the Great Rulolph Run of 2017

Does the McMillan calculator account for running in a Rudolph suit?

I entered a virtual race put on by Dave, the guy who owns Runner’s World. That’s a lot of pressure. And then there’s the problem that I can’t really run anymore. The solution? In the grand tradition of Mike Rossi and Rosie Ruiz, I looked to cut corners.

The race offers bonus points. 3 points if it’s over 100 degrees. 1 point each for running with Loopsters. 1 point for a silly hat. 4 points for a really silly hat. 5 points for a bib. Done, done, done, done and done. Now all I had to do was run.

Mo’s printer is whacked, so she agreed to make a bib by hand. The right hand. Mo is a right-handed artist, which always makes me view her suspiciously. But she hasn’t suffocated me in my sleep yet, so there’s that.


Do you want to come with, I asked her. Buy me a brownie? she asked. Mo is pretty easy.


It wasn’t quite 80 today, but this thing is a fur coat. This was a Rudolph made before breathability became a thing. So I’m guessing it was over 100 inside easily. After a couple of laps I was drenched, and not in the good way. But. Dave.


For maximum scoring, I wore both the Day-Glo Orange Lightweight Alpaca Racing Beanie (anything is just a wool hat) AND the Texas straw hat that we bought at a truck stop many years ago because we wanted to be tourists. It worked better in Texas because then people assumed Rudolph was a local, and it made him less likely to get nailed by a trigger-happy good ol’ boy. Pro tip: Never eat the reindeer corn.

If you know my history with Rudolph, you will remember that the first (and last) time I tried on the head. We were in Texas and Rudolph had just arrived from Arizona, a souvenir of the old paper sent by my pal CeCe.  I was alone, and I got hopelessly stuck. I spent an extended time pondering whether it was 911-worthy before I finally yanked it off. Learning from that experience, I didn’t put the head all the way on. Upside: Don’t have to wear it to work next week. Downside: Couldn’t see a damn thing. I was able to see through a little slit in the mouth (rather than the eyes in the way it was designed), so all I could see was a small section of the two stripes on the track. Luckily, I’ve trained for this run countless hours. I used to run on this track wearing a bandana over my eyes to restrict my vision in an effort to create a deprivation chamber. Music cranked up, no vision, my own version of Tommy the Pinball Wizard. This was about the same, so it felt great. I strolled a little and trotted a little and repeated. The head was much heavier than I anticipated and I realized that is yet another place where I have no muscles. Did I mention it was hot? I thought a lot about how this would be the best EMS call ever. Dead reindeer in lane 9.

And just as I was thinking screw it, Gumbo and Caroline called on facetime. Caroline was a bit freaked out at first to find herself talking to a reindeer, but within a few minutes she was calling me friend. If you ever need a mid-run boost, I recommend this one highly.

And then back to running. There had been a fast guy in lane 1 and a woman on the infield when we arrived, but they cleared out as soon as the Rudolph costume came out of the box. Coincidence?

The miles flew by. The garmin has a buzzer mode, so I could feel the mile splits. Then just a matter of peeking a couple of times for the .10 mark. Then, after 46 minutes and 39 seconds, I was able to scratch my nose.

I think this photo properly captures the joy that filled my soul as the cool breeze blew across my face. I was slightly annoyed because I had predicted 59:59 and totally blew my bonus points there, but there was no way I was going to sandbag 15 minutes if it meant staying in this thing.

I worried a lot about heat stroking out. There was no breeze, no water and I felt bonky. There was one point where I entertained the notion of barfing, which would have been spectacularly unpleasant. But it ended up fine. The usual look back at how I could’ve gone faster and mentally scheming for the next time. Although not in this lifetime.

As I was slowly regaining the will to live, Liz stopped by, for another bonus Loopster point. I think she dialed a wrong number and was annoyed I was not the bagel delivery guy.

And that was that. We stopped on the way out to pay our respects to the burrowing owls, Mo posed next to the thermometer, and we went off in search of Panda Express which became Subway which became Rolberto’s.

Because after all, if you run in a Rudolph suit, you must have cabeza issues.

Thanks for a fun afternoon, Dave. But I still wish you hadn’t shut down Running Times …

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About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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6 Responses to the Great Rulolph Run of 2017

  1. wanderwolf says:

    No way. It looks way too warm in that suit. But a fun idea! So, how many points did you get? Did you win?

  2. Dave says:

    I’ve just begun looking at all the results, so I can’t make any guarantees.

  3. Gwen says:

    I love this! I should have figured out the FaceTime thing!

    I hope you had Run RunRudolph playing!

  4. pscapp says:

    One time in a Halloween Costume race I got beat by a guy wearing a Fred Flintstone outfit, club and all. Then, there was ” Larry The Lighthouse” in the Philadelphia Marathon a few years back. You can look him up on You Tube – Here’s as real as the red nose on your Rudolph. I beat him. No small feat to beat a guy wearing 6 feet of cardboard and foam core above his head. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and costumes.

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