Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Santa Hustle Half Marathon 2016 - Galveston, Texas

What is up with freezing races in the south? Two weekends ago, I ran one of my coldest half marathons ever (apart from my first half in WDW in 2010 when we ran through sleet) and this past weekend, I ran through really cold, crazy insane winds! Thankfully...although do I love racing...I'm done with races for a little while!

A little back story on this one...

So, you guys know I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE running Christmas themed races. Well last year, my sister-in-law, some friends, and I decided to run the Santa Hustle in Galveston, Texas. I was pregnant but had been running throughout my entire pregnancy (even ran/walked a half at 16 weeks), so I knew the Santa Hustle at 25 weeks wouldn't be a big deal...or so I thought. Sometime around the end of November, I began having these strange pains. I wasn't sure what was up so I decided to slow it down a little, still with the thought of the Santa Hustle half in the back of my mind. Well little did I know, I was actually having premature contractions and not round ligament pain. Instead of doing the half, I dropped down to the 5K and somehow made it through (even though it wasn't fun). After seeing all of my friends finish the half and obtain their pretty sparkly medals, I had severe FOMO. I wanted needed that medal!  (Side note: guess who got medals this year? Yep...the 5K'ers. Such is my luck.)

Fast forward to this year. Back in October, I began doing a little research for a Christmas time trip that Jason, Brayden, and I could take as a family. I wanted to see how Brayden would do out of town and use it as a practice for Disney. In my research, I discovered that this year's Galveston Santa Hustle took place on a weekend that Jason was off work!! My severe FOMO from the year before returned and I decided to register for the race and plan a trip! That pretty, sparkly Christmas medal would be all mine!!

As the weekend approached, I became more and more excited. My outfit was decided several weeks before the race and I knew I was going to have a blast. They even advertise cookies and candy along the race course...hello! Heaven? Yes!

Race weekend arrived and so did a funky forecast. At first, it called for a 75% chance of rain. Whomp whomp. Then, that forecast changed to near-freezing temps with crazy insane wind gusts (with temps in the high 70's the day before, thank you very much). As the weekend approached, I tried to keep the stupid forecast out of my mind.

So, we arrived in Texas on Friday night and headed over to packet pickup on Saturday morning. I am in LOOOOVE with this year's pullovers! They were even complete with thumb holes! YES!

Included in each packet was a pullover, a Santa hat and beard, and safety pins for the bib.

As soon as we returned to the hotel, I put together my outfit complete with this adorable running themed Christmas shirt from Gone For A Run, a sparkle skirt, and a Christmas themed RokBAND, also from Gone For A Run.

Race morning came and so did the wind and cold temps! I checked the forecast on my phone before getting ready - the temp was 40 degrees (yes, I know that's not cold to you but it is to me) with a "feels like" temp of 35 degrees and wind gusts at 35 mph. Might as well have been in the teens!

I called this race the "series of unfortunate events" for several reasons:
  1.  I forgot my Flipbelt at home, so we had to stop at Academy for some random Nike belt I'd never run with before. Thankfully, it wasn't bad, but I was nervous!
  2. Brayden did NOT sleep well the night before which means we didn't either. I was running on maybe 4 hours of very broken sleep. Ugh.
  3. My Garmin didn't charge. It was plugged into the wall for a day and a half and somehow, the charging prongs weren't JUST right on the watch, so it didn't charge. This is why I need a new one for Christmas...I can't handle the dumb charger anymore.
  4. I forgot to foam roll before the race. How, I have no clue.
  5. Jason suggested I use my Apple Watch for this race since I had no Garmin. Well, my Apple Watch (although it was in "lock mode") decided to keep pausing itself during the race. So, it says I ran 10 miles instead of 13.1. Turd.
  6. The wind. Oy, the wind.

The race began at 8 a.m. and although I thought I was smart in booking a hotel that was close to last year's start line, the Santa Hustle decided to pull a fast one on me and move the start line to an entirely different location. They didn't announce the start line until a week before the race, either...so I had no time to change plans. My original thought was that I would get dressed quietly, walk to the start line, then let Jason and Brayden come down and watch as I finished. Well, that didn't happen. Instead, Brayden woke up around 6:30 a.m. on his own (it just happened that way), so they drove over and dropped me off at the start line.  So much for my well-laid-plans. Ah well.

With the crazy weather, they returned to the hotel for breakfast and a nap!

Brayden was all festive in his little Santa PJ's! :) I also cut a hole in my Santa hat to loop my pony tail through!

The start line for this year's Santa Hustle was at the Galveston Yacht Club. We all laughed because we had the hardest time finding the start line. It was located at the corner of two streets which we kept hearing announced overhead....however, I had never been on that side of town so I had no clue where I was. After standing around at what I assumed was the finish area and not the start line, I followed the crowd down the street a little and that's where we located the start line.

It took me a few minutes, but I soon realized that there was no big blow up sign at the start or finish because of the wind. Sad times, the wind sure rained on my parade!

I am so glad I had my RokBAND to keep my face warm. This guy was a life saver!

Runners lined up on the street, waiting on the race to begin.

For entertainment along the course, I tuned into my buddies over at the Disney Exchange. I had two weeks worth of listening to catch up on, so they were with me most of the race!

The race began and right at mile 1, I asked the lady next to me if I could turn around and do the 5K instead. We both laughed because I really was joking but the thought was still in the back of my mind anyway....

Right before mile 1 was our first (and what ended up being our only) candy stop. I couldn't resist a cup of M&M's! The wind was just to strong for additional M&M stops or cookie stops.

As we turned on the sea wall, the waves were rolling and the headwind was strong.

Most of this race...like 85%...was along the sea wall which is gorgeous on the average day!

You know when the wind is so strong you have to tuck your head into it? Yeah, that's how we were for most of this route.

Around mile 4, I ditched my sweatshirt in a little "no parking" bucket along the route. At that point, the wind was at our backs and I thought the worst was behind us. Well, that was a dumb move because as soon as we turned around at mile 5.5, the wind was back with a vengeance and stayed that way for the next 7 miles.

Thankfully, I remembered exactly where I put the sweatshirt and I was able to retrieve it on the way back! It was exactly where I left it, thank goodness!

Like I mentioned before, this route is a gorgeous one on a normal day! It was around mile 9/10 that I really needed a pick-me-up. I wanted to quit and walk the rest of the way, but I knew that running would get me there quicker. Right then, I heard my friend Lisa from the Disney Exchange give me a shout-out from the race we ran the weekend before. That was just the boost I needed, so thank you Lisa! :)

Remember that wind? Yeah...it even knocked over a port-a-potty. Nice.

The last portion of this race looped us around the entrance to Stewart Beach, then away from the water.

By mile 12, I knew I could do it! I texted Jason to tell him my location and also tell him that I was frozen like a popsicle.

I also seriously ran 85% of this race and had no clue of my projected time because my watch kept pausing itself. Ugh.

After running what felt like forever, I saw Jason and Brayden standing by a white gate. I assumed it was the "chute" to the finish line but I really couldn't tell. After crossing over a timing mat, I saw others stop running so I did as well. Yep, that was the finish line. Again, they couldn't put up their really cute finish sign because of the wind. Know what else wasn't up and running? Their timer. So, I finished this race with no idea how my time looked or anything!

I later discovered that my time for this race was SLOWER than my time for last weekend's half marathon, even though I ran more and walked less for this one. That stupid wind...

Ah well...you know what I did get? That pretty, sparkly Christmas medal I'd been eyeing for a year! Vengeance was MINE!

My frozen cheerleaders! 

Back at the hotel, I took a picture with my little guy. He was just an itty bitty thing last year, growing and developing inside of me. Now this year, he's an 8 month old and growing into his own little person. My how much can change in a year!

Despite it all, I really do like the Santa Hustle series and will continue to run these races in the future. Take out the wind in this case and the race would have been an awesome one (the wind is not the Santa Hustle's fault...obvs).

I feel as if I take something new and something I learn from each race experience and that's why I keep doing them. This race was no different. I can honestly say I never ran a race in 35 mph winds and I can honestly say I never want to again! :)

What has been your craziest race experience?


  1. That wind was so bad this weekend! We did our long run on Saturday, while it was still warm but super gusty, ugh. Big props to you for running the next day in the freezing cold WITH the wind!

    That race sounds fun - the route seems similar to where I did my first half marathon (we started at Stewart Beach) back in 2010. Your outfit was super cute and I love that picture of you and Brayden afterward, what a cutie-pie he is! Glad you finally got your medal, too. :)

  2. That does not sound fun!
    My craziest experience was that first half in Disney. Still can't believe it was sleeting!

  3. You've got to be kidding me? You went through all that and the timer wasn't working? How did you get your time? 40 degrees really isn't that bad to run in but I know the wind is what makes it miserable. Glad you got your coveted medal!

    1. Thankfully, their timing mats were working...the timer just wasn't up at the finish line. So, I was able to look up my results this morning! :)

  4. I did a 5k last November right when a front was coming through too. Thankfully I was signed up for the 5k, but the wind was bitter and I had so many layers on and never got hot.

  5. I got a new Garmin last year for the same reason, the prongs wouldn't stay connected and would never charge. And I have the same issue with the Apple Watch. I was supposed to get a "badge" for running a 5k on Thanksgiving and because it kept stopping, I never got it. :( The winds sound awful! But it's a beautiful medal to go home with. Happy Holidays!

    1. Isn't that so annoying?! I'm sorry about your badge on Thanksgiving...sad times! :( Thank you! Hope you have a great Christmas!!

  6. I had that same problem with my Garmin. That charger was the worst!! I got a new one & the charger is so much better. For my very first half the temp was 42 & it rained the majority of the race but I'd prefer that to wind. I HATE wind!!


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