Firecracker 5k (19:15)

On Saturday I ran the Firecracker 5k in Haddon Heights. I haven’t run a 5k in a few weeks so I was excited to see where my fitness was. My goal of the summer is to continually race 5ks and get faster. As long as I keep improving while racing, I’m happy.

As I said in my training log, the week before I had not been feeling great. I felt sluggish during most of my runs.   As the week progressed, I seemed to loosen up by Saturday. I was exhausted on Saturday morning but I was excited to run.

I got to the race around 7:00 am. I was happy to see the race started early because I was able to stay afterwards and talk to friends. I warmed up with Liz.

liz and i

We got to the race start at 7:55. I saw several coworkers and friends. I think this was the most people I’ve seen at a race. I chatted and by the time I knew it, we were off. Something I do regret was not starting up at the front of the race. There was no chip timing and I got boxed in by several other runners. They were mostly local high school fast kids so I decided that elbowing them would probably cause this blog to be rebranded as LOLZinJail.

I haven’t done a big, no chip race in a while.   I don’t mind not having chip timing because it keeps the race cost down. During the first mile, I ran side by side with Liz as well as a local high school cross country team. I felt like I was part of their pack! To my surprise I hit the first mile in 5:59. I haven’t run a mile that quickly in a very long time.


I thought I would probably slow down and positive split but I didn’t feel too bad during the second mile either. I actually started to pass more people including many walls of high school cross country dudes.  I quickly began to build confidence.

During the second mile I thought there was a possibility I might be able to break 19 minutes. Then I loled because I realized that would mean running an evenly paced race and my body is not at that fitness level yet. I ran the second mile in 6:08. That mile was still one of the fastest miles I’ve run all year.  

During the third mile, we made our way back to the start. I was focusing on powering through and finishing. By this point I knew I was on track to break through my summer plateau of high 19s or low 20s.   At that point I was extremely excited to have a faster 5k so I was mustering all the power I could to finish.

I finished strong with a local high schooler in 19:15. I’m happy with that time and to be finally progressing towards my 5k PR. I was also second woman overall.

Finishing and checking my garmin...
Finishing and checking my garmin…That is like a selfie stick angle


I’m glad to finally have a solid race. The weather was hot and humid but that is how summer races are. I’m excited to see where my legs are at next weekend at the Belmar 5.

Questions for you:

What was the last race you surprised yourself at?

Do you like to dress up for races?



  1. Congrats Hollie! Those 5K plateaus are the worst and you broke through it with plenty of summer months to do it again.

  2. Amazing work girl! Its so cool to see you getting faster and faster each week. You’re clearly doing the right things! What sort of speedwork do you focus on to get your 5K times down?

    1. I don’t really do much of any speed work right now. I’m focusing on fast finishes and fartleks but I’m currently not doing anything structured like track workouts or tempos. Thank you for your support Katie, it means a lot.

  3. Great work & way to break through! Do you wear a Garmin 10? What do you think of it?

    1. I like the Garmin 10 a lot. It’s all I need honestly. They did stop making it and is now the Garmin 15. Basically a few added features but still the same watch 🙂

      1. Do you ever use it just for the steps feature to see how many steps you take in a day? Or for tracking run/race splits only?

      2. I don’t have the Garmin 15. I just have the 10 that doesn’t do the steps. The update that made the 10 to the 15 is the addition of counting steps. My coworker swears by it though! 🙂

  4. Congrats on an awesome race! Sub 6 in the summer? You’re killing it : ) I have never dressed up for a race, and in all honesty, I don’t know if that is something I would like. The amount of chafe from a tutu scares me. Have a fabulous day!!

  5. awesome job despite the wall of gents. i surprised myself on my last long run… stuck to to the prescribed pace and pulled of negative splits in the last 3 miles 🙂

  6. Congrats on such a great race! It’s good to see you moving in the direction you want to go. I’m sure you’ll be under 19 any day now 🙂

  7. Oh I know the “wall of dudes” and it’s awful! Why do they need to spread across the road? Cray cray. Despite that, you broke though and kicked butt!! Nicely done!! I haven’t run a 5K in almost a year – so sad – but the last one was oh-so-close to 18. I don’t think I would have that speed now, but I want to try!!

  8. That’s such a great race! I love surprising myself. A few weeks ago, I ran a local 5k a week after a half marathon. I just wanted to run it for fun, but that somehow turned into my fasted 5k of the year, on a really challenging course. It was a great surprise!

  9. Ignore this if it posts twice, but great job! Way to break through your plateau. I’m glad you race a lot because it is fun to watch your progress over the weeks!

  10. Congratulations on your breakthrough race and on placing! You did a great job especially getting around the wall of high school kids (I’ve noticed a lot here too, they race a lot in the summer because they don’t have school and their track/xc races). Plus, your splits were awesome!

    I haven’t surprised myself since the Cooper River Bridge Run which was in late March, that was really my last “good race”. It started to get hot here and 5ks hurt!

  11. I LOLed so hard at your stick drawing! You captured the moment perfectly. I’m pretty sure we were the most reluctant members of the boys cross country pack. Luckily we still ran fast first miles!

  12. Awesome race, Hollie! I LOLed at the LOLZinJail. Probably woulda been worth it.

  13. Congrats on the race Hollie! I have never dressed up for a race but whenever I get to one and see others dressed up, I wish I had! One day I will, Disney Princess all the way [I kid, I kid]. Hopefully you’ll break 18:00 soon!

  14. Nicely done! You’re a speedy lady. I surprised myself at my last 10k because I don’t run strong in humidity but I met my goal of a sub-45. Finishing strong! I used to slow down in the final miles but lately my races have been picking up in the second half. Must be learning something right! And I’m a boring runner. I never dress up lol

  15. That’s an amazing time.. Although I was looking at your PRs… Wow, some very fast times there. I’ve learned to start my races a lot closer to the front recently, as it’s easy to get boxed in. With times like yours, you should be right at the front!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by James! I appreciate that! This was a fast race with so many fast males. Normally I do start a little bit further up!

  16. Awesome race! Extra points for not elbowing the babies (I’m not above that…) Your drawing is flawless.

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