Have you ever run a Christmas themed race? It’s no secret that I love Christmas. All the lights and decorations are somehow magical and just make me happy. So it was not surprising that I was very excited to have the opportunity to run the inaugural Christmas in July 5K in suburban Lisle, Illinois, as a blogger this past weekend. The 5K was part of two days of running filled events – a 6, 12 or 24 hour ultra as well as a 10K.
I had a group of friends doing this race, so we all headed out together and got there early to pick up our packets. Packet pick-up was smooth and this race had the best swag. Check this out. When do you get a technical t-shirt and a hat for a 5K? Nice touch!
This event also had kids races thirty minutes prior to the start of the event. The race not only offered the kids races free of charge, but provided them with great swag too – a t-shirt and a medal almost identical to the ones from the 5K. Wow!
There was a “photo booth” set up with various props. We, of course, had to take tons of pictures. We also practiced our “selfie techniques” for awhile. I am really not a selfie girl, but as a blogger it is a “necessary” skill at times, right? At any rate, it was fun and passed some of that awkward pre-race standing around time.
The race start was uneventful except that I was so distracted talking to people that I hadn’t gotten my garmin going. I turned it on when they started counting down from ten, but then it couldn’t get the sattelite signal. I hate technology. (But also can’t live without it. Grrrr….) I was not planning to run this race with a particularly hard effort, but without my watch I just shot out and ran.
This would be a good time to note that I am really not a fan of 5K’s. I honestly don’t know that many people that would call themselves distance runners that do love 5K’s for that matter. I have a hard time not giving 100 percent effort even if I know I am just doing it for fun. Once my gps finally loaded and I realized I was running a pace I could not sustain for three miles, I eased off a little bit.
I loved the course for this run. It started out in a high-school parking lot and wound around one street, but then went right onto park trails. Over the past year or so, I have done an increasingly large amount of my outdoor running on trails. (Not “technical” trails, but the crushed limestone kinds through parks) I started out running them because they were more forgiving to my foot, but now I just enjoy it more than road running. The sun was setting as we wove through the park trails and it was just a really fun run. I think it brought me back to some great Ragnar memories being out there on beautiful trails in the evening. I did manage to stick to the plan of not running too hard and just kind of ran it like a speedwork session with some faster and slower intervals.
The finish line was back in the high school parking lot. Approaching the finish line I felt like I had my own troop of cheerleaders with Michelle (from This Momma Runs) and her four adorable girls cheering me on! After finishing I hung around the finish area to watch my husband and all my friends finish. (A big shout out to Magda who is a blog reader and finished her very first 5K at this event – in an awesome time to boot!)
After the race we took like a million more pictures. And then I found out that I had actually placed second in my age group. Say what?! It was a small race, but this was still a mental victory for me. If you have followed us on the blog this year, you know I have had my fair share of running setbacks. This was a mental victory for me. Plus, it meant even more cool Christmas swag! Check out this awesome award. It’s a nutcracker. How fun is that?
Overall, I loved this race! As soon as we got in the car, everyone was raving about how much fun this race was. The group with me have done a lot of 5K’s, including a lot of “themed” races, and this one was tops in my opinion. It was well organized, a nice course, a fun theme and a blast to run at night. (Did I really just say that? I used to hate running at night, but it’s kind of growing on me.) Oh, and did I mention the great swag?! J If you are in the Chicago area, I hope you will come out and join me at this event next year!