54th & Final Race of 2015: Cambridge 5k Yulefest 5k

It's always bittersweet reaching the end of a racing season. Thankfully I only need to wait 2 weeks until the 2016 season kicks off. ;)

But if the 2015 season had to end... at least it went out with a bang!

The Yulefest 5k is my favorite in the Cambridge 5k series.

2015 marked my fourth time taking on the Yulefest 5k with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.

Yulefest takes place in Harvard Square and is a great (mostly) flat course. It is one of those flat courses that has a slight incline during Mile 3 that feels like a mountain. Anyone know what I am talking about? Any other place it would've felt like a bump, but here and in that place it's like Everest. ;)

When Page and I arrived, we headed straight to the party area. We breezed through the ID check, which was a plus! Instead of wristbanding everyone, they went with a green X on your hand. Saved a lot of time. We went straight to the Slumbrew tent. It was a different feature this year. If your team had over 30 people, you got a private tent post-race. Pretty sweet. The Happy Soles were the second-largest team with 220 runners! ROCK ON! :) 


It was also sweet avoiding bag check by leaving our stuff in our team's tent. After chatting with the team and hitting up the port-o-potties, we headed to the Start Line. It was a short walk from the party area so a nice way to warm up the legs. For the first time in four years, we had a glorious weather day. I was actually toasty in my long-sleeved shirt. 

Page, Susan and I made our way to the Start corral and caught up with each other and some other friends we ran into. It's crazy how many familiar faces you can find at a race with 3,000 participants! :)

Since I had run the hilly Jingle Bell Half the day prior, I had no idea what my legs would be capable of for this race. Since it was mainly flat, I was looking forward to letting the legs shake themselves out.

I was so caught up in our convo that I totally blanked on locating satellite on my Garmin. I know - oh the humanity! Thankfully my 220 locates satellites insanely fast and I was still good to go by the time we hit the timing mat. :)

And we were off. 

My legs felt like lead. Darn those hills of New Hampshire. Thankfully Page let me set the pace because I felt like I was running in molasses. I knew the legs needed to get the lactic acid out and I focused on simply putting one foot in front of the other. I actually turned my Garmin around so it was under my wrist so I could take a time pressure off of myself.

Page had never really run in or around Harvard Square so it was great to see someone experience a neighborhood/course for the first time.

Mile 1: 7:31

Well that was a shocker. It was also a reminder that I am horrible at gauging my pace. In my mind we were moving about 2 minutes slower per mile - at least. So the time for Mile 1 was a pleasant surprise.

I love being at a race where people take the theme seriously. :) There were some amazing team costumes, as well as individuals thinking outside of the box. I wish I had taken more pictures on the course. But take my word for it. It made me want to seriously up my costume game.

But I was too busy making sure my Slumbrew Santa hat didn't fall off. :P

Mile 2: 7:41

Once we hit the Mile 2 marker, it was all mental for the final mile. I knew the incline was coming and my hamstring wasn't ready. It was feeling sore from the day prior. 

I turned to Page and said at least there is only 1 mile left compared to 11. :) 

Oh and we got a free candy cane from an adorable kid on the side of the road. Yay taking candy from a stranger.

I dug deep and as we approached the incline I spotted Santa. Page said: "Just run to Santa." Alright my friend, so I pushed with everything I had.

As we crested the hill, I realized I had nothing left. Luckily, we were about 1/2 a mile to the Finish and I refocused on putting one foot in front of the other. 

The energy of the spectators and those that had already finished was electric. I tried to feed off of it as I tried to pull some sort of gas out of the tank. 

FYI: The tank was dry, but I tried to pretend it wasn't.

Mile 3: 7:40

I wasn't about to pass up my Finish Line leap... but apparently the timing company's photo was. :P 

FINAL TIME: 23:53 (7:41 min/mile pace)

Not my best and not my worst for the course, but I take any Finish time I can! 

Page and I grabbed a water and headed back to the post-race party area so we could grab a Swissbaker pretzel before the line got long. Mmmm carbs!

After getting my pretzel, I headed to the timing tent to check the official time on the iPads available.

Damn proud of Page and I for this! Big thanks to Page as always for being an awesome BRF! :) I wouldn't have finished without her.

Now it was party time! The Cambridge 5k post-race parties are always off the chain. (Do the kids still say that? Off the chain?) There are great local craft beers being poured, delicious food donated and amazing beats being dropped. (Is that right? Beats get dropped?)

I was excited to hand out a 16 ounce can of Slumbrew to our team as a thank you for helping to #SportTheFort. Caitlin and Jeff (owners of Slumbrew) are so good to our team.

It is always a pleasure of mine to meet and greet with our team, find out how their races went and what they have coming up next.

The tent was a huge score. I didn't feel like people were on top of me and I could actually hear the people I was talking to. YAY! Always a win. We also had some great food in our tent since our team was over 60 people!

Before the awards ceremony began, we gathered as many Happy Soles as we could into a team picture. It always chokes me up when the team gets together like this. I remember in July 2012 our team had 11 folks for the first race we participated in... and now? 220! Absolutely blows me away! :) 

Thanks to each and every Happy Sole for being YOU!

Since I was handing out gifts in the tent, I missed the costume contest and dance party, but from what I could hear they were both a HUGE success. 

Page and I snuck out a little early to get home, but overall it was a blast as always: great course, good beer and an electric vibe. 

If you love the Cambridge 5k races like I do, take advantage of the 2016 season pass. Not only is it a great deal financially, you can also select which bib number you will have for each race. Well any number but 82 - that's all me! ;)

See ya at the next one - Craicfest 5k on March 13.