Faster pace and fun combine at Dogfish Dash

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This year's Dogfish Dash logo, which was on this bag, a race T-shirt and the stainless steel pint glass, was a race bib with 2015 on it. It's shown by a delicious mac and cheese dish that I had at grandpa (MAC) in Rehoboth Beach. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
This year’s Dogfish Dash logo, which is on this bag, a race T-shirt and the stainless steel pint glass, was a race bib with “2015” on it. It’s shown by a delicious mac and cheese dish that I had at grandpa (MAC) in Rehoboth Beach. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I knew going into the Dogfish Dash that I’d have an automatic PR — the race was an 8K, a distance in which I’ve never timed myself. But what I didn’t know was that I was going to improve my speed compared to the previous races I’ve completed this year.

I haven’t had a fast year of races. As I mentioned earlier this year, I’ve logged my slowest race times in the 10-miler, half marathon (aside from the one that I didn’t finish in 2014) and 10K, along with some of my slower 5K times. And that doesn’t even bother me too much, because I’m still having fun and I’m not dealing with dehydration or other issues.

But I was happy to see that my pace at the Dogfish Dash 8K on Sunday was actually faster than my pace at both of the 5Ks I have run this year (3rd Wave and Casey Cares 5Ks). Both of those were in the 26s, and my 5K as part of the Dogfish Dash was 25:54, according to my watch.

My watch and my chip time both logged 41:33 for the whole race, which my watch logged as 4.94 miles and an 8:25 pace. Although it’s not my fastest race pace ever, I am really happy with it.

Here's the Steampunk Treehouse at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
Here’s the Steampunk Treehouse at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

After crossing the finish line and getting a water bottle, I didn’t have to wait at all to get my beer (I just had one), and I then proceeded to the food tent, where I was happy to see Fifer’s Orchards apple cider doughnuts. Yum! I also had some granola and yogurt and an apple cider.

The race is held at the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, Delaware. The end of the race was different this year and went through the truck entrance, by a lot of trees. The beginning was also different, going for a very short time on a paved path.

My boyfriend, Mike, and I had done this race together for the past two years, and he ended up being out of town for this one, which was a bummer. But I did talk to a few people I knew there, so it was nice to not be alone.

I felt great during the race. I hardly walked at all — only at very short times when I stopped for water. I was thinking about walking at one point — it was near the aptly-named Walker Drive in the last mile. But I had just been talking with Knita, a high school cross country coach, the day before after the VP 5K, and thinking of the conversation we had — at one point, she was talking about how she helped a runner who was walking when her legs got tired — helped me power through to the end without taking a walk break. It paid off, as my pace was faster than any other race I’ve done this year aside from one-milers.

Here I am after finishing the Dogfish Dash, in my 11:30 Club shirt. (Vanessa Junkin photo)
Here I am after finishing the Dogfish Dash, in my 11:30 Club shirt. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

I was also happy to see where I placed in the results. At smaller races, I often have a pretty good shot at getting an award in my age group — particularly because I don’t have an overly crowded age group. At this one, I was happy to have placed 30th among 240 women ages 20-29. Even my overall finish of 394th out of 2,015 is in the top 20 percent!

Also, it’s cool that there were 2,015 finishers, since it is 2015 and “2015” was on all the race swag. Happy 10th anniversary, Dogfish Dash!

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