Celebrating Christmas the Aggro Athlete Way: Holidazzle 2011

When you spend a decent amount of time training with fitness-oriented people, you often get sucked into extra-curricular activities that have an athletic or healthy twist. Like the time I went to my coach’s bachelorette weekend and ended up riding 80 miles through a canyon. Or the time I went to a dinner party that turned out to be gluten, dairy, chicken, various nuts, and egg-free. Or when a couple of weeks ago I did a “holidazzle” run with some of the fittest and fastest females in Seattle.

It’s my fault, really. I accept these invitations knowing full well I’m in over my head and that these speedy chicks are going to mop the floor with this Mediocre Athlete. But I go anyway because I’m a glutton for punishment and because I think of myself as fairly easygoing (probably ingrained from “youngest child syndrome” and having grown up with two older brothers barking at me to get in the back seat without asking my opinion on the intricacies of vehicular seating charts). So, with some trepidation, I accepted Ms. Cathleen Knutson‘s invitation to partake in her annual “Holidazzle” pre-Christmas holiday run through Queen Anne.

The plan was simple enough: dress up in your goofiest Christmas attire and meet at Cathleen’s apartment before running to a bar for some drinks, then running some more throughout Richy Richville before returning to Cathleen’s for food, booze, and merriment. I tried not to think about how I was going to be the slowest chick there (Cathleen, aka Female Rambo, was fresh off her second straight Ironman Kona appearance and regularly kicks my ass in age group placings [meaning she wins our age group while I’m finishing in the middle of the pack on a good day], and a bunch of other females were also Kona veterans or could outswim, bike, and run me any day of the week). Since I was sorely lacking in the “Christmas merriment” clothing, I settled on a glitzy run headband I received as a Secret Santa gift, a red scarf, and my beloved shark mittens, then waved goodbye to Jas and hopped in my car.

Unfortunately, the dreaded Denny traffic ensured that I was super late in getting to Cathleen’s, so by the time I got to her apartment, the girls had already left. I knew that they would end up at the Paragon Bar & Grill towards the early part of the evening, so I looked up the address on my phone. Then I realized I didn’t want to run who knows how many miles with my phone and that I had the bare minimum definition of a pants pocket (thanks for the Lululemon run capris, Teresa!). After some head scratching, I found a clean Subway napkin in my glove box, scrawled the address onto it, shoved my car keys into the tiniest pocket ever, and took off for the bar.

Cathleen assured the girls that this would be a “leisurely” run, but she didn’t account for the fact that some of us would show up late and spazz-sprint through Queen Anne to try and meet up with the main group. I ran up several hills, then would get turned around and double back to where I started. Eventually I came across the sketchiest and rapiest staircase in Seattle and reluctantly made my way up them, sporting my most convincing “You best not mess with me, muggers and/or serial killers!” sneer while simultaneously trying to look where I was going in the nonexistent light to avoid tripping and breaking my neck.

It was exactly like the set of stairs from 'The Exorcist,' except less "warmly lit."

I made it to the top unscathed and continued on, struggling to read my scraggly handwriting on an increasingly crumpled and sweat-absorbed napkin. After a while I got desperate and went into full-24 mode, panicking that the girls had already made it to Paragon and were gone and that I’d now have to make my way back to an apartment I barely had time to familiarize myself with before sprinting through the city. I flagged down an older gentleman.

Me: “Excuse me!”

He looked at me, noting my peculiar run attire (a bright red scarf and shark-shaped wool mittens don’t exactly scream “Trust me, I’m a decent athlete”).

Me: “…uh, do you know how to get to Queen Anne Avenue from here? I’m meeting some girls for a run bar crawl thing…for Christmas.” It was my bad attempt at subtly explaining that I was aware of how dumb I looked and blaming my lapse in judgment and decent fashion sense on the holiday spirit.

He pointed me in the right direction and I proceeded to haul ass to the bar. When I got there, panting, I peered inside and saw precisely zero decked out females knocking back a cold one. To me that meant that I was either early or late. I hedged my bets and went inside.

The waitress asked if I was there for a bar crawl and I excitedly shouted “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!” (or I just said “yes”) and she pointed to a group of guys who were also dressed in holiday gear and were sitting at the bar. Confused, I told her, “I’m waiting for a group of girls, not guys.” One of the men waved me over and said, “You with Cathleen’s group?” and I happily joined them. Apparently they were some friends of Cathleen’s who were doing a male version of the bar run crawl and were planning on meeting Cathleen and Co. at Paragon (so I was early! Thank jeebus).

I relaxed, mopped my brow with the directions sponsored by Subway, and waited for the girls to arrive. One of the guys asked if I was going to order a drink and I agonized over what to get since I didn’t want something too heavy or gross sloshing around in my stomach since I didn’t know how far we were going to run. As I mentally proceeded to check off various spirits and libations, the impatient bartender kept looking at me expectantly until I panicked, went full moron, and ordered a winter beer. Good job, Rebecca, you don’t want to order something heavy so just get a pint of fucking seasonal ale instead. Dumb-ass.

The gaggle of girls arrived and the few I knew were happy to see me. They stuck around for a shot of vodka and punch before taking off, so I only had time to drink a third of my beer before running away with them. (Thankfully, it was a small enough amount that I didn’t feel gross the rest of the night.)

My teammates (and Carly) with shots and stupid me with a huge beer

Naturally, the “leisurely pace” was probably about 8:00/mile, which ain’t exactly zone 1 for me. Nonetheless, I followed the brightly decorated ladies through Queen Anne, gawking at the huge houses and feeling lame that I was the least festively dressed. I ended up sticking close to Coach Bridget because she had lights wrapped around her and served as my Rudolph for most of the run. (She even caught me when I tripped and nearly ate pavement; I rewarded her by panic-grabbing her boob on my way down. Sorry to Bridget’s husband for accidentally getting to second base with her.)

Speaking of Bridget, she’s always good for a dorky soundbyte or two. This night’s gem:

Bridget, running alongside someone: “So…are you married…to somebody?”

I think you can just ask someone if she’s married; you don’t have to qualify it with a “with somebody.” It’s not like you’d get a response like “Yeah, I’m married but it’s to a toaster.”

We eventually made our way to Kerry Park, where we stopped to admire the beautiful view of the cityscape. A man offered to snap photos of us and we rewarded him with a medley of holiday tunes. The crowd of passerbys was amused by the sight of over 20 women dressed like weirdos belting out half-forgotten Christmas song lyrics.

We looked dorky but it was still fun

After our little detour, we made our way back to Cathleen’s apartment, singing as we ran through the decorated Seattle streets and shouting a chipper “Merry Christmas!” to anyone we passed. All in all, we probably ran about 5 1/2 miles. Once we got to Cathleen’s place, we ┬ákicked off our shoes and proceeded to stuff our faces with homemade chili, booze, cheese and crackers, salads, and the most ridiculous spread of holiday cookies and treats I’d ever seen.

And by "kicked off our shoes," I mean "lined them up neatly."

I got to mingle with some speedy athletes and meet some new triathletes, which was fun. One of the cool chicks I met was Carly, who was fresh off racing Ironman Cozumel. We did the standard “sizing each other up by comparing disciplines” pissing contest and I very obviously lost.

Carly: “I’m a terrible runner. Cycling’s my strength.”

Me: “Yeah, I’d have to say cycling’s my best too. I’m not a bad runner but I need to get better running off the bike. Swimming’s the absolute worst for me, though. I’m a terrible swimmer.”

Carly: “Oh, I’m a bad swimmer too!”

Me: “Oh really?”

Carly: “Yeah, I’m so slow.”

Me: “I hear ya. It’s frustrating. What was your swim split at Cozumel?” Maybe we could swim together this coming season–we slowpokes need to unite and stand tall against the fast assholes in the greater Seattle area, amirite?

Carly: “Oh, a 1:06.”


How did you make the swim cutoff with that offensively slow time?!

I responded with an appropriate “Fuck you” and stormed off to get more cookies. “Stupid fast girls,” I mumbled to myself amidst bites of homemade Rice Krispies treats. Despite feeling like a slow fish in a pond full of speedboats, I had a fun time and was glad Cathleen invited me. Maybe in 2012 I’ll step up my game, get a stupider-looking outfit, and try to remember what all 12 Days of Christmas are. Until next December, holidazzle ladies!

2 Responses to “ “Celebrating Christmas the Aggro Athlete Way: Holidazzle 2011”

  1. Cathleen says:

    I love it! 2012 is on, so bring your shark mittens. I’m so glad you could make it this year, fast friend.

  2. teresa says:

    I love all the holiday fun with you! And if I remember correctly someone zoomed passed me uphill at the Seattle half! Speedy girl ­čÖé

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