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2010 Reindeer Run 5k

by Meghann on December 11, 2010

… or the race that almost wasn’t.

I had originally signed up for the Reindeer Run 5k as a part of the Girls on the Run Buddy program. When I spoke to the school’s director on Wednesday she informed me the race started at 7:30 and I should plan to arrive at the Sea World starting line at 7:00 to meet the girls. I was told they would have balloons and should be easy to spot.

So, come race day morning I awoke an hour before I was supposed to meet the group. Ate a simple snack of a Vita Top slathered with pumpkin butter


And left with plenty of time to make it to Sea World before 7:00.

Then this happened. πŸ™


Traffic. Lots and lots of traffic. Traffic that wasn’t moving and was slowly picking away at the cushion of time I had built in for myself.

I grew more and more anxious as the minutes ticked by. It took 30 minutes to go about a mile and a half and I still wasn’t close to the parking lot.


This was the first year this particular race was being held at Sea World and I’m not sure they were prepared for the onslaught of 4000+ cars in the single parking lot entrance. They did their best shuffling people in, but with a single entrance there was only so much they could do. I’m hoping that this experience will give the race organizers more insight for next year and they can give racers plenty of warnings about the potential traffic jams.


Eventually I finally parked – about 45 minutes after my initial estimated arrival time and 15 minutes after the race start time. πŸ™

Luckily, the directors took the traffic into consideration and delayed the start by 30 minutes. I was able to quickly grab my race packet and begin my search for my GIrls on the Run Group. Or you know begin my search for a needle in a haystack!


Yikes! So many people!


I was unable to locate the needle I was hoping for, but did stumble on another one.


My Supervisor was there were her daughter Carly -who was running with another school’s Girls on the Run group – and her son David who was running for fun. Very random to run into them, but also very exciting. πŸ™‚


Since Carly’s Girls on the Run program was already full of running buddies, I asked David if he wouldn’t mind if I tagged along with him. It was his first 5k and I think every first 5ker needs a running buddy. He agreed – or was just too polite to say no -so I officially had a running buddy. Not exactly a buddy I had originally planned on, but I’ll take it. πŸ™‚


Thirty minutes after the original start time, the Reindeer Run finally began. πŸ™‚



We were in the very back and the starting line wasn’t clearly marked. We walked a good while and it donned on us that we were probably already in the race. Ooppss. πŸ™‚ Because of the unsure start, I just went ahead and turned my Garmin off. This was a fun race anyways, no time tracking needed.


The first mile and a half had us doing a couple of laps around the parking lot. David and I passed the time discussing running, Florida State, and the festive costumes that surrounded us.


That’s it – next year I’m dressing up. I was jealous of all the fun, creative costumes! πŸ™‚




After our tour of the parking lot, we headed into Sea World – which honestly made all the parking lot running and traffic totally worth it!



Sea World went all out on this one. All of the Christmas decorations were up, all the rides were running, and the Sea World staff lined the race course in full costume giving words of encouragement and spreading holiday cheer. It was truly an amazing experience.




David was doing awesome! He kept telling me he had no intention of stopping and ended up running a very speedy final mile. He rocked it!


We sprinted the last .1 mile and ended up crossing neck and neck somewhere between 35 and 37 minutes (it wasn’t a chipped race).



Ok, so new plan for next year.

  • Leave super early
  • Dress up in costume
  • Bring Derek
  • Run for FUN πŸ™‚

Carly came in seconds behind us and did AMAZING running her first 5k!


I told her that medal was the first of many. She has such a spirit and love for running – I know this girl is going to go far. πŸ™‚


I looked for the school I was suppose to run Girls on the Run with, but it still resembled a needle in a haystack. πŸ™ I was super bummed on missing out on running with them. I hope it doesn’t give me a big black mark with the organization because I would love the opportunity to try again!

The drive home was thankfully uneventful. I left the parking lot with out any problems and zoomed on the highway.

When I made it back Derek made me french toast for breakfast!


French Toast stuffed with cinnamon fruit, ricotta cheese, and chocolate chips – OMG AMAZING! πŸ™‚


Seriously, Cannoli French Toast! You NEED to try this at home! πŸ˜‰


It’s a bit gloomy outside, but not enough to keep me inside. Derek and I are heading to DISNEY today! Can. Not. Wait!  

1 Chelsey (Cookteen) December 11, 2010 at 11:06 am

That french toast looks so amazing!!!! Sorry about missing the GOTR group you planned to run with, at least you were able to help someone else!!

2 Katy (The Singing Runner) December 11, 2010 at 11:06 am

Bummer about not finding your group but it looks like you still had fun! And running at Sea World looks great! I’ve never been to Sea World!
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3 alison December 11, 2010 at 11:09 am

Wow, your breakfast looks amazing!
I’m sorry your GOTR experience didn’t go as planned, but it looks like you made up for it. Your running buddy sure is tall!
We’ve done two GOTR 5ks and the traffic is always a nightmare. I’m in Northern Virginia, where traffic is always insane, so I suppose it’s to be expected. However, we’ve learned our lesson, and will leave even earlier next time.

Unless you’re at the front of the pack at one of these races, PRing is not going to happen. My husband got a bit frustrated last week as he ran with our daughter, because the runners would stop dead in their tracks and walk when runners were right behind them. Of course, he had to remind himself that this is for FUN. GOTR is about spirit and fun, not winning or beating a certain time. It was a good reminder for us all. Seeing the girls have fun while running was really an uplifting experience.

Enjoy the rest of your day!
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4 Amber December 11, 2010 at 11:11 am

Sounds like a lot of fun! I’m glad you had a good time. That French toast looks amazing!!

5 Lauren December 11, 2010 at 11:13 am

Have fun at Disney!
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6 CJ December 11, 2010 at 11:32 am

Is there a story behind calling your medals ‘metals’ – just curious….my local half-marathon gives out wooden medals so I’d be stuck! haha


7 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm

What a super fun race! I used to run TONS of 5 & 10ks with my hubs before our daughter. Early race starts and small kids, traffic, race day chaos don’t mix that well for now but I remember dressing up w/ a santa hat for a race once…so fun.

Glad you had a great day!

8 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) December 11, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I’m sure the GOTR organisers won’t mind- it wasn’t as if you didn’t try! And you still was a running buddy so that’s good πŸ™‚
Oooh I’m so jealous of you, going to Disney tomorrow!! You lucky girl! Enjoy! πŸ˜€
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9 grocery goddess jen December 11, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Don’t you hate it when you can’t find the group you’re supposed to be with?? Drives me bonkers and makes me feel bad – so glad you found someone else to run with! And I’m sure GOTR understands that things got confused with all the traffic, I bet there is no black mark on your clean record πŸ™‚
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10 Carolyn @ lovinlosing December 11, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Sounds like a fun morning! I did 2 miles on the treadmill per the PT’s orders (and stretched a lot) and my leg isn’t bothering me today. Maybe I’ll be able to do a 5k next weekend. πŸ™‚
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11 Krystina December 11, 2010 at 1:10 pm

That French toast looks BALLER!! Good job on the run, despite the hectic start
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12 Shannon @ Philadelphia Phitness Pharmacy December 11, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Sounds like a lot of fun! I’m doing some disney races in Feb. Have you ever done any of the disney races? If so, how are they?
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13 Matt December 11, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Tell Derek I am coming over for breakfast tomorrow.
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14 Jessica @ The Process of Healing December 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm

It’s too bad things worked out like that but it sounds like you still had fun!
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15 Beth @ bride in the little white dress December 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

That French Toast would make an amazing Christmas morning breakfast. Yum!

16 movesnmunchies December 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

woah! what a treat to come home to! I’m lovin the roller coasters in the background there- I LOVE roller coasters!
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17 OrlandoPaula December 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Glad you made it to the race! I got there early and it was cold waiting so long for the race to start. I was running the race for time, which in retrospect, was not a good idea. I missed out on getting a picture of the flamingos because my camera was all wonky.
OrlandoPaula recently posted..Race Review- Reindeer Run 5k

18 Jess@atasteofconfidence December 11, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Phew- at least they delayed the start time! Looks like a cute race.
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19 Sana December 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Oh boo. I hate ti when things like that happen. Maybe for next time you can get a cell #?
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20 Marge December 11, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Derek is so sweet! It looks like he put special love and care in your breakfast. What a guy. And can I say that you crack me up that you live in Orlando and have been to Sea World and going to Disney in the same day? When I was a kid, I was so jealous of the kids that lived in Orlando because I imagined that they went to multiple theme parks every weekend.

21 Erica December 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Oh my gosh! I’m glad you made it! I would have been freaking out πŸ™‚ And what an awesome running buddy you ended up with. I have always wanted to do a race that involves dressing up. Derek- what a sweet looking breakfast. Hope you two have a blast at Disney. I cannot WAIT to go!
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22 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) December 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I want to dress up for my race tomorrow! At the very least, I want some festive socks. I tried to get my friends to do the race with me and dress up like elves, but no one wanted to!
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23 Faith @ lovelyascharged December 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Aww, fun! It makes me remember taking my students to Sea World this summer…dang, what I wouldn’t give to go back!
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24 Michelle December 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I got stuck in traffic too, and got to Sea World @ 6:40. Nothing ever good comes from 6 lanes merging into 2. They were definitely NOT prepared for 4000+ people all at once. It was a cute race though – and you DEFINITELY need to dress up next year! I’m still not sure where the race started. My Garmin said I ran 3.36 miles though. That French Toast looks amazing.
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25 Christin@purplebirdblog December 11, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Those costumes are all so awesome! And cannoli french toast?! Sign me UP! πŸ™‚
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26 Kim @ Kim Lives Healthy December 11, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Hey that’s me in the picture with the girl dressed as a gift! πŸ™‚ That’s my friend Megan in the box, I’m on her right – shoulda turned around to meet you! πŸ™‚ The traffic was HORRIBLE this morning, I Drive is hard to navigate anyway but with all those cars funneling into the parking lot at the same time – so glad they delayed the start! Glad you got a running buddy in the end!
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27 Meghann December 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

OK, small world! If I had known it was you I would have tapped on your shoulder and said hi. Next time! πŸ™‚

28 Emma December 11, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Hi! This was a fun race! I especially loved the sounds of all the bells jingling throughout the park!
The girl in the picture with Carly wearing a creme colored knit/crochet hat dropped it while she was running. I picked it up to return it to her but never did catch up to her. =) I’d be happy to mail it to you so you could return it to her.

29 Meghann December 13, 2010 at 8:47 am

Hi Emma!

Small world! I’m not 100% sure who the girl is, but I know I can track her down. Can you send me an e-mail at and we’ll figure something out?

THanks! πŸ™‚

30 holly @ yepiatethat December 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

I love that you get to run races at Disney and Sea World, the best I’ve done is a race that ended on the field of Cowboys Stadium.
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31 amanda December 11, 2010 at 11:05 pm

such a fun looking race. and such a darn shame you didn’t find your girls! i am sure they will understand and let you run with them again. how could they not? you’re an adorable, enthusiastic runner!

derek’s breakfast he made you looks DIVINE!

hope disney was a blast!

32 Laura December 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

What a bummer! But it sounds like you had a fun run anyway
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33 Kiran December 12, 2010 at 11:56 am

At least you found a running buddy. I am sure GOTR wouldn’t mind at all πŸ™‚
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34 Jena December 12, 2010 at 7:35 pm

WOW! I can’t believe how many people were @ that race. My Aunt asked me to run w/ her but I had prior commitments so I couldn’t. I’m kind of not to upset about not missing it. I’m not a fan of HUGE 5ks like that, and that traffic would have been enough to make me cry. Ew.

Glad you had a great time!
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35 Morgan December 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm

OMG I’m so jealous!!! That’s so awesome they moved the race to Sea World, although it looks like they need to work on their logistics for next year! Sounds like you were able to have a great time despite the crazy parking/start situation.
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36 Lacey @ Lake Life December 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Kudos for you for finding a new running buddy and running the race after such a stressful commute!
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37 Ffion December 17, 2010 at 4:50 pm

How annoying that you couldn’t find the people you were sposed to be running with! At least you were able to find a new running partner, I bet he made the race more enjoyable! That French toast looks amazing!
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38 Rick Yazwinski January 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I’m curious about “pumpkin butter”. Is this commercial/homemade? Is it pumpkin _seed_ butter or made from pumpkin?

Sounds delish πŸ™‚

39 carissa September 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I loved this post! The costumes and the festive feeling is great! There’s a costume contest!!! You could win! πŸ™‚
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