December 21, 2014
This would be the third consecutive year that I’d done Santa Hustle. For some reason though, I didn’t sign up right away and it went through a price increase. The first year I waited because I wanted to see what the weather was going to be like. This year I NEEDED this race. It would be my 31st (and final) half marathon of the year and would level me up (technically its called “mooning up” but I think that’s weird to say) to Earth within Half Fanatics. I registered on October 28th and I found a $5 off discount code so with taxes and fees, the final cost was $59.83. This year runners would be receiving a dri-fit hoodie instead of the usual “Santa shirt” tech shirt.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20TH: I headed to the JW Marriott for packet pickup around 11:00AM. I wanted to get it done and out of the way and then I was going to the Indiana Historical Society to check out the Festival of Trees event. You could attend today for free and I figured it would get busy as the day progressed.
I parked half way between the two buildings and walked over to the Marriott around 11:30AM.
Basically the same expo as last year. They have this gigantic space and use maybe half of it.
What was different this year was the exchange table was really busy. I don’t remember them specifying that the hoodies were gender specific because if they had, I would have ordered a medium. But even THAT would have been too small. I ended up with a large and it doesn’t have much wiggle room.
I checked out some of the other Santa Hustle merchandise and there were a couple of things that caught my eye but since I still haven't found a new job, I didn’t get anything. Of course I didn’t NEED anything anyway but it sucks not having the option.
So after the Expo and checking out the Festival of Trees display, it was back home for the evening.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21ST: This race doesn't start until 9:00AM so no crazy super early getting up for me. That is always a welcomed change. I got up at 6:00AM and was out the door at 7:30-ish. There was a Half Fanatics group photo scheduled for 8:45AM and that would give me plenty of time to park and get to the meeting location.
The initial plan was to park in the Indiana State Museum garage. That must have been everyone’s plan because it was full! I had to drive around the block and park in the Government Center garage. It wasn’t that much further away but waiting to get in and actually parked put me behind schedule. I sent A.L. a text telling her to wait for me for the picture and that I was on my way.
Not many people showed up for the photo. I wonder if the location was too far west and not right by the start line. But having it near the start line probably would have been a cluster.
I walked with T.R. to bag drop and then went to the porta-potties for one last stop. As I was waiting I could hear them calling for the half marathon participants to get lined up. Thankfully the line moved rather quickly. A a very nice girl that was doing the 5K (which didn’t start until 9:30AM) let me go ahead of her.
As I was walking toward the start area, I happened to see Dave. A selfie with Dave might need to be a new pre-race tradition.
We wished each other well and then I made my way on to the bridge. It was there that I saw M & J! Time for some more photos.
Below I was trying to make “31” with my gloved fingers but she got me in mind stance.
The weather was “better” than last year for this race. Last year we were in the beginning stages of the Polar Vortex and had quite a bit of snow. Although this year was cold – it is December in Indiana after all – there was no snow!
My phone stayed in the holder this entire race. My third time to run this route and there are a couple of other races that use this same course as well. There was one sign I would have liked to capture at mile 10(?) but I resisted.
I saw Dave and his “posse” on the course and at the 4 mile marker, I saw C.V. She was cheering on folks from Back on my Feet. We exchanged a high five.
As we were running north of 16th street, I could smell the donuts being made at Longs. They smelled so good. But as good as that smelled, when you are running the final stretch behind the zoo you can small animal urine (elephants, maybe?) and that is NOT good.
There was one girl that I was chasing. I named her Happy Braid because her hair was in a braid (duh!) – and it was thick which always makes me have hair envy – and when she would pass me she was always smiling and spoke to me a couple of times. She would pass me when I took a walking break. I would pass her when she took a walking break. But after the 11 mile marker, a friend that had already completed the race joined her and she never took another walking break. Thus she finished before me.
A nice surprise was seeing my husband at the finish line. He got video of me crossing. And then took some miscellaneous photos of me as well.
They had live reindeer in a pen. They were getting along at first but then they started locking racks. I couldn’t get a clear photo of the rassling!
In the distance, I suddenly see A.L. heading toward the finish line. She was hard to miss in that Mrs. Claus dress. So I ran over the cheer her in. Then I see The Grinch, Rudolph and Frosty running in with her as well. I thought they were “part of the race” but would later learn that they were her family members. How fun is that?
They became quite the draw for everyone to have their picture take with and A.L. told me that they were still there as the last runners were coming in and the event was taking everything down. What troopers.
My husband needed to leave to finish up a Christmas project but the event photographer did get this cute shot of us before hand. Heck, I might even order it!
There was an after party at Howl at the Moon. A.L. couldn’t go but I when I saw M.W. at the finish waiting on her husband and talked to her about going, she thought they might. Long story short, they got there before me and said it was over. WHAT? Nowhere in the info from the event did they mention there was a time limit for it. The venue isn't even close to where the race took place. I drove over and had already paid for parking to only then find out there was no more “party” going on. I know it was going on at some point because T.R. went there to get her age group award. Not cool Santa Hustle! All of us slower runners never stood a chance to participant in the after party.
I can’t say that I’ll do this race again next year. I haven't officially set how many half marathons I want to do in 2015. I’d like to cross a few more states off my list so if that means less “local” half marathons, then so be it. But this race is good to keep in your back pocket as a last minute end of the year pick up.