Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jingle All The Way

I've been a bit lax about running -- and rightly so -- since completing the NYC Marathon about a month back. So when my friend Jazmin approached me and asked if I'd run a race in Brooklyn I was like...meh....

But then she said she was providing costumes. And I was like,

And THEN she said there would be hot chocolate at the end and that we could go to brunch after! And then I was like,

Last Friday, the night before the race, Jazmin and I met up to get our bibs at the New York Road Runners' office in my neighborhood so she could get me my costume which -- until that moment -- was a surprise.

And it was everything I hoped it would be. And more.

So on a crisp, but sunny and lovely, Saturday morning I woke up, met another runner friend Amanda, and made the long trek to Brooklyn.

The race was to be 4-miles and start in Prospect Park, one of my favorite places in the city. I lived in Brooklyn briefly and actually got my running roots by starting to run around that park. It's about 3 miles all the way around, and I remember so clearly the accomplishment of being able to make it all the way around -- including one massive hill -- without stopping. It's always fun to go back (even if it does involve the F train on a Saturday morning).

There was a slight jingle in my step as I walked. A holiday spirit about me, as it were. And as I removed my jacket to check it with my belongings at the starting line, I revealed the greatest running outfit of all time.

Excellent. But not nearly as excellent as what happened when I was paired with my friends.

Elf Amanda, Jazmin the tree, and Elf me
At this point we made a scene. A SCENE. Random people were coming over to us to take our photograph. Children were pointing. There was merriment abounding.

The NYRR staff were giddy with delight. This is what we had been dreaming would happen when we created a Jingle Ball Run, you could all but hear them say. We got a professional photo taken which -- of course -- ended up on the NYRR homepage that afternoon.

Hand on hip 'cuz I look like a super model
Just when everyone had taken a breath and calmed down, the last two members of our party joined us. And then basically all hell broke loose as Christmas Spirit EXPLODED from our vicinity.

Hand on the hip and leg up like Captain Morgan. Class Act.

And then Christmas ended forever, because nothing gets better than this. The end.

Just kidding, then we all ran 4 miles. Dressed like this.

We were a spectacle to behold. 

I ran the entire race with Christmas Tree Jazmin at a lovely 12-minute mile pace. We stopped for selfies with strangers and high-fived volunteers. We smiled at children and brought cheer to all around us. It was such an amazing feeling running a race purely for fun without a worry in the world about distance or pace. It's something I think we as runners can loose sight of. Just running for the sake of running. Dressed like an elf.

At the finish line -- as promised -- there was hot chocolate as well as red and green colored bagels. And it was glorious.

At this point there was more fame and paparazzi-style photos taken of our small costumed group. A NYRR reporter even interviewed a few of us for the official race recap. Famous. Boom.

Let me quote directly from this recap, if I may:
Their friend Meredith Glanzberg, who completed the ING New York City Marathon last month, calls the Jingle Bell Jog her favorite race of the year for the same reason the rookies love it. "The kids, the hot chocolate, everyone is in a great mood—it's just fun!" she said.
 A few comments about this.

1) Although you may think my name is spelled wrong, actually, it is possible that this reporter is the only one who is right because the spelling may have been changed at Ellis Island. You really did your homework, sir!

2) I did say it was my favorite of the year despite the fact that the NYC Marathon was, indeed, an achievement of a lifetime. So, a bit inaccurate to say that this 4-mile race that I did not prepare for and quite frankly made a mockery of was better....but in the moment the elf costume and the hot chocolate had gone to my head and I simply was overcome with positivity.

3) I did, in fact, go against my usual Grinch-esque attitude and list children as a "pro" for this race. Normally you know that I don't always like being around masses of children. I'm the person who went to Disney World after reading a website entitled "How to Avoid Children At Disney World." But in this case, the kids were adorable and they made the race. There was a 1/2 mile "Reindeer Run" (antlers for all the kids!) beforehand and some kids did the full 4-miles, so there was family fun abounding. Parents: take note. This might be a fun winter activity for you next year!

After the race we stumbled upon a restaurant that had been on the top of my "To Eat" list, Talde. It's by Dale from Top Chef and was super good, creative, Asian-fusion brunch food. And one [read: two] of the best Bloody Marys I've ever had.

We continued our run of fame and fortune not only on the Jingle Bell photos page but also all over the Internets with social media. See this screenshot from The Facebook, as an example

Famous, full, and a little drunk, we made our way back to Manhattan in civilian clothing. Our work was done.

Whether you are a beginner runner or a Marathoner, I would implore you to sign up for something like this. Three are Diva Dashes where you were tutus and Disney runs where people dress as princesses and color runs like what I did with Betsy last summer. Find something fun and sign up for it with no goal except just to finish and laugh. 

Fellow Elf wisdom


  1. Best line from "Elf," hands down. Bummer that I didn't see you at the race! I live in Park Slope (pretty close to Talde!) so I do this race every year, despite the price tag. I always want to keep my bells on for the holiday season, BUT too many dogs take notice of them when I'm out running on my own haha.

    1. It was so much fun! I love your neighborhood so much!!

  2. Meri G! I love your blog and wish I had seen you at this race! Unbeknownst to me, I included a pic of your friends on my blog in my race recap. Spoiler: I was running alone and did not have nearly as much fun because I'm a Christmas-hating commie.

  3. I ran this last year - But have to say all those jingle bells after a while gave me a headache!

    But seriously - some times you have to run a race totally NOT serious. And love your costumes. And fame. You're awesome.