It was such an easy decision: Do a Friday night 5K run right next to where I work in Redmond. I was pleased that three workmates of mine at Allytics — RJ Ricker, Hayley Halstead and Kathleen Esses — agreed to run the Redmond Derby Dash 5K on July 8 with me.
The weather was warm and dry, the course was flat and straight, the vibe was energetic and festive, and a rock band was playing at the finish line. This run kicked off Redmond’s annual Derby Days celebration. Not much to complain about. My only nit: The runners didn’t have the Sammamish River Trail to themselves for this event.
Yes, that is a lot to ask. This popular trail that runs through Redmond, Woodinville and Bothell before it connects to the Burke-Gilman Trail is a major recreational and a transportation corridor through the Eastside. Bicyclists love it; many use it to commute to work at Microsoft. Skaters and skateboarders love it too. Closing it for an event is, well, not going to happen.
Running or roller derby?
About 400 runners and walkers participated in this race (286 were timed; the rest chose not to be timed), and they joined a smattering of bicyclists, skateboarders and other non-participants on the narrow trail. And it was an out-and-back course starting near Redmond City Hall. So after a hairpin turnaround, faster runners sprinted back just beside the slower runners and walkers going out. Congestion ruled.
I don’t want to suggest there were major problems — that’s not the case. But, as a slower runner going out, I noticed the race leaders having to avoid getting hit by bicyclists passing them. This slowed their times, I’m sure.
I had a couple of skateboarders myself squeezing my running space. One got close enough to me in the last mile of the run that he threatened to bump me on my left side, which includes my gimpy left ankle. My instinctive reaction was to elbow him away, and I accidentally knocked him off his board, though he didn’t fall. I felt bad about that, but I didn’t want to get hurt as I was laboring to reach the finish line.
Yes, this is a popular trail, especially in early evenings of summer. Despite the some bottlenecks during the race, we all had enjoyable runs and some of our best 5K times. Lesson for me: Get over it; this race IS a bit like roller derby.
Times and tips
My time was 35:40 (11:29 per mile), my best 5K time since May 2015 when I ran 35:27 in the Husky 5K at the UW Bothell. Kathleen (25:07), RJ (25:53) and Hayley (39:09) also had among their best times of 2016. Full results are here.
It was my eighth road run of this year and 197th overall — getting close to 200!
My few tips for this race:
- Stay to the right, obviously. This is what I always tell myself while doing walks or training runs on this trail. Bicyclists speed past you with limited concern for your safety; they just don’t want to have to use their brakes. (P.S. I do like to ride this trail myself, but I know I’ve got to slow down through Redmond.)
- Push yourself. This is a race to get a PR, so no need to hold back. Your first and third miles should be strong and your second mile steady. The course is straight, so there’s only the one turnaround to slow you down.
- Watch your back. While you are running hard, you need to just be aware that a bicyclist, skater or faster runner may be trying to pass you. Again, it’s a busy trail, and people get on and off at various trail spurs along this route.
Thanks for reading! Till next time. Keep moving!