• ZOOMA Annapolis Hotel & Mocktail Party

    June 1, 2013

    Annnndddd… I’m back in Boston. Just like that. Holy moly. My trip to Annapolis (and back) was a whirlwind adventure for sure!

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    [Disclaimer: The folks from ZOOMA covered the cost of my flight, hotel, rental car, and race registration during my time in Annapolis, but, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed on CNC are all my own.]

    Yesterday afternoon, I arrived safe and sound in Baltimore after a quick flight from Boston. It was one of those flights where you have just long enough to enjoy a few sips of a complimentary beverage before the cabin crew comes back down the aisle to collect your cup to start the plane’s descent. Up and down.

    When I arrived at the airport, I rented a car (a Volkswagen Beetle – so fun!) to drive to Annapolis, which was about 30 minutes away.

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    The host hotel for ZOOMA was the Loews Annapolis Hotel, a luxury hotel within walking distance of downtown Annapolis and about a 20-minute walk to the race start.

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    The lobby was gorgeous, and I loved the nautical-themed décor throughout the hotel.

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    After I briefly met a couple of the ZOOMA race organizers, I checked in to my hotel room for the night. Theodora and Anne joined me a little while later. I invited them to crash in my room for the night since they were running ZOOMA too. Friends + races = the best!

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    Once we all got settled in the room, we headed down to the hotel atrium for the race expo. There, we picked up our bibs, tech shirts (they were super cute – gray with chevron), and checked out the race vendors and sponsors.

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    I loved that the expo was right in the hotel. It made all of the pre-race activities quick and easy!

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    How cute is the shirt below?! (FYI: it’s from Run Pretty Far.)

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    After spending some time at the expo, Theodora, Anne, and I took a walk to explore downtown Annapolis, which was super cute. I had no idea it was such an adorable place! (The only other time I’ve visited Annapolis was when I was 23 for the 4th of July, and I drank my face off, so I don’t remember much of it. I’m almost positive I had a blast though!)

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    The three of us kept saying we should have stayed an extra night in Annapolis because it would have been a lot of fun to go out to dinner, have some drinks, and enjoy the downtown area. Next time!

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    It was almost time for the Pre-Race Mocktail Party, so we prettied ourselves and then headed back to the atrium to get our (non-alcoholic) drink on.

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    Honest Tea provided the beverages for the event, and each one was made with fresh fruit (or veggies) and incorporated their new Honest fizz, a naturally sweetened zero calorie soda.

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    The “Light Foot Lemon-Limey,” which was made with Lemon Limey Fizz, sliced cucumbers, and fresh lime, was awesome. It was light, refreshing, and not sweet. (I’m always a little wary of drinks like this because they’re usually super sweet and loaded with sugar, but this one wasn’t at all.) I loved the Light Foot mocktail so much, I ended up drinking three cups of it. Side note: It would probably taste really good mixed with vodka. Just sayin’.

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    After the mocktail party, Theodora, Anne, and I headed over to the hotel restaurant for dinner. We heard the food was excellent, and it was just steps away (from our beds), so we were all about it.

    The restaurant offered some delicious-sounding specials for the ZOOMA race (salad + entrée), so all three of us took advantage of it.

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    I loved the candied pecans on the salad!

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    And the herb-crusted salmon was to die for. Anne and I both ordered it and could not stop talking about how delicious it tasted while we chomped away. (P.S. If anyone knows how to cook salmon like this or has an easy recipe, please let me know. I want to recreate it at home so badly!)

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    Race recap coming next!

    Questions of the Day

    What’s your favorite thing about race expos?

    What’s your favorite kind of car? Have you ever driven a Beetle?

    Do you have a good grilled salmon recipe for Anne and me?

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    { 63 comments… read them below or add one }

    Hali June 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Looks like a FABULOUS time!! I love the free samples at expos :-)


    Lauren June 1, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Please post if someone sends you a fantastic salmon recipe! The whole weekend looked like fun! I haven’t been to Annapolis before but would live to go now! Fun!


    Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen June 1, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    what a fun opportunity. I need to get that shirt!


    Andrea R. @ Morning Runner Girl June 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Grilled salmon baked all sealed up in the tin foil to keep the juices!!!!

    Funny enough… I have never ever enjoyed all the little “perks” of the expo before OR after a race!!! I am just always in a hurry! I hope to enjoy the Richmond Marathon expo in November though!!!

    right now.. my car of choice is any little hatch-back. Where my bike can easily fit… yet I can still whip it around town :) I have never driven or been in a bug… can’t say that that is my style at all!!!


    Shel@PeachyPalate June 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    That was one whirlwind trip! Those mocktails sound great; I don’t drink alcohol anymore so I’m always interested in yummy alternatives when I’m out! I LOVE beetles! Ever since that Mandy Moore vid where she has the green one…(10 years ago?!?)


    Meghan June 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I’m very interested in your race recap. I’m a local and was very disappointed with the race. I ran the half and thought that it was one hot mess. The lack of water stations and guidance on the course really ruined the event for me. Any insight on the course debacle (it was mapped out .25 miles short)?


    Tina June 1, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    I heard the half was a mess. Ugh. No idea why the course was short, but I know a lot of people are upset. Agree with you about the water stations. I was so thirsty!


    Heather June 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm


    We were mis-directed in historic downtown Annapolis. There was a bit near ego alley that we were supposed to do.


    Anne June 1, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I never was a Beetle fan, but the new ones are so retro cute, I’m curious how you liked it!?

    There are few things on earth better than a good race expo. I love being surrounded by runners and fun, cool running gear!


    Tina June 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    It was fun to drive!! :)


    Christine@ Apple of My Eye June 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Looks like you had such a wonderful time! I love salmon and would be all over it if I was there 😉


    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat June 1, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Looks like you had a great time! The hotel looks so nice. I’ve never been to Annapolis, but it looks beautiful. Maybe it’ll have to be a place we visit sometime. Oh yeah…love the shirt!


    Debbie (Accidently Delish) June 1, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    i am SO jealous of all the fun events you attend! looks so fun! and i LOVE your dress. you girls are so cute.

    and as much as i love salmon i rarely cook it at home. SO lazy. I had a wonderful teriyaki grilled salmon with pineapple salsa at a restaurant that I’m sure could easily be recreated at home!


    Nicole @ FruitnFitness June 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    It looks like a really nice hotel. I have only been to two race expos but my favorite part was the excitement of getting my bib and learning about all the cool running products. I tried using a packet of Justns nut butter on a training run after hearing another runner talk about using it.


    Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny June 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I wanted a beetle when I was in high school…every once in a while I get the urge to drive one when I see it!!


    Miranda @ Miranda Runs June 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    What an adorable city and hotel! Absolutely gorgeous! I love Beetles and Bugs (of the car variety) 😉


    Ren June 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    I’m going to be staying at the Annapolis Hotel because I heard very good reviews.


    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats June 1, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I so wanted a VW Beetle when I was younger it was my dream car, I wanted it in a convertible and even had a keyring of it :)

    I love salmon with a mango salsa made with cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado, chopped mango, diced red onion and then a dressing of lime, cilantro and salt and pepper it is delicious.


    Ashley June 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Love the black dress you wore! Where is it from? Annapolis looks so cute too, I had no idea either!


    Tina June 1, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks! It’s actually navy, and it’s from Kohl’s. I wore it for my sister’s baby shower too! :)


    Megan (The Lyons' Share) June 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Race expos just KILL me (in a good way) because I love trying new products, especially health/ fitness related ones! But with my sensitive stomach, I know I shouldn’t be trying new stuff before race day. I usually restrain myself :). I also love the dress you wore!


    Beth Sheridan June 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Oh fun!! And I LOVE the shirt!!


    Kellie June 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I purchase Cedar Planks at Target in the “summer/grill section”. Soak the boards in water (or wine), and grill your salmon on top. We’ve placed lemons on the board and the salmon on top, and that was amazing, too. Salmon picks up flavor really well, so this simple recipe worked, and the clean-up is unbeatable! Oranges have also been suggested instead of lemon, and we’ll try that this summer.
    Here is my favorite baked salmon recipe.


    Tina June 1, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you! :)


    Emma June 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    So glad you enjoyed Annapolis! I go to school at the naval academy so have spent a lot of quality days (and nights!) downtown. You should definitely go back and explore all Annapolis has to offer, especially the bar scene and great running routes along the bay.


    Lillian @ Seize the Latte June 1, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    It sounds like you had a fabulous time! Annapolis is awesome — we spent an afternoon there last fall, and it’s gorgeous. Also, hooray for a successful race! :)

    The Beetle is freakin’ adorable, too; I really wanted one in high school (although really, I was just excited to have a functional set of wheels), but I eventually caved in to my inner grandma and started to love SUVs. Granted, a huge factor in my SUV-lovin’ ways comes from the fact that when I was 23, an 8-point buck ran in front of my dad’s car (which I was driving) and, since I had no time to react, I hit and killed said very large deer. {Insert paroxysms of guilt here — I felt awful.} However, my dad’s car, a Ford Explorer, sustained no more damage than a crack in the grill and some fur in the hubcap. I was told that driving an SUV saved my life, and they’ve held a special place in my heart ever since. Whoda thunk it? :)


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 1:36 am

    My husband and I made this recipe last night – it was AWESOME! Though it seems so simple, it was extremely flavorful – I skinned the salmon myself, and let it refrigerate with the rub for a few hours before we grilled it. I am a very picky eater – don’t like ‘plain’ food – and this was definitely a keeper!


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Thank you!!!


    Kristi June 2, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I love your dress for the mocktail party!


    Elizabeth @ Positive Changes June 2, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Looks like such a fun time! I would love to do a ZOOMA race! I love seeing all of the people so pumped for a race! It makes me so pumped for the race! I have rented a Cube once, it was awesome! I would never ever buy a Cube but to drive one was pretty fun and funny!


    Erica @ For the Sake of Cake June 2, 2013 at 8:13 am

    My sister actually used to have a Beetle, but I don’t think I ever drove it. The new ones are really cute!

    I love the cupcake shirt; I definitely need that!


    Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 2, 2013 at 8:51 am

    That salmon looks really good! And seriously how cute is Annapolis?! I’ve never been but I think I need to go someday. :)


    Jill June 2, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Salmon rubbed generously with olive oil and maple syrup. Bake or grill. Simple and delicious.


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Awesome. Thank you!


    Jill June 2, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    @Tina: Also check out “eat live run” ..she has one she swears by.


    Nicole June 2, 2013 at 10:04 am

    My last rental car was a Fiat. Loved it!
    McCormick has a lot of good fish recipes/rub ideas.
    A favorite I often make is to mix smoked paprika, a little garlic salt, about a tsp of cinnamon, and a tsp of brown sugar. Pat that all over the salmon, then marinate in olive oil, balsamic, and orange juice. Grill it up!


    Mary June 2, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Best recipe ever!

    Grilled Salmon with Red-Wine Butter

    1 shallot, minced
    ½ cup red wine
    ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    ½ stick salted butter, softened for an hour at room temperature
    1½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
    Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    2 fillets of salmon (preferably wild), 6 oz each
    Olive oil

    Combine the shallot, wine, and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Allow the wine reduction to cool and then add the butter, along with the thyme and a few pinches of fresh cracked pepper. Use a spatula to thoroughly mix the ingredients and then scoop the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Roll it up, twist the ends to form a log and store that in the freezer while you cook the fish. (You can do these first steps ahead of time. The wine butter will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.) Preheat a grill or grill pan on medium high. Rub the salmon with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay the fish, skin side down, on the grill. Cook it for 4 to 5 minutes, flip, and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium. Serve the hot salmon with a slice of the red wine butter melted on top. Makes 2 servings.


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Thank you!!


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    This sounds amazing!!! (I’m a different Tina, by the way – haha!)@Mary: o@Mary:


    Amy June 2, 2013 at 11:06 am

    This race expo and mocktail party looks super fun. Perhaps I’ll have to sign-up for the Zooma race down the Cape in September. Hope you had a good race and it wasn’t too warm!


    Danica June 2, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I love that shirt that says “run more & eat more cupcakes” :)
    I hope the race went well!!


    michelle kim June 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My favorite thing about race expo’s has to be the samples they give. I kind of love it more when they give sample bars or packages, too.
    Love the hotel! Looks swanky!


    Mary June 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    The Historic Inns of Annapolis are another awesome place to stay and they often have discounted rates, we spend a lot of time in the area!


    Annette@FitnessPerks June 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    That salmon does look fantastic!!


    meghan @ struggle muffins June 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Looks like a fun lil tripski. I visited a friend in Annapolis last month and absolutely adored it – had no idea it was such a cute, fun spot. Loved the summery, almost-vacation-y without being too relaxed vibe I got there.


    jessica June 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    What is that patterned bag with the light blue straps?? It is absolutely adorable!


    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl June 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    What an awesome car to rent!! I bet it was so fun driving around in that :).


    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) June 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Love hanging out in Annapolis… It’s so cute!


    Shannyn @frugalbeautiful.com June 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    I love your carryall bag- sooo cute! Fun post in general of course, but had to ask about the adorbs bag!


    Annie June 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Hi! I love your overnight bag (shown in a picture above). Do you mind sharing the brand name and if you remember, where you purchased it? Thanks in advance, I love reading the blog!


    Tina June 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks! I received it a Fitness magazine event. Sonia Kashuk is the brand.


    Meghan @ After the Ivy League June 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    Such a fun and amazing opportunity! Downtown Annapolis looks super quaint and beautiful too. Who knew? Looking forward to a race recap!


    Katie @ Livehalffull June 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Fun! I’m interested to read your race recap after hearing about the distance mishap! It looks like the mocktail reception was fun-I can’t wait to go to the Chicago one! I’m an Ambassador as well.


    sandra @ fitnessmotivation June 3, 2013 at 2:15 am

    You can probably call the hotel and get the exact recipe :) I always ask the waiter for things like that and they are usually very nice about it :)


    Mary Slagel June 3, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Isn’t it funny when you are trying to be healthy and not drink, that non-alcoholic drinks always inspire mixed drinks?


    Claire June 3, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Hi Tina! It was great meeting you on the street after the race! I love your blog! :)


    Tina June 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

    So nice to meet you too! :)


    Jess H. June 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Probably going to sign up for the Cape Cod 10K–this sounds like a blast! Just want to see how I do in my 3.5-mile race on June 20 first.


    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance June 3, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I’ve never driven a Beetle. I would love to drive a Mini Cooper convertible. Super fun and cute!


    Tempie @ The Texas Peach June 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Annapolis looks like a really neat place! That herb-crusted salmon sounds delicious!


    pruttybird June 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Glad you liked Annapols … I live 15 minutes from there. We spend many an evening in Annapolis eating, drinking and shopping :). Next time you’re in town you gotta go to Middleton’s Tavern for bloody Mary’s and Storm Bros. for ice cream.

    I debated doing the half marathon but I got scured and chickened out … Maybe next year 😉


    Samantha June 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm
    Tina June 6, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Thank you!!


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