Run for Freedom 5K Race Recap

First thing I will say about the Run for Freedom 5k: It is the most difficult race I have EVER competed in. It was not just specific to this year either. I found this to be quite problematic last year.

The issue is the combination of heat and humidty. If you are not a native to the east coast, then humidity probably doesn't visit you as often as it does here during the summer months.

The Blue areas are your humid regions on July 5th 2013

 Also, to have the humidity on top of 90 degree temperatures, it leaves you wishing that you had never signed up for the (insert obscenity here) race in the first place.

Regardless, I tried to be as prepared as possible. The night before, I froze a water bottle so I could have ice cold water to drink or pour on myself during the race. I also drank plenty of cold water prior to going so I could start well-hydrated.

I dressed in as little clothing as possible. I would have also opted out of the compression socks if they were not specifically bought for the occasion. Besides, they looked awesome and no one else in the race had them.

The race began at 8:30, so the heat really started kicking it in to high gear. I wish they would hold these summer races earlier to strictly avoid the morning temperature hike. I would much rather moan and groan about waking up an hour early, than to suffer a heat stroke. But, I don't create these events.

Anyway, I had a pace plan, but like most, they go out the window as soon as the gun goes off.

I began at an 8 minute pace, which was a little faster than where I wanted it to be. However, I still thought it to be realistic goal since I did the same pace for the Nick Adenhart 5k.

But this was not the weather to have high expectations. My legs felt like lead from the get-go.

I enlarged this picture just so you could view the definition in my thigh muscle ;-)
About a mile in, I was already contemplating on walking. I was not wearing my heart monitor, but I know that my BPMs were not ideal. I could do nothing more than slow down for the next mile. My pace went from 8 minutes to 9 in no time at all.

I was already drenched in sweat and I decided it was the perfect time to drop some water on myself to relieve some of my discomfort. I nearly panicked when nothing came out. How could it be so dreadfully hot and my water bottle still be frozen?! It was out for over an hour in the sun! Thankfully, they had an aid station at the halfway point. I grabbed a cup of water and poured it right on the top of my head. The water drained down and it rinsed all the sweat that lingered in my hair right into my eyes and mouth....refreshing. Not.

I tried a few more times to get water out of my bottle with little success...but I trucked on, continuing to contemplate whether I wanted to the finish. Though, the last thing I wanted to do was prolong my suffering. I told myself to run as slow as I wanted to and not care about any age group awards. An exploding heart is not worth a medal.

When I saw the finish line, I was extremely thankful. This 5k felt like a marathon. It was the longest run I have ever been on. However, somehow, I managed to sprint the last several yards.

How I conjured up the energy to do so? I still have no idea.

No sooner than I crossed the finish line, I found a spot in the grass to sit while I waited for Peter to save me from the heat. I felt like all of my strength was gone. My legs could not hold my weight any longer. They exerted so much effort in that grueling 26 minutes, that they went on strike. I could not blame them.

When Peter joined me, I told him that I was not expecting any award this year. There were plenty of women who were faster, better, and stronger than I was in this heat...and I was okay with that. First, some people adapt to heat better. Second, some of these runners are more experienced than myself. I would hope that their years of training would make them faster. I only hope that it will do the same for me. I went to the award ceremony anyway, not expecting a thing.

To my surprise, I was announced as the second female in the 20-29 age group. The exact same placement I got last year.

 I was very proud of myself, to say the least. But even with winning a medal 2 years in a row, I will most likely never pre-register for this race. I may participate next year should the temperatures and humidity be more runner friendly, but that's something I will only know when that day actually arrives. I NEVER want to subject myself to such a physically draining run like that. I laid around ALL DAY just to recover.

Running a 5k may not sound hard to someone who has run 20+ miles at one time, but when it comes to competing in the heat, it can be one of the most trying events you can put yourself through.

Did you run this 4th? If so, how was the weather?

Have you ever participated in a race that had unbearable weather? Did it affect your pace or did you ever have to stop/walk?



  1. YAY on the age category award! I got second in my age category at my Fourth of July race too! Ginger runners rock it :) I'm so glad you made it through such a hot, humid race. It was a scorcher yesterday! I went for a run tonight after it cooled down and it was SO refreshing after racing in the heat.

    I love that medal!! I won a t shirt for my prize but I like medals better :)

    1. Yay! That's so funny we both got the same place! And yes, I like medals as prizes too. I never received medals until I started running. So I want to earn as many as possible. :)

      I went for a run this morning and had to make it a run/walk session. Too hot & humid to make it a full run! On days I don't work, I'm too impatient to wait till the evening so I do what I can to get through them in the morning.


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