Let’s get UGLY, Philly!

Last month Jess and her fam took to the San Francisco streets (or well, close by) for the Ugly Sweater Run. This past weekend I got to have my very own experience! Cold temps, inflatables, and the most awesome ugliest sweaters imaginable: it’s the Philadelphia Ugly Sweater Run.


Jay and I arrived at 6:30 for an early morning packet pickup. There was no line and we got a fantastic parking spot. Score! Usually I’m a fan of doing packet pickup before the day of the race but this was super laid-back and easy. While waiting in our warm car we got the chance to check out a lot of ugly sweaters of all different varieties.



About a half hour before the start we wander toward the start area. Techno Christmas carols were pumping and there were photo opportunities for all. This run partners with Toys for Tots and many runners brought unwrapped toys to place by the inflatable Christmas tree.

usr2Soon we found all the members of our team, The Ho Ho Hos (I giggled good and hard when we came up with that name) and got the obligatory “we’re in it to win it” picture.

Brandi, Jen, Megan, me, Cyanne, and Alissa

Brandi, Jen, Megan, me, Cyanne, and Alissa

Seriously business runners, right here! I’ve know Brandi, Jen, and Megan for awhile now – we met in Stroller Strides and “graduated” to running races together through the past couple of years. And I finally got to meet Cyanne and her friend, Alissa! Team Sparkle in the hizzy!

We chatted for a couple of minutes about our race strategies (um, none) before heading to the start line, which was a wave start. It was chilly so we all wanted to get moving to get the blood flowing.



Soon enough we were off!


The course was pretty dense at the start and it lasted for about the first half mile or so. I had told Jay that I’d stick with him throughout the race. He’s got (stupid) plantar fasciitis and I’ve been dealing with some (stupid) foot pain of my own so we were taking it nice and easy. Cyanne stuck with us too, which was rad because we got to chat throughout the entire run and it just confirmed what I already knew through our Twitter/blogger friendship – she’s awesome!

Of course, we took all the pictures.


The point of this picture was to get the snow. I failed. Totally. But Cyanne is adorable regardless.

Thanks to Cyanne for this pic!

Thanks to Cyanne for this pic! (She didn’t fail!)

About a mile and a half into the run, we came across the water and hot chocolate station! We chose water but it seemed like there were a fair share of people getting hot chocolate to warm up.


And we came across a little Christmas tree going for a ride in a wagon. Because hey, why the heck not?


Two miles in, we entered the “enchanted forest”. To say we were enchanted would be putting it mildly!


Three enchanted ugly sweater runners are we!

Sadly, we had to leave the forest and continue on our way to the finish line. The Ugly Sweater Run website says that the run is “approximately” 3.1 miles. That is accurate. We crossed through Smith Memorial Arch and were surprised to see the finish line just ahead!


Jay's "what the what, we're at the finish already?" face.

Jay’s “what the what, we’re at the finish already?” face.

After the finish, there was the post run party, which included Sam Adam’s beer and cider and hot chocolate. There was a crazy long line for the beer area but we figured out where the secret second line was! Woo to the hoo!

usr13We found the rest of the Ho Ho Hos and chatted about our romp through the park. After sharing a post race drink, toasting to our successes as rocking the ugly attire, and warming our hands by the fake fireplace, we were ready to really warm ourselves in the heat of our cars.

Last year I had committed to running 12 races in 2012. I didn’t make the same goal for 2013 but when I got home from the Ugly Sweater Run, I realized that I’ve completed 13 races in 2013. What’s next? Continue my run streak for the rest of December and think of my goals for 2014. I’d like to be more specific this year. What are some of your goals for the upcoming year? Have you met Twitter/blogger friends in person?

13 thoughts on “Let’s get UGLY, Philly!

    • I’ve seen a couple of the same genre (Running of the Santas and the like) around here – maybe there’s another that won’t conflict with work? It definitely got us into the holiday spirit – I was ready to decorate when I got home. 😉

  1. I LOVE THIS RECAP! I’m going to do one tomorrow! It was the first time my husband planned on fully running an entire race, so I didn’t stop for the usual pictures along the course. He keeps swearing that it was less than 3.1 (I agree, but not sure how long it was) but I’m still really proud of him for running the whole thing! I’ve never had so much fun at a race! I think it’s because I’m obsessed with Christmas and there was so much Christmas spirit everywhere. I’ll totally do that again next year!

    • I look forward to reading your recap! My husband did a great job with the running – he was actually able to do a lot more than I expected, especially with the foot pain. Once that really kicked in, we started with the intervals. However, if he knew the course was short, he might have been able to just push through!

      I didn’t wear my watch but others that I was with did (or used Runkeeper) and they said it was 2.6. But hey, it was FUN and if you go in with the attitude that it’s first and foremost, a fun race, then it works out well!

      We’ll have to meet up at another race in the area. The Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k is a great one in March!

  2. The creativity of the ideas for running experiences boggles my mind. I’ll bet your ugly sweater belonged to your mom. I had a similar one. They were not considered ugly in our time.
    Thanks for another well written blog.
    Vic’s mom, and yours too, if you’ll have me as an extra.

    • Hi Mom Barb! Of course I’ll have you! My ugly sweater also belonged to a person on ebay – I got it specifically for this run. And I rather like it, I might just have to wear it again!

  3. Who knew? I could be wealthy now if I saved my “vintage” sweaters. It’s cold right now, so any sweater is useful. Do you remember the sweaters Bill Cosby wore on his show in the 80’s? We all thought they looked just fine then. Stay warm, with that cute hat as well.

  4. Great recap! And for all the shout outs 😉 Youre pretty awesome yourself. It was so much fun. I’m definitely in for more spring races and (whisper it, Philly Marathon) in the fall. And the occassional random run, cider drinking, or just about anything 🙂

    • YES. More running, cider drinking, drinking drinking, or even *whispers* the Philly Marathon. Next year might just be the year.

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