This year’s Love ‘Em or Leave ‘Em Valentine’s Day Dash 5K lucked out on weather. It was a chilly but dry morning for the event — the sun even came out for a time. Later that evening, snow came down with a fury in the Seattle area, and on the next morning, the course was blanketed.
So, I was happy in 2014 that the annual run around Green Lake was switched a few years ago to Saturday from Sunday. Had it still been on Sunday, it likely would have been canceled.
Of greater note again this year was the overwhelming female participation — of the 1,286 finishers, 894 (70 percent) were women. I’m not complaining. In last year’s race, the percentage breakdown was similar: Of 2,424 finishers, 1,726 (71 percent) were women. In 2012, 67.5 percent of the 2,362 finishers were women.
C’mon, guys! Actually, we all have women to thank for fueling the boom in running over the last decade. (Now, if I can just get more women to do bicycling events.)
I guess I just noticed the gender disparity more this year because, for some reason, there were a lot fewer runners overall. It was possibly because of fear of rain or snow on that day. Or lack of training in recent weeks because the Seahawks had such a great season. Whatever, the finisher count was barely half of what it was a year ago.
I’ve witnessed that many other Seattle-area races with strong gains in recent years have possibly peaked out with slight dips this year. We’ll see if there is a trend the other way now, but I don’t expect it.
At any rate, I still enjoyed the race (my second this year and 163rd road race overall), even if there were fewer runners and less of a fun, festive atmosphere than in recent years. I was there to push myself, and I did so. I ran mostly on the narrow trail part of the course (rather than the street) to preserve my ankle, dodging walkers and people not in the race.
I finished in 37:56, a 12:15 per mile pace. Full results are here. It wasn’t as fast as my Resolution Run 5K time on Jan. 1 (35:55), but it is my second-best 5K time since my ankle surgery in 2011. I’ve found that I’m always a tad slower on this Green Lake course than other runs. I’ve done this race eight times now, and my PR for it is 25:48 in 2007; my overall 5K PR is 24:32 in 2005.
A few other tidbits:
- The course: It still rims north Seattle’s Green Lake Park, mostly on the streets that surround the park rather than the shorter internal loop. What was different for me is that I ran almost the whole way on the dirt/gravel trail next to the street (better on my bad ankle than pavement).
- The costumes: There were simply fewer this year. Two women ran in white wedding gowns and veils, and somehow were able to cross the finish line. I also saw a lot of tutus, heart-shaped sunglasses, V-Day hats and the like, but nothing else as exotic as those wedding dresses.
- The vibe: Before last year’s race, organizers suggested participants all wear their red event shirts, and most did. The race was a sea of red from start to finish. This year’s shirts were black, and though many wore them, it wasn’t as cool.
- Congrats: To Jennifer Winchester, a friend and co-worker at Zones, and her boyfriend Michael Gray on their finishes. The Zones Annual Celebration was the night before, and I am sure Jennifer stayed out late (later than me, that’s for sure!).
What’s next for me
Bicycling! I haven’t ridden much so far in 2014, but the Chilly Hilly is a week from today! It will be the third time I’ve done this hilly marquee bicycling event on Bainbridge Island. I am looking forward to it, ready or not.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.