Race Recap: ChistmasTown Dash 8k 2016

I’ve done this race before and really love it, but in recent years it has not made the cut on my racing schedule. I was really excited to do this one with Michael!

Packet Pick-up/Expo

Packet pickup for this race is offered at a variety of locations in Hampton Roads before the race. We opted to pick it up on Friday in Newport News, since its only about a 30 minute drive.  I tried on some shoes while we were there, but opted not to buy anything just yet.  I think I might go back to Saucony Guide.

Race Day Conditions/Attire

It was a cold day.  Temps were going to be in the high 30s, low 40s for race time.  I opted for long leggings, short sleeved shirt, long sleeved shirt, and a hat.  I wore a sweatshirt until the start.

Michael wore 3 layers up top and pants.  We need to get him so good technical fabrics for cold weather!


We went down toward the start about an hour before the race.  But it was cold and that ended up being a very bad idea. We froze before the start. The start line was chaos too.  The corrals were out of order…found out later that they were somewhat organized, but not in a way that was communicated well.


Race Time

Michael and I stuck with each other for the first 2 miles or so.  We alternated running and walking.  Once we got in the park, he started slowing down and told me to go on ahead.

My favorite part was in the park, around mile 2.5.  There is a bridge lined with Marines (the race supports Toys for Tots). I picked the right hand side of the bridge, and shook each one’s hand and thanked them for their service.  I got responses ranging from “Thank you for your support,” to “Semper Fi,” to “Oorah!”  It gets me emotional every time.

The course leaves the park around mile 3, and I kept alternating running and walking, using any downhills to my advantage. I kept looking for Michael during the loops and saw him a few times.

I finished in 1:23:19. I could have done significantly better if I ran the race on my own.  But it was more important to me to spend some time running with Michael and enjoying the course.

After Party

We were far too cold to stay afterward, and there wasn’t really an “afterparty” per se.  They just had some hot chocolate.  Definitely prefer J&A parties!


Overall Reactions

It was a very cold day, but it was a great time. I  love running through Busch Gardens.  Makes me want to go back for ChristmasTown for real!

Have you done any Christmas races yet? What was the most chaotic race start you’ve ever seen?

Weekly Update – 11/28/2016

Monday – Wednesday

Monday through Wednesday were crazy at work.  I have mentioned some of my frustrations before, but through the restructuring we’ve had, I have less help than I’ve had before.  Work that used to be handled by 3 other people is now falling on me.


After work on Thursday, we had dinner at my mom’s.  My grandmother was in town from PA and it was good to spend time with her.  Since my grandfather passed away this spring, its reminded me how important family is – especially those that live father away.


I worked from home so I could intercept a package I had delivered to the house instead of work.  I usually don’t mess that up, but I did for this item!

On Friday, we went up to Newport News to pickup our race packets for Christmastown 8k.  Pickup was at a running store, and I got tempted by all of the shoes.  I think I want to go back to Saucony Guides! Afterward, we went to a cute little diner for dinner.


On Saturday morning, I had to work for a little bit.  Afterward, we had a meeting with our builder! They are making some real progress!

After our meeting, we had lunch at JoJacks.  Then we went to the craft show at the high school and saw MomLOLZ. We got a few Christmas gifts for other people…and a few for ourselves!


Sunday was the Christmas town 8k at Busch Gardens – recap to come! After the race, we went straight to Cracker Barrel and inhaled our food so fast I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture!

We spent the rest of the day doing chores and watching movies on Netflix.

How was your week? How do you spend your days after races?


Back in Time: 2012 & 2013 ChristmasTown Dash 8k


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?