Because a title like “Baby, you’re a firework” just wasn’t going to happen.
Wednesday morning marked my fourth year running Cranford’s Fire Cracker Four Miler. When I ran the race for the first time in 2009, it was my very first road race. I look back and laugh at how much of a novice runner I was; I rocked a pair of Nike Shox that were almost a year old, and somehow thought it was a good idea to wear a cotton swimming t-shirt to run 4 miles in July. The race went well because I had no expectations, and I finished in just over 36 minutes. The second year I knocked off another 2 minutes, and was again pleased with my time considering I was still on the early road to considering myself a “runner.” Then last year, the race marked the first day of official marathon training, and my husband ran with me. Somehow, I shaved off another 2 minutes, leaving me with a Firecracker PR of 32 minutes.
Throughout half marathon training this Spring, the majority of my 4 mile training runs were about 32-33 minutes. Sometimes, I even hit closer to low 31. So, I figured that as long as I didn’t fall, break a leg, or pass-out, I’d be able to PR again. Considering the apparent tradition of running 2 minutes faster each year, I was aiming for around 30 minutes. This race actually has categories you can sign up for, one of them being a spouse category (technically it’s labeled husband/wife, but I prefer to simply call it the spouse group). So, I thought it would be fun to sign up as a couple, and see how we would place. We looked up the results from last year, and we figured if I could keep around a 7:30 pace, we’d have a chance at placing in the top 3 for that category. Somehow, that’s just what I did.
Even though I started taking new medicine on Monday night, it hasn’t quite kicked in yet, and I was worried I’d need to make a pit stop on the course. Thankfully everything worked out and I was able to keep a 7:33 pace, crossing the line in 30:11. While my ultimate goal was to go under 30, I’m more than happy with the 30. I was able to keep my tradition of PRing by 2 minutes each year and scored 4th place in my age group, and the 28th woman overall! And, my husband ran it in 26 minutes, so combined we finished in 56 minutes – enough for a W in the husband/wife category! We scored ourselves a sweet medal, and two t-shirts (not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with the XL size shirt, though).
After waiting around for about an hour to get our medal, we went back to my parent’s house to down some bagels and coffee. It was the perfect way to start the 4th of July!