Surf-N-Santa Race Recap


This past Saturday the Surf N Santa 5 miler was held here in Virginia Beach. This has always been one of my favorite races even when it was a lengthly ten miler, so  it was fitting to choose as my last 2016 race and, to be honest, that I ran it well. The race starts at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, heads to the oceanfront where you get to run on the gorgeous boardwalk decorated with Christmas lights along the beach….beautiful! The race starts at 4:30 pm making it a perfect time to view the holiday lights and setting sun. Hopefully my photos (some I asked to steal) will do it justice, I highly recommend this race.


There was no plan going into this race other than to “Run Strong and Have Fun!” After being sick in bed all day Thursday, I had no clue what to expect but with the let down of Philly still hanging over me, I knew I wanted to execute this one well. It was the perfect amount of no pressure, run well attitude. Arriving at the race, I quickly found my friends but our warm up communication was mixed up and I ended up running  a .7 mile warm up solo along with some strides and stretching. The warm up was COLD! I had on my tiny singlet and several people told me I was crazy but I knew once the race started I’d feel perfect and I did. Lining up in the starting area, I couldn’t get close to the front line but found friends to laugh and chat with.  We all did a bit of weaving that first mile but with the wind pushing at our back that was probably a great thing to keep us under control. Around .75 miles in I found myself as second female. I wasn’t looking to run a first mile in 5:42 but I didn’t want to let first female out of my sight either!

Mile 2 was my favorite because I knew there would be a Gingerbread man stop. So fun! You may be the coolest race director ever if you dress as a Christmas tree and hand out cookies during the race you are directing. I didn’t take a cookie but I laughed at how cute everyone looked passing out treats. Mile 2 was 5:49.  There was wind this year but honestly it was not bad at all! Last year I remember hitting the boardwalk to a wall of heavy wind. This year it was a million times better. Weather was great!


Gingerbreak cookie stop!

At the Gingerbread stop I believe I was still in second place with 3rd and 4th not far behind.  Normally I might be a little worried but I felt fantastic! Let me say that I LOVE reading running blogs. I love reading everyones journey and ups & downs in our sport. One thing that has always eluded me though is when people mention a big PR or breakthrough and say it felt effortless.  I swear I’ve read this a dozen times from the casual runner to many elites and I’m always like, wtf…that doesn’t happen to me. I’ve never had a PR that didn’t hurt like heck. Today was different though. I was working hard but I felt strong and smooth, just perfect blissful running.  Also, while I loved SurfNSanta when it was a 10 miler, it did feel pretty good to hit Mile 2 and think “Only 3 miles left, enjoy them!”  My splits don’t show it but I felt stronger as I went along. Miles 3, 4, and 5 were 5:59, 5:57, 5:56.  Here is my STRAVA DATA. That last mile was into the wind so I am proud of that one At mile 4.8 I saw my coach with a huge smile on his face and I know I was smiling huge too.  I crossed the finish line and didn’t know what my time was because it took me a good 10 or so seconds to cross the start line and I was so happy that I never stopped my watch! I knew I just had the perfect race for me though and thats all that mattered, a race I could personally feel proud about.

All J&A Racing events this year have had the PR board and PR Bell.  I’ve watched friends sign them and ring the bell but had never done so myself.  This felt great guys! I didn’t know my time so I wrote 29:50 on the board.  Later I was told my chip time was actually 29:35. My last 5 miler was in the middle of heavy training and was a 29:55, so 20 seconds faster after marathon recovery and with zero recent speed work shocked me. I finished as first female and 12th overall. On of my favorites, Teresa, finished just behind me and also killed her previous time. She’s been an awesome friend to train and chat with so we were both elated.

First time ringing the bell!

First time ringing the bell!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

Wrong time, Right Friends! Finally got to sign the PR board!!

After the hard work comes the fun and the post race party was amazing. There is always beer and a catered soup for race participants plus a live band and costume contest. It’s also inside so you are nice and warm post race.  Here are some photos. So much fun.



I have no immediate race plans but with 13 weeks until the Shamrock Marathon, this race was a fantastic start to a new training cycle. Thank you all for reading and wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!!


18 thoughts on “Surf-N-Santa Race Recap

  1. Wahoo now I can comment. Kris you’ve been working so hard and I’m glad you are leaving 2015 on a great note. I was so happy for you when I saw you had PRed. I am in complete agreement that J&A does an incredible job with all of their races.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Aw! Looks like a really fun race. 🙂 The gingerbread stop is beyond adorable!
    Congrats on the PR!! Sometimes, they happen without even asking for them. That’s so cool. Enjoy the rest of the year and good luck on marathon training.


  3. That is fantastic!! What a fabulous time and congrats on the win! I have a question in regard to your watch. For Philly you didn’t wear a watch but you did for this one, are you back to wearing a watch again? I forgot my watch and I felt “lost” the whole time during the race LOL! Congrats again on the PR and win! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry it took a bit to reply to this one. It slipped by me with the holidays! For Philly I didn’t wear a watch because I had a pacer for the 2:43 marathon group. At Surf n Santa I had just finished recovering from Philly (lots of time off!) so I had no clue where my fitness was and wanted to make sure I ran within myself. Funny how the days unfolded entirely differently than I had imagined for each one though 😮 While I love running watchless, I know sometimes its a great tool. Hope you had a great holiday season!!


  4. Congratulations on your new PR and getting to ring the bell and sign the board (which I think it is a brilliant idea). Plus being first overall female is like added icing on the cake :).

    It’s so great that you let the race come to you. I too have read or heard about people’s “effortless” PRs… I’m not sure I like that word choice, you obviously put a ton of work into it before the race even if it feels easy on race day. It shows that you know how to *effectively* train and race. I think racing in general hurts a bit because you’re pushing the pace but you’re mentally and physically prepared for that. Good luck with the rest of Shamrock training!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So, so awesome!! Congrats on a great race!!! Those splits are really amazing and I know you must be so happy with that PR! Yes, every time I PR I feel like I am exhausted and dying at the end – ha ha!! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I found your blog recently and love it. Thanks for sharing your journey. Great redemption race coming off of Philly, congrats! Hope you have a great training cycle leading up to Shamrock!


  7. Wow! I loved reading this. First of all, the race sounds soooo fun, and I would love to make it down to VA Beach to run it one day. Your photos are amazing. Secondly, you finally have that “I PRed and it felt good” feeling! That just means you are in incredible shape right now! 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, Kris!


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