Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Race Recap & Review: Firecracker 5k and Summerfair 10k

Who doesn't love a holiday race- or two?! This past weekend, Matthew and I got to race in the Waynesboro Firecracker 5k on Independence Day and then the Summerfair 10k on Saturday. Lucky for us, these races were close to home and the weather was perfect each morning- upper 60's, low humidity, and breezy.

Waynesboro Firecracker 5k
This annual race celebrated it's 17th year with over 500 runners in attendance. Matthew and I signed up on the day of the event for $22 each. There were options for cotton t-shirts or tech shirts for an additional cost which we elected not to do. We have tons of race shirts :-)

On our way to the race, we stopped at a McDonald's to use a real bathroom. There we ran into friends from Team #runDisney that we had met at WDW earlier this year- small world, right?! Scott and Susan live in the Harrisburg area and I hope we will see them at other races around Pennsylvania.

The race started right on time. The course followed some neighborhood roads for the first mile and then an out-and-back on Main Street. It was absolutely gorgeous to be running on the 4th of July. There were lots of spectators and waving flags.

Red, white, and blue.

Runners at the starting line.

I just love flag-lined streets on the 4th of July.

Patriotic mile markers!

Main Street in small-town America. It doesn't get much more 'merica than this.

I crossed the finish line in 34:22- not bad for an easy 5k. We each grabbed a bottle of water and headed to the car. There was a fair/festival going on but we didn't participate. We ended up having a low key 4th- pool time, dinner out, and local fireworks. After all, we had an early wake-up call the next morning for the Summerfair 10k!

It wasn't quite Disney, but it wasn't bad either.

Summerfair 10k
On Saturday morning, we ran the 4th annual Summerfair 10k. This is free event- that's right, a FREE race! How cool is that?! It was held in Carlisle, PA, adjacent to Dickinson College. This race is part of an overall series of events, Carlisle Summerfair: family-friendly events offered to the public at no cost.

This event offered two options- a 5k or a 10k. The courses ran the same first mile, the 10k went on it's own for a mile, and then rejoined the 5k for mile three. Then the 5k split off to finish and the 10k completed another loop of the course. There was a water stop at miles one and four. Both races started at the same time.

I'd guess there were about 100 people participating- including one of my students at the university, a colleague, and a fellow Weight Watcher from my Wednesday meeting. I think I'm officially a PA resident; I've started seeing people I know at local races :-)

Course map.

Nicole (SU student) and me before the start.

Matthew looking ready to conquer 6.2.

The race started without much fanfare as most local races do. There wasn't chip timing, so I started my Map My Run app when I started running. I decided that I would keep my headphones out until later in the race because honestly, I was afraid of getting lost!  This was an open course with just a few volunteers and once the 10k split off from the 5k, I felt like I was all alone on the course. Luckily, the course was well-marked with spray paint on the ground. However, I know how I "zone out" when I'm running with music and I didn't want to miss any of the markers.

Course markings directing us to make a turn.

Mile and course markers.

So, the first three miles were without music. And I have to say, it wasn't terrible! I actually enjoyed just listening to what was going on around me and being able to regulate my pace without music. Also, I started out way, way too fast. My first mile was 10:44. Miles two and three were 11:33 and 11:26. I have got to work on that first mile and slowing the heck down!
After I started the second loop, I put my headphones in. Since I'd already run the loop, I sort of knew which way to go so I felt more confident listening to music. Miles four and five were 10:57 and 10:50. A little after mile four, I passed a guy who had been in front of me the entire time. As I'm running past him, he says to me, "You make this look easy!" And honestly, it felt easy! At that point, I knew I had just under two miles left and I was kicking it up a notch to try and run negative splits. With that comment in mind, I just kept booking it down the course. Around mile five, I passed ANOTHER dude! It was so awesome! I love that run/walk keeps me strong until the finish and strong enough to pass folks in the home stretch.
I turned the corner towards the finish and checked out my time- it was only 1:07. My 10k PR is 1:09:30. So, I was pretty excited to see that time. However, my distance was a little short. When I crossed the finish line, my Map My Run app said I'd run 6.07 miles in 1:09:17. I think the course may have been short but either way, I think I still would have PR'd if I'd run the extra .13 miles. And besides that first mile, I ran negative splits- yay!
This last little bit of the course was beautiful!

Happy 10k finishers!

Love to see the numbers decreasing.
For a free race, it was awesome. Well-organized, nice and flat course, and two water stations. It would be nice to know if it was a full 6.2 mile course but even if it wasn't, it still was a really great event. And the price was right :-)
Overall, it was a fantastic holiday weekend full of races, fun, and freedom!
QOTD: How was your holiday? Did you run over the weekend? As part of a race or on your own?


  1. This sounds awesome, I love following your blogs! I am a new runner and your posts and race recaps are very inspirational (especially the Disney races. I am a HUGE disney fan and would love to run in one of their races one day!) anyway, I also live in Baltimore so I really hope I get to meet you at some point! Any advice for a beginner who is struggling a bit??:)

    1. Thanks, Melissa! You should definitely look into a runDisney race at some point- they are awesome! I am from Bel Air and race in Baltimore pretty frequently- we'll have to compare race schedules and meet up soon!

      When I started running, it felt like everything was a struggle! Anything past three miles was boring and painful. But, I found that I struggled more mentally than physically. What helped me was two things: 1- Remember why you started. 2- Find a mantra. When I would be struggling, I would remember all the reasons I started running- to get in shape, to challenge myself, to feel more confident, to run a marathon. Those reasons helped me push on when I felt like crap. In addition to that, I found a few mantras that I would repeat over and over and over again- "You are stronger than this challenge, this challenge is making you stronger." "There will come a day when you cannot do this, today is not that day." "Transformation is not a future event, it is a present activity."

      I hope that helps! Feel free to shoot me an email if you have other questions or concerns- sarah@sparklyrunner.com :-)

  2. Back to back race weekends are exhausting, but it sounds like you made the right choice to relax in between races at the pool. And you looked absolutely adorable in your 4th of July race outfit. I love the bow in your hair!

    1. Thanks! I was debating with the bow- I mean, what 30 year old wears a bow in their hair?! But I liked it so I did it anyway :-) Hope you and Preston had a great holiday!