On Saturday I ran the Running of the Elves 5K. I registered for this around Thanksgiving (cus I wanted to get in before the price increased), but I have to admit that a few days leading up to the race I was certainly thinking about just blowing it off. The weather man made it sound like it was going to be SO cold on Saturday. I had done a few runs earlier this week and was dressed properly (I thought) so I wasn't cold at all. I assumed I would wear something similar for race day and I would be fine. However, I forgot that my runs during the week were done at 4:00 pm in the afternoon and the race on Saturday would be earlier in the morning.
On Saturday morning my running buddy text me to see if I was going and by that time I was already up and ready so he decided he would run too.
I don't think either one of us has ever ran a race in December before so we must have been expecting the worse. We both had layers upon layers on. I wore those tights I mentioned in my Weekly wrap, my Christmas socks, a running skirt, a long sleeve race shirt, a (thin) fleece lined jacket, my windbreaker, and my Under Armour hood/mask.
My buddy wore thick pants, an Under Armour base layer, a T-shirt, a fleece zip up, and a pull over sweatshirt. Plus, he was kind of bummed that he didn't think to wear anything festive (since apparently he was more focused on staying warm) so I gave him that festive hat and God love him he wore it the entire time even though I knew he HAD to be hot. Yes, we were WAY over dressed!
One fun thing about this race is that EVERYONE was decked out in holiday gear. There were runners in full Reindeer costumes, there was a snowman, multiple Santas and Mrs. Clauses, and a ton of elves.
Check out this dog that was there. He almost doesn't look real does he?
We all met in the cafeteria of the local high school and they had hot chocolate and donuts for the runners. We didn't have any though. You could also purchase T-shirts. I understand this is a local race but I think t-shirts should be included in the registration. They had some "sale" shirts from previous years and there was even one design that didn't have any date on it.
They were actually nice long sleeve shirts and I considered purchasing a red one but when I came back around to this table they were gone.
Okay, lets get to the race start. Before we headed out, there was a nice candy cane arch set up that we could have got a photo under but we didn't. There were no corrals but the race director did announce "Any 5 minute mile Runners come up front". At this point everyone chuckled and we all moved back. She called 6 and 7 minute milers to line up and then the rest of us just grouped together behind them.
Something unique about this race is that we were told that there would be gifts out and around the course and if we saw one to feel free to pick it up. My friend joked that "How would we know if something was a race gift or someone's yard decoration...haha".
We were off, I have to say that this was a very "fast" race, as most local races seem to be. I was running an 8:35 minute mile and I still had so many people passing me that I felt as though I was in the back of the pack.
|This is the race director dressed as Mrs. Clause leading the pack on her bike. (photo courtesy of the Race web site)|
All of the on course volunteers were dressed in costume or holiday attire and that just added to the festivities of the race. After the first mile or so I realized how this gift thing worked. The volunteers who were on the course were holding them. I saw one as I was turning a corner and as I went to run towards the volunteer I accidentally slowed down another runner and in that split second I thought I may trip her if I continue to run for the gift so I made the decision to just keep running on the course. I felt I was doing well anyway so I didn't feel bad not stopping.
Before I even left my house I thought about bringing my hand held water bottle but then thought for sure they would have water on the course so I left it behind. Turns out I should have brought it because my mouth and throat were SO dry and there were no water stops. Another surprise on the course was a HUGE hill! We ran the hills of the local university. That was not fun. I ran the majority of it but just when we crested the peak of the largest one, I walked for a few seconds. Since I figured I was already behind my expected goal, I decided to just go ahead and grab the next gift I saw, except the girl in front of me snatched it first.
|photo courtesy of the race website|
This is my race buddy (see he's still wearing the hat) and behind him is Baylee's vet. Remember her from an earlier race this year? They both ended up placing in their age groups! I was happy with my finish time considering how over dressed I was and the surprise hills, but I didn't place. In fact, I came in 7th.
Overall, I thought this was a great way to spend a December afternoon. The whole atmosphere was so festive and the weather was just fine. Had I known about the hills I wouldn't have signed up, so I'm glad I did it this once to see that it wasn't that bad. I was SO HAPPY that my friend won in his AG considering this was literally a last minute decision for him to sign up and run. I think my dad wants to do the race next year, if so, I may do the race again and just concentrate on snagging a gift and not worrying about my finish time. That sounds like more fun, doesn't it? -M
We'll be linking up with the gals from TOTR.