Last Fourth of July I ran the inaugural Firecracker 4 Mile in my hometown.

I was home for a happy time, a family reunion with relatives from Norway. I was able to run with my dad. I love running races in my hometown because I get to see it from a new point of view. When I lived there I only ran in my neighborhood. Races allow me to run by the Mississippi, my college and downtown. Downtown definitely looks different while running than it did while drinking. 😉

I wasn’t planning to run this year and neither was my dad. I wasn’t supposed to be home for a visit until the end of July, well after the race was done. Unfortunately, I had to go back early due to a death in the family. Once I knew I would be home my dad asked if I wanted to run. I said, of course! He signed us up and that was that.

I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).

I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).

For this year they updated the course a bit. I liked both routes but this year was a tad nicer. The start and finish were in the park, instead of the access road. The start both years included up a hill, but this year was through the river trail instead of downtown. I was worried about how narrow the trail was with all the people going through but, surprisingly, people were incredibly polite. I was a bit shocked. In Phoenix, people make rude comments rather than just saying excuse me or on your left.

The loop through town was a bit different but it was still residential streets. The ending came through downtown, into the park and then down the pier. The bad thing about running down the pier was having to go back up. I was hitting the wall and not sure I would make it and then had to run up the pier. I would have given up had I not seen the finish line coming up. As I ran through the park, my dad was waiting and had his phone ready to capture my run past. I made it through the finish line and had never been so happy to stop running.

I learned an important lesson or two this race. One: you need your inhaler when running somewhere with humidity. And two: food and nutrition do make a huge difference. I might make this a separate post as I have already gone on quite a but here! Overall, though, the race was great and I didn’t do too bad, especially considering my sporadic summer running.

2015: 40:52 total, 10:13 pace

2016: 41:20 total, 10:20 pace

My dad did much better than me:
2015: 34:59 total, 8:45 pace

2016: 31:39 total, 7:55 pace

He has gotten so fast! I definitely do not take after him here but I do try. I’d love to be that fast.

Have you done any summer races? Let me know how you did in the comments!

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Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.