Let me start from the beginning. I love running Fourth of July races. It’s been a tradition since I started running. So, imagine my disappointment when after weeks of searching for a July 4th race in the Lehigh Valley, I was coming up with nothing. That is, until three days before the fourth, I finally found one not too far from where I live.
The night before the race Adam and I decided to register. Did I mention we ate super greasy burgers and wings that night too? Mmmm, good pre-race nutrition decisions.
Anyway, I went into the race thinking, “I’ll just run it easy and have fun.” Plus, it gave me a chance to wear my Fourth of July #RUNootd, so I was happy. Only problem was I only had one pair of running shoes with me and I had never worn them before. Ooops, again.
I did a half-mile warmup around the neighborhood before the start of the race and the shoes felt a little stiffer than I would normally wear for a race, but they weren’t terrible. I was planning on running it easy anyway, so it wouldn’t matter so much how my shoes felt.
Well, I went out in 7:48 for the first mile. I haven’t seen 7:xx in quite some time so I thought, “Oh no, this is going to be bad.” The course took a slight incline up to a rail trail where it did an out-and-back. I told myself to rein it in and try to just run comfortably. My second mile clocked in at 7:43. Woah, nelly.
At this point, I was surprisingly feeling pretty good but I had just reached the turn around and were on the way back to the finish. I thought I’d try to push it to the end to see what would happen. I was doing well until I had some trouble trying to pass people on the narrow rail trail. A young kid (probably 10-12 years old) was running near me and clearly didn’t know proper race etiquette, i.e. when I passed him, he stayed on my heals (like actually on my heals, there was almost contact) until he would pass me and tuck in right in front of me. Not cool kid, not cool. I had to get a bit more aggressive with my passing here to get beyond him but unfortunately the mess caused my pace to suffer a bit. Mile 3 came in around 8:26.
For the last mile, I was starting to get tired, mostly due to the humidity, but I tried to reach deep and fell on my old mantra “Last mile, strong mile, kick it in.” Also, being it was July 4th I told myself to do it for Amurica! Well, whatever it was worked and I ran my last mile in 6:55. Holy speedballs!
I finished in 30:57 officially (30:55 according to my watch) which was a 5-minute PR. I was pretty happy with my time, especially since I was expecting to run a very leisurely 4 miles that morning. I met Adam at the finish, he came in second overall in 22:32 (proud girlfriend!), and then we waited around for the awards.
We knew he was getting an award but I was completely shocked when I heard my name for my age group. I won second place for females age 19-24! I’ve never won an age group award so I was really excited!!
Could I have done things differently and possibly run even faster? Probably. But I was more excited to discover that my speed is still there, I just need to work on it and not be afraid to push a little harder.