Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trails and Tails Ruff Ruff 10K

Allow me to start off by admitting that this morning I did NOT feel like running in this event at all.  I was warm and toasty in bed having a solid sleep, warm flannel sheets and a snuggle partner.  The race was an hour's drive from home, I had not yet paid the entrance fee, and I was still feeling the lingering effects of the 40+ hours of Lack of Sleep.  Mmmmm, bed.  However, I had made arrangements with a friend from the running club to meet him there and borrow a dog! for the run (this being a very dog-themed event -- see title).  This vague commitment was compelling enough for me to avoid the bedsuck and hit the road.  I'm so glad I did!

I didn't really wake up until I was nearly there.

THERE is Spooner Lake, scene of the Ruff Ruff 10k (and 2 mile scenic run/walk around the lake, which looked beautiful this morning in the mist) put on by the Carson City Sheriff's Office, with proceeds benefitting the local Search and Rescue -- a cause I can get behind!  All participants were encouraged to bring a (leashed) dog along for the race.

First off, the swag (schwag?) bag was, forgive the expression, off the chain . . .

So much cool stuff in there!  The race shirt is of a really fine quality -- custom embroidered no less, there's some dog treats and some human treats, a very interesting canteen/drinking bowl contraption for the active dog*, and yet ANOTHER tshirt.  Pretty impressive, especially given the event was so small.  Maybe there were 100 people participating, but there was probably way less (most were doing the 2 miler).

Here's some folks getting themselves registered.  It was a beautiful morning, all cool and misty.  Dogs everywhere.  What a nice fall day.

I was bummed to see no sign of my running buddy, and re-adjusted to the idea of running without a dog.  I was disappointed, though.  Even though I have only run a couple of times with a dog as a companion, I've always thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

It warmed up a bit, and as the start time became SOON I jettisoned my warm clothes and froze my way on down to the line.

First out of the gate were the runners (all 2 of them) in the kids' run, 300 meters I think.

Next up is us, the 10K group which I'm astonished to see seems to consist of 3 people, really?  As the time winds down, no one else shows up and it really seems to be just me and two other guys.  I'm all like, wow!  I could WIN this thing (and that kind of opportunity does not come along ever very often!) Right about this time, a minute or less before the start, this wonderful woman says Hey!  Would anyone like a 10K dog? which I am all over, of course, and that's how I came to run this race with Chopper:

(This pic is actually from the middle of the run, taken at one of the aid stations)

So yay! I have a dog -- huge thanks to Sally! -- and the sun is shining and they count down 30 seconds and I shit you not in 29 seconds we go from the three of us at the start line to maybe another 15 people come out of NOWHERE to join us including a bunch of women and any brief fantasy I had (the first place female award goes to . . . me!) is quickly dashed, and I gotta laugh at myself.  The horn goes off and everyone, I mean EVERYONE! is just gone, whoosh, like that, and I assume my role as the leader of the very back (aka last), a position I manage to hang onto until the bitter end.

This was just a really fun run.  The temp, once I got moving, was perfect, nice and sunny and all the aspens are turning golden and OK I guess I'm ready to say goodbye to summer.  Chopper was the best running companion, though he was a little nervous, especially at first when he kept looking back over his shoulder for his human.  He got used to me soon enough, and was happy to trot right at my side.  The whole run (the whole EVENT) was super well organized, marked all over the place even though it mostly just was along a fire road.  There were policemen-type dudes at every possible juncture, but they were happy police.  OK.

I think running in Tahoe will, in the end, make me a much better runner.  I mean, check out this elevation profile, y'all:

Is that shit NORMAL? Granted, this is only the first half of the race, after which we turned around and ran downhill.  But still.  That is a LOT of climbing!  One of these days, I'm moving to Kansas. Until then, I guess I keep trudging on up these hills, slowing down to 17 minute miles (Gary kept beeping into autopause even while I was ostensibly still running, which was a little humbling).

The atmosphere, again, was just stunning.  I've actually been up this road (North Canyon, I believe) many times, on bikes, hikes and skis, but I have never run it before.  I was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, even though (or perhaps because) I was taking it at a very slow pace.  There was a time not long ago where I would have had to walk quite a bit of the first half.  I'm happy to say I ran every step.  And it was just gorgeous, all blue skies and lots of mt bikers on their way to the Flume trail and a happy dog and then, yay!  I get to turn around and run downhill, by far my favorite running activity and an hour and twenty minutes (yikes!) after we started Chopper and I cross the finish line, whoppee!  I don't think the dog minds, and I sure don't, that my suspicions are true and we are DFL!  I'm beginning to take a certain amount of pride in this position, and am thinking that perhaps this is the start of a trend.

And then, o wow! the best post-race meal I've yet seen in my nascent racing career:

The french toast was perfect (and I'm not a huge fan), the eggs were tasty tasty good, and the sausage was turkey.  Yum freakin' yum.  Gone in about 2 minutes.

I stuck around for the awards ceremonies, and the prizes were off the chain too.  Each male and female winner (2 mile and 10K) not only won ANOTHER tshirt, they got this doggy fountain drinking water dispenser thingy (I dunno, but the box was huge and impressive!) and a year's supply of Nutro (read: fancy) dog food.  Damn.

All in all, a day I was glad I got out of bed for.  Very Good.  I'll leave you with a couple of shots of Lake Tahoe, looking mighty fine:

*Stay tuned, all 5 of you, 'cause I think I'm going to be offering this in my very first blog giveaway, coming soon


Lisa said...

Yay you for getting out of bed and racing when you really didn't want to. I find that the days I really don't want to run are usually the days I have my better runs on. Go figure. Cute cute cute running partner you had there, but total bummer your running group friend didn't show up. Oh well, sounds like you had a great time. Beautiful pics by the way. You are lucky to have such scenic runs.

Marathonman101108 said...

Hi! I found you in Lisa's blog, so I'm now an official stalker, er, follower of your blog. Crazy race you had, with the elevation and all. Cool partner also! As far as your previous post about running a marathon, watch out. You run one, and you're hooked! I'm looking forward to stalking/following you. Love your blog's title, by the way!

Jennifer P said...

What a great race! Breakfast and schwag and trails -- you can't beat that.

ShirleyPerly said...

You have the most interesting race experiences!!

I can't imagine running with a dog that you've never run with before or even someone giving you a dog to run with last moment. And those hills and that altitude, OMG!! I think I'd be dizzy from lack of oxygen.

Congrats on your finish. Thanks for those gorgeous photos!