5. Reindeer Run, 2006

Ready to Race

Yet another 5K race in Charleston, just two weeks after the Turkey Day run! I found out about it on Thanksgiving morning on my walk from the parking garage to registration. Someone had posted a few signs with the dates and information. It’s like that with all the local runs, with even more information on upcoming events in your race packet. As with the Turkey Day Run, it was a chance to go the wrong way on one-way streets in downtown Charleston, SC. I can’t pass that up.

Once again I tried to show up way too early, and for my efforts I was awarded with a fantastic parking space along the street rather than the parking garage. Even better, the street was officially considered free parking for the race. It was a total score. Of course there was a coffee shop nearby. In fact, it was right next-door. By the time I found the place and parked, it was close to 7am. It was still early, but I felt like I was running late. I filled up the time before the race by taking pictures, talking to people, drinking coffee and watching them set up the starting line.

Registration at the Southend Brewery

The above photo was taken just outside of Southend Brewery, which was both the starting and finishing points for the race. Obviously it has a Christmas theme. Registration was across the street, but if you go inside you can get a free massage from the students at the local massage school. I probably needed it after the race, but at that point all I ever want is a clean shirt and some orange juice. I tried them out for the pre-race stretching, though, and it was pretty cool. They probably shaved a few seconds off of my time for me.

Inflatable... uh, Santa

Saint Nick-mobile

The registration wasn’t too crowded at 7 o’clock in the morning. I knew that the Reindeer Run would be bigger than the Turkey Day Run because it was a timed race. It’s not that big, though, because they want those chips back at the end, just like the Race for the Cure. Unlike that race, however, the Reindeer Run applies a penalty if you don’t return the chip. Sixty dollars, folks. Hold onto that thing! Tie it into you shoe laces and double the knot!

Big Friendly Dogs

Big Dogs at the Race

That dog on the left was so excited by all the people that the owner almost got an involuntary tour of downtown. That’s why I prefer the small ones.

A noticeable difference in this race was the presence of registered dogs. That’s right, they were registered for the race, with numbers and everything. I was worried that they would get in the way, but really they were fine. In fact, they were cute. The only problem I saw was with this big dog on the left. He was apparently raised to like people, so putting him in a crowd means that he has a few hundred brand new best friends. He wanted to see and smell everything, and his owner had to dig his heels into the sidewalk to prevent an impromptu tour of the city. Let this be a lesson to us all, folks. Think twice before you buy a dog which is bigger than you are.

Sponsored by the Pig. Again.

Piggly Wiggly tongue depressor. Go figure.

I found something rather strange in my race packet. It was a Piggly Wiggly tongue depressor. Wow. I know that the grocery chain was a sponsor for the race, but what do groceries have to do with tongue depressors? Knowing Charleston, somebody at Piggly Wiggly probably had a relative at the tongue depressor factory and decided to do him a favor. Of all the merchandise which I have found in my race packets, this one makes the least sense.

The Pig isn’t the Only One Looking

And speaking of Piggly Wiggly, here’s the poor sap who has to wear the pig costume. Ordinarily I would feel sorry for him, but it was kind of cold that morning and he was probably warm enough. I can’t help but laugh, though. I didn’t notice this when I was taking the photos, but now I think of it every time I see them. In the photo on the left, the Pig seems to be checking out the rump of one of the older ladies who would be walking the course later. Don’t be too quick to question his judgment, however. After he had collected himself and returned to work, other people checked her out as well. I wonder if the woman on the right ever comes to my website…

Peeps checking out some lady's butt.

Various Hats on Various People

Cool Christmas HeadgearLots of people had reindeer hats and a few people had costumes. The lady on the right had the only elf hat, and of course it didn’t show in this picture. I would have taken another shot of the hat, but they were volunteers and they had to get to work. Still, lovely hats and lovely women are a good combination.

Cool Christmas Costumes Abound

Grinch in Charleston

Click the photo for a better look at this guy on Flickr.

I absolutely had to get a picture of this guy. There were people dressed as Christmas trees and other icons of the season, but this guy was the only costumed runner I could find before I put the camera back into the car. Sorry to any costumer who may be reading this, but I didn’t stay for the costume contest. I’m afraid I don’t know what was out there or who won.
In spite of my lack of preparation, however, I was still able to dress up a little for the race. Everyone got a set of antlers in their race packets. My first photo didn’t go so well. I don’t get much sleep during the week, and being tired seems to make me look angry even though I may be in a great mood. The next photo was a little less serious, and shows off my morning a little better. In the third photo you can see what has to be one of the most fun vehicles that you can drive down a city street on or near a holiday.

Yes, I Wore the Antlers

Oh, what the hell? Why not? Everyone else was feeling festive, so I thought I would go ahead and join them. I felt a bit silly for the first few minutes, but after that I forgot that I was even wearing them. For your enjoyment, I’ve included these photos of me wearing my special headgear in front of Santa’s tricked-out ride.

Yes, I wore the antlers

After the Race

My time was 27:48, well under my goal of 28 minutes. It’s even better if you don’t count the delays in the beginning. I watched the clock as the crowd sorted itself out, and the starter gun shuffle had cost me about forty seconds. In the end, it’s a respectable time which fits in well with my modest training goals. Now that 5K races are comfortable, I think it may be time to crank up the treadmill a little bit during the week. Merry Christmas, everyone.