As it turns out, elves is NOT the plural of elvis, so there were no jumpsuits or paste-on sideburns at the Running With Elves 5K today. But there WERE lots of Santa hats and dogs in goggles. What more could you ask?
Brutally cold, below 50. How do humans exist in such bitter conditions? It was a frustrating race. Slowest of the three road runs I’ve done. How is that possible? Patience, I guess. It will come. In hindsight, chicken fried steak may not have been the best pre-race meal. Who knew? 42:00.
The best part of the race came afterward. They had one of those raffles they have to delay your retreat to the car heater. But this was better than most, because if your number was called, you could pick anything on the table. In a “this never happens to me” moment, my number was called. I could choose four free race entries, two bags filled with gel, Starbucks gift cards, an inflatable Mickey Mouse, a couple of mystery gift wrapped boxes, and a huge jar of gummy bears.
As I surveyed the stuff, I saw him standing next to the table. Little kid, maybe 4 or 5. Sort of an almost mohawk. He was staring at the table the way kids do around Christmas. I asked the RD if I could give my ticket to him. He shrugged and said sure. The kid’s face lit up and he grabbed the gummy bears (4-year-olds have no respect for a free cup of coffee). He was really, really happy. So was I.
In the grand scheme of things, my time in a run doesn’t matter at all. What matters is smiling at the elvi with their dogs in matching costumes. The holiday runners spanning three or four or seven generations. The crazy-fast guy wailing along with a candy cane dangling from his lips. The female teen who is an absolute rocket in a backward trucker hat, totally unaware how impressive her run was. The woman in the elf hat who beamed as she came across the 5k finish line in 59 and change, barely beating the cutoff. The kids who did the fun run, all proudly displaying their No. 1 race bibs. And a kid with a jar of gummy bears nearly as big as him.
A pretty great morning. Who needs Elvis …