How Choosing a Race is like . . .

. . . Adopting a Rescue

If you read yesterday’s Weekly Wrapthen you’ll understand why this is so much on my mind.

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Sometimes you have to read between the lines

I put a lot of thought into choosing my halfs. I do some research — reading the race Website, checking out any reviews I can find. And I have come to learn that you have to read between the lines.

Gently rolling hills

Expect wicked steep hills, most likely at mile 11 or 12 (or both) for halfs.

Sparse spectator support

Expect some people at the beginning and the end of the race, but be prepared for long periods of running all by your lonesome.

If you’re a slower runner like me, don’t expect that there will be the promised goodies at the finish line. Or water at water stops. Or even medals sometimes!

It can be a tricky business, choosing a race.

It can be even trickier adopting a rescue dog
Don’t get me wrong: I feel very strongly about adopting rescue dogs, and this experience hasn’t soured me on that. Too many wonderful dogs are euthanized because there is just no home for them. Have your heart set on a purebred dog? You’d be surprised at the number of purebreds in shelters.

But you do have to read between the lines in rescue site posts, too, or when you’re talking with an owner. Please learn from our mistakes!

Here are a few of the things we were told:

But he got along great with my dog & cats.

My guess is it’s true. My guess is the other animals in her home didn’t push his buttons and learned how to avoid him or let him have his way. Or weren’t in his face all the time; Lola and Gizmo tend to be near me a lot, and they see no reason to avoid him — even though Lola seemed nervous around him sometimes, and indeed, threw up a couple of times early in the morning — I think sleeping in the same bed with him, which we allowed at first, made her nervous.

My husband just wanted to give him to a shelter.

This should have rung a warning bell for me. The woman was in the middle of a divorce, so I just thought the husband didn’t care about animals. My suspicion is that Bandit displayed guarding behavior with the husband. He’d make a great guard dog.

He’s slow to warm up to people, especially men.

There’s a huge difference between slow to warm up and attacking a female vet.

He can be nippy with strangers, especially the ones who are fearful.

Again, a huge difference between “nippy” and a dog that attacks. If I hadn’t worked so hard training Lola and Chester, I could easily have seen them becoming like this.

The other potential adopters I talked with were really bad. He likes you.

You people are suckers. And, I guess, we were.

You learn something from every experience
I learned that I really liked the vets we met with. I’ve learned that we will never, ever, ever, ever do a private adoption again (yes, Taylor, I’m channeling you).

I’ve learned in hot races I need to carry at least some water with me, because I can’t count on water at water stops. I’ve learned that RDs love to put hills at the end. I’ve learned that sometimes the promised food will be available to me at the finish — and sometimes it won’t.

Talk to me in the comments. Please don’t judge (even though I’m pretty sure you won’t) — I’m getting enough of that already. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I go way above and beyond for my furkids.

What have you learned about choosing races?

What phrases on race Websites have you learned to interpret?

Are your runs suffering due to the heat?

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run
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23 thoughts on “How Choosing a Race is like . . .

  1. I’m actually quite angry with this woman who was Bandit’s person. When you adopt an animal, you make a commitment for life. You don’t give up in the middle like she did. I don’t agree with “life circumstances” that make it inconvenient to take care of your animal and the need to surrender it (other than an actual death, of course). So this woman should be stripped of her pet-owning rights, my opinion. And what a terrible situation she put you in, as a genuine animal lover. Sorry, I’very probably said too much. But… you’re right on the hill thing in races… they always put them right at the end, go figure, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, while I have some anger with her, too, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t lying about the divorce, having to move, and the fact that she truly loved Bandit.

      It’s unfortunately that she either didn’t understand his issues or didn’t want to.

      I believe her when she says he had never bitten before, but I also believe that there were more underlying issues that she really just didn’t warn us about — no doubt because we would never have taken him, and you know what? I wouldn’t have.

      It’s just so sad, because if she had done more training with him when he was younger, he could have been a very different dog. He’s not a mean dog, and yes, I’m sure some of this was triggered by this huge upheaval in his life, but the issues were already there. It’s not just an adjustment phase.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel with you. We’ve been lucky when adopting our kitten from a private rescue charity. It does take hard work in the beginning to teach the young ones how life is though. If the first years are messed up … poor animals. Can’t imagine the pain you feel 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been having a really, really hard time getting in my strength training and yoga because of all the time I’m spending managing the animals.

      The runs are getting done, because a) I need to for my fall half and b) I need that stress relief!

      Which reminds me that I have to run on the treadmill today, and I meant to do that before lunch — oops!

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  3. No judgement….just hugs. I’m sorry this has been such a painful experience for you. What that woman did to you was not cool.
    I just don’t worry about speed and make sure I have plenty of water for hot runs. Actually, I don’t usually worry about speed anyway but you know me and racing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Natalie. I totally appreciate (and need) those hugs.

      It’s really been kind of horrible, made worse by the fact that Bandit has separation anxiety, so I’m kind of a prisoner at home — again!

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  4. I’m sorry to hear about the struggles with your adopted dog.

    I have read/ heard stories of people who finish races ( Half marathons, full marathons) and there is no medal and or water the longer the race goes. And it makes me angry!! everybody pays to register, and everybody is running the distance and for there to not be a medal and food at the end, it is just rude and irresponsible! how is it possible that they run out of medals and food?

    Yes, I have learned “Small rolling hills” mean that there is a monster hill somewhere at mile 12, almost always exactly at mile 12. Also Picturesque farm views means “there is nobody there to see you but the cows” and “Limited road closures” means “We didn’t actually tell anybody we were holding this race, and there will be cars in the most random paces. watch out, they wont’ stop, they don’t care you are racing”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Judy I’m just sick about what you’re going through with Bandit. It’s so hard and his former owner should never have passed along a dog with those issues. As for races that go wrong or run out of water (hello Chicago Marathon 2007) stuff happens. It sucks. Especially when the race director blames the runners like Carey Pinkowski did when he told us they ran out because too many runners dumped water on their heads.Ya think? People were dying. Literally.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There has just got to be a better way to figure out the water. It’s really inexcusable to run out, I’m sorry. It’s not like it’s super expensive!

      Marcia, don’t be sick about it, although it is a really bad situation and I’m really tired but then I’m sure you can relate to that. We haven’t given up yet (even if I’d really like to at time).

      What really kills me is how confused poor Lola is, but she’s really being a trooper too. And yet she was one reason I did this and now it’s made her life worse, not better.

      As to the previous owner, I do believe her when she said he’d never acted like that before. I also know that we did not cause these issues, even though we did a few things that weren’t so smart, and I’m pretty sure she was at least somewhat aware of them. Maybe she was in denial. Maybe she didn’t understand how serious they were.

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  6. Many of my recent runs have involved walking just to get the miles in! I should run earlier or on the TM, but have been told this tough summer running makes us faster come fall.

    I’m lucky in that my body prefers hills, so I don’t look for flat races — but I absolutely agree that rolling hills usually means nasty ones! I do look for races with long cut-off times. This tells me that they are more likely to have water and goodies for us slower runners, since there will be walkers too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d really like to run a flat half and find out how I like it. 🙂 My body doesn’t particularly like hills, but boy, I’ve done a lot of really hilly halfs!

      You are not that slow, trust me, but yes, I look at the cutoff time too!

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  7. No judgement, I am sorry you are having such a rough spell. I am glad you are still getting your runs in, you do need the stress relief.
    Not reading between the lines, but I feel like I got duped when I joined the half training team last year…they make it sound so fun and make it sound like everyone will have sometime to run with and it turned out to be such a big disappointment…but I still ran a PR race lol so I got over not making any real life running friends. I really wish I had though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It took me several years running with my group before I really made friends. So maybe don’t give up on it yet?

      And now I can’t run with my group because getting them all squared away that early is just too much for Mr. Judy, and I can’t really blame him. He’s been very helpful — he’s getting in a lot more walking than usual, because he’s walking Lola every morning!

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  8. I am lucky that I have never been to a race that has run out of food or water….. I usually chose a race by WOM, but that is easier here in France where the running world is smaller.

    Liked by 1 person

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