I had zero intention of running the Santa Suits On The Loose this past weekend. None. But we all know how easily I yield to peer pressure, so when M put together a team for STAMOM, I registered.
To be honest, Santa Suits On The Loose always sounded fun, but it’s at the beach, and people run in Santa suits, which felt like a lot. However, I’m always up for something new, so let’s do this!
Race Morning + Packet Pickup
Runners could pick up their packets on Friday evening, but the time and location was super inconvenient, so I opted for race morning. I also drove alone: my toxic trait is getting to races incredibly early too I can find parking, and M is not a morning person. Fair. I left my house at 6:15 and actually got a great spot in the main lot at the pier.
Was I one of the first to arrive? Yes, and that was just fine by me, thanks. I got my bib and this really cute green shirt, and then hopped back in the car to stay toasty. It’s important to note that the first 100 registrants had the option to get a Santa suit in lieu of the shirt. I was happy with the shirt, but there were a lot of costumes around.
It was damp and raw, with tons of fog, and the wind was kicking. I did check out the ocean for a few: so much of the beach is eroded from the storms, and the sea was angry.
The Start Line
I finally left my car to meet up with M, and imagine my surprise to see A there as well! Yay! We all chatted for a few, and got a couple of pictures with the “snow” machine.
M introduced me to her family and friends, and they invited me to join in their pre-race shoe photo. You know I was here for it.
I ate my HoneyStinger waffle (your girl was hungry), and debated my plan of attack. This was a fun, charity event, and I had no goals. But then something told me I should just start out running and see where it took me. So that was what I decided to do.
At 8:00AM, the crowd of runners was off!
Santa On The Run!
I enjoyed having a different-to-me route to run. The standard St. Augustine Beach 5k course is basically a box that goes through the little neighborhoods on the far side of A1A, then cuts back to the main road. The final stretch of about a mile is an open course, but things were blocked nicely and the drivers were very respectful.
Once we started, I just had the urge to run, so I did. The weather stunk. It was one of those days were the humidity and fog were so dense that there were drops stuck in my eyelashes and hair. Gross.
Other than that, I felt good, so I just kept running. I had two stops: once for an untied shoelace (that never happens!) and once for a selfie with this guy, who taunted runners from a golf cart. Worth it.
Volunteers set up a water stop at the halfway mark, and there were lots of spectators out with signs. The overall vibe was incredible. I loved it.
Worth noting, this is a family friendly race. There were lots of kids and strollers, which is awesome to see, but the strollers do lend themselves to some congestion. This is also a dog friendly race. You know that I am all about the puppies, but there were two moments with dogs lunging and snapping (not at me but near me), so it was important to be extra alert and aware. I had to pull up short when a dog passed me, and reacted to someone passing him. It was a little nerve-wracking and I could have done without it.
The Finish Line and Final Thoughts
After 3.1 miles, we were back to the pier and the finish line. My finish wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but that’s ok. The only finishers that really mattered were these two.
I got my medal and checked out the snack table. The spread was nice, although I didn’t need water or food at the moment.
As I waited, I checked out the other side of the pier: the erosion was even worse on this side. So sad.
A and I got one more photo with the Grinch!
And then I snagged a few more medal pics. Even with the fog, the views were pretty.
Huge thanks to M for talking me into this!
I had a blast. Santa Suits On The Loose is fun and well-organized. Proceeds go to St. Augustine Youth Services, too, so it’s all for a great, local cause. I’ll be back next year, looking a wee bit more festive!
Check out my race video here!
Any fun holiday races on your calendar?
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