Today I am doing my dog Emme a huge favor and allowing her to write a recap of the race we took part in over the weekend, Muddy Paws.
Last Saturday morning 7/7/12, my Mom took me to my second trail race!
That morning after we woke up and she did her usual routine of slowly creeping into running shorts and a top we made our way down the stairs. She opened the backdoor so I could do my backyard thing and we walked to the front door. Normally I run and jump on the back of the couch where she scoops me up and deposits me in the basement. Much to my joy and amazement she reached over and touched…no wait grabbed…no wait was HOLDING my red running harness!!!
Joy to the world I was gonna go buh-byes!!
I gleefully jumped into the car and away we drove to Pine Hollow, a part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
We arrived a little late (we’re sleepy heads) but with plenty of time to get to the course anyway. We saw a few familiar faces and some people recognized as from the previous year too! I ran into some Grunt Girls (and guys), Kate snapped a photo of us with our game faces on. Unfortunately, Mom and I can’t seem to look at the camera at the same time, so she Photoshopped this gem for our pre-race game face.
Next it was time to walk down the giant hill where we would all turn around and run up again in an effort to
kill us all, space us out and present a challenge. I knew I could do it! Helllloooo Mom always says I’m part mountain goat! I wasn’t sure how all the people would be though, and if anyone stepped on my beautiful tail, there was gonna be a problem.
While standing at the bottom of the hill Mom chatted with a few other people and dogs. She’s such a traitor. I was good and kept to myself. I was trying to get in “the zone” before we took off. Last year we finished in 26 minutes, I wanted to do better this time around.
Dan B was there with Yogi who is a such a beautiful dog! She’s an Australian Shepherd or something, with grey, whites and creams, darling eyes too! A bunch of younger kids were there with their pups. It’s a 2 mile race and very beginner friendly, so having them walk/hike/run their pets was not an issue at all. One boy in particular had some type of spaniel (cocker or king charles) and he says to Mom “This is my first race, so I’m very nervous”. She told him not to worry, races were a lot of fun and besides he would have his best friend with him! Right on Mom, let the pup lead the way. We know how to do it. You can see him in the picture below, my Mom is the one in the grey toward the left, and he’s wearing the blue tee down to his knees. Actually Dan and Yogi are in this picture too, they’re behind the boy and the guy in orange.
After the giant hill my I was ready to go! Mom slowed down a bit, but I kept looking at her with my “C’mon” eyes and trying to bound across the open field past the parking lot and cheering fans. Maybe if she had taken it easy and drank more water like she kept telling ME the night before, we would have been better off.
Once we were back into the woods and sprinting along the trail we settled into a nice rhythm. At one point I heard Dan tell his dog to “follow Emily” which for whatever reason was funny to me. Check it out, I’m alpha dog! Leading the pack. Oh yeah.
Mom and I took turns leading each other as one would grow tired from the heat and humidity and needed a break. Of course I wouldn’t take any water at the half way mark and as a result was dragging big time the second mile. Again hellllloooo? Community water? Ew! Drool? EW EW. By the time we finished I didn’t even care as I was being passed which is usually a HUGE ISSUE for my pride, but it was like 80 or 90 degrees and I’m little.
The course is track/trail, but it’s definitely a trail meant to be used by people. A handful of decent hills and those log steps, all made worse by the humidity of course, and at the end an open section with tall grasses, which felt like death since the sun was finally out in full force.
At the finish we found our time was around 29 minutes. About 3 minutes slower than last year, but I have not been running much and last year it was at least 20 degrees cooler and raining. Mom thought she was funny by teasing me for being “slow” but really I did a great job! Here is a photo of our many running and furry friends.
We hung out for about an hour after and cheered on the 5/10 mile runners and chatted with volunteers. Mom tried on a pair of Brooks Pure Grits and she seemed quite intrigued. She said she would like to try them again on a significant portion of trail.
Thanks Vertical Runner for an awesome event, and thanks for using the proceeds to benefit the Humane Society. As Vince said in the opening announcements, every animal deserves a happy, loving home and those who do not have one deserve to be treated well.
I know I love my home and I love when there are races just for dogs like me! Hey dogs of the Internet, tell your humans to take you to a race some time!