Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/16

This was my third time running the Firecracker4 (you can read about last year’s race here). It’s one of the few races I almost always run with friends, so that makes it one of my favorite races! It’s a challenging course, but it also has great spectator support.

We adopted Bandit the night before, and I was so pleased when Mr. Judy had no problems with him while I was gone half the day the very next day. Little did I know what was to come (with Bandit, that is).

Getting There & Hanging Out
My neighbor Mary Jane and I drove up together this year. Although we had chatted a few times, as we live a few houses apart, we didn’t really know each other until meeting at last year’s race. Since then we’ve become more friendly and this is the second race we’ve gone to together. We left around 6:45 for a 9 am race, yes, we did, because parking is crazy. We parked at the parking garage — score! — because it was a sunny, hot day.

No USAFit Albany tent this year; we had made plans to meet up with friends inside the Saratoga City Center, where packet pickup is held (Mr. Judy had kindly picked up both Mary Jane’s and my packets on his way home from work on Friday, as there’s early packet pickup at Fleet Feet Malta).

Team RWB. One of the runners from my group was running with them!

We stopped to use the bathroom, and immediately ran into a couple of my friends, but by the time we were done, they were gone (one of them was running before the race, and then cheering us on).

As we walked around the vendor’s village, we “ran” into my running buddy Denise — she’d scored an excellent parking space, and I bummed some water off of her since I had some supplements to take and had left my water in the car. And because it was shady where we were, we just hung out there chatting for a while.

The weather & dressing
It was a warm, sunny day, but thankfully it wasn’t too humid.

Denise, Myself & Mary Jane waiting for the start

I did not wear Skirtsports — shocking, I know! What I did wear was a skirt from Sparkleskirts and a top from Oiselle.

I love Sparkleskirts almost as much as I love Skirtsports, but they’re even pricier and rarely on sale. But they also don’t ride up, the pockets are even larger, and there’s always a zippered pocket, too.

The mio mesh tank from Oiselle is the lightest top I own (and pretty see through, too); I find it extremely comfortable for very hot runs. I actually buy mine from Title9. And none of these are affiliate links, by the way, just stuff I love.

Pleased with my race (and outfit)

I also wanted to put in a word here about how I hydrated (mostly for msyelf). Normally I try to stop drinking liquids a couple of hours before a race. One nice thing about this race is that there are real bathrooms.

I stuck to that plan, but rather than drinking less because I had to get there so early, I actually drank my normal couple of glasses of water and couple of mugs of tea. I think it really helped me in the race.

So not to self: drinking more than normal the morning of a hot race will ultimately be a helpful thing.
My Race Plan
Firecracker4 is a challenging course — hilly, with a long hill at about 3.5 miles — which is half a mile before the end of the race. It starts late morning, and usually by 9 am on July 4th, it’s pretty darn toasty.

Starting the race with friends

I knew going in it wouldn’t be a PR, so my plan was simple — try to beat my time from 2014, when there were similar weather conditions.

Always a crowded, festive race!

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 12:01. A congested start and there’s a short decline, then incline at the start. Denise & I started together.
  2. Mile 2: 11:47. I think we kept together through mile 2, and there was a water stop.
  3. Mile 3: 11:36. Somewhere around here Denise decided to slow it down and drop back. Plus there’s that hill — it’s actually not terribly steep, but somehow it really feels like a mountain! I believe the second water stop was around here. Yes, I grabbed water at both. It was about 70, and while not terribly humid, very little cloud cover.
  4. Mile 4: 11:31. Can’t say I really remember much about that last mile, except for my running buddy Jan cheering me on right before the finisher’s chute — thank you Jan!
  5. Mile 5: 8:43. My Garmin has the race just a little long, but yes, I sprinted to the finish (where I found out Denise had beaten me by about 1 1/2 minutes — again!). She always does this; fades in the beginning but beats me at the end. And I ran negative splits! It’s very annoying.

47:10 — Official Time
11:48 Average Pace

Previous years:
2014: 47:48
2015: 44:11

Hey look, I chicked a guy (and didn’t even know it!)

Was the race well run?
Mostly. I think it’s the best spectator support of any race in this area (but then I don’t race as much as some!). All of Saratoga turns out, or so it seems, and there are spectators with sprinklers, with hoses, and just lining pretty much the entire 4 miles.

There were plenty of volunteers at the finish waiting with a bottle of cold water, which I was dying for!

Packet pickup was easy enough for Mr. Judy.

They did start the race late, though, and they almost always do. 15 minutes late this year — apparently someone had had a seizure before the start? Or so I heard. We were just waiting (thankfully in shade), wondering what the heck was going on.

I really do wish that they would start the race earlier. It seems like it would be no problem considering it’s a holiday.

Maybe next year could be cooler & cloudy again?

I hope to be running Firecracker4 with my friends in 2017!

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

Don’t forget to leave me a comment:

What is your favorite local race? Why?

How late is too late to start a race in the summer?

What’s the hottest race you’ve ever run?

25 thoughts on “Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/16

  1. I admire all of you for running in the heat. I think your skirt is really cute, but I have never tried one. I should, everyone seems to love them !
    For a 10K or longer, I always drink a ton before a race and the 2 days leading up. It is possible that the course runs out of water, and I am afraid of dehydration.

    One question… was it a 5 mile or 4 mile race ? You detailed 5 miles but the title said 4, so I was confused !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I drink a lot before, but usually I’m cautious the morning of. What goes in must come out! On a race of this length, I know I don’t have to worry about water, though.

      It was a 4 mile race, just went a tad long (barely). I should’ve made that clearer, but yesterday was a reeeeeeally long day. Didn’t eat dinner (which was just a snack) until almost midnight.


  2. Great recap. I love the photos, especially the last one. You are positively beaming!
    Great tank. I had a couple of Oiselle running shorts that I loved. Fit low and comfy and wear like iron.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank God I’ve never done a race that hot! I’ve done a few warm ones, but usually topped out in mid 80s & quite frankly — I hated every single one of them! Actually, Heartbreak Hill wasn’t too bad (although very hot & my finish time wasn’t what I had hoped for therefore).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You probably know my answers. I like races such as Freihofers where I know a lot of people. It was near 90 for VCM.

    Congrats on a great race – I have never had negatives splits. I run like Denise. Slow down midway so I can finish faster.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on your race! Running in the heat is TOUGH, I think either last year’s ZOOMA Annapolis or the 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut were the hottest races I ran. I have been too chicken to do any races in July or August…too hot for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds a lot like the 4th of July race I ran, hot and hilly!!! I don’t understand why these types of races don’t start earlier. I think runners are use to early starts anyway so even an 8am start wouldn’t be bad!

    I may have mentioned this before on a previous post or in IG but I just love your skirt! Have you tried skirts from I love their skirts. They have built in shorts and 2 pockets! I believe they are not as pricey as skirt sport or sparkle skirts. You should check them out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have tried running skirts. I just don’t like their fit — the waist tends to fall down, and the shorties can ride up on me. I’m a curvy girl & skirtsports & sparkleskirts just work better for me. I guess I need to write a post someday; it’s actually on my list!


  6. Congrats on a well-run race in tough conditions! Your outfit is so cute. I only have one sparkle skirt I wore to a Girls on the Run race. I got one for my run buddy as well so we’d match. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so cool of you to buy your run buddy a skirt — they’re not cheap! I really do love sparkle skirts too. I’d probably have a ton of them, too, if they were cheaper.

      I use my skirts for things other than running, too (like dog walking — those pockets really come in handy!).


  7. A great pick of an outfit 🙂 very cute and I really like a good thin tank. Congrats on a great finish! You beat the 2014 time, goal met 🙂
    I do like an earlier race start for sure! I don’t enjoy time delays especially when it is toasty!
    I try to drink so much three four days out from a race, I rarely have/need much race morning, but of course with a late start, you need it!

    Liked by 1 person

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