By 6 AM on Saturday morning we were up, dressed, fueled, and blissfully ignorant of the hills and humidity that would be with us for 13.1 miles through the beautiful city and surrounding neighborhoods of Annapolis, Maryland. Five MRTT friends and I made the road trip to Annapolis on Friday for our first ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon.
We unveiled our MRTT Flat Runner MaRTTy at the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon. MaRTTy came to life during a run a couple of weeks ago. She’s pretty amazing and deserves a post all her own, so stay tuned for more about this little dynamite runner soon! MaRTTy made her maiden run with Erin, but will be running with many other chapter members this summer!
Being well hydrated, the first stop upon arrival was a visit to the porta potties. We were pleasantly surprised that there were no lines, but that didn’t last for long as we would see about twenty minutes later.
Feeling much more comfortable, we headed to the Blue Angel jet for our MRTT pre-race picture. Before runners from other chapters arrived we had a friend snap a quick picture of the six of us. (Edited note: A race photographer also snapped a similar picture which made it onto ZOOMA’s Facebook page on Monday!)
At 6:30 AM, members from other MRTT chapters arrived and we got this great multi-chapter picture.
We immediately headed back for one last visit to the porta potties, but since the lines were so long, we went into the Naval-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium only to find out that those rest rooms were locked (they were open last year). We hurried to get into the ever increasing porta potty lines and tried to distract ourselves from the fact that the race was about to start in ten minutes.
The clock ticked down, and suddenly we heard our National Anthem begin to play. With my hand over my heart, I listened as a hush fell over people in line, only to be interrupted by the occasional gentle opening and closing of the porta potty doors. A part of me was happy to hear the doors open and close so the line would get smaller, but a part was bothered that everyone didn’t stop to give their full attention to our National Anthem. I was relieved that I didn’t have to make that decision of what to do, but if I had, I think I would have let the person behind me go and I would have gone after the song was over.
We heard the announcer start the race right on time as we continued to stand in line. We reminded ourselves that we had timing chips on our bibs and that a delayed start wouldn’t affect our times other than putting us way behind our usual starting corral pace group.
With empty and happy bladders, we jumped into the sea of runners and crossed the start line around 3:45 into the race. There was a lot of dodging to do during the first few miles as I tried to move forward and catch up to where I wanted to be. A couple of times I came upon walkers and had to either step up on the curb to move around them, or slow to a walk. I was not alone in my position, and just focused on not cutting anyone off or twisting my tender right foot.
We started out by running around the stadium parking lot before heading out toward the water and through this quaint little section of town. I turned just long enough to snap this picture before heading on.
After leaving town, we ran through some cute neighborhoods and separated from the 10K runners shortly before rejoining them as we headed toward the Naval Academy Bridge which crosses the Severn River. As I approached the top of the bridge I was amazed at how long of a climb it was. At the top of the bridge, the 10K’ers turned back to finish up their race and the field of runners finally nicely thinned out. At that point I noticed an 11 mile race sign pointed in the opposite direction and calculated in my foggy over-heated brain that we would be running out beyond the bridge for about 5.5 miles. I wondered what the terrain would be like and if there would be any shade.
We had a wonderful downhill after we crested the bridge and I did the best I could at gliding down the hills, but was perhaps overly cautious with my right foot that I’d twisted on a curb at the LOVE Run on Tuesday.
After running about 1.5 miles down a long highway, we took two little excursions down shaded and more rural type hilly streets to pick up a couple extra miles. By this point the hills and humidity were really getting to me, and I had to take a few walk breaks. I only allowed myself to walk for 50 steps before resuming my slow running pace, and I only allowed myself to walk during steep uphills.
The one good thing about so many out-and-backs on a course is that you’re able to see and cheer on your friends several times during the race. I didn’t see all of my MRTT friends, but saw a couple of them several times. I got to see Colleen of Live Free and Run and say hello as we passed (she was way in front of me).
Once back at the bridge, we had the long uphill climb to the top, and promised myself that I could stop and take a few pictures from the top. Looking north, I took this picture of this beautiful point and bridge in the distance. Next I crossed the street to take a picture of the capitol on the southwest side of the bridge, but decided to wait until I got closer to take another picture.
Once we started down the other side of the bridge, a race photographer snapped this blurry picture of me. I’m so bummed it’s blurry because I actually have both feet off the ground, and it would be a great picture otherwise.
Heading back into town, I snapped this picture of the capitol while I was running, and then stopped and snapped another picture once I got a little closer. I think that I only spent about a minute taking those pictures, but that minute would come back to haunt me later, and in a big way!
By the time I approached the twelfth mile I felt like I was slowing down so much that I just gave up. Earlier I’d kept telling myself that everyone else in my age group was also experiencing the same hills, heat, and humidity that I was, and I was able to keep pushing myself. But by mile twelve, my spirit had dripped into a sweaty puddle that I left on the course.
Normally I’d pick up the pace and really push myself the last mile, especially as I approached the finish line. Instead I took two walk breaks and crossed the finish line at the same pace I’d been running for the last three miles. And of course there was a climb to the finish line.
I finished the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon (13.27 miles according to my Garmin) in 2:12:04 (9:57 pace). My splits started out pretty normal, but it’s pretty obvious from the splits below that the hill at the bridge and getting out into the sun had an effect on me.
- Mile 1 – 8:50
- Mile 2 – 8:34
- Mile 3 – 8:51
- Mile 4 – 9:01
- Mile 5 – 9:22 (crossing the bridge)
- Mile 6 – 9:54
- Mile 7 – 10:02
- Mile 8 – 10:42
- Mile 9 – 10:30
- Mile 10 – 10:26
- Mile 11 – 11:10 (stopped to take pictures)
- Mile 12 – 10:59
- Mile 13 – 10:58 (gave up)
- Final .27 – 2:44
After having my medal and a water bottle handed to me, I stumbled on down the finishers’ chute and grabbed a banana and bag of crab chips along my way. I may have been delirious, but the fact that they had Chesapeake Bay crab seasoned chips was not missed by me. Maryland Is For Crabs, after all!
While waiting to regroup with my friends, I met Sheila. I approached her to compliment her on her outfit, and ask if I could take a picture to share on my race recap. She was every bit as sweet and fun as she looks, and we spent a little while chatting.
Our post-race snack included a choice of chicken salad or humus. I chose the chicken salad which happened to be extremely salty. Normally I would have set it aside, but like a cow at a salt lick, I devoured it while wiping white salt residue off of my legs, arms, and face.
My five friends and I found each other pretty easily after the race and sat in a shaded grassy area to relax and wait for the awards ceremony. Kathy had run a great race (1:51:57) despite the conditions, and we all hoped she had won her age group.
Wanting to make sure we got a picture of Kathy, Jackie and I joined her for the awards ceremony which just happened to be right next to where we were sitting. Luckily for me, Kathy is seven years younger than me so we’re never in the same age group.
We screamed and cheered when we heard that Kathy had indeed won her age group, and just as I snapped a picture of her receiving her coffee mug award, they called my name as the third place winner in my age group!
Later I checked and discovered that I’d missed winning my age group by only 30 seconds. Remember those photo stops, and giving up during the last mile and just cruising in to the finish line? Stopping to take the pictures doesn’t bother me nearly as much as giving up during the last mile. I normally don’t allow myself to play head games like that.
Walking back to Angela’s car, we took one last picture of Team MRTT in front of the start/finish arch.
After much needed showers we hit the road, but not without a stop at Fado Irish Pub on our way out of Annapolis.
We all ordered well deserved burgers and chips, and devoured almost every last crumb!
As I mentioned in my expo recap yesterday, the swag was good and we got a technical shirt, a pair of Feetures socks, a tote bag, and a journal.
We had a fabulous time, and are already scheming on our next MRTT road trip. Angela, Amanda, and I have Ragnar Appalachians coming up in three weeks. I can’t wait!
If you’re interested in reading a ZOOMA Annapolis 10K recap, check out my friend Cynthia’s post on You Signed Up For WHAT?!
- Have you ever run one of the ZOOMA races?
- What’s the hottest or hilliest race you’ve run?
- Who raced this weekend?