Last night, the Firefly Run came to Phoenix so I decided to check it out. The Firefly run is a night run that is currently in 6 cities: Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, San Jose, and Atlanta. According to the website, more cities are being added soon. In Phoenix, the race was a 5K only, but some cities also offer a 10K.
The race started at 7:30 pm, right after the sun had set, and every runner was given two LED light wristbands to light up the race course. Most people, however, came adorned with other glow-in-the-dark accessories like glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark tape or paint, and even light bulbs (notice the guy dressed in head-to-toe light bulbs in the picture below).
The race itself was extremely well organized and, despite it being the first time the race was organized in Phoenix, it appeared that everything went smoothly and perfectly. It was an out and back course that started and ended near the capitol building in downtown Phoenix. I was a little concerned with racing in the dark and doing something like tripping in a pothole because of poor visibility, but it turned out to be a non-issue as the streetlights provided just enough light.
I had run 16 miles the day before, so I wasn’t quite sure how much I would push it or whether I would “race” at all. I went with a couple of friends who usually run 10-11 minute miles, so I almost opted to run with them. At the last minute, however, I decided to see what my legs were capable of. I was stuck in the middle of the pack, so after the gun went off, it was quite difficult to get through the mass of people and start to really run. It probably added 20-30 seconds to my time, but once I fought my way through, the roads were pretty clutter-free.
I normally hate running at night because the accumulation of food all day makes me feel sluggish and crampy if I try to run late in the day, but last night I felt really good, strong, and energized. I felt awesome during the entire race and finished in 21:17 – a one-minute PR and a time good enough to score me 3rd place among all women and 2nd in my division. I’ve never made the leaderboard before, so I was quite ecstatic with the results. Proof that I’m still getting faster! I never thought I would be able to run sub-7-minute miles for 3 miles in a row, but at the end of the race, I felt like I could have kept going or could have run a little harder.
Overall, this was a great race and a fun atmosphere. If you are looking for a 5K or 10K that’s a little different and it’s coming to a city near you, I would highly recommend it!