Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Prancer (left), and Dasher (right).
Yes, that’s me and my sis-in-law Meredith, dressed as elves/reindeer. And YES, we get extra points for style in case you were wondering.
Since Mer and I had such a great time dressing up as turkeys for a Thanksgiving 5K in November, we decided to kick things up a notch and go all out for a Christmas race too! So we hit the dollar stores for some fun gear and headed to the Freehold Area Running Club’s annual Toys for Tots 5K.
The night before the race, I was up WAY past my bedtime babysitting (we’re talking 1:30AM), so I was… let’s say “less than jingle-y”. I was exhausted and knew I wasn’t going to set any records. Thankfully speedy sis-in-law didn’t have a problem with us taking it easy either, so we aimed for fun and had a blast!
Between our mismatched Naughty & Nice socks, Santa/Elf shorts, funny shirts, jingly ponytail ties, and the best glasses EVER, we were quite a sight!
We got there early, donated our toys (love doing races that have tangible benefits for the community!), and hung out in the parking lot with our hubbies.
The weather had been unseasonably warm around this race, so we kind of knew it wouldn’t feel like a true Santa Dash – and once the sun came up we realized just how far from winter it would feel like. By the time we left the park, it had gone up to 73 degrees, and the humidity felt like it was 90% the whole time! Seriously rough weather to run in.
It was a small race, the results say only 192 runners in all. So once we had stretched out and noticed the abundance of… let’s call them SERIOUS Runners (with a capital SR)… we headed for the starting area and focused on letting the rest of the folks run their race and having fun at the back of the pack.
The course ran through Michael Tighe Park in Freehold, a pretty park that I’d never been to before this race. When it comes to 5K’s, I usually don’t go nuts researching the course, but I kind of wish I realized it was a loop course going into it. On loop courses, a part of my soul dies. Do any of you feel the same way? There’s something about having to loop around the same terrain more than once – especially passing the finish line! – that just crushes my will to keep going, even in a 5K.
We were instantly drenched with sweat because of the heat and humidity (in DECEMBER, who says global warming isn’t a real threat?), but we held on through the first mile, chatting and passing the time. The fun thing about running easy is being able to actually have a conversation with someone – it’s like hanging out and getting a workout in at the same time! Plus, everyone we passed loved our gear, shouting out encouragement and laughing and jingling their bells at us. There were a few other people in full-out gear like us, and we all had a good time when we’d pass each other, ho-ho-ho-ing and ringing our bells. The glasses were the biggest hit by far!
Once we got to 1.5 and passed the finish line, the second half was a real struggle for me. The combo of the weather and the lack of sleep the night before really took a toll and I just wanted it to be over. But another nice thing about running with someone is that you can’t really stop. It’s embarrassing! So I pushed through the discomfort and we kept going, taking a walk break or two to finish strong.
With the finish line in sight we gunned it around the people in white and blue you see up there – they were being cheered on by their friends at the sidelines: “Don’t let the elves beat you!” they yelled at them!! Well that just made us want to go even faster… and so we did, blowing right past them and finishing strong in 35:38, which is NOT bad for me!
Overall this was a great race – even though it was small and I would have been lonely at the back of the pack if I’d run it alone, it was so much more fun with company and costumes! I’d definitely run it again next year just to burn off some extra Christmas cookies 😉
And as a bonus, our fun gear even got us the front page of the FARC website!