On Sunday morning Margaret and I ran in the Santa Paws 5K to raise funds for the Wake County SPCA. I was really excited to do this race as they had a special “runner + dog” category we could compete in and I knew Margaret would love it!Since the packet pick up wasn’t anywhere near our house the day before, I went to packet pick up the morning of the race. We were up at 7:30 and I ate a plain blueberry pancake. We were out the door by 8 and at the race site a little before 8:30 for the 9 am race. I love fall 5k’s and their later start times! It was in the low 30’s so it was pretty chilly. Margaret saw all the dogs when we parked and started going nuts with excitement, whimpering and crying to get out of the car and see the other dogs! The packet line was long and slow so that was a drag to stand in cold for so long to get checked in. When I checked in I was informed they were out of size small shirts which was a little annoying. I signed up for the race a month in advance so I should have been guaranteed a shirt. Most races have a cut off date to sign up to guarantee a shirt in your size. I was told they are ordering more shirts and they’ll notify use when we can come pick them up. I live far away from the shelter though and don’t see myself driving all the way out there for a shirt, hopefully I can convince them to mail it to me. The shirts were really cute and I want one! After checking in we went back to the warm car to ditch my vest and stay warm for a few minutes. They only had two port-a-potties for the 600 runners to use which was definitely not enough. I tried to use one before the race but the line had at least 30 people in it with only 3 minutes before the race start so I gave up on that idea.
Right at 9 AM the race started. On the site they said they would be sending out the competitive runners first, then the competitive + dog runners, then the casual walkers/runners. They didn’t do this and just sent everyone off at once which meant it was clustered the first half mile or so and we had to weave around other people.I’m sure Margaret was wondering what we were doing before the race start but as soon as we started running she knew what we were doing and was happy! She was so pumped to be running with other dogs and was trying to play with them as we ran next to them for the first mile or so. About a mile into the race someone decided to go to the bathroom so we lost some time in her going and me having to bag it up. A very nice spectator came over and offered to take the bag so I wouldn’t have to run the race with it, it was very much appreciated! The course had a lot of out and backs which I really liked. It gave you the opportunity to see the runners ahead of and behind you. We saw the winner twice and he and his dog were flying and they looked like they were just on a morning stroll. So fast! By mile two everyone had really thinned out. The course was very well marked with plenty of volunteers so it was easy to follow. With about a quarter mile left in the race we picked up the pace to the finish line.We ended up finishing in 26:47 which was good enough for third in our age group which I’m pretty happy with! I doubt Margaret and I will ever be speedy enough to win a race but we can try to place in our age group! I’d say we lost about 45-60 seconds with Margaret’s pit stop.I think the race had a few organization issues to work out but otherwise it was a great local 5k to run in! I know Margaret enjoyed getting to run in a race with so many other dogs.
They also did a rare thing: They gave out the race photos for free! Race pictures are so expensive I never buy them. I wish more races would do this. We will definitely be signing up next year.