Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/19

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Firecracker 4 is a part shady, part really sunny, somewhat hilly four miles on the fourth of July. It’s almost always really hot, with a late start of 9 am, and this year was no exception.

Our group was small but mighty

Getting There & Hanging Out
Our group was much smaller this year. I think I a few of us are so over this hot race, but some of us diehards decided to brave it (or were talked into it by their friends). I talked my Running Buddy D, who I don’t see as much these days, into an early start (she was driving). We were rewarded with a good parking space, making it easy to go back & forth several times.

Team & AG Awards

Thankfully the city center, where packet pickup is, is air conditioned. And real bathrooms. We got our bibs & tshirts (although somehow I didn’t get a goodie bag; there was nothing exciting in it anyway so no big deal).

New sculpture on the streets of Saratoga (new to me, anyway)

Running Buddy D was very disappointed that they wouldn’t allow you to exchange tshirts until 8:40, as hers was just too tight. She managed to sweet talk a volunteer into doing it for her earlier. She wanted to wear it in the race, but I reminded her nothing new on race day.

Raising the flag and a nice band entertained us as we waited

We met up with the other two from our group, hung out a bit, then we headed back to the car to pick up our water and my cooling towel, all of which I had on ice (literally). We met back up with our friends in the corrals. We had used the real bathroom a couple of times already.

Worked as well as anything would on a hot day!

The weather & dressing
Skirt Sports for the win. I went with the Racecation Tank  and Cool It Skirt; Newton Distance on the feet.

Runners always deck themselves out patriotically

My Race Plan
I had actually ended up reading the race recap from last year (which I usually try to avoid), so I formed a plan — I wanted to hang at about a 10:45 pace, but I knew the heat was gonna be a big factor. Overall I wanted to get an average pace under 11 mm.

So how’d that work for me?

  1. Mile 1: 10:33. Despite being a little frustrated by being bottled in the first part of this mile, this was significantly faster than last year. Would I regret it later?
  2. Mile 2: 10:37. This mile was really slow last year. No idea why. Again, much faster this year (and for the most part much more space to run)..
  3. Mile 3: 10:43. slowing down a bit, no doubt because of the speedy first 2 miles. There’s a few rolling hills in this mile, but there’s also a fair amount of shade. Still faster than last year and very consistent.
  4. Mile 4: 11:55. This last mile is always tough. There’s no shade. It’s mostly uphill. Last year I slowed down this mile, but was still very strong. I was also just a few weeks out from a downhill half, so lots of training on these legs. This year? I was almost a full minute slower than last year. Let’s just say while the thermometer wasn’t quite as hot as last year, it was close, and I think a lot more humid. I walked a lot. And I’m okay with that.

43:55 — Official Time
10:59 Average Pace
50 out of 101 in 55-59 division
1824 our of 2628

Previous years:
2018: 44:02
2017: 44:17
2016: 47:10
2015: 44:11
2014: 47:48

I just squeaked through with a 7 second course PR and met my goal of a average pace below 11 mm (again, just!). I know that I could have done much better if I hadn’t walked so much the last mile, but I met my goals and I didn’t faint, so I’m good with that.

Waiting for the kid race to start

Was the race well run?
This race is so much fun — if you’re ever in Saratoga, NY on the fourth you should check it out. There’s a ton of spectator support and the locals are out in force with hoses — much appreciated — even on a hot fourth like this one!

The AG awards are cool (not that I’m ever going to see one), the space with AC to hang out in and real bathrooms is a blessing. There’s water available both before and after the race, and some fruit and granola bars afterward. A couple of local food vendors had samples afterwards, too. New this year was food available for purchase post race, as well as a free beer, but Running Buddy D & I skipped that.

The late start is a pain, as is parking. Unless you know Saratoga well, the parking situation can be nerve wracking.
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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with Running on Happy, Suzlyfe, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs each week for the Coaches’ Corner linkup

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26 thoughts on “Firecracker 4 Race Recap 7/4/19

  1. Great job on your race! It was a humid race for the on the 4th. I also realized I could have done much better if I hadn’t taken so many walking breaks. Real bathroom and AC are always nice before and after a race.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job on your course PR. Maybe I’ll try it someday or maybe not. Next year the 4th is on a Sat so if I can get Friday off…. and the hubby is patient….

    The finish times were pretty fast inspite of the heat and the hills. My friends told me you have to keep it slow and save it for mile 4…which is not an easy task. I would have needed a PR to snag an award.

    I have a race this Saturday in Saratoga – different part (across from the race track). Hopefully it’s won’t be as hot. It’s very popular so it’ll be fun to see friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s no way I’m ever going to get an award at Firecracker, but if that was why I raced, I would have stopped racing a long time ago LOL.

      I disagree about saving it for the last mile, actually. Most people are going to slow down — it is not an easy race, and that last mile is kind of brutal. I do wish I’d done intervals up it.

      Last year I was very strong in the last mile, but that’s because I was almost through training for my downhill half and had done many hill repeats.

      I’m still very happy with my race.

      Like

    1. Because I was waiting for friends, I just sought out shade after I finished (and we did the same after my friend finished).

      It was nice to be able to use the bathroom afterwards to change into dry clothes, though!

      Like

  3. I commented this morning, but I think WP is boycotting me (??). Anyways, great job on your race! Even with the last mile, you still ran it strong on such a hot day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would have to check my spam folder, but sometimes it does weird things — sorry!

      My only real regret about the last mile is wishing I’d switched to intervals rather than just walking.

      I don’t regret starting out faster, though, and I’m quite happy with the race. Thanks, Kim!

      Like

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