I heard about the 2014 Mustache Dache Seattle from Oiselle teammate Sarah, who pulled together a group to run it last Saturday, November 8, 2014. The Mustache Dache is a mustache-themed series of 5K races taking place during November and raising awareness of and benefiting prostate and testicular cancer research.
I signed up for the race because Movember is a worthy cause, it looked like a fun race (even though I’m not usually a fan of 5Ks), and it was another opportunity to meet-up with my teammates. I almost DNS’ed because my heel was a little tender in the couple of weeks leading up to the race, but my heel symptoms miraculously resolved about 24 hours before the race. So I decided to go for it.
With a late start time of 10:00 a.m. (yesssss!), I woke up at 8:00 a.m. and had plenty of time to don my singlet, gas up, eat half of a PowerBar, and drive up to Seattle’s Magnuson Park, the site of the race. Due to fear of total mortification from being spotted while wearing a fake mustache, I waited until arriving at the park to draw my mustache with some waterproof eyeliner. Once I was done creating magic on my upper lip, I exited my car and walked a short distance to where the action was happening. I was surprised to see how many participants showed up for the race. I had expected something south of 700, but there were over 1,300 runners and walkers all geared up in their mustaches and ready to go.
Because I don’t live in Seattle, I hadn’t been able to pick up my bib prior to race day. Normally this means facing a headache on race morning, or it’s just flat impossible to pick it up the day-of, but the folks at the Mustache Dache had a very well-organized system and the line was short. I don’t normally check gear, either, but because it was chilly that morning and I knew I would want a cozy sweatshirt to hang out in post-race, I checked a small bag. Fortunately, the gear check was also organized and efficient. Easy breezy!
Marilyn and I had planned to meet up before the race and we easily found each other in the repurposed airplane hangar housing the packet pickup, gear check, beer garden, and vendor booths. It was nice having shelter to stand in before the race because of the cooler temp. There were also plenty of porta-potties, so lines and waits were short. Thanks, Mustache Dache!
When 10:00 a.m. rolled around, Marilyn and I made our way from the hangar to the start, where we found Sarah and some other teammates, including my friend Liz and new-to-me teammates Sarah B., Jessica, Portia, and Jennifer. Marilyn and I planned on running slower than that crew so after saying our “hellos” we moved back deeper into the crowd and farther from the start-line. Right before the race started, Marilyn told me she planned on running 9:00 minute miles. I also planned to run slower than my usual 5K pace (which hovers around 7:30/mile) but I didn’t for one second believe Marilyn was actually going to run at her intended pace.
10:00 arrived and we were off. My ankle felt very tight and I wondered if I had made a huge mistake running that morning. The course started with a fairly tight left turn before we straightened out and ran along a road that circled the large, lake-side park. As we ran along that relatively short straightaway, my ankle had loosened. I felt energized and decided to pick up the pace a bit. I started running faster and Marilyn kept up.
I decided at that point that I would just run by feel, which I have never done in a 5K. I consulted my Garmin at most 5 times during the entire race. Compare that to previous 5Ks, when I probably checked it at least 5 times per mile.
At this point I knew Marilyn was behind me but I didn’t know where. The course made another left and headed east towards Lake Washington and then made another left to run parallel to the shore. The road turned into a path that was paved and had some large mud puddles in spots. The course was pretty flat with only a few small rises. I still felt strong as we passed the first mile marker and then the second (if one existed, that is—I just knew I did when my Garmin vibrated to signal the passage of another mile). The course wound back away from the lakeside into a wooded area and along and through playing fields, where soccer games were taking place.
When I had reached the point in the race where I could see the finish area, a stray ball was kicked out from a soccer game into my path. Being the poor sport I am, I didn’t stop to kick the ball back and kept on running. Sorry, soccer players.
The only frustrating thing about the course was that there was a small out-and-back for the last .1 of the course. I saw Marilyn’s husband, Travis, at the Mile 3 marker and he told me the bad news. Ugh. I tried to muster that last bit of energy and started to feel a little nauseated (fun!) but after I made the final turn I tried to kick at the end and was surprised to see the finish clock, which showed I had run the race in less than 23 minutes.
Marilyn came in shortly after me, meaning she had been running with me the whole time. I am so oblivious to certain things when I race. If I’d known she was right behind me, I would have situated myself so we were running side-by-side. Oh well, next time.
According to my Garmin, I ran only 2.98 miles, with an average pace of 7:34. I did run the tangents of the course, but… that’s a significant discrepancy. According to the Mustache Dache, I ran 3.1 miles in 22:25, for an average pace of 7:14/mile–a PR of almost one minute. I’ll take it, I guess!
After crossing the finish line, we accepted our medals and then met up with Liz (read more about her awesome race here), Sarah B, Jennifer, and the other speedies from Oiselle who had finished before us. I then took a short cool-down with Liz before going back to the hangar for some post-race treats, including chocolate milk (score!) and a free can of Modelo beer.
The swag from the race is pretty great compared to many half marathons, and really great for a 5K. In addition to the fun and functional bottle-opener medal, the t-shirt is actually cute. Oh–and even better, the race photos are free! Free! That hardly ever happens. (Thanks, Woodinville Bicycle.)
I had a blast running the Mustache Dache and plan to run it again—next time, with my kids. This was the first time I actually enjoyed participating in a 5K. The next time I run one (which will be soon, on Thanksgiving Day), I will also try to run by feel and not fret about my pace. I think that was one of the main reasons why I didn’t crap out after the first mile, which is my usual MO with 5Ks.
Flat (fast) course, interesting views, but some narrow spots and opportunities for interference on the course, and the course is short. Oh–and the race’s 5K distance isn’t long enough for me to get a runner’s high.
Easy access and parking, efficient packet pick-up and gear check, and ample ports-potties. No corrals, but no need to for race of this size. Only criticism: The post-race water isn’t located in the finish area.
Why the 2 different grades? This race gets a B for swag compared to other races with swag, like half and full marathons, which offer tech shirts and not the cotton t-shirt given in this race. This race gets an A for 5Ks and other short courses because of the medal (which I’ve never received in any race shorter than a half) and the attractive t-shirt design.
I’ve never participated in a 5K that’s as well organized and presented as the Mustache Dache. It’s also the funnest race I’ve run in a long, long time. I will definitely run it again.
Have you run a Mustache Dache race? Which city? What was your experience? Have you run any other novelty-themed races (e.g., color or foam runs)?