Sunday, February 24, 2013

Iron Dog 5K

These are IRONDOGS! Hard as nails!
(But even IRONDOGS sometimes need little doggie raincoats)
Shannon and I have a policy to run any race in the area that has "Dog" in the title or otherwise involves dogs.
So this morning we were standing in line at the North Carolina Art Museum to get our bibs for the Iron Dog 5K, in a steady 37° rain.

Many brave souls showed up with their pooches for the dog walk. We left our pack of dogs at home, as they were not allowed to run the 5K.

While standing In line, we ran into our friend Sean Kurdys, a guy who often kicks my ass in races.
After a quick warm up, I lined up behind him, desperately trying to tie my shoes before the race started.
I did four 5Ks last year, all without shoes. But today was way too cold and wet for barefoot. I'm no IronDog.

With a blast from an air-horn we took off with a sprint through the mud. Immediately a white iPhone flew past me and went skipping like a stone through the puddles. Next thing I saw when I looked up was the owner who had turned around to fetch it. He was twice my size and I ran straight into him like a bug hitting a windshield. "Whoa! Sorry!" My elbow is still hurting from that.

"Get on the greenway!", someone shouted. Suddenly the whole group of runners were jumping of a row of low bushes to get on the pavement. This wasn't starting well.

Wrong Way
I caught up to Shannon who was running with Sean and a guy in FiveFingers. The four of us were following a skinny guy in an orange hat, who stopped at the first intersection, "Which way?"

There was 3 orange cones across the path, but no person or marking indicating whether to go right or left.
"Right!", FiveFingers instructed confidently. I had no idea, so I followed him incorrectly down the greenway across the bridge over I-40.

The "suggested" 5K IronDog course

Coming back, Sean and I passed the skinny guy and then we came across a volunteer at another intersection. "Which way?"
"I don't know", she shrugged and pointed down a side path, "You were supposed to be coming from that direction"

We had totally screwed up the route, and led the entire 5K field the wrong way. I guess some volunteer course monitors had not shown up due to the weather, which is understandable. In any case, it really is the runners responsibility to know the course.

I looked at Sean, who was decisive, "Let's go straight!" Now we where just making it up as we went along.
"Let's go around the big loop. That should be about 3 miles."

The Official Sean Kurdys 5K course 
So Sean and I led the group down by the pond and through a parking lot. As we neared the finish line, he slowed to a jog. "You go. Go ahead." I think he was trying to avoid the embarrassment of "finishing" first.

But I have no shame. I sprinted through the finish line like a champion, winning in 20:57.
Though it is unclear what I "won" since I didn't actually run the course.
I immediately confessed this to the volunteers there, but they didn't seem that concerned. My garmin said we had run exactly 3.12 miles, so I sort of ran a 5K, just not the intended one.

Shannon was right behind us, the first female to finish the random 5K. We went back out for a "cool down" mile to see the chaos on the course. There were runners with bibs on running in every possible direction like ants who had lost their queen. Some were just standing frustrated in the rain. "Wheres the finish line?"

We went back to the car, to warm up and dry off, and had to start the heater because Shannon's feet had gone numb and were turning  a disturbing shade of yellow. Afterwards we headed back to the finish area to discover they had enough burritos to feed 100 people, but only about 10 runners left.

I grabbed two bags of free dog treats, and a burrito.
"Here take two", the volunteers offered, since they had extra. So grabbed another chicken burrito and a bag of chips.
"There's steak too?", I remembered that our fridge was pretty bare. "Can I have one of those too?"
I also grabbed a vegetarian one for Shannon.
And another bag of chips.
My hands were full until Shannon handed me a box. So I grabbed another 2 bags of dogs treats. Shannon grabbed two burritos of her own.
I looked around, expecting the police to show up and shoot us for looting.
"Well, there's no sense letting it all go to waste!", I said, trying to justify my greed.

While Shannon I sloppily stuffed burritos into our faces, they handed out age group awards to the few people left there. They were some sort of free pass to a "Warrior boot camp", possibly where we could work off our huge pile of food. I was relieved that there was no first place award, because I clearly was not eligible.

But as we were walking away, "Anthony Corriveau?", they handed me a gift card for first place.
An honest person would have declined the award. But my mouth was filled with burrito, and I just didn't have the courage to explain why I didn't deserve it. So I just nodded and took the envelope.

But before we could escape with our loot, I was accosted by a woman. "Are you the winner? I'm a reporter from the News and Observer and I'd like to ask you a few questions"
I wiped bits of food from my hands and face, and shook her hand.
She asked Shannon and I about why we ran this race, and we said "For the dogs!". Or specifically, the fund that helps people pay vet bills who can't afford them.
(You can read about the race in the article here. The reporter not surprisingly left us out.)

We then picked up our giant box of stolen goods and headed home.

When we got back, our 4 dogs bounced around as I pulled open a bag of the free dogs treats.
"Don't be greedy!", I scolded them, not least bit hypocritically.

The tainted award is a $50 gift card to "Unleashed, The Dog and Cat Store" in Raleigh.
We'll give it to the next person who adopts one of the dogs Shannon is always pushing on facebook.
We'll throw in some dog treats.
And a couple of burritos.