A few weeks ago my husband sent me an email suggesting this race, so I figured why not? I like running. I like dogs. I like being cold. Everything seemed great. So I signed up for the 5th annual Dog Gone Cold 5k put on by Hopeful Hounds Inc in Augusta GA. Since I'm already in the middle of training for a half-marathon next month, I didn't really do anything extra to prep for a 5k, but a couple of fast (for me...) workouts left me really hoping to break 30:00.
So the appointed day came, and we all showed up at the Julian Smith Barbecue Pit, scenically located right between the projects and Lake Olmstead, to find a muuuuuch busier since than at my first race. There were hundreds of brightly-dressed people just milling about. And the dogs. My God.
There were dogs everywhere. I mean, I guess that's just to be expected, what with Hopeful Hounds being a dog rescue group and all, but I swear there were more people with dogs than without. I ended up wading through a crowd of Bernese Mountain Dogs, greyhounds, pit bull mixes, and the odd papillon to get into the barbecue pit.
Inside the blessedly-warm building, I waited in line briefly to get my packet, which consisted of a bib with a chip in it (did I mention that this race is certified and chipped?), a long-sleeved t-shirt, a bandana, and a sample-sized Larabar (Sticky Bun flavor!). The Larabar looked awesome, but it turned out to just be a bunch of nuts stuck together with sugar. Boo. Would not buy.
Anyway, it turned out that we got there pretty early, so we walked over by the Greenjackets stadium so I could warm up a little. On the up side, there weren't many people over there (other than another woman warming up with a Weimaraner and a whippet). On the down side, my 3-year-old was distraught that he couldn't run the race and wouldn't let go of my hand. If you've never tried to get a decent warm-up with a preschooler clinging to you, let me tell you: It's not super effective. But I did my best before making my way over to the packed starting line.
I'll give the race directors credit for organization. Even with all the commotion, the race started precisely on time. The first half mile or so was kind of a pain, what with dodging all the dogwalkers who had apparently ignored the pre-race instruction for dogs and walkers to go to the back.
Honestly, even most the people who were actually running with their dogs were a bit of a menace. I think a lot of the people who came out were runners who thought that running with their dog sounded like a good time but had never actually done it before. The result? A ton of dogs that were just freaking out: Dragging their owner, getting dragged, trying to run off the path repeatedly, getting all intimate with other dogs, and just running rampant and tangling their leashes around everybody. This was especially nightmarish with those foolish people who brought extendable leashes. Next year, if I run this thing again, I'm totally lining up closer to the front to avoid the dogs, even though I'm pretty slow.
Slow traffic and crazy animals aside, the race was pretty pleasant. The course was nice, flat, lined with trees. There were TONS of volunteers giving out water, yelling times at the 1 and 2 mile markers, and just standing around being encouraging. I was hoping to get under 30:00 and had a vague plan of doing the first mile in 11:00, the second in 10:00, and then just booking it for the last 1.1, but it didn't work out. The first mile was great, even a little fast. The second was right one track. But I totally overestimated my 'booking it' ability for the last bit. So I wound up finishing in 31:27 - still a PR by 1:37. After the race, we left pretty quickly to appease the kiddies, but not before grabbing half a bagel and a piece of orange from the amply-stocked tables.
2015 Dog Gone Cold 5k Results
Place (Overall): 102 out of 316
Place (Women): 42 out of 205
Place (Age Group): don't know because it only listed the winners in each group and I'm too lazy to count