Sunday, December 18, 2005

Barking Thru the Snow, Rudolph Ramble 5k

This was a spur of the moment thing, on Thurs. a coworker told me dogs were not only allowed at this race but they were having special awards for the first 5 dogs across the finish line. Not that I felt there was much hope for that, but you never know. I'd just set a goal for myself for less than 29 minutes at a doggie 5k next April so I thought it would be fun to see what my time would be today and how much I could improve by April. Plus I love any opportunity to race with Lola.

It was 9 degrees and cloudy/gloomy when I left the house, how stupid am I to trek all the way to Denver (45 minutes or so) so I can run on snow covered, icy streets in air that it hurts to breathe? On the other hand, what else have I got to do? Go to the mall? Uh, no thanks. I nearly got into it in the overcrowded yuppie whole foods megagrocery store yesterday with some arrogant yuppie jackass, what chance would I have for civility at a mall? It's gift certificates and shopping online for me I'm afraid.

My coworker showed up for the race with her little Jack Russell Terrier Ernie and another coworker's dog Max, a Golden Retriever she was dogsitting. Her friend showed up with a lovely black retriever mix so it was doggie chaos heading to the startline as Ernie's kind of cranky and Max was freaked out since he clearly doesn't get out of the house much. I was particularly proud of Lola, who can get cranky with certain dogs in her face but she did great, waiting patiently for me while I signed up & got my number/chip.

It was freezing, probably around 12-14 degrees, so I was VERY happy when the gun went off. Since I had a dog and still consider myself in recovery mode from my car crash injuries, I lined up at the very back but quickly found myself getting hauled by Lola towards the front. After a few minutes Lola started limping on 3 feet and I had to stop to wipe the salt off her paws, poor girl. After that I tried to keep her in the snow to the side of the road when there seemed to be salt on the road but it was a little hard since she's got a mind of her own. Almost the entire course was icy & snowpacked so I had to watch my footing. At one point Lola looked like she'd spotted a squirrel and I thought I was done for. If she took off after it I'd have no traction and go skijoring across the road/ice right behind her into the trees. Luckily it was a false alarm and we stayed the course.

Most of the race was a blur, it was cold, I was breathing hard and Lola was pulling me along like she had some important business to attend to and I was holding her back. With the finish line in sight, Lola came up limping with salt in her paw again and when I stopped to wipe it off 2 women and a pack of men that I'd passed a few minutes back repassed me. THEN Lola decides it's time to make snow angel puppies and lies on her back rolling in the snow. Normally I think it's very cute but not with the finish line in sight, especially when it looks like I'm going to make the time goal I set for April! I ended up crossing the finish line in 28:22 by my watch (28:32 official race time but I'd started at the back) and they announced 'Here comes another doggie winner!' and handed me a beautiful gift basket filled with fancy gourmet dog treats. We were one of the top 5 dogs! We weren't 5th either since a dog right behind up got announced for a prize too. It's not a great time or a PR but considering the icy conditions and the fact that I've been doing about 9 miles max. of running a week I was thrilled. I'm a little sore in the injured areas but nothing too terrible and it sure felt good to 'race' again.

In the end I was 2/11 for my age group, 12/44 overall women and 34/96 overall (there was a walking division scored seperately). They only gave awards to the top 10 women/men runners overall so no hardware and the 2 women that passed me toward the end during Lola's roll around put us out of the money (I was 15 secs. off 10th place) but that's o.k. We had a great time despite the cold, Lola was so well behaved and got herself some biscuitware, and it looks like I need a new goal for April.

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