ChristmasTown Dash 8k | Five Years Running

9 12 2015

Since participating in my school’s 5k last month, I’ve been able to squeeze out two last races in 2015. To stay on track, I made a schedule where I ran 3 days a week to get back into training.

First – a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning! I’ve run this one a few times before and love it because the course goes right past the house where my husband grew up. I actually trained for this one, so I shaved several minutes off my time and felt great afterward. It’s amazing what a little training will do! The t-shirts are always really cute, and all the proceeds benefit the local food bank. I just wish it was chip-timed – the gun time is really only accurate for the runners in the front.

We walked back to the house and enjoyed Thanksgiving with family. The weather was perfect, so we spent most of the day outside playing with our boys. They are always up for a tractor ride with Nana and Pops!

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Last weekend, for the 5th year in a row, I ran the Busch Gardens ChristmasTown Dash 8k (4.97 miles). The race beneficiary is the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, and Marines line the bridge over the Rhine River to support us runners. It’s pretty powerful. The woman who sang our National Anthem to start the race had one of the most powerful voices I’ve ever heard. My husband always runs this one, but he watched with the kids this time.

The race is just fun, too. It always has the best swag for the $35 registration fee – a long-sleeve tech shirt, a finisher medal which doubles as a sparkly Christmas ornament, a free Chick-fil-a grilled sandwich, 50% off ChristmasTown admission tickets, and a free ticket to come back to Busch Gardens in the spring. (I have now run 24.85 race miles through Busch Gardens – almost a marathon!)

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Raceday was sunny but 39 degrees F with NW winds of 3 mph, and there were 1784 finishers overall. I came in 997th – ha! My husband surprised me at the starting line with a set of hand warmers – I was so grateful for these, as I had opted to leave my running gloves in the car. I was also grateful for the steaming Gingerbread Latte I picked up after the race!

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The frustrating part of the race was when my RunKeeper app shut off, so my map and overall distance and time were all inaccurate. But the best part of the race was spotting my family along the route – they cheered me on from two places!

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The park was completely decorated for Christmas with more lights than any other display in North America. I ran the whole way through the park but was still able to enjoy the decorations.

I was also excited that they changed the course slightly to include more of the park (we spend a LOT of the course running through parking lots). When the race was over, I was given an adorable gingerbread man medal, banana, pretzels, water bottle, and a cup of hot chocolate. I ran into a friend that I haven’t seen in six years – the last time I saw her was at her baby shower, and her “baby” started kindergarten this year and ran the kids’ Fun Run!

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After the race, we spent time with family and enjoyed gallivanting around the Great Wolf Lodge on our way out of town, where a “quick visit” to see the giant Christmas tree became an unexpected visit with Santa!

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We only have one more chance to visit with Santa before Christmas is here!

Previous ChristmasTown race recaps:

This race is a tradition for sure, but now I need to find something new for the spring. I’m taking a break from running this week but I’m sure will come up with a plan soon! I hope you and your family are enjoying a blessed holiday season!

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