Race review: ZOOMA Annapolis 10K

My one-word review of the second ZOOMA Annapolis 10K and Half Marathon: Better.

Considering the fact that last year’s inaugural race was enough fun to lure me back this year, “better” is pretty darn good, and speaks to some major upgrades from the race’s inaugural running.

Improvement No. 1: Last year’s race was marred by horrible traffic and parking delays. Race organizers offered discounts on this year’s registration to anyone whose chip time last year started several minutes after the gun time, assuming we’d gotten caught in traffic. They promised to do better this year. I took them up on it, and was pleased to note that traffic control was better this year. We still waited in a long backup on Route 50, but we got through it with plenty of time to start with the crowd.

Improvement No. 2: Last year’s course bypassed the loveliness of downtown Annapolis, veering instead toward the decidedly unlovely (and hilly!) Ritchie Highway. The half-marathoners still had to tackle Ritchie, but we all got to run past the historic State House building, and through adorable historic neighborhoods around it. The course still felt absurdly hilly at points, but we at least had nice scenery to take our minds off it. Full disclosure: The elevation stats don’t look that bad, making me wonder if I’m maybe just wimpy.

The stuff race organizers couldn’t do anything about: It was a hot, muggy day to race, by Maryland-in-June standards. The five runners in my group agreed that this sapped our energy and/or will to live, making even some of the serious marathoners among us consider ditching the half-marathon for the 10K. I ran a perfectly fine 5K, then jogged another pitiful, hot, hilly one to the finish. My official finish time: 54:29, 8:43-minute mile pace. Gaah! My splits are more telling. Mile 1: 8:05. Mile 2: 8:05. Mile 3: 8:28 (biiig hill, but holding it together). Mile 4: 8:43. Mile 5 … well, we don’t need to get into specifics, do we? That was good enough for 105th of 1542 total runners, and 18th of 270 in my age group, suggesting I wasn’t the only one struggling out there today.

The stuff that makes this race worth doing: Like last year, the finish festival was incredible. I got both a table massage and a chair massage, both for free. I didn’t stretch a bit, but the rub-downs left my muscles feeling supple and relaxed. The race promises free wine “tastings,” but the wine table this year offered full glasses. The boxed lunches were tasty and girl-friendly, with hummus and veggies and pita wedges. If there’s something nicer than getting a massage, then bonding with your running buddies over glasses of chilled Barefoot Pinot Grigio while a cover band croons Jack Johnson tunes, I don’t know what is.

Pictures to follow …

Did you run this race? What did you think?


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11 responses to “Race review: ZOOMA Annapolis 10K

  1. Congrats for participating and doing well, esp. considering how horrendously hot and humid it was today. Way to go, Amy!

  2. Liz K.

    I think this sums up my sentiments quite well 🙂

    But you didn’t mention the hand washing stations outside the porta potties! That made me KNOW a woman had designed this race!

  3. Heather C

    When I opened my hummus-lunch box I was thrilled! That was a perfect little packed goodie-bag (box, whatever), and healthy, too! 🙂

    I was definitely tempted by the 10K turnaround, especially seeing the hill AFTER the bridge that we would have to run up/down. UGH. there has got to be a route in Annapolis that bypasses that crazy bridge, and they need to figure it out, stat!

    Congrats on finishing the 10K! Specifics are definitely not necessary after a day like that 🙂 Never have I been so hot/humid/sweaty after only 3 miles. Oof. Thankfully they switched from “tastings” to full glasses, no? One of champange and I could already feel it! Ha, hence the fact that I decided food might be a good idea.

    It was so fun seeing you during the run and after! We need meet-up #3 soon!

  4. It was seriously gross out yesterday – I was walking around a winery and sweating – girl power to you for a great run!!!

  5. Erin

    Hi! I ran the half as well, and let’s just say my runs in Northeast PA did not prepare me for the bowl of soup that we ran through yesterday. I didn’t make my goal, which was modest–I only aimed to finish in less than 2 hours. I finished in 2:01:56. Cruel. However, I somehow landed in the top 15% overall, and in the top 11% of my age group, so I figured I should be happy.

    I thought the race, overall, was nice…except for some of the crazy out and back portions–especially that one near the end that just went randomly down one street and back!? Why didn’t they eliminate that and have us run farther on that nice, shady trail? Anyway, my only real complaint is the lines for the Porta Potties? What were people DOING in there? I stood in line for 20 minutes, and then they started the race (with HUGE lines still) so I skipped it and just ran to the start. That was a little crazy!

    But, all in all, I think I will be back. And hopefully we will get June weather, not August!

    • I totally agree re: the Porta Potty lines. I, too, waited in the ridiculous lines just before the race started—until a volunteer pointed us toward some actual bathrooms in the stadium with NO LINES! We started when the race did, but would’ve loved to know about those restrooms about 10 minutes sooner.

      Congrats on the great performance in icky conditions!

  6. Meg

    My best friend and I ran the half-marathon. I was not prepared for the humid weather as Pittsburgh is just getting into the hot and humid part!

    The course did seem to be quite hilly, I especially enjoyed the trail portion of the race, and wished it would have extended further as well.

    My biggest complaint was the lack of a water stations after mile 10…there weren’t any! Even though there were only 3 miles left, I was ready to fall over the finish line!

    A cute race, and we’re looking forward to returning next year!

  7. glad the race has improved and the organizers are actively working on it at least. heat is always a tough one for me… i mean some days i struggle (a lot) to hit a 9:30 mile! :-/ you were just banking time in the beginning, right? 😉

  8. Pingback: Motivation Monday: the ‘ups and downs’ edition « Amy Reinink

  9. Erin

    You guys are absolutely right about the lack of an aid station late in the race. I started to get chills when we were on the highway, shortly before turning into the stadium, and I knew that was a BAD sign! I think at least one more aid station would have been enormously beneficial!

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