Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Race rears its head

Let's talk about race -- no, not that practical joke nature played on human beans, I mean the real sense of race -- running!

I had promised to give reports on a few races from this past summer...Running Lungs 5K and Elkhorn 50K.  Here is the Running Lungs report. Elkhorn was successful, but that story will wait.

Running Lungs: back in June, I highlighted this race, a fundraiser put on by my friend Linda Wortman to raise funds for lung cancer research.  My report... on race day, Julie, Chaos and I got up early.  As is my SOP before a 5K, I stretched and drank black coffee and water -- consuming nothing nothing else -- and did a short warmup run with Chaos.  The three of us then drove into Bozeman to the race start; the 10K start was 15 minutes before the 5K, and we arrived in plenty of time to watch it.  I said hi to Linda and her husband Jerry, who was working like a maniac behind the scenes to help make everything go smoothly.  We watched the 10K start, and then, with the 5K start imminent, I took Chaos back to the car.  There's no way to run an all-out 5K with Chaos roped to my waist.  After locking Chaos in the car (she has a comfortable bed and water, and it was cool day, windows open, I started back to the finish line.  And then I heard it -- a plaintive, longing, cry: "how can you be doing this?  Why am I left out."  I turned and looked, and...well, good question.  So Chaos and I roped up and returned to the starting line.

"Bang" went the starting gun... OK, so it wasn't a gun, it was more of a starting shout, but we started out.  Chaos and I stayed back so as not to interfere with people trying to run fast, and tended to run to the side off the trail.  Julie was a bit behind us.  We had a fair number of people ahead of us, but most of the fast runners had entered the 10K, so as the field sorted out Chaos and I found ourselves in the upper 50% (certainly not front of the pack, though).  As we ran, we began picking off the occasional runner and slowly moving through the pack, and the race was starting to look like a race for us.

Chaos absolutely loves running with a group, and this isn't the first race we have run together.  Chaos also loves meeting new dogs, and the second and third miles of Running Lungs goes along Bozeman's Peet's Hill trail, where dogs off leash are welcome.  Hence our run included a few stops to meet with the occasional dog...not my choice, but rope teams move as a team.  I think this added a bit to our overall time.

Out finish through Lindley Park was really strong.  Chaos realized we were near the finish and took off.  When she stops dawdling with smelling this and that, greeting human and canine passersby, etc., and sets herself to it, she's extremely fast.  We covered the last quarter mile at breakneck speed.

Results?  Well, I was #1 in my age group.  Chaos was #1 dog (and yes, there were others).  Julie was a ways behind us, but she finished #1 in her age group.  Three victories!  More importantly, a successful fundraiser and great fun.

The field of runners was interesting.  There were a some elite runners, including Nikki Kimball, a world class ultra runner.  We spent a good bit of time talking with Nikki and her dog (who did not run) post race.  But there was also a substantial turnout from people who rarely if ever race, who were there just because of the cause, to help raise funds.  The post-race festivities were fun, and it was a very successful endeavor all around.  Julie, Chaos, and I look forward to next year's run.

Linda Wortman

Me, Linda, Julie, and Chaos

Linda and Jerry

Top Dog!

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