So! I ran the Dash Sunday morning in a fairly dense rain. It was a generally cold, wet, miserable kind of morning, and it was Daylight Savings day to boot, so it was a cold wet EARLY SLEEPY morning. I arrived about 30 min early and stood around shivering and avoiding the rain as much as possible. I hadn’t had time to drink coffee (dang early morning rush) so I tried in vain to (TMI alert) get a PRP going (blarg I hate porta-potties) (can I use any more parenthesis in this sentence), checked my bag, and hovered around the starting chute with my wave, amongst the 14,000 other projected runners. I was a bit worried about how fresh/energetic my legs would feel, since I stupidly ran a pretty quick 3 miles the day before, but was feeling ok.
Since it was a St Patty’s race there were a ton of people dressed up in crazy costumes – 3 dudes had giant Guinness cans on (bet that chafed a bit… heh) and there were green tutus as far as the eye could see. I hadn’t brought my camera due to the rain so I wasn’t able to get any photos, but at least costume-gazing made the time pass a little quicker!
At 8:30 the elite/racing wave went off, and 10 min later the timed/non-competitive wave (mine, naturally) was released to the wild rainy streets of Seattle. With what they kept saying was 14000 people crammed into the street, it was fairly slow shuffly going for the first half mile or so. I spent quite a bit of time diving through seams and darting around slow-moving folks and walkers and attempting to avoid giant puddles.
Shortly up the street we turned up Highway 99 and started a looooooong endless slog uphill. The only real variance in the hill was how steep it was, and it just kept going and going and going. On the other side of the street, racers from the first wave were flashing downhill in the other direction, so at least there was the promise of an eventual downhill sprint hanging in front of me like a carrot! But the hill was ROUGH – seriously about half the race. Below is Henry the Garmin’s map of the race – that entire north-south running portion was the hill of doom:
That bend in the road was such a tease – I saw the racers in front of me disappear around it and had the brief glimmer of hope that the turnaround was just ahead, but noooooo, it was all a trick! Heh. A bunch of people started walking at that point and my quads were burning, but I kept slogging along, and eventually the turnaround point came into sight (I almost swear it had a beam of light from heaven shining down upon it). I tried to summon a smile for the photographer standing there (the only one I saw on the course of 5 that were supposedly there, which means the rest of my pictures will be awesome reflections of pain) and made the corner, then started the equally looooooong charge back downhill.
Now, normally I love running downhill – I get to go fast! I don’t get as tired! I can haul arse and feel like a real runner! – but normally I’m not running downhill for like, over a mile. I did pick up the pace significantly and enjoy the support of gravity plunging me down the hill, but after a few minutes my legs were starting to feel the pounding. I decided to take what I could get speed-wise after the dirge uphill and let myself run it out, watching the people still making their way up the other side of the street and passing a few folks as well.
We hit the bottom of the hill and took a turn up another hill toward the finish (I swear there was maybe 3/10 of a mile of this race that was flat, it was all either uphill or downhill otherwise) and I started to feel my energy sapping. Just a little bit farther… keep going…. and then YaY! we came around a corner and I saw the finish line looming ahead. I didn’t have much left for a closing sprint but managed to kick it up a bit, and then made the typical blunder of reaching to stop my Garmin as I crossed the finish line, which should give me a great finishing photo ;D
Per my Garmin I finished in 37:54 for almost 4 miles:
At least I can say I ran negative splits, I guess! >_>
The finish area was a thick throng of people shuffling slowly toward the chip removal area and the post-Dash beer garden/expo. It was still raining and pretty cold once I stopped moving, but I braved the huuuuuge line to get a beer and some food, and picked up some freebies at the expo. After I couldn’t take the cold wetness anymore I made a beeline for the bus stop and headed home.
Per my official results I finished in 37:52 at a 9:58 pace (so maybe they had the course measured a little longer, I guess?). I was 279/752 in the 30-34 division and 1410/4060 total women. Overall, I was 3465/7297 in my wave. The average time for a finisher in my wave was 39:08 so yay, I was above average! ;D
I’ll post official photos (no matter how bad they are) when they’re available! [EDIT] OK, official photos were posted and somehow I managed to avoid pretty much every photographer on the course. There is exactly ONE photo that I appear in (and yes I looked through pages and pages of the photos from the event), and it doesn’t really even count:
Soooo that was kind of a bummer… I always like having photos to remember events by. Not sure how I squirreled away from all the cameras (based on pictures of other people, I should have run right by them) but maybe I won’t run in the overcrowded red wave next year…
EDIT 6/30/11: Well, it took 3 and a half months of poking through the thousands of pics from this race, but I finally found another one with me in it (right after the finish):