This was my second race ever. It is put on by Flat Out Events and is held in Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. I did it with my college roommate, Erin. I picked her up in Newport News and we headed up to Busch Gardens. The neat thing about having the race there is that there is plenty of parking!
We stayed in the car for a bit to stay warm – it can be quite cold in December. Once we finally got out to the starting line (you run though the parking toll booths to start), we found our corral and found some of her soccer friends.
All four of us started out together, but Erin soon left us. She had a goal of a sub-50 min 8k. I stuck with the other two girls until about mile 2, where I pulled away. Much of the race is a blur, but it was really cool to run through ChristmasTown with it all decorated for the holidays. The middle of the race is through the park. My favorite part is running over a bridge that is lined with Marines. I gave a high-five to any of them that would give me one.
The last 2 miles are in the parking lots, which are incredible dull and incredibly deceiving. I had less than a half mile left when I realized that I could finish solidly under an hour if I kept up my pace. Right at the exact moment I needed it, I heard my name and looked up to see my friend Allyson (she had already finished). She ran with me a few paces, gave me advice when to start kicking and left me to finish. I finished in 58:03 and met my goal!
This race was actually postponed a week due to a nasty ice storm on the scheduled weekend.
I did this race solo in 2013. Got there early to avoid any traffic issues and sat in my car for a long time. It was very overcast and there was a threat of rain. It also seemed colder this time around. I had a really hard time parting with my extra layers, but finally did when I knew I had to get it all to gear check.
I lined up in my corral and tried to keep warm. I knew that it was going to clear up later and get warmer, so I dressed appropriately. We got started in a pretty timely fashion. The first couple miles were great. I got to my favorite part of the race in the park with the Marines on the bridge. I teared up a little bit as I collected my high-fives.
The last two miles were torture. My knee really started bugging me and I had to slow down the pace. My goal was under an hour, but I knew that wasn’t in the cards for me. I adjust my goal to under 1:02:00, and snuck in just under that at 1:01:39. I wasn’t terribly pleased, but I was happy that I was able to adjust mid-race. I really think it takes a level of maturity to do that.
I love this race, but I’m contemplating other Christmas races this year.
What is your favorite race to do around Christmas time? Do you adjust your goals mid-race?