*RECAP* Yulefest 5k... My Favorite Cambridge 5k Race!

The Yulefest 5k is my favorite in the Cambridge 5k series. 2016 marked my fifth time taking on the Yulefest 5k with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.

Here is the crew from the 2015 Yulefest post-race party!

Here is the crew from the 2015 Yulefest post-race party!

I have always eluded a PR on this race course. Looking back at my race calendars I do usually run a half or long run the day before so there is usually another reason why that might not happen. While I have never PRed on the course (and looking at the past results getting worse over time :P), it is still one of my favorites.

2012: 22:58 (7:24 min/mile pace)
2013: 24:47 (7:59 min/mile pace)
2014: 23:08 (7:27 min/mile pace)
2015: 23:53 (7:41 min/mile pace)

Let's see what 2016 brought...

I had picked up my bib on Friday so I was able to avoid bib pick-up. The wife was supposed to run, but it was too cold for her. So instead of having to take the train or scramble for parking, she was able to just drop me off.

I hopped out while at a red light so she wouldn't even have to pull over. :) I breezed through the ID check. Wicked thankful that race director Eddie changes from bracelets to stamps. It makes the process so much better. :) After getting my stamp, I headed to the Slumbrew pouring station/team tent. Any team that has over 35 members receives a private tent complete with cans of beer/cider, breakfast burritos and delicious Swissbaker pretzels. Since we are the Slumbrew Happy Soles, our tent is attached to the Slumbrew pouring station. Convenient right? ;) 

I dropped my bags in one corner of our space and caught up with our amazing teammates.

As per usual, I was losing track of time while chatting with the team so we had to hustle over to the start area. I am not one that is good at lining up properly at these races so I just snuck in where I could. :) 

I entered the corral without any goals for the race besides having fun! I was sad that my BRF Page wasn't able to make the race so I was missing my other half. This was the first Cambridge 5k race where I have seen actual pace markers in the corrals. I appreciated the markers.

I was talking to my friend and teammate Dave before realizing that I needed to locate satellite on my Garmin. Haha. Luckily my 735xt connected quickly since the race was starting at the same time. 

We hit the Start Line and my legs felt like lead. Not sure why since I hadn't done a long run the day before, but I wasn't expecting a good race from the onset.

I was really missing not having someone to run with. I was in a chatty mood and no one around me looked like they wanted to chat with me. :P 

Thankfully this is a nice holiday race so the costumes were on fire around me. Since I don't run with music, I like finding distractions in the scenery as well as the outfits around me. Folks were really bringing their A game.

Mile 1: 7:49

There was an adorable family at Mile 1 playing Christmas music. I came up to the marker right as Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas started. It was really hard not to stop and enjoy the entire song. :) 

Since I was slightly distracted before the race, I forgot to eat my Gu. I was starting to feel it around the halfway mark of the race. I also forgot to put a Gu in my pants so I was not feeling 100%. I could feel my energy level dropping and I still had the only real hill of the race coming up in Mile 3. 

So what would put a little pep in my step? Why an action selfie of course!

Can you tell I tried to leave a little space where Page would be? :P 

Mile 2: 7:38

Now I was in the final mile. I was ready to attack the hill and sail into the Finish on the decline. The hill isn't even that steep or big, but when the rest of the race is pretty flat an incline seems all that larger. Am I right?

I did my best to chug up the hill and simply put one foot in front of the other. Mentally it felt like I was on a treadmill and not making any progress, but I could see that I was getting closer to Santa on the right side of the street. Or was that a mirage? No! It really was Santa... I know him!

FINALLY! I made it to the top and was ready to give whatever I had left to reach the Finish Line. I kept my eye on the pretzel prize. :)

Mile 3: 7:21

FINAL TIME: 23:19 (7:31 min/mile pace)

Officially 473 out of 3015 overall, while the Happy Soles came in 8th out of 84 teams! 

Phew! Proud of what I was able to do especially not feeling 100%. Next race I need to remember to make sure I have GU in my pants/shorts before I hit the Start Line. 

While I didn't PR, I was proud of beating last year's time. I seems like every other year I have a "good" year at the race. So no pressure next year I guess. :P 

After crossing the Finish Line, I headed back to the party area so I could grab my sweatshirt. It was a balmy 19 degrees and I was in desperate need of warmth. :) 

I had a blast hanging out with the Happy Soles and hearing about how their races went. The pretzels from Swissbakers were AH-MAY-ZING and hit the spot. I definitely felt better after eating that post-run. 

Plus we got some sweet selfies.

We made sure to get a team pic before the awards ceremony and dance party started.

What an awesome group of beer runners. :) We may not have been the biggest team, but we have the most heart and fun. Plus we are the first to the beer line. 

If you are looking for a fun 5k race in 2016 - complete with local craft beer, dance parties and fun - then check out one of the 5 Cambridge 5k races! And be sure to sign up with the Slumbrew Happy Soles when you do. 

Have you run the Cambridge 5k Yulefest 5k before? Thoughts?


Disclaimer: I did receive a complimentary entry into the race, but all thoughts are my own. Ain't nobody got time for lyin'!