PRR Firecracker 5K Race Recap

July 8, 2014

July 8, 2014

I had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend from beginning to end.  The holiday started off with a bang (pun intended) on Friday morning as I ran Potomac River Running’s Firecracker 5K.  I’ve grown fond of running holiday races (Thanksgiving, New Years, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day) – they are usually shorter distances, fun, and so festive.  


Image: Potomac River Running Races 

Packet Pickup

Just like their New Year’s Day 5K, PRR offered race day packet pickup. Driving westbound after work, during rush hour, on a holiday weekend? No thank you!  Luckily you could pick up your bib and shirt on race morning – I was there at 6:30am on the dot. Doesn’t the flag look beautiful hanging in the pavilion? 


Props to their shirt designer(s) – the technical tees are always so nice. 


Race Goals (“A” least probable and “C” most probable)

This past April I ran a 31:28 or 10:09 minutes/mile PR at the B.A.A 5K. As some of you may know, one of my 2014 goals is to break 30:00 in a 5K. 

  • A – Break 30:00 (pace of 9:39 min/mile) 
  • B – Break 31:00 (pace of 9:58 min/mile) 
  • C – Break 32:00 (pace of 10:18 min/mile).  

Realistically, I thought my “A” and “B” goals would not be within reach this weekend.  I had not done much speedwork and heat + Jennifer do not play nicely with each other.  Luckily…..

PRR Firecracker 5K

It started pouring Friday morning! By the time the race started at 8:00am, the rain had stopped. It definitely helped cool down the air – at that point I decided I would try for a PR.  

Sea of red, white and blue. At this point I was glad I came earlier to pick up my packet.  I hung out in my car while it rained. 


I spy… Josh Duggar.  I did some research, and apparently the eldest Duggar son and his family live in the Washington, DC area (in case you were curious.. he finished in 40:06). 


Lining up for the start. 


The course took runners around Reston Town Center. Scenery wise it was nothing too spectacular.  There were also rolling hills. 


Prior to the 5K I warmed up for a half a mile – a first for me really (I know.. bad Jennifer… when I run longer distances… my first few miles are my warm up, a habit that will be changing).  And you know what? It helped! My legs were not dying for the first mile. 

  • Mile 1 – 9:34 really?!? 
  • Mile 2 – 9:37 woah under a 9:39 pace, can I do this?!? 

Then someone between miles 2 and 3 my strides began to shorten.  I was hurting! I knew if I pushed myself even more, I would be making a quick trip to the nearest trash can.  

  • Mile 3 – 10:00 and change its okay

The last tenth of a mile felt like it went on and on. Usually I have enough energy to sprint to the finish line, but my legs felt like lead.  I finished at 30:57, a 30+ second PR and besting my “B” goal.  I was pretty happy with the results and know where I can improve (see mile 3).  In about 8 months, I’ve dropped 9 minutes in the 5K 🙂 


Cute commemorative pin given out at packet pickup. 


Final Thoughts 

  • A fun way to kick off the holiday. 
  • Live music and food following the event.
  • Best perk of PRR races? Free race photos! 
  • Easy to find and free parking.
  • Potomac River Running made a financial donation to USO-Metro and also organized a food drive. 
  • Very family friendly – there was a kid’s fun run that included a medal. 
  • T-shirt and pins are always nice. 
  • Smallish race with about 2,500 runners/walkers. 
  • Thank you volunteers! 

This was my third PRR race and certainly not my last! A snapshot of my post race breakfast. 


Do you like running races on holidays? 

Did you/have you ever run a Fourth of July race?

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