I’d always heard about the Baltimore 10 Miler. I knew small parts of the course from the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler. But everyone talks about how hilly this course is, about how the hills will be brutal. I had signed up for the Baltimore 10 Miler with the full intention of racing, to test out where I am with speed and to decide if I am capable of getting fast enough to try for another BQ this fall. Well before the Bmore10 I went ahead and registered for the marathon (Leigh Valley Via Marathon) so that just left the goal of testing out my speed. Six weeks post-Boston, how fast could I run? Continue reading
I swear I was fast. At least, for me, in my age group, for my distances. I spent a good chunk of time and effort working on speed and got to a very comfortable place this year where my ‘slow, easy’ run was at 8:40, my 5k pace was near 7 minutes and my other mid-distances paces hovered somewhere between 8:00-8:15/mile. But alas, I seem to have regressed back to a 9 minute pace and just logged a long run averaging 9:15/mile. This rut, if that is what it is, is both frustrating and enlightening.
Racing locally, in my opinion is one of the best ways to race. You can sleep in your own bed, you know the tricks to getting around traffic and good parking, you likely know the route of the race and there is the general pride that comes with seeing athletes ready to run in your hometown. This year, the Zooma Half Marathon & 10k was scheduled to be in Annapolis on June 5. I love the half marathon distance and I love running in Annapolis. But this would be my third weekend in a row of racing and to be honest, the Zooma registration cost is a little steep for my purse strings so I wasn’t sure if I’d sign up to run. But then, an email came out from the Annapolis Triathlon Club calling for volunteer pacers for the Zooma Half. Sold!
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to volunteer for the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon and 10K because it was not a race that I was ready to run. This coming weekend is one of my favorite Annapolis races put on by the Annapolis Striders, the A10. Unfortunately I missed registration and learned too late about the option to do a “bib swap.” Volunteering was definitely an option but then I was given yet another way to be involved with the event.
I have been a huge fan of Gracie’s Gear ever since I met the company’s president, Gracie Updyke, this spring at the ZOOMA kick-off event in Annapolis and after having had a chance to try out her tops, capris, and shorts. We’ve kept in touch and every so often I work with her on PR projects and she asked if I’d be interested in repping her gear at the A10 event in the Fleet Feet Annapolis booth. So there you go! I get to see yet another side of a run event by participating as an exhibitor in the Expo. What does this mean? Continue reading
Most runs start pretty early in the morning and the ZOOMA Annapolis race had a start time of 7 a.m. for runners of the 10K and half marathon course. This means that volunteers had to be there long before the sun was even up to ensure that water stations, information centers, parking lots, exhibitor areas, and the gear check station were set-up and ready to go when the first runners arrived at the start line.
I had volunteered to work gear check at the race as well as hand out chocolates to finishers as they arrived back at the Expo from the finish line. I woke up almost every hour to make sure I didn’t miss my 4:30 a.m. alarm and by the time I got to the Naval Academy stadium to meet my fellow volunteers I was remaining optimistic that the ominous clouds overhead would blow over.
Not having volunteered to work a race before I wasn’t sure what the flow of things would be and it turned out it couldn’t have been simpler, more organized, or run by the most patient and helpful people. The ZOOMA race is the brainchild of Brae Blackley and her calm demeanor and constant smile eased both volunteers and runners as she responded to a constant flow of questions. Her core volunteers are her friends, mother, mother-in-law, and husband as well as the many willing locals who came out to support her race whose mission is to empower women to live healthy, active, and happy lives. Continue reading
Every time I do a run I am forever grateful to the volunteers who line the course at the water stops, the start and finish line, the packet pick-up, the gear check–they seem to be everywhere. I’ve never really stopped long enough to think about where all the volunteers come from, or what happens behind the scenes of a race, but I know it’s a lot of work no matter the size of the race. In March I met the organizers of the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series and realized my opportunity to learn more about how a successful race comes together as well as what it means to volunteer, rather than run, a race.
On May 31st, hundreds of women (and men) will line up to run either the ZOOMA 10K or half marathon in Annapolis. This is peak tourism season and the town will be buzzing with out-of-towners, boaters, history buffs, shoppers, dog walkers, and hordes of other people who are drawn to our waterfront town every spring. The addition of a busy tourism season to the many details of organizing, moving, and communicating to hundreds of runners no doubt presents challenges to the ZOOMA race organizers, which is where volunteers come into the picture. Continue reading
Women. We are daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, friends, best friends, teachers, mentors, multi-taskers, hopers, achievers, thinkers, and influencers. This was the point made by Brae Blackley, founder of ZOOMA Women’s Race Series at this morning’s kick-off event at the local Annapolis Fleet Feet store. Women have an amazing power to influence and it is one we can harness to help others get active and get healthy. We don’t have to push them, coach them, or beg them, we simply have to lead by example and influence the behavior of others to be the best it can be.
All I need is for a girlfriend to tell me she tried a new shampoo or cereal and it’ll be in my cart the next time I’m at the grocery store. Though I’m not a mother at the moment I have watched the power of female influence at baby showers where one mother suggests a certain stroller, diaper, or swaddle to the mother-to-be and there is no need for further research. Continue reading