Now that I am part of the running world, one of the things I find myself enjoying is racing on holidays. For some reason, it just seems to set the day off right.
This year, I was very excited to register for the Celebration 5K.
Generally, I avoid racing in July, because, well, it’s July, but the race started at 7:30 AM, which was early enough to beat most of the heat. I was also intrigued by the idea of the watermelon festival following, and if we’re being completely honest, I was kind of in love with the medal.
We knew it was going to be a rough go. The 5K was scheduled to start at 7:30 AM, and having been at the fireworks the night before, I was operating on very little sleep. On the plus side, the weather was cooperative. Don’t get me wrong: it was hot, but it remained overcast and the humidity was pretty reasonable.
We arrived and found parking right across the street from the race start. It was packed – it seems there was a flurry of last minute entries, and the line for morning-of registration was huge! It was really nice to see so many people ready to run on the morning of such a great holiday.
I also spotted all the watermelons, ready for slicing. This race promised watermelon for post-race refreshments, as well as for seed spitting and eating! I couldn’t wait!
I hopped on line for the bathroom and ran into one of my Instagram buddies, threeboysandmama.
And then we found J and her family. J was running the 5K and the rest of her family would be participating in the 1 Mile Fun Run. I was so excited to see her – she is newer to running and it’s always so awesome to see people fall in like and then in love with the sport.
We said goodbye to our families and got ourselves lined up. The start was delayed by about 10 minutes due to the overwhelming number of last minute registrants, but since the temperature didn’t seem to be shooting up, it was ok. The more, the merrier! We snapped a few pics while we were waiting
Finally, it was time to start. We sang the National anthem and we were off. Many runners were carrying American flags, provided by 1st Place Sports, and it was beautiful to see the stars and stripes flying proudly. I loved it.
J and I planned to run together, using intervals. We coordinated our paces and vowed to just have fun out there.
The worst part of the course is pretty much the first mile. It’s just a straight shot down Baymeadows road, and it feels like it’s never going to end. But, at the end of that mile, there is a left hand turn and the run continues through the shaded neighborhoods behind the main road. There were some families out to cheer us on, and two adorable kids handing out pink lemonade right after the water stop. I normally don’t take water on a 5K, but they were so happy to be helping and the sugar was absolutely perfect at that point of the run.
Also fun on the course? We bumped into Angie from The Places You Will Go. We have been reading each other for quite some time, and haven’t managed to see each other out running. This time, we did, but we weren’t able to get a picture! Next time!
J held up great with the intervals. We hadn’t really talked about goal times, but as we got closer to the finish, I asked her about her PR and realized that if we just kept doing what we were doing, we might be able to get her a shiny new fastest time.
As we approached the finish line, we kicked it up a little bit and slid in with just enough time for J’s PR! Way to go!
I was so ready for my watermelon!
Perfect on a hot, summer morning!
Then it was time for the fun run, so we walked the kids on over to the start line. They had a nice out and back course, and despite the sun peeking out, everyone did quite well.
I will definitely do this again if we are in town. It was such a great way to start the holiday and I loved seeing all the gorgeous flags and all the red, white and blue.
Do you try to run races on holidays?
What’s your favorite post-race treat?