Friday, June 15, 2018

Cambridge 5K Freedom Run mini-recap: From PR to PW!

The Cambridge 5K Freedom Run: a mini race-recap

The Cambridge 5K Freedom Run last year, if you remember, is the site of my surprise 5K PR. This year, running it 30 weeks pregnant, I knew it was going to be a Personal Worst! But we signed up to hang out with friends, and it's stroller-friendly so all our kiddos could come along for the ride.

On race day (June 3) I woke up still not sure whether I was going to spectate or participate. The weather decided it for me - sunny most of the day and in the 50s/ 60s? Bring it on! We started at the back, with the strollers and the walkers, right where I needed to be to do a 5 minute run/ 1 minute walk ratio. I was definitely running during the run segments, but it was an easy effort - no heroics here.

flag-on? flag-off!

The course starts outside a mall, goes through an office area with lots of biotech companies, then loops back up to Cambridge Street and the residential neighbourhood near the local courthouse. There are maybe four or five turns, a brief climb, and a gradual downhill back to the finish. I can think of worse ways to spend a summer Sunday. I finished with a record personal worst (36:39) and can definitively say the Cambridge 5K race experience is just as pleasant at the back of the pack as it is in the middle (as it should be). I also like to think that my PW this year after my PR last year is throwing a monkey wrench into the 'race cheat investigation' algorithms. ;) 

Kiddo's last single-stroller race!

The afterparty featured a huge range of brews and ciders (sadly, none for me this year, but I did snag a lemonade and a couple cans of cold-brew coffee to take home), but it was loud and a little overwhelming for the stroller set - and my ice cream hopes were dashed! What kind of barbaric summer race doesn't have ice cream or freeze pops at the end?! Otherwise, if you like beer and dancing plus a well-organised race experience, it's worth the money. 

Came in first in the completely unofficial, probably-1-woman '3rd trimester' category. 

Alas, post-race sacroiliac pain bugged me for the next couple of days. I've been getting pregnancy-related SI pain for the last few weeks, and the terrible thing is that I never know when it's going to flare up or how bad it's going to be - sometimes I can walk for miles or run without pain, sometimes I walk a mile and the pain shoots down my leg, and sometimes it doesn't show up until hours *after* the offending workout. This particular flare was bad enough to need a heating pad, and I'm also seeing a physiotherapist. While I'm going to try to run/ pool run as long as I can, I'm pretty positive that's my last race of this pregnancy. I'm stubborn, but not totally crazy...


Start time: 9.30am

Finishers: roughly 1,800

Parking: LOTS of parking in the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall - so much so that we - ahem - nearly misplaced the car afterward.

Swag: This year's t-shirt (non-gender-specific, rougher material, tight at the collar) was decidedly substandard compared to last year's (gender-specific, soft material, perfect fit). Thumbs down.

After-party: lots of brews and ciders from Notch Brewing, Somerville Brewing, and Bantam Cider. I looove the Bantam Rojo cider, which I tried at the last Cambridge 5K race I did. Also snack samples (chickpea crisps, BarkThins, Rx bars), lemonade, hot dogs, and falafel. BUT NO ICE CREAM WHUT NO.

Registration: came to $46 including taxes and ticket provider fee

Photos: Free on Facebook, but coverage was, uh, spotty. But they're free.


  1. I'm so impressed that you're still running (run-walking)! Sounds like a fun race, despite the lack of ice cream and substandard race shirt. :)

    1. Ha! I sit all day, so I feel better when/ after I do the run/walk thing for 20 or 30 minutes. I usually wouldn't jump in a race or make myself run a specific distance like a 5K (I prefer to ad-lib my workouts right now), but it was a fun social morning! The crowd for this one skews younger - lots of young 20something and 30something professionals who work and live in the area, as you'd expect.

  2. That's a pretty good race entry fee, I must say!

    Personal worsts are always better than nothing. I wanted so badly to run during my second pregnancy, but I had actual modified bed rest orders at some point and then summer came, so there went that!

    I hope you're feeling okay (I know "well" isn't exactly a good description of pregnancy)!