Race Recap: ZOOMA Half Marathon June 2, 2012

After a bit of a heat wave, the tornado-like weather brought about the perfect race conditions for Saturday morning.  The temperature started off in the 60s with a breeze off the water with sun filled skies by mid race.  My friend Niki and I arrived at the start a little bit behind schedule.  I decided to wait in line for the toilets while she went to the bag check.  I am so glad I made the pit stop but man that line was horrendous.  I barely made it to the starting line with three minutes to spare.  There is no way that everyone in line actually had the chance to go and get to the start on time.  

At the start, I situation myself behind the 2:00 pace group.  I knew I wanted to stay around there and made up my mind that there was no way I was going to let the next pace group, the 2:10 group, catch up to me during the race.  I was still hopeful of achieving a 2-hour half but was totally aware that my lack of training might have me in by the halfway point — utter optimism at the start.
The start:  It was pretty congested as we ran through the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium parking lot.  There was no concern about going out too fast since these residential streets were jam-packed.  I just stuck to the right hand side, hugged the side walk and that worked for the stretch through the neighborhood.
Miles 1-2:  Can we say gorgeous views as you run through historic Annapolis down Main Street to the waterfront?  Any other time this is such a congested part of town.  To have this all to the runners was a huge treat.  It was mostly flat and I finally felt like I was beginning to run at a “normal” pace, especially as there was a slight downhill heading towards the water.  
Miles 2-4:  As I headed towards the Naval Academy I secretly wanted to scream GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!  But I had a sneaking suspicion that was no way to make friends in Annapolis.  I carried on through the rolling hills in this section of the course.  They weren’t unbearable and the change in elevation felt good on the legs.  At this point, I still felt like I had a chance at coming in around the 2 hour mark; my legs were feeling strong.  It was just before the bridge that I saw the 10k field making their way back to the stadium.  That was a fast group of front-runners!
Miles 4-5:  Those legs were strong until the Naval Academy Bridge, formally known as the Severn River Bridge.  The views here were absolutely breathtaking.  I wish I took more of it in but I was more concerned about conquering the hill.  I kept repeating, “Kill the hill, kill the hill,” a lovely mantra I picked up from the Another Mother Runner duo, Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea.  I did kill that hill and it felt good until I started the downhill and a shooting pain started in my left foot.  
Miles 5-7:  I was terrified about my foot.  I just thought, oh no, not now.  I stopped immediately, around mile 6, to walk, take a drink of water and stretch my foot.  After 1 minute of walking, I picked it up again.  I was mindful of my stride and decided to keep going.  The throbbing pain stopped and I was ever so thankful.  Looking back, I still have no explanation for the foot thing aside from it potentially being aggravated by the first serious downhill of the race.  Who knows?  Thankfully the turnaround for the out and back was around the 7 mile marker.  But I was very bummed to see the 2:00 pace group leave me behind.
Miles 7-8:  More of the same in terms of running on the B&A Trail, as we covered the same ground after the turnaround.  I was thankful for the shade along the trail since I knew the sun would be in full effect by the time I hit the bridge on the return.  My foot definitely slowed me down at this point.  Around mile 8, I also started to feel the wear on my body since it was almost a month since my last long run, not ideal training but life happened.  At this point, I started walking through all the water stops and also made sure I was continuing to take in the fluids and Honey Stingers that I carried with me.  
Miles 8-10:  This was the most difficult part of the race for me mentally.  I stopped at one point and a fellow runner asked me about TEAM RWB.  In order to talk to her, I had to start running again.  She wanted to know if I went to West Point as she mentioned her sister graduated from the Academy.  I explained that my husband went to school there and shortly after, off she ran.  Thank you, thank you, thank you runner.  I was losing faith and this served as a great distraction and reminder that I wasn’t just running for me today.  I was running in support of Team RWB.  In that moment, I thought about how lucky I am to be out and running when there are so many that cannot.  Needless to say, I got my @ss in gear.
Miles 10-11:  Up the hill we go, again.  I made a promise to myself that I could walk after I made it to the top and I did.  This gave me a couple seconds to take in the stunning beauty of the course and the Naval Academy campus.  Now I really see why USMA is jealous of USNA!
Miles 11-12:  Another little out and back let me see that I was probably about five minutes behind the 2:00 pace group and five minutes ahead of the 2:00 pace group.  I was perfectly content there and just wanted to finish strong.  There was an odd cross over of runners around the last water stop.  I think that it was intended for runners to get a drink on the way back from the out and back but there was just a weird crossover mishmash of thirsty folks since the lanes weren’t very clear.  It messed up my mojo a little but maybe that was also because I was so pooped by this point.  I just kept saying, this is the last 5k; you can do this, over and over in my head.
Miles 12-13.1:  All gravy until the “slight” incline to the finish.  Way to kick someone when they are down!  Then to add insult to injury, how about a crossover into a stretch of grass, then back to concrete, all while running your very last half-mile up hill.  Not my favorite part of the course, but the cheering faces of Jake, Cora, Niki, and Mary sure made it a little bit better.  That and I could see the giant inflatable finish line behind the stadium.  
FINISH LINE:  A sprint to the finish led to a rush of emotions after crossing the line.  Crossing a finish line never gets old for me.  And, they called your name out as you crossed the line!  Talk about feeling like a rock star 🙂  
Time:  02:05:02
Miles:  13.1
Pace:  9:32
The after party was amazing.  Lots of great food, fun vendors, and adult beverages 🙂 thanks to Barefoot Wine.  We spent a long time relaxing in the grass, near the foam rollers, while listening to the band play.  It was the perfect way to end the race.  Thanks for such a fun event ZOOMA!
This is how Cora rolls!
I also want to send out a HUGE thank you to all of the cheering squads, especially the little ones giving high fives along the way.  What a treat!  And the water stop volunteers were super friendly!  Thanks for taking the time to volunteer and cheer.  You all rock!
Finally, I am so glad that I didn’t let my nerves and fears get the best of me because I had such a blast running ZOOMA Annapolis.  A big thank you to those of you that thought I could do it; without those words of encouragement, I might not have run the half marathon.  And at that finish line, I promise you, I was just as proud of my time and achievement as I was at my last race, even if I didn’t PR. 
Until the next race,


  1. Love your outfit – perfect for that race! Great recap…I live in Southern VA so I'm always looking for more races in the general vicinity of home. And that looked like a gorgeous course! Congrats!


  1. […] that being said, yes, I’m out for a redemption run in 2014. {2012 and 2013 race recaps are here and […]

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