St. Patrick’s Day Dash (and my health)

On the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day I ran in the 21st annual Henry Weinhard’s St. Patrick’s Day Dash.  They say it is the biggest run in the world that focuses on this day and 13000+ runners and walkers turned out for the event.  The run is a bit longer than a standard 5K at about 3.5 miles.  It starts on Mercer street next to the Seattle Center.  You run down Mercer and take a right and get into the Alaskan Way viaduct where you head south to Safeco Field and the end of the race.
I knew in advance that might time was going to suck.    While I had started the year at what I wanted in my interim goal of 220 pounds between being sick (I have already used up all of my sick leave for the year with colds) and not working out as much being in phased II of the 20/20 program when I should be doing things more on my own I have crept back up to about 230!  I had just come off of a week of vacation where I only worked out once and had a bad slow time running on the treadmill and I did to get to bed that early having just been on a late flight back the night before.
I met up with my sister down at Safeco field and we hopped on a shuttle bus that took us up to the starting line.  We were in the second wave (red) for non-competitive runners and walkers.  After the green wave took off we waited the ten minutes before our wave took off.  During this time the starters were talking with various people including the mayor of a city in Ireland which is the sister city for Seattle – I do not remember which city it was.  Our wave had plenty of people in costumes include a women in an a six foot tall box of Lucky Charms and of course many people in green.  I started out strong and I regrettably my sister behind.  Passing under an overpass after the turn on Mercer everyone was yelling excited.  It helps that about the first half mile is all down hill.  My heart monitor is reading 198 but I do not believe it.  When I look down again it was 172 which is still pushing it compared to where I try to target it in my normal workouts.  Glancing at my watch at the first mile mark I was at 11 something minutes which was better than I thought I would be.  Going up into the Battery Street tunnel was fun.  When I drive through it (we were running south in the northbound lanes) you always see places where people have sunk in and written things in the dirt on the walls of the tunnel.  In this case I saw someone had written “run faster I have already beat you here” which made me laugh.  At this point I am jogging until I get tired and then check my heart rate, if it is high then I walk, if it was not then I talk myself into keep running.  Once my heart rate got back in the mid 150s I would push myself to start running again.  Coming out of the tunnel you are up on the Alaskan Way viaduct which if you do not know Seattle parallels the waterfront but you are elevated.  You have a great view of all of the ships along the piers and you can watch the ferries come and go.  Many people stopped in the middle of their run to take pictures.  Also as you head south not only do you have view of Quest Field, where the Seahawks play, and Safeco Field where the Mariners play but on a nice sunny day like this you have an amazing view of Mt Rainier as it seems to just complete a perfect view.  About this point is the two mile mark and now my watch is showing 24 minutes so I have slowed to 12 minute miles.  About 2.5 miles in I see a few people pass me where yellow bibs which is the third wave of runners that stated 10 minutes behind me.  I would not have noticed but they are wearing their bibs on their back and I think to myself they are doing so just to spite me.  Maybe they did not start in the yellow wave but none the less I tried to push on.  Just as you get off of the viaduct it is the three mile mark and my watch shows 39 minutes which was about the time that I finished my last 5K in January and I still have a half mile to go!  At this point there are a bunch of people cheering you on.  There was one guy that picked me up with his cheer of “you are almost there” only .2 to go (I assume he was talking kilometers) but now that I think about it that does not make sense because a half mile would be .8 kilometers.  Needless to say I picked up my pace and finished strong.  My official chip time was 43:06.  Good or bad this put me at 257 of 273 in the male 30-34 age group for the red wave of runners/walkers.  Of all of the males in the red wave I was 1365 of 1492 which is nothing really to blog about.  After the race I found my sister and she said she finished right at the 40 minute mark.  Since I was looking for her and she me we really were not sure when she passed me.  That is a great time for her but there is no official record of her time because she elected to not use the timing chip.
Overall I am a bit bummed.  I am bummed that I let my weight creep back up.  I am bummed that my time was not at least five minutes faster.  I am bummed that my sister beat me (sorry sis, I am really selfish but at the same time I AM happy for you).  I did beat the box of Lucky Charms by 5-10 minutes.  Also my time was about what I ran my first 5K in back in December and since this was longer than I 5K I guess that could be considered a good thing.  Since the end of the race I have already dropped a few pounds and now I am in the 226-228 range.  I have had to recommit myself to the gym and at the same time watch my portion size more.  The 20/20 program is all done so I will have to be doing it on my own.  The next run I am setting myself up for is May 15 – the Beat the Bridge run.  In this run you have 20 minutes to run two miles before they raise the drawbridge in the University district for a couple of minutes on your way to running an 8K.  The challenge of course will be to run 10 minute miles for the first two, something I have not done to beat the bridge, and then having enough in my to do an 8K (I can do 8 even if it means a lot of walking but I would like to run more of it).  The website says that they have fun if you get stuck at the bridge and play music and hand out prizes but I WANT to beat it!


About Aaron Bregel

Just trying to get by
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