Whether you get excited about St. Patrick’s Day for the history, the green beer, a reason to wear green, or a reason to not wear green so you get pinched, the fact is 7500 runners and walkers in Seattle got in the spirit for the 27th annual St. Patty’s Day Dash, “a nearly 4 mile jaunt.” It is 3.7 miles, actually, and typically the weather is cold and wet. However, runners still get into the spirit with a variety of costumes. I saw, a devil, a runner wearing a green speedo…only, a leprechaun, and lots, and lots of green. Some runners take this very seriously, others, not so much, but one thing is certain, the beer garden at the finish is a favorite.
Last year, I ran it, and it was the first race that I placed in, which made me realize I (someday) have a chance of winning something…as in 1st place! Last year, it was cold, wet, and I had to rush to the start, barely making it. I ran that nearly four miles uncomfortable, feeling like I was going to throw up. I ran a 7.03 pace, and took second in my division. I was in shock. I didn’t feel like a runner who could take second in my division, but I did, and I even got a medal. This was my first running medal that was NOT a finisher’s medal.
This year, was oddly familiar, but there were a few more hiccups.
This year, with a little less than one month until the Boston Marathon, I was looking forward to one last sprint, one last short race. I had some goals: beat last year’s time, place in my division again, and don’t throw up.
Here is what happened this year.
I set my alarm for 6:30AM. Race starts at 8:30. This early wake-up time was to leave plenty of time for food, coffee, bathroom, and getting to the start.
I woke up without an alarm and looked at my phone…it was 8:08! Panic! I had mistakenly set my alarm for PM. Ouch. I vowed to still make it! I hussled like I’ve never hussled, and got out of house by 8:18. No water, no food, and no coffee. We were about a mile from the start, and started running as soon as we got out the door (we missed our ride who came to get us at 7:45). It was POURING and freezing.
We were half way there, and I looked at my foot. I forgot my timing chip. Damn. Too late to go back. I must admit, I was about to throw a fit. I don’t do these races for “fun” anymore. I want to win them (or at least try to win them). Oh well. I was starting to get over it. I realized: I just wasn’t supposed to “race” today.
The race starts on Mercer St. We were almost to the start with 2 minutes to spare, and I heard my significant other, better known as my life hostage, yell, “You can get a new chip at that tent back there!” So, I RAN to that tent, traded in my number, and got a chip (the race had just started). I put that chip on my foot, ran to the start, through the start line, and started the race.
The race heads east on Mercer : I forgot to start my GPS watch. Going in to the race, I told myself, and everyone else: I am NOT going to sprint at the beginning. I am going to start slow, so I can save myself for the finish. Without my watch telling me how fast my pace was and with the stress of the crowd (so many people when you don’t start at the front), I was running way too fast.
About two minutes in, my watch located a satellite and I started it. I WAS running way too fast. And then…
The course loops around and puts you on 99 North. For the next 2 miles, you run a steady incline. It hurts. I watched my pace get slower, slower, slower, as I felt yuckier and yuckier. I was worn out already. Or, maybe I just wasn’t awake yet? I had, literally, rolled out of bed 30 minutes prior.
A little beyond the 2 mile mark, you loop around, and run south on 99. Downhill. The runners running north are cheering you on, and you are cheering them on. The energy is good.
After running the first part of the race uphill, downhill is the time to let loose, and that is what I did. I took advantage of that downhill and gave it everything I had in. I really felt nauseous. And, my knee-high clover socks were slowly falling down. It was killing me! I was starting to lose steam. I was passing some, but some were also passing me. The last push is a slight incline, which, honestly, hurts.
But then, as you exit 99 and turn the corner, there is the FINISH!
Finish, turn in your timing chip and head to the beer garden! This year, however, we did it a little different. We were cold and wet. The temp was hovering around freezing, and it was pouring and windy. We opted to shower and get dry before partaking in the celebration. Unfortunately, when we got back to the beer garden, the line to get in was long, not moving, and it was snowing…hard. We opted to skip the beer garden this year, but by the looks, and sounds of it, everyone was having a great time celebrating not only St. Patrick’s Day, but also running nearly four miles…a great way to start the day.
The next race I will run is the Boston Marathon, and I cannot wait! I really am doing this, and I am so excited to share this experience with all of you!
St. Patty’s Day Dash Tips
- Set your alarm for the AM
- Pack a bag with a change of clothes (keep it in your car, which is hopefully parked not too far away) so you can head straight to the beer garden to avoid waiting in a long line
- Bring ID/Cash for beer garden
- Don’t forget your number and timing chip
- Dress up! There are awards for best costume. It’s Halloween, in March!
- And of course, have fun!
**I ended up taking second in my division again, and running 40 seconds faster than last year!**