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Santa Hustle Half Marathon

Santa Hustle Half Marathon and 5K was a BLAST! Completely worth driving to Sandusky, OH for (less than an hour drive). Santa Hustle’s are held all over the U.S. but this was the first time having it in Sandusky. Of course, I was nervous about it being a first time race but from what I saw everything went smoothly.

Santa's Reindeer cheering on runner's
Santa’s Reindeer cheering on runner’s

I got to the race pretty early because I had never been to this part of Sandusky and wanted to give myself plenty of time to get lost and find my way to the start. Luckily, it was really easy and I got to park directly across the street from the start. After running around talking to my friends and grabbing my race packet from Eli (she picked it up on Saturday for me) I headed out for a short, 1 mile warm up on the course. I had been warned that it could get windy by the lake so I ran that part of the course. There was almost no wind so I was all set for a nice warm December race.

I missed the memo that everyone was wearing red!
I missed the memo that everyone was wearing red!

Almost everyone at this race wears red or more specifically, the red Santa shirt that is given to you for the race. It’s a nice, cute wicking shirt but I have this thing with wearing race day shirts on race day. This was probably the only race where it is actually ok to wear the race day shirt (and Santa hat and beard) but I still couldn’t do it. Instead I went with a highlighter lime green outfit. Best part about that was I stuck out like crazy. All my friends could easily spot me a mile away.

The race started on time and I tried my best to stick to a decent pace. mile 1 was 7:15 and miles 2 and 3 were 7:25. If I could keep that pace I was headed for a PR Holla! My goal for this race was to run smart, have fun and run under 1:45. By mile 4 I had eased into a 7:45 min mile and was very comfortable and could hold that pace for the rest of the race.

Running past Cedar Point roller coasters.
Running past Cedar Point roller coasters.

Miles 5-7 flew by, we were running around Cedar Point and I was checking out all the closed rides. No spectators were allowed into Cedar Point to watch the race but with all the rides to look at, before I knew it we were heading back out of the park and onto a bike path next to the lake. This is where the wind started to kick in.

So tired
So tired

Miles 8-10 were windy. But I kept telling myself that it will let up and I’ll be fine. By mile 10 the wind had picked up even more. My pace had slowed by an entire minute. I was trying to push against the wind but it was hard. Mile 11, my cheeks were actually getting sore from the wind. Cheeks on my face, not my butt cheeks sickos.

Eli ran the 5K and then met me for the last mile or so of the half marathon. Which was awesome because it was so windy and I was exhausted from pushing into it. You would think from a half marathon your legs, butt, knees, feet etc would be sore but no, my arms, back, abs and face cheeks were sore. I’m actually sore there today and still not sore in my legs yet.

By the time I made one of the final turns in the race I was ready to lay down on the sidewalk and take a nap. Instead I pushed and gave it what I had left (wasn’t much) and finished with a time of 1:47:12 a 8:11 pace and 6th in my age group. At first I was mad I didn’t run a 1:45 but then realized I was only a little over 2 mins off that time and without the wind I would have easily been under 1:45. Then I also remembered that this was my first half marathon since April and I HAD ZERO IT BAND PAIN FOR THIS RACE! ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NULA, BABU.

Sweet Medals
Sweet Medals

Although this wasn’t my goal time, it’s still a pain free half marathon finish. Half Marathon number 17 is in the books. Also, the girls below are bridesmaids in my wedding! They are awesome and makes me 1000 times happy to see them.

LOVE that these girls were there. Also, standing on my toes for this pic and still the short one.
LOVE that these girls were there. Also, standing on my toes for this pic and still the short one.

Pros:

  • Fun Themed Race
  • Easy Parking (there were multiple lots around Castaway Bay and Volunteer Elves were very good at directing cars where to go)
  • Cool shirts, hat and beard
  • Cool medals for the half marathoners. Would be cool if the 5K got mini versions and got a finishers medal too.
  • Minus the wind the temperature was perfect. 50s in December!
  • I’ll definitely be back for another Santa Hustle.

Cons:

  • It was super windy
  • No race day packet pickup. I know a lot of people from Cleveland would have made the drive if they could pick there packet up race morning.
  • Course short by at least .25 (I compared my watch with many runners at the finish and we all had it short but that’s ok for a first time race)

In case you want a good laugh, check out the picture below. The picture on the left is what I wore for the race. The picture on the right is what I should have worn for the race. However, my friend Anna pointed out to me that I have my beard on wrong! Why I thought the mustache part went on your nose I’ll never understand.

I'm so silly
I’m so silly

This was my last race of 2012, is anyone else still racing? I know there are a couple NYE races but I’m done for the year.

What are your thoughts on race day shirts? Wear them on the race day or any day but on race day. I will wear mine any time after the race, even immediately after, just not for the actual race. More of a superstitious thing.

Other Santa Hustlers in attendance: (I’m sure their recaps will be up soon)

Eli
Anna
Jodi
Heather
Krista
Julie

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Jingle Bell Run 5K

This was the first year that this race was being held so instantly I was hesitant to sign up. New races rarely go well. Blocking off streets, getting volunteers, designing shirts, ordering enough shirts, getting food and water for after the race, timing systems/race chips/bibs, course maps and who knows what else goes into planning a race. So many things to look into so it would be easy to overlook other details. Luckily, Alicia from Poise in Parma was in charge of event planning for this event so everything went smoothly.

Race shirts-Actually really soft too!
Race shirts-Actually really soft too!

The weather for this race was pretty awesome for December. A little bit of wind and a misty rain but it was also almost 50 degrees, in December, in Cleveland. I told myself that if it was at least 40 degrees I would wear a running skirt since it would probably be the last time for the year. Hello bare pasty legs.

I did my usual 1.5 mile warm up but did so on the second half of the course. It was in an unfamiliar area so I wanted to see how it was. Slightly hillier (that’s probably not a word) than I wanted for my last 5K but you get that when you head to the east side of Cleveland for races. At least now I was prepared for it and could pace myself better.

I’ve been working really hard at getting my 5K splits more even. First mile had a nice down hill followed by an uphill but I still managed a 6:47 for the first mile. Second mile we were still climbing up the hill but it eventually flattened out. Reached the 1.5 mile turn around and felt pretty good. Tired but ready to tackle the rest of the course. It was a down and back course so I knew exactly what was coming. The last mile has a huge uphill. Not very fun for the end of the race but it gave me a chance to catch some runners on the hill. Before I knew it I was heading into the home stretch and crossed the line with a time of 22:50, top 10 women and 3rd in my age group. Almost immediately after the race Ryan and I (Ryan was 2nd overall) headed out and did the course again and a couple more miles so we could have 10 miles for the day.

Running skirt in December and coffee stain on my shirt.
Running skirt in December and coffee stain on my shirt.

I would have liked to get back into the 21s for the last 5K of the year but with the hills in this race it wasn’t going to happen. Honestly, I’m just happy to be running/racing again and had zero IT band issues for this race.

Age Group Medal
Age Group Medal

Next race up is the Santa Hustle! Very excited for this race, it looks like it is going go be a ton of fun. Also, I get to close out my last race of the year with a half marathon. Let’s just hope for some nice weather!….or the same weather as we’ve had ๐Ÿ™‚

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2nd Annual Pre-Turkey Trot 5K

Since I’m finally back to running and racing I’ve been trying to get in as many races as I can before the bad weather hits. After taking a weekend off racing I was itching to run again. Since it’s getting cold it’s harder to find races. Luckily, I found a race nearby that happened to be super cheap. $15 with the option of no shirt and $20 if you wanted a shirt. Since I have a ridiculous amount of race shirts I opted for the no shirt option.

Sterilite Closet Drawer White Set of 3
I have 2 of these stuffed with Tshirts. Plus an entire dresser drawer. Not even including running wicking clothing.

When I woke up in the morning my first thought was that I didn’t feel like racing. Weird because I love it. I felt like going for a run and getting my miles in but didn’t really feel like racing. I figured once I got to the race I would be fine and snap out of it.

At the race I met up with some friends for a warm up. 2.39 miles at a sub 8:15 pace. Hmm slightly too fast for a warm up but it felt good. Also longer than I normally go but I figured that would be less miles I would have to do later. We ran most of the course so it was cool to see what it would entire. Which would be flat and neighborhoods.

This race is really small but draws out some people because of the prize money. First male andย  female get $100. Spoiler alert: I didn’t win. There were some speedy chicks there.

The race started and instantly I was slower than normal. I was ok with that since I ALWAYS go out too fast. I figured this was my chance to stick to my mile paces. Usually I go out hard and hold on for as long as I can. Not the smartest race strategy, I know, but it works for 5Ks…sometimes.

By the second mile, I felt fine, not winded or anything but just felt like I couldn’t push myself. I tried but never went any faster. I did have some killer runs the past few days so perhaps my legs were more tired than I thought. I wish this race was more exciting but really it wasn’t. It is a good flat course though and technically I should have ran better than I did.

I finished 2nd in my age group, maybe 6-7th female overall? The results aren’t online. My official/Unofficial time was 23:08. Pretty slow for me but still a decent run for the day. I wouldn’t have ran that fast on my own.

That’s right. Laminated age group awards.
To finish my miles for the day, I ran the course backwards with some friends and then drove to a park closer to home to run a few more. Total mileage for the day was 13 miles.

Next up: The Cleveland Turkey Trot 5 Miler! Really looking forward to this race and the cool shirts we get this year.

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Inland Trail 5K

Last year I ran the half marathon portion of this race. They also offer a marathon distance but this year I only ran the 5K. I had originally planned on running the half but decided my IT band just wasn’t ready for that yet.

I have to admit this is a small race and the course is extremely boring, although almost completely flat. The race takes place almost entirely on a bike path so there are no spectators and being a small race you usually end up running by yourself. That is the only bad thing about this race. Other than that this race is affordable, close to home, decent food, massages and pretty sweet shirts.

Loving this shirt!

They bus the half marathoners out and then they run back so I had to say bye to Ryan extra early ๐Ÿ˜ฆ . The 5K and marathoners start at the same place just 10 mins apart. I was so happy I got to see the marathon start. There were many runners who were registered for NYC who came out to run this race. The top 3 female finishers were all registered for NYC. Pretty cool that they made the best of the situation and got out and ran a marathon. Some of them even wore their NYCM shirts and bibs.

Once the Marathoners took off the 5K started lining up and warming up. Did I mention it was freezing!!! No wind or rain though. I lined up towards the front of the start and waited for the gun. Once we took off I took the lead for the females and 5th overall fairly fast. My goal was to run faster than last week’s time. Last week I had to deal with hills and wind, this week was flat and no wind so it should be an easy goal to accomplish.

Taking the lead early on gave me a few problems, I didn’t know how close the next person was to me, I didn’t have anyone to run with and I didn’t have any competition to push me. I just kept trying to push my pace. Usually I try to pick it up the last mile and it never really happens. This race, I started picking it up at 1.55 and kept picking it up til the finish. I was very close to coming in 4th overall but the guy in front of me got me by 1.5 seconds. Talk about close.

Awards!

I ended up finishing in 22:40:50, a 7:19 pace (7 seconds fast than last week), was able to place 5th overall and 1st overall among the females. This time is a couple mins off my PR but nice to see that I am still improving since the IT band injury. I made a friend after the 5K so we ran a couple miles and talked about the Boston Marathon and then I made Ryan run a few miles with me when he finished. Total mileage for the day: 9

Shout out to Ryan who was 3rd in the Half Marathon with another killer time. I heard he has a good coach ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think the next race on my list is the Turkey Trot 5 Miler. Register before November 15th for the discounted price!

Sorry for the bad grammar on this one, I’m too tired to proofread. Happy Tuesday Everyone!

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Halloween Run For Justice 5K

The Halloween Run for Justice or in past years it was called The Bench Bar Classic has always had a large turnout of runners. This race offers a 5K and a 5 Miler. Last year I scored a new 5 mile PR, on my Birthday and hold the record for my age group now. This year due to silly IT band business, I decided to run the 5K. It’s always hard for me to run the shorter distances when a race offers long distances. But I said I would be careful with the IT band and take it easyish so I am.

Race Shirt

This race usually has some decent race shirts. Long sleeve cotton shirts that actually fit! I’ve probably worn this shirt 3 times since last week, probably also wore it 3 days before I washed it ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s normally pretty cold for this race as it is but with Hurricane Sandy coming it it was crazy windy. That type of wind that actually pushes you over or feels like you can’t move. At the start of the race I felt pretty good, not even nervous or anything, which was surprising because I had dead legs all week.

My only goal for this race was to run faster than last week. Which was actually a lot harder than you think with the wind and the hill “down and around the Browns Stadium” (all Cleveland runners always say this)ย  oh and did I mention it was raining? Forgot about that part.

So the race started and I like always went out too fast. First mile, 6:30, maybe I just like a 6:30 mile to warm up, Second mile even with the hill was 7:03, the last mile really got me though. Coming up the Browns hill and then up West 3rd and then when I turned onto Lakeside and expected to sprint on home, I was hit with the worst wind ever. It was stopping me in my tracks. I pushed on as best I could but it was not easy.

Don’t let the 5 year old beat you!!!

As I was about to sprint to the finish I saw that some of the 1 mile walkers were finishing too. The cutest little girl was ahead of my running to the finish and I didn’t know what to do. Do I sprint to the finish and get a good finish time, do I let the little girl finish before me? Luckily she ended up walking by the time I got to here so I sprinted ahead.

So my goal to beat last weeks time was accomplished! 22:47:00 was my official finish time (7:21 pace) and good enough for 5th female overall and 2nd in my age group. Also, a minute faster than last weeks flat 5K.

Pumpkin medals!

What would you do if you had a cute little kid in front of you?ย  Sprint to the finish? Let them finish (even if it takes 5 extra mins)? Finish and then go cheer them on?

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Bay Village Heritage 5K

Yes, I am still really behind on my race recaps. This one is from October 20th. I swear I โ€˜ll get caught up soon.

If you are looking for a small local race, through some neighborhoods and fairly flat, then this is your race. Also, it has a very nice wicking shirt, which is why I signed up.

IMG_0827[1]

Yes, it was my first speed race back but I still had planned on running a good race and holding a good pace. Iโ€™d ask you to guess what my first mile was but we all know my first mile is always in the 6โ€™s. 6:37 if you wanted to know. Next mile was slower and the third one was even slower. I felt like I was running fast and kept pushing myself to go faster but it wasnโ€™t happening. I was hoping to run 22:xx, instead I struggled to come in under 24 mins. On a flat course with no wind I ended up running 23:47, a 7:40 pace and 5th in my age group.

I know it was my first speed race back and that my leg is not used to running as fast as I used to. But I was still upset with my time. I never expected such a set back after having so many awesome races at the beginning of the year. Going to take some work getting back to where I was.

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MidTown Cleveland HealthLine Classic 10K

This was my official first race back and I waited a whole week and a half to even blog about it. Whoops! Bad runner blogger.

Apparently, I registered too late so I didn’t receive this year’s shirt. They did give me one from last year though. It’s a fairly nice wicking shirt, too big like most shirts, perfect for the dudes though.

Race day morning was freezing! Pretty sure it was in the 30s, not what I expect for the beginning of October. I bundled up and went for a warm up anyways. And by bundle I mean, 2 shirts, capris, gloves and hand warmers.

My goal for this race since it was my first race back was to run around 8 min miles. First mile…6:37…oops. I did get better for the remaining miles and was in the 7:30s-7:50s. The whole race was fairly flat and went through some streets just outside of downtown Cleveland. One of those areas where it’s not safe to run at anytime…unless there is a race ๐Ÿ™‚

I have to say I was pretty happy with how my first official race back went. I didn’t really know what to expect and was really nervous about my IT band. I ended up finishing in 47:21 a 7:38 pace and 5th in my age group. Normally I wouldn’t care about placing in my age group but check out these awards.

It’s a brick!

Ok, I know to some it is just a brick but I think it is a pretty cool award. Something different than the plaques and medals.

Because this race happened on October 13th, I’ve already ran another race. Hopefully, I get that recap up here soon ๐Ÿ™‚