Race Recap: 2016 Santa Hustle Indy 5K

Even though this is my 2016 Santa Hustle race recap with a race date of December 18, 2016, the full recap had a beginning back in the summer.

If you’ve visited here before, you may have seen mention of my knee arthritis diagnosis.  The problems started after my Chicago half marathon the end of May.  It threw my whole running world into a spin.  What started as a little pain that I thought was just overuse and needed to rest became a diagnosis (after 2 doctor opinions and x-rays and MRI) that I have arthritis in both knees.  It just happened to be exhibiting in one knee.

Prognosis:  Arthritis.  Bad knees.  Learn to manage it.  Which has meant drastically reducing my running mileage and also changing some race plans.

I had registered for the Santa Hustle Half Marathon as soon as registration opened up. Which was early June.  (I had also registered for a November half marathon on January 1, 2016.  I had to change that to the 5K.)  I’ve done the Santa Hustle as long as they’ve been doing the half in Indianapolis (2012 to be exact!).  We’ve also taken advantage of the discount rate to stay at the JW Marriott even though I’m only about a 30 minute drive away.   

2016 was supposed to be no different.  I registered for the half and booked our room. All in June.  Before doctor appointments and frustrating diagnosis.

2016 Santa Hustle Indy Recap where winter said no thank you to the half marathon. @santahustle Share on X

Ok, so fast forward.  I was hopeful that I might be able to get back to the half marathon distance by the end of the year, but it just wasn’t to be.  I’m back to running, but my knee only handles about 3-5 miles at a time and no runs with less than 24 hours of recovery in between.  So I’m doing a lot of cross training and stretching, etc.

I made the decision to back off to the 5K in November.  The race organizers were happy to accommodate my request.  I was a bit bummed, but I was thankful I was able to at least do that.

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  Running is my favorite thing to do.  I always looked forward to this event.  I load my ipod (yes, I still have a little ipod nano that I use!  Don’t judge me!  lol!) with Christmas music and enjoy 2 of my favorite things.

And then Winter happened in Indiana.  Last year at this event, it was so warm that I wore a tank top for the half.  This year, we had cold temps, snow, and ice to the point that on Friday before the Sunday race, organizers cancelled the half and committed to only the 5K.  All participants had the option to run the 5K as well as claim their half marathon medal and do the half as a virtual event on a day when the weather was more cooperative.

2016 Santa Hustle Indy 5K race recap. What a difference a year makes! @santahustle Share on X

Can I admit that this decision made me feel a tiny bit better?  I confess that skipping this half was a bit discouraging for me.  It’s been a favorite the last 5 years!  So now that it wasn’t even an option, it made the day a bit easier.

We stayed downtown on Saturday night and visited the State Museum that is across the street from the hotel.  We ate at TGI Friday’s (another ritual!).  The 5K didn’t start until 9:30AM.  I waited until 9:10 to leave the hotel and walk over to Lucas Oil Stadium for the start of the race.  This was the coldest and most slippery part of the day!  I safely arrived at the start line about eight minutes before the start.

2016 santa hustleIt was cold and windy, but I was layered up.  The temperature was 17 with a “feels like 2” reading.  The course was out and back and seemed to be over in no time.  My mantra is always “The faster I run, the faster I get done”.   On this day and in these conditions, I did my best to follow my mantra!  I finished in 28:00 flat and in the top 10 in my age group.  No complaints.  Certainly not my fastest 5K, but I’ll take it!  I grabbed my medal and a few treats to take back to the hotel and just kept moving.

I wrapped up the morning with a hot shower and a Starbucks and later watched our Indianapolis Colts win big over the Minnesota Vikings.  2016 santa hustle indy

It ended up being a good day and another good memory on Santa Hustle day!




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  1. Nice job on that finish time! Glad you were able to turn this into a win. I sure hope you get on top of that arthritis for 2017. It shouldn’t limit you, if you train properly, right?

    1. Thanks! I sure hope so Wendy! I think it’s all about figuring out the mileage I can handle and the time between runs. I really think that is the biggest thing….I need 24-48 hours between runs. Not that I don’t do anything else, but it needs to be bike and/or weight lifting. Still figuring it all out.

  2. I was living in Indiana for six years, up until September this year when I moved back to my homestate of California. I’m glad I’m missing out on the weather out there, it is not my thing lol. The past three winters before this one were hard enough for me.

    I’m sorry about your knees and the diagnosis. I have had a joint problem since I was a preteen and know how limiting and frustrating it can be. I love running but it’s something I can only do carefully. I have a half marathon coming up in May, the Tinker Bell Half in Disneyland and it’ll be my second year doing it. Then I hope to do a full marathon in November but we’ll see how that goes. Your story is so inspiring to me!

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments Bonnie! I so want to do a race in Disney. I’ve never been to California. I’ll look forward to hearing about your races this year! Merry Christmas!

  3. That sucks about the weather, but that’s really cool that they kept the 5k and let runners do the other part as a virtual event!! Great job on finishing in the top 10 despite all that cold!!

    Merry Christmas! <3

  4. So sorry to hear about your knees. That’s so frustrating as a runner. I’m a sprinter/middle distance person but got into long distance about 20 years ago. After training for a marathon, I realized my knees aren’t made to handle that kind of mileage. A couple weeks before the marathon my right knee started swelling to the point I couldn’t bend it. I did start and finish the marathon but with the aspirations I had. I stick with 5ks and 1/2 when I get the chance.
    I’m thrilled you were able to run the 5k and are able to continue enjoying something you love so much!

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