February 14, 2013

Puppy Love 5k Race Recap

Last weekend I ran yet another race, this time the Puppy Love 5k.  This was my 6th race of 2013 (yes, only 6 weeks in). I have never raced so much in my life in such a short period of time. Frankly, and I can't believe I'm writing this, I'm sick of racing! I'm sick of pinning on the bib, going to packet pickup and getting up early. While I never get tired of running or the running community, for me 6 races in 6 weeks has been too much.  In my defense, I wasn't supposed to run this race.  My best friend signed up to do this with his boyfriend, D  (my BFF ran his first-ever 5k with me in December, and this was supposed to be his boyfriend's first 5k). I was going to go and cheer them on at the finish line.  However, my BFF ended up having surgery scheduled just a few days before the race, and obviously couldn't run. He asked me to run in his place, and keep his boyfriend company on the run.  How could I say no to that?  We got the bib transferred to my name and everything was settled.

This race benefited the local animal shelter, the Helen Woodward Animal Center.  People had the option of running with their dogs, or even walking the race with their dog. I considered bringing my dog, Padfoot, but decided that would be too much, especially with D running his first race.  There was some good swag in the goody bag at packet pickup, including a knit ski cap from Iams and a frisbee.  All dog oriented!

The morning of the race I got to the race site early, as usual. The start line (and race course) was in Solana Beach, right along the water. After I parked I found my friend, Angi, sitting in her car with her mother (and precious dog, Itzy). They always dress up for races, and were dressed like a cheetah and a zebra (with the dog dressed as a safari guide!)  I sat in their car for a while, chatting and trying to stay warm. It was a cold morning, though I ended up shedding my long-sleeved shirt I had under my t-shirt and leaving it in Angi's car. Even though I was then just wearing a t-shirt, running shorts and a sparkle skirt, I knew once I got running I would warm up fast. I added in my puppy paw print knee-high socks that I wore during the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. It was great to get another use out of them!

There were SO many people with dogs there!  I couldn't believe it!  Dogs of every size, shape and breed.  Once the race started, it was fun to see people running with their dogs.  The course was gorgeous, largely along the ocean. It was kind of a T-shaped course---we had to do the "right" loop of the T twice, and the "left" loop of the T once.  However, the course was long. VERY long. My Garmin measured 3.79 miles---about 0.7 miles more than the advertised 5k (which should have been 3.1 miles). Having a race course over half a mile too long is unacceptable to me.  Besides the fact that some people may not have been ready to run that distance, there is the timing issue. Runners had the option of having their runs timed or not (you had to pay extra for the timing chip; ours were timed). For timed runners, the time would reflect a 3.8 mile run, not a 3.1 mile run, which skews their personal race results.  However, for me, it was fine--I had to run 6 miles that day, and planned to run more after the 5k, so this just cut down on what I had to run on my own. But I felt bad for my friend, D, who had trained for a 5k. He rocked it though, and did great! I was so proud of him, and honored to be part of his first race experience.

(After the race, I contacted the race director and told her how long the course was.  She immediately apologized, and wrote that they are trying to figure out what happened. They think maybe the traffic controllers might have moved the cones, and assured me that next year will be a true 5k. I really appreciated this, and this sold me to look into the race for next year. Great customer service!)

from the Puppy Love Facebook page. Source. Look at all those dogs running around me!

I can't write enough about how fun the run was---besides the gorgeous view of the ocean, it was so fun to run with all the dogs!  There were even doggy bowls filled with water at the water stations, so the puppies were able to drink too.  They thought of everything!

After the race, we check out the booths---there was a decent sized expo there, most of which were dog related. I got lots of samples of dog food for Padfoot, a free personalized shirt from Naked Juice, and some food for me.  I said goodbye to D, then ran another 2.32 miles, making my run 6 miles for the day.

I truly had a lot of fun, and after the promise that next year will be a true 5k, I think I'll do it again. It benefited a great cause. Next year, though, I will bring Padfoot; I think he would really enjoy the race!


  1. You're a racing fiend! Funny that you;re sick of it already. We have the whole year to go! :}

  2. I was there too! I actually found your blog running a google search on the inaccurate distance of this run. I was a little confused crossing the finish line a couple of minutes after my average PR. So I gmapped it and I came up with just under 4.1 miles?! Anyway, thanks for running it by the director!

  3. Great to read your take on this. I ran this race also, it was my first official half marathon. I agree with you on the Washington hill . . . brutal! Overall, though, I loved the course and managed to meet my 2 hour goal with a time of 1:57:04.

    Very cool running blog! If you get a chance, stop by and visit mine and read my take on the SD Half.


    Happy Running!


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