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
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)
- 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.
- 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?