Lessons from running a 5K with a dog

We did it!

Charlie Machete and I completed the Strutt with Your Mutt 5K race to benefit Kansas City animal shelter Wayside Waifs. We even ran the whole gosh darned way!

Here’s our view of the 5K starting line:

Strutt with Your Mutt starting line

1, 2, 3 – Go!

That picture is the only one I got of the race.

It’s taken from so far away because I wasn’t sure how rowdy the other runners’ dogs may be, and I wanted to give Charlie Machete space. I wanted him to feel as comfortable as possible so that I could feel as comfortable as possible.

He gets a little nervous in crowds and when facing any situation for the first time.

Here’s a secret:

So do I.

In fact, on race day, my anxieties were high.

I fretted all morning: What if I get too hot in my running clothes? What if I don’t make it to the starting line on time? (We did cut things pretty close.) What if I’m uncomfortable running with my bag of things that I don’t usually carry on training runs? What if the walk from the house to the starting line wears me out and I can’t run the whole way? What if I trip and fall?

Luckily, everything worked out fine. The raceway (Broadway Boulevard) was wide, and most people were very much in control of their dogs. In spite of walking a couple of miles before starting the run, Charlie Machete and I never even considered walking.

Just like on our practice runs, anytime I started to feel tired, I simply looked down at him and said, “Good job, buddy! We got this!”

And we did. Although, I have no idea what our finishing time was.

What I learned from this event

It’s good that Charlie Machete and I had each other, but next time I participate in a public race, I’m making sure to coerce a friend or family member into running, too, or at least holding my belongings while I run cheering us on from the street.

Honestly, being there alone made crossing the finish line a somewhat anti-climactic experience.

Also, because I was so concerned with keeping the dog comfortable I totally failed to pick up the prizes we earned for our fundraising efforts. Getting them now requires additional logistical efforts on my part. Whoops.

But, the important thing for my foster dog’s development and my health is this: We’re going to keep running!

And I’m hoping to connect with some more local folks (maybe members of the KC Pittie Pack?) who would like to train with us. Let me know in the comments if that sounds like fun to you.

To see more pictures from Strutt with Your Mutt, check out Amy from Fido Fetch Photography‘s Twitter feed. She represented KC Pittie Pack in the 3K walk.

Come back here tomorrow for more on the people and dogs I ran into during the festival portion of the event.

Thanks again to everyone who supported Charlie Machete and me in this endeavor. We hope we made you proud!

black dog on a walk

Best. Running. Partner. Ever.

Want to make Charlie Machete your running partner? He’s available for adoption through Midwest Adopt-a-Bull.


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on September 23, 2012, in Dogs, Fostering, KC Pittie Pack and Friends, Machete, Random Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. changeforbetterme

    Congrats to you and Charlie!

  2. I could feel your confidence building……warning: It will transfer to all areas of your life!!!!

  3. We’re definitely proud of both of you! Bummer that no one was at the finish line to cheer you on – I have to admit that races are definitely more fun for me when I have someone cheering for me! And the anxiety doesn’t go away – at least not for me. I’m always nervous before a race! I’m so glad that you had an overall good experience and want to do more!! Congrats!

    • I think a great deal of my anxiety will subside next time because I will understand small details like: “Where is the best place to attach your bib?” “What do you do with the microchip thingy that helps them time you?” But, yeah, I bet I will always be nervous. 🙂
      Thanks again for the encouragement. You ROCK!

  4. Nice work Machete! And Crystal! I was super nervous during my first 5k, and I didn’t even have a dog. Not sure that would make it better or worse. You guys came through swimmingly, and raised money for a great event – win! win! WIN!

    • Thanks! I definitely think I will be less nervous for the first 5K. Somehow, having the dog there made me both more and less nervous. Because Charlie Machete can be crazy, I always worry that he will behave like a buffoon in public. However, having him there to motivate me to keep running was essential to my finishing the race. I want to run again, but I have to find another dog-friendly event!

  1. Pingback: In the crowd at Strutt with your Mutt « Wayward Dogs

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