Morning came early for me last Sunday, the day after my Oregon Ducks won for the 12th straight year over the Washington Huskies. Though I am a Duck, I do support Seattle races and causes. So I’d signed up earlier for the 30th annual Dawg Dash 10K, which helps fund student scholarships for the University of Washington. And, yes, I got up and ran it, after attending the late-night game (Go Ducks!) at Husky Stadium and getting only five hours’ sleep.
This was to be a training run, anyway. The 10K course in and around the UW is not a great venue for me to try for a fast time. You run on narrow streets, dirt trails, gravel trails, lawns, and even up at least two sets of steps in the last two miles. There are inclines, declines and potholes, and some confusion as you run loops that overlap. Several times in the last mile, I needed course marshals to point to where the course went. Also, as is the tradition, you are running alongside dogs (as well as Dawgs).
As I said, I didn’t have much energy anyway, after stressing out over the tight game the night before. But I finished this race stronger than I started it, and got a good training run out of it, if not a great time. My time was a slow 1:23:27 (13:28 per mile), one of my worst this year. But I stayed upright, successfully navigated the steps, and even had a finishing kick. Full results are here. (Yes, one problem: I caught a cold afterwards and still have a sore throat as I write this.)
No defiant Oregon Ducks garb this time
Unlike two years ago, when I did this 5K run all dressed in Oregon Ducks green and yellow, this time I wore my purple Dawg Dash 2013 shirt. Yes, I did wear my green Ducks hat with the “O” on it too — I probably looked a bit conflicted — but no one cared. (Few people cared two years ago as well.)
Truth is, the more than 2,000 runners and walkers who did the 10K and 5K seemed a bit subdued. There was energy, but no buzz. Maybe it was the loss to the Ducks; a Husky win might have changed the mood, though I can’t say that for sure. It was also wet and drizzling before the run.
I probably won’t do this run again, because of the course. Here is what I don’t like about it:
- The first mile heads from north campus up Greek Row to the north on a narrow stretch that is crowded and dangerous running beside dogs that you could trip over.
- The second mile goes from street to grass to gravel trails to grass to dirt trails to street pavement and finally to the Burke-Gilman Trail. Too many terrain changes for someone with a tender ankle.
- The second half of the course is scenic, though the beautiful University of Washington campus, but I can do without the steps. On a wet day, I’d rather not try to run up steps and risk a sure missed step and subsequent face-plant.
- In the last two miles, parts of the course overlap, and runners are going in different directions. Fortunately, you have course marshals to direct you, but several times I had to pry it out of them about which way to go.
All that said, this was the seventh time I’ve run in this event, and the fifth time I’ve done the 10K. My 10K PR of 51:44 (8:24 per mile) was at the Dawg Dash in 2004; I’ll never run that fast again. Sigh.
My 2004 shirt is undefeated against the Dawgs
I can only remember how many times I’ve run this event by the number of Dawg Dash shirts I have — seven. Four are white, two are purple and one is brown. The white 2004 shirt, ironically, serves as a good-luck charm worn underneath my Ducks shirts for Oregon-Washington games. We’ve won every time I’ve worn it — at least for games against the Huskies.
This was my 12th run of 2015 and my 187th overall since 2001. So I have 13 to go to reach 200. I am running the Mustache Dache 5K on Nov. 8 and then the Seattle Half-Marathon on Nov. 29. Not thinking beyond that — just hoping I’ll be ready for that half-marathon. And, be over this cold.
Thanks for reading! Till next time.