Dogfish Dash once again a blast

Mike and I pose in our Eastern Shore Running Club shirts after finishing the Dogfish Dash on Sunday. (Michael Piorunski photo)

It wasn’t the beer I smelled as I walked around the area by the start of the Dogfish Dash. It was the apple cider doughnuts.

Although I do have experience eating doughnuts and then running — I ran a chunk of the Dunkin Donuts marathon earlier this year — I didn’t want to do that at the Dogfish Dash, an 8K which was held Sunday, Sept. 25. I wanted to test myself when it came to time.

I figured it was unlikely I would be able to go faster than the time in which I ran this race last year — 41:33 — but I also didn’t think it was completely out-of-reach. I also had the friendly rivalry with my boyfriend, Mike, to consider.

This is my fourth year running the race, which starts and ends at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. Although Mike does not do very many races each year, we’ve made this one that we always participate in. Prior to last year, when the race changed to an 8K, it used to be a 5K and 10K, and we used to run the 10K. Going into this race, we each had one win against each other. Last year, he was out of town for work and couldn’t make it.

The race went the opposite direction as previous years, which wasn’t a problem but was something I wasn’t really expecting because I just assumed the course was the same and didn’t look at the map. An 8K is just less than 5 miles.

A delicious breakfast combo: A Dogfish Head craft beer and a Fifer Orchards apple cider doughnut. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Mike and I didn’t get into the corral early and didn’t start very close to the front. Although it wasn’t the end of the world, I did end up trying to dodge a lot of people near the beginning because it was so crowded and I wanted to go faster. I think this is one reason I still had energy left to pick up the pace at the end of the race.

I forgot to bring my watch, so I just ran based on feel. My overall time was 44:15, an 8:54-per-mile pace, according to the results. However, when I passed the 5K mark, I was at 27:58, which is a 9:01-per-mile pace, so I sped up in that last part.

The race seemed to go by quickly, and I felt great as I ran. The race started at 9:30 a.m. and the beginning felt breezy, but once we got onto a highway, which was I believe a little after the halfway point, it started to feel hotter. It still wasn’t anywhere near as hot as some of the races I’ve done this year, but I wouldn’t have minded if it were cooler. I did get water at each of the three water stops, but other than stopping and walking very briefly to drink the water, I didn’t feel the need to take walk breaks on Sunday.

It was also fun to see some of my friends on the course.

I did end up coming in ahead of Mike, but he was less than two minutes behind me, so I will have to continue doing speed work and make sure I’m ready for next year.

As I’ve said before, I may not be able to qualify for races — like the Boston Marathon — based on time, but I am a fast clicker when it comes to getting into sought-after races online. Each year, my fast clicking skills have gotten me into this race, which for the past few years has opened registration on April 1. This year, I actually got in twice due to a glitch and was refunded the extra registration.

Learn more about the race here. It supports The Nature Conservancy.

Dogfish Head has a machine inside that takes your picture! Here I am trying it out.

Upon finishing the race, we were given stainless steel cups of water, which we could later refill with water and three beers. Mike and I were able to get our Fifer Orchards apple cider doughnuts, which did sell out.

I feel good about the pace I was able to run — I was happy to sneak in under 9-minute miles. While I don’t often do 8Ks, my pace seemed to be right on track: A faster pace than my most recent 10K and a slower pace than my most recent 5K. I ended up coming in 52nd of 231 people in the female 20-29 age group, which I’m also happy with because of the competitive times at this event.

Hopefully my fingers will be fast enough to get in next year!

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