Reindeer Romp

For those of you wondering, our 3-year wedding anniversary date was wonderful and I enjoyed every bit of it! We talked about our wedding day and recalled our favorite and not-so favorite moments. We reminisced about the incredible high we both felt next morning when we woke up to the sweet reality that it was finally just him and me for the rest of our lives. We dreamt about the future, who we wanted to be and what we wanted to do ... it was blissful.

And dinner was delicious. I'm not a huge fan of beef (unless it's a hamburger), but we ordered a "T-Bone Dinner or 2" and my piece of meat was about the size of an infant. After a small salad, a baked potato, and two glasses of the most delectable pino noir I've ever had, I was struggling to finish my steak (but don't worry, I'm an American. Of course I finished it).

While I was buttering my third dinner roll, Clayton put down his fork and stared at me in awe. "I don't understand how you're not fat," he said.

I think that was a compliment?

I did practice a smidgen of self-restraint and left a little trimming of fat on my plate so I could take it home to Joey. After all, our wedding anniversary is a family affair and our fur baby deserves something special, too. However, as I mentioned above, by the time we left the restaurant I already had two large glasses of wine under my belt and somewhere in the chaos of picking out candy to sneak into the movie theater and totally having my mind blown by watching a cartoon in 3D for the first time, I kind of forgot about the steak all together.

I feel like I'm the only person in the world who can say she has a piece of steak in her car right now. (Because yes, the steak is still in there. Every time I get in my vehicle I think, "Man, it smells like steak in here," and yet that's not enough to make me dig under my seat and throw it away.)

I realized that I totally forgot to mention the Reindeer Romp 8k I participated in last Saturday. Or I guess I should say, the Reindeer Romp 8K I almost completely missed last Saturday.

No matter how much time I think I have to make it to a race, I need to force myself to leave about 15 minutes earlier than that. The Reindeer Romp was located in Brown County State Park, the farthest I've driven on an actual race day (for my mini marathons I always stay in Indy the night before). The race started at 1:00 pm and I allotted us 45 minutes of travel time, assuming that would suffice. Well, apparently everyone and their mom was out for a early Saturday afternoon drive that day and it took forever to get outside the Bloomington city limits. Once we were finally on a straight-shot to the state park, we got stuck behind a line of cars who appeared to be more interested in sight-seeing and counting how many times they could tap their breaks in the span of 30 seconds than actually driving the speed limit.

Of course, I started panicking. It was 12:37 p.m. and we were still well outside the state park. It was right then that I also received a text message from Mandy letting me know that once we were actually inside the park, it would be another 5 miles before we got the Nature Center (AKA, the race starting point).

So of course, I started to panick even more and started to throw in some tears for good measure. I've never missed a race and I certainly didn't want to starting missing them now, especially when the race was titled something as festively adorable as THE REINDEER ROMP (never mind it was 60 degrees that day).

At 12:55 p.m. we made it to the state park entrance, forked over $5 to enter the park, and went well over the suggested speed limit to drive the 5 extra miles to the starting line. We eventually started seeing signs along the road for various mile markers like "8k-mile 3" or "5k turnaround" and realized we were clearly driving on the race course. "Oh great," I started whining, "not only am I going to be late for the race, we're probably going to run over people who actually managed to get here on time."

When we finally spotted a parking lot full of cars, I let out a sigh of relief ... but only for a second.  Right beside the parking lot were a hundred or so runners standing at the start line, facing our car. If we didn't move out of the way, things were going to get ugly really fast.

"They're getting ready to start!" I screamed, wrestling myself from my seat belt and throwing open the car door.

While Clay parked the car, I went sprinting towards the group of runners which in hindsight, was probably one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me. Here I am, late to the race, wasting precious energy running full-speed towards a large group of people while flailing my hands and yelling, "Wait! Wait! I'm here!" Adding insult to injury, I was also wearing a giant Santa hat.

Tardy, but FESTIVE.

Since I was FACING the start line when I reached it, I joined the crowd right at the front of the pack. I found myself standing next to the top finishers in the race series who consistently run 5k's in 16 or 17 minutes and then loop back around to run another 5k while all of us normal people are still finishing. I also couldn't help but notice that the serious runners were NOT wearing Santa hats or reindeer headbands.

I wanted to crawl under a rock and die.

Then I remembered I didn't have my race bib and started looking around nervously for the registration table. I tapped a fellow runner on the shoulder and asked where the packet pick-up was. She kindly directed me to a table that no longer had anyone sitting at it, and I began accepting my fate that I would be running this race bibbless, unrecorded, and without the t-shirt I paid $16 for. 

Then I had a stroke of genius

Being as I was at the very front of the line and only two feet away from him, I gathered all my courage and walked right up to the race director who was getting ready to make an announcement into his mega phone (the announcement probably being, "Ready, set, go!").  "Um, hi there," I said timidly. "I'm late. Can I still get my race bib?"

What better way to delay the start of the race then to bother the person who's responsible for starting it?

Every one was very kind and incredibly sympathetic to my time-telling disability and helped me get squared away with my race bib (and the race shirts are SO CUTE! They have dancing reindeer printed on the front. I didn't even know that reindeer DANCED, and this clearly proves that they do!). I pinned the race bib to my t-shirt with shaky, nerve-stricken fingers and barely had enough time to select a playlist on my ipod. I didn't even have time to stretch.

Within 10 seconds of securing my bib, the race started and I was on my way. 

Can you spot me!? I'll give you a hint, I'm the only runner who looks incredibly awkward.

Besides running the risk of missing the race all together, I hate being less than on time to any running event because I believe it's crucial to have a few quiet moments to reflect on the task on hand. Not only was I running a 5 mile race, I was running a 5 mile race in a hilly state parkthis was no easy task. I had zero time to mentally prepare.

Luckily, I got into my groove within the first half mile and had a great race (probably because I got a good warm-up sprinting to the start line like an idiot). Given the elevated course of the race, I'm beyond thrilled that I finished the 8k in 40 minutes. When I registered for the race several weeks ago, I was unsure if I should run the 8k race or the 5k, but I'm glad I ultimately stuck with the longer one. Aside from adjusting the incline on my treadmill, I haven't had a lot of opportunities to run hills thanks to all the rain we've been getting. It was a nice change of pace and my legs appreciated the challenge.

Imagine my dismay when I saw this picture and
realized that I'm shaped like Ronnie from Jersey Shore.

That was my last race of 2011 and I'm already greatly looking forward to what 2012 will bring race-wise. Next up on my race schedule is the OneAmerica 500 Festival Half Marathon in May, but I'm sure I'll be doing some smaller races beforehand. Feel free to check out my "Race Schedule" page to see what I sign up for!


  1. Hahaha! Oh Courtney this was just great. So many great mental pictures! i.e. you running to the start line in your santa hat lol. So fun!!

  2. What's funny is that before I read, "Can you spot me?" I was like, there my goofy friend Courtney waving in the front of the picture.

    What made you start running in the first place? The mere thought of running wears me out.

  3. Okay funniest thing is, there is a piece of steak in a box in my car right now that was intended for Leia and never made it in. lol

  4. The picture of you waving made me laugh out loud. I ran a 5k this morning (and thought of you. Creepy? Probably.) and my mom fully admitted that she only noticed me approaching the finish line because of my enormous sunglasses. Style points?

  5. How was your 5K, Lexi!? I want details! And I totally commend you on rocking sunglasses while you run, giant ones at that! Every time I try to race in sunglasses, they slip down my nose because apparently I sweat more than what is socially acceptable?


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