I guess it was just one of those days...
You know...when things kind of just fall into place, albeit a rocky start and questionable weather.
This was the 27th annual running of the Sully Freedom Fun Run, and it was my seventh time making an appearance on the race course. What can I say? I'm a sucker for repeating a fun race that supports a great cause.
The Sully Freedom Fun Run is an event that benefits the Lynnville-Sully High School's track and cross country teams and is held in conjunction with Sully Freedom Days, every year on July 4th.
As you could expect, the weather was hot and muggy. This year, we also had rain (and potential thunder and lightning) in the forecast (don't be jealous). We (Barb, Allison and myself) were running the 5K, but there also was a 1-mile kids' run.
Upon arriving in Sully, the rain was coming down hard. It was announced the start of the kids' run was delayed to 8:10 (originally scheduled for 8:00), and the 5K would follow at 8:25 (instead of 8:20). Momma N wasn't being especially accommodating (there was some lightning dancing around overhead as well), but the radar was showing a slight break in the severe weather and the race director was optimistic the race could get squeezed in before things turned crazy again. We grabbed our packets, took shelter in our car for a little longer, and headed towards the start line around 8:15.
Admittedly, I wasn't as optimistic as the RD. The downpour had lightened to a light sprinkling, but we could still hear some thunder rumbles.
We lined up, not knowing if we'd be allowed to go or not. We heard the RD giving instructions, but it was difficult to understand his muffled words over the voices of the other people lining up beside us. Suddenly, the starter's pistol went off...and we took that as a cue to get moving.
|coming around the first corner, just past the start line...can you spot me? (pic from event FB page)
The start line is on the west side of the town square, and the route takes us on two loops around the small town of Sully. We pass the south side of the town square, leading us to the eastern edge of town. The route then turns right (going south for several blocks) before we loop back (running to the northern edge of town). Eventually, there are a couple more left turns, and we find ourselves running alongside the south side of the town square as we begin the second loop of the race.
As is typical, the first mile is a cluster of runners. We also had numerous puddles and several corners to cruise around, via slick streets from all the rain. I try to run by feel, but that first mile usually ends up being much faster than it feels (or should be, LOL). My bad.
|near the halfway point, running the south length of the town square (pic from event FB page)
Going into this race, I'd been having some weird hip wonkiness. Nothing painful, but definitely things were feeling off. I'd taken a few days off of running and had been doing a lot of cycling to keep my legs loosened-up and my endurance strong. Overall, my hip was feeling good, but it still wasn't feeling great. That said, I didn't notice anything painful on race day.
By the second mile, I felt like I had (kind of) found my groove and tried to just keep running steady. I wasn't feeling tired, but I didn't have any desire to push myself either. The air was very muggy, I was feeling thirsty, and I was very much looking forward to finishing.
Barb and Allison had sprinted out ahead of me, just after the start line, but I had managed to keep an eye on them. By the time we were in the third (and final) mile, though, they had spread out even further. Up until that final mile, the rain had stayed very light. I could feel the rain gradually creeping back (though, given the muggy conditions, the rain actually felt refreshing).
|entering the finish line chute (pic from event FB page)
I think the final jaunt around the town square, is the most difficult part of the race but also the most exciting. It's tough "bringing it in for a strong finish" with the four remaining turns in such a short space. But, there's always tons of awesome crowd support on that final stretch. But, whew! Done!
It took me awhile to find Allison and Barb, but there were others from my hometown there as well to chat with (over post-race Gatorades). The results were slow coming in for my age group. They started the awards presentation quickly, so everyone would be free to leave (because the rain had started coming down pretty steady again).
This is a pretty small event, so the competition isn't crazy tough. I was happy to snag a 1st place AG, ironically wearing the same outfit as I did in 2018. That year was significant because not only was it my first-1st place AG for this event, but also a rally-back milestone in my recovery from my knee surgery (a year prior).
Barb and Allison also placed, both earning 2nd-place AG medals. So, yes, it was a good day for all of us!
The swag was very nice, considering the early registration was only $15! Yes, another cotton shirt...but this one features a Top Gun tribute.
All in all, I'm really happy with how this race went. I wasn't looking for a PR, but I would have liked to have run this about a minute faster (Oh well, LOL). We really got lucky with the weather, too. With all the other events of the Sully Freedom Days on the morning's calendar, there wasn't a big window of opportunity had there been a need to postpone the start time much later.
Did you run a 4th of July race? If so, did you dress in red, white and blue? Have you ever mistakenly worn the same outfit to a race you've run before?