On Saturday I ran the Surf-N-Santa 5 Miler (yes..the same wonderful group that managed the Inaugural Harbor Lights 5K and Half Marathon a month ago) with my mom. There were changes this year to the distance (formally a 10M/5K) and time (formerly a morning run). I was so excited to run a twilight race under the boardwalk lights as my last race of the year.
Packet Pickup / Expo
Because the race started at 4:30PM, my mom and I left Maryland on Saturday morning. We arrived at the Virginia Beach Convention Center at 12:00PM for the packet pickup. There was already a long line forming, but it did not take long before we were in the door. There were plenty of booths and since I already wrote down my bib number it took less than a minute for them to retrieve my bib (my mom’s line was a little longer).
From there we were directed to the t-shirt table – long sleeved technical tees! Yessss… a nice change from the short sleeves we usually receive year round. The volunteers were dressed in cute shirts.
Because Saturday was the only day of packet pickup this was not a traditional expo. They had the store (loads of sale items), Bon Secours booth (sponsor), and the J&A ambassador booth. My mom bought this cute long sleeved shirt – looks like a sweater!
I stopped by the J&A ambassador booth and picked up some items. It was nice to see Nan again, and I got to meet Amanda and Krista (both recovering from injury in boots). Afterwards I took a picture with these huge snowmen, and headed back to the hotel to rest (Doubletree Hilton was a five minute walk – yay for off season rates).
As per usual… nice swag from J&A: reusable bag, shirt, santa hat (too small for my big head), and a cup for the first 2,000 people.
Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)
I knew with an easy run I should still be able to PR – my PR as of Saturday was a 1:13:49 from 2012, so going fast wasn’t a high priority for me. Because my foot had been bothering me, I decided to approach this race cautiously.
Surf n Santa 5 Miler
At 4:00PM my mom and I got dressed and headed to the Convention Center (start/finish location). It was in the low 40s (and dropping) so it was nice to stay inside before the race started. It was fun to see everyone in their costumes.
I went with the same socks I wore for the Jingle Bell 5K from a couple weeks ago and my mom went with bright colors…other people were a little more festive/creative.
Fifteen minutes before the race we headed outside to the corrals. I was in corral 3 and my mom was in corral 5 (which was printed on our bibs). The corrals were spaced 2 minutes apart…before I knew it we were off.
The 5 miler was an out and back course that led us to the Virginia Beach boardwalk light display.
The first two miles took us along 19th and 17th streets and Atlantic Avenue. Here is a blurry shot of Atlantic Avenue – lined with several hotels and beach stores. I imagine it to be very crowded here during the summer.
Shortly after mile 2 there was a water stop and we reached the entrance of the light display. By the time I reached the boardwalk, the sun was beginning to set – perfect for our 1.5 miles of lights!
It was so nice to have the beach/water views. As you can see the boardwalk was concrete and not actual wood.
Since this was a fun run – I made sure to snap loads of pictures!
A sea serpent.
A gingerbread house! As you can see it got darker rather quickly. Unfortunately my phone was dying and I needed enough battery to call my mom at the finish.
I was a bit bummed I didn’t get to take more pictures because my favorite display, was the “12 Days of Christmas”… I guess you guys will have to run it next year to see 🙂 I was hoping my mom would be camera happy and take those pictures. By the time I reached the finish line (inside the convention center) it was dark! I finished with a time of 56:25.
Here is my mom finishing – 1:04:51 or 12:58/mile. She is a speedy walker! Apparently shes been walking 6 miles/day everyday. Following the race I asked if she took pictures… she said “no I wanted to go under 1:05”…she was too funny.
Post race picture with mom. We also received Surf N Santa gloves as a finisher item.
The pretty medal/ornament.
- I loved the afternoon start – nice for those who were coming from out of town.
- Was nice to have the convention center as the start/finish area. The weather was not too bad… but perfect if it was colder.
- As always, packet pickup was a breeze.
- Loved the long sleeved shirts – J&A has a new graphic designer… been loving the shirt designs this year.
- The corrals were nicely spaced out… I did not find it too crowded. There were 5,000 runners and 5 corrals… so 1,000 runners per corral.
- The race was sold out ahead of the weekend (for those planning for next year).
- There were two water stops on the course and plenty of volunteers helping with road closures/directing traffic.
- Loved loved loved the lights!! At my pace (11:17/mile), I was able to view the latter portion of the light display in the dark. For those who were faster, they may have only seen it in the dusk.
- We turned off the boardwalk at “Seven Swans a Swimming”… I wish we ran to the end of the light display.
- The last few miles were a bit dark – but there were volunteers guiding us.
- Cutest medal!
- The course was soo flat.
- There was music playing, a beer garden, and post race soup.
- It was a bit crowded inside with people sitting on the ground where the soup line was – made it difficult to navigate/felt like I was stepping on people. Note – go to the lines on the far right…they were much shorter.
- My mom and I ate our soup in the lobby area – less crowded.
- There was also a costume contest.
Overall this race was better than expected. I think my mom and I will try to run this again next year (if it fits into our schedules). I am SOO excited for Shamrock weekend now (same location).
Disclosure: As a J&A Ambassador I received a complimentary race entry. All thoughts and opinions on the blog are my own.
Have you run under the lights or at the beach before?
Did you run a holiday race this year?