Well that was a fun couple of weekends! Took a break from half-marathoning (is that a word?) for a month and did a fun couple of 5K’s!

Smuttynose Palooza 5K and Pace To A Pint 5K in the books! I guess I was having so much fun I forgot to do a recap for SmuttyPalooza! And then didn’t manage to get this article posted till the following Friday… Whoopsie :). Anyway…These races were just slightly different than other races I’ve run…in a few ways…

So, like I said – these two races were a TON of fun! There was a different atmosphere about them than other races I’ve run…Let’s break it down race by race, shall we?

Let’s talk about SmuttyPalooza


OH MY…SmuttyPalooza… WHERE to begin… This race was a TON of fun. I ran this race for Natalie at Eclipx Salon (in Salisbury, MA). Smuttynose Palooza was put on by LOCO Racing – a “for-runners by-runners” race management company out of New Hampshire. It was up at Salisbury Beach, which is actually where the Frosty Knuckle 5K+ was just a few weeks prior! Not only that, but the course itself actually traveled through Salisbury Beach Reservation along part of the same course Frosty Knuckle used!  

I have to say, it WAS a really nice course – the scenery was picturesque. Salisbury Beach Reservation, as the LOCO race company folks like to point out, is one of the most popular ocean beaches in the state. There were LOTS of birdwatchers camped out with their cameras and binoculars looking over the salt marshes….I can safely say that’s the only place I’ve seen that in real life. It was like something out of Discovery Channel.

You can tell from the picture…it was an “out-and-back” course – meaning you run out to a certain point, turn around, and run back to where you started. Typically, “Out-and-back” courses can drive some people crazy…but they don’t really bother me all that much (maybe because that’s how I train). I also find it kind of fun to see the leaders on their way back as I’m almost at the turnaround…and I LOVE running by 80 – 90% of the runners as I’m on MY way back to the finish line. An “out-and-back” course also allows you to know exactly where you stand, so to speak, in terms of getting back to the finish. Oftentimes on a “loop” course you can’t really keep track of where exactly you are unless you see a mile marker, and even then you can get “lost” in-between mile markers…but once I hit the turnaround? I know exactly where I am and how far it is to the finish. The course was also incredibly flat, which I was thrilled about (I was shooting for a new 5K PR).

I was very disappointed with myself in this race. I took a walk break. I took TWO very short walk breaks. I usually NEVER walk during a 5K…one of my proudest moments was the first time I was able to run 3 miles without stopping, and now I take pride in running 3.1 mile races without stopping…CONSISTENTLY. This day, I was pushing myself very hard, and I think there might’ve been a headwind or something…but close to the 2 mile marker…I felt like I had to walk for a second…and as I did it…I said to myself I’d be SO upset if this is what cost me a PR.

I came in at 24:14…my 5K PR is 23:57. I missed it by 17 seconds. I knew it before I turned the corner and saw the big LED clock. I was pretty disappointed for a few minutes…but then I got over it because 24:14 is still pretty damn good!

Remember how I said these races were a bit different? Well, if you notice…the name of the race includes “karaoke contest”. Once you finished the race and had some water and pizza outside…you go into the Blue Ocean Pavillion (entrance pictured above) for the beer (yay) and karaoke!

As a sidenote – I’ve learned  that races and beer generally happen one of three ways – as a runner you either get no free beer, one (or two) free beer(s), or they just keep on pouring beer until it’s either gone or the party’s over. With a karaoke contest and a name like “SmuttyPalooza”…I think you can figure out which of the three it was (spoiler alert – 3rd option). It was SUPER fun. I definitely didn’t do any karaoke, but those guys in the video above sure did…and MAN were they into it! The crowd went nuts when the music started playing for this one.

When I was talking about Frosty Knuckle 5K+ I mentioned Salisbury Beach looked like some kind of abandoned, creepy beach pavilion out of Zombieland or something, right? Check out that pic to the left. If you open it up and look, you can kind of get the idea. The area, specifically, that I was talking about was at the end of this street and to the right – right along the beachfront. It was WEIRD. I’m sure it’s very nice in the summer though…but with no people in the winter…creep city.

What About Pace To A Pint?

Pace To A Pint 5K was also super fun! I ran this one for Cape Cod Nutrition Corner (it’s right in town!), and wore, again, what has probably become one of my new favorite running shirts :). Supplement/nutrition stores DON’T have to be ALL about muscle and bulk, y’know! RUN CCNC!

ANYWAY – this race was St. Patrick’s Day themed, so just about everyone there was wearing green and ready to drink. Then there’s me…in a bright orange tank.Guess it was easy for my friends and family to spot me! This race was a little special for me… Why, you ask?


I was SO stoked to have her out there with me! We may not have run side by side the whole time, but we were both out there slogging through it “together” :). We DID start together, and I was there to see her finish. It is SO nice to be able to share this fitness journey with her and to do things like this together. If your significant other is in it with you, ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT, and if they’re not…encourage them to get into it! If you can do it, so can they! Why shouldn’t they enjoy it with you? Megan and I started this whole thing together – not everyone does. My dad held out for a long time – for almost a year my mom was doing the workouts with us before he finally joined in. It’s important to share something that’s such a big part of your lifestyle.

I should probably get off the soapbox now…

I’m sure you noticed my bib number…13. Lucky number 13. How about that, huh? The only bad luck I ended up having was at the start. Megan and I pretty much missed the boat on the starting corral thing…We had just switched her to a new phone, and we had never opened the Runkeeper app before (whoops). For some reason, it didn’t want to log in for her, so she had to run without Runkeeper in her ear tracking her run :(. We DID manage to get her music playing by the time we crossed the start though. In the end, we didn’t get into the starting corral until they were getting ready to blow the gun, so we ended up at the back of the pack. Literally…the back of the pack. We were in the back of just over 1,000 runners. Don’t believe me? Below is the video my dad took of the start.

See? Literally, 1:14 after the gun, Megan and I get across. Remember that big crowd that started before me and save that for later… By the way, sorry about the finger in the cam – he just got a new GoPro and he hasn’t quite figured out how to use it yet. GOOD NEWS – I’ll be taking that GoPro on obstacle races 🙂

Because we started this race in the back of the pack I experienced something I haven’t dealt with since last year’s Finish at the 50 10KI had to fight through a crowd! I’ve gotten into the habit of beginning a race as close to the starting line as possible. I don’t care if 100 people blow by me in the first 5 minutes – it’s worth it to me not to have to fight through a crowd, picking my way through the gaps. Doing that expends a LOT of energy, and with all the slow-downs and speed-ups you end up going AT BEST the average speed you really want to go anyway…it just takes more out of you to do it. Worst case, you blow a lot of energy and end up finishing the race slower than you could’ve. UNFORTUNATELY, the latter is what happened to me.

I ended up finishing in 24:24, a 7:51 minute/mile average. Overall, that’s not an awful time. It’s almost 30 seconds slower than my PR, which is kind of a bummer, but at least I came in under 25 minutes. Now, here’s the fun part: I finished 128th out of 1,024 overall, placing me in the top 11.7%. I came in 25th out of 84 in my age group (19 – 29). Remember that MASSIVE crowd that all crossed the starting line before me? I passed the vast majority of them.  So much for UN-lucky number 13 huh? HAH.

What made THIS race different was the post-race celebration.

You got a ticket for a free Harpoon beer. You were able to use that ticket at any of 9 participating bars. For real? SO basically the post race party was one big bar crawl. It was a lot of fun! Two of my Delta Chi brothers (college fraternity) met up with us too!

What I’m coming to appreciate about 5K’s is…aside from the elites out in front…it’s more of a party than anything. 5K’s are a social event. I’m not diminishing the distance as a race, but honestly, most 5K’s I participate in are more of a fun social event / party than anything else! Once I realized that, things like color runs, electric / glow runs, zombie runs, etc all made sense. It’s fun. It’s all about FUN! Those hundreds of people I passed and finished before? Most of them probably don’t care that they got passed. Many of them probably aren’t bothered if they come in over 30 minutes, or if they walk. That’s not what it’s about for them. Most people also typically choose a 5K as their first race, so they’re out there making a huge accomplishment, and SO WHAT if they’re “slow”…they DID IT. All of these people have embraced something that I sometimes forget as I get lost in the competitiveness of it all – it’s about having fun and enjoying the run.

All of this makes me love the 5K distance even more. 

It’s about having a good time. It’s about enjoying running It’s about doing it. I need to make sure to remember that when I’m out there. Why am I out there pounding pavement when I could be at work making money, or at home relaxing? Because I enjoy it. Running is my “me time”. I need to let go of the competitive thing once in a while and just go.

Speaking of which…I think I’m gonna go right now. I just inspired myself to go run. Are you gonna get out there? It IS spring now, after all! HAPPY FRIDAY!