Reindeer Run 5km – Franklin Lakes, NJ

After nearly 2 ½ years of living in Australia, Fiona and I travelled back to the USA for an American Thanksgiving during the base phase of training for Ironman New Zealand. I had a vision of training extensively each day but that quickly went away. We joined Crunch Fitness in Wayne, NJ for $8.78 that we cancelled 2 weeks later, a yearly fee of $40pps. Wtf? We travelled to NY, PA, NJ, and NYC. We ate everything we wanted completely throwing our mostly vegan diet to the side. The result was a gain of nearly 10 pounds thanks to Cheesecake, Doughnuts, Bagels, Pizza, etc.

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In planning the trip I wanted to seek out a road race. There were 250 races during the 2 weeks  in just these states alone. I ended up finding the Reindeer 5K run located in Franklin Lakes. At $35 for the 5k with free t-shirt and major breakfast, the race seemed to be a good one with its 15 year long history. We signed up a month before and recruited 9 of our family members ages 3 – 41.

Thursday and Friday before the race we ran 16km/10m all around hilly Wayne, NJ. The night before we drank wine and Bailey’s till midnight and woke up at 5am to go to a spinning class. The gym was closed so we drove back home and tried to sleep under RedBull head.

We woke again at 7AM went to Crunch, biked for an hour, went to Sunrise Bagels for a Bagel with Butter and changed back at home. Over into Franklin Lakes past million dollar homes with 4-car garages we ended up at Academy of Most Blessed Sacrament, a church Dad and I always past when working.

We collected our bibs, shirts, met up with our family and headed out to the 6min/mile-6:59/mile pace group amongst the roughly 300ppl that did the 5k. The group was small but didn’t know what I was going to do knowing that I was out of shape and up in weight. But, Fiona and I would run together.

The 1 loop course past multi-million dollar homes in a very highly desired area of New Jersey was fun. There were barely any cars on the open course with Police and Volunteers all over. My ankles and shins were sore early on even with my Compressports and the cold windy air was far different from anything back in Alice Springs, Australia.

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Mile 1: 6:55. Side by side with Fiona, I made a burst to the group ahead and to screw with the ppl around me. HR was at LTHR of 150 and I could still see the cop car; these people were not fast.

Mile 2: 7:01. Into some head wind and slightly climbing from go. The field spread out and no longer can I see the cop car.

Mile 3: 6:43. Down a decent hill running 6:00/mile and knowing only a bit more to go having not known the course.

.1m. 49s total 21:28. Ran with Fi across the line holding hands. She took 4th in her a/g, I took 12th. We went 14/15 out of at least 250 and upwards of 300-400 runners. A bad time but at least it was sub 7min/mile and at least I can honestly say and prove I worked hard from Go to Finish.

We ran back to our 8 year old nephew who took 4th in 31:30, Giana at 10yrs old went 44:30 taking 3rd and getting a medal, Marco, Anthony’s twin brother was somewhere in the mix. Gwen also finished who has done at least 1 half marathon.

Then we ran and cheered along our nieces Brianna-3 and Mikayla-5 in the 1 mile fun run. Brianna wimped out and Mikayla hung to Daddy’s leg the whole time but still managed a sub 14min mile! But Mikayla is set to be a great swimmer in the future so at least she’s good in 1 leg of triathlon!  😉

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P.S. Nick Pictured above is a former Marine who served our country through multiple tours in the Middle East. He was happy with getting it done as well and it really made me happy to know that I was helping him too!

As passionate as we are about triathlon and fitness, I really hope that this has helped to inspire and influence my young family members. There were thousands of others racing that day in at least 13 other races in N. NJ. I never knew of this as a child. Introducing all sports to our youth and encouraging them no matter the diversity should always be displayed.

My sister didn’t understand the point of this race but it was hard to convey what it actually means. Goals and personal success are paramount in life. Without it, whats the point in living? My running career started after a Cruise gorgefest in 2008. Since then I’ve run all types of races, all over the world. It has brought me some of the greatest satisfaction in my life and has helped me inspire others. It’s critical to highlight to today’s youth that Anything is Possible, and that through a goal and purpose, satisfaction, joy, and fantastic memories are achievable throughout all stages in life…. Later at the awards ceremony the entire family clapped and stood in amazement at a 90year old who also finished the 5k,… and earned a medal for his personal achievement.

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