On Thanksgiving Day, we ran our first-ever family race! I’ve been dreaming about racing with Brooklyn since before we brought home our not-so-tiny, eight-week-old pup! After all, she puts in the training miles with me.
Most races don’t allow dogs or strollers for obvious safety reasons. And let’s be honest, how many times have I complained about getting stuck behind a slow stroller runner or a clueless dog owner (who invariably always uses a retractable leash, but rarely the retracting function)?
I get it. If your goal is speed, then these things appear as obstacles. When I signed up for this race, I did so with the intention of leaving record-setting dreams at home and simply putting in some course miles with my best girl. I was aware, however, that many other racers would be pursuing PRs (T-hubs included!), and so I did my absolute best to stay aware of our surroundings and out of the way.
My race plan:
- Stay to the right, with Brooklyn always on the inside
- Keep Brooklyn on the shortest part of her leash in the crowded sections
- Annouce “passing with a dog”
- Stop for water at every station and offer it to Brooklyn
- Watch Brooklyn for any signs of fatigue and pace accordingly
These strategies worked! The first four miles were quite crowded, as we were on the Trinity Trail (think sidewalk size) in Fort Worth, in the very popular 9-minute pace group. I was hesitant to take her out too fast and also worried about trying to pass so many people. We hung back slow and just found a groove together for the first few miles. Stopping for water meant that we were often falling behind and then passing the same people, but it was worth it to me to make sure Brooklyn stayed hydrated. She didn’t drink all that much, because it was a cool day, but I offered it to her often nonetheless. When the crowds thinned out, I gave Brooklyn a little more leash to see if she would fall back. She never pulled, but she never once slowed her pace, either. She was one focused pup! On the last mile we had a lot of energy left, so we really pushed it coming into the finish.
I don’t *think* we annoyed anyone. I truly did my best to stay aware of my surroundings at all times. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how Brooklyn would do with the crowds. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about her stamina, but I didn’t know how she’d react to the entire situation. She’s been to many races, but never on the course. I was so proud of her behavior from arrival to departure. She was not only consistent and steady in her running, but also extremely attentive in an exciting and high-distraction environment. This was a proud moment for me!
Dallas provided some of the best weather we’ve had this fall, and it made for a gorgeous week of running and a perfect Turkey Day adventure! I kept going back and forth between shorts and leggings, long or short sleeves. In the end, I think I could have gone with shorts, but a late start meant we were standing in 40-degree-weather for quite some time. Definitely was glad for the leggings at that point! T-hubs didn’t have a lot of choice in his race-day apparel. It was either space pants with leggings or space pants without. (A very thoughtful pre-race gift from me, I might add.) About a month ago, we saw an extremely fit dude zoom by us wearing only these space pants. T-hubs jokingly told me to buy them for him. So of course I did! 😉
The late start was my only complaint about the race. Everything else was just perfect for a Thanksgiving Day run! Lots of families (including ours!), sunshine, blue skies, gorgeous scenery, and cool weather. Perfect start to one of my favorite holidays!
I’ve never once bought race photos, but these I couldn’t pass up.
Special shoutout to our Welsh fam for driving from Florida on Wednesday, getting up early to attend our race, and being the most amazing spectators and photographers! We love ya’ll!
Brooklyn’s and my official chip time was 1:56:18! Good enough for a first place overall canine finish and eighth in my age group. Not all successes are measured by PRs, and this race ranks as one of my favorite! Here’s to more with my four-legged running buddy!