Flower Show 5k (18:13)

Last Sunday I participated in the Flower Show 5k.  To be honest, I signed up for the race because there was a promise of “flower cannons” at every mile.  I had no idea what that meant, and it intrigued me! The weather was beautiful, so I chose to take advantage of it.  The race started at 8:30 am which was perfect for me.  I was going to do a workout over the weekend, but the race looked fun, so I hopped into it.

My husband and I arrived at 7:30, warmed up around the Schuylkill River and headed to the start. We saw a few friends doing their long run during our warmup but other than that, the warm-up was uneventful. At 8:30, the race was off.  They threw a few flower pedals, and that was the extent of the “flower cannon”.  To be honest, I was disappointed.

flower show cannon
I was laughing at a little kid on the side. So ready to race…

During the first mile, I found myself as the second woman to a friend of mine.  I trailed about 15 seconds behind.  The course was out and back directly next to the highway.  I hit the first mile in 5:52.

During the second mile, I was surprised I maintained my speed.  In the last few faster 5ks, my first mile is below 6 minutes and the second is not.  I passed a few males.  At the halfway point I began catching the first place woman.  After we turned around several racers running the opposite direction cheered us on.  I hit the second mile in 5:57.

Since I had done a mini workout the day before, my goal was to run under 19 minutes for the race.  After the turnaround, I realized I was close to my PR from last month.  I had not expected to feel that good!

During the third mile, I caught the first woman.  I gave all of my energy, and we rounded a final loop where I saw the clock was in the low 17s.  I still had .2 to go and hit the third mile shortly after in 5:52. Staring at a clock for nearly a quarter of a mile is rough.

I watched as my husband crossed the finish line.  There was one other male in between us as well as a nearby cyclist.  By the time I looked up, I realized I got to run through and “break” a mini tape.  I quickly rose my hands and ran right through.  It was a blur. I crossed the finish in 18:13 by both gun and chip time.

First and Second Place
First and Second Place

Afterward, they gave me a bouquet of flowers and the overall winners took a photo together.  It was awesome that both my husband were part of that.  He was second male overall and got a bouquet as well.  We cooled down around the Schuylkill and headed home after.

Overall winners
Overall winners


  • I was not expecting to PR in February at all.  I had a hard training week before which made the PR more surprising.
  • Reflecting on the last ten months, I’ve made a 2-minute improvement from my baseline fitness. It’s hard to believe the first 5k I ran in early May was a 20:20.
  • It’s nice to see my fitness coming together.  I’m 14 seconds from breaking into the 17 range, but a 14-second improvement is a long way to go for any race distance.  I’m happy to see how far my fitness has come, and I know I still have more to go.

Questions for you:
When was the last time you surprised yourself
Have you ever been to a flower show or expo?


  1. Congrats on an awesome race! You are so speedy! That’s disappointing about the flower cannons. I hate when races have something cool promised and it turns out to be lame.

    1. I think that was part of the issue. There were several small things “promised” in the race that we never received. I don’t need any of it but it did feel a bit like false advertising!

  2. Congrats on an awesome race! It’s always nice to surprise yourself. I’d be disappointed too by the flower cannons I think but I’m glad you had another pretty good sized PR!

  3. Congrats!! My last half-marathon last year I surprised myself by getting a 6 minute PR. I wasn’t even planning to race because I had been injured leading up to the race but things just came together for me on race day.

  4. Pretty sweet to have a PR in the off season, congrats!
    Maybe you can pick the petals off the bouquet and Tim can throw them at you during a tempo run. Homemade flower cannon!

  5. The only surprising myself that I’ve been doing lately is continually sucking at my half marathon races! Ha ha ha. I used to be able to run sub-1:30 (1:28) and now I will bust my guts and STILL be over 1:30. I’ve been working hard lately though so I think I will try again in March and see what happens.

    I’m so excited for you. Your race times have really been an inspiration to me, because our PRs were close together until you started knocking them out of the park. Hopefully this means I can one day too!

    1. I think you can as well. You work so hard as well so I hope you are able to PR soon too. I think PRs happen when you least expect it sometime. Which races are you doing in March?

  6. This was a HUGE PR! Congratulations Hollie- your hard work is really paying off. Plus you have a lot of mental strength to pass the lead lady that far and stay ahead (BTW I hate races where you have to look at the clock from far away, for a long time- I try not to look at it at all now). It’s great that you got flowers and that the whole podium/overall took a pic together too. I love those post-race photos so much more than on-the-course pics.

    Hope you have a good recovery and good training this week, too!

    1. She is a friend so it was nice to celebrate that with her.

      I actually really enjoy race course photos more I think. I always look so awkward taking post race photos LOL.

  7. Woohoo! One of my tri friends has a second home in Philly and loves running around the Schuylkill River area.

  8. I’d be disappointed about the lack of flower canons also. That sounds awesome! Congrats on your new PR!! You’ll be breaking 18 min soon!! Have a great week Hollie!

  9. Congrats on the PR and placing! Since I’m newer to reading your blog it’s really cool to see how much your fitness has improved in the past few months. I think you’ll just keep getting faster and break into 17 minute 5Ks soon!

  10. You’ve made such a huge improvement in the past year! You should be really proud! I surprised myself recently on a run last week. It was much faster than I thought and it felt surprisingly comfortable.

  11. Girlfriend. You are amazing. That is all.

    Wait, no, it’s not. I want to run an 18:13 5K. Actually, if I could just break 19 – that’d be great.

    But for realz. Huge inspiration!

  12. Congrats on a great race! The “flower cannon” sounds like a huge disappointment. Throwing pedals and saying its a cannon is not cool!

  13. 14 seconds is especially hard for a 5k, but wow! You PRrd by quite a bit, with this one, so it’s pretty awesome.
    Oh, and first place overall is pretty sweet, too.
    Sorry about the lack of flower canons, though.

  14. Congrats on the PR and first place finish! I would have been intrigues by the flower cannons too but too bad they were disappointing.

  15. Hollie, you are getting so fast! Three consecutive sub-6 splits… that is just SO amazing! I break the tape in my dreams. I’m glad you got to do it in real life!

  16. Second place female finisher was my HS gym teacher and track coach, Miss B! She rules!

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