Annapolis Running Classic Review and Post- Race Thoughts

In case you only care about the results of the race, I will start out by saying it was not my best time, but also not my worst, and I really enjoyed the experience of this race.

Image-1 (2) We live about 40 minutes from Annapolis, but because of the 7am start time, we decided to stay at a hotel the night before the race. On Friday we drove down to the Wynn after dinner, which is about three quarters of a mile from the start line. We got a great night’s sleep in this amazing bed.

photo 5 When the alarm went off at 4:45am, we made some coffee and ate breakfast in the room. I had my usual (banana and 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter). Around 6:30 we walked over to the race.

photo 2 It was cold out but we could tell it would be good running weather. I was wearing throwaway sweats, and was planning to run in shorts, compressions socks, a short sleeve t-shirt, and arm sleeves. We got to the start line at 6:45 and I decided to use the bathroom one last time.

Turns out everyone had the same idea. The line was really long and not moving fast enough. By the time I finished the gun had gone off and I quickly prepared to run, taking off my sweats and getting my music set up.

There was no time for a warm up, and I could tell I would be boxed in because I started so late. Even though the first mile was downhill, I was going much slower than I would have liked.

usnab source

After about mile 2 I was able to get to my comfortable pace. I was feeling good and trying to stay positive throughout the whole race. The hardest part of the race was crossing the Naval Academy Bridge. It was a big hill to get to the top and pretty windy as well. From the time we crossed the bridge until we got over it to get back the other way, the course was really hilly. It was an out and back, so we knew what was coming. The good thing was that for each uphill there was a downhill. I tried not to look at my watch because I was trying to save my energy on the uphills and make up time on the downhills.


By the time I got to mile 11 and the hills had passed (mostly), I was ready to pick up the pace. When I hit the 12 mile mark I looked at my watch and saw 1:42. I realized how far off my goal pace I was at that time. Regardless, I pushed it as hard as I could last last 1.1 mile. My watch read 6:59 for the last .37 (because my watch added about .27 on probably because of all the weaving I did in the beginning).

After I finished I got water and my medal, and found Rob. He told me he ran a personal best, but didn’t get his goal time. We agreed the course was tough because of the hills, but that we really lucked out with the weather.

We walked over and got our race premiums (long sleeve shirt and socks) and then went to check our official results. Rob’s weren’t up yet and we later found out there was an error, but it got fixed and now his results are posted. We checked out the food but decided to head back to the hotel for breakfast.

photo 4

Over the course of the day, I thought about how the run went. I really think I had a faster time in me, but it just didn’t happen. Rob has said things like “well, it was a hilly course”, but I told him that I can’t make excuses for this race. I just didn’t run fast enough.

During our last half marathon in May we both ran what we felt was a terrible race. It was a mental struggle and we walked a lot. The funny thing is…my time that day was faster than my time for this race. However, my mind set was SO much better during this race. I would take that any day.

So what went wrong? Maybe 5 weeks of training just isn’t enough (even though I had just come off of training for a full marathon, my training paces were much different for that). Maybe it had to do with stress. The past week up until the second I crossed the start line were full of STRESS. I was so stressed, mostly from work, it was carrying over into other parts of my life. I didn’t follow some of my own taper week tips because when you are super busy, it can be hard to eat right, drink enough water, take the time to foam roll, etc.

Maybe it just wasn’t my day. Maybe I just ran too conservatively for fear of getting tired too early. I don’t think it really matters what the reason is. It is another race and another experience to learn from. Thinking back to when I signed up for this race in October, I had decided to run it for fun and to finish off 2013 running season with a great race. And I believe I did that.

However, with the hopes of some redemption, I went ahead and signed up for one last race before the year is over. The Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5k on December 7th will be my last race of the year.

jingle bell

We ran this race in Baltimore 2 years ago, but this time we are running it on a different course, about 20 mins away, in Ellicott City.

I thought the Annapolis Running Classic was a great event. It was well run and not too big, and I like races that are this time of year. The course is not ideal for a PR, but also not the hardest course I have seen. I would consider doing this again as a training run or just for fun…or maybe to see what I
can really do on this course.

Now I am focusing on recovering from the race, and getting ready for a full week off from work! I am planning to post  soon about my recovery plan, so be sure to check back if you are interested or have tips to share.

How do you feel about races that don’t go as planned?

Do you find that stress affects how you run a race?

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3 responses on Annapolis Running Classic Review and Post- Race Thoughts

  1. Congrats – I think that no matter WHAT the result, it is always worth taking a moment and being thankful that you were able to start the race, able to complete the race, and came through uninjured and without any sort of physical distress.

    I find that disappointment is often a mental game – did we set ourselves up appropriately? Were our expectations in line with preparations? I know the first marathon I ran this year I signed up late on a whim, set unrealistic expectations, dealt with inaccurate course informations and horrible weather conditions … but was still disappointed until I smacked myself upside the head!

    OK, I’m going to chuckle a bit about ‘hilly’ based on the elevation map you showed – it reminds me that it is all relative! My normal daily runs (my 6 – 8 mile routes) have ~350-400ft elevation gain, and my ‘fast & flat’ has 275! (We won’t discuss my ‘double hill run’ :) )

    But that is really just another part of expectations, right?

    So again, congrats and good job – be proud of what you accomplished.

    And as someone with a bladder the size of an acorn … those lines are a real pain, and nearly impossible to time right!

    1. Thank you for this feedback! Your are right that we should always be thankful for being out there with the ability to run. I have been injured enough times that I know its important to appreciate every second of running.
      As for the hills, I know I am a wimp when it comes to them! I blame living in downtown Baltimore where there are no decent hills within about 4 miles. Most of my training is done on a flat course and then I am surprised when the hills in races feel hard. The ironic part is that the Baltimore Marathon/Half marathon is known for being rather hilly but most of that course if not accessible from where I live during the times I run due to traffic and safety concerns. I think I need to figure out a way to get some more hill training in so I can stop complaining about this:)

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