Saturday morning, I woke up and was excited to head to the Peace 4 Paws 5K to benefit Better Days Animal League. I spent the morning taking the other two dogs for walks since I felt guilty they were not going. Unfortunately, the other two don't really do well in public settings like this - Kasey, our beagle, will not run (I've tried) and our lab mix, Jackson, will run but acts like a complete idiot around other dogs so it was not an option. After tiring those two out, I leashed up Hannah and took her for a quick walk to drain a little excess energy and soon my husband and I were making the quick drive to Shippensburg for the race. He surprised me by deciding to run this one as well.
We got to the local rail trail and waited around for start time. I tried to warm up a bit with Hannah to see if she could just run without being distracted by the other dogs and people. I switched from her Gentle Leader Easy Walk harnass to a regular harnass thinking the clip in the back might help avoid her tendancy to grab the leash and tug...I think this ended up being a mistake!
We lined up to run and I realized that there were very few people running. Looks like most people showed up for the walk, which is understandable, but I expected more runners! I think the race did a little disservice to itself because registration was pretty much unavailable for a long time and well, I guess real runners probably didn't want to show up to dodge people, dogs and leashes. Oh, well.
We situated ourselves in the middle of the group and pretty soon we were off...and that's when things started to get exciting. As soon as 'Go' was yelled and people started running, Hannah pretty much felt like she needed to catch everyone in front of her, especially other dogs. I was braking and pulling her back big time to avoid tumbling down on the trail and this is where the other harnass would have helped. My matching bandana lasted about 30 seconds before it fell off my head.
After the first mile, it started getting a little better. We passed 2 people and a pit bull and that seemed to calm her a bit to get away from the group. Soon, we caught up to a beagle/jack russell mix and a border collie mix. I wanted to get around them, more just to get Hannah running right beside me to stop pulling.
Next, we had another distraction. Since it was an out-and-back course, the leaders started heading back. The fit guy and the boxer were first among the runners with the dogs a girl with a hound mix was second. That was it other than the two who were still in front of me (at least of the runners with dogs). After the turn and the cluster of people still going to the turn around, I made my way past the beagle mix and the collie mix and finally started to get a little relief. Hannah started to run normal since we didn't have anyone directly around us. Pretty soon, we were back through the finish! 5K, too short!
I really wanted to catch some of the other people on the run, but I just didn't have enough time once Hannah started to get in her running groove. I ended up 3rd in my age group and pretty sure we were third runner/dog team overall with a time of 26:41, which is pretty much the slowest 5K ever other than the first one I ran!
It was a good day, fun, for a good cause and my husband finished the 5K with his best time ever! And, the guy with the little beagle/jack russell mix? Turns out, he adopted her from the shelter where I sometimes volunteer. And, I had actually taken her to the PetSmart adoption days back in November - with Hannah! It was great to see she got a really good home and she's a fit little thing, doing 5 miles with her owner 4 times a week!
I hope they continue the event and it can grow and I'll be working on my running partner and how she deals with the distractions!! My right arm was super sore on Sunday and is still sore today!