Santa-Monica Venice Christmas Run 10K and 5K Race Review

YEAH BABY! PR in a Christmas tree costume! I don’t run too many 10Ks so I didn’t have an overly ambitious time to beat, but not gonna lie…I was kinda nervous about publicly making the dumb goal to run fast in this outfit. It was flopping around and choking me for most of the race, but the crowd support helped me manage a PR of 42:54. Nothing beats the feeling of sprinting passed an intense runner and seeing their look of shock when they realize they’re being past by a Christmas tree. Cecilia filmed the finish. Check out the video here! I feel incredibly light and free now that I am wearing normal clothes again.

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5K Start

5K Start

This is my fourth time running this 10K/5K combo race, and it is STILL my FAVORITE race of the year. Alaina (aka Ernie) is my official Santa-Monica Venice Christmas Run Buddy. We’ll be old ladies running this race. Last year it was pouring rain, but this year we were (maybe unfortunately due to our costumes) gifted with warm weather and sunshine. So many runners were out today! I saw people from RunMDR, Back on My Feet, Lululemon. It was awesome to see so many people out having a good time! Every year I run the 10K first, then walk/run the 5K. Our group is growing. This year we had Archana, Cecilia, Marta and Joe join in on the fun!

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The 5K!

For the 5K our finish consisted of Archana and I (the Christmas trees) twirling around in circles while the rest of our team danced around us singing “Rocking around the Christmas Tree.” It was amazing. I need to run more races in costume.

Archana is one hot mama!

Archana is one hot mama!

We got really lucky with the freebies this year. Nutribullet was making smoothies, and after the 5K when they were packing up and getting ready to leave, they had TONS of produce left over. We all got bananas, spinach, strawberries and blueberries. Yay for free groceries! photo 3

Thinking of running this race next year? (Don’t think about it. Just DO IT!)

Pros:

  • Fast course
  • Beach bums (like actual beach bums) cheering you on
  • Interesting herbal smells on the Venice board walk (is this a pro or a con?)
  • SO MUCH SPIRIT!!!
  • Everyone is in a good mood
  • Great long sleeve shirts
  • Medals this year!
  • Flushing bathrooms on the beach
  • Opal apples at the finish!
  • Huge parking lots right next to the start/finish (although you have to pay but its worth it)
  • I love running by the beach
  • The entire LA running community comes out for this! (So there is actually good competition)

Cons:

  • Turns are kinda annoying in the 10K if you are really trying to go fast. But it’s fun to see other runners so I think it’s worth it!
  • Crowded start area
  • NOTHING ELSE. IT IS SOOO MUCH FUN!

Pre-Race Rituals: Nutrition & Hydration

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My Christmas Run race outfit!

imgresGOTR 5k logo REV Black5This is the weekend of races. Nothing stressful though. Tomorrow a bunch of us are dressing up and running the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run 10K. I’m going to try to run sub-7 minute miles in my HUGE Christmas tree outfit. We’ll see how it goes. I can’t really be disappointed if my branches hold me back 🙂 After the 10K we are skipping, singing and dancing through the 5K. Sunday is the final Girls on the Run 5K in Playa del Rey. It is an untimed event.

I wanted to share a quick pre-race rituals  post (although I am not really following them today because this weekend’s runs are more for fun). I started running cross-country when I was 11 years old, so I have had lots of opportunities to learn what I can and cannot eat before a race. In sixth grade I learned that Doritos 5 minutes before a race is a bad idea. I also discovered that being dehydrated before a race made my mouth dry and saliva thick, gross and hard to swallow. If you get this from nerves, chewing gum or sucking on a jolly rancher during the race helps tremendously. I have unfortunately learned that you CAN carbo-load too much. 2 huge servings of lasagna will actually hurt you. Likely mid-race. Here is what I have learned through trial and error works for me the day before and morning of a race.

Day Before:

  • Drink more water than usual
  • Snack on pretzels for longer races
  • Eliminate fibrous vegetables (no big salads or roasted vegetables)
  • Stay away from really spicy foods
  • MAYBE one beer for some carbs, but generally no alcohol
  • Switch to drinking nuun in the evening
  • Bigger lunch than usual
  • Spaghetti (white pasta) with ground turkey and marinara sauce for dinner (try to eat early and don’t overdo it)

Morning of the Race:

  • Small glass of water (too much will make my stomach sloosh)
  • Sip on nuun until 30 minutes before the race
  • If I have more than 2 hours, half a cup of coffee with Silk French vanilla creamer
  • TMI but try to go to the bathroom
  • Cinnamon raisin bagel (not whole wheat) with peanut butter and jelly. Mini-bagel with butter and jelly if it is a short race. Just a banana for 5K.

What are your pre-race nutrition & hydration rituals?

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