ZOOMA Half Marathon Race Report

Today I ran the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon. I’m not entirely sure how to start this race report as this was one of my worst races and I’m not too excited to write about it.

pre-race– feeling ready to go

I guess we’ll start with why it was one of my worst. I finished in 2:24:04– significantly slower than I hoped going into this race. I started out doing pretty well, but by mile 6 I was walking a lot. 

For the whole car ride home I was trying to figure out what went wrong. I had a low mileage / low impact week going into today. I planned out my meals. I ate the same exact thing for breakfast this morning that I ate before my last half marathon. I was very hydrated. The two biggest things that happened which were unplanned for were “girl things” (sorry TMI!) and the weather. It was hot and humid– although Nick said he didn’t think it was any hotter than during the Blue Ridge Half Marathon. I checked to confirm and the temps were 73 – 79 deg during the time I was running. It was also very very sunny. And, I would estimate, for about half the course the runners were in direct sun with little to no shade to escape. 

I really don’t know. There were points in the race where I was wondering if I was experiencing heat exhaustion. 

My legs never felt tired– well at least not more than is expected for the 13.1 mile distance. I didn’t experience any pain in my IT band. But my heart rate felt very high for most of the race where I would almost describe it as feeling like it was “racing” and I felt like I was having trouble catching my breath. 

and we’re off!

looking strong at the beginning of the race

I had heard that the course was hilly, but it was definitely more hilly than I expected. Within the first mile of the race there were two pretty steep hills. At this point I was feeling great, so they weren’t a problem. The hills in the beginning were helpful because it caused all the runners to spread out early on.  

Miles 2 – 4 were the best, in my opinion. The views running through Historic Downtown Annapolis, the Round Bay inlet of the Chesapeake Bay, and by St. John’s College and the Naval Academy were absolutely beautiful. I was able to continually run for the first 3 miles. After that I was starting to feel the effects of the heat, humidity, and sun so decided to go to my normal 9 min run 1 min walk plan. 

Running across the Naval Academy Bridge was way worse than I was expecting. It was while crossing the bridge that my first long walk break started. I ended up walking most of the way up the bridge. There was also absolutely no shade crossing the bridge. Full sun the entire way– and once you were to the other side it was a while until the next aid station. I heard a few different women asking aloud “Does anyone know how far the aid station is?” 

Naval Academy Bridge

I was so thankful that I ended up taking my 1.5L Nathan Running Vest. I ended up drinking almost the entire thing– plus after crossing the Naval Academy Bridge I was downing a cup of water at each aid station and dumping a cup of water over my head/neck. I don’t know how people made it with just using the aid stations. 

all that was left in my hydration bag
Once you crossed the Naval Academy Bridge the hills were relentless. You were either running up or down. There was hardly any flat ground. Thankfully there was more shade on this section of the course. My run/walk plan went out the window at this point. I walked most of the uphills. 

I was looking forward to seeing Nick again. I needed some encouragement. He was waiting for me at the bridge (between mile 10 and 11) and ended up running on the sidewalks along side me most of the way to the finish. 

this look about sums up how I was feeling
There’s not much to report about the final 3 miles of the course. I just wanted to finish without throwing up or passing out. Oh, the course did end on an uphill– who does that?? 

final stretch
passing by the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

yay to finishing!
pretty post-race pose
So overall what did I think about the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon

I won’t be coming back next year. There wasn’t anything particularly bad about the race. But there wasn’t anything that made me think “wow, this is great!” either. The race was well organized, and started exactly at 7am– which I liked. The finishers medal was beautiful. But the post race food was severely lacking. The bottle of water I was handed after crossing the finish line was warm. The water on the course was warm (although I doubt there was much they could do about that). I didn’t wait around for the post-race wine or massage because the lines were too long. I don’t think the race was worth the $105 I spent. I’ve done less expensive races that have been just as well organized and have had just as nice finisher medals– but have had way better on-course support, a huge selection of post race food, and enough massage tables that runners didn’t have a long line. 

So tell me– who else raced today? How did it go? Anyone snag that PR? 🙂 I’d love to hear about it!


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