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This morning Z and I participated in the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter’s first annual “Ready…Set…Sniff 5K” in Patterson Park.

Z had National Guard duty this weekend and doubted that he would be able to get permission to leave for the race. Sure we already paid for his registration but I knew the money was going to a good cause.

Fifteen minutes before I had planned to leave I got a call from Z saying that they were letting him go and he was on his way home! His armory is all the way down in Silver Spring, not necessarily a short drive though. He made it back to the house at 10:40. With 15 minutes to spare we headed up to the park.

The race was a part of BARCStoberfest an all day festival celebrating all things pets. Situated around the Pagoda were tents upon tents of food, vendors, rescue groups, even a stage with training demonstrations and a pet costume contest.

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The challenge of Patterson Park is its hills. Sure enough I saw the finish line right at the top of one. That’s just mean.

The race was not only for humans, but dogs too! Runners could register their four-legged pal to race with them. Those with dogs started five minutes behind us pet-less folk to ease traffic flow.

Imagine how I felt when, despite the later start, dogs started running past me. Z tried to make me feel better by pointing out that they’re made for running. I suppose…

The route looped through the park down a hill, up a hill, and repeat. I had a small cramp in my hip at the start of the race that nagged me the entire time. The last mile it got worse but I refused to walk. I wanted to hit that sub-30min mark.

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The last hill was brutal and with a check of my watch it was a race against the clock. We hit the finish line at 30:11. Sooooo close.  Not gonna lie, I was disappointed.

After some water and a banana the cramp situation was resolved but I was still disappointed with my run. I’m my own biggest critic, I realize.

Just as I was feeling down in the dumps a fellow racer walking in our direction started making conversation. The three of us commiserated over the hills and the fact that we were passed by canines. Noticing I carried my phone he asked if I had used gps to record the race. According to his watch we ran OVER 3.1 miles, closer to 3.2. “I think I’ll take 15 seconds off my time to account for that,” he said. Sure enough, my Jogtracker app had us running 3.19 miles. Fifteen seconds off my time would therefore be under 30! Hooray! My mood was instantly lifted.

The official race results were posted this afternoon. I placed 38th out of 100 individual runners (no dogs), and 9th in my age group.

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Being surrounded by so many adorable dogs was torture. Z and I wanted all of them! Perhaps we’ll have our own puppy for the second annual 5K.

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