Note: I was given a complimentary entry into Oktoberfest 5k, but all opinions are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!
Historically this race has had poor to very poor luck with the weather. ;) Read: it is always cold and rainy (in my experience). So color me shocked when it wasn't raining on Sunday morning. I think everyone I chatted with commented on the weather improvement over years past. Now that's not saying it wasn't cold - it was still chilly.
I picked up my race swag on Friday night so I was able to avoid a morning rush. As a Cambridge 5k season pass holder, I received a sweet 5th anniversary beer glass in addition to my soft race t-shirt.
Page (my BRF) would be joining me for the run and we opted to carpool. Even though the run is just a 10 minute drive from my house. I had her pick me at up at 8:30am for the 9:30am start. Why? Because I was worried about Page picking up her packet in time. Only 55% of participants did early bib pick-up. So with over 2200 registered that was not favorable for short lines on race morning.
We parked in the Technology Square Garage in Kendall, which thanks to the race offered free parking for the event. Yay!
Page and I headed over to the post-race party/Start area/bib pick-up. :) As we neared the bib area, we saw a line wrapping around the block and hoped it wasn't bib pick-up. Thankfully it wasn't, but it was a line for folks to have their IDs checked. Ouch! There was only one guy checking IDs, which didn't make any sense.
As we rounded the corner, Page got into the bib pick-up line and I went to investigate where Season Pass/VIP bag check was. I ran into a friend who pointed me in the right direction. In this process, I lost Page. Oops! Next to bib pick-up there was the wristband tent. Hmmm I am not sure why there were folks getting their IDs checked on corner of Main St & Technology Sqare, yet the wristbands were actually halfway down the block. I was able to head right over to the wristband area and get my ID checked.
I already addressed this issue with the race director who is already putting different measures into place for the next race in this series (Yulefest 5k in December). They will be forgetting wristbands and using ink hand stamps instead, which will speed up the process drastically. Yay!
Once Page and I reconnected, it was time to hustle to the Start line, which thankfully was mere feet away. We made it with about 2 minutes to spare. There were folks still in line for bib pick-up/wristbands when the race started. I know a friend said she started about 12 minutes after the initial Start. Good to know those that were in line made the race.
I was really looking forward to this nice flat course since I'd be running the 5k on tired legs. I had run 20 miles the day prior for marathon training.
There were a ton of folks to bob and weave through within the first mile... and we had lined up decently close to the front. We didn't have a time goal, but we fought through the crowd to find a nice clear space to get into our groove. The "almost tripping over people" feeling is not one of my favorites during a race. Anyone else?
Just before we hit the Mile 1 marker, we saw the crowd space itself out and we were able to find a nice lane to run and chat. :)
Mile 1: 7:50
As I mentioned the course was pretty flat and had limited turns so we could really focus on catching up with each other over making sure we didn't miss a turn. A nice change from the last race we had run together (ZOOMA Cape Cod Half).
Since Page and I were wrapped up in conversation, we couldn't believe it was already time to take a left on to Ware Street followed by a quick left onto Harvard Street. It was time to head back towards the Finish already.
Mile 2: 7:34
There were some amazing costumes out on the course. I always tell myself I will up my game for this race then I get distracted by something shiny. ;)
We neared the finish and I remembered we had yet to selfie. Ugh! How could I forget? We had time to rectify it before we officially started to near the end.
Not one of my best mid-run selfies, but it makes me laugh. Page looks awesome & I look like I don't even know. But just after I clicked this photo our pace popped up on the Garmin and I decided my face was a-okay. :P It is tough to snap a selfie while rocking a 7:14 min/mile.
Mile 3: 7:14
There were three turns in the last 0.1 mile, but we were focused on the Finish.
FINAL TIME: 23:17 (7:30 min/mile pace)
The 23:17 was good for 303 out of 2,264 overall. Tough competition!
Page and I high-fived, grabbed waters at the Finish and headed over to the post-race party. It was time for beer and pretzels. There was additional food buffet available from Jacob Wirth, but I had my heart set on the pretzel!!
Since many were still out running, we were able to avoid the longer lines that appeared later. We grabbed a NOTCH beer and a Swiss Baker pretzel before finding a place to set up shop. I needed to connect with the Slumbrew Happy Soles, who were the second-largest team at the race.
The awards ceremony started earlier than I expected so we had to try and collect as many Happy Soles for a team pic as possible. Usually we announce the pic over the speakers, but the awards were going.
It may not be all 122 members, but that is still one sexy bunch! :) The Soles did a great job representing in the post-race dance off.
That's right friends - this 5k not only offers free post-race beer/snacks, free race photos and donates part of your registration to charity, but it also has a dance off.
The Oktoberfest 5k benefited Cambridge Family & Children's Service.
While the pre-race bib pick-up/wristband situation was frustrating, it is great to hear that the race director (Eddie) has listened to the feedback and is working to improve the process for the next race and Oktoberfest 2016! I will stick with a race director who is always looking to improve the racer's experience. Wouldn't you?