I ran the Santa Hustle half marathon in Galveston on December 17. Last year I ran this race too (you can read about that here). Although I hadn’t planned on running it again this year, plans change. The hubs told me on Friday afternoon that he was leaving out for deer camp, so I decided that a trip to Galveston was in order. I had 15 miles on the training plan, and what better way to make those miles fly by, than to run a race. This is my 2017 Santa Hustle Race Recap.
Race day eve was quiet… I slept in, did some laundry, read, watched tv… just slothed around the house. I started getting my gear ready and really had a tough time. It was going to be in the low 50s for most of it, but humid… I kept going between tights and shorts and finally decided on tights. I kept thinking that I should be dressing for 20 degrees warmer (if it was 70 and I was running, I would be wearing shorts). Looking back, I think I should have been dressing for 70 if I was sitting still!
Since I was in such a slothy mood, I didn’t feel like cooking anything for dinner. I opted to head over to Bellagreen for a veggie-nut burger and sweet potatoe fries (and a glass of wine). It’s a good standby pre-race meal when I don’t feel like cooking, and no dishes!
2017 Santa Hustle Race Recap
Race day morning came very early! My wake up call went off at 3am. I got some coffee in me and a little breakfast, showered, dressed, and headed out by 5:00 am.
The race was held at Moody Gardens in Galveston, I thought it was an odd choice since that area isn’t really scenic (except for the gardens around the hotel), but remembered that the majority of the race was on the seawall. When I arrived at Moody Gardens, I was directed to park in a lot that was in between the start and packet pick-up… this was serious Rock Star Parking as the I was literally steps from the start (I wondered if I had been misdirected).
Packet pick-up was a breeze… no line to speak of and everything went very quickly. Same for the port-a-cans. It was quite chilly… there was a decent seabreeze going too, I was definately regretting my choice of shorts. I headed back to my car to try to stay warm. Being so close to the start, I was able to watch the start of the kids dash and the kids 1 mile run from my car.
As the time got closer, I reluctantly got out of my warm car and headed to the start to line up. While there, I was spotted by one of my Instagram friends – Stephanie @runningtoeat_. We didn’t get a picture, but we chatted away until it was go-time!
The race was mostly an out and back along the seawall. It ran along some residential streets getting to the seawall, this was on the western side of Galveston… the ‘hood on that side is more like a ‘hood. Thankfully, between running to the seawall and from the seawall was less than 4 miles… that meant 9+ miles along the gulf… taking in views of the sunrise and the waves hitting the shore.
There was a cookie stop early on in the race at about mile 1, and we passed it again around mile 12 (I partook on the way back). There were water/Gatorade stops at about every 2 miles along the course… they were mostly well manned and stocked from what I saw. I only stopped at one to refill my bottle. There was supposed to be a candy stop… I saw signs and thought it would be similar to the water stops (candy in little containers being handed out by volunteers). It happened to be at the water station that I stopped at to fill-up… if I hadn’t stopped I would never have seen it. I didn’t take any candy (looked like it was m&ms), but there were probably folks that wanted some but didn’t see it.
Along the way, there were funny signs. I took one of grumpy cat… I still can’t get enough of grumpy cat. Spectators, were pretty thin out on the course, but that is to be expected at a race in Galveston… it’s island time there.
My goals for this race was to run my prescribed training run pace (11:00/mile), and to have fun. I think I started out a little too fast, but it didn’t feel that fast. I started to run out of gas after 9 miles… I’m wondering if it was battling the seabreeze… it was pretty stiff coming back. I stopped when I wanted to take pictures, and I stopped for a bathroom break. I averaged a 10:50/mile and finished at 2:21:54.
At the finish they handed out the finishers medals and chocolate milk. I got a bottle of water and a banana and stretched a bit. Did not find anything resembling an “epic after party”. I did find some pilfered snacks (I was middle of the pack, wonder what the back of the packers got?). Those 2 extra miles were calling my name, so I droppe my medal off at my car and began. Those 2 miles, were the longest 2 miles of my life, my legs were super sore and I was just shuffling along. I embraced the suck and just finished them.
Afterwards, I changed into some warmer clothes then stopped off at the beach. I needed to get my toes in the sand and a little shelling. I refueled at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Salsa’s.
So… what were my thoughts on the Santa Hustle?
- Christmas theme carried over into everything – the giveaways; Santa styled shirts, candy cane socks, santa hats and beards… Christmas music blasting at the start and finish.
- Packet pick-up was smooth.
- Race location… that part of town is just shady and not very scenic until you get to the seawall.
- No “epic race party” like advertised.
Overall… if it was a race that wasn’t located in Galveston, I probably would have passed on it.