Haddon Heights Firecracker 5K Race Recap (21:18)

Happy holiday weekend!

I like to celebrate the 4th of July the way I celebrate most holidays: with a 5K race. Each year, I like to try a new 4th of July-themed race. The Haddon Heights Firecracker 5K is a popular race I’d never run before. Since it’s close by and my friend Hollie signed up, I decided to sign up too.

Spoiler: There were no actual firecrackers at this race.

I’m usually most excited about running my next 5K race in the hours following my previous 5K race. All the pain has subsided and only endorphins remain. As my next race approaches, however, my legs start to feel heavy and I preemptively start to formulate excuses for why I might possibly not race well.

Oh, the humidity forecast looks terrible!

I’ve run one extra training mile this week! Clearly my legs will be tired.

I PR-ed last weekend so obviously this weekend I’ll need to take it easy.

I only race to “work out,” anyway.

All of the aforementioned excuses have some basis in reality. It has been insufferably muggy. I have slightly increased my mileage. You can’t run your best race every weekend and, at the end of the day, all that really counts is getting your butt out of bed at 6:30 on a [Saturday] morning and giving it your best shot.

This morning, I met Hollie at Hoff’s park around 7:20. We picked up our bibs and went for an easy 1.5 mile warm-up. I really like getting in a good warm-up before I race. I don’t think it actually helps me run faster, but it does help me feel more relaxed before the gun goes off.

At this race, there were a lot of fast runners battling it out for the top three male/female cash prizes. I was just hoping to stay in age category award contention because I hate not winning a prize of some sort. (I’m such a big baby.)

My first mile was a struggle. I actually felt fast (maybe a little too fast) but it was nearly impossible to move past a wall of high school runners in front of me. They literally took up the entire street. Hollie and I were trying to dart around them to no avail. So we just creeped behind them until the pack broke up. I hit my first mile in 6:13.

At this point, the (90%) humidity started to affect me. I seriously regretted wearing a shirt. I spent 3 or 4 minutes going back and forth with two other female runners who ended up pulling ahead of me. It always sucks to get left in other runners’ dust. I know I slow down considerably whenever this happens. Instead of speeding up, I succumb to a (mild, temporary) feeling of defeat. I hit my second mile in 6:45.

My last mile was a suffer fest. I was running with a bunch of dudes in their thirties and forties. There weren’t any other female runners around so I wasn’t incentivized to push. A dog (and his owner) passed me in the final quarter mile stretch. It was ruff. 

I finished with a time of 21:18, which isn’t great or terrible. As I run more back-to-back 5Ks, I find my first mile is getting faster while my third mile is still tough to sustain. I think it’s mostly a psychological issue. I can feel myself “give up” little by little throughout a 5K, because 5Ks hurt and it’s so tempting to take your foot off the gas.

Here is finish line footage from the race!


Unbeknownst to me, my grandparents came out to watch the race and cheered for me at the finish line. I didn’t hear them and didn’t realize they’d been spectating until my mother texted me afterwards. #worstgranddaughterever

Hollie and I went for a cool-down run back through the course as the rest of the race ensued. Some of the spectators and police marshals chided us for “getting lost” and “going the wrong way.”

I won first place in my age category, which, oddly enough, earned me a silver medal.

After the awards ceremony, I hung out with my grandparents at their house for an hour or so. My grandfather just went through his third open heart surgery in the last two years, so it meant a lot that he came out to see me run. When I was a kid, he used to travel to all my skating competitions too. Here we are at the South Atlantic regional championships back in 1994!

Coincidentally, that’s also a silver medal.

Questions for the Internets:

What are you doing to celebrate the 4th of July?

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?

What’s your favorite 4th of July BBQ food?



Add yours →

  1. GREAT job on the 5K and awesome award!! I did race this weekend – 15K – recap coming soon! It was not what I expected but it went well!!


  2. It’s really awesome your grandparents were able to come to the race. I’m glad you had a great time and it was so good to see you as always!


  3. Congratulations on a great 5K race! That time is still amazing in the heat even if it was not a PR and you had trouble in the humidity and heat. You did a great job and congrats on the age group medal, it’s a nice medal and I love the flag ribbon. Plus it’s so cool your grandparents came. My parents have only ever come to one of my races… my mom finally asks me about running and has taken an interest, at least. It really helps to have a supportive family. Stinks you did realize they were there at the time but I bet they were super proud!

    I too have issues when I get passed. One of the last 5Ks I ran, by Mile 3 I had mentally given up. I knew I wasn’t going to run the time I wanted so I just gave myself permission to slow down and cruise it in. People passed me and sometimes that just adds to the mental craziness. I wish I could run a more evenly split 5K because if I could get that down, I would be doing the passing toward the end and it would help my mental game. Also I’ve found that on races where I have big positive splits or rough last miles, I feel it more the next day or two, than when I run even races (usually, longer distances than 5K!).

    I did not race but I did run each day (well not Friday, I went stand up paddleboarding though).


    • Thanks! I love the red, white, and blue ribbon too. Paddle boarding sounds so fun – I hear it’s also a great workout! 5Ks can be extremely challenging mentally because you just want to quit the whole time. I think, all things considered, it’s okay to slow down, as long as you don’t quit. 🙂


  4. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA July 6, 2015 — 2:13 am

    Great job on your 5k.!! Hope the rest of your weekend was just as great 🙂 sounds like it was though, so sweet of your grandparents to come out and watch you race 🙂


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