Monday, March 14, 2011

Race Report: 2011 St. Patty's Day Dash

This was my second year in a row running Seattle's annual St. Patrick's Day Dash with my uncle. This is probably the city's biggest (non-marathon) race with around 10,000 people overall (many opt for the non-competitive, non-timed, beer-filled waves). It's a blast with so many people out in green gear.

The course is basically an out and back, though it starts by the opera house and ends by the EMP. The first two miles are pretty much up-hill which makes the second half a lot faster. 

My uncle and I lined up together. He asked what pace I was aiming for and I said nothing too fast since I was still recovering from last weekend. We decided to aim for beating our time from last year and otherwise to just have fun.

The horn sounds and we took off. The race does a bit of a loop under the highway before turning onto the highway for most of the run. You get to see everyone running behind you as you loop back over. We hit the first mile in 6:11, last year's pace. Although I said I wanted to take the first half (the uphill) easy, I pushed us both, though I kept chatting away. We hit mile 2 at 6:28 and I knew the marker was off.

Just after mile 2, at the Aurora Bridge, is the turn around. This marks a long stretch of downhill so we started to really push it. We saw people dressed like Guinness cans, guys running in green briefs and nothing else, and folks in leprechaun gear going uphill as we flew down.

We hit mile 3 in 5:17 (I think this marker was correct, but mile 2 had been really off, throwing our splits out of wack). Since the race is 3.8 miles I knew we were almost done, but my legs were starting to tire out. I told my uncle he could go ahead if he wanted. He said, "You can't be that tired, you're still talking." I told him that was only because my legs weren't the ones making conversation.

He pulled ahead but I managed to keep close enough by surging with a runner who was trying to pass me. We made the final uphill turn to the start. This is where I would usually rely on my kick to pull me through, but it wasn't there. No complaints though, since I crossed the finish in 22:38, almost a minute faster than my time from last year. Better still, I averaged a 5:58 pace--my current 5k PR is a 6:02 pace!!!

My uncle beat me by 6 seconds, but next year I'll make sure he's not so lucky.