This past weekend our family visited Annapolis, Maryland where I ran the Feed Annapolis race. Right off the bat I would like to say that this race was outstanding. I highly recommend it for runners in that area or visitors. Honestly, the website didn’t hint to much other than a worthy cause and a distance that I love, the five mile race. That would have been enough but the organization, course, charity, etc. were all run smoothly without a hitch. We have amazing races here in Virginia Beach, so my standards are a bit high and the Run to Feed met them.
We arrived in Annapolis, Maryland Friday evening and spent our time at a beach club where Steve and I could relax and the kiddos could run around with new friends. I only had one drink because I was leery of the race early the next morning but we had a fantastic time watching the sunset together before making our way to the hotel. Early the next morning the Mr. dropped me off at the race an hour before it began. I picked up my bib in less than a minute and was given a perfect course map. I wouldn’t and needn’t run the whole course before hand so I walked the course backwards until the 3.5 mile marker. This gave me a good idea of the rolling hills (not bad but for a Virginia Beach runner, any hill is a big hill because we have none). I then did my warm up back to run the last 2.5 miles of the course. This was a perfect warm up for me. I know some people would have taken out the walking but I always take awhile to warm up, especially at 7 am, so it was a huge help to get my legs moving and mind awake.
After some stretching, strides, and a port-potty break, I easily lined up in the starting line. The race began at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (where the Navy football team plays) and so we lined up right next to a retired Blue Angel. Loved that!
After a prayer and the star spangled banner, the race was off. They had a red convertible lead the course, which was fantastic. There was never any doubt in the leaders minds which way we would turn because we could see a bright red car driving ahead of us. I ran the first mile just over 6:00 pace, which was my plan and found myself in first female and 7th overall. I wondered if maybe I should slow up and conserve some energy in case another lady pulled up beside me. There was a nice chunk of prize money for 1st female (nothing for 2nd female) but I remembered the advice my coach gave me awhile ago. He said “Don’t worry about racing the ladies, focus on catching the men in front of you.” I tend to over think things, so this was perfect advice and exactly what I did.
My husband went to school in Annapolis and I used to waitress downtown during college. We have amazing memories in the town so I knew I would have fun at this race but it really hit me after the 1 mile mark when we started running to the downtown area. The race organizers had every intersection blocked off and the main roads closed to traffic. I didn’t take photos so I grabbed the one below online to show you the course into main street. Having this narrow, historic road blocked off for us to sprint down was exhilarating and I was working hard but loving the view. I even had a giggle as we passed the bar I celebrated my 21st birthday in with friends. (half remembering that night, ouch!)
Around the 2.5 mile marker I started picking off a few of the men in front of me one by one. I knew going downtown that we would have to climb back “up” to get back to the stadium where we started and having runners to pass one by one was a great mental game. I passed the 2nd place male and mile 3.5 where he warned me the 1st place male was “saving it”. I was hurting at this point but not bad enough for my pace to suffer much. The downhill portion into town gave me a good cushion. As we wound back to the stadium I saw the Mr. and our kids and was able to give them side fives before suffering that last mile. I was confident I had the win but I wanted to squeeze under 30 minutes and I just did. I never caught the 1st place male, he finished about 10 seconds in front of me. Race results HERE. Also, I wanted to note that the mile markers were perfect!! I know Garmins can be off so I know you can’t always count on them but in this race I ran the tangents hard and the mile markers were spot on with my watch. Just another tiny thing I appreciated. The awards ceremony was handled promptly and along with my prize money I was given a handmade war pictured below. I adore unique to the race area handmade awards and the young boy of the woman who made this was so proud of his mom, going out of his way to tell me so, making it that much more special.
The best thing about the race? Afterwards all the runners and their families are encouraged to pack boxes of food for homeless families in the Annapolis and surrounding areas. After you hydrate and get a snack, you walk through an assembly line of packing. It was efficient and kids weren’t allowed to jump in the bouncy house until they contributed. How great is that!?!? Make those kiddos work! My kids were so excited that we went through the assemble line three times so they could help make their own and write kind messages to include with the boxes. I thought this was a wonderful addition to a race that already contributes financially to charity.
That concludes my race review. We spent the rest of the weekend with great friends and touring our old stomping grounds. We got a cute photo of our family in the same area where we had some of our wedding photos completed 14 years ago. Here it is-
Thank you all for reading! Have a great week all!