Just a few short months after I started running with my vizsla pup, Bentley, we ran our first race together! Bentley and I heard about the Wet Nose 5k after we helped a friend who works for the Geauga Humane Society/Rescue Village (who put on the race) write an article about running with your dog. She suggested we might want to come run the race as it would time up well for his first race. I was hesitant because I was racing the Hat Trick the day before (5 miler, 5k, 2 miler, back to back to back) and worried about overdoing it. So I waited until after I finished the Hat Trick to make my decision--and after I completed the Hat Trick (with a shiny new 5 mile PR) feeling good, I decided we would run the Wet Nose 5k as a recovery run.
We arrived at Orchard Hills Park in Geauga County early so that we could register for the race. I could tell from the drive in that it was going to be a hilly race, but knowing we would be taking it easy, I wasn't too worried. We signed up, met some doggy friends, and got into the corral. Bentley was raring to go, since he knows what the running leash means, and on top of that there were probably 30-40 other dogs there all pumped to be running.
When the gun went off, Bentley freaked (as I expected he would), but the other dogs were unphased which helped him take off. We sprinted up the hill and out of the park, with him chasing all of the other dogs. The first mile was downhill and I pretty much just let Bentley go because he was having a blast and I felt good. Bentley ran with the other dogs so well, running next to them, but focusing on what he was doing. We logged the first mile at a 7:25 mile, his fastest mile and way to fast for my tired legs. When we hit the turn around, we got to climb a massive hill, which helped slow him up. Once we crested the hill I was winded but Bentley decided to take a conveniently timed potty break. Other runners were laughing when they passed by, joking that I trained him to do that at the top of the hill.
After he finished his business (and I flung the bags at my mom) he sprinted off at a 5:45 mile as we turned onto the trail portion of the race. I was cracking up because it was as if he knew I'd want to catch the runners who passed us and make up the time we lost (guess I've trained him well). After a few minutes of sprinting, we settled back into a comfortable 8:00-8:10 mile. The trail portion was rather surprising because it was more of a true trail (I had to watch my footing) and it was incredibly hilly and lasted for 1.5 miles. But the time passed quickly with Bentley there to distract me and pull me up and down the hills. We worked well together with me pushing him through the flat portions and him pushing me up the hills. We managed to pass 3 more runners in the last mile and hang on for a 3rd place female, 4th dog, and 6th overall finish!
Running with Bentley is always fun, but racing with Bentley is a whole other experience. I can honestly say that I never really though about my legs feeling tired, or worried about the hills, or was concerned about the trail portion because I was having too much fun with Bentley and paying attention to him. We ran way faster (7:53 avg.) than I was planning but I felt fine after and took a lot of time off afterward to recovery. I can't wait for Bentley to get faster so we can do more races because if our first race (while running on tired legs) was any indication, I have a feeling PRs will fall the more I race with this pup!