Running With A Newbie: The Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis Recap!

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  My weekend was a blast!  I’m feeling better mentally but still feeling totally dead tired all the time.  We did buy Vitamin D pills so that should start helping soon!

Friday night:  My coworkers and I had a virtual holiday party!  We had mailed cookies to each other (one in Juneau and one in Soldotna) and played Mad Libs over GoToMeeting.  Apparently virtual meetings and parties are the norm in Alaska where it’s too expensive and time consuming to travel from office to office.  The best part was when my manager gave me my present – a Happy Light!!!  Now I can start trying to reverse the affects of SAD!  After the party ended, one of my coworkers and I went to a shopping event at our local running store!  It was a women’s-only event where we made a gift list, drank wine, and played fun games to win raffle tickets (like “Guess which abs belong to which celebrity”).  I also played their online “Tree of Gifts” game and won $10 off a purchase, so I’ll be back to get some running gear soon!

Saturday:  Andrew and I ran the Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis!  The race didn’t start until 11:00 for daylight reasons, so we slept in a bit and then dressed in our ugly sweaters before heading over to the University of Alaska Anchorage where the race was being held.  We got to hang out inside the student union until the race started, although it wasn’t too cold out – probably in the upper 20s.


Andrew hasn’t been running too much lately, and only agreed to run the race because he knew I was missing home and all the fun Christmas stuff we’re usually doing this time of year.  We had a ton of fun planning our outfits and a bit less fun doing some last minute training for it, but I knew that he was not going to have as much fun as the race as I was because he’s not a big fan of running.

IMG_3652Really proud of my headband – $1 at Target!

IMG_3659Drinking reindeer sweater

IMG_3651Best socks ever!

Despite that fact, I think we had a pretty good time out on the course.  The race was mostly in the woods on pretty snow-covered trails, and we got a surprise – the sun came out!  I was running along thinking about how amazing it was that I was out running in the sunshine with my best friend.  Although we went at a much slower pace than I’m used to and took a few walk breaks, I think we did an amazing job!  The other runners were super supportive and festive (one girl in a santa costume was running with Christmas music playing!), there were carolers singing by Goose Lake, the volunteers and police officers had super encouraging words for us as we ran along, and one special volunteer at the end ran with us for a bit before letting us cross the finish line strong!  Andrew was so worried we were in last place, so I was happy to see we finished around the 50% mark!


Overall I loved this race and would definitely run it again next year – even if Andrew’s not up for doing it again.  I really liked that the vibe was more about dressing up and having fun instead of racing for time.  There were lots of walkers, runners with dogs, and strollers involved so I know it was a chill race.  The winning runner came in right under 20 minutes which is pretty slow for the winning time!  I just loved seeing all the Christmas spirit and fun outfits everyone had.  Any race with fun Christmas photo ops is a good race to me!

IMG_3664Oh hey Frosty

A note on running this race with my newbie runner husband:  I’m not used to running with other people, and I found it challenging at times.  I was constantly worrying about stuff – was I going too fast?  Was I being supportive enough?  Too supportive?  Was he miserable?  Were we taking up too much space on the trail?  And this one I’m afraid to admit: what was our finishing time going to be?  It’s hard when every message about running is focused on getting a PR and having a fast finishing time, and even Andrew is caught up in finishing fast.  I usually finish somewhere around 30 minutes, and my last 5k was run in 35 minutes on the ice.  Our finishing time of 43 minutes was the slowest I’ve ever run a 5k with the slowest race pace I’ve ever had.  But honestly, I didn’t even care.  It was so great running with my husband and even though it was far from a PR, I loved getting to take my time and run with Andrew.  I don’t think I’d want to run every race like that (I’ve got to push myself sometimes) but it was nice not caring for once and running just for fun.

IMG_3657Always jealous of the husband shoe pics.  Totally had to get one with our jingle bells!

Sunday:  The sun made another appearance so we took a walk around Westchester Lagoon.  It was 32 degrees and it felt so warm – no gloves required!  Tons of people were ice skating on the thin ice and we saw tons of cross country skiers as well.  One person was on skis and was letting his dog pull him down the trail, and one guy was riding his bike and pulling his kids on a dogsled behind him!  Crazy stuff going on here in Alaska.

IMG_3675Believe it or not this is 1 pm.  But yay sun!

IMG_3684An eagle on the trail


Andrew and I are so excited to try this stuff out on our own and we’re hoping for some good weather next weekend!  Sunday will be spent doing my Solstice Sprint Virtual 5k of course (have you signed up yet?  It’s free!) but hopefully I’ll have a little more daylight left to do something on skates or skis!  And I’ll leave you all with this:  Santa on top of a semi truck parked in the Taco Bell parking lot playing country music.  Merry Christmas from Alaska!


How was your weekend?  Any fun races?  Have you ever raced with a newbie runner before?  And where is the craziest place you’ve seen Santa?

23 thoughts on “Running With A Newbie: The Jingle Bell Run for Arthritis Recap!

    1. I thought of you while I was running the race! It’s so true – I get so caught up in timing and forget to have fun. Thanks for your motto!

  1. Nice job on your 5K!!! I don’t race with newbie runners as often, but I did have a girl I ran with while she was in high school (I’m a teacher) and on the cross country team. She loved distance and wanted to run a half marathon but her mom didn’t like the idea of her out running 10+ miles alone. So, I agreed to run with her…one half marathon turned into me running two full marathons with her! She’s in college now and still runs XC. So much fun!

    1. That is awesome! Sadly I don’t think Andrew is on that track…he constantly says he doesn’t get why I like running. Although he’ll run with me every once in a while so who knows!

    1. Ugh that sucks! I hope they get better soon! And thank you, that’s the most fun part about running Christmas races!

  2. How awesome you ran together. It sounds like a festive race. I’m speechless…country music Santa on a semi at Taco Bell. There’s a really good joke hiding in there somewhere.

    1. It was such a fun time running together! And yes, I was speechless too. I think we just sat in our car staring at him for a while because we couldn’t even process it. Clearly I need to stay away from Taco Bell 🙂

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I love my husband to death and running with him is great, but it definitely adds an extra element of stress because I’m trying so hard to make sure he’s enjoying it as much as I am! Good luck running with your boyfriend!

  3. Sounds like a great race! Your husband is a real trooper! It is definitely nice to have a change of pace sometimes and worry less about PRing and more about helping the people that you are with. I did a 5k with a coworker and one with my dad. I had thoughts just like yours about going the right pace for them!

    1. It’s cool you ran a race with your coworker and your dad! I wish my dad would run, that would be the most fun race ever!

  4. I love your racing outfits! Those socks! And yikes – 1 PM and the sun is so low! Glad you got your light. I’ve never ran a race pacing a newbie runner, but I have had someone slow down to run a race with me and I really appreciated that!

    1. Thanks! And I just kind of got to experience that tonight – I ran with a coworker and she had to slow down a lot for me. It was kind of embarrassing but also nice to know that she was willing to do that for me! Now I kind of get how my husband feels!

  5. Haha, oh the things you see in Alaska. Also holy cow – 32 degrees is warm and doesn’t require gloves?! You sound like what I’d imagine a native Alaskan would say 🙂
    I’m so glad you enjoyed the race and got to spend some QT doing a hobby you love with your husband! I’ve never run a race with a newbie or someone much slower than me, but I do find even on club runs that I’ll have fun taking it easy and running slower than normal if it means I can chat with friends the whole time. There’s a time for pushing yourself, and there’s a time for taking it easy 🙂

    1. I guess that’s true – since it’s been in the 20s/30s for so long now it just feels so warm whenever it’s above freezing haha! I just wish it was actually colder because we have like no snow and it’s too warm to safely ice skate. My coworkers told me not to try it yet 😦

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