Guest Author: Kava, age 6 1/2:
Questions I have wondered about for the last few weeks:
-Why do I keep hearing mention of something called “Snow Joke”? And it often seems to involve mention of my name, and whether I’m ready for the challenge. I don’t know what that means, but it makes me a bit nervous.
-I’ve been going running a bit more often than normal. Not that I’m complaining – I like running – but is there a reason?
-Why don’t I get fed more often? I ask this one all the time, not just in the last few weeks. I’m hungry; when’s dinner?
Yesterday I found out some answers. Mom and Dad invited me to come along on a car ride in the morning. The tall guy with curly hair came along too. At first, I thought we were going to Beavertail Pond to go swimming.
I like Beavertail Pond because I like to swim, but also because there are ducks. I usually swim a lap across the pond and back with Mom, then I reward myself by chasing ducks for a little bit, then I swim a little more before we have to go home. Then, after toweling off really well, I curl up on the couch, like this:
It’s a little cold for Mom and Dad to be swimming though, so we got off the freeway and I thought we might be headed to Lubrecht Forest to go cross country skiing. I like skiing at Lubrecht forest because there are squirrels and snow and trees and last time we went, my friend Lima came along and we ran around in the woods and it was great.
I was going to tell Mom and Dad that they forgot to bring their skis, but they don’t usually understand when I try to tell them things, so generally I don’t unless it is that I need more food. Dad is so absent-minded sometimes, I wasn’t surprised he forgot the skis.
But wait, we passed the turnoff for Lubrecht Forest…
I hadn’t realized the road kept going, and there was more stuff out there. We drove through open fields and wooded forests, and I saw a giant statue of a cow, which seemed silly because if it was a real cow you could chase it and it would be fun, but a statue just stands there and doesn’t do anything. Then I saw a big lake and I thought we might go swimming after all, but there was a lot of ice and people had chairs set up with holes in the ice, and they had poles with string dangling into the holes. It looked boring, but I thought how much fun it would be to run across the lake and slide on the ice.
Not long after the lake there were buildings, and lots of people walking around in tight clothing, like Dad wears when he takes me running. Then I saw other dogs. I was nervous all of a sudden. They looked like they might take off running, the whole lot of them, and I didn’t know if I could keep up. We also started making sharp turns in the car, and my breakfast wasn’t sitting so well. What with Mom and Dad and they tall guy with curly hair not understanding me trying to tell them things, I couldn’t tell them to pull over. I felt awful when I lost my breakfast in Mom’s lap. Fortunately, she had anticipated the possibility of this happening and laid down a towel.
We got out of the car and Dad put my harness on, which means that it’s time to run fast. We went to a big room with lots of people and dogs, then back outside and guess what?! Lima was there! It was so exciting! We went to a nearby field and ran around for a little while without our leashes, which was great. Then we got called back and huddled together with the whole mass of people and dogs. I got a little claustrophobic, but at least we were on the side and near the back so I had a little room to move around.
After a minute of standing around, everyone started running, so I started running too. I was running with Dad, Lima ran with her mom, and Mom and the tall guy with curly hair ran by themselves. I wanted to get to know all the other dogs, but it was kind of hard when we were all running. The first part was really slow though because of all the people, but after a little while the crowd thinned out. I saw signs with numbers on them: 1, 2, 3, 4…
I was excited. In my harness, I always feel super fast, and when the crowd thinned out we started passing everyone around us. It was fun! I saw the tall guy with curly hair in front of us, and I started to sprint to catch him. We said hi, but then kept going. Somewhere after the sign with a 4, I had to poop and we lost some ground while dad picked it up, but we gained it back quickly. It was nice and cold and with everyone going the same direction it was really exciting. We passed a standard poodle and a border collie and somewhere around the sign with a 7, I heard someone say I was the second dog! I could see a black lab up the road, and he was looking tired. There was a table with cups a little later, and Dad tried to get me to drink some water. I had a couple sips, but really I just wanted to run with that black lab. I pulled on my harness to signal that we should keep running.
We caught the black lab soon after the sign with an 8, and ran with him for a while. He was a big guy with a long slow lope of a stride. I trotted along next to him, about 3 of my strides for every one of his. Eventually, I think he got tired, because he slowed down a little bit and I was in front. People cheered when they saw me, but I was getting a little too tired to go over and say hi to all of them. There was another table with more cups around the sign with a 10, and this time I was thirsty. I drank while Dad held the cup for me. After that short rest and refuel, I had more energy, and I had no idea how long we were going to be running, but I figured we might be done soon, so I went fast until I got tired.
When I saw the sign with the 11, I started to get a little bit tired, and I noticed the people around me were going faster. We were in the sun and it was warm, too warm. I was panting like crazy and trying my best not to slow down, but it was hard. I like to run behind Dad when I get tired, and even though I had done a lot of runs this winter, I had never run quite this long on a leash, which is much harder than running my own pace. I held on as best I could.
After the sign with a 12, we started seeing more people on the side of the road, and even some people running slowly in the other direction. Dad gave one of them a high five. I was confused; why were they going the wrong way? Then there was a little hill and it was everything I could do to make it to the top. Dad started trying to coax me along with words of encouragement, but for all I knew, we were only halfway done. I did my best to keep up while still conserving enough energy to keep going.
After the top of the hill, another dog went by, and the crowd seemed very excited. Then there was a corner, a big sign with numbers on it that constantly changed, and ribbons, and a table with oranges and water and little packages that people were eating things out of. We ran through the ribbons, and the dog who had passed me got a big soup bone for some reason. Dad tried to keep me from seeing it, but I saw anyway. I was a little jealous, but I was so tired I didn’t care. Before the race, I heard Dad say he thought I could run 1:40, and I had finished in 1:38:43. I was proud that I had beaten his prediction.
Dad took me over to the table and fed me three cups of water, and we watched the tall guy with curly hair finish, then Mom came in a few minutes later. Then I got an early dinner, which was amazing.
We didn’t get to see Lima run through the ribbons, but when I saw her later I found out that she had helped her mom run almost 10 minutes faster than the last time she ran that distance. I was proud of her. It was fun getting to do something new and exciting.
I have been sleeping all morning. My legs hurt, and it’s kind of hard to move. But I’d like to do it again someday. Maybe tomorrow.