Dogwood Dash, 2008

I ran the Dogwood Dash 5K race this morning. There were several really good things about the race, and a few disappointing ones.

Pre-race
I learned about the race on my Tuesday morning run. I was out with the Running Wild Six at Six running group in Pensacola. At the end of the run I saw a banner for the Dogwood Dash 5K. I got information and signed myself up for the race the next day. That was the cutoff for the cheap registration rate.

Later, I talked my son into running the 1 mile fun run. When I went to pick up my packet on Friday night, I told them my son wanted to run the fun run. They gave me a registration slip and I paid the $20 bucks they requested. I found out this morning at the race that he did not need to register since there were no prizes for the 1 mile run. I donated $20 to a cause that I am not at all sympathetic to. I just wanted to run the race.

For our registration, we each got a T-shirt and a free pancake breakfast. I got a fridge magnet and a coupon to Chick-Fil-A. My son only got the shirt.

Race
It was very cold. I had planned to try for a PR since it was going to be cooler. However, I did not plan for 38 degrees. My previous PR was at 72 degrees. I am used to the warmer weather, but I have been running well in the cooler temperatures. The constant 10 to 14 mph wind did not help much either.

I stayed warm–as much as I could–getting ready for the race. We got there about 25 minutes early, which was planned. But with it being so cold, I think it was probably not a good idea to get there too early. I waited until 15 minutes before race start to do some warm up running. I usually like to trot around for 10 or 12 minutes just loosening up. I did that and gave myself just a few minutes of standing around before race start.

Right at the time we were supposed to start the race, 8:00, there was an announcement that the start would be delayed by 10 to 15 minutes. There was a problem with the company that was doing the timing and they packed up their equipment and left. That meant the race organizers were scrambling for everything they needed to accurately time the race. Something sounded fishy about the explanation. Maybe the truth will come out in the paper tomorrow.

Now we were left with a “10 to 15” minute delayed start time. How do you properly warm up again when you don’t know when the race will start? I was already cold and getting stiff (not that I ever really loosened up). I did another warm up trot and got back to the starting line moments before the start.

My 5K PR was on a course with a 20′ rise and fall. The course today was 100′ elevation change. We went over the same hill 4 times during the run.

Splits:

  1. 4:54
  2. 5:06
  3. 5:25
  4. missed
  5. 10:24

I was trying to run 4:48 splits (to get a 24:00 time). The first one was a bit slow and I slowed down from there. I was not in the right mindset to get the PR and the wind, cold and hills were a factor. I think the bigger hindrance was my thinking though. I know with a bit more experience on hills I would know how to handle them in the future.

I am not at all disappointed with not getting the PR. I did not really feel it happening when I got up this morning.

One of the highlights to the race was the group of Marines that ran with us. They ran in formation and called cadence the whole time. They were just behind me most of the way. It was very motivating.

Post Race
It was not clear that there were post race snacks available. I did not know about them until 30 minutes after I finished my run waiting for the fun run. Having the bagels, bananas, oranges and water would have been nice.

Since we started late, the fun run started late. They did not start until close to 9:30. The pancake breakfast was being served until 10:00 at a different location from the race course.

My son ran a 10:25 mile, which we think is a PR for him. We ran it together.

We then went for the pancake breakfast and got there around 9:45. The pancakes were fine…all 2 of them. They were out of coffee. There was no indication that we could have more pancakes. I wanted more, but no one else was going back for seconds, so I stopped at 2. Sigh. So much for paying $40 for a nice breakfast.

We were inside the eating area waiting for the awards ceremony. They posted the results on one of the walls. Nothing was said to the 100 or so people inside, but they were giving out door prizes outside. We happened to wander outside shortly before my son was called as a prize winner for 2 free appetizers at a restaurant. About 20 people later, my name was called for the same prize. Now we have 4 free appetizers. We probably won’t be able to use them before leaving town, but, we won something. That is good.

Awards
The overall winner was someone in my age group (35-39 year olds). He ran it in 16 minutes and something.

I took 69th overall out of 336 runners.

I also got 3rd in my age group! I don’t know how many runners were in the group, but there were at least 5. They gave awards to the first 5 in each division.

The awards took over an hour. We left shortly after I got my award. I don’t know how much longer it went on.

I think things were terribly disorganized. I was disappointed with several little things in the event. Though I have had some bad experiences with races in Mexico, this was probably the most disappointing as far as just being non-informative. The one good thing I can say about the organization is that it was really 5 kilometers in distance.

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