Wednesday, March 19, 2008

03/15/08: Dash Down Greenville 5K

The Dash Down Greenville flies under the radar as a major Dallas race; it has no prestige despite drawing somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 participants (2,155 chips recorded), being part of the Crosson Dannis racing series, and existing for about ten years now. Nobody I know considers it a must-do race the way they do the Dallas Half, White Rock, or the Turkey Trot. This is probably due to two reasons: must-do races tend to be later in the year and they also tend to be longer than a 5K. In addition, the Dash Down Greenville is really overshadowed by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that takes place soon afterwards and which draws maybe five times as many people.

I dashed down Greenville for the second year in a row and the fourth time ever; my time this year (23:20) was my second-fastest ever for this race and over a minute slower than last year but also my fastest 5K thus far this year by about a minute and a half. So I can spend this week's runs obsessing over whether this particular cup is half-empty or half-full. The weather this morning was reasonable for running – 60ish in both temperature and humidity with a noticeable wind out of the northwest. The wind was strong enough, and cooling enough, that I went with a long-sleeved t-shirt – last year’s Dallas Half Marathon shirt, as a matter of fact.

It’s stupid to let organizational inefficiencies bother you in a race this size, so I guess I was stupid this morning. I didn’t like the way they did the chip dispersal, to say nothing of the fact that I hate having to pick up my chip the morning of the race rather than with the rest of my packet. They had the signs showing what chips were available in different sections of the tables hanging from the edge of the tables which meant that when the crowd got more than two-deep they were hidden from view. Had they attached the signs to the fence behind the tables, they would have been much more useful. Also, a few minutes before the scheduled race start, after virtually everybody was lined up, they decided to let a dozen or two vehicles, including one big honking dumptruck, through, which meant we all had to clear a lane for them. It wasn’t an ideal situation for a claustrophobe to be in.

The course remains the same: non-hilly (which doesn’t necessarily mean flat, just gradual, almost unnoticeable inclines) down Greenville, east on Milton, south on Northway (guess – anonymous side street), east on University, and then north on Skillman to the kiddie rollercoaster that is Southwestern Boulevard. I wish they ran this course in the opposite direction – I’d prefer having the hills early in the race – but I guess this way they don’t have to hold traffic up on Lover’s Lane for nearly as long.

After the race I used my free-beer card to get my kicks from a Route 66 amber. I drank the beer and a bottle of water, checked the posted results (256 out of 2155 overall, 23 out of 85 in my age group), and then went to prep up for some serious parade watching.