Freedom Run 5k Recap: PR City Baby

Freedom Run 5k Recap: PR City Baby

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... :)

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*RECAP* VERT Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race

It's not often you get to run or party with a wolf...

Okay okay so at Saturday's Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race we didn't actually party or run WITH the wolves. BUT we looked at them. ;)

We made the 45-minute trek to Ipswich to rock the Wolf Hollow with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles. I love meeting new people and seeing familiar faces when the Happy Soles get together at a Cambridge 5k/VERT Race Series race.

After lots of hugs and laughs before the race even started, it was all of a sudden the 1 minute warning that the race was starting. Ohhh I am with all my friends to actually race THEN drink beer. Oops I sort of forgot about the running part. ;)

I finagled myself up to the Start Line and we were off. I had no expectations for the race. I was hoping to beat last year's time (40:38), but with the sore hamstring I didn't have my hopes up.

I started the race chatting with fellow Happy Sole Kate, who was also experiencing some pain in her hamstring area. So we swapped treatment ideas.

The first 1/4 of a mile or so is on the sidewalk as we head from the Start/party area to the field/trail portion of the race. The race is tight at the beginning, but really opens up once you enter the field.

Since I did this race last year, I knew the terrain. The race consists of two 2+ mile loops.

The Big Bad Wolf is a great into to trail running. The race is in a huge open field with some small inclines. It also features that uneven terrain that basically all trail races have. The kind of uneven footing that you feel in your ankles the next day.

But thankfully there aren't any huge inclines/hills that you will have to face.

I really would recommend it to all fitness levels/paces. There were runners, run/walkers and walkers on the course.

Mile 1: 8:02 Mile 2: 8:01

I was really shocked at the pace for the first two miles. I think I was excited to see so many fun folks out on the course. Also there were some STELLAR costumes out there. Folks who take part in this race series take the costume contest very seriously. ;)

Mid-run selfie

I made sure to slow it down this mile while doing the mid-run selfie and posting due to the uneven footing. I had a sprint tri the next day and REALLY didn't need to twist an ankle.

Mile 3: 8:17

On the second loop, I felt some pain in my right hamstring. NOOOO not both of them. Oh yes folks both of them. I tried to keep focused on being over halfway done. I promised myself I would stretch extra when the race ended.

The final loop was a little tough. Knowing how long you have left in a race can be pretty tough mentally. Anyone agree?

I really need to hand it to VERT for offering free race photos. Yay!

I was trying to give the photographer a "Hey there" hand gesture, but he caught me mid gesture so I just look awkward.

Mile 4: 8:14

Man was I happy when the Garmin buzzed for Mile 4. One mile to go. I wanted to stretch and enjoy a beer. :)

As we hit the pavement again, I knew I was in the home stretch. My Garmin buzzed before we hit the Finish Line for 5 miles.

Mile 5: 8:13

So my paces may be slightly off since the Garmin gave me 5.13 miles.

But either way the final time was 41:41. I was happy with the results even though I was almost a minute slower than the previous year. I finished 94th overall and 25th among females.

The Flagraiser IPA hit the spot post-race. I love seeing all my teammates come together after the race, checking in on each other and cheersing with a Slumbrew.

Once everyone had crossed, it was time for a group photo. Proud that our teammate Kristina said: "Now we chug ... 1 -2 -3" and this picture was born. :)

After our photo it was awards time.

Now our group never really has a shot at the team prizes ... except on this day.

Kate and Kat had brought two friends with them and welcomed them with open arms to the Slumbrew Happy Soles family. They just happened to be uber speedy. George (second from left) finished the race 3rd overall, while Craig (left) took the #1 spot overall.

These two speedsters helped land the Slumbrew Happy Soles in second place among the 12 teams.

Can you tell we were a TAD excited???

It was awesome seeing how excited the whole team was. We all took turns drinking out of the trophy.

Now we wait for the Slumbrew Taproom open so we can proudly display our trophy! :)

Once awards were handed out, it was time for the costume party and dance off. That's right this race has the complete package.

The wife and I had to duck out at this time as she had a hockey game. But it is always a joy racing with the Happy Soles.

So if you are in the Boston area and interested in trying trail racing? Use the Big Bad Wolf race as a jumping off point. If you don't want to drive to Ipswich, you can always use the commuter rail to catch the free race shuttle.

***

Have you ever thought about trail racing?

RACE RECAP: 2nd Annual Race To The Row 5k

How many races do you participate in that take place across the street from your house? Oh is that next to none?

Yeah I feel you on that...

... except when the Race To The Row 5k comes around!

That's right. It takes the wife about 5 minutes (more if there is a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for her) to get to the Start Area of the Race To The Row 5k, which is at the new Assembly Row area in Somerville, MA.

When the inaugural race took part last year, the Assembly Row area was still under construction so the race course lacked a lot of visual beauty. But with Assembly Row in full effect this year, I was ready to enjoy the beautiful new buildings and shots of the Mystic River.

Since the race didn't start until 9:30, I was 1) able to sleep in and 2) could do bib check day of. Woo!

We decided to leave the house just after 8:30 to stop at Dunkins and give us enough time to chat with friends before the Kids Race would start at 9:15.

There were a lot of great local businesses set up near bib pick-up and day of registration.

Somerville's own Runfellow gear

Runfellow also hosts a Tuesday night run club, which changes venues each week, but always takes place in the Somerville-Cambridge area.

b Positive Project out of South Boston

After browsing the booths, we made sure to get a good spot for the Kids Race. It was just about a 1/4 mile and each participant received an adorable Finisher's Medal. (Side Note: I really wish I had entered ;P)

My favorite was this tiny tiny boy with a big Superman cape on. I really wanted to borrow it from him, but he seemed attached to it.

Once the kids and their parents cleared the Start Area, it was time to line up.

I had no idea what kind of time to expect. My body was tired from the workouts the day prior - 1.5 mile swim, 30 mile bike and 5k run - so I didn't expect a PR.

I actually PRed at this race the previous year pulling a 21:59.2... yeah that wouldn't happen again. But I was ready to give it all I had.

The Sun was out and ready to shine out on the pretty shadeless course.

Now the Somerville Road Runners, the group organizing the race, had changed the course from the year prior. We would now be doing 2 loops, which was intriguing.

As we lined up, I distracted myself by chatting with a fellow Nike Run & Walk Club and Somerville resident, Ben. He was coming off an injury so also unsure what sort of race he would have.

The goal as always was to enjoy the run ... and hurry to the beer! ;)

The horn went off and it was a blaze of color in front of me. I tried to keep myself in my own groove and not worry about the folks around me. Which is always easier said than done at the beginning of a race for me.

Since I am working on racing without music in prep for the Half Ironman, I spent most of the race listening to my own breathing and the breathing of the folks around me. Ouch! Not the best soundtrack for a run.

BUT there was a slight out and back portion of the race so I could cheer for my friends after rounding the first turn. YES! I love being able to do that. Plus, I could marvel at the lead pack. Man those guys were flying!!

Mile 1: 7:29

I may or may not have picked a couple near me after that first mile and set a goal to get ahead of them at some point in the next mile. Sometimes it is a fun game to play and a way to push yourself in a race.

As we hit the end of the first loop, I waved to the wife, gave Jillian (creator of Runfellow) a high-five (pictured above) and checked in with the body. I was hot and I could tell the legs were slowing down.

I picked myself up by posting my halfway mark selfie to the interwebs before bearing down and finishing off the race.

Not one of my finest mid-run selfies

At least with the double loop you know when the Finish is coming.

Mile 2: 7:38

Now I never actually saw the Mile 2 marker, but when my Garmin buzzed I tried to dig deep and give it everything I could for the final mile.

I was back-and-forth with a couple of girls during Mile 2 so I kept them in my sights during the final mile.

I can't tell you how many times I repeated to myself Beer Beer Beer during that last stretch.

The volunteers did a great job directing and cheering on the runners.

I definitely won over the water stop with my Sparkle Skirt! ;)

Oddly enough not so many comments on the BEER socks, which surprised me.

Oh and yes these were thoughts during the final 1/2 mile of the run.

Mile 3: 7:40

Just get me to the BEER!

Final Finish: 23:46

Sweet. I was definitely happy with that. The quads felt good and the left hamstring was a bearable dull pain. ;) Baby steps.

According to the results I finished 79th overall and 10th in my division. Yeah! I never end up in Top 10 of my division.

After crossing the Finish Line, I headed right into the post-race party for some food and beer.

I can't pass on mint chocolate chip ice cream at 10am.

Oh and Ernesto's pizza - great crust!

The post-race party was treated to the musical stylings of the IT Band.

It was a great vibe and always fun hanging out with my fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles.

The Race To The Row 5k is such a great local race and I cannot wait to see the race flourish over the years.

I will see you at the 3rd Annual race in 2015.

***

Did you Race To The Row? What was your favorite part?

#Giveaway: 3 Free Entries to take on the Big Bad Wolf

Annddddd the winners ARE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Because Eddie O is such an awesome race director he is letting me give away not 3 but 5 entries to the race! WOOHOO!!

Thank you to everyone that entered. You can still register for the race! I hope to see you all there.

***

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Okay what if I say the Big Bad Wolf is ACTUALLY a 5-mile trail race in Ipswich, Mass?

Don't worry there aren't any actual wolves or animals involved in the running of this race - just fun, trails, friends, laughs, and beer!! Well there might be a wolf or two on sight because...

The Second Annual Big Bad Wolf 5-Mile Trail Race will take place on Saturday, September 13 at Noon at the Wolf Hollow, a wolf sanctuary, in Ipswich, Mass.

Registration includes a great VERT shirt + free food & beer at the after-party (sponsored by NotchSlumbrewDowneast Cider & Ipswich Ale).

That's right folks! Like all Cambridge 5k and VERT Races there will be an EPIC post-race party after the 5-mile trail race with a dance-off and great brews from four local breweries.

Slumbrew Happy Soles love a good post-race party

Oh and there may be a costume contest too...

Run in your best wolf or wolf related running costume and you could win a great prize in our post-race costume contest!

Now Ipswich may seem like a trek from Boston, but it really isn't. With a Noon start for the race, you won't have to wake up early to grab the commuter rail. Eddie O, race director extraordinaire, also has a free shuttle set up from the commuter rail to the race start.

If you are nervous to check out your first 5-mile race or first trail run, the Big Bad Wolf is a great way to break into either! There is a great support system amongst runners, volunteers and spectators.

The course map is a loop so you never feel alone and see familiar faces all along the route.

Here's a description of the course:

Fast & flat course over grass fields and dirt roads. The course starts & finishes @ Wolf Hollow and follows the Maplecroft Trail from Essex Road to Argilla Road and back. The course is well marked with signs and course marshalls. There is a water stop near the halfway point (polo field).

There are some slight inclines on the course, but nothing too strenuous like other trail runs might have. It truly is a course for all fitness levels.

I can't wait to take on Big Bad Wolf for a second year with the Slumbrew Happy Soles.

So now that I have you psyched up for the trail race and party of 2014, it's time to make it even better...

I am giving away not 1 but 3 entries!

Sayy wwhhaaa??? Raise the roof! Woo Woo!

I know.

So here's how to enter.

The giveaway will run from Thursday August 14 (2pm ET) through Friday August 22 (10am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Friday!

Join Me Weekly At Nike Run AND Walk Club at Assembly Row

Are you in the Somerville area? Have you been looking to get extra accountability to get out and run or walk?

Then look no farther than the Nike Run AND Walk Club every Wednesday night at 6:30pm at Assembly Row.

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What a sweet looking crew right? :)

Each Wednesday the group tackles a 5k loop near the Assembly Row area in Somerville. The entire course is on a bike path so there are no street crossings. There is also a water fountain available twice on the first half of the course.

The group offers pacers for those running, run-walking or strictly walking.

ALL PACES ARE WELCOME!!

As I like to say no person is left behind.

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One week I had the pleasure of pacing the group and made sure each person had a great time complete with high fives along the way.

Following the 5k, which starts and ends at the Nike Factory Store, Nike offers water and granola bars to refuel.

Once Slumbrew's American Fresh opens up at Assembly Row, I know I will be heading over there for a beer or two. ;)

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My fellow Slumbrew Happy Soles and I! #SportTheFort

There is also free parking and at some point in the fall the orange line stop at Assembly Row should open, but Assembly Row is easily accessible via the orange line stops at Sullivan and Wellington.

So if you are a runner, run-walker or walker and want to meet some new workout buddies then join us each Wednesday at 6:30pm at Nike Factory Store at Assembly Row! :)

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***

Will I see you one Wednesday?

Craicfest 5k: Cambridge, Costumes and Craft Beer

Giving me a holiday race = giving me the opportunity to not be the ONLY person dressed up! Ha! It is true that I rock a Sparkle Athletic skirt and fun knee-high socks for any run or race, but there is something about a holiday or Disney race that makes me step my game up.

Well the Craicfest 5k on March 16th provided the opportunity for me to turn up the flair ... and break out as much green as possible! ;)

Cambridge-Craicfest

The inaugural Craicfest 5k was put on by Cambridge 5k and Race Director Eddie O.

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Selfie with the Race Director Eddie

It was the first in a six-race series for 2014.

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If there is one thing that sets Cambridge 5k races away from the rest (besides amazing local craft beer at the Finish - the obvious), it would be the uber comfortable race t-shirts. I LIVE in my Cambridge 5k series tees.

Now as many of you know I am training for an April marathon, which mean the day before Craicfest would be a long run ... 17.2 miles to be exact. So on the day of the race I had NO idea what my legs would have left in the tank.

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As always, I was ready to have a fun time with my Team Slumbrew Happy Soles running mates and watch some great dancing at the post-race dance-off. (Oh yeah, Cambridge 5k races always feature a pretty entertaining post-race dance off!)

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I was hoping for a pretty March morning in Boston, but instead got a bone-chilling windy mess of a morning. I can say it was rain and snow free. Ummm silver lining?

So on went the layers!

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Kim is also training for Boston and had run 18 miles the day before

I tend to travel light to races (read as: skip bag check) - especially ones that are just a 10 minute drive from my house - so I was actually able to sleep in a little for the 9:30am start. Plus, I wanted to limit my "standing around" time as much as possible pre-race.

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Nice to finally meet Danielle - a fellow Boston area blogger & Weight Watchers friend

Team Slumbrew met near where the post-race pouring station would be and caught up. It is crazy to think I have known some of these folks for almost two years - all thanks to our favorite Somerville brewery and running! :)

Just before 9:30 we all headed into the starting area to get the party started. The Start area was a little sunnier - aka about 2 degrees warmer - so I soaked it in.

With so much flair on, I wasn't sure how conducive to running it would really be. I couldn't pass up the extra boa from Amy pre-race.

After chatting it up with familiar faces around me - yes one of my favorite part of local races - the horn went off.

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George & I couldn't contain our excitement

Since I was too distracted talking - shocker :P - I wasn't totally ready to run. But I quickly hit Start on the Garmin and I was off.

I immediately had to have a discussion with myself.

"Self, it is OKAY to be passed. You are not here to PR. You are here to have fun. You cannot PR every race. Are you listening to me? Hello! Oh shiny thing. FOCUS! Just run your race. Then you can have a beer. Okay? Okay!"

And yes that is how it really happened. Your welcome for a glimpse of the crazy that goes on in my head during a run ... and this was only in the first 0.1 mile. Imagine what happened during the Dopey Challenge. ;)

But I digress...

The sun was shining which put Cambridge and Boston in a gorgeous light as we were running. The course ran along the Cambridge Side Galleria Mall and over the Gilmore Bridge. Now this Bridge is really the continuation of Memorial Drive (aka a highway type road that I am using to driving on not running on). I geek out over things like that. As we took a right on the off ramp, I could see the Paul Revere Park in our future. I have never actually run in the park so it was great to see a new part of Cambridge. The paths were clean, windy and wide enough that I didn't feel smooshed by other runners (this may be because I wasn't in the heavy traffic pace of the run).

As we ran through the park, we approached the gorgeous Zakim Bridge. I had to stop and snap a couple photos.

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Beautiful

Well enough of the scenery, time for an in-race selfie.

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Never attractive, but always fun!

I was wicked happy to be seeing about a 7:35-7:50 min/mile pace. As I said, my legs had gone quite a distance the day before.

Just after the photos were taken, we headed up and over the Northpoint Pedestrian Bridge ... which is where this gem of a photo was snapped.

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It really does embody my run that day!

Once over the bridge, we did some more weaving and winding through the Northpoint Park. It was nice to be away from the traffic. Many times during local races you are dodging cars, etc - not during this one! Thanks Eddie.

I was starting to get a little tired with about 0.5 mile to go so I started targeting folks in front of me and try picking them off. Now I didn't know if I would actually do it or not, but I needed something to focus on.

And you know what it worked! I passed about 4-5 folks coming down the stretch.

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The Finish Line photo definitely isn't pretty, but it was how I was feeling. happy to be clicking Stop on the Garmin.

I immediately turned around to start cheering on my teammates and any other familiar faces I saw. Really I was cheering for everyone with special shouts for folks I recognized.

You know not everyone has someone at the Finish Line, but everyone deserves the cheers!! I'm happy to provide them!

Once the cold stated setting in, it was time to mosey on over to the post-race party and collect a much-needed Slumbrew.

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How about that? I will take it. I got 3.2 miles on my Garmin for a 7:35 min/mile pace. But hey, no reason to battle over actual distance... unless he had added an extra 0.5 mile! :P

The wind on the course was BRUTAL! At times I thought I was running in place. (Read: like I was stuck on a treadmill)

With the work done, it was celebration time...

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Slumbrew Ladies

It would've been nice to have warmer temps, but what can you do. We all huddled in the sun as much as possible.

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Part of the Slumbrew Happy Soles

As Slumbrew Team Captain, I had the honor to hand out the fun beer gift from our fearless leaders - the Slumbrew founders Caitlin and Jeff.

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How cute?

 Now Team Slumbrew Happy Soles tagline is "First to the Finish Beer Line" because we are there for fun, memories and good beer. That being said - we have always wanted to place in the Team category.

And you know what ... we finally did! 3rd place in the Team division! Woo!

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Drinking out of the trophy with Caitlin

Despite the chill, it was a fun morning. Eddie does a great job of creating a fun race atmosphere where all are welcome. Plus, the post-race festivites are like no other - 4 local breweries pouring delicious beer, laughs, pictures and a dance off.

What more can you ask for on a Sunday morning?

***

Did you participate in a St. Patrick's Day race?

Win A Chance To Run The Inaugural Craicfest 5k With Me!

Annddddd the winner IS:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Shimmy!!

If you didn't win, but still want to party with me at Craicfest 5k - use code WOMS to receive $8 off your registration!! Sign up HERE.

***

Beer. Dancing. Music. Friends. Celebrations.

What could those words possibly be describing? Besides my normal Tuesday night.

(Note: We all know that is a big fat lie! But thanks for laughing along!)

I'm actually talking about two of my favorite events: a Cambridge 5k race AND St. Patrick's Day!

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Team Slumbrew at Cambridge 5k's Yulefest 5k 2013

And for the first time ever Cambridge 5k and St. Patrick's Day are teaming up for...

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Craicfest 5k on March 16, 2014 at 9:30am! :)

WAHOO!!!!

It IS t-minus five weeks until we don our favorite green apparel.

For those that don't know, Cambridge 5k is a running series here in the Boston area that organizes "unique handcrafted running events that are super-fun!" And I can attest to that. I completed all five in 2013 (four with Team Slumbrew).

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The now six-part series is a combination or road and trail races geared for all running levels. Every race is a good time capped off with a giant dance party, while enjoying local craft beers.

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Somerville's Own Slumbrew

The Cambridge 5k series is the brain child of one of my favorite race directors, Eddie. He really cares about the participants, the local community, as well as the overall race experience. He is open to thoughts from runners and we all appreciate him for that.

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So now that we all know how much I love the Cambridge 5k series and Eddie, it's time to talk about the newest race ... and get to the giveaway!!

The newest addition to the series will be the Craicfest 5k on March 16, 2014 at 9:30am.

The details:

Join us on St. Patrick's Day weekend for a unique 5k road & trail race through DCR Northpoint Park, followed by an amazing party hosted by CambridgeSide Galleria!

Get in the spirit and wear your GREEN! Or even better, run the race in your best Irish-themed outfit and you could win some serious prizes in our costume contest!

Registration includes a great C5K race shirt + free food & beverages at the post-race party featuring an awesome mix of Irish alternative & hip hop hits!

Who can pass up a 5k race, dance off AND post-race party with local craft brews? I KNOW I will be there.

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I'll make sure you have a BLAST!

So can do you want to join me ... for free!

***

So here’s how to enter to win your free entry into the inaugural Craicfest 5k:

The giveaway will run from Sunday February 9 (8am ET) through Sunday February 16 (8am ET)!

The winner will be selected and announced on Sunday!

Yulefest 5k with Team Slumbrew

My favorite race of the Cambridge 5k series is the last one: the Yulefest 5k in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Ma.

Feel free to read the 2012 race recap HERE.

Yulefest 2012

Yulefest was my second to last race in 2012 and would also prove to be my second to last race in 2013. Interesting.

I had the honor of running with Team Slumbrew for the second year in a row.

Note: I did NOT run the race holding the tree! ;0)

The 2013 team would be even more special than the 2012 team. Why? Because one of Slumbrew's founders, Caitlin, would be making her first race appearance. Yay! :) I love seeing new runners born.

I wanted to allow plenty of time for members of the Slumbrew team to pick up our SWEET team jackets that I set up shop in front of City Sports in Harvard at 8:30am.

Aren't they amazing?

After handing out jackets to our 37-person team, it was time to get my wristband so that I could enjoy the post-race party! Eddie (Cambridge 5k race director) did a great job having plenty of staff on hand checking IDs and handing out wristbands. It took me about a minute to get myself all hooked up.

Before I knew it it was 9:15am and time to head over to the Yulefest starting line. It was the same course as last year, which was comforting. I have been nursing the ball-of-foot pain in my right foot so it was nice to know what to expect over the 3.1 mile race. I knew I wouldn't be putting up a PR, but as always I would be giving it my 100%.

I need to send a HUGE thanks to my girl Kim (friend and fellow Slumbrew runner) for hanging back and running the race with me. I knew I was slowing her down, but it was great to catch up and chat. Kim and I had run the Boston's Run To Remember Half and Freedom Run 5k together in May. If you don't remember she got hurt during the half, but pushed through and finished the Half and then finished the 5k about an hour later. One of my heroes and good friends. :)

But I digress...

I knew my foot felt off from the beginning so I wanted to run conservatively. It would be a steady run through the streets of Cambridge. Kim is also running the Boston Marathon in 2014 so it was great to talk strategy and fundraising ideas while we ran.

Eddie is an amazing race director and has fostered a great following in the local running community so I ended up seeing a bunch of people I knew along the course. A great way to stay motivated over the three miles. I cheered on fellow Slumbrew teammates, high-fived folks in some outstanding costumes and just enjoyed the atmosphere. Plus, I knew there was some yummy Slumbrew beer waiting for me at the Finish Line. :)

As we approached the final 1/4 mile, I told Kim to run ahead. I thought she could still make a PR, but I messed up the pacing math in my head. Oops. It was great to see her speed off in front of me.

I ended up posting a 24:47, good for a 7:59 min/mile pace. I finished 327th out of 1,467 overall. I will happily take top 23% with a bum foot.

The frustrating thing about facing this foot injury is that the rest of my body feels amazing. You know what I mean? It is tough to tell my head and the rest of my body to slow it down and to reel it back in all because of my stupid right foot.

But, I have to think in the long term and the races I have in the future so it is OKAY to sacrifice a time in the present for my long-term racing/running career.

And hey I can't be upset that as my running has progressed my "this feel comfortable" pace is around an 8 min/mile pace. The me that started with a 12 min/mile pace is doing cartwheels over this fact.

Now again I love running with team because as I came to the Finish and crossed there were a small group of Slumbrew-ers there yelling my name.

As more folks crossed, we decided to move ourselves to a spot just before the Finish so we could cheer on the rest of our teammates, especially the folks finishing their first ever race.

Thanks Jamie for this photo!

Gosh I LOVE cheering people on at races. It just makes me so happy. I love seeing people push themselves and accomplish things they never thought possible.

After we finished cheering on all of our runners/walkers, it was time to head to the post-race party and celebrate!! Plus stretch for the always epic post-race dance off, a Cambridge 5k series tradition.

Isn't that one sexy team? I am so proud to be a part of it.

It really has been a great experience being part of a team like this - meeting new people and sharing a love of running and beer.

Amy and I post-race

I was just a little excited over Caitlin finishing her first race!

Since it is December and it was getting chilly, the wife and I headed to Davis Square (Somerville) for lunch at Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree happened to have Slumbrew Porter Square Porter in bottles so I kept the theme of the day going. ;)

The Cambridge 5k series has quickly become one of my favorite local Boston running series and you can bet I'll be back for 2014.

***

Have you run a Cambridge 5k race? Do you love to celebrate a race with a nice local brew after?

Oktoberfest 5k

I have a confession to make. I, Dani Holmes-Kirk, am a Cambridge 5k race series addict.

That's right. I feel safe to admit that here to all of you.

The race director, Eddie O, is one of the nicest and most-dedicated folks I have met. When he asks for race feedback, he actually wants to know and you know what implements change. I tip my hat to him for that.

Eddie is persuasive. He is the man who got me to participate in the Freedom Run 5k less than an hour after finishing the Boston's Run To Remember Half Marathon.

So when Eddie invited me to participate in his Oktoberfest 5k on Sunday, October 6th of course I had to say yes. Twist my arm sir! Twist my arm! ;)

I headed to Jacob Wirth in Boston on Thursday (October 3) to pick up my bib/shirt...

... and get photo bombed apparently! :P

On Sunday morning I woke up for the race and it was raining. Oh yay! Well rain or shine I run so I got into my usual Slumbrew gear, which I wear to all Cambridge 5k races, and the wife set off to drop me at the run.

Since Slumbrew wasn't actually pouring at this race's post-race party, we didn't have an official team. What was this Slumbrew captain to do pre-race without a team to organize? Well, wander around and run into friends of course. Even with over 1800 runners registered, I still managed to run into my girl Kim pre-race. :)

Thankfully I travel light (when my wife isn't there to hold things for me :P) so I was able to skip the baggage claim. Buutt the wristband line was a different story. Unfortunately there was a line down the block for people to get the necessary wristband to access the post-race party and more importantly the beer. I am not one to wait in long lines so I bagged it and said if necessary I would just skip the post-race party rather than stand in line for one guy to check my ID. Hopefully they can figure out a better method for next year's race.

It was sprinkling before the race, but thankfully I had actually brought a throw-away long-sleeved tee so I actually felt decently warm. After running into other friends and Slumbrew running mates, we headed to the Start Corral. I didn't know what my legs would produce after the 8.7 mile run the day before to hit 900 miles run for the year. But I set myself up closer to the front since the Corral was looking mighty tight.

Eddie is one thing if not prompt and we were off right around 9:30am.

It was great seeing so many costumes out on the course. People really get into the themes when it comes to the Cambridge 5k series and I love it.

I also love seeing how large yet small the running community is. Without fail, I show up to a race and see many familiar faces! I love the love of running in this area of the country.

There were a good number of volunteers and police officers lining the course since we were running around Kendall Square in Cambridge and the streets were open to cars. Thankfully I didn't experience any cars getting in my way, but I know some of my fellow runners did.

The course was pretty flat, which was nice. It was a tad slippery due to the rain, but overall not too treacherous.

I was happy to look down at my Garmin at the halfway mark and see I was keeping about a 7:30ish min/mile pace on tired legs. I wasn't going to PR, but I wasn't looking to. I just wanted to get out there and enjoy the run, the costumes and the energy. Deep right? :P

But, as I rounded the last corner to enter the Finish shoot, I tried to step it up a notch. Mainly because there was a guy next to me trying to out run me at the end. Well, I would've passed him, but I was blocked just before the Finish by someone trying to avoid a puddle. Really sir? You are like 2 feet from the Finish - just step in the puddle. ;)

Anyway, I was happy with my Finish. I ended up with a 23:20 (7:31 min/mile pace) and a 273 finish out of 1,679 overall.

My girl Kim set a blazing PR with a 23:40 race. Go Kim!! We grabbed a water and headed over to the post-race party.

It was at that time I battled to get my ID out of my armband so I could get the appropriate wristband. Thankfully we finished early enough that the line to get into the party was light and I could get the wristband I needed then from the 2 people checking IDs/wristbands.

Kim and I immediately headed to the Cambridge Brewing Company pouring station to grab a beer - me a pale ale & Kim the pumpkin - and then to pick up a free pretzel from Swiss Bakers.

Mmmm beer and pretzels!

We chatted with Lauren B from KIND Snacks - who is super sweet and helped me do that giveaway on my blog earlier this summer - and grabbed a free bar of course. :)

As we headed back towards the Beer tent, the post-race party area was getting crowded as more and more finishers joined in. I am not one that likes being cramped in with people so I decided to bid Kim farewell and head home.

The weather was a factor that day as many runners tried to cram under the beer tent to try and stay dry, which gave off the cramped feeling.

I hear the post-race party and dance off were epic as always, but this time I was okay being in the warmth of my house while it happened. I'm sure I would've stayed had Slumbrew been in attendance. I love hanging with my team.

Thankfully Team Slumbrew will be reunited for the next Cambridge 5k race - Yulefest 5k in Harvard Square on December 1.

***

Did you run in the Oktoberfest 5k? Did you dance your pants off?

Weekly Workout Wind Up (10/3-9/13)

This can be titled - that time I flared up my back and couldn't really do anything. :( Thursday, October 3: Mandatory REST

 

Friday, October 4Electric Run 5k

 10-4

Saturday, October 5: 8.7-Mile Run

10-5

Sunday, October 6: Oktoberfest 5k

10-6

Monday, October 7Mandatory REST

 

Tuesday, October 8: Mandatory REST

 

Wednesday, October 9: Mandatory REST

 

Hopefully the back stops hurting in time for my weekend in NYC!!