A Simple Running Log

September 26, 2016

Dogfish Dash 8K recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 10:00 am

To paraphrase Emil Zapotek: “If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run the Dogfish Dash 8K with a lunatic dog.”

Actually, Zapotek, the 1952 Olympic gold medalist in the 5K, 10K and marathon, said you should run the marathon to really experience something, but I’m pretty sure he’d agree with my version of his quote if he’d had a weimaraner running buddy.

Anyway, I’ll back up to Saturday first. I had these grand plans to run the 19-mile long run on the schedule. Well, that didn’t happen. We had a certain time we needed to leave the house for my uncle’s birthday party that afternoon, and I’d already slept in too late for 19 miles by the time I woke up, so I was thinking I’d just do the 14.5-mile loop. Then I really took my time eating breakfast and getting dressed, so much so I figured I better just cut it down to the 10.5-mile loop.

And then I finally left the house and started running, and holy crap I was NOT in the mood for running! I felt so out of breath and lead-legged. I let myself cut the run all the way down to the 7.3-mile loop, and it felt awful every step of the way, to the point I was starting to wonder if I’d even be able to drag myself through the 8K the next morning in a respectable time. Love those confidence-shattering runs, especially the day before a race!

When I got home, I checked the weather — 96 percent humidity. OK, that’s why it was so hard to breathe. Still though, that’s pretty typical for around here. I should be used to that.

Clark went for his own run, and then we went to the Hyatt for my uncle’s birthday party. They’d rented this pavilion on the end of a pier, which was pretty nice, but Saturday was gray and breezy, and it was a little chilly out there on the water. But the food was good, the beer was free and it was fun to catch up with my mom’s side of the family, who we don’t get to see as much since they don’t all live within a mile of my dad, like his side of the family.

From Cambridge, Clark and I went straight to Milton, to the brewery, where we picked up our race packets, as well as those of my brother and Clark’s parents. Since we were there, we had to have a couple beers, of course. We got dinner at Po’ Boys Fresh Catch in Milton, where I had shrimp and andouille sausage with penne pasta and some beignets for dessert. Nothing like Cafe Du Monde’s, but not bad.

We went home and were in bed at a reasonable time.

The race Sunday didn’t start until 9:30 a.m., so we didn’t have to get up too early. We were on the road before 8, and in Milton around 8:30.

We wound up having to park behind an elementary school, about a half-mile walk from the race site. As soon as we got there, I went to meet Dave near the start line to give him his race packet. When I got to him, he said they’d been announcing the race start had been moved up to 9. WTF! I still had to go back to my car, take off my sweatshirt and get my running hat. I was pretty sure he’d misheard something, because they can’t just move up the race start time a half-hour like that, but there was that tiny possibility that maybe he was right, so I sprinted back to the car and then back to the start area.

I got back the second time at 8:59. Yeah, no one was in the starting corral yet haha. Oh well. I counted the sprint to the car and back as my and Pepper’s warm up mile. It dawned on me I’d forgotten to grab the plastic bag I meant to take in case Pepper pooped on the run, but I didn’t feel like going back a second time, so I just crossed my fingers he wouldn’t.

I really had to pee, but the port-o-potty lines were massive, so I didn’t take care of that either.

Around 9:15, they asked us to start lining up. Dave and I (with Pepper, of course) didn’t want to get too close to the front, but we wound up farther back than we should’ve been. I always do that. Clark started even farther back than we did.

At least the weather was perfect, even that late in the morning. It was a clear, sunny day, a little breezy but not bad, cool temperatures and, best of all, decent humidity.

I keep forgetting to explain why I had Pepper. Originally, Clark’s mom was going to walk the race with him. But when Clark called her Saturday to see if she was still planning on that, they decided he probably wouldn’t like walking that far, and would be pulling on the leash the whole way. So I volunteered to run with him, since I run with him several days a week anyway.

It was so crowded in that starting pack! I was getting a little nervous. I was all the way on the left edge, so at least Pepper wouldn’t have to start in the middle of that pack of people, but still. There were a lot of feet in very close quarters.

We got the starting gun (which Pepper hated haha) and we were off!


Crowd taking off.

The race course this year was exactly the same, just running in the opposite direction, which afterwards everyone agreed was the better way to run it.

The first mile was a little slow as we tried to get up to speed, get by the slower runners in front of us and let the faster ones behind us go. Pepper was doing a pretty good job staying off people’s feet, but several times he’d just run up behind someone, like he was waiting for them to get out of his way, and I’d have to direct him around them haha.

Near the end of that first mile, Pepper ran up next to and startled this woman so bad she gasped out loud — I think she thought he was going to slam right into her legs — so I apologized to her.

Soon we passed the first mile marker, a large sandwich board on the side of the road that also scared Pepper haha. We’d run that in 7:40.

At this point, we’d started to get some room for running, and we were moving through the pack easier. Halfway through that mile though, Pepper suddenly came to a stop on the side of the road. Oh no! No no no — it was too late. He’d already pinched off a turd haha. Another runner yelled “Pit stop!” as he sailed by. Luckily, Pepper had found some weeds near a stream, instead of someone’s front yard, so I didn’t feel as bad about not being able to clean it up. I still wished I’d remembered one of those bags.

It was also somewhere in this mile we crossed a little foot bridge, that had a post on either end to keep people from driving vehicles across it. Pepper went to the right of it, so I did too. But then he made a U-turn, went back by me and around the post on the left, so his leash was wrapped around it. I was trying to get the leash unwrapped while runners streamed by, saying “Sorry! Sorry!” to every one of them. I don’t know how no one got clotheslined by that damn leash!

Finally, the second mile ended in 7:52.

After that, Pepper seemed to settle down. Every now and then he’d try to take a wrong turn, or freak out about a traffic cone/mile marker/volunteer at a water stop, but for the most part we were just running.

Little kids along the course LOVED Pepper. “Look, there’s a DOGGY running!” Other dogs who spotted him also went nuts, but in a loud barking way. Pepper ignored every one of them. He knew they were just jealous haha.

Anyway, the third mile sped up to 7:27, and we hit the fourth one in 7:13, our fastest mile of the day.

Right after the fourth mile marker, we hit the only substantial uphill of the course. I was so winded when we finally got to the top of that thing!

This part of the course was just a long straightaway. We were supposed to stay to the right of the traffic cones set up down the middle of the street, but Pepper was starting to lose interest. Several times he nearly ran smack into one. I was just trying to keep him out of everyone else’s way at this point.

Then we made a turn onto a short bike path — the same one last year that had been at the beginning of the race, and someone had run into a sign next to it while trying to pass people. Some guy near me said “How much farther?” I glanced down at my watch, which was at exactly 4.47, and told him it was a half-mile. “We still have THAT FAR?? NOOOO!”

A couple more quick turns and we were back at the brewery, and therefore nearly to the finish line. The crowds lining the course were much thicker here, there was loud music playing and as we made the final turn to hit the homestretch, Pepper looked up and saw the big inflatable finish line arch. He hates those things!


This picture was taken far enough away from the line that it didn’t capture the two times Pepper came to a complete stop in front of me — because the arch was freaking him out — and I kneed him in the ribs. Sorry, Pep!

We didn’t exactly sprint across the line. Pepper really didn’t want to cross it at all haha. But I finally managed to drag him across it, and we finished in 37:13.

There were several race photographers set up right there as we came to the line. I can’t wait to see what their shots look like.

That time landed me 14th of 436 in the F 30-39 age group, 33rd of 1,054 women and 162nd of 2,115 total runners. And Pepper was definitely top dog!

As soon as we finished, we were all given a Kleen Kanteen tumbler with this year’s race logo on it, full of water. I gave a lot of my water to Pep. Then we could get the tumbler filled three times with Namaste, Festina Peche or 60 Minute IPA.

I found Dave, who’d beaten me, of course. He finished in 35:43, so it wasn’t as big a margin of victory this year. And he didn’t have a dog with him.

We saw Clark run by on his way to finishing in 41:02.

The rest of the morning was spent enjoying our free beers (I had three tumblers full of Namaste) and discussing the race. We were joined by Clark’s parents, as well as TK, her mom, her sister and her sister’s fiance. We were also joined by a lot of people who wanted to pet Pepper, of course, many of whom had seen him running in the race and were impressed by how “well-behaved” he was haha.

And that was this year’s Dogfish Dash. I love this race!

Clark and I went to Lewes to get lunch. Pepper was worn out, and napped at our feet the whole time we were eating.


Then we took him to Dogfish Head for a couple more beers (since Punkin Ale wasn’t one of the free ones after the race) and Arena’s Deli for dinner, and then we finally came home.

Today, I’m taking Pepper for a short easy run after I get some work done, and tonight, we’re going back to the Dogfish Head brewery for the third consecutive day, this time for the annual Mug Club members party.

Also, while I was sorta-running Saturday morning, I decided I’m doing the Baltimore Marathon as a training run again this year, since I’m doing such a bad job finishing long runs on my own, so I just signed up for that too.

Also influencing the decision to run it is the long-sleeved Under Armour race shirt (with thumbholes this year!) and the really cool medal. Normally I don’t care much about medals, but this one is pretty unique:


It’s a blue crab that folds open! Can’t wait to put that in my shoebox haha.



  1. That’s a much cooler medal that what Baltimore gave out last year.

    I kinda love running with my dog and I kinda don’t like it either. I love it when she’s well-behaved and really into it. I don’t like it when she’s not into it and/or wants to bark and be a nuisance to other runners. The thing is, I never know which side will come out.

    Comment by afastpacedlife — September 26, 2016 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

    • Very true! Pepper usually loves running once he gets going, but I think there were too many distractions yesterday — that was by far the biggest crowd he’s ever run with. I only had to apologize to about a dozen runners out of 2100+ though, so I guess that’s good!

      Comment by aschmid3 — September 26, 2016 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

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