Ahhhh I gave away the whole story in the headline of this post, but I just can't contain my excitement!!!! So yes yes yes - I did get a PR at the Cambridge 5k Freedom Run 5k on Sunday, June 7.
But you HAVE to continue reading to find out how it happened... :)
Maybe the third time really is the charm. 2015 marked my third-straight year running the Freedom Run 5k with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.
And somehow the stars aligned.
I wasn't feeling 100% leading up to the race. I was still bogged down with a cold/cough thing that crept up on me after I got home from the San Diego marathon when I woke up that morning. That whole breathing thing was a little bit of a problem so I promised myself that I would let my body dictate the pace during the race.
The wife dropped my cousin and I off at the race just after 8am so we could get my cousin's bib, get our wristbands so we could get our beer and catch up with the other Happy Soles before the 9:30am start.
I love being able to help Slumbrew set up the pouring station pre-race. Oh and hand out some sweet Happy Sole sunglasses to the team.
Like every Cambridge 5k race, the start snuck up on me because I was too distracted having fun with the crew. :P We finally made our way over to the Start, which was thankfully just across the small courtyard, and were in line in plenty of time.
There aren't assigned corrals for this event so I just sort of put myself towards the front-ish. Really I just squeezed in where I could since I wasn't the smart person that got in line in a timely manner. :P
The flag flying high over the Start always puts an extra big smile on my face.
After a quick stretch in the corral, the countdown was on and we were off. I saw quite a few Happy Soles right after crossing the Start so it was awesome to give them some high-fives, thumbs up and cheers right off the bat.
I was wearing my ASICS Gel-Hyper Speed 6 racing sneakers so I was hoping they would add some extra speed to my legs. My legs had run a marathon the week prior and knocked out an 8-miler the day before the race. So really I had no idea what would be left in the tank.
But the course was flat and I was ready to test the legs out.
From the get go I focused on my breathing. Since I wasn't 100% I wanted to make sure I didn't sacrifice breathing for speed. Haha. ;)
As we were about to take the left on to Cardinal Medeiros Ave, I spotted the Mile 1 marker on the right and my Garmin buzzed.
Mile 1: 6:55
O-M-G! What? How the heck did that happen? I thought maybe my watch had malfunctioned. This would the third or fourth time I would've recorded a sub 7 min/mile pace. Aahhhh!!!
My smile got wider, I waved to my friend George and I immediately changed my goal for the race. My focus became???
A PR BABY!
So I needed motivation - STAT. Since I don't run with music, I didn't have a playlist to rely on. Instead I chose people in front of me to pick off. As I ran down Hampshire Street, I would find someone within a block of me and push to catch them and pass them. Would I reach every single one? No, but it kept me moving forward and trying to keep my pace constant.
Once we took the turn off Hampshire Street and on to Cambridge Street, we were hit with headwind. Dammit. Was the first mile all tailwind and that's what led to the sub 7 mile? I didn't need that negativity in my headspace so I quickly shook it off. I continued to put one foot in front of the other. At the turn the volunteer said the Mile 2 marker was just ahead... well he lied. :P Haha. But it did keep my mind occupied and off of the headwind.
My Garmin finally buzzed for Mile 2.
Mile 2: 7:00
Okay a little slower than Mile 1, but I was still on pace for a PR. My math mind started spinning with worst case scenarios for what pace I could post on Mile 3 to still PR.
The final mile of the race is a straight shot down Cambridge St. It is a flat stretch besides a tiny incline at the end, which outside of a race wouldn't even be noticeable. But at the tail end of a flat race, it seems like a mountain. ;) You know what I mean right? We've all experienced those.
With 1/2 a mile to go, I realized I had yet to mid-run selfie. Oh the humanity people.
Fixed. Not my best work. Not sure what the heck my thumb was doing. But I just went with it. Something was better than nothing. I had a PR to focus on.
I successfully made it over the "mountain" and was ready to take the right on to First Street and get in the home stretch.
The Garmin buzzed and I didn't even have a moment to look at it.
Mile 3: 6:59
I was ready to give it everything I had in the last 0.1 mile.
Have you ever been in a race where you see the Finish Line ahead of you, yet you feel like you are running in a treadmill? Where the Finish Line isn't getting any closer, yet you swear your legs are moving? Yeah it was one of those finishes for me.
I could see the Finish clock ticking closer and closer to my 5k PR and I just wanted to get across that line.
I didn't even make the effort for a good Finish Line pose hence this disaster of a photo.
Ouch! Not my finest look. But just showing folks that I do not always take the best race photos. I am human too. ;)
Finish line crossed. Garmin clicked off. Fist pumped. PR achieved.
Hell to the yeah!!!
I started tearing up. I couldn't believe what I saw. I remember my first 5k being 38:21. How could my body possibly accomplish this?
I thanked the volunteers, grabbed a couple of waters and headed back towards the post-race party cheering friends in along the way.
The Cambridge 5k knows how to have a post-race party. The race series offers free local craft beer and cider post race, food (this race from California Pizza Kitchen) and a kick-ass dance off.
Just after entering the post-race party area, I bee-lined it for the tent where you could check your Finish time on tablets provided by the timing company.
Official results: 21:46
Well Garmin was off by 3 seconds, BUT I still got a 13 second PR. Hollah! I was stoked. I couldn't stop smiling and silent screaming on the inside.
My body felt great. I didn't cough at all throughout the race and my breathing was in control.
I wonder what I would've posted if I felt 100%??? Hmmm...
But no time for that - it was celebration time. I grabbed a Slumbrew Flagraiser IPA and got in position to hand out the Thank You gifts to my lovely Slumbrew Happy Soles. Each member of the team got a pair of sunglasses, a koozie and a complimentary flight of beer at the Slumbrew Brewery. It was awesome to see how everyone's race went and put a smile on their face with a gift. :)
I also had the pleasure of meeting blog reader Tina, who had just won a piece of Momentum Jewelry through my blog's bday giveaway and was a new addition to the Happy Soles!
I love seeing the team getting together, meeting new folks, chatting about running and sharing a love of good beer!
The Slumbrew Happy Soles are one inspiring and motivating group of people. I am lucky to be a part of such an outstanding crew.
Big cheers to my co-captain Eric who not only ran the 5k, but also took part in the kayak race right before the run. He finished 2nd in the kayak and 3rd overall in the Glen Doherty Cup (kayak+5k times combined)!
Additional thanks to Caitlin and Jeff (not pictured), owners of Slumbrew, for allowing this rag tag group of beer lovers to be a part of the Slumbrew family.
The after party is a wild time and cannot truly be put into words, but it entertaining!! :) The DJ was putting out some great tunes and the dance off was on point.
My cousin and I scooted out before the end of the dance off to celebrate an early birthday lunch for her.
Offical Time: 21:46
Division (F 30-39): 4/315
Overall it was an amazing time as always. The volunteers were encouraging and enthusiastic. The cops were helpful with traffic stops.
Can't wait to see what the 2016 race will have in store for me!