My German Shepherd, Tara, finished her first race this morning! I had planned to run the 10K with her, but ended up only running the 5K since she’s still recovering from her dental work on Thursday. The vet had ok’ed her to run as long as she seemed like she was up to it. Last night she was still moving a little slow so I made the decision not to do the 10K. This morning she was full of energy and seemed to need a run, but I opted to stick with my plan.
This was probably one of the most fun races I have ever done. There were over 100 dogs in attendance, and surprisingly, they were all really well-behaved (Tara included)! Most of the owners were really good about keeping their dogs with them and not letting them greet other dogs without permission. There were several other GSDs there, one who we knew from our agility class last fall. We saw one woman pushing a jogging stroller and running with a GSD and another big dog, wow! I had Tara on her Gentle Leader for the event – keeping the pressure off her collar tends to keep her calmer around other dogs. She was really well-behaved today and even greeted a few dogs belonging to my friends very nicely.
We all lined up at about 8:50 AM for the 9:00 AM start. I took Tara all the way to the back of the pack to give us both some space. I expected the crowd to break up pretty quickly as runners got into their paces. Well, starting a race with over 100 dogs was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. There is always a lot of adrenaline at the start of the race, and it’s always hard to fight that and get into my pace. With all those dogs, the energy at the start was probably twice as high as it is at a regular race of that size. In spite of that, there was really only one little barking dog – one of those mini aussies.
Tara was having none of being at the back of the pack, though and we moved through the ranks quickly. We had to run on the grass to get around the people and dogs, but Tara was a dog on a mission! One guy dressed as a superhero with his superhero dog were trying to sprint past us, but they passed a road sign and the guy went one way and his poor dog went the other way and they got completely wrapped around the pole. We made our way through the back of the pack into a comfortable place in the middle right before climbing our first hill. I had run this course from a different starting point last fall for a very small 5K so I was ready for it. It’s amazing how much easier it is to run it strongly with some company. Tara was still picking people and dogs off at this point, and we passed several more people on the downhill. Pretty soon we were at the home stretch and could see the vet school just ahead.
We finished in 28:26, which was my fastest 5K yet and much faster than the last time I ran this course (~2.5 minutes faster). I wish I had a photo to share, but all my friends who were there were either running it or working it and Curtis wasn’t home from a business trip quite yet.
We had a great time and it was so much fun to run a race the same way I train – with Tara! She ran right out in front of me just like always and never tried to “say hi” to anyone on the course, unlike many of the other dogs who were veering all over the place. She made me so proud today with how good she was with the other dogs and how well-behaved she was on the course. I can’t wait to do this race again next year!