Haddon Heights Firecracker 5K (20:16)

Happy Fourth of July, running friends!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. I’m making the most of mine.

I’ll be honest: I’m still having a rough year. I’ve managed to keep my fitness up but I’m not making the improvements I want to. I’m basically in maintenance mode until the storm of life blows over, and that’s just the way things are right now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Independence Day, what it means to people, and what it means to me.

Sometimes, I go for long walks late at night to clear my head and enjoy the summer breeze. A few nights ago, I passed by the local paper’s headquarters and stopped to admire its window display of veteran memorabilia. An elderly man with a walker and an oxygen tank just happened to stroll by with his little white dog at the exact same time. He said, “It’s so great to be free, isn’t it?” And I said, “It sure is,” even though I haven’t been feeling very free.

And then I realized how trivial my life’s limitations are compared to legions of kids who died fighting for our freedom. So we can light our fireworks, and have our parades, and run our 5Ks. Those things may seem trivial, too, but they mean a lot to people. That’s life: fireworks, parades, and 5Ks.

Anyway, I hadn’t run a 5K in a month, so I decided to run the Haddon Heights Firecracker 5K today. My favorite part of any holiday is a holiday-themed 5K race. I ran the Firecracker 5K last year with Hollie. The race is competitive but low-key, which is exactly how I like my races.


I was hoping to win one of the cash prizes for the top three female finishers. Based on last year’s times, I knew I was fit enough to land in at least 3rd place. This year, there were a lot of serious racers at the starting line, wearing flats and doing strides, so I kissed the cash prize goodbye and took my bulky trainers for a 15 minute warmup jog, because I’m not that serious – yet.

I started the race too fast. Again. I was keeping up with one of the superfit girls for the first 1.5 miles. We went back and forth. We were both wearing red tops. It was nice to have the competition, but it kind of killed me by the midway point. I hit my first split in 6:08. My friend Scott ran by around mile 2 (6:36) as I was hanging on for dear life.

Mile 3 (6:51) sucked. I had a lot of negative thoughts. It was humid and I was super sweaty even though I was racing in just a bra. Well, I had shorts on, too.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 20:16, which honestly isn’t a bad time. It’s 4 seconds faster than my last 5K. I went for a 15 minute cool-down and then caught up with some local runners. My friend Emelia won second woman overall and I was extremely happy for her, because she trains hard. I won my age category and picked up this patriotic medal.

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 3.08.20 PM

Here is some exciting finish line footage!

Maybe it’s fitting I ran 20:16 today, when I’m particularly feeling the weight of this year. I’m hoping for better days. In the meantime, I’m trying to relish my freedom. Running is the best way I know how to feel free.

Questions for the Internets:

Did you run a Fourth of July-themed race? How did it go?

What are your best tips for racing in high humidity?

Do you run in red, white, and blue on July 4th?






Add yours →

  1. Congratulations on your race and what I think is a great time! For someone in maintenance mode and a hot, humid, day, you did a good job to only be 4 seconds off your last 5K and 4 seconds faster at that. You can’t control who shows up at the race and it looks like you gave it your all plus placed :). Most of all, be thankful you’re free and able to run, and injury-free. I’ve been reading a book about the first female runners and it inspires me but crazy to think that the days when women couldn’t run like they do now really weren’t that long ago.

    For the heat and humidity, I’ve honestly taken a lot of my workouts indoors- at least any prolonged speedwork. I’ll do short intervals outside, along with long runs and easy days, but a lot of my workouts are either treadmill or classes lately. I didn’t race today but I am wearing red white and blue, at least!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Amy! You make such a great point about female runners. I honestly hadn’t even considered that angle, feminist that I am. It’s unbelievable to think running, at least competitive running, wasn’t accessible to our grandmothers. And now women are taking over the sport. Enjoy the holiday!


      • The book is called First Ladies of Running. It’s such a great book and talks about each lady’s journey. I remember when my mom came to see me finish a half marathon in 2012 and said she never imagined so many women would be running a race that long. She was born in 1946.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to check that book out. Thank you for the recommendation!


  2. Nice run today liz, you did great. There were a lot of great runners today, but think of it this way , you ran with the best which is always good. It tuff to run fast in humidity, ive tried and it hard work on your body. 20:16 is good .
    As for humidity, not much you can do,i run with no shirt on and dump lot of water on me, which I know girls can’t do,except dump water on your self.LOL.
    Anyways happy 4th of July . be safe
    Happy running Liz.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Liz, great job out there yesterday, and great race report. It’s always fun reading about the same race from a different person’s perspective. My race report is up now too. See ya around soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love what you said about life being fireworks, parades & 5Ks!

    Liked by 1 person

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