2016 Asbury Park Santa Run Race Recap

This morning I ran the first ever Asbury Park Santa 5k Run. It was a sweltering 25 degrees outside, and you know how much I just love cold weather. I don’t mind it if I’m running, but I despise it otherwise. Give me 70 degrees every day of the year. Why do I live in New Jersey again? I hear San Diego is nice, they’ve even got a nice zoo.

I hadn’t heard of the race before about 2-3 weeks ago. So go me for saying, “Heck yeah I’ll run a race in the cold in a Santa suit in a few weeks.” I usually like to plan out my races further in advance, because I believe I’m a real runner who needs to train for these things.

Who am I kidding? Ha. Real. Runner. I didn’t even hydrate before hand, so take that preparation. I was thirsty on the run…

I started the morning by braiding pigtails in my hair to keep the hair out of my face. I considered just wearing it down to keep my neck warm, but then realized I had a turtleneck on that would do a much better job.

Then after wandering around my house for hours after being mostly dressed, our kids like to wake up at 5 am, I donned my Santa suit.

Chris just loves when I ask him to take a photo of me from the porch when it’s 20 degrees out. Monkey came out and took a few photos for me as well, screeching, “It’s freezing outside Mommy!!”

I drove to the race wearing my Santa beard. It was enjoyable to see the looks I received on my way there. Naturally, I don’t look so good with a beard. Good thing I tweeze my chin hair.

When I got to the race, there were hundreds of Santas wandering around. Some dressed, others half covered. Some naked. I’m kidding. There was even a Grinch Santa. I never asked for a pic. I did ask a woman to take my picture because I have no friends. So, she kindly obliged strained in saying, “Sure,” as she tried to keep her dog from running away.

I do have friends, but they couldn’t make it to the race. They had plans of their own. Some friends, right? I’m kidding, I love my friends. Wait, donuts…

I walked over to the tent with hot chocolate and donuts before the race and asked them to find me a Chocolate Frosted with Sprinkles. Hey, the lady in front of me requested a Boston Creme, so I felt it was my duty to get my favorite donut. Then I ate it and wandered around a bit more alone. I stood near groups of people, so I didn’t appear strange… Wait, I’m in a Santa suit…

Check out my new Altra Torin 2.5 shoes… so comfortable. I love them. Or they caused this back pain from my 4 mile run last weekend. You decide.

Finally, the race started, wait, no. We all lined up at 9:45 am, but the race didn’t start until 10:10 am. It was cold. Why did the race director torture us? I’m sure it had to do with cops or safety on the roads, you know, those non-essential race things. So I took another selfie. It seemed like the right thing to do.

Chris sent me an article this week about documenting your life instead of worrying about creating. For the last several years, when I documented my life I had so much fun. In the past year or so, I’ve tried to focus on creating and ended choked up when it came to writing or taking photos. Today I tried to document my race on Instagram and see how it went. It was fun, not that anyone cared, but now I have all these great photos for you I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. Blame Chris.

And we’re off. We headed up the street for a two looped course around town. Over a thousand Santas, I believe. Chris was right, I should’ve run with my selfie stick.

In the first mile, I got bored. There wasn’t music, and I didn’t bring my headphones. What was I thinking?! So, I figured it was a good time as any to put Jingle Bells, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town on repeat on my iPod as blaring loud as I possibly could.

That worked out perfectly. I knew a few people found my music annoying, but they luckily brought their headphones along and didn’t have to listen. Then I passed them. That’ll show ’em.

Within the first mile, I warmed up nicely and stripped off my gloves. I would’ve loved to take the Santa suit off, but you know “Santa Run” and all. I did see several people strip on the side of the road and leave their suits on the sidewalk. Booooo….

Two laps and back around, I was doing great. My first mile was decent, my second 11:00 and faster, and my third mile quicker than that. I was thrilled to see negative splits on this run, despite the suit, overdressing, being thirsty, and sucking in beard hair for half the race before I realized I could remove it from my face.

My overall time was 35:19 with an average pace of 11:22. Much faster than any 5k I’ve run in the past year at the very least. My goal, ha as if I thought I could reach it, was to keep under 37 minutes at the start, but then I got even more excited and hoped to be under 36 minutes. My fastest 5k of all time was 27:47 and I want to get back there.

The course was a bit longer than 3.1 miles, and I trust my watch because I didn’t start it until I crossed the chip timing pad at the outset. I don’t blame them, these things are hard to measure, but I’m taking my personal time as official (it’s not like I would’ve won an award either way).

After the race, I wandered around and checked my official results. They posted them live online which was a great feature of the race. There is apparently a “finish video” I can see, but currently, the link goes to some other winter race runner that’s not me.

I’m proud of myself for getting out to try something different, all alone, and with the back pain I’ve experienced this week. I didn’t run or walk all week, which might have helped me with the race.

Let’s be real, this was a well-planned taper week. Over indulgence in junk, laying on the couch lamenting about my back, and resting my aching muscles. What could’ve been better?

This race was a lot of fun. I hope next year I can convince a friend or two to do it with me. Then I can feel like all the cool kids with their friends and not a weird Santa wandering around the park an hour beforehand.

Will you join me next year? I’ll request your favorite donut, I promise.