As I headed toward the finish line of the Dogfish Dash 8K on Sunday, Sept. 30, I saw last year’s time approaching on the clock. I picked up the pace and was able to cross the line of the 8K course 11 seconds faster than the previous year.
My race was also much more consistently-paced this year. Last year, my miles ranged from 8:27 to 10:11. This year, I started and ended around a 9-minute pace and ran the middle miles in 9:31, 9:31 and 9:40.
My average pace of 9:21 on my watch also turned out to be faster than any of the races I’ve run in the past couple months, which included two 5Ks.
This was my sixth year in a row running the Dogfish Dash, put on by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. It was the fourth year the distance was an 8K. Prior to that, the race offered 5K and 10K distances. My boyfriend, Mike, doesn’t race very often, but this is one race that we always do together. We run our own paces, but we enjoy the after-party together after our friendly competition (which I won).
The race usually sells out in minutes in April, but this year, it was open for longer. I was on my computer ready to sign up right when registration opened, and although I initially thought there was a problem, I was able to register.
The race starts and finishes at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Delaware. The course goes into the town of Milton — out the brewery’s truck entrance, through part of a neighborhood, around some fields and then through the town’s downtown area.
Once I started the race, I noticed some pain in my shins. It wasn’t anything too bad, but it was a little scary, given that I had a marathon coming up the following weekend. Although I tried to push it during the race, I also kept thinking about the fact that I was running a marathon the next weekend.
Clearly, I worked hard — the pace was faster than recent races and I was also in heart rate Zone 5 for 76 percent of the run — but the following week’s race was weighing on my mind.
I’d been training for a hilly marathon, but I felt like I noticed the hills more than ever at the Dogfish Dash. My watch logged 194 feet of elevation gain and 190 feet of elevation loss.
I was able to keep up pretty consistent splits. I started and ended faster, and Mile 2 and 3 actually both came in at 9:31. Although not as hot and humid as some of the other races I’d run recently, it was warm, and I stopped at each of the three water stops. Other than walking at those points, I didn’t need to walk at any other points of the race.
I’m glad I was able to pick it up at the end and just barely beat my time from last year, which was 46:40. I haven’t set a personal record since 2014, unless you count my first and only 50K time in 2017, which is a PR because it’s my only attempt at the distance. Although this wasn’t an 8K PR, it was still nice to come in ahead of last year’s time.
After the race, runners got a reusable water bottle and could also get cans of beer. I’m not really a fan of sours, so I skipped the SeaQuench and instead got a Namaste White. My next one was a Flesh & Blood, and, since they were cans, I brought home a Namaste White as well.
The race entry also came with a nice long-sleeved shirt, drawstring bag and little giveaway items. We usually get a stainless steel pint glass, but we didn’t this year, since the beer was served in cans. I like the stainless steel pint glasses, but I do think the lines moved more quickly with runners getting cans instead of having pints poured.
Mike also bought us some delicious apple cider doughnuts from Fifer Orchards, which was set up on-site.
The Eastern Shore Running Club had a good amount of members run this race and some of us got together for a photo beforehand.
I really enjoyed this race, as always, and I plan to be back for year No. 7 in 2019!
Mile 1: 9:02
Mile 2: 9:31
Mile 3: 9:31
Mile 4: 9:40
Last part (0.97): 8:46 (9:00 pace)
Total: 46:31/9:21 pace on watch.
Watch logged 4.98 miles; 8K is 4.97 miles.
Official time: 46:29.