come in!
Erica was the first down the chute, then came Kelly, and last but certainly not least, Wendy finished her first half marathon!
The Finish Line
I went around the finish line and met them on the opposite side of the runner chute. I knew that Zooma had necklaces for each racer, but they also had PR medals for those who completed their first half or those who beat their fastest time in the last 5 years. However, there was a little mix up along the course and the race ended up about 0.25 miles short which meant PR medals were not given to those beating their previous times. Zooma did honor their promise to first time participants, so we waited in line for Wendy and Kelly to pick up their medals.
While we waited, they munched on snack boxes (either chicken salad or hummus) and received their necklaces, water bottles, and yoga mats. Yeah, Zooma knows how to do SWAG!
Once we had the medals in hand, we headed to find the champagne and wine tent. We got our 21 and over bracelets from some of the nicest volunteers ever! I have to say that even though there were a few glitches in the system, every volunteer and person involved with the race had a huge smile and a willingness to help! It was such a great community!
Barefoot Wines supplied post race libations for runners and spectators. I’ve always loved Barefoot wines, so even though it was only 10:30am, I was excited to have a sip
Yeah, things got silly quick between the wine and the heat!
After having a glass and taking lots of post race pictures, we walked back to the hotel to get cleaned up. I was so proud of Kelly – she was a PSU Fitness Instructor with me, so it was fun to see our group continue to crush fitness goals!
Lunch in Annapolis
After we checked out, we headed out for some lunch in Annapolis before heading home. I was starved at this point (I think that was the theme of my weekend). Right next to the parking garage we found a cute Thai restaurant named “Lemongrass”.
It was a small local restaurant and the wait staff was on their game. I think they refilled our water glasses a good 4 – 5x! I ordered some spring rolls to start and then tofu pad thai for my main course. They offered lunch portions of each of their entrees, so it was just enough.
Wendy’s friends asked me if I’m a vegetarian, and I said “nope” I’m an everythingtarian! Tofu or steak, I love most foods
If you’re ever in Annapolis, I definitely recommend Fado’s and Lemongrass. I never realized that Annapolis is like a mini foodie town!
So all in all, the Zooma Annapolis race was fun from a spectator’s point of view. Some of the things that I heard from Kelly and Wendy were:
- There were too few water stations during the beginning of the race, and from what I understand is that it was tied to the short race course. The one turn or block missed for the 0.25 miles had one of the water stations
- It was a sunny course, probably 50/50 with sun to shade. While this isn’t bad, on a hot day, that was a lot of sun!
- Kelly thought it might be helpful to have first time runners wear different colored bibs to make handing out medals more streamlined.
Other than that, they really enjoyed the race and the weekend as a whole!
I’m so honored to have been a part of the community of ambassadors and Zooma team members. Thank you times a million!
question for the day:
- How do you survive exercising in summer heat?