Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Santa Hustle Cedar Point

This past weekend was the Santa Hustle Cedar Point that I got "talked into" doing by Susan from the FNRC.  Really, my only hold up was financial and since she traveled to do the River Run in September with me, I owed her one.  And it was an easy decision since ... #1- I love to run, #2 - I love Cedar Point, #3 - I knew my friends in Cleveland were also doing it.  It's always an easier decision when you know other people doing it too.

Susan and I headed up to Sandusky on Saturday morning and arrived around 3:30, which was a little later than anticapated for a few being me getting pulled over by the state cop in Ohio about 3 minutes after I started driving.  I actually had no idea why she pulled me over because I wasn't speeding, had my seat belt on, etc.  Turned out she said I "failed to move over for a public safety vehicle."  That's a first for me.  I guess it's a law in Ohio (and who knows, maybe in Illinois too) that you have to completely switch lanes when a cop is on the one side of the road stopped.  I moved "half" over in the other lane and slowed down.  She was being a .... well anyway, she wasn't going to let me go and it's probably because she hates people from Illinois.  Hell...some people in Illinois hate people from Illinois.  Anyway, that wasn't going to ruin my weekend.

Susan and I checked into our hotel and then went to grab my nephew.  My brother and nephew live in Columbus and since Tony (nephew) was going on Christmas break and coming to Chicago, it saved my parent's money by having my brother drive up to Sandusky so I could get him.  I was just hoping the girls wouldn't mind hanging with my 18 year old nephew.  My brother wanted to drop him off Saturday because he said he wasn't "driving on football Sunday."  After getting my nephew, we went to pick up our packets.  Soon after picking up our packets, Jodi, Kim and Missi arrived from Cleveland.  They picked up their packets and we headed out to dinner and afterwards some drinks...after taking some pictures with Santa at the hotel.
Me, Jodi, Kim, Tony, Santa, Susan, Missi
Some "carbs" the night before... (Susan, Kim, Me)
Susan and I stayed at a hotel about 4 miles away because the host hotel (where the run started) was booked.  But Jodi, Missi and Kim all were staying at the host hotel.  Our hotel was only about 10 minutes away and much less crowded and was pretty comfortable, so I didn't mind at all.  Our hotel also had cool little bracelets that were our keys to our room (see my wrist above).  Very cool!  You just scanned it over the lock and it opened!  New technology!

At the hotel later than night, Susan and I tried to decide what to wear.  The weather was forcasted to be about 50 degrees with a 20% chance of rain.  I pretty much brought clothes with me to run in temps around 30.  I don't know what I was thinking and started to freak out.  I had 1 pair of pants and some long sleeve shirts, a jacket, gloves and ear warmers!!  lol.  I did NOT need that for this race!  Susan had capris that were a little big on her and she gave them to me.  They fit and I decided that was a much better option than pants!  Susan also gave me a run shirt earlier in the day (because she thought it was my birthday haha) which said "I run for me".  I loved it and it was a t-shirt so I decided to wear that since it would be 50 degrees.  Some how I inherited run clothes for that race!  Thankfully!

The morning came.  I told Susan that I was going to walk outside and see the what it felt like.  So 5 mins after waking up, with my jammies, no shoes, not even brushing my hair yet...I stumbled through the hotel and out the door.  I have no shame.

It felt pretty nice already so I opted to not run in my santa shirt and go with the short sleeve Susan bought me, along with her capris she gave me.  She also made tutu's and even though I was slightly concerned about adding additional width to my already larger midsection...I decided what the hell.  It's not every day you can wear a tutu.  We went to eat breakfast and headed to the hotel. We met up with the rest of the girls and took lots of photos.  All of my photos are stolen since everyone was taking pictures, there was no reason to get my phone out too.
Pre-run. Classic Santa shirt photo (Me, Kim, Jodi, Missi, Susan)
I lined up with Kim and Missi but knew I wouldn't start running with them.  I was just wanting to enjoy my run and a PR wasn't my goal for this race (even though I always try my best during a run).  The run started and it wasn't too crowded, which was nice.  My nephew had planned to be around mile 12 on the way back to cheer us on and take some photos.  I wanted to start out comfortably and not too fast.  Clearly though, I don't know what that means and my first two miles were 9:08 each!  I snapped this photo on the way to Cedar Point.
Santa run, cookie station ahead and Cedar Point sign...I couldn't resist!
There was a small hill leading over the water into Cedar Point but it wasn't bad and I've been running hills lately.  I felt really good for the first half of the run.  I did get warm right away and heard other people complaining about how hot they were in their santa shirts.  I was glad I opted to wear the t-shirt with my santa sock arm warmers.

As I ran into the park, I just couldn't stop smiling (inside).  I LOVE amusement parks and I LOVE Cedar Point.  I think running around the outside of the rides for a while and looking around was a huge distraction from the run.  I think I was like a kid in a candy store for the first 6 miles!  I also kept trying to slow up my pace a little because I felt I was running too fast to maintain for a half. But part of me thought, well, if you feel good...just run.

About mile 6, I noticed the distance between my garmin and the course markers were a little off (up until that point, they seemed right on).  That threw me a little since I knew that the 5k course in Chicago for the Santa Hustle was short and people were complaining. I knew some of my friends had some time goals at this race and didn't want the course to come up short!  And for some reason that started to really throw me off mentally.  I tried to ignore it and keep going.  Near a turn around about mile 7, I saw Kim and we waved.  She wasn't too far off from me at that point.  I thought we should just run together but I wasn't going to be able to catch her.

During mile 7, I just really felt like I was losing my pace a little and was getting a little tired.  I felt my stomach was doing crazy things and I wanted to stop and walk.  (I had some female issues which were causing some cramps).  I'm sure the guys all just left this conversation...

I told myself that if I was going to stop, I wasn't going to stop to walk before mile 8 (according to my garmin).  So I waited and mile 8 came and I stopped to walk.  Unfortunately I decided to stop AGAIN during mile 8 to walk when I came up to a gatorade station.  2 walk breaks in one mile...after that fantastic first half, I started getting a little discouraged.  At this point, I told myself to just keep running and not worry about time since time wasn't your goal anyway.  I felt like I was moving soooo sloooooowwwww!  At this point, my fascination with the park ended and I wanted to get out as soon as possible.  I wanted this run to end.  I wasn't feeling well and completely struggling.

At mile 10, I texted my nephew to tell him I was at mile 10 so he knew when to expect me around mile 12.  I saw that he sent me a nice message telling me "You're doing good, keep it up and smile!"  That made me smile a little but seriously, I just wanted to be done.  I ended up walking once more after mile 11 and then decided that was enough walking for the race. There was a HUGE headwind going over the bridge on the way back!  I mean...if I wasn't struggling enough!  But I knew I was almost done and just kept going.  Nothing else to do but keep going.

Soon after, nearing mile 12, I happened to spot Kim up ahead.  I figured I wouldn't be able to catch her though.  However, soon after, she started walking and in fact, kind of bended over and I thought she might be sick.  I ended up catching her and asked her if she was ok.  She started running with me and told me her back was hurting her.  I guess it was good I saw her because she started running faster, which made me run faster.  She told me seeing me helped push her to finish that last mile strong, and I told her it really helped me too as I was really struggling.  We saw my nephew at mile 12 and he snapped a photo of us (it's still on Susan's camera).  He ran about a half mile with us but that was enough for him (not dressed for running).  Kim pulled ahead as she chatted with someone and I just couldn't run any faster to try to keep up with her.  Finally we crossed the finish line!  The time said 2:05 (which would be a PR).  I wasn't sure as my garmin registered the course short.  Everyone else I knew said their garmin registered short too but Susan asked the race director and he told us it was a certified 13.1 course.  Running the tangents in the park may have made the course come up shorter.  Usually they measure by the shortest distance but because it was in an amusement park, I can kind of see how you could run differently than they measured.

So I will go with it.  A last minute end of the year half marathon PR!  2:05:15!  That was  a PR from my previous half in Cleveland, Ohio in September by about 4 minutes.  Even if the course was a little short, it was only about 0.1-0.15 short and I still would have PR'd.

My splits were (according to my garmin):
Mile 1-7: 9:08, 9:08, 9:13, 9:22, 9:26, 9:38; 9:35
Mile 8-13: 9:50, 10:21, 9:57, 10:23, 10:22, 9:45

Clearly you can see where I started to struggle and just never really recovered.  I still need to work on starting slower and finishing stronger.
Course from my garmin of inside Cedar Point
The whole course map from my garmin

My favorite photo from the day. Me and my giant nephew Tony. When did he get so big?

The girls... (Susan, Jodi, Me, Missi, Kim)
Kim and I were waiting for the rest of the girls...and we decided to have some fun.
I told Santa he had a rough job.  He agreed.
I really enjoyed this course and this run overall.  You can't put me in an amusement park and not have fun!  This combined my two favorite things... running and amusement parks.  It almost can't get better than that!

I probably won't post until after Christmas.  I was dealing with some slight hip pain after running for a little over a week and decided it's a good time to rest it since my next race isn't until the end of January (the F^3 Half Marathon). I'm only resting for 5 days though and doing some stretches for it. I'm hoping it works.

I also have a pretty busy week/weekend ahead.  Today is a holiday lunch with work, tonight I'm making my Pizzelle cookies, tomorrow I have a holiday party with my run group, Friday I'm making more pizzelles, Saturday I have a cookie run with my run group and then I have a family party with extended family, Sunday I actually have a date...gasp! (I'll admit...I'm kind of excited since it's not a blind date), Monday I have Christmas with my Aunt/Uncle/Cousins, etc, Tuesday I have a low key Christmas with just my parents, nephew and goddaughter.

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, weekend and Christmas!! 


  1. we totally carboload the SAME way! :D

    1. Haha! Is there really any other way???

  2. Congrats on the PR. I have never seen a bracelet room key for a hotel. Very cool idea, as you will never forget it! Running positive splits is always a struggle for me as well. Oh well..

    1. Thank you. Yes, must work on negative splits next time!

  3. Woo hoo congrats on the PR!!!!!

  4. Love that you got to hang out with your nephew and way to go on a PR - great way to end the running season of 2012!

    Merry Christmas Amanda!