A few days ago we got a flyer on our door about the neighborhood association day o’ fun which included a pancake feed, hot air balloon rides, vendors, and of course a 5K. I decided to sign up for it just to see how well I would do; if I would somehow be able to run the whole thing or if I would have to walk a bit of it.

So Saturday morning at 8, I took the hound down to the park and we signed up for the 5K run. I figure there were no more than 500 contestants, and a bulk of them were either middle schoolers, older adults who were there to walk the whole thing, and even parents with strollers. There weren’t many dogs in the race, and those that were there were happy to walk it. So in many ways, Baxter and I really stood out from the crowd.

When the race began, I was surprised that the hound and I were quickly out front of 90% of the crowd. Everyone was laughing hysterically as Baxter darted past the crowd and very briefly took the overall lead. We fell back a ways once the faster runners separated themselves, but that worked out well because it gave Baxter someone to chase, which was key in keeping him going.

To my surprise, we got to the 1-mile marker while not stopping running. Baxter stopped a time or two to mingle with dogs who were on street corners cheering on the runners, but for the most part he just ran out front of me and brought smiles to the faces of all he saw. A little while later I was surprised when we hit the 2-mile marker, still having not stopped. I am never able to do that when we’re just out by ourselves; I think being in the group of people kept me motivated to keep going.

Soon the 3-mile marker in sight, and finally had to stop so Baxter could poop. And then we started running and he had to stop to poop again. But we passed the 3-mile marker and dug down deep for that last ounce of energy and began running again. Soon we were coming down the home stretch and supportive fans lined the path, cheering wildly for me and Baxter. Baxter, perhaps invigorated by the masses screaming for us, darted out in front of me, leash fully extended, and crossed the finish line apparently four seconds ahead of me, though I think that was a little off. Baxter’s official time was 29:59; mine was 30:03. And I think you have to subtract a minute from each of our times while we stopped for Bax’s poop break.

We stuck around for the announcement of winners, and were stunned to find out I had placed second amongst men 30-39. Baxter was clearly the first dog to finish but wasn’t acknowledged. We then walked home and I collapsed on the couch and slept for a couple hours. That is probably the first time since 2000 that I’ve run 3.1 miles basically non-stop. Overall, I was very happy with my time and the way things went for my first organized race in years.

I had someone in the crowd take this picture at the end of the race. Perfect timing! I really like this photo. Might have to have this one printed.