The Fast Firecracker- I love this race. The course, the atmosphere and the fact that it’s on the 4th of July. Did I mention it’s also very fast?!
Last year was my first time to experience this race and as soon as I crossed the line I knew I would be back! This race will always be special to me as it was the first time I ever saw a 17:xx on the finish clock. I hoped the magic of the course would rub off on me again this year but I knew it would be a little harder with my pesky foot trouble (plantar fasciitis in my right heel).
Going into this race I had about six weeks of 5k training which including two other short races: The National RRCA One Mile Championship and the Arkansas 2 Miler. At almost any other time of the year a 5K would feel like a sprint of a race but after racing a one and two mile race a 5K felt like the perfect distance. Unfortunately, the last two weeks of my training has taken a major hit because of my injury. I’ve cut my mileage in half and I’ve been biking and swimming to get in some easy cardio days. After every run my right foot would hurt and I’ve had to adjust my schedule a lot. I just wanted to make it through the race!
This year my oldest daughter decided to run it so I was excited for her. I even talked Jackie into racing it too. As you can see Jackie was wearing the coolest tights EVER!
|Pre-race pic with Jackie and Abi|
The race started at 7:30 so we got to packet pick-up by 6:45. The weather was perfect for a summer race- mid 60’s! That doesn’t happen often in the summer around here so I was very thankful!
My only suggestion for this race would be to have more bathroom facilities. There were over 1700 participants and only 5 port-a-potties. Needless to say the line was LONG. We jogged to the nearby Starbucks but there was a long line there as well. After we finally got through the bathroom line Abi stayed with some friends so Kem, Jackie and I could warm up together. We didn’t have much time but we got in a little over a mile and did some strides before we headed to the start. I lined up right next to last year’s female winner- a college student who ran a 17:05! I introduced myself (“hey- didn’t you win last year?”) and she seemed very friendly. I hoped I was able to go sub 18 but was not sure if my foot would cooperate.
The Fast Firecracker is a point to point race. It starts at the corner of University and Kavanaugh and heads down Kavanaugh and Van Buren. Then it finishes up at War Memorial Stadium (where the Arkansas Razorbacks play). The course has a lot of downhill (over 320 feet elevation loss)- mostly in the first 2.5 miles. But there is over 140 feet elevation gain- most of which is from mile 2.5-3.
Last year my miles splits were: 5:39, 5:38 and 6:00. I hoped I could run something similar this year.
Mile 1- 5:40. Within about 30 seconds from the start I found myself in position of 3rd place female. My foot was off but it was still manageable.
Mile 2- 5:43. My foot started to hurt more.
Mile 3- 6:17. By this point my foot was in extreme pain which intensified with every step I took. Then there was the hill at mile 2.5 which felt like a MOUNTAIN. I was also getting passed by what seemed like a flood of guys during this mile but there was nothing I could do but finish the race.
Mile 3.12– 0:44 (5:54 avg.)
Total- 18:24 (5:54 avg.). 3rd out of 861 female finishers (1st and 2nd finished in: 17:16, 17:48)
Official Results can be found here.
Then I jogged back to find Abi. When I found her she was just about to the top of the hill. She was only about 30 seconds shy of her personal best which I thought was great considering it was just 3 days after her 10 mile birthday run. She finished in 25:22.
|Abi kicking it in|
It was also very wonderful to see my little sister Tara at the finish line. She lives right down the road from this race and came out to cheer for me near the finish. I always love when she comes out to my races.
|My little sister Tara- due any day with baby #3!|
A Few Fast Firecracker Shout-Outs:
|Jackie finished in 19:11- her new personal best!|
Natalie, another training buddy PR’d with a 19:17!
Kem also PR’d in 19:46- and won the Masters age division!
Beverly PR’d with a 21:18!
Three of my running clients around the state also went to Little Rock to run in this race:
|Brandi (on right) ran 23:08- *new PR!|
|Lucinda with me at the finish. She ran a 23:50- *new PR!|
|Heather (2nd from left) ran a 24:06- *new PR!|
|Abi & Jackie know how to refuel after a race!|
And a few more pictures from the 4th…
|The tradition continues… we make a flag cake every year!|
|Relaxing and watching movies after the race with my big girl|
|Watching fireworks from the lake in Heber Springs|
|Watching fireworks with J. ♥ this guy!|
I can tell you what I won’t be doing for the next two weeks- running. I have decided to take a few weeks break from running. It’s been four days now and my foot is feeling much better already but I know it’s not right. I have an appointment scheduled with sports medicine doctor and a podiatrist next week (soonest I could get in). If I can get in to either one sooner I will. I definitely want to get a professional medical diagnosis- not my own from wikopedia.
In the meantime I have been biking and swimming. On Saturday I biked and even did a little open water swimming at the lake. Let’s just say I have a lot of room for improvement… Right now I am biking for about 45-60 minutes and hope to get in a one mile swim about four days a week.
My sister is letting me borrow her road bike since she will not be using it in the next few months. I am seriously considering registering for my first triathlon in September. I would like a goal to motivate me during this cross training phase. I have no idea how long I will be on this running break (I’m hoping just a few weeks) but biking and swimming will really help me stay active.