Category Archives: Santa Hustle

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I QUIT!!!

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=) And… now that I have your attention… Post Santa Hustle recap. Three years ago I had my first Did Not Finish and it was the Santa Hustle and I beat myself pretty badly because I could not finish the … Continue reading

Santa Hustle – Sandusky Ohio – 2015 Race in Review

It’s still O-Dark-Thirty (go figure) and the wind is blowing.  Last night’s coffee (with OODLES of peppermint creamer) is my closest (4 inches from my elbow) friend.  The lights (Hue was the BEST investment, I think, ever) are turned way low and are dancing like a Christmas Tree this morning. I’m wrapped in my hoody and enjoying listening to the world around me.   The more I spend time this time of day, the more I love this time of day.

 


Race day (yesterday) dawned gorgeous.  It was 23 degrees.  The sunrise was beautiful, but the wind left MUCH to be desired.  It wasn’t bad at the start of the race, but by the half way point, it was really playing its part in the timing.

Hung out in the car where it was warm until about 12 minutes before the start.  It was time to head over and wait in the paddock with the rest of the herd doing the half.  There has to be a reason they call them corrals.  Bear and Squirrel were chatting up the race.  I was people watching.  I loved the Darth and Stormtrooper outfits, but I don’t think you could have paid me enough to run in the kilt.  It’s funny… we never saw the kilt guy after the start of the race…

There weren’t as many, I think, doing the half this year.  It sure seemed like the corral was thin, anyway.

It is really neat ‘running’ through the park this time of year.  All of the cars are off of the rides and it is just skeletal.  I was impressed, this year, they had a couple interesting decorations in the park to keep it a little more interesting and they actually had Christmas music playing over the PA system.  THAT was a really nice change.  I felt bad for the cookie and candy people manning their stations.  no one seemed to want to stop to partake this year.  I hope the 5K runners did.  I remember last year and all the M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies did was to gum up my mouth and make me need water worse… There seemed to be more water stations this year, or maybe it was the way they were positioned that made it seem so.  More porta-potties, too.

A lot of people started the race with the free Santa hat and beard on (I think to keep warm) but like last year, those soon started to end up hung on things or just discarded along the route.  Mine never left home.

I LOVED seeing the ship across the bay!  I even STOPPED to take a couple pictures of her over there.  It felt like a good omen.  Also, I loved the change (due to construction of Valravn and other things) in the race course.  It was great to get to go the back side of the park, along the lake.  The lake is the BEST part of this race for me (I think Presque isle is my next race… in July).  I realized that the wind was really going to play a part in the race when I saw the sand across the sidewalk next to the lake (especially since there were straw bales being used as sand fence/ snow fence).

There were some interesting costumes this year.  A few elves, Olaf, and the firefighter in his full gear.

Passing the signs cemented into the roadside saying “Please Keep Moving” was a good pick-me-up, too.

After about mile 6, speed slowed from the 15 minute mile we were maintaining, and we finished 15 minutes behind where we should have finished.  BUT we all three finished.  The wind got REALLY bad and walking got just a bit (bullshit… it got REALLY REALLY) difficult in places.  It’s sad, but the hardest part of the whole race wasn’t the hill up the causeway, it was going across the dead flat parking lot because the wind was in your face and it was hard to breathe let alone keep pushing into it.

My knee, the one that was threatening to be not happy for the past several days, was indeed not happy.  It slowed me down.  It ached.  The cold didn’t help.  I think if I hadn’t had the prednisone in my system it would have been way worse.  I did finish without my hips feeling like there was ground glass in them though, so that was a big win over the races in Austin.

BUT… the photographers stayed till the very end.  The people handing out the medals stayed till the very end.  The water stations stayed manned with water available till the very end.  There were no bagels or bananas by the time we finished, but there were Cliff bars and water bottles still for us.

We finished with a time of 3 hours 31 minutes.  Not too shabby.  Bear and I walked the last three miles in talking and laughing… me keeping him going, him keeping me going.  It was a wonderful way to finish the race.  I’ve never finished WITH anyone before.  I let Squirrel finish the Run For The Water ahead of me… and we didn’t really talk that race, we bitched about how being at the end meant no water because they already emptied it at the last three water stops all out on the ground.

If I could make one more suggestion to the race people for this race… if the course stays the same as this year (and I REALLY hope it does, the lake was a nice addition), please please PLEASE mark the last mile better for those of us who are not the elite or the middle of the pack.  Being one of the last 10 runners meant that there was NO traffic to contend with but it also meant that the last mile was very confusing with the cones through the parking lot… it was nauseatingly well marked the rest of the course… but we had a hard time figuring out which way to go without a pack to follow and the man who was behind us was standing in the middle of the parking lot confused and frustrated by the lack of direction.  I get that we are not cheered on by the crowd, but we shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out how to finish the race without inadvertently cheating because the course is poorly marked.

And just two last parting thoughts on the race…

  1. if you are on your way back on a turn around and you are passing people going the other way… STAY ON YOUR OWN DAMN SIDE OF THE course.  No one shoved you out of the way when you were on the outward side, if you don’t stay the hell out of my way, I will run head long into you.  I’m walking, I don’t have the momentum to fall on my ass and make a spectacle of myself.  I have as much right to be where I am as you have to be on MY side of the road. NOT running five across for ten feet isn’t going to kill you.
  2. I hope my fingers and toes soon start to warm up.  A hot shower, a hot bath and wool socks are not helping… Next year, I plan just a little better.

And there WILL be a next year!!!

Author: April Wells
Updated December 21, 2015

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Santa Hustle 2015… T Minus 1 days

What does “T” stand for, anyway? I’m starting to freak out.  I keep remembering last year.  Last year was my first DNF race. Bear says he won’t be DFL, he would rather DNF than to be DFL.  I know that, … Continue reading

Santa Hustle Cedar Point and Did Not Finish… coming to terms

568 So… today was the Cedar Point version of the Santa Hustle. I looked forward to this race for months. It is ON THE LAKE, how awesome is that. Okay, it isn’t quite the feeling of Disney, but hey, what is? I knew I was going to dress up for the race. I was determined to make it memorable.

It was memorable.

We got there 30 minutes before the race.  There was a HUGE line for the porta potties.  In retrospect, I should have been clued in, but hot off of the last race being the Disney half (almost a year ago now) I really didn’t think too much about it.

I should have.  I should have waited in the line and gone to the bathroom.  Turned out, the next porta potty I saw was between mile 4 and mile 5.  By then I was sick from having to so SO bad.  I puked twice and ended up finding my own place to go.  I’m not proud of that fact, but it is what it is.  NEXT year I will know better and plan better.

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It was neat. They split the starting herd in two for the half. The two sections were released about 3 minutes apart. It gave the elite a good head start and spread out the runners.

The first nearly three miles is in the park. It’s a neat experience being in the park when it is the off season. The rides are in various states of disassembly. Cars are off of the coasters. The train is shrink wrapped. The park is buttoned up for the winter. The only non-runners in the park are the photographers and the volunteers handing out M&Ms, cookies and water. I would not recommend M&Ms next year. Entirely too many of them ended up being left in the glasses all through the rest of the park

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I was very surprised to see that there weren’t many glovies or hats or any other clothes really littering the course. In Austin the first three miles had discarded clothes. People in Ohio realize the necessity of yummy warm clothes. I got three sets of arm warmers at the hustle store… they are amazing and I will wear them the rest of the whole winter to work.

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By the time I exited the park I had thrown up once, shed my turtle neck (that I left with bear when I found him at the gate taking pictures). It is not pretty to have to go that bad and not have ANYWHERE to go. I was on “my time” (I was keeping the pace that I usually find myself keeping) but I was very much not feeling the way I needed to be feeling to finish this race strong. I wasn’t feeling like I should to finish this race at all.

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I have to admit that I wasn’t thrilled when I saw bear taking this picture. This was probably my lowest. I called him from mile 6.25 in tears. I hit my wall. I was at the lowest I think I have ever been in a race. I was not feeling good. I was still holding my time. I was not quite last. I was keeping up with the people I was near. I passed a few. I was passed by more. I was not last. I was not in a good place. I realized at that point that I needed to not be stupid and hurt myself more just to finish. I realized I could cut SO many corners and cross the finish line and appear to have a personal best and get the bling. I realized that I could push on and try to finish (I was STILL… even after puking, going to the bathroom in a dumpster and falling completely apart… I was STILL right about on MY time). I realized that I didn’t need to do that.

Halves are my race.
I let myself down? Probably
Am I mortified by this race? Oh hell yeah
Am I going to do race again? DAMN Straight. I’m going to sign up (soon) for the Cleveland Towpath Half in April… or maybe the Cleveland half marathon. I will sign up with squirrel girl so she can ‘race’ with me (and I can watch her disappear into the distance with pride).
It was too soon after surgery. I wasn’t ready

DFL (Dead Freaking Last) is better than DNF (Did Not Finish)… except that sometimes it is better to listen to your body when it starts to shut down on you and suck it up. Sometimes Did Not Finish is what needs to be.

Santa Hustle… Cedar Point… T – 26 hours and counting

Okay… so today we drive up to packet pick-up.  I’m hoping for long socks and arm warmers; I’m REALLY hoping for arm warmers (they are really neat).  They have a store, go figure.

Last night I finally tried on the pants I’m wearing to race.  They fit perfectly.  I’m going to hunt up my tights for under them because 40 isn’t warm and they aren’t probably heavy enough for me to be overly happy even racing.  But they fit and they are cute.  I get my dry fit stuff in my packet today, so I will see what other cute crap I can wear with them.

My fanny pack is almost packed.  I have to toss in my iPod and my phone and my camera and I’m good.  I have my glovies (electronic compatible ones, naturally) and hand warmers and my own candy canes.  Not that I’m terrified of having to face the same lessons that I learned at Run For The Water last year, but… yeah.  I pray I don’t have to worry about watching them empty the last two water stations all over the ground as I approach.  I hope I get a cookie or two.  I hope I get a candy cane… or two.  I hope I’m not swept.  Even DFL beats DNF.  I really really want to finish.

I’m mortified to announce that I actually did start taking my prednisone.  Yesterday I took 3 because for two days my left wrist (NOT my problem child) was KILLING me.  Right around the Carpal Tunnel place it burned and ached and was horrible.  My middle three fingers started to stiffen and ache and I knew it was going to get very not pretty very fast.  I hate taking them.  I refuse to take them if I have any other options.  With the race tomorrow and so much I still have to get done to get ready for Christmas and my project kicking back into high gear… I probably didn’t think as long as I might have done otherwise.  But… my Rheumy did give me a script back in the spring when my finger (same hand oddly enough) went totally bat shit crazy on me and gave me a refill.  I kept it because I’m scared and it’s a good thing to have on hand.  So… I am treating myself and will catch up with my rheumy on Wednesday.

So here I am, up and at em, ready to go to packet pickup.  I’m HOPING to spend a few minutes along the lake today taking pictures and enjoying the cold.  Eh a girl can dream, can’t she?

In The Silence There is Peace

Puppy doodle and I are sitting in the living room.  The Christmas tree is on.  The only sounds are the ticking of the cuckoo cuckoo clock and the rain (and occasionally the furnace kicking on to chase the chill).  It’s a beautifully peaceful morning to be writing and just being.

It’s not like this very often.  It’s like this even less often the last week or so.  It’s something I’m treasuring this morning.

It’s been raining all night.  Not a hard rain… just… rain.  The sound of it on the roof could easily put me to sleep.   I keep looking at the fireplace thinking that it would be really nice to start a fire and just be here in this place all day… But the coffee is thirty feet away in the kitchen and it keeps calling my name.  If I get up, Peanut will insist that there be food, and she’s so peacefully asleep…

Today I’m going to mix up a couple of batches of egg muffins.  I tried a batch yesterday and they were a pretty big hit.  6 eggs, a few tablespoon fulls of milk and a greased muffin tin are all you really need.  You can add in all of you favorite breakfast things or omelette things.  Yesterday was just cheese.  Today, I have some sausage I’m going to brown up, maybe some bacon, cheese and red and green peppers…

Heat oven to 400 F
Grease the muffin pan
Scramble the eggs and milk together (add salt and pepper if you want)
put “stuff” in the muffin tins… the sausage and/or extras
pour the egg mixture over the stuff
pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes (until the eggs poof up and look a little brown and are “set”)
take them out and run a knife around each muffin
let them sit a couple minutes
out they come.

6 eggs make about 6 muffins… so… one egg per muffin tin hole roughly… do the math… not bad

I ate mine yesterday with salsa and they were really yummy.  I hear tell that they keep well in the fridge and microwave up toasty warm in just a few seconds for breakfasts all week.  I have my doubts they will make it that long… but hey… a girl can dream.

I figure I might as well take advantage of the way I’m feeling today to get some crap accomplished!

knooking

OH… I’ve also taken up knooking.  Knitting with a crochet hook that has a big long string attached to its butt.  I’ve never been able to get my head around knitting.  I’ve tried SO many times over the years and gotten frustrated.  I love the way knitted projects look… the way the weave looks… but trying to get a project accomplished was horrible for me.  And trying to even get the needles to do what they were supposed to do the last few years has just been literally too painful for me to even make the effort. Crochet seems to just have different motions and that doesn’t irritate nearly as badly.

I saw these “hooks” (they look just like a crochet hook) at my local yarn store and thought I would try.  It was $6 for three hooks… I’m not out too terribly much if I can’t do it or I hate it… eh… why not.  So I’m learning… and I’m really liking it.  I made a small square to just see how I liked it and it’s pretty neat.  Now I’m working on a hat… one of those LONG stocking caps from forever ago (the ones like in pictures of the 50s) and it’s working and I’m enjoying it.  I even figured out how to bind off and add stitches without it looking ratty!  I work with a hook about five minutes out of an hour at work, when my hands start to get a little achey from typing.  The rheumy said to change what I do to keep things from aching too much.  It’s working.

The gallbladder surgery makes me feel almost human again.  There have been a few really not great days when I know I’ve lifted more than I’m supposed to and I ache in a not fabulous way, and I know I have to give my body time to heal better… but I’m feeling so much better.  I’m glad I got it done and I wish I could have had it done in October when it really started to bother me badly.

AND… I’m a week away (a week tomorrow) from the Santa Hustle in Cedar Point.  I’m hoping I can make it under the cutoff time.  If anything is going to stop me it’s going to be the remnants of my surgery.  I’m really looking forward to ‘running’ across the causeway and getting some pictures of the lake.  Last night I bought a pair of candy can stripe legging (and a pair of snowflake ones in case the candy cane ones don’t quite fit right)  and a Christmas lights shirt to wear for the race.  With the dry fit Santa jacket that comes with packet pick up and the 40 F degree day, I’m thinking it is going to be a really nice day to race.

Have a marvelous weekend everyone.  Enjoy your world.

3 weeks to race day

The Santa Hustle is just three weeks away. I am way not as prepared for it as I should be.  My work project and my gall bladder issues kind of all got in the way of really really training.  But I am really pretty psyched about the race.  It’s way cool to have the course going through Cedar Point.  It’s even cooler in my humble opinion to have it be across the causeway and to ‘run’ beside the lake.

I’m weird, I know.

I’m kind of a lot bummed because I’m probably going to be going all alone.  Like when I started halves in Austin.  Up at o-dark-thirty… drive my own butt to Sandusky and make sure I’m there before 6:30 because I know I won’t be going to packet pick up on Saturday (duh) and they already warn you of the long lines.

Starting line… alone… but I will have my music all ready…

I have to maintain about a 15 minute mile…

There are not very many water/aid stations along the way… Only six.  There are usually stations every mile… That one worries me just a little.  BUT there are also cookie stations and candy stations… so… I’m thinking that will probably help.

The causeway is supposed to be windy.  I need to be sure I have enough batteries for my weather proof camera… and my ear muffies are on sufficiently tight…

I hope I cross in time… before the 12:30 close.  I already can envision being incredibly demoralized by about mile 8.  It’s not Disney… and I know I will be heading to a lonely finish line.  I’m worried that my head will be worse at this one than it was at my last Austin one.  At least at that one everyone was there and I knew I would find them somewhere even if I had to do it all alone.  (turned out that I didn’t have to do it all alone… DS was there to walk me in and cheer me on again)…

I’m a little worried.
I’m a lot worried about the drive home. I don’t know what the weather will be.  I don’t know how I will feel (I could be incredibly fine like I was for Disney… I could be incredibly horrible like I was for my first… and my last… Austin races).  I will have to be sure I start a week long series of prednisone about mid week that week… just to be on the safe side.

I’m excited… I’m nervous… I’m back to doing something I really enjoy a lot… I wish I were dreading it less than I am.

Santa Hustle Half Marathon: lunacy

Okay, so here I am, deciding that I must be crazy.  I must be.  There is no other explanation.

What am I doing?  I’m crocheting a Santa beard in August.  WHY am I working on a Santa beard in August?  Because I’ve fallen in love with a race that I intend to do in December.  The Santa Hustle at Cedar Point.  December… Cedar Point (part of the course is along the beach on Lake Erie)… I have to be crazy.  I should not be this excited about walking as fast as I can for four hours on what could be a lovely day or what could be a freaking cold day with a foot of snow (like last year).  I have to be crazy.

And yet, here I am, working on my beard, getting ridiculously excited about the race.

On the beach

At Lake Erie

in December

Yes, I’ll post pictures when I get more of the outfit completed.
Yes, I swear I will post updates on the training
Yes, I’m hoping that, maybe since school will be out in Texas… MAYBE… Adam almost volunteered already this morning… and he just might yet…

Am I crazy (as I listen to IZ cds and rub on the Tiger Balm in August), probably… but I need to keep proving to myself that I can… that I’m not too lame (literally) to walk a half.  Ever since I was diagnosed in 2009 (wow, I’m closing in on 5 years diagnosed… 7 or 8 with active RA) walking 13.1 miles has been my thing.  And I guess it is going to keep being my thing.

I close my eyes and see Adam walking me in to almost the finish line in Austin… handing me my medal and hugging me the year he had the flu… I see all of them cheering me on across the finish line at Disney… I still don’t understand why I am my kids’ hero, but I really do have to do this.  The compulsion is just there.  And I have to answer the call.