Throwback Thursday – Traditional 4th of July Race

Throwback Thursday – Traditional 4th of July Race

Since 4th of July is a mere two days away, I decided I should make a post about the traditional 4 mile 4th of July race that I have raced a total of six times.  My dad has been running this race since it started 34 years ago.  He has ran every race except for a few due to either extreme heat (the race went on but he opted to not race) and crazy summer storms. My uncle on the other hand, has indeed ran every race since it started – I think that’s quite an accomplishment and I applaud him for it!  I actually raced in this local premier running race in 1997 (if not before then) – when I was a mere 3 years old.  No, I didn’t run.  My dad pushed me in the running stroller.  And we have pictures to prove it! (see below)

This isn’t a walk-in-the-park 4 mile race.  Mile 2 is basically one giant hill.  And if you go out too hard on the first mile, this hill will destroy every ounce of energy you have in the tank.  And mile 3 is just a continuous gradual incline.  I always picture mile 3 as relatively flat because I usually only mentally prepare myself for mile 2’s huge hill.  But every year, (it never fails), I get to mile 3 and instantly remember that, yes, this straight road is a gradual incline to the next turn.  What’s great about this race is that local residents set up sprinklers and water tables for us runners to cool off with. And 4th of July never fails to be a scorcher so I’m always running through the sprinklers to cool off and dumping cups of water on my head to refocus.  I believe these little qualities make this race special and that’s why I look forward to it every year.

I also love this race because a lot of family and friends also participate in it.  Every year the amount of people I know in this race continues to grow.  It also has become somewhat of a social event because of this.  I absolutely love 4th of July morning because of this race and it gives me something to look forward to to start my day off right!

I found all my previous finishing times and places which have shown significant improvement since I started running this race in 2008.  Let’s take a walk run down memory lane.

2008 – time: 41:24, 178th overall female, 510th overall runner (10:21/mile pace) (yes, I was as slow as a turtle back in the day)

2009 – time: 35:24, 86th overall female, 348th overall runner (average 8:51/mile pace) (that was a 6 minute PR!)

pitman 2009
2009 – my neighbor (Brooke), my brother (Michael) and I at the starting line…I think we planned to all match

2010 – I didn’t race this year because the race was moved to July 5th and I had to complete my Behind-the-Wheel driving lessons to get my permit on the same day…I was disappointed!

2011 – time: 32:30, 39th overall female, 204th overall runner (average 8:07/mile pace) (2 minute, 54 second PR)

pitman 2011
2011- Post-race picture of me, my brother, my dad, my uncle (his 30th straight year running the race) and my aunt.

2012 – time: 30:07, 14th overall female, 103rd overall runner (average 7:31/mile pace) (2 minute and 23 second PR) (side story: this is the year that I almost threw-up my breakfast in the finishing corral…oops)

2013 – time: 29:35, 13th overall female, 97th overall runner (average 7:23/mile pace) (32 second PR)

(side story: this is the year that I almost passed out after the race; I think I was on the verge of heat exhaustion because I was shaky, light-headed, and I felt cold even though it was 90 degrees out…thanks to Angela’s mom (who also happens to be a nurse) I was properly taken care of and I am forever grateful for that!…I ended up throwing up about 45 minutes after I finished the race…but racing hard was sooo worth the aftermath!)

pitman 2013
2013 – starting line picture of my coach (Angela), me, and my lovely teammate (Catherine)..surrounded by greatness!

2014 – the course was slightly altered due to construction so the race ended up being 4.3 miles instead of 4 miles.

time: 30:42, 12th overall female, 83rd overall runner (average 7:08/mile pace) (mathematically speaking, if the course was the accurate 4 mile course I had ran so many time before, I would’ve ran a 28:33 and PR’d by 1 minute and 2 seconds…BUT the course was different so it doesn’t count!)

pitman 2014
2014 pre-race picture with my dad on the left and a finish line picture of us in 1997 on the right

So in conclusion, if you couldn’t keep up with all my number-crunching, I finished my first 4 mile 4th of July race in 2008 in 41:24.  Two years ago, in 2013, I finished the same course in 29:35.  That’s an 11 minute and 49 second difference. That shows that hard work truly does pay off and I encourage everyone to believe in their abilities to be faster, to work towards that PR, and have lots of fun along the way!

This year, I haven’t done much except for endurance runs so I’m not expecting a huge PR but I do hope to run faster than the 29:35 I ran 2 years ago.  The course is back to it’s traditional route so it will be a fair playing field for an attempt at a PR.  A few days ago on a training run, my dad and I ran our 3rd mile in 6:54 so I’m confident that I have some kind of speed left in me.  I also hope to improve my 12th overall female finish from last year. It would be awesome to be in the top 70 of the race.

I’m confident in my ability to push harder, longer, and faster this year.

I’m focused on the race & I know what the course has to offer.

And I can’t wait to see old and new friends at the race participating in yet another traditional 4th of July race!

Happy 4th of July, runners!  May you celebrate with a race, run, or some refreshing drinks and tasty food – or all of the above!