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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Beach to Beach 5K Race Report

I've moved!!
NEW BLOG ADDRESS HERE:  runaroundsara.blogspot.com

Today I got an e-mail from Active.com asking me what I thought of the Beach to Beach 5K event. It was pretty much a form letter, but I’ve registered for all of my 5Ks with Active and have never received this after a race before today. My first thought was, “Great, I’ve been flagged as a hostile racer and now they’re keeping an eye on me”. Ha! Well, if they want to know what I thought, I might as well not keep them waiting!

Yesterday was my third 5K of the 2011 season. Or ever. However you want to look at it.

The Beach to Beach 5K was in Marblehead, MA. I didn’t realize it until today, but it was further away from me than the 5K races in NH I’ve done. I figured being in MA it would be closer, but nope. Oh well, live and learn.

We got there around 8:30am. Race time was 10am. So we picked up our packets at the registration table. It was very organized. They had envelopes with everything we needed inside of it: Race bibs, safety pins, labels with the t-shirt size we ordered, plus coupons for Road ID bracelets, info packets on other races, and tips for running. Very cool.

We then decided to hit the bathrooms, but there weren’t any port-o-potties anywhere. Excellent. So we asked the registration people if there were bathrooms around, and there were. Right in the middle of the parking lot, there was a brick building. One ladies room. One men’s room. We took advantage of our early arrival and headed over. Out of two toilets, only one was working. Again, grateful for the early arrival. As people started to arrive, it got crazy! Maybe a few port-o-potties would help this situation!! This is the only race I've seen that didn't have adequate bathroom control. Of course because I've been to so many, I'm an expert, so you should listen to me.

Women's room line.
Men's room line.

Juice Plus table.
There were only a few tables set up for things other than the registration, but being sponsored by the Junior Aid society, I figured their goal was to raise money, and therefore, I didn’t expect much. However, they definitely went for quality over quantity! They had a booth set up by Juice Plus who made smoothies before and after the race for people to try.

They used a powder made from fruits and vegetables that had been juiced and then converted to powder for the smoothies. They were actually pretty good. The goal of their company was to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and be more healthy overall. I had a nice talk with the ladies who were manning the booth. We talked about the horrific lunches I see some of the kids in my class eat everyday. And they’re right; kids really do need to be healthier.

The Junior Aid society also had a raffle going on with some sweet baskets. I bought 6 raffle tickets.

I didn't win, but they had some pretty cool stuff in those baskets!
There was a DJ there playing music to hype up all the racers and all it did was result in some FANTASTIC dancing on my part. Be sad you missed it.

The race didn’t actually start where everything was set up. It started up the street a little bit. The DJ kept announcing how much longer to the race and even with him announcing the race start every 5 minutes, I was shocked to see that it was already 9:50 and we were still hanging out in the parking lot. Still dancing.

I decided to grab a few pictures of the set up before the race, so I quickly went over to the tables to snap a few shots. This took me about 2 minutes. When I got back to the spot where we were all standing, everyone was gone. And by everyone, I mean the group I was with. The bastards just left me! So I headed to the start line to find them.

Along my way, I saw two women with walking poles. I stopped to talk to them about them and one of them told me that the poles have helped her get back into walking and they take 40% of your weight as you walk.

Pretty cool to see them tackling a 5K!

I met up with my people, but none of us saw a starting line. Rewind. Earlier, we discovered that our race bibs did not have timing chips on them. So we were a bit confused as to how this was going to be “professionally timed” as it advertised during registration. Back to present. We didn’t see a starting line, because there wasn’t one. Hm. Confusing. At one point the started pushing the crowd back because people had gone past the starting point. There must have been a marking somewhere, because the race people knew where it started, but I never saw it. I just started my Garmin about 20 seconds after I started walking. I figured it was close enough.

The "start" line.
We were all standing around talking, mainly figuring out how we were supposed to all start, when everyone around us started taking off. I said, “I think that means GO”. And we started. I decided to approach this race differently that others. Since I clearly don’t warm up before races (because really how can you when you’re clustered together, not moving before a race?), I decided to start out walking and do my warm up as part of the race. I figured I could start my running intervals after I was warmed up, instead of trying to start out running and end up getting too tired too fast, or getting hurt. It worked out well for me. So until I’m up to actually running a full 5K (don’t get your hopes up...not any time soon), I’ll start out walking.

About 15 minutes into the race, I passed the finish line. They were setting up their timing system and it looked WAY complicated. I didn’t stop to look, because, I was in a race! But now that I knew it WAS being timed, I decided to maybe pick up the pace a bit. I had been toying with just walking the race, since I wasn’t feeling 100%, but then in typical Sara fashion, I gave myself a good talking to and decided to do some running intervals. 

Really what kept me going was my insane competitive nature. There was a girl about my age nearby and we kept passing each other. It was obvious she didn’t want me to beat her. And by hell, I was not going to let her beat me either. So chica, whoever you are, wherever you are, Thank you. You got me moving faster.

On the way back, I passed the lady with the walking poles again.  I spoke with her after the race and she said that she didn’t finish, but she got closer than she did the last time and she’s doing another 5K in August and plans to finish it. I’m going to look up that race and possibly go so I can cheer her on! I hope she gets to finish a race soon. She was so inspirational!

I finished the race with a time of 51:52 according to the race timing system (which, by the way, was very efficient given the lack of visible technology. I was impressed!) But according my to Garmin it was 51:28. I’m going with my Garmin since I’m sure they started the clock before I crossed over the invisible start line. Guess what. I WAS NOT LAST! And my time was a full 34 seconds faster than my previous personal best. Yes, I know, exciting.


And the best part of this race? The T-shirts had the year on them.

Beach to Beach 5K 2011.


  1. What, no pictures of the dancing? I feel slighted...

  2. YOU are so inspirational sara!!
    i am looking for 5k's in my area as well!
    thanks again for the giggles - i just love your sense of humor! :)

  3. Em, you don't need to see pictures of the dancing. You've seen it up close & personal! Many times.

    Marguerite - let me know when you sign up for a 5K!! I'd love to catch up with you again. My next one is May 22 in Stow, MA, if you're interested.

  4. Great Stuff - I caught your blog through the link you posted in your Beach-to-Beach review on Active.com. This race was only my second 5k - but I'm training for my first half marathon in August (eek)! Can't wait to read your future posts - keep up with the good work! ~Leeanne