So I decided to indulge in the time honored Santa tradition and register for the Chicago Santa Hustle with high hopes for starting off the Christmas season with a warm festive cheer. The race was $40 where they distributed a Santa beard, hat, and a polyester long sleeved shirt that had Santa's ever-so-famous red suit with white trim printed on it. Delightfully tacky. I decided beforehand that because this was my first ever themed race, that I was going to sport holiday gear and partake in the morning festivities. I even went as far as to print "chicagorunnergirl.com" on the back of the top in hopes to give myself some sort of individualism.
|I accidentally put a letter on backwards...whoops|
|I think Santa needs to lay off the carrots and have some chocolate cake to fit into that velvet suit|
|With a father that is a professional photographer you would think that I could take a clear photo...|
I decided to not sport the beard and hat as I discovered a few days earlier a beard made of synthetic material smells funky and gets all kinds of fuzzes in your mouth and eyes. Instead, I pulled out some candy cane striped socks that I randomly have to pick up a little extra seasonal cheer and have been using the beard as a toy.
|Miles makes an adorable Santa dog|
|But the verdict is still out on D filling Santa's shoes...|
looks like hes about to kill Vixen
As far as the race goes, I feel like it was an unorganized mess and slightly disappointing. The thing that annoyed me the most was the lack of indication as to where the starting line was. I asked several volunteers who had no idea, there was no signage nor was there any type of fencing to separate the runners from the spectators. And on top of that, everyone was wearing the same outfit which made it difficult to not just see a big blob of red all around. It became stimulus overload for me.
Because this was more of a "fun run" type of race, there wasn't really organization at the starting line. It was one of those "well this looks like a good place to stand" kinda things. I hate races that start off like this, especially those that have nearly 4,000 participants. These are the kinds of races where you get people lining up in front telling others that they are going to run slow or that they clock a 10+ minute per mile pace. I get it, we all like to start up front. But if you are toeing the the line with the front of the pack with intentions to run 4 minutes slower then the winners, you are just going to create unnecessary and unsafe traffic and maybe ran over. I usually finish up front and even I don't like to crowd the start area, but that's just my modest personality (sarcasm).
The thing about races like this is that really they are cute and kitchy, but they lack a lot of conceptual thought and fail on the delivery. They did have a reindeer, a horse drawn sleigh, some blow up Santas, and free cookies and chocolate along the course, but this race didn't seem to spew out "Christmas" as much as they promoted. In my opinion they should have ditched the faux beards and cheap looking hats and instead spruced up the aid stations with some holiday garb, maybe added a few holiday characters along the course, and had the kid who was handing out bags of m&m's be a little bit more enthused about it.
|Sadly, this was as Santariffic as the race got|
All and all, this wasn't a race for those shooting for a PR. I ended up not racing like a maniac trying to earn that sub 19 clip my mouth is watering for and instead just kind of moseyed through the course. After having no choice but to let a lot of my fitness slip through my hands for the past 2 post marathon months, it was honestly unrealistic for me to even consider pushing my body to pump out a race with 6 minute miles at this time. I'll get there in 2012, but for now I need to continue to focusing on working out those kinks that 2011 brought while staying healthy. And sadly, that means I've lost quite a bit of speed recently. But it'll come back eventually and I know that my body will be ready for forward progress again, just have to keep giving it the TLC that it needs at this time.
Does it bother me that I finished only about 30 seconds behind the first place woman? Yes. Did I want to finish in the top 3 women but ended up coming in 5th? Yes. Will I run a themed race again? No, unfortunately this is where themed races and I will part ways.
I understand that this is America and we all want to make a buck off of something, but please theme races when you have the opportunity to blow my mind away with your creativity...DELIVER WHAT YOU ADVERTISE, AND THEN GO THE EXTRA MILE!