Sunday, October 12, 2008

Runnin with the Dawgs

Raced the 23rd Dawg Dash this morning!

The Bottom Line:
Distance: 10K
Garmin Time: 54:22
Chip Time: 54:2 [Official]
Overall Pace: 8:46/mile
This may be a PR for me (but I am not sure I have run a 10K before so . . .)

The Story:

I don't have 10 things to say about this race (not that creative) or a sore butt (wasn't sitting down much) but I do have a full tummy and a very tired body after a long day of trying to meld being a weekend warrior with being a working professional. 

Two months ago I wasn't even thinking of running this race. GVB asked me then if I'd be interested in forming a team and running it. I demurred based on the problems with my hip. I didn't know what was wrong or how long it would take to work itself out. That injury is in the past now and I am slowly building mileage. Last week I decided to run it and registered. 

"So, are you going to just run this or race this?"

This question always comes up and I always answer "Nah, this will be a training run. I just ran an 8-miler in the woods yesterday and so I'll just be running easy" and then run like hell because there is just something about being in a race environment that gets me all fired up. 

So predictable. :-P

GVB and The Colleague were loudly heralded by J the Dog as they came up the walkway just after 8 this morning. I grabbed my kit and we headed down to Husky Stadium via the Union Bay Natural Area. It was cool out with clear and sunny skies, a perfect day for a run. Ran into one of the new AR clients and we chatted for a bit about yesterday's running in circles out at Saint Edwards and Big Finn. Checking in was easy and I was surprised that there were not more people doing the run. There were lots of yellow numbers (5K) and a lot fewer purple numbers (10K).  We went down onto the field and saw Mel, also from AR, who was running the 5K and then intended on running home to get more miles in. Nice chat too. Here we are waiting. 

Things were a little slow getting going because there were so many people checking in and also doing race day signups. We had to wait for the 5K runners to go out and, after a mangled rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" on a trumpet they did. Then it was our turn. 

I lined up with the 9:00/mile area because I was just intending on running (not racing) and my confidence about speed has not been so high these days. Saw BareFootRunnerMan lining up there too, the ugliest feet I have ever seen. Soon enough it was our turn, the horn blew, and off we went. 

I was passing a tall guy on Walla Walla Drive when I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard "Hey!" Turns out it was my neighbor, S, and his running partner, also S. They are training for the Seattle Half and this was part of that. I ran with them for a few minutes but then they just disappeared behind me in the crowd. 

It was taking a little bit for the pack to thin and for me to warm up but that was done by the time we got to the big parking lot to the North of Husky Stadium. Not the most inspirational part of the run but necessary if the organizers were going to get us through 6 miles in the confined space of the UW Campus. 

The Burke Gilman was empty save for runners—no bikes, casual walkers or runners to be seen. Ragged breathing, pounding footsteps, the occasional grunt of effort. Running in such a pack is a decidedly odd experience one that used to be quite thrilling but whose luster has faded the more time I spent out running in the woods. 

The UW Campus is hilly. Did you know that? Up some sustained but not-so-steep hills onto North Campus and around Denny Hall before the long-ish drop down towards the stadium. The Fountain was running as we went past on Rainier Vista and the UW Alumni Marching Band-let was playing as we went past (this must be what I was looking at in this picture). 

Then, I picked up someone I am going to call "The Horse Fly". THF was a woman about 5'9" wearing black tights and a long-sleeved shirt with glaringly white iPod earbuds sticking out of her ears. I know this because, frankly, she kept on buzzing around me and I do mean "buzzing". 

OK, I have rabbits in races too. People I use to speed up and push harder. In this race it was the guy in the Husky Purple basketball shorts and Gold Lame' Husky shirt (I beat him). Hell, I don't mind being a rabbit either. Aren't there rules for this sort of thing? Like you can get close, but not potential collision close, and you should pass with enough room and maybe a bit of warning. At least this is what I do. But THF, she was bordering on dangerous. Her approach was to orbit me—pulling up on my left, pulling just a little ahead, and then cutting in front and to the right to end up on my right. She did this four times, each time cutting closer and closer, and would have crashed had she gotten tangled in my boots. Twice I felt the wind of her passing and had to divert to avoid a collision. Finally, we hit the final stretch on the Burke Gilman and I had had enough. She orbited again and with about a mile to go I just kicked it into sub-8:00 gear and held it. I have no idea where THF went after and I did not see her again. I was too polite to say anything and doubt she would have heard me given the volume of her music. 

Started tiring by the time we got to Hec Ed but kept going and swung into the stadium going like mad. Almost had a Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang Moment when a little kid ran in front of me as I entered into the stadium running at something like 11.5 mph. I could swear I heard someone yelling my name as I came into the finish (was it Mel? GVB? The Colleague?) and I crossed the line running a 6:50 covered in sweat and feeling really happy and bouncy. 

Happy and bouncy for the rest of the day too (ask GVB and The Colleague about the walk home). Lots of fun. 

The pancakes, eggs, and bacon I had for brunch was just the ticket. :-)

It felt so good to move and to move fast again as I'd forgotten how that felt. 

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