You haven’t heard from me in a while but I’m back for my one big race of the season, excluding all the times I race across intersections at stop lights; (why? because I win every time.)
This would be my fifth year running the Fast and Furry 8K, the Boston of the local dog scene.
The weather was nice and cool this year, which was important because I was running with Dustin. Jessie managed to take herself out of the running game this winter by breaking her leg. I kept telling them running on four legs is way safer than two but they never listen, running around on their hind legs like a bunch of idiots. Running with Dustin brought heavy expectations, I could no longer blame my human for my performance. I set my 8k PR with Dustin back in 2015, that’s the year I ran 31:24 (6:18/mile).
Unfortunately, my training going into the race this year wasn’t my strongest. Winter was a long one, which meant a delayed start to my serious training season. Then, with Dustin training for a 100 mile race, all too often his runs were too long for me to come along. So 4 miles here, 8 miles there, but I never really got into a groove this spring. Thankfully it wasn’t hot on race day, which I REALLY haven’t gotten used to it, so maybe there was still a chance.
At the start, I had to get my head in the game. Dustin and I stayed off to the side so I could mentally rehearse the run and practice what would no doubt be my all too gracious award acceptance speech. As the nervous howls and yelps reached a fever pitch, there was the sound of the starting gun. Per my usual strategy, I dropped the hammer off the line with my cheetah-like two prong stride, immediately dropping to a sub-6 pace.
The weather was good this year, but for some reason I just couldn’t get into a groove. While Dustin was willing to put up with my erratic pacing, he did his best to guide me a little faster.
He even offered me water at every water stop thinking maybe I was just a bit parched, but alas, that wasn’t the problem. Hopefully it was the inconsistent training or maybe just an off day, but I worry that my age could be a factor. Despite my puppy like behavior, (like the always-charming face licks), I did turn nine this year. I should still have a lot of competitive years left in me though, so let’s see how summer goes before I talk about hanging up the stunt puppy leash.
Anyway, I kept up with the pack for the first four miles but hit the wall early in mile five. Even seeing other dogs pass me didn’t fire up my competitive juices. Fortunately for both of us, Dustin was keeping an ace up his sleeve, not wanting to play it too early though. As we entered the final quarter he offered up the one question that was sure to unleash my second wind:
The one thing that will without fail pull me from whatever I’m doing, or however I’m feeling, to begin a feverish search for Jessie!
Dustin might not have known, but I did- she was at the finish line and we needed to get there NOW! Must find Jessie!
So there we were, an embarrassing JV sprint to the finish. Catching one dog/human pair and pulling even with my friend Ellen and new friend Addie at the finish line.
I came in 4th place (for man/dog pair).
Congrats to my new friend Addie, who came in first for women with her owner Ellen.
Jessie’s sister also ran the race, so after I crossed the finish line and refueled, we circled back to cheer for her.
And look at this guy! Three lucky dogs!
I was pretty tired post-race, though I didn’t really need to be carried. Come on mom! How embarrassing.
Was it my strongest race? No. Did I have fun? Of course, who doesn’t love a well-organized race and a chance to mingle with friends.
It did leave me needing to make a decision for next year though. Do I continue running with Dustin or do I join team Jessie for her triumphant return next year for a shot at the podium? To be continued…