Just like Preston and I have for the past two years, we kicked off 4th of July by running the Firecracker 5k, which is sponsored by Potomac River Running, a local running store chain. And just like in years past, packet pickup was super easy. Preston picked up our bibs on his way home from work Thursday afternoon at the Potomac River Running location at Reston Town Center, which was also the site of the race. And like with all PRR races, packet pickup took less than five minutes to complete.
The weather in the days leading up to the race hadn’t looked promising for race day. The chance of rain Saturday morning fluctuated each time I checked the forecast, everything from 0-100% chance of rain. However, Preston and I decided that as long as it wasn’t a complete downpour, and as long as there wasn’t any thunder and lightning, that we’d still run the race as planned.
We had planned to arrive at the race early, partly due to parking being tight since the 2015 World Police and Fire Games were also hosted at Reston Town Center during the same weekend. However, about five minutes after we left our house we realized that we had left our race bibs at home. Oops! At least we had only gotten five minutes down the road.
By the time we left the house for the second time, I realized that we were going to be tight on time. Thankfully, we didn’t have any difficulty finding parking, and walked up to the start line of the race about ten minutes before the race started. It wasn’t ideal, and we had missed the pre-race meetup with Team RWB, but at least we weren’t late for the start of the race. Since it wasn’t raining before the start of the race, I opted to leave my visor in the car and run without anything to shield my face from any potential rain. This proved to be the wrong choice.
At 8:00 sharp, the race started. Since this was my third year running this race, I was very familiar with the course, which runs the perimeter of the town center and then weaves back into the center where the race finishes. I knew from past experience that all of the courses turns are to the right until during the last half mile or so of the race, and I made sure to position myself accordingly both at the start line and on the course during the race.
Although it wasn’t raining when the race started, by the time that I reached the half mile point it had started drizzling. And by the time I reached the first mile marker, it was raining harder. The rain never let up for the rest of the race, which helped in combating the high humidity. However, without anything to shield my face from the rain, I found myself constantly wiping my face with my shirt sleeve. I was also extra cautious during the race to pay attention to the course in order to avoid puddles and any slick areas.
From the start, I ran/walked 4:15 minute/0:45 second intervals. My main goal going into the race had been to get a course PR and beat last year’s finish time of 32:35 (10:29 pace). Even with the rain I successfully accomplished that goal, and crossed the finish line in 32:15 (10:23 pace). Given the two big differences between last year’s race and this year’s race – that it was raining this year and that I was 15 weeks pregnant for this year’s race – I’m very happy with my finish time.
Despite the rain, running the Firecracker 5k was once again a great way to kick off our 4th of July celebration. It always makes me feel very patriotic to see so many runners carrying American flags during the race and to see so many people dressed in their red, white, and blue.
QOTD: What was the last race that you ran in the rain?