Monday, December 10, 2012

How do you spell fun? Answer: Christmas Town Dash 8K!

The Cow Cheering Squad
The medal/christmas ornament
The first day of our vacation was a busy one.  It started early in the AM with the Christmas Town Dash 8K.  Most of the family was running.  K and A were running the Running with the Cows Chick-fil-A fun run.  And J was registered for the 8K.  My husband and I were also registered, but obviously both of us could not run.  We had done this two years ago too.  One of the perks of running the race, is getting a free ticket to Busch Gardens.  Now, it is actually cheaper for us to register for the run and get a ticket that way, than to just pay full price for the ticket at the gate.  Plus, the run benefits Toys for Tots. So, it is a win win situation.  Naturally, I wanted to run it and planned on doing so.
K is the boy with the black shirt and silver pants ahead of the boy in red.

K and A ran their run so well.  A was adamant about wearing a race shirt and was upset he did not get one, so I let him wear mine, along with the Santa hat we brought.  K was determine to run as hard as possible.  They both did so well and had lots of fun. After their race, that got a cute medal and lots of yummy goodies.

The sea of runners at the beginning
Once their race was over, there was about 15 minutes until the start of the 8K. J was nervous and kept on trying to get me to take him to the corral.  I tired to ease his nerves as much as possible and I told him that this race was about having fun and not worrying about time.   We started in corral 3, so we started about 5 min after the first group.  The race was much bigger than the first year and the route felt crowded in the first 1.5 miles.  We worked hard to get a good pace and find a groove while we made our way through the route in the parking lot and ran toward the park.  Close to 1.5 miles, we made out way into the park, Busch Gardens.  At this time of year they have Christmas Town.  It is all decorated for Christmas.  The run through the park is amazing.  It is so pretty and along most of the route you hear Christmas Music.  We ran through Ireland, Germany and Italy.  We ran on cobble stone streets and over bridges.  J was running well and I was having fun taking pictures all along the way to remember it all.



About 2 miles into the race, I noticed J seemed to be getting distracted.  The park was nice and he was slowing down to look at the scenery.  That was when I told him to start picking a person to "pick off."  His first target was a boy about his his age.  I told J to pass him over the next 1/2 mile.  Once he was behind us, I told J to pick another person to pass.  We did this for the remainder of the race and I have to say that that was all the incentive he needed.  J ran a solid race and still had time to high five the Marines in the park and the Chick-fil-a cows!!  We finished the race in 54:12, his best time in an 8K yet.  And, I was super proud of him.  He ran negative splits, every single mile with his last mile being almost a full  minute faster than his first.

Around mile 4
And this race was a big one for me too.  I have not run in a race since May 6th.  And I have not run more than 3 miles in months.  I was nervous about this one.  About 50% of my runs have ended in pain since May and I was not confident that I could get through this run.  Matter of fact, it was not until we got to the race that I made the final decision to run.  I told my husband to be ready to run.  I had no confidence in my ability to finish this race without pain.  But, the race was great.  My hamstring tightened a little around mile 2, but I had no IT band trouble at all.  And at the end of the race I knew I needed this race.  Up until this race I had felt broken.  And to be able to get through this race gave me confidence back that it will all be OK and that I will be able to run again the way I hope to.  I enjoyed every pain free moment of this run.

This run also reminded me how important it is to ENJOY the run.  The time on the clock is important, but if you do not savor the moments on the run, the time one the clock becomes just a number.  The run really is about the journey. 

And the Christmas Town dash was a great journey.


  1. Way to go, you two!! The pics are fantastic and make me want to start running with my sons as well!

  2. What a fun day for the entire family! Congratulations on a great race!