The Celebration 5K is our local, annual 4th of July race. It’s a Grand Prix, which means it’s one of our better attended races in town, but that makes it fun. The event provides flags for runners to carry, if they choose, and also has a watermelon eating contest after the running is done.
I was able to get my packet in advance this time, which saved me time on race morning. Of course, I put together a red, white, and blue ensemble in honor of the day.
J and her daughter C planned to join me, with the rest of her family coming later. Mr PugRunner got up early to drive us to the race. It was a 7:30 AM start (yay for an early one), but they still needed their bags We weren’t as early as I normally like to be, and we struggled for parking. Mr PugRunner finally dropped us off and looked for parking further away.
It was a busy morning, with long lines for pickup and registration. There was also a huge line for the bathroom – for some reason, there were less than 10 portapotties, and everyone was in need. Eventually, we got everything settled and handled, and took some pictures before heading for the start line.
Annoyingly, the race director held up the start due to people still registering. I get that it’s a popular run, but I also hate watching time tick away on a hot morning.
There was the slightest hint of a breeze, and for a few minutes, I really thought we were going to be able to crush this race. Ah, sweet summer child that I was.
Finally, we were ready to go. We had a live rendition of the National Anthem, the wheelchair athletes took off, and then we were on our way.
The first mile of this course is a straightaway on Baymeadows. It’s boring and unshaded, and this particular race started out fairly crowded. The three of us started with intervals, but C was having some issues from a volleyball injury. She graciously told us to go ahead. It was so hot that we took her up on it.
At the one mile mark, we turned, and headed into the residential portion of the course. Here, there are more turns and trees, so it gets a little more interesting. We passed the first water stop and kept on going.
It just got hotter and more oppressive the longer the Celebration 5k went on. There was another water stop, which was nice on a warm day, but at this point, I just wanted an ice cold diet Dr. Pepper.
Finally, finally, we were in sights of the finish line. I told J we could go back for C, but she said she was right behind us. And sure enough, within minutes, she crossed the finish line, too!
Summer running is just extra hard here, and I’ve never been so happy to be done.
I feel like the Celebration 5K is a great race, but not necessarily a PR race. It’s inevitably super hot and humid, and it just isn’t safe to push things too hard. At least not for me. I enjoy getting out there on a holiday, and it’s fun to race in the middle of the week, but this will never be my most favorite run.
We skipped the watermelon eating and went across the street to the Cuban Cafe for breakfast. it was the best way to wrap things up for the morning.
Did you run a 4th of July race?
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