Saturday, August 24, 2013

2013 CARA Run for their Lives!

Jorge suffers the indignity of a leash
Dudley Dooright has been my running partner since 2005. But at 8 years old and 85 pounds, it may soon be coming to an end. 
The humidity this summer has been hard for Dooright. Even a short 1.3 mile run to the park and back leaves him panting uncontrollably on the kitchen floor.

And after he crashed and burned in the Dirty Dog 15K, I was resigned to the fact his racing days were over.
But the "CARA Run for their Lives!" 5K/10K kept popping up on facebook, which made me reconsider. CARA stands for Carolina Animal Rescue and Adoption, a great cause for us to support.

Dudley has been the poster dog for the CARA 5K since 2009
That was his first race back in 2009, when he came in top dog, and won a treasured woobie. Since then he has been the poster dog on the race website. How could we not run this again? 
We decided to sign up for the 5K, figuring he should be able to make it the 3 miles.

I wasn't worried at all about Jorge and Jeffery, as they have aged better than Dooright, and are not bothered by the heat as much.

Dooright gets his pre-race ice bath, excited to race again.
Jorge is pissed we made him get out of bed.
Jeffery just wants to know where the food is.

So we packed the pack into the car and headed down to Sanford this morning. The popularity of the race has exploded since we first did it in 2009, and cars were parked far down the road.
The temperature was nice for August in NC, maybe 67 deg and 88% humidity. Still way too hot for Dudley. So after we got our bibs and I doused Dooright down with ice water.

At the race was the second biggest dog I have ever seen.
As any runner knows, the most important part of pre-race preparation is the "unloading of dead weight".
Minutes before the race, Dooright still wouldn't go. I took him for a jog around the park, but he was just too excited to do his business. Oh well, if we had to stop mid-race, that was no big deal. I didn't expect Dudley to be competitive.

Jeffery and Jorge race to catch Dooright
But once again, I underestimated the old dog's love of races.
When the gun went off, Dudley was transformed from a big, slobbering, panting doofus into a running machine with a singular mission. He locked onto the race leaders with laser like focus and took off.

I had to sprint to keep up with him, weaving through the runners to get to the front. We crossed a couple of bridges, and briefly took the lead on a greenway. Here Dooright settled into a steady pace and let a few fast kids pass him.

Jim Wei and the fresh set of twins crushed the field to claim
the baby jogger category.
I was expecting Dudley to wilt in the heat after a mile, but he kept a steady 6:30 pace, focusing on a couple of runners ahead of us. I had a bottle of ice water and sprayed him down every few minutes, but I'm not sure he even noticed..
Hitting the streets of Sanford, we caught up to the 10K runners who had started ahead of us, and Dooright seemed pick up speed to pass other dogs.

I kept waiting for him to pull over take a big poop, or overheat and collapse, but he just kept going.
Here are the splits from my Garmin, showing his perfect pacing:

Avg Pace

At 2.5 miles I missed the turn for the 5K and cost us a couple of places and a few seconds.
The last half mile I could tell he was starting to struggle, so I talked him through it. "Quarter mile! You got this!", and he would surge ahead again. As we approached the finish, I tried to get him sprint it in, but he didn't have it in him.

Hydration on a hot morning
But he did it again! Top dog in the 5K.
Shannon wasn't far behind, with Jeffrey and Jorge.

All 3 dogs were treated to a luxurious post race bath by the CARA volunteers.

The top notch CARA race crew provide a post race recovery bath

Of course, everyone was amazed and
impressed by Jeffery the 3 legger running the 5K

All runners should get this kind of post race treatment.

At the awards ceremony Dudley was a awarded a dog toy and gift card to Omega sports. Maybe he could buy some socks. Or Body Glide.
Dudley licks his lips at the sight of a fresh woobie.

After Dudely received his award there was some confusion and controversy, as the top dog of the 10K did not receive an award, which was unfortunate.

Anyway this was Dudleys 5th race, and his 4th taking the top dog spot. Not bad for an overweight Golden Retriever breeding reject with bad hips and tendency to overheat.

4 years later and a lot more grey.
Still top dog.
Maybe we are both getting older and slowing down. But we'll keep running (and racing) together as long as we can...

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