by Sarah Barber
Last week, I thumbed through a copy of the September issue of Runner's World and happened upon an article about training with a furry friend. I stood there and read the entire article, thinking of my Dalmatian, Lilly, who was waiting for me at home.
Never one to believe in coincidence, I decided to enter Lilly and I in an event I had heard about while racing the Payette Lake Run on Labor Day weekend. Run Fido Run, an Idaho 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was hosting its first annual 5K doggie dash last weekend as a fundraiser for local animal shelters and animal welfare groups. We drove out to Eagle Island State Park on Saturday morning and joined a bunch of other canines, all leashed to their respective humans, in a cross-country race around the park.
The run itself was fantastic, although Lilly clearly has a lot to learn about proper pacing for a race effort. She tore off the start line, dragging me into an anaerobic state within seconds. For a few minutes, no one was in front of us (for me, that's usually a bad sign). And sure enough, it wasn't long before we were going backwards. A Siberian husky attached to a muscle-y guy passed us on the right, and a chocolate lab towed another dude up on our left. Lilly was beginning to fade, but the second of two aid stations and a huge puddle came just in time. After a dog biscuit and a drink, Lilly was ready to go again. We hung tough enough to claim victory in the female person/dog division.
At the conclusion of most fun runs and races, the post-event chow table bears bananas and bagels. At this race, Zamzows provided the fuel: dog biscuits, chew strips and dog food samples. Shu's Idaho Running Company gave out fantastic prizes to winners, and Poop 911 was on hand for clean up.
I spoke to race director and president of Run Fido Run, Nicole Huffman, who said that she was excited about how well the inaugural doggie dash had gone: the turnout was decent and there were no fights. I promised I'd definitely be back next year and I'd spread the word to my dog-owner friends.
Meanwhile, Lilly has a leg up on the competition for next month's See Spot Walk. Plus she found a new "friend," pictured below.