Finally getting my butt in gear for this race recap from the Firecracker.
As with any race in July in the Midwest, we had some warm temps again this year. But the high 70s, maybe low 80s, was a far cry from the 90s and high dew point from 2018. I also knew that this year, I was primed to run faster because I would not go out too fast.
For those of you who follow the blog, you may remember that at the 2018 race, I gunned out in a 5:49 first mile, and paid the price on a warm day. With cooler temps this year, I knew the pace would be hot coming out of the start line, and would have to back off accordingly.
Being realistic about what kind of shape I was in, and based off the Yorkville race only a week ago, I thought that somewhere in the 6:15 ballpark was reasonable for an overall pace. I didn’t quite feel in shape to the level of when I ran my 10k PR, but for a shorter race, I could run a couple seconds slower…probably.
When we began, runners were flying, as was expected. The relatively cooler temps, and a downhill first mile can get you. I held back, and cleared the first mile in a fairly comfortably paced 6:12. Perfect.
I latched on with a small group of three other runners, as we began to power past a lot of runners who got out too quick and were already falling back. With the power of the group, we churned out a 6:07 second mile, and I was feeling pretty good.
Mile 3 was a little rougher, as the group I was with dropped back (never saw them again) and I was left alone. The second part of the course is also hillier than the first. As I surged to the top of a small hill, I took a couple second to throw some water over me, and got back to the race. Because of that, I came through Mile 3 in a 6:25; while I might have lost some time, I needed the cooling water with last year’s race still in mind.
Mile 4 presents steeper hills, narrow paths, and a grass finish. After the last hill started to crush me, I used the downhill to try and garner any momentum I had left in the tank. I also absolutely hate the grass finish on the course, but yet haven’t been passed on it ever.
The Firecracker is known as always being a touch long, which is fine, and I came through the finish in 25:38. Better (by a few seconds) than Yorkville, and better than last year by about 30s.
There’s also no doubt that this was (and as of this writing still is) my best run in July, workout or not.
As with any race, there were aspects of this one I could have improved. But overall, it’s tough to not be happy with a PR.