*RECAP* Run, Beer & Pretzels Equals Cambridge 5k Oktoberfest 5k Fun

For three-straight years it's rained during Oktoberfest 5k, why would we assume it would be any different on October 5, 2014. It was even raining on Saturday when I went to pick up my race bib and sweet t-shirt.

Thankfully the rain made other plans on Sunday and for once the Cambridge 5k Oktoberfest 5k would be held under the shining sun! Wahoo!

Since the race was a mere 15 minute ride from my house, I could sleep in until 8am and casually get ready for the race. Race would be kicking off at 9:30am.

Apparently I was a little too casual about the race as I almost left the house without my bib. Umm thanks honey for noticing that. Oops!

Maybe I should get back to laying my clothes out the night before ANY race not just the marathons. ;)

I enjoyed my water and toast with peanut butter on the drive over. I wanted to make sure I had some fuel in my body, but not too much that would weigh me down for the shorter distance race.

Oktoberfest 5k, which benefits Cambridge Family & Children's Service (CFCS), was moved to a different section of Technology Square in Cambridge and it was a great decision by race director, Eddie. The space is much larger than the previous space and allowed ample space for the post-race party and dance off.

I managed to run into a bunch of people I knew - blogger friends, Weight Watchers members, fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles and more - while wandering around before the race. I love being able to catch up with so many people at a race. It always puts a big smile on my face. :) Who knew I would be so happy meeting up with folks at races and making so many friends through running.

All of a sudden I checked my iFit and realized it was 9:20am. Yeah I should probably start moving over to the Start Area I thought to myself. I was going to be living on the edge opting not to wait in the never-ending port-o-pottie line and chance it.

I also need to promise that I did't purposely match my outfit to my race bib. :P It just happened to work out that way.

I opted to wear my lighter ASICS Gel Hyper Speed6 sneakers since they are more of a racing flat. I like how they are lightweight for the 5k distance, but anything longer than that I tend to stick with my trusty ASICS GT-2000s.

There are a ton of speedy folks that run in the Cambridge 5k series so I tried to get up to the front-ish to make sure I could get into my own groove with limited people passing me on the onset.

Oktoberfest is the biggest race of the Cambridge 5k series so there tend to be more congestion than at any of the other races so placing yourself correctly is crucial.

The gun went off and so did we. I did pass a couple right off the bat that seemed a little shocked at how many speedy people there were. Not sure what they were expecting at a 5k race. But the folks that run the Cambridge 5k series run the gamut from the 5:xx min/mile runners to first time walkers. That is what I love - everyone is welcome!

The course was different than in previous years and was touted as being flat flat flat. I liked the sound of it, but doubted it being pancake flat. FYI I was right. ;)

I tried to get into my own groove, but for some reason my body had other ideas. I felt sluggish right from the get go. I knew my lack of sleep and not pristine eating habits over the past week could catch up with me ... and they did.

I honestly thought I was running in place for part of Mile 1, but I trusted my body was in fact moving in a forward direction.

Mile 1: 7:23

Now normally I would be thrilled with that for Mile 1, but I was disappointed. I have been working on getting faster and it was paying off recently, but on this day the body had other ideas.

It is always something to remember - you never know which body will show up on race day.

So I decided just to go with the flow. Either way I would be thoroughly entertained by the costumes around me. Many folks took the German theme and ran with it. *Ba dum dum*

There are random droppings of spectators along the course so I relied on the volunteers for some pick-up energy and they didn't disappoint. Big thanks to those folks along the course directing runners, handing out water or offering up a high-five.

Oh and you can welcome some inclines to the party. As I traveled upwards I thought to myself how that was in fact not flat. :P I didn't really mind, but always find people have different definitions of flat.

Mile 2: 7:41

Lots of potholes on the roads of Cambridge so I made sure to triple check the ground before snapping my mid-run selfie.

Yup I felt myself slowing down, but just kept telling myself to move forward and either way the BEER would be at the Finish.

Just after Mile 2, I saw my Slumbrew teammate Pat sit down on the side of the road and grab his knee. I ran past him then made sure to back  track to see how he was doing. Without thinking about it I stopped my Garmin. Yeah that doesn't happen during a race. It did show me that Pat and I chatted for about 17 seconds. ;)

Pat said he was okay and didn't need medical help so I restarted the Garmin and got back on the course.

The final mile of any race is always a mental game with me. I started passing the time - since I didn't wear headphones - by counting my steps. It calms me down. I've also come to realize 150 steps is 0.1 miles so I play games with myself. I know cool kid. :P

Some of the course looked familiar as we crossed over some of the streets from the Cambridge 5k Yulefest 5k, which is held in Harvard Square in December.

The sun was high and the shade was at a minimum. The short sleeves, while they sucked before the race, came in really handy during the race itself.

Mile 3: 7:43

The final stretch included three separate turns, which made the final 0.1 seem like an eternity. But coming through to a bunch of cheers and familiar faces is always a joy!

Final Time: 24:16 (7:49 min/mile pace)

While I was disappointed with my time - no one to blame but me - I was extra mad to be 54 seconds slower than last year's Oktoberfest. Grr... Some races I seem to be going backwards in my speed instead of forwards. Again I know every day and every race is different, but it can still be frustrating.

Something I am going to focus on and work on in the future.

The good thing was the race was done, the water drank and it was time to move on to the beer and pretzels!!

Cambridge Brewing Company provided beer (Pale Ale and Pumpkin Ale, Swiss Bakers had the pretzels and Jason Wirth also provided food.

Eddie, race director, set up the square with 4 different beer tents pouring to try and shorten the beer lines, but unfortunately with 2100+ runners there were still lengthy lines at times.

We entertained ourselves in the line as best we could. :)

Just after 11am, we gathered as many of the 56 Slumbrew Happy Soles as we could for a team pic.

It is amazing being part of such an awesomely supportive and great group of people.

Big props to Slumbrew runner Craig who came in #1 overall with an amazing time of 17:05. How amazing is that? I wonder what it is like to break the tape.

With Craig and some other speedsters on the team, Slumbrew took the #1 team overall. Waaahhh!!

Our team never wins until Big Bad Wolf 5-Miler in September, when we were 2nd overall.

The prize? A growler of CBC Pale Ale ... which we all shared on the spot. :)

Victory tasted delicious!

After many hugs and high fives, it was time for me to head home and continue my Sunday. I missed the dance off, but heard a Slumbrew Happy Sole member actually walked away with the crown there too. Hollah!

So if you are thinking about checking out Cambridge 5k Oktoberfest 5k next year ... do it! You might see a familiar face ... or 10!


Want in on the final Cambridge 5k race of the year? Join the Slumbrew Happy Soles and I at Yulefest 5k on December 14. Register here.