Monday, June 13, 2005


The most fun running weekend ever.

So Saturday, off I go on my long run, and I have a blast, running to the end of the Burke-Gilman trail, exactly 3.5 miles from my house. My run, however, ended up being 7.68 miles (thank you, Garmin Forerunner, friend of the obsessive, enabler of the retentive) because I did a couple of unnecessary loops around the Fred Meyer parking lot, thinking I could find the trail again.

Nice parking lot, the Ballard Fred Meyer's, but after a couple of times round, it gets old.

Ah, but Sunday. After probably too many beers in the Eastlake Zoo on Saturday night, Sunday was the Furry 5K. When I signed up for it, I hadn't really thought about the furry part. Oh, but the dogs! Hundreds of them. Big dogs, small dogs, working dogs, toy dogs, dogs in strollers, dogs in backpacks, and every dog as happy as it's possible for a dog to be. It was like the Seattle dog convention. You can imagine them all unable to sleep the night before with the excitement. I even met an Irish wolfhound, the first I'd met since our own wolfhound, Tara, who used to howl at the moon when we lived on Achill Island. As an adult I found out that Tara ended up chasing and killing a sheep. That just wasn't tolerable in a place like Achill in the seventies, and Tara went to "live on a farm". We were surrounded by farms - of a sort - on Achill, but it never occurred to my sister and me to demand which farm, exactly, Tara had gone to live on.

The race itself was a blast. Most people had a dog with them, dragging them along ... "Water around the corner!" the volunteers shouted at the halfway mark. Thank god, I thought, and rounded the corner to see a paddling pool full of drinking dogs.

Nobody could be at the Furry 5K without smiling.

After I crossed the finish line - just over 30 minutes - Phil and I watched the other runners finish. Best of all were the girls - ranging in age from 8 to 11 - from Girls on the Run. It's an organization that helps girls develop confidence and self-respect. A 12-week program finishes with a 5K run. The Furry 5K was the graduation run for these girls, and to watch their as they crossed the finish line was inspiring and joyful. We shouted ourselves hoarse.

A runner and her running buddy, from last year's race.

If you've ever been an eleven-year-old girl, especially one who's not particularly confident or happy in her skin, you know how hard it can be. These girls were beautiful, every single one, and each of them finished their run laughing, knowing she'd earned her medal and the applause.

This was an awesome weekend.


Sarah said...

Sounds like a great time, Riona! Glad you had so much fun :-) And I would have loved running the Furry 5K...what a neat idea!

skipsaw said...

The 2001 Furry 5K was my very first 5K race. I knew I was participating in a different kind of event when, at about the 1/2 mile mark, a very embarrassed woman had stopped in the middle of the trail to tend to her dog while he... well, was doing one of the things that dogs do. ;-) Sounds like fun.