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Week 10: Santa Claus run

Week 10 rolled around quickly, and it was drawing very near to Christmas (readers may note that while I am talking about Christmas I am actually writing this blog in April. Yes, I am a little far behind due to some life circumstances that will become clear in the coming weeks on this blog. However, I have still been completing my challenges every week and am doing my utmost to catch up on writing about them. Please stick with me – I have made a commitment to a year of new things, and I intend to keep to that commitment and write about it here. And there are some big new things coming up that I have already achieved or plan to achieve, and I can’t wait to share them here on this blog!).

Back to December….and the perfect time to search for a Christmas-themed challenge. As it happened, this week I came across a fun run. And not just any fun run. A Santa Claus fun run. Yes, this was no ordinary run – in order to participate in this run, one was required to dress as Santa Claus.

Now please allow me to digress for a moment on the topic of Santa Claus. The story of Santa Claus is a lovely one but there is one major flaw in the story for the millions of people living in the southern hemisphere – there is no snow on this side of the world in December. In fact, it is hot; damn hot! Because it is summer. Santa Claus and all of the wintry tales of Christmas work very well when one experiences Christmas in winter time. But the whole idea falls apart when one is sweating it out in 30+ degree Celsius heat.

I have been lucky enough to experience a few winter Christmas’, including one in Lapland – home of Santa Claus. And it made a lot of sense to see a fat man dressed in his winter warmers whilst singing along to Christmas carols that speak of winter wonderlands, sleigh bells ringing and snow glistening in lanes. But here in Australia it is – well let’s be totally honest – ridiculous and illogical to dress as Santa Claus and sing of frosty the snowman when one is dripping with sweat and cranking up the air conditioning to stay cool.

And before you say it – yes I know we have one Australian Christmas carol. One. One whole Christmas carol that speaks of Christmas in summer time – “Six White Boomers” – one of the most annoying Christmas Carols ever. But Christmas as it is traditionally portrayed does not work in Australia; and yes, I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about it! And while I am having a whinge – what in the heck does a “bee in your bonnet” actually mean? Who comes up with these sayings?! Well actually, I can tell you who comes up with these sayings because I bought a book on where popular sayings come from (I know, I am so cool). Apparently this particular saying is thought to stem from the 16th Century saying “to have a head full of bees” and was paired with the notion of a bonnet by poet Robert Henrrick in 1648 in his poem ‘Mad Maid’s Song’. Bet you didn’t think you would learn anything reading this blog today – but now you have. You’re welcome.

Ok, so back to the story where I find myself agreeing to a 5km fun run dressed as Santa Claus in the heat of summer. The run was in aid of charity, and was definitely meant to be more “fun” than a serious “run”. And for the entry price one not only got to donate to a good cause, one also got a Santa Claus outfit. The organisers were definitely on their game in choosing the outfit to fit with the weather conditions – lightweight shorts, wraparound jacket, hat and beard. An outfit fit for the summer….well as long as one wasn’t planning on running any distance in it that is!

I was not worried about the running part of the day – I had been doing bootcamp now for 4 months and was also a recreational jogger, so a 5km course was going to be relatively easy and didn’t require any intense training. Which was lucky since I only signed up to participate the week of the race! I was, however, a little concerned about how I would survive the heat when dressed as Jolly Old St Nick.

Race day dawned bright and sunny – a good and bad thing (on the one hand it wasn’t raining; on the other, it was hot) and I found myself driving to a park to dress up as Santa Claus at 6:30 on a Sunday morning in summer in Queensland. It did make me consider my sanity for a minute or two.

Upon arrival I was greeted by numerous Santas and provided with my outfit for the morning’s event. Sexy Santa I was not – but then, nor was anyone else. The atmosphere was one of frivolity as the sea of Santas grew. I found a number of people who I knew and we entertained ourselves by climbing on the jungle gym to get a photo or 12.

As a warm up, the race organisers held a mass Zumba class – 150 or so Santas sashaying away to “Gangham Style” – it was a sight to behold. Then before I knew it, the start time had rolled around and I was lining up to run for the first time ever as Santa Claus. I was already sweating before I started – not a great sign of things to come.

I find that the first kilometre of any run is always the hardest, and this one was made all the more difficult by having to constantly adjust my Santa suit while running to ensure my Santa jacket stayed done up and my Santa shorts did not fall down around my knees causing me to fall on my face with my bum in the air (hello front page of the NewMail). Definitely no PB was going to be had in this run then! (Just thought I should point out that I was wearing my usual running gear underneath the suit – there was no fear of a nudey run at any stage! And I also note that I have once again mentioned my bum in my blog. I did say a few posts ago that I would stop doing that, but there it is again. My bum. Bum, bum, bum. Ok, I think it is out of my system now. No more bum references.)

I also quickly learnt that running with a beard strapped to your face is not comfortable; and in fact, is quite irritating. But I wanted to keep to the theme of the run and was determined to keep my Santa suit on throughout the duration of the race despite the discomfort.

However, by around 3.5km into the run I was really feeling the heat and decided that the jacket and beard would have to go. When one is running in 30 degrees Celsius temperatures and 70% humidity, jackets and beards are not really the best idea. So I am a little sad to say that while I finished the race, I was only half the Santa I was at the start of the race.

Apart from the heat and mild discomfort from the outfit, it was quite amusing to be running along with a group of Santas past people who clearly had no idea what was going on – we certainly did cause a bit of a commotion with those who were out and about early enough to be greeted by such a sight. And the organisers had taken the time to write some fun notes in chalk on the pavement which kept the participants entertained for the duration of the 5kms.

So all in all, whilst it was a very hot and sometimes uncomfortable run, it was a really fun morning, and the organisers, runners and general crowd were all fantastic. I had a great time, I raised some money for charity, I got my morning exercise, and I felt great for the rest of the day – a good result all round.

Introspection time out

From my Santa Claus fun run experience (and subsequent writing about it) I have learnt that:

  • Santa costumes and running should not mix.
  • That you can have fun and run at the same time – go figure!
  • That if you make an effort to do something, you will be rewarded in any number of ways. For example, by making an effort to get up at 5:45am on a Sunday to dress as Santa Claus and run for 5km, I managed to raise money for charity, get some exercise, meet some new people, and have a lot of laughs. It is important to make the effort, even when the activity is outside your comfort zone. Good things come to those that make an effort. So many people waste their lives waiting for something to happen to them, when really, they should be putting in a bit of effort to MAKE something happen.
  • I have an issue with Christmas in summer time.

Another week down; 42 more to go. So I say sayonara for this week and leave you with the following thought of the day from the musical Avenue Q:

“There is life outside your apartment.
I know it’s hard to conceive.
But there’s life outside your apartment.
And you’re only gonna see it if you leave.
There is cool shit to do,
But it can’t come to you….
There is life outside your apartment.
But you gotta open the door.”

Introducing running Santa Claus

Introducing running Santa Claus

Santa Claus Jungle Gym

Santa Claus Jungle Gym

On your marks Santas

On your marks Santas