When I planned my 2016 races at the beginning of the year, I added the Christmas Town 8k as a potential race. I thought it sounded like a really fun race and knew I’d eventually like to run it, but really hadn’t given it much thought recently because honestly, I hadn’t really been thinking about running a whole lot. After the 10K Across the Bay, I started thinking that another small-ish race would be fun and that we could turn it into a fun family weekend. When you register for the race, you receive a discounted ticket to Busch Gardens Christmas Town. I went ahead and signed myself and Gabby up and tried to talk Steven into running it as well. I told my mom that I had signed up so she went ahead and signed up, as well as my sister and her boyfriend.
Steven ended up staying home to take care of Flash (bummer), but the rest of us headed to Williamsburg on Saturday afternoon. Makayla, Gabby, and I picked up my mom and were on our way around noon. Becky and her boyfriend were going to head down later in the afternoon because she had to work. We made pretty good timing and once in Williamsburg, we stopped at Dicks Sporting Goods to pick up our packets, shirts, and our discount Busch Gardens Christmas Town tickets (they also included a free admission ticket to the park for next season – SCORE!). I dropped my mom off at her hotel so that she could wait for Becky and Jason with their tickets. She wasn’t feeling great so she was undecided if she wanted to go to the park that evening. After getting her checked into her room, Makayla, Gabby, and I went to the park. Although our hotels were only 5 minutes from the park, it took us over an hour to actually enter the park because of traffic and the lines to get our tickets! We finally made it into the park around 4:30. The park was crowded, but BEAUTIFUL!!!
We walked around looking at the lights for a bit, got on the sky cars, and then decided to have dinner. After dinner, we got on a couple of rides and continued walking around the park.
My mom, Becky, and Jason met us in the park around 8:00 and we all decided to take the train ride. After getting off the train, Gabby, Becky, Jason, and I rode the Verbolten roller coaster while my mom waited with Makayla. Luckily, the line was really short and we were done within 10 minutes. Becky, Jason, and my mom decided to leave the park after that because they hadn’t eaten dinner yet and were tired. The girls and I decided to watch an ice skating show that was REALLY good! I’m so glad we decided to see it. As the show ended, the park was closing (10:00) so we made our way out of the park.
We proceeded to our hotel room to check in and ended up with a BEAUTIFUL room! By the time we checked in and got settled it was almost 11:00, which was a shame because I would have liked to spend more time enjoying all that the hotel (timeshare) had to offer. Bummer. Gabby and I set out our running clothes and then we all went to bed.
Gabby and I got up around 6:15 the next morning and got ready for the race as quietly as possible so Makayla could sleep in. The race didn’t start until 8:30, which was nice since the night before was a late night. We ended up heading out a little after 7:00 and were in our parking space with plenty of time to spare (ironically enough, Jason, Becky, and my mom got there at the same exact time and we parked right next to each other). We sat in the van until about 7:45 when we headed to the race start area. We checked our coats and had plenty of time to spare before we finally lined up in Corral 2 around 8:20.
Before long, it was time to start! The first mile and a half were through the parking lot and were pretty boring (and hilly). Gabby and I ran together. She had to stop briefly to tie her shoe just before we entered the park. There was also a water stop and a DJ just before the park entrance. Running through the park was so awesome! Although there were a lot of hills, the ambiance of all the countries and all their decorations made the hills a lot more manageable. Around mile 2, I told Gabby that I was going to slow down a little, but that she should continue because I could tell she was feeling strong! She pulled ahead and I continued running at my pace. There were a few turnaround points where I could see Gabby. With each one, she was ever further ahead of me. Go Gabby!! The bridge between Germany and Italy was lined with Marines, who were giving high fives to the runners as we passed them, which was awesome! Around mile 3, we headed back out of the park to finish the last 2 miles in the parking lot. I saw my mom around this portion of the race as she was entering the park. The last 2 miles were pretty boring and there were lots of turns. I was finally headed towards the finish line, while looking for Gabby. I saw her just beyond the finish line. After getting my medal and some water, I met up with her and then grabbed my bag so I could put my coat back on. Gabby and I waited to see the others finish. We drank some complimentary (and yummy) hot chocolate as we waited.
What a fun race! Gabby LOVED it and said she really wants to run it again next year. I agree!
Gabby’s official time was 46:42 (9:24 min/mile)! She placed 10th out of 56th in her age group (11-14). My official time was 51:32 (10:22 min/mile). I placed 61st out of 231 in my age group (35-39).
Here are my splits according to Map My Run:
Mile 1 – 10:33
Mile 2 – 10:23
Mile 3 – 10:33
Mile 4 – 9:54
Mile 5 – 9:45
After heading back to the hotel and cleaning up, the girls and I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping at the outlets before heading home that evening.
We had a great weekend and I am definitely adding this race to my 2017 plan!