Posts Tagged ‘dogs’


#26 – Badwater Big Dogs

5 August 2007

The Badwater Ultramarathon, one of the toughest foot races out there, was run last week under exceptionally low temperature of 112 degrees! Usually the competitors who race from Badwater (elevation 280 feet below sea level in Death Valley) to the Mount Whitney Portals (elevation 8360 feet on Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48) face temperatures in excess of 120 degrees in the desert summer. Anyone that can finish this race is a pretty amazing athlete, but I want to focus on two that caught my attention.

David Goggins finished 5th at Badwater in 2006 and this year he placed an impressive 3rd overall! In a feature article on the Badwater website David claims that “I am not a runner” but clearly this guy knows how to make progress on two feet, not to mention on two wheels and in the water – he finished 2nd in the Ultraman Triathlon! David Goggins is an absolute animal for endurance and pain. He works out twice a day, sometimes three times a day, rolling out of bed at 3:45am to get going. His day job? A US Navy SEAL! He competes in endurance events to raise money for children of special operations soldiers who have died in battle. A San Diego paper wrote an article about him and he also gave a speech to the San Diego Tri Club, both of which give further insight into David (unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have his own website). Can anything stop this guy? He started running six months before Badwater and started cycling just weeks before Ultraman. It’s almost unreal. My favorite tidbit about David can be found in the Badwater feature where he explains how he looked for events to run for charity: “I typed in a search for the ’10 hardest things in the world’ and Badwater came up.” No, David Goggins does not lack confidence!

Kira Matukaitis finished just 72nd out of 84 racers in her first Badwater race at more than double the finishing time of David Goggins. Nevertheless she did finish under the 60-hour cutoff and was the youngest woman in this year’s race. What caught my eye about her was the race roster, which listed her occupation as “CEO, Doggy Jog”. Given my love for dogs, I Google’d that name and found Doggy Jog, a dog walking and pet sitting service. How cool would that be? Get paid to go running with dogs – what a great idea! The Badwater feature story about her states that she gets in an extra 6-7 miles a day thanks to her job of running with dogs. There are some very happy (and tired!) dogs in her neck of the woods!


#20 – Healthy Paws Healthy Cause Fun Run

16 June 2007

What is more fun than running a race? Running a race with my dogs! This morning I was joined by Haven and Beacon for the 1st annual Healthy Paws Healthy Cause Fun Run, a 4-mile event for dogs and their people. I’ve done two 5Ks with Haven before, but I’ve never attempted a race while being hitched to both of my wannabe sled dogs! This should be interesting…

The event was organized by the Cascade Hospital for Animals with proceeds to benefit Mackenzie’s Animal Sanctuary. There were no age groups, awards, or even official results – it’s just what it says, a “fun run” to get folks out enjoying the morning with their dogs. Over 80 people signed up, not bad for the first ever event. The race director I recognized (via her dog!) as Dr. Happel, the runner that I barely out-kicked at the finish of the 2006 Bailey’s Doggie Dash (if you follow the link, she’s in the orange shirt in the photos on the bottom row of the page).

Going into this race I wasn’t planning to run all out; rather, I wanted to maintain a tempo pace as best I could but primarily just have fun with Haven and Beacon. Since most participants were planning to walk, I lined up near the front; there were about 7 runners ahead of me. Dogs and people were still milling about – in fact, one lady was petting Haven – when the race director shouted out “Five seconds!” And we’re off!

The guy at the front broke free quickly and Haven and Beacon decided to chase him – hard! I had no choice but to join their pursuit and within 100 yards of the start we had passed everyone except the leader! It turns out that only eight people were running; the rest were walkers. I pulled alongside the front guy and we sheepishly confided that it felt rather weird to be leading a race. We kept looking back for a while, assuming that some fast runners would blow by us.

We chatted for the first mile where I learned that his dog – weimaraner named Bailey (not the one from Bailey’s Doggie Dash) – was five years old, just a year old than my two pups. She loves the water and behaves well on a leash; so well in fact that the guy (funny how I know his dog’s name but never learned his!) had the handle of his flexi-lead in his shorts pocket the whole time. If I tried that with my dogs they’d rip my shorts right off me!

With Haven and Beacon leading the way we cruised past the first mile marker in 6:45, a very fast pace for me. The course then ascended a moderate hill and Bailey’s owner exlaimed “Uh oh Bailey, daddy’s not feeling too good!” and sure enough, he began to fall back as my dogs pulled me upward. Going down the hill my feet were burning – I realized that I hadn’t tied my shoelaces tight enough and the soles of my feet were sliding along the bed of my shoe.

Mile two was the beginning of an undulating portion of the course, most of which was run on paved pedestrian paths. With nobody to chase, Haven and Beacon slowed their pace and were no longer pulling me up the hills. Around mile 2.5 Bailey and her owner caught up with us and we ran side-by-side for the next half mile. This time we didn’t say anything as we all needed to conserve our oxygen.

Somehow I must’ve programmed my dogs for a 5K distance (maybe they read my blog?) because soon after we passed the third mile marker (in 21:50, not bad!) they slowed waaaay down. Bailey and her runner kept their momentum going and pulled steadily away from us as I was forced to drag Haven and Beacon forward! Those lazy dogs. 🙂 Finally they realized I wasn’t going to stop and they ran beside me the rest of the way.

We passed some pedestrians going the opposite way to relayed to me that the guy ahead of me “was very concerned that I would catch him”, but I told them he had nothing to worry about. Not only were my dogs worn out, I was out of energy as well and we struggled most of the last mile. After passing Amanda with her camera, we finally reached the finish line! Sure enough Bailey had won and Haven and Beacon shared second place just one minute behind in 30:29. It was about five minutes until the next runners began showing up. Walkers continued to trickle into the finish for the next hour.

The organizers thought of everything, providing water (for both humans and canines), bagels, bananas, donuts, and dog treats for the finishers. Haven and Beacon eagerly helped themselves to some water while I shared a banana with Haven. After eating my peanut-covered donut, the dogs both got some treats and then finally I remembered to drink some water myself. Once we got home Amanda had the three of us pose for the obligatory post-race photo, all sporting our event t-shirt and bandanas. Haven and Beacon are now fast asleep at my feet. 🙂 What a fun race!


#16 – Speedy Recovery

24 May 2007

If you’re ever unfortunate enough to get injured in an accident, the speed of your recovery will most likely be proportional to your fitness at the time. Take for example, Danelle Ballengee

Ballengee is one of the world’s top endurance athletes, most notably as a mountain runner and adventure racer. Last winter she was badly injured when she fell 50 feet down a rock face while on a training run with her dog, Taz, who wound up being instrumental in saving her life. This happened in December 2006, and doctors figured she’d need up to six months to heal her shattered hip before she could walk again.

Well, guess who competed in a 12-hour adventure race under the name “How’s This For Rehab?” about a week ago? Five months later and she finished among the front-runners! In fact, some believe that her injuries at the time would’ve been fatal for most people. Not only did she survive, she recovered in remarkable fashion.

Running sure is fun, but it can also be a great insurance policy even if running caused the malady. Go Danelle!


#15 – Canicross, Anyone?

22 May 2007

I went for a short run today and took both of my dogs at once. Haven and Beacon are two 70-lb yellow labs; luckily I outweigh them by 50 lbs but they have four-wheel drive! My arm got tired trying to hang on to their excited pulling and I wondered if maybe I should harness myself up to them like sled dogs? Turns out there’s a sport just for that: Canicross! Looks like fun! Haven and Beacon, are you ready to mush? 🙂


#13 – Running at Dawn

15 May 2007

Generally I’m an afternoon runner, but this morning I woke up at 5:30am to enjoy a nice run at dawn. What a morning! The air temperature was already 71 degrees despite the sun still being asleep. There was enough light to not need a headlamp, but I wore my taillight for any drowsy motorists. My dog Haven came with me, outfitted with her own Bling Bling Blinker to alert the drivers.

We had a great run! I chose my pace at random – sometimes I ran hard, sometimes easy, and sometimes at just a moderate cruising pace. The wind was blowing quite fast – a rarity for early morning hours – but that’s probably why the air was so warm: a heated mass of atmosphere was being drawn across the area. Haven and I awakened some snoozing ducks and geese along the river, including some fuzzy goslings.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing – the warm temps brought the bugs out early. I was forced to swallow one bug (ew!) and another got stuck in my eye. Nevertheless, after half an hour on the streets Haven and I were more than content with our dawn run!


#4 – Running with Dogs

5 April 2007

If you love running and you love dogs, why not combine the two? My wife and I have two yellow labs – Haven and Beacon – and I run with them often. We also foster dogs for Vicky’s Pet Connection, a local dog rescue and today we happened to have Raven, a black lab mix. Being in the mood for a run, I thought I’d take all three for a run. Since I didn’t feel like getting dragged down the street, I took them each separately on a 1.4 mile loop.

First I ran with Raven, going slow both to warm up and because I hadn’t run with her before:

Running with Raven

Then it was Haven’s turn and I ran this one fast (at least, fast for me):

Running with Haven

Finally Beacon got his shot and I tried to run hard but as you can see, I was toast by the end:

Running with Beacon

After finishing my run with Beacon, I had to stop to catch my breath. Good ol’ Beacon politely sat down to wait for me, looking up at me as if to say “Thanks for bringing me along!”

After the run with Beacon

Three dogs, 4.2 miles, one great evening of running!