The St. Patrick’s Day Dash is almost always done in wet, cold weather, and the 3.6-mile course was changed a few years ago to add an annoying uphill climb through the first half. There are certainly more runner-friendly races to do.
But for some reason, I always find myself signing up for it, even with a bad ankle.
Maybe it’s because it feels partly like a rock concert and partly like an NCAA tournament game. People take over the Seattle Center for the race and are always in a festive mood, ready to rock and roll, and dressed to the hilt in green and crazy costumes. There really is no other race where most everyone gets into the act. And it gives me a good reason to wear my Oregon Duck green-and-gold colors.
This year’s race was on a Saturday, on St. Patrick’s Day itself (March 17), which added to the buzz. It rained hard before the race, showered a bit during the race, and then snowed like a mid-January storm right afterwards, as I was walking back to my car. Very strange. But twice previously, snowflakes came down hard during the race, so this was no surprise. And no one seemed to care about the cold and wet weather.
All in all, it was a fun event again. I had my worst time ever for a St. Patrick’s Day Dash, because I walked most of it. But I did beat my goal of finishing in under an hour — my time of 53:53 was a 14:49 per mile pace, my best pace since my ankle surgery last August. (Full results are here; congrats to race winner Uli Steidl for an amazing 4:47-mile pace on that course.)
Also, I ran about 0.6 miles of the race, including most everything from the 3-mile marker to the finish line. That’s the most I’ve run since the surgery. It was more jogging than running, to be sure. But, unlike the Valentine’s Day Dash 5K in February, when I ran about 0.25 miles and suffered troubling pain the following few days, my ankle is doing fine post-race and feels stronger.
My time was 50:21 last year, when I ran the first two miles but had to walk the remainder because of pre-surgery bone-grinding inside my ankle. So this year I went a bit slower but felt much better during and afterwards.
My best time for this course is 38:03 in 2010. My best time for the old 3.4-mile St. Patrick’s Day Dash course, which ran down the Alaskan Way Viaduct, was 27:06.
My running/jogging is still, obviously, a work in progress. But my walking is getting faster. I do see a day coming soon when I can run a full 5K race, but I am taking baby steps right now to work my way there.
Meanwhile, I’m planning to do the Mercer Island Half-Marathon Walk this Sunday, and actually walk it as fast as I can. Then I plan on focusing on bicycling for a few months. Need to get myself ready for a 100-mile ride this summer.
Thanks for reading. Till next time.