Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Race report: Woofin' It 5K 2014

"Are you up for a challenge?"

That was how Furry Friends' director greeted me at Saturday's Woofin' It 5K.

Last year's "borrowed" dog, Sam, had been bursting with energy, but Cory and I had survived. (Taking turns holding the leash helped.) So I laughed and said sure, bring it on.

Enter Rowan, a 6-year-old American Staffordshire terrier mix. As I took the leash of this ball of muscles, the shelter folks warned: "Just so you know, he's a bit of a puller ... "

And we were off! By the time we met up with Cory, who was pinning his bib on and stashing his belongings in the car, I'd already broken a sweat. This didn't bode well for my "costume."

It turns out that cheap eyeliner is NOT waterproof. Should've taken a picture before the race, I guess. Not pictured: Cory's awesome socks, with a cat saying "woof" and a dog saying "meow."
Because we showed up a bit late, we hadn't quite made it to the start line when the race began, but with Rowan towing me, we caught up, no problem.

After we crested the first hill, my legs already complaining about the previous day's 21 bike miles/3.1 run-walk miles, I happened to glance down at my shoe. The keyholder was gone.

CRAP. I handed Rowan off to Cory and fled down that hill, sweat pouring from every pore (oh hi humidity!), to find it at the very start of the race.

How many college grads does it take to secure car keys on a pair of shoes while a feisty dog itches to race? More than two, evidently.

The good news for me, I guess, was that doubling back helped tire Rowan out a bit. Don't get me wrong, that dog was ready to run, but after the first mile or so, I was able to maintain some semblance of form and not spend every other breath shouting fruitlessly "heel! heel!"

Still, Rowan was determined to save face in front of other dogs. He might slow to a trot when it was just Cory and I, but let another human-dog duo pass us, and he'd leap to action.

Or when he needed a break, 8 times out of 10, he would act like he was marking yet another plant. (Though I didn't look closely, I had a hunch that nothing was coming out from under that raised leg.)

On the other hand, he seemed determined to make Cory and I look like bad pet parents. The other race participants chuckled indulgently at our swerving, abrupt stopping/starting, and bathroom breaks; the couple sitting on their porch seemed less amused by Rowan's liquid present on their lawn.

All three of us were glad to see the finish line, I think, but it was a happy tired.

There sure wasn't a dull moment with Rowan at the helm ... though if Furry Friends has an even more energetic dog waiting for me next year, I might ask about hooking him/her up to my bike instead!

For the record: Even with our doubling back, I finished this 5K faster (42:11) than the Girls on the Run one the night before (somewhere around 46 minutes).

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