Last year I ran my first Run With Santa 5K in softly falling snow, and couldn’t have been happier! Just before the race started, snow started falling and it snowed throughout the entire race. It was glorious, and I dreamed of a repeat this year. The day before this year’s race brought pouring rain to our area, and I was so thrilled when the rain stopped and the sun shone brightly over the runners, that I forgot all about snow.
My MRTT running bestie, Erin, was kind enough to pick up my race packet while I was driving 325 miles across the great Commonwealth of Virginia. When I stopped by her house to pick up my packet, we had a good laugh over the color of the shirt, and decided it was the “ugly sweater” of race shirts. Later that evening I texted her, and asked if it was so bad that the color was really growing on me!
Each =PR= Race Series race has a commemorative pin to go along with the race. They’re cute and I attach them to my running bag. If you notice in the picture above, we also got a race medal with our packet. Last year the medal didn’t have a ribbon attached, so I tied a pretty red and green ribbon on it and hung it on our Christmas tree.
Sunday morning bright and early, Erin picked me up at my house and drove us to the race. Our friendship came full circle with this race. Last year after the race, Potomac River Running shared my race recap on their Facebook page. Erin, who had just run the race, saw it and started following my blog – we had never met. In March she saw my posts about running with my local Moms RUN This Town (MRTT) chapter, and decided to look into joining her local MRTT group. As fate would have it, we were in the same chapter! Since we have similar paces, we became great friends, and have run several hundred miles together since! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy sharing this story makes me!
Once we arrived at Reston Town Center, Erin and I went out for a one-mile warm-up run… to keep from freezing. The temperature was 34°, but with the wind chill it felt like 22°. I perform much better when I get about a mile under my belt just before a 5K, but this time, I knew that if we stood around too long waiting for the race to start, we would freeze. After our run, we meet our fellow MRTT friends for a quick photo, and then we were off!
I left my friends, and made my way to near the front of the race to secure a place where I wouldn’t have to dodge too many children and walkers at the beginning of the race. Many =PR= Races are family oriented, and they don’t have pace signs for those races. I’ve learned to self-seed myself near the front of the race pack to make the first quarter mile of the race easier. Please don’t get me wrong; I love seeing children running races with their parents. It’s just that it’s frustrating getting behind someone that’s running along, and suddenly stops or darts sideways directly in your path.
With about 2,000 racers, the sea of runners spanned back to the office buildings, and I was satisfied with my place in the pack.
After mentioning a few of the frustrations of running races with lots of children, I want to share some of the joys. I ran along side a father and his son who couldn’t have been more than ten years old. After about 1.5 miles, the father told his son that he could pull ahead and run his own race. The little boy took off, and I didn’t see him again! I caught up with a few other very young children as I approached the finish line, all holding their own, and running much faster and farther than I could have dreamed of at their age!
Since this was a course that I have run several times (and really enjoy), I decided to see how I could do compared to previous races. I haven’t been doing tempo runs lately, but my training runs have been solid runs for the most part.
- 2013 Firecracker 5K – 25:58 (8:23 pace) 7th place age group
- 2013 Run With Santa 5K – 27:35 (8:54 pace) 7th place age group
- 2014 Firecracker 5K – 24:19 (7:50 pace) 3rd place age group
- 2014 Run With Santa 5K – 25:18 (8:10 pace) 3rd place age group
My Garmin showed a total distance 3.16 miles and an 8:01 pace. My split paces were:
- Mile 1 – 7:59
- Mile 2 – 8:02
- Mile 3 – 8:10
- Last .16 mile – 7:06
After the race, Cindy came up to me, introduced herself, and said hello. She mentioned that she remembered running next to me during the Run Your Heart Out 5K back in February, and that PRR had gotten a picture of us near the finish. After talking for just a couple of seconds I remembered her, and I asked her if she had been wearing deely-boppers during the race. Yes, that was her, and as soon as I got home I went back to my race recap and found her in two of our pictures, once with Bill, and once with me. If you scroll up, you’ll see her in my finish line photo for this race as well!
Erin and I reunited with our MRTT friends, and compared race notes. We had lots of goals met, and a few PR’s. Overall, it was a very good day for our chapter!
While hanging out, we saw this Christmas jester, and asked him for a photo. He readily agreed as long as the ladies posed with him!
And then Erin and I found another tutu wearing jester, and of course we couldn’t control ourselves… A picture was absolutely mandatory, and our new friend obliged!
Just as we were heading back to the car to get our coats, we stopped these beautifully dressed ladies and asked for a picture for my blog. Christin (on the right) recognized us from pictures we post to our MRTT Facebook page. She’s also a member of our chapter, but with 405 members, we hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet.
One of the things I love about the =PR= Races at Reston Town Center is the children’s fun runs just before the awards ceremony. This time, it was fun to see Santa racing with the youngsters!
My third place age group finish earned me a gift certificate to Potomac River Running Store!
And as soon as the award ceremony was over, Erin treated me to a hot chocolate – skimmed milk with whipped cream… Just the way I like it!
Back home after the race, Bill asked me if I’d had a fun time. I think he already knew the answer, because I was still beaming from ear-to-ear, and chattering away about the morning’s events. I truly love running in =PR= Races because they always do such a great job. Their races are well organized, well attended, and they allow you to download your race pictures for free!
- Have you run in a Christmas themed race?
- Do you like running on repeat courses?
- How do you like your hot chocolate?