I’m hustler, baby. I just want you to know.
The Santa Hustle was something I had marked on my racing calendar since a Groupon offer came about and I had to pounce on it. I couldn’t turn a chance to run a holiday themed race (centered around my favorite holiday) in my own backyard. I chose to run the 5K because I am a giant wussy kid and thought the weather in December could be cold, windy, and downright miserable. So instead of enduring 1.5 hours +, I elected to choose 22-23 minutes of misery. And then it decided to be 50 degrees out on December 16. Blasphemy.
I still had a blast doing the 5K. I convinced my parents to register and was super pumped that 2 of my besties from college also decided to partake (Jess was a total BAMF and ran the Half Marathon. She obviously is not a giant wussy kid like me.)
The race started and finished at Castaway Bay. I was concerned that parking would become an issue, so we got to the race extra early and got to pass off Jess her race packet.
Before starting my own warm-up, I wanted to watch Jess and the other Half Marathoners start.
Once the Half Marathon was off and out of Castaway, I started getting warmed up. I felt pretty good, I was just worried about the 20 mph wind that was coming out of the South that was sure to majorly suck anus. And boy was I right.
We took off right on time and even though I lined up towards the front, I still found myself getting out rather slow and having to weave around so many slow runners. I didn’t find clearance from the pack until well beyond Breakers Express. Yuck. I pushed and felt comfortable. I was sure that given the right conditions I would have been able to hold pace. My goal was to stick to a 7:00/mile pace. And I did until I hit the turnaround.
And then I quit holding pace and started thinking I would rather eat cookies and walk. I just wanted to finish. My body felt like it was going to blow off the causeway. There was no letting up from the wind. It hurt my body to lean forward into it. It just plain sucked to run into the 20 mph wind for over a mile. My thoughts wandered to poor Jess stuck out on the Half Marathon course and how she was going to have to run into this wind for over 3 miles. So I made up my mind to finish, take pictures of my family and friends, and then help her finish. I crossed the finish line in 22:48.
Good enough to place 3rd in my Age Group, 12th Female Overall. Happy with it, but not what I was aiming for certainly. Had it not been so windy, I think I would have been awfully close to breaking 22 again.
Once my picture fiesta was over, I ran out along the course again and settled into a spot about 1.5 miles from the finish. And waited for a flash of neon green.
And together we ran the last 1+ mile together and hopefully helped keep her going through that horrendous wind.
My overall race experience was great. The location was wonderful, I loved the Christmas theme and seeing all the clever costumes, and I loved running into family/friends. The course was fairly flat and the only drawback was the horrible wind. My age group medal was cute and good quality. Next year I would love to do the Half and get to venture through Cedar Point. This race is definitely a must do!