I can’t say I walked away from the Dawg Dash 10K thinking, “Wow, I love 10Ks now!”
I walked away thinking, “I am never doing this course again!”
I’ve done the 5K version of this race several times and enjoyed it. But, the 10K course is completely different — lots of winding and weaving and mazing around the University of Washington campus. It got a little, um, annoying.
I was excited at the start. I was excited to see what my new 10K baseline would be. Seeing that the only other time I raced this distance was five years ago when I wasn’t in very good shape, I knew I would have at least some form of PR.
I started toward the back of the pack, which may have been a mistake for someone who wanted to race. But, I was happy to be surrounded by my coworkers at the beginning. For one, it was her first 10K — and race ever! — so I was super pumped to introduce racing to her.
The first mile I spent trying to pass runners on Greek Row by running on the grassy median since the road was so narrow and crowded. By the time we reached Ravenna Park, I had more space. I focused on using the downhills of the park since I knew later on there would be some uphill running.
In between mile two and three, Bryce found me running on the Burke Gilman. He was going to watch me at the finish so it was a pleasant surprise to see him. (He told me I was “looking around” when he called out my name).
I clocked in at the three-mile marker at exactly 23 minutes. If I had been racing the 5K, I would have definitely broken 23 minutes! (This is a feat I have only accomplished one time, so I was feeling all the positive energy followed by the question, Why am I not racing the 5K right now??)
Everything felt well and good until about mile 4.83. It was fun being on my old stomping grounds — I’m a UW alum — but at the same time I was tired of “running in circles” on campus. Running around Drumheller Fountain with the UW (alumni) marching band playing a happy tune was my favorite part of the race. It was always my favorite part when I did those 5Ks in the past.
Just before the 5 miler marker, Bryce and our friends, Benjie and Amber, saw me and started cheering. I tossed Bryce my iPhone which I had in one of those arm pouches, but was annoying me. Upon seeing Benjie, I yelled, “You’re done already??” He ran the 5K.
As soon as I approached the Quad, I knew the end was very near. I also kept looking at my watch so I knew I was very close to breaking 50 minutes. The classic Kristin kick made an appearance. I sprinted past a ton of runners while flying by in the “5K lane.” The finish chute was narrow. If I had stayed in the “10K lane,” there was no way I would have been able to pass so many runners without bumping shoulders or plowing someone down. Don’t worry though, right before crossing the finish line, I hopped back into the “10K lane.”
I caught my breath. Looked down at my watch.
I did it.
49 minutes and 16 seconds. A 6-minute-and-1-second PR!
Breaking 50 minutes was my secret goal. And, now the secret’s out.
What felt just as good about my race was seeing my two coworkers finish their races. They both were smiling at the end. And, honestly, I was worried that the one who was new to running would hate me after the race. After all, I had encouraged all of us to sign up together “for fun!”
And, winding course, muggy-grey weather and all, we had fun.
Am I a 10K convert? No.
It’s just that the longer distance races tug at my heart a little more.
For now, let’s say I’m a 10K skeptic.