The Cambridge 5k series has become a staple in my race calendar since moving back to Boston in 2012. The series is comprised of four races throughout the year with three out of the four being held near the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall. Which is lucky just a 15 min drive away from my house. It is also an easy 2.5 miles away... which came in handy on this particular day.
The 2016 Freedom Run 5k happened to fall on a day where my training plan called for 10 miles... so it was time to get creative! Instead of taking a ride to the race from my wife, I opted to run to the race and add a smidge more around the Charles River!
SUCCESS!! Now that Part 1 of my 3-part run was done, it was time to pick my race bib and meet the rest of the Slumbrew Happy Soles pre-race. I love being able to get together with this amazing group to catch up with everyone and to see how everyone's training has been going.
The one thing about pre-race meetups? I always get caught up in the chatter that I forget to get ready for the run itself. :P I was so caught up in conversation that I had to make a mad dash to the Start Line. Thankfully there was plenty of time to grab a quick pre-race selfie with part of the crew.
The National Anthem before the Freedom Run, which takes place the weekend after Memorial Day is a special one for so many reasons.
The crowd was taking over the streets!
I again wasn't prepped to actually start the race as I was still trying to locate satellites. Luckily I didn't start where I normally do so I had extra time. Since this was in the middle of a long run and the day after a Sprint triathlon, I didn't expect much out of my legs, but I was ready to see what they would have.
After 5 solo miles, I was happy to have a couple of thousand friends around me. ;) The horn went off and the crowd went wild.
I didn't feel my normal pep at start of the race so I focused on spotting other Happy Soles and giving them encouragement/trying to use them for inspiration.
Thankfully the Freedom Run course is one of the flatest out there, which was a blessing! :)
Since I have done the race before, I remembered the twists and turns... to a point. ;) If you haven't realized, I run a lot of races and sometimes the courses blend together. Can you blame me?
Mile 1: 7:36
I tried to keep a steady pace. While there wasn't a ton of crowd support, the volunteers did an amazing job to keep cars out of the street (as best as possible) and the energy level UP for the participants.
I really kept the beer in my sight as my legs wanted to stop. Sorry legs not today! We were going to give it all we had.
Mile 2: 7:32
During Mile 3, I picked up my friends and teammate Robert. He totally photobombed my mid-run selfie, but I will take it. Since I wanted to stop, I just used motivating Robert and staying just slightly ahead of him as my inspiration.
As we approached the Mile 3 mark, the flat street has a slight incline. Now normally you wouldn't notice it AT ALL, BUT when the rest of the course is pretty much pancake flat - the incline can feel like Heartbreak Hill. :P HAHA
Am I being slightly dramatic?
Mile 3: 7:30
As I took the right turn on to First Street, I could see the Finish Line about two blocks away. But as I ran I felt as if I was on a treadmill and the Finish Line wasn't getting any closer. I swear that was happening, but when I turned to my left and right there were different faces in the crowd. So I must've been moving forward. :P
FINAL TIME: 23:29 (7:34 min/mile pace)
Gotta love when your Garmin time matches your official race time.
After bumping into a few friends and seeing how their races went, it was time to knock out the final 1.9 miles of this long run. Because there was no need to keeping delaying my beer. Am I right?
WOO HOO! It all came together and now it was time for the post-run party... and beer!
The crew did absolutely amazing.
Overall my 5k results (23:29) were good for 283 out of 1818. Not too shabby. The entire team finished 7th out of 59!
But enough about results. The party was where it was at. Before the awards ceremony and dance off took place (yes there is a dance off after every C5k race) we had to snap a quick team pic.
First Eric and I needed to locate the DJ to make an announcement so our team could assemble. Do we look like a couple of badass co-captains or what? ;) Okay okay I know the answer is Or What, but humor me here people.
We found Jamal the DJ, jumped on a quick Facebook Live broadcast with him and made the Happy Soles announcement.
And when the Slumbrew Happy Soles assemble... we assemble!
Now that is one fine-looking team!
Thank you to the Happy Soles, to Slumbrew, to race director Eddie and all of the participants for making this a race to remember!
If you've never checked out a Cambridge 5k race, I suggest you join the Soles for the Oktoberfest 5k on October 2!