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Canine cross-country makes me happy!!! But…more importantly…it makes my dog, Trixie, Happy!!! This event was run by the same running store (Kenosha Running Company) the owner is a guy named Brian and he puts on a really nice event! I have run a lot of races in my running career (40 ½ marathons and assorted other random stuff here and there) and his approach is the approach I would take if I were running a race event. When asked, “When does it start, Brian?” his answer was, “10:15ish…you know when the line for the port-o-let is gone and everyone is ready, all my events are ish events”. We started at the Dog Park that connects up to KD Park in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, there were maybe 12-15 people running caniX and approximately 20-25 running or walking without a dog, so small, but a fun group of people without the usual “ultra athlete egos”. You know the ones with the Michael Phelps intensity and game faces, yea, those people freak me out too! We had a bunch of unruly dogs running around and owners telling their dog stories to other owners also telling their dog stories. We did a dynamic warm up with Brian (race guy) and that was a new thing and fun, I hope he continues with that as a part of his races. My bestie Jenn and her dog Lucy and, of course, my awesome coach/husband, Brian were there and we loosely lined up for the start. Brian (husband) went out ahead to grab some action video of our start and Jenn and Lucy stood on the sidelines and watched. Trixie has done this once before; she’s a border collie/blue healer so once is enough…she knew exactly what was next. As we stood and waited, she was literally vibrating and chattering with excitement!!! Brian (race guy) turned to me and said, “you’re new, get us started Joan, on your mark, get set, Joan?” I yelled out “GO” and we were off! Trixie pulled like crazy! She was so excited to be racing again and then 2 minutes down the trail, she realized how tiring that was and stopped pulling and just kept the slack up nicely for me. We sent an ecrumb to Brian (husband) so he would see where we are and off we went. I hadn’t played any music or even turned on my Run Keeper, wanting to just relax and run with my dog without having the world intrude. Trixie, pretty much asks for water when she needs it now, so I just pay attention to her and she will turn her head and look up at me when she needs a slurp. I carry over 40 ounces of water with me always. I am usually the only one carrying that much water. Many races ago someone asked me why I do that…my water belt is my security blanket. I may not need it, but if I need it I have it instead of that need going unmet. I take thyroid medication and dehydration is a common side effect, so far, I have had no issues, but it is no doubt because of my diligence. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not so competitive that running with water or stopping to water my dog is a big deal. I run for fun, when it stops being fun, I’ll stop!!! Trixie did great, keeping the slack well. We had run with this new equipment exactly one time before so I was concerned about how she would do, but, as always, I need not have been, for Trixie is my girl and always figures it out and makes it a fun run. We geared up with some official CaniX equipment: the belt for me, so that she pulls from my hips, the bungee line to connect to her and give us some elastic give and her pulling harness that pulls from her chest and not her neck. We went with Howling Dog Alaska, it is economical and well put together, I’m happy with my choice! We were very comfortable throughout the race. So, I’m running along and I notice that I have to run across a big field with very little marking. I had asked Brian (race guy) how well the trail was marked and he told me it was marked equally as well as last race (which was great), but we didn’t have much snow to put our orange paint on, so somewhere along the line I missed something and ended up back tracking to see where I had gone wrong, to no avail, so I headed on the way I was going hoping for the best and before long I crossed the start line, done with lap one…that was short, hum…well, off we go for lap two…and then it happened…I saw the arrow sweeping off to the right along the creek that I TOTALLY missed the first lap and proceeded to run a second lap, that was entirely unlike my first, LOL!!! Trixie did great, of course, giving me the signal when she needed a slurp of water and we had a great second lap. We get to the end and Brian (race guy) says, “did you see that arrow by the creek to the right on the second lap?” yes, I did, and we laughed as I told him that my first lap was entirely different than my second! As it turned out, Trixie and I got first in our age group (I was the only old broad there J) and we had a great time! When the prizes were handed out I did admit, in the vein of full disclosure, that I was entirely certain that I had not completed 6.2 miles, but everyone laughed and I still got my prize…a shiny new blinky green four leaf clover necklace!!! After the race they served us corned beef, cabbage and carrots, it was excellent and we headed out for coffee. I’m really happy doing these kind of events because I have to run anyway to train for the ½ marathons, but, it is lonely out there, even with the dog and…ok…I’ll say it…a little boring!!! Doing Kenosha Running Companies non-stress events keeps us in shape and makes it fun to train! My next caniX event is April 8th…stay tuned!!!

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