Jingle All the Way 8k Race Recap

Yesterday morning, I ran the Jingle All the Way 8k! It’s an annual race put on by local running store Pacers, and I broke out my festive finest for the occasion, obviously.


This race will go down in the books as the time I set a new PR while wearing a Santa hat. ;)


After the Richmond Marathon, I decided it would be fun to get another race on the calendar to keep me motivated and give me something to look forward to. I’ve done the Jingle All the Way race in the past (it was actually a 10k when I did it back in 2010) so I emailed my running buddies a few weeks ago to see if anyone was interested in joining me for the adventure. My friends Mary and Karen were in!

We all met downtown bright and early for the race. When we arrived, it had started to snow. Hmmm. Why did we think this was a good idea again? ;)



The race was well organized and we had no problems getting our bibs, our shirts, hitting the porta-potty, and heading to the starting line. Karen’s boyfriend, Jeremy, came out to cheer us on, which was awesome. Thank you to him for getting all these cool photos of us in action – and for coming out in such freezing weather!


Mary headed on ahead and Karen and I lined up together around the 8 minute mile group. We decided to run together and didn’t have any real goals besides just aiming for a fast clip.

An 8k is almost exactly 5 miles (4.97 miles); I knew from a glance the night before at my race recaps and PRs page that the only other 8k I’d done was the St. Patrick’s Day 8k a few years ago, which I finished in 40:50 for an average pace of 8:13 minute miles. My 5 miler PR, on the other hand, was from last year’s Alexandria 5 Mile Turkey TrotI finished in 38:34, average pace of 7:43 minute/miles.


I haven’t been doing much fast (for me) running lately – during marathon training my goal was obviously longer, slower runs, and since the marathon my legs just haven’t wanted to move that quickly. And Karen has been working on coming back from a knee injury (some of you will recall she was originally going to run the marathon with me but had to drop out to heal up). So, we figured we would just see how our legs felt and go with it. #1 goal: have fun & don’t freeze. :)


The course was nice and flat and fast, taking us around the US Capitol and along the east side of the National Mall. Karen and I settled in at a nice clip, chatting some to catch up on life. When our first mile split popped up on my watch, I was surprised. 7:56! Nice. It felt fast but comfortable. Let’s keep it up, I said, and Karen agreed.

We first spotted Jeremy around the half way point and smiled for the camera. By this point, we were warm and feeling good!



We forged on, loving the flat course and simply going by how our legs felt. The miles flew by and we saw Jeremy again about a half mile or so from the finish. We were both feeling a little tired by this point, but we knew we only had to keep it up for a little while longer! We had unintentionally sped up quite a bit – every time a mile split popped up on my watch it was better than the last!


To the guy behind me: I’m sorry for posting these awkward photos of you on the internet.



Around the corner we go!


We really pushed it the last mile, even though our legs were getting tired, and we blazed through the finish. Whew! What an unexpectedly great race!



  • Mile 1: 7:56
  • Mile 2: 7:46
  • Mile 3: 7:33
  • Mile 4: 7:31
  • Mile 5: 7:16 (!)

My watch was a little off (pictured below): our official finish time was 38:13; average pace: 7:42 minute/miles. We blew my old 8k PR out of the water, and beat my 5 mile PR, too, I’d say, even though this was only 4.97 miles. ;)


I was super excited about our negative splits! Lesson of the day: we can run faster than we think we can. We just have to try. :) Thanks for keeping me inspired out there, Karen!


Mary crushed the race, too – she finished in just over 35 minutes! Speed demon. :) We toasted our victories with some celebratory hot apple cider. +3 points to the race for having this. Yum!


After we had caught our breath and rehydrated, we said goodbye to Karen and Jeremy and Mary and I headed towards the metro, enjoying all the fun costumes everyone was wearing. We spotted a guy wearing a red bathrobe, white tights, and a ridiculous hat, and I suddenly realized: wait, I know him! It was my good friend Jimmy from college study abroad in Australia! We hadn’t seen each other since my wedding last fall because we suck at keeping in touch, so we ended up going to grab brunch after the race together. Such a random and fun coincidence!


What did you guys get into over the weekend? Anyone else do any fun winter-y races?


  1. 1

    Congrats on the PR!

  2. 2

    Love your outfit! So christmas-y!! and congrats on your new pr!!!

  3. 3

    Great PR! What a fun race to PR in as well! I did a Jingle Bell 5k Run this weekend with the group that I coach for running. It was so much fun but very icy!

  4. 4

    Woah, you are a speed demon these days. I swear running in cold weather helps too! Were those regular red tights under your skirt? I’m running a holiday 10k in an elf costume this Saturday. Hopefully I can PR as well!

    • 5

      Yeah, just normal red tights! They were actually rather comfy. I wore normal running socks over them, too. :) Good luck on Saturday!!

  5. 6

    Your costume is fantastic and what an awesome time!! Congrats on the PR!

    I did a Jingle 5K yesterday and missed a 5K PR by 3 seconds! If I hadn’t had multiple wardrobe malfunctions I would have nailed it!

  6. 8
    Roadrunner says

    Very impressive! Awesome race!

  7. 9

    nice job on the pr!!! and i love the festive running gear :)

  8. 10

    Nice race! I love your outfit!

  9. 11

    Great job! I am loving the red tights … and I’m impressed your Santa hat stayed on the whole time :)

    • 12

      I had a stroke of genius and cut a hole in the back of it for my ponytail to come through! It held it on pretty well – slipped a little at the end but not bad. :)

  10. 13

    Congrats on your PR! How fast were you when you started running? I did my first half marathon on Saturday and used one of your old plans as a basis for building mine. I am curious how much improvement you’ve had as a runner, and how long it took.

  11. 15

    Wow that is awesome…. Great job on your race! I LOVE your outfit, you look adorable!

    Actually Speaking of the cold and snow… I have been on a quest to find a good winter running jacket… do you know of any good ones?

    Thank you!
    Sara :)

  12. 17

    So speedy!!! It’s been great reading about your running progress. Super impressive!

  13. 19

    Congrats on the PR!!! All the training is paying off for speed as well without you even realising! LOVE the festive outfit!

  14. 20

    You’re so speedy!

    I took my dog to a just for fun dog show!

  15. 21

    Congrats on a PR! I love those red tights!!

  16. 22

    Haha clearly the guy behind you didn’t get the memo to say ‘cheese!’ ;) congrats on the PR, santa hat and all!

  17. 23

    That looks like so much fun! My 8k got postponed to this upcoming weekend. We can’t handle wintery weather in Williamsburg!

  18. 24

    Love the outfit! And you really did get some awkward photos of that guy behind you. Oops! :) I ran a marathon this past weekend, and dressed all holiday-like for it – even though it was cold.

  19. 26

    Congrats on the PR! You are getting soooo speedy!

  20. 27

    I love your festive running outfit- congrats on the PR!

  21. 28

    Wow…congrats! I know you’re not used to too much snow in D.C. but somehow it seems fitting for a holiday race. Loved the holiday-inspired outfits by the way!

  22. 29

    This looks so fun! I loved running local races, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the DC running scene as soon as I have a regular paycheck. Although I have to say, I planned to run by myself Sunday and totally stayed at home to enjoy the snow from inside. :) Congratulations on the PR!

  23. 31

    I think the secret is in the Santa hat! Great race! ;-)

  24. 33

    Something to be said about running in a santa hat! Congrats on the pr. Looks like a fun run!

  25. 34

    Congrats on the awesome race and new PR! I ran a half this weekend called the Happy Holidays Half MerryThon and thought that was a really cute name! It was one of the prettiest courses I’ve run, too!

  26. 36

    I did that race too! A PR for me as well, but not as fast as you. The funny thing is, I totally saw you, but didn’t realize it was you! I remember admiring your tights and running skirt (that sounds super creepy :)). It was a fun race, and the first time I ever ran in the snow!

    • 37

      Haha that’s not creepy at all – how funny! I’m pretty sure fun colored tights and a ruffled skirt made me run faster. ;) Glad you had fun out there, too!

  27. 38

    Oh that poor guy behind you — he was hurting!! Congrats on a PR!

    Love the outfit. It’s Christmasy but also practical. Btw – can you send some cool running weather my way?? It has been ridiculously HOT here in Orlando and I am SOOOO over it.

  28. 39
    Jenny Paxton says

    I did the race and set a PR too (must have been the cold and snow!) Must have been behind you for some of the race as I have that same skirt and remember thinking what a great idea to do the red tights with it!

    • 40

      Nice – congrats on your PR! :) I love this skirt – I’ve worn it for a lot of my half marathons and also for my recent marathon! So comfy and cute.

  29. 41

    Congrats on the PR!
    Jimmy’s costume is hilarious!

  30. 42

    Congrats on the PR! Love the outfit too, always fun to do costume/festive races, brings a whole new aspect to it!!!

  31. 43
    Gaye McGrath says

    Can I just say how much I love your blog! Been reading it close to a year now, I’m a west coaster and Love DC so seeing your sunrise runs along the mall give me a thrill. Anyway, just really stopped by to say congrats on the run. I was supposed to do the Jingle Bell 5K on Sunday but ended up sick and decided it wouldn’t be a good move, bummer as it was a dry day in Portland.

  32. 45

    Awesome finish time! The photos are GREAT! So candid and crystal clear. I always enjoy your blog posts. They are always so cheerful and the photos are always lovely as well.

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