Zooma Annapolis 10k: June 2, 2012

Today I ran the Zooma Annapolis 10k. This makes it my third 10k in just over six months! If you told last-year Molly that, she would have laughed at you.

Some days, you know that you’re going to have a great run. You go to bed happy and riding a carb-induced high (false: the only thing I feel after copious carb-loading is… “whoa. too. many. carbs. can’t. button. my. pants”), you wake up with a spring in your step, you get pumped when you check your iPhone for race-day weather…

… and find that it couldn’t be more perfect, and you whistle a happy tune as you dress in the running outfit clothes you carefully laid out for yourself the night before:

…Purple shirt! You’re new and I love you! You then apply the final touches before pre-race travel: a dash of mascara, your favorite inspirational necklace by erica sara designs given to you by your running spirit guide, LM, upon completion of your first half marathon, take your meds (no runny noses at the races!!), put in your magic earrings, and braid-up your hair… all with a smile.

Some days, you do all those things because you are SO EXCITED TO RUN, and so happy and excited to get a chance to run your heart out in a beautiful location.

Sadly, today was not one of those days.

But don’t worry! I still had a great day, great race, and great time out there on the course… just not until I actually told myself to STFU and start running.

Zooma’s official race directions said to be at the Navy Memorial Stadium (Go Navy! Beat Army!) by no later than 6:15 a.m. Sir, yes sir!

Zooma was super organized so I made it to the stadium and into a (free) parking spot without any difficulty at all. I  met up with my running-buddy Jen, we porta-pottied, stretched, hydrated, stretched, gossiped, and then went to the starting line:

I’m not going to say there weren’t a lot of people running this race, but there were the perfect amount. I don’t feel like I had to do a lot of bobbing and weaving, I never felt like I was tripping over anyone. That’s my perfect racing scenario.

What’s not my perfect racing scenario? Not being on my A game. I have a minor injury (yes, I’ve mentioned it before) that I’m working through, so I knew I couldn’t “race” it. I also hadn’t run since Sunday… which isn’t ideal either. I felt like I was holding Jen back, and I kept telling her to run ahead without me because I could tell she was feeling great and ready to run this town, but she said she wanted to stick with me. Obviously I’m grateful, but I still feel a little guilty about it.

So here’s how it went down:

Mile 1: The first mile was going around the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and I felt great. No pain, no soreness, and my legs felt fresh. There was so much to look at that I barely noticed the first mile which – many times – is the hardest mile for me.

Mile 2: We started to head into the historic part of Annapolis and Jen told me she needed a bathroom. We waited in line approximately one minute before she decided she’d wait for the next one. Still feeling good, but groin is a touch sore.

Mile 3 – Mile 4: Some really good songs were keeping me pumped (I used a newly created iTunes mix I call “Brooks Running Mix,” named after my shoes and filled with lots of Lady Gaga, The Killers, The Black Keys, and David Guetta) and I really relished running past the Maryland State House (politics!), the cobble-stoned streets, and by the water. Maryland is awesome!

We stopped for Jen to use the bathroom and as I bopped around waiting for her, I got a bunch of compliments on my shirt (You can own it too! Only $29 from Nike! You’re welcome!). It reminded me about how nice runners are to each other, and Jen and I talked about that as we continued to enjoy the race.

Mile 5: Shortly after Mile 4, we met the big, bad bridge/hill/torture slope of a bridge I’d heard so much about. When you round the bend and see the Naval Academy Bridge, I’m not going to lie… it’s scary. But Jen turned to me and said, “Let’s run the  sh*t out of this bridge, so I told my troops to get on board (that’s me in the front):

Ok. That’s not me. But it’s an accurate representation of how I felt SO LET’S JUST PRETEND OK??

Maybe it’s because Jen is used to running hills in her neighborhood, or maybe it’s because I did so much hill training for the Sole of the City 10k, but it wasn’t so bad. Really. And the breeze was HEAVEN. Have I mentioned it was a GORGEOUS DAY? Because it was.

Mile 6: OH HAI GROIN INJURY AND NEW DESPERATE NEED FOR THE BATHROOM. I was all kinds of hurting InThatArea, but still sorta proud of the way Jen and I ran the sh*t out of that bridge/hill/torture slope… so I maned-up and tried to focus on the fact that we only had one mile, ish, left.

Mile .2 nub: WHO MAKES STREET RUNNERS RUN THROUGH GRASS AND DIRT FOR THE LAST .2 MILES OF A 10K? WHOOOOOO??!?!?!?!!?  <– Not happy about that, but I survived! Yay. Race over… where’s the bathroom?

You know you love me and my TMI.

BTW, we didn’t run in those tops, we put those on post-race since it was kind of breezy.

And that’s how I added another 10k in the books… thanks Jen! And THANK YOU Zooma… despite the grassy/dirty/muddy .2-mile obstacle at the end, the race was flawless, punctual, the course was beautiful and I will definitely be doing this again… maybe the 1/2 marathon next time!

PS – I wanted to share the lunch because I thought it was perfect. First of all, there were free Muscle Milk (a variety of flavors – I choose Cookies ‘n Cream but didn’t drink it yet), tons of water, lots of champagne!!!!!!, and bananas available post race. Also an adorable “run” necklace in lieu of a medal. It’s adorable in that cheesy I LOVE RUNNING way… which I am and I do so I’m all set.

They also had two lunch options: chicken salad or hummus. KUDOS on those options, Zooma. For me, it was like trying to pick my favorite friend (don’t worry, I pick you). I love me some chicken salad, but hummus felt healthier after a race, so I chose hummus.

I love that I could eat it on pita or with carrots. I love that it tasted good. I love that it wasn’t heavy and that I didn’t eat a bunch of crap instead. I didn’t just burn 700 calories to eat crap…

(… That comes later, as I’m going to dinner at Baltimore’s new Kettle Hill tonight! And even then, I won’t be eating crap (farm to table, baby) so much as too much food. I like to think that’s different, yes?)

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