My family has a bit of a dark secret. I was kind of hoping nobody would find out but alas, it was recently brought to light.

Ugly sweaters. The theme-ier, more appliquéd and sparkly, the better! Bonus points for shoulder pads.

You see, both my mom and sister worked in elementary schools and so their closets were full of these dirty little secrets. Halloween sweaters, cat sweaters, teacher-themed sweaters, animal sweaters, autumn-themed sweaters, Easter sweaters and the grand-daddies of them all – their coveted Christmas sweaters. 

Now even I will admit that back in the day, these crazy sweaters were pretty cute. After all, the kids always loved looking at them whenever my mom or sister wore any of their prized sweaters to school. Sometimes, they even had to negotiate over who would get to wear a particular sweater on a given holiday. Having just the perfect sweater on a special day was pretty important business!

Anyhow, those days have gone by and most of the sweaters have been (thankfully) donated or thrown away. Unbeknownst to me however, my mom hung onto a handful of her Christmas sweaters and she eagerly offered them to me when she saw that I was planning to run Solana’s 2nd Annual Ugly Sweater Trail Run!

Our dirty little family secret was out in the open. I happily chose one of the now defunct holiday sweaters and prepared my outfit for the run…

My ugly sweater outfit was much more coordinated this year than last...

My ugly sweater outfit was much more coordinated this year than last…

I also had to flex my running costume muscles a bit to help Solana with her own ugly sweater. She had her eye on a tree-themed get up so I grabbed a handful of safety pins and created this beauty for her…

It doesn’t look like much down on the floor but just wait until you see it on...

It doesn’t look like much down on the floor but just wait until you see it on…

We had unfortunately just gotten our first snowfall of the year and as usual, a bit of snow wreaks havoc on our city. Despite being -11 degrees Celsius when I left the house on Sunday, the roads were totally dry and thankfully not very slippery. Phew.

The run was being hosted at a community hall on the North Shore with a 4.5 km lollipop loop just steps out the door. I picked up my good friend Candice and by the time we got there, the festivities were in full swing.

Photo courtesy of Seann Sheriland

Photo courtesy of Seann Sheriland

This run has a pretty unique premise in that you could show up anytime between 8:00 am and noon and run as many loops of the course as you wished. The only rules were that you must log in and out after each loop and that your final loop had to be started by 12:30. The bonus was that after each loop, you got to roll a big dice and potentially win a prize but you only got one roll loop.

Admittedly, I kind of delayed heading out of the warm community hall and out into the cold but after sipping a coffee and visiting with friends, we all agreed we’d head out at 9:00 am. I knew it was going to be fine once we got moving but I pretty reluctantly put on my gloves, ear and neck warmers and grabbed my water before heading out.

Photo courtesy of Greg Herringer

Photo courtesy of Greg Herringer

It was definitely cold but the slightly uphill start took care of that pretty quickly. Despite being so cold it was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day and with the snow on the trail it was winter fun-running perfection. My friend Candice is running the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler in San Francisco this weekend so she didn’t want to take any chances and my other friend Marijke was feeling much like me and was just out for a leisurely run. We all took it super easy, made sure we didn’t slip or fall and trotted along on our first loop with a few others.

photo 1-2

When we got back, none of us were winners at the dice game so we figured we needed to go out and do another loop. In the end I was glad that we did because just under 10km was the perfect distance for this sunny Sunday. I was pretty happy to get back to the lodge the second time around to enjoy more warm bevies and sample the entries into the Christmas baking contest. Yum.

Running man cookies by Craig Slagel of RunGoApp!

Running man cookies by Craig Slagel of RunGoApp!

And what do you know, this time I even rolled a winner in the dice game!

Photo courtesy of Seann Sheriland

Photo courtesy of Seann Sheriland

Even though the Ugly Sweater Trail Run was definitely an organized event, it was by no means a ‘race’ for me. My main goal was to dress up like an idiot and enjoy a few km in the snow with good friends and that mission was definitely accomplished. What else was accomplished was a nice donation to the North Shore Search and Rescue for which this event would be donating their proceeds.

photo 2-2

In the end, we ran just under 10km in a total running time of about 1:50 mins. That should give you a pretty good idea of how many slippery areas we felt we needed to walk in order to make sure none of us wiped out!

Anyhow, the event was a blast as was to be expected and I felt pretty honoured to have been given a couple of my mom’s prized Christmas sweaters to revive to their former glory, even if only for just a few hours. Hee hee. I am also very proud that this event raised $500 for the North Shore Search and Rescue.

If you want to run or be involved with the 3rd Annual Ugly Sweater Trail Run, contact Solana by visiting her blog.

My good friend Marijke and I in my mom’s sweaters!

My good friend Marijke and I in my mom’s sweaters!

They’ve both been washed and carefully put away however, all ready for next year. 

I’m linking up this post with the #TuesdaysontheRun linkup today even though their topic is ‘Ways I stayed active on Thanksgiving’. The great thing about this linkup is that you can choose to follow the writing prompt or simply linkup ANY running-related post. Since I’m Canadian and celebrated Thanksgiving weeks ago, I’m still going to link up this post anyway. Enjoy! 

Tuesdays on the Run

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  1. Janelle @ Run With No Regrets    

    Oh my gosh this looks like SO much fun! Now I’m getting flashbacks of my teachers that used to wear those sweaters, haha! Your photos are beautiful! Where can I find an ugly Christmas sweater?? I may need to find a race to sign up in!
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted…Thanksgiving Weekend Recap: Yummy and Healthy!My Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      Most of my friends visited their local thrift shops and added things to their sweaters to ‘ugly’ them up! You could really do any Christmas run or Santa Shuffle and you’d fit right in wearing an ugly sweater!

  2. Rebecca    

    LOL love it!!

    Everyone needs a good ugly Christmas sweater!
    Rebecca recently posted…SometimesMy Profile

  3. Lacey@fairytalesandfitness    

    I never heard of such a run. What a fun idea. At least everyone was warm. Cute pics!
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Reindeer Racer in YOUR townMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      Yeah it was pretty great! We have other ugly sweater runs in Vancouver but this is the only trail run. :)

  4. April at RunTheGreatWideSomewhere    

    What a fun race/run! It’s usually too warm here for any kind of sweater run, but I love the idea! And that picture of you all running in the snow is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for linking up with us today!

    1. slowfastnik    

      Well thanks for stopping by! It was definitely fun but just think – an ugly Christmas sweater would be even uglier if you tore the sleeves off to make it cooler! Ha ha.

  5. Kristen    

    This sounds like such a fun race! We need something like this in Anchorage! We have only one Christmas-themed race here and I’m really thinking about running it just so I can dress up in the ugliest sweater I can find! Last year I did the Ugly Sweater Run in Philadelphia and I dressed up like a Christmas tree like your friend. It’s so much fun running a Christmas themed race!
    Kristen recently posted…Race Recap: Skinny Raven Turkey TrotMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      Yeah I’m a huge fan of running costumes and such so doing a Christmas-themed one is right up my alley! Sounds like you need to plan one for Anchorage!

  6. Katie@Run Wild in Alaska    

    That sounds awesome! Didn’t you get super hot wearing a sweater though? I feel like I would sweat to death!
    Katie@Run Wild in Alaska recently posted…A Lake All To Myself: Weekly RecapMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      You would think I’d get really hot but it was actually about -10 degrees celsius out that morning! I actually had on 3 other shirts under that sweater and was STILL chilly!

  7. Crystal    

    Love it! Red Deer is too small to have an ugly sweater run. It looks like it was a lot of fun!
    Crystal recently posted…Guest post: Paul does #RWRunStreakMy Profile

    1. slowfastnik    

      It really was! I’m heading to Red Deer in February for a wedding, dare I ask what the weather is typically like that time of year?

  8. Gillian Light    

    That sounds like my type of run! I wish we had similar ones over here, as well as some snow to get out there and run in! As much as I love Summer, our colder days are fading now as it heats up in the Southern Hemisphere and I find it so hard to motivate myself to run in the heat!

    1. slowfastnik    

      Oh yes, I’m terrible in the heat. As yucky as cold and rain is, I find I perform better in cooler conditions than scorching hot ones!

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