2 weeks ago I happened to discover that there was a race through SeaWorld set for April 6. It was a 5k that round through the park, before the park was even open. For years I had been doing a similar race through the San Diego Zoo and it was my favorite race in San Diego. Something about being in the park before opening hours was exciting and made for memorable experiences as most of the animals were more alert and awake in those early morning hours. And there were animal encounters where they brought some of the animals out of their enclosures. So I thought the "Pole to Pole 5k" would be a fun experience Thatbaby would really enjoy.
The only problem was, I already had a playdate scheduled for the same day with Little Parrot and BA. I shot out a quick email to the other moms to see if they wanted to change "playdate" into a "race at SeaWorld date." They were both in. When I told Thatbaby he was going to do a race with Little Parrot and BA, he was quick to add in "And Lexus." Every.Time. So another email to another mom and Lexus was ready to join the boys for a race.
|Seriously - look how happy my kid was to see his buddy. Who he had seen 2 days earlier at school.|
We managed to arrive in 2 groups, which was purely coincidence, but made it very easy to gather our little ragamuffin group together. From the start, the kids were fascinated with the fish.
We got them all bundled up in their strollers, even the reluctant, non-stroller loving ones (peer pressure for the win!) and started the race.
We made our way through a very quiet park, stopping to check out some friendly characters, and many of the exibits. We saw the whales, dolphins, rays, and flamingos.
The kids vacillated between contently riding in their strollers, and wanting to run run run.
And of course, all that running makes you thirsty, so they loved stopping for water breaks. Thatbaby continued to ask for WATER BREAK or MILK BREAK for a couple days after the race.
I'm actually really proud of our little crew. They ran much more than I was expecting them too, and didn't start getting antsy until around 2.5 miles. When Thatbaby and BA kept planning escape routes and running off course, which resulted in them both getting imprisoned in the stroller.
I had spoken with one of the coordinators during packet pick-up about the race and she said that last year the last person crossed at 8:55, 1 hour and 25 minutes after the race started. I told her that would probably be us. AND IT WAS! At 1 hour and 25 minutes our rag tag little band crossed the finish and received our medals.
The post-race festivities were fantastic. Hot breakfast burritos, muffins, apples, bananas, coffee, vitamin water and regular water. The kids went crazy for the fruit, and the adults were happy to munch on burritos with our coffee.
The race included free entry into the park for the day, so after breakfast they rounded us out of the backstage area so we could go in through the front gates. The boys loved the new Explorer's Reef where they could stick their hands in to pet sharks or have little fishies kiss their fingers.
And the Sesame Street Zone was a big hit with kid-sized rides.
We explored some more of the park, but around noon all the kids were starting to wear out. It had been a very busy morning for them! We grabbed some lunch and headed out. Thatbaby was asleep before we hit the freeway. Overall I think this was a fantastic race. Very well run and organized, and it was nice to be in an uncrowded park, taking your time, when you have a small child with you. The kids had a fantastic time, and a free ticket to stay and play after was a nice addition.