I predicted our time would be around eleven minutes, and we crossed the line at 10:58 in first place. It’s good to be running again (the achillecalfnkle was rusty, but fine. We’ll see how slow goes tomorrow). Unfortunately, it turns out races are not Sunny’s cup of tea. Not that she drinks tea, of course. Although the dog bowl water is kind of like tea, especially after Tito (who won his weight division with Iris along for the ride!) gets his muddy beard in it.
Anyway, she was very frightened of the large group of people. Tito loved every minute of it, but not Sunny. I tried to get her to relax with a little warm up run, but she made it very clear she wanted to get back in the car. All I could do was hope she would relax and enjoy herself once she started running. She wasn’t panicking or anything, just displeased with the goings-on.
It probably didn’t help that I was very nervous. Maybe a race isn’t the best scenario for a first run after a two week hiatus. I wasn’t worried about the distance or effort, I just wanted to finish with my calf adequately attached. Also if something bad were to happen, I wasn’t looking forward to experiencing it so publicly. But I got over it, nothing happened, and really this post is about Sunny.
Not only was I trying to calm her down, I was really hoping she would poop. Oh, sorry, forgot to warn you about frank dog talk. If you don’t like it, well, I guess I apologize from the depths of my very being. Anyway, our regular (ha ha) morning runs (ha ha ha) feature a potty stop somewhere in the middle. Running with a filled poop bag is an excellent exercise for training yourself to run smoothly. The exercise is called Running With Poop Bag!!™, appropriately enough. Poop bag empty, I feared she might decide to go enroute. That fear would come to fruition.
We made our way to the front after wishing Tito and Iris good luck. Once there, we got a good view of the largest dalmatian costume I’ve ever seen walking our way. Inside was my boss, presumably busy not reading a book. “Hey man, good luck. How about a quick arm wrestle before you get started?”Photo by The Greensboro Running Club.
If you look closely, you can see Tito keeping his legs relaxed in the background.
After the usual formalities and an “On Your Mark… Go,” we went. The initial chaotic surge of dog and human sorted itself out pretty quickly, with Sunny in the lead. It helped that we started heading towards our parked car – Sunny figured that’s where we were going and thought it was a great idea to get there fast. Then we turned away from the lot. Well, I turned. Sunny tried to dictate otherwise.
“Sorry, Sun Bun. We’re going thisaway.”
She glumly accepted that reality and trudged up the hill. She kept folding herself in half, looking back, fixating on the chorus of flinging feet behind us. Running that way made her utilize an odd gallop form I hadn’t seen before this side of crustacean. My fear list got longer: would she overheat? would she trip me? Then she started acting like an anchor. I looked back to see if the struggling was physically or emotionally based. Instead I was greeted with the sight of little turd nuggets flying in the air, like a gross wake from a furry motorboat. I wasn’t sure what to do; should I stop? I slowed down, but she was finished. She’s very talented.
Still, I felt ashamed to not pick up after my dog, and guilty for making her run during what is usually a squatting still experience. Poor Sun Beast.
Load lightened, she was doing a better job of keeping up, but was still obsessed with what was going on behind us. To be honest, I was a little curious myself. The sound of shoes and lungs were getting closer. Who was catching us? The weimereiner leading Mind-Gamingly Low-Profile Guy? Or was it that water dog with a Track Team Kid? No! It was the black lab with College Track Girl! They passed us going down a steep hill. The Sun Beast, focus to the front, went from from spazzy crab run to gentle trot, allowing her to pant the heat out.
We stuck with them, but I didn’t think we were going to pass. Sunny was struggling a bit, and oh yeah I was a little tired myself. As I was happily coming to terms with a second place finish, Sunny perked up. We were cresting a little hill, and she saw the finish, which just so happened to be at the parking lot. The parking lot with the car Sunny desperately wanted to return to. So we flew, passing a valiantly kicking black lab and College Track Girl duo. Sunny would not be denied the Blue Hyundai of Paradise.
Back home, we took a commemorative victory photo.
I think this might be Sunny’s only race, unless she gets more comfortable in environments with lots of people. That’s okay, though. We have a great running life together, making the sun rise each morning by spinning the globe with our feet. The quiet solitude is more her cup of Tito Tea.
Congrats to my favorite running buddy!
PS The charity organizing this event, Canine Companions, provides highly trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities. They should be high on every charity giver’s recipient list.