Race Report – Annapolis Striders’ Dog Days 8K

You know, the name of the race should have clued me in.

Or the course description:

“The course features a variety of running surfaces. You’ll run through sometimes sunny fields, along shaded trails in the woods, down and up hills, and at times on pavement in the heat and humidity that the area is famous for in August. ”

But I just wasn’t ready for the struggle that was this race.  It was hot.  It was hilly.  It was disgusting.

And yet I still had a blast.

This was yet another race in the Annapolis Striders’ Champs Series (I’ve missed too many races to be considered for an award – not to mention I’m slow, but I’m still participating in all the races I can).  And I was glad that Jon, Kim, and Big Jen were all running it too.  Kim is my running partner in crime, and I miss getting to run with her more often.  Jen was willing to be slow with Kim and me, and Jon never seems to mind waiting for us at the finish line, so we knew it would be fun.

The race started with two laps around a field before heading into the woods. I think it was around the second lap in the blazing sun that Kim said “Well, this sucks.”  And it did.  But it was a good challenge – running on different terrains and dealing with the heat and humidity.  We walked more than normal, some of that due to my heart rate issues (the heat always makes my HR higher, which is why I love winter running), some of that due to the fact that we were melting.

At one point, I was so hot that I considered stripping off my shirt and running in my sports bra.  And I am way too self-conscious about my belly for that.  Ultimately, it was the lack of sunscreen on my pale white torso that kept all my clothes on my body.

The race took us a bit over an hour.  No pace records here.  We weren’t last, but we were close to it.  But I think we had a good time, chatting and catching up during the race.  Even a rough race is great with good friends.

Afterwards, Kim and I needed a break.  (And to take a picture of us in our Run for the Dream shirts!)  The break may have included ice cream.

Race Report – Father’s Day 10K

I’ve been a bit of a running slacker lately.  My monthly mileage is way down, and I’m not going to hit 50 miles this month.  But I’ve been doing a lot of little races that I need to recap.

On Father’s Day, I ran the Annapolis Striders’ Father’s Day 10K.  It’s part of their Championship Series, which I’m registered for but won’t complete (too many trips out of town).   Yes, it was the day after I ran a 5K, which always makes for an adventure. But I had a great group of friends running, so I was looking forward to it.

This race was similar to the B&A Marathon/Half Marathon – it started at the same place and ran an out and back along the same trail.  I really like the B&A Trail (it’s a paved trail) so I knew it would be a nice run.

Unfortunately, due to the weather and other circumstances, we only ended up with a small group of us running.  Kim’s Dad was running his first race in a few years, after battling cancer and a few other health issues, and it was Father’s Day, so we agreed to stick with him, no matter what.  We started out doing our Galloway 1:1 pattern, nice and easy, and we were quickly in the back of the pack.  No matter – the Annapolis Striders are incredibly friendly and we knew that all the water stations would still be there for us.

At one point, Kim looked back at the bike monitor following us and said “You know, you can ride with us instead of following us.”  In true fashion, Kim and I were jabbering away while her dad pushed forward in the race.  I’d like to think we distracted him rather than annoying him, but who knows.  The bike monitor happily joined us and we convinced him to do bike tricks to entertain us.  He liked having cheerful people at the end of the race.  After all, there’s no shame in being last.   You’re out there and that’s what matters.

At one point, he even started singing to us.  It started with the Superman theme, which morphed into the Super Mario theme.  And then, as we pushed to the finish, he began to serenade us with “Call Me Maybe.” I laughed so hard.

Kim and I made a deal that her dad wouldn’t be the last to finish.  He was struggling through the race, and we watched him closely to make sure that he was okay.  As we ran towards the finish, a bunch of people came out to cheer.  They could see how hard he had worked to get through the race.  And that felt amazing.  Kim and I managed to slip behind him to the finish so that she and I were last, which was exactly what we wanted.    He was so proud of having finished the race and gave us both hugs to thank us for getting him through the race.  And even though he struggled, he was already talking about his next race and how to train.  That’s a great sign.

So definitely not my fastest race, but one of the more rewarding races.  It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone get through a tough race.  We’ve all been there for varying reasons and at varying speeds, but it’s nice to know you’re not alone.

Race Report: Zooma Annapolis 10K

So I’m a couple weeks behind in my race reports, but a few weeks ago, I ran the Zooma Annapolis 10K.  The Zooma races started in Annapolis, and this was the 5th anniversary.  No anniversary celebrating, unfortunately.

A friend did packet pickup for us, and well, it didn’t sound so organized.  Rather than assign bib numbers prior to pickup, you show up and get your bib assigned there.  One fun thing is that it means you and your friends can have sequential numbers.  But it does tend to take more time.

Race morning, we arrived at the start.  Ample parking – hooray!  The race also featured a half marathon, and the two races started together.  I will say, there were a lot of fun skirts being worn.  I love that running skirts are popular!  So comfy and cute.

Katie, Jen, and I ran together, and met up with Monica at the start.  She was running the half, so planned to pace a big slower than us.  Additionally, Katie was thinking she might want to try for a new PR, so we were setting off on a solid pace.  After all my races over the past few weeks, I wasn’t sure if my body could keep up, but I was willing to give it a shot.

The race itself was nice.  Pretty course.  Annapolis is a pretty town though, so it’s hard to have a bad race course there.  Our friend Jon was working medical for the race and someone let him drive the cart.  We had too much fun picking on him when we saw him.  “Who let you drive?”  We hit the turnaround and saw Monica, who had decided to also turnaround at the 10K point and not do the half.   The weather wasn’t great and she had been racing more than I had this spring.  Smart move – run a strong 10K rather than kill yourself for a half you don’t really care about.

Pushed Katie to her PR and met Kelly at the finish.  Cheered Monica in.  This race features a finisher’s necklace.  In previous years, I wasn’t so impressed, but this year’s necklace is really cute!  It’s a silver disc that says “run” in script with a little black bead hanging next to it.  Initially, I thought I would just add the necklace to my medal hanger, but this necklace is definitely going into wardrobe rotation.

After the race, there were nice little meal boxes and wine, since Barefoot Wine was a sponsor.  Not a bad way to celebrate.  But we had bigger and better things planned.

Since this was one of Katie’s last weekends in town, we headed off to Chick and Ruth’s.  An Annapolis staple.  Delicious. And we had to have the 6 pound milkshake.  Six pounds of delicious, delicious strawberry milkshake.  And yes, we finished it.  Though we wouldn’t have finished without Monica’s pre-teen son.  That kid is a milkshake drinking pro.

I think I will be back for this 10K, but I don’t know that I’d ever do the half.  This was advertised as a 3:30 half, which is a respectable time.  But as we were leaving, the clock was at around 3 hours and they were already opening up the lanes of traffic, forcing the runners to run along the sidewalk.  Apparently, there was some sort of disconnect between the race organizers and the police.  Monica was glad she had decided to not run the half after all, and we hoped that those runners out there had safe finishes.  There were lots of first-timers out there, and when the race plan doesn’t go as expected, that can be very tough.


Race Report – 2012 Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon

Holy hills, Batman!

Okay, so the hills weren’t a surprise.  I don’t know that the elevation chart was ever made public, but anyone who knows the area knew it would be a hilly race.  I just didn’t think about how giant some of the hills were going to be.  We didn’t even attempt to run up them, just walked as quickly as possible.

But let’s go back to the beginning.  This was an inaugural race, though a race being put on by a very well organized group.  So I expected some hiccups, but in general, things went pretty smoothly.

Packet pickup was easy, but one frustrating part was that we were told that all packets had to be picked up in person – no one could pick up a packet for someone else.  At the pickup, we all had to have wristbands put on our wrists so that we could prove no one was running with someone else’s bibs.  However, when I showed up, there was someone picking up 14 bibs!  (This may have been a charity deal, I suppose.)  And the lovely pink wristbands?  They were never checked.  Mine didn’t bother me, but I know some people found them very irritating.

Race morning, the parking was plentiful, but the porta-potties were not.   Lines were long and not very organized, though everyone was quite polite.  One complaint I saw was that there was only one potty stop on the course for those who missed the stop at the beginning.  Again, no problem for me, but I can’t imagine having to try to find a place to “go.”  I’m sure this will be fixed next year.

The race itself was nice – pretty course, but hilly.  There were some spots where I felt like we were shoved off to one little side of the road with cars passing by way too close and way too fast.  It would have been nice to have the whole lane in which to run.  It was to the point where we could basically run single file and that was it.  Not ideal in a race situation.

The finish line was tiny, but there was a nice little finisher’s village with food and drink.  The medals are pretty and we got a sterling silver bracelet as well to celebrate this inaugural race.

Will I be back?  I don’t know.  I didn’t dislike the race and can’t really complain about it, but it’s a hilly course during a time of year where there are a lot of races.  This might get skipped next year (unless they do the Titanium Girl bonus bling with Frederick again – that will get me here in a heartbeat).

Race Report: St. Charles 10-Miler

This weekend, I ran a slightly smaller race, the St. Charles 10-Miler.  This race was located in Waldorf, MD.  There were only 328 finishers, which I must say is a disappointment.  This is a great race and more people should check it out.

Caveat – they bill this race as flat.  It is not flat.  There are some sizeable hills.  But they aren’t lying when they call it scenic.  It is an absolutely gorgeous course.  And the course support is amazing.  I have never seen so much food on a race course. There were water and Gatorade stops every two miles and at each stop, there were Powerbars or Gu.  I only picked up a Gu (and pocketed it for a later run), but I was impressed to see that much fuel out there.

The cheering squads were quite impressive.  The volunteers were clearly excited to be out there, and it makes it a lot of fun to run.

Post-race support was also great.  Lots of snack options, and the race premiums?  A shirt AND a really nice gym bag.  Can’t complain there.

This race is definitely slower-runner friendly.  I ran with two wonderful friends and we treated it as a training run (as we have two half marathons in the next 3 weeks), and even stopped for a few minutes when one of the ladies got a nosebleed.  We were near the back of the pack but still had great support.   There were also some walkers in the race, and I think the last group of finishers crossed the finish line around 2:50.  That’s what I call a great race!  A race that supports its winners as well as the people who are just out there to finish.

If it works out, I will definitely be back next year.