Friday, October 26, 2012

Race Report: Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K

Elle: So, we did this race last year. It was notably not well organized, but then again, it was their first year doing this race. Race packet pick-up was a  mess, and race morning no one knew where the start line was or which direction we were running. But in the end, the glorious beer garden after the race helped us forget all of the bad times as we got wasted on Cambridge Beer Company's brew.
Breakfast with
Senor Cheeseburger

Webb: Last year's race was so utterly disorganized that I had no interest in running it again. This year, however, one of our SEAC friends put together a team and invited Elle to join. Everyone was signing up and I was holding out. All I could think about was just how annoyed I was last year. I finally relented and joined the team.

Elle: The day before the race was the Ironman World Championship in Kona. We turned it on at noon, when the race started and streamed from the live computer feed to the TV. Around 5pm Dan showed up and we started drinking. And we didn't stop until 2am.

Webb: Watching the Kona coverage was obviously motivating. Our experience was amplified by tracking our friend (one of Dan's besties), Nate, debut there. Nate had qualified at the Eagleman 70.3 and had not actually done an Iron-distance race or even run a marathon before.
Seeing Ed at the race.
He. Crushed. It.
His overall time was 9:17 in conditions former Ironman World Champ Faris al-Sultan described as among the harshest he's raced. Apparently the legendary heat of the lava fields was as impressive as ever. According to Nate, the temperatures don't do it justice. It was just oppressive. Many believed the conditions added 15 minutes or more to finishing times. He came in 5th in his Age Group. Unfortunately, due to the delay on the Athlete Tracker we missed Nate crossing the finish line. Dan had been pointing his phone at our TV for several minutes hoping to capture the moment only to get the call that he'd already crossed. Bummer.

Elle: Cut to race morning: the weather was baaaaaad. It was chilly. It was rainy. It was dreary on all accounts. But we had promised Natasja, so we got our
Starting to feel ill...
gear on and headed out into the cold, rainy morning. Completely hung over.

Webb: And don't forget we had slept for maybe 3.5 hours. Originally we were going to bike over. Then we were going to take public transportation. Then we were going to take a cab. When I saw the rain and realized that there was a 95% chance I wasn't going to have even a sip of beer, I decided to drive. We were there in a matter of minutes, found a good parking space and were probably the first runners to arrive. Since we were really early, we went to The Friendly Toast, a sorta funky diner with punk playing softly in the background. It had all these crazy things all over the wall, including Señor Cheeseburger.

Elle: Finally the time had come, so we stripped down to our race clothes, dropped off our bags at the bag check, and stood around, chilling. Literally.
Soon enough we started seeing folks we know: Jason, Ed, Natasja, Mike, Nicole, Emily, Paul, Bridget.
Webb lookin' strong
I was still feeling pretty hung-over, but started strong anyway. That all went downhill after about halfway through, at which point I was in great danger of losing it on the race course. And I figured the other runners probably didn't want my vomit all over their shoes, so I had to slow down. And after I crossed the finish line, I felt the danger again. But luckily, I was able to keep everything inside, where it belongs. However, at the beer garden afterwards, when someone walked by with a pint, I felt ill.

Webb: I did not feel good at all. Well, that's not entirely true. My legs felt oddly springy. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that I had just ate at a Brazilian BBQ joint. Regardless, I stuck with my plan to go for a PR. I took off fast. I did not have my Garmin or a watch (which didn't matter because I did not see any mile markers) so I did my best to keep the pedal down. Somewhere around the half-way point I nearly quit, or at least pulled over to take a break. Even though it was chilly, I was burning up. I decided it was better to get the race over quickly than to prolong it by stepping off the course. I slowed down a bit and hoped I had enough for a strong finish. I crossed the finish line with a new PR (by :08). So the question is: Did the 8 hours of drinking and 3.5 hours of sleep improve or diminish my performance?

The winning team!
Elle: We had a good time hanging out with everyone, even though the weather was kinda crappy. We stuck around for the awards ceremony because Natasja thought we might actually have a chance of placing. And what do you know, our team came in first place! After we collected our award (a cool mug) we all headed to the South End for brunch at The Gallows. Good times...
post-race brunch