Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Zooma - the Untold Story and the New Chapter

Sunday, June 15, 2014
The Untold Story - Short Version

Last year, my friend Karen talked me into running my first 10k. I thought the idea was absolutely ludicrous but went along with it anyway. She told me about this great women's race called Zooma Annapolis that had both a 10k and a Half Marathon. Naturally I went online and looked into it.

From what I could tell, this was a major event - far bigger than any of the one's I'd experienced (remember at this point, I haven't experienced anything in terms of big races.) There were all kinds of swag, an expo, the promise of a medal if you PR.

How could I say, "no?" - Well maybe I should have.

I'm certain that no event goes without its hiccups and issues, however, this event's troubles were significant and once over, I swore I wouldn't run it ever again.
This year rolled around and Zooma came around with it. Some of my friends were running the race, signed on as ambassadors, or were pacing. Naturally, that brought on a slew of requests for me to run it.

I declined – once was enough. The pushing continued though and I started saying, “Sell it to me. Why exactly should I run it again?” There was never a sufficient answer.

One day, my friend Amber brought it up. It was not the day to do it so I am pretty sure I outlined a detailed play by play as to what happened and why I refused to run it unless someone really sold me on the idea.

What was unexpected was a message later that day – “I hope you don’t mind but I emailed the race director and she’d like to talk to you.”

Excuse me? What?! 

Naturally, I thought carefully about what I was going to tell this woman. I wanted to be sure that I delivered my message with some tact and not turn it into a rant. I was sure she’d heard her fair share at that point.  In the end, I sent her a very short and sweet email.

In time, we emailed back and forth a few times and then agreed to talk over the phone.

In a 40 minute phone call, I could relate to her and the troubles of organizing an event of this scale. I’ve been there. I’ve organized events. There are always those unknown variables: un-cooperating venders; shipping issues, ideas gone wrong. I got it and was assured that things would be different this time.

I was running Zooma Annapolis again – the Half Marathon instead of the 10k this time.

The New Chapter- Let's Do This!

Cindy and I hit the expo together and it was at the same location as the previous year, the Loews Annapolis Hotel. Last year they charged for parking. I do not know if that was the case this year. We grabbed street parking. 

The expo, like last year, was small and only took up the ball room of the hotel. Some of the same familiar faces were there - like Fellow Flowers - a personal favorite! 

At packet pickup we received a reusable bag containing our shirt (which was actually cute this year), a hat that was WAY to big for my little head, and this: 
I mean really? Pee pads? I seriously doubt that these are moisture wicking or anti-chafing. Of course, they did come in handy when I spilled coffee and it was the only thing in reach. 

Race Day!!

The morning didn't get off to the best of starts. I left my bib at home and hand to head back and get it - UGH. I still got there with plenty of time to spare but I think I was parked in a different zip code. Naturally, we goofed off a little before the race. 
Photo courtesy of Renee Dudley
I really do have to say, we lucked out in the weather department. The day was gorgeous and we all comment on it as we made our way to the starting line. I was still a bit off my game for the morning, but ready to get the show on the road. The plan was to pace Cindy for around four miles and then break free. 

The race started and 10k and Half Marathoners took off together. 

At a mile in, I felt pretty good aside from getting elbowed a couple of times by the woman next to me. It was one of those times that I'd had it though and broke free from the pace group. I just needed to put some room between me and Miss Elbows. 

It didn't seem like long after that I was heading down West Street in Annapolis and seeing the familiar faces of my friends at the Annapolis Running Ship (ARS).
Photo courtesy of Liz Bagwell 
As we made our way around Annapolis we hit a small bridge near the Naval Academy. I giggled a little when I heard someone say, "this must be that bridge people talk about." What made it especially funny is that I'm pretty sure someone said the same thing at that point last year.

I giggled more about a half mile later when the same woman exclaimed, "OH DEAR GOD" in approach of the Naval Academy Bridge. Then I looked at her and said, "Ma'am, THIS is the bridge that people talk about." 

In all honesty, it is a challenging course. If you don't run many hills, it can be a tough race. The Naval Academy Bridge is the first significant hill you get to tackle. There are a few that follow the bridge and because this is an out and back course, you get to run them all TWICE causing my inner masochist to squeal with glee. Yeah..it's funny, I watched a lot of people fly DOWN that road, apparently not taking into consideration that we had to climb right back up it. Somewhere around  this point of the race, Cindy and I crossed paths and I gave her a quick thumbs up as I made my return trip. 

It really only seemed like moments later that I was passing Mile Marker 10 and crossing back over the Naval Academy Bridge. Something important to note here is that 10 miles was really 10 miles. Last year there was a course SNAFU involving police and course and the race was actually short. 

Anyway, up and over the bridge and back into downtown Annapolis where I once again passed Cindy, shot her another thumbs up and a heart so she knew I was good and then onward to the home stretch. It really seemed like the finish line hit within a blink of an eye. While I know it wasn't it was a new PR for a Half Marathon - and on a hilly course to boot - 2:07:33.

Cindy and her pace group came in shortly after me and we grabbed our medals before heading off to the side to cheer in our friends. This year they had medals for the 10k and Half Marathoners which was nice.

Food this year was the same as last and I bypassed it. I really wasn't interested in a sandwich or the hummus they were offering. There was a wine garden again sponsored by Barefoot Wine and Bubbly which we swung by for a quick drink before calling it quits and heading out.

Honest Tea snagged us for some quick group photos but we've yet to see those show up anywhere. Would really like to see if we succeeded in making fools of ourselves.  Also can not forget the obligatory post race group shot. We came - We Ran - I'll discover later that I have sunburn.
All in all, I would say that Zooma Annapolis redeemed themselves and am glad I gave them the second chance. I think they made a strong come back. Would I run it next year? Maybe if my race budget isn't maxed or they do something new that makes it a must run.

In the mean time, there are other races that need to be checked off the list. ~ Theresa

2 comments on "Zooma - the Untold Story and the New Chapter"
  1. I am SO glad you did this race, Tree! YOU ROCKED IT TOO! Wish I could have hanged with you - but you're too fast ;) See you there next year :) :)

    1. Actually really enjoyed the course despite how much I run the area. Shame we didn't get to catch up for a picture.