Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dog Run Dog

Today Jonah and I both ran our first road race (5k), and we did great!  I've been having some foot pain and still have knee pain from my ACL surgery sometimes, so I wasn't able to get out and run as much recently as I would like.  Nonetheless, it was a perfect day for a race and everything went off nicely.  We got there nice and early to register and we had time to relax before the race.  Molly (my parents' dog) was also there and she was being really nervous and slightly aggressive.  That was a little stressful to be around, but Jonah was calm and pretty relaxed.  Once it came time to start the race, they started all the dogless runners first, waited a few minutes, and then sent off all the dogs with their humans.  There were probably about 100 human runners and around 75 dogs.  It was quite the pack at the beginning.  When we were waiting at the start line, dogs around us were growling, barking, whining, shaking, jumping, pulling and pretty much anything else you can think of.  Jonah jumped up a time or two until I crouched down to his level, and then he was happy as long as I was near him.  When they said go, it was a crazy mass of legs, but after a minute or two things shifted out into an order.

Jonah was energetic and happy to be running the whole way.  He sometimes runs next to me but today he was out in front the whole time.  The course started on quiet back roads past farms and fields and it was quite pretty, although I can't say I spent too much time looking at the scenery.  I didn't have a very good sense of what was ahead of us on the course, so I kept our pace moderate.  It was clear very early on that there were hills, so I wanted to make sure we didn't run out of steam.  It turned out I was good running up hills but I was more cautious down hill (Jonah always wanted to go faster no matter what the terrain was doing).  Mile one went well, and the second mile seemed quite short.  After the second mile marker I was feeling like we could pick up the pace a little bit, but again I didn't know what was in store, and I kept hoping I'd have some way of knowing where the end would be so I could have a good sense of how much faster we could go.  We got onto a busier street and Jonah started pulling ahead whenever a car would pass, but finally we made the turn onto the final street, with about a quarter mile to go.  We picked things up and passed 5 people in that last road stretch.  Then there were about 100 yards to the finish line, and we passed three more in that stretch.  Jonah was so happy and excited, and I was pleased with how things were gone.  I'd had no pain at all, and that was a huge success in itself.

We came in just over 23 minutes, which was even a little better than I had been expecting.  Jonah cooled off quickly and then we got to wait for the rest of the family.  Dad (without dog) came in just over 30 minutes, which was a great success for him given the trouble his knees have been giving him.  He was slow and steady but rain the whole way.  Mom and Molly walked the 5k loop but they were far from the last people to come through the finish line.  Given Molly's social problems, it was a great accomplishment for them, too!  We were about to head home when they were starting the awards ceremony when I noticed that one of the people I had passed in the last 100 yards was the third best woman in the 5k women-with-dog division.  We were second!  I know in the running world a 23 minute 5k is nothing special, but we were excited to be recognized, anyway.  What fun!

Jonah is asleep right now--he's had quite a weekend (yesterday we went on a 7 mile hike, too)!

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