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In a continuing effort to nurture my love/hate relationship with running, I make it a goal every year to do a few friendly-competitive races. Not only are they more fun than running on my own, it gives me the motivation to keep plugging away every day, with the possibility of a race looming over me. This time, I decided to rope Claire in with me. Not only does she love cats and anything to do with cats, she’s also extremely competitive and naturally athletic.


Though the forecast originally had thunderstorms scheduled for Saturday, we were let off with a steady drizzle of chilly rain. We woke up, quickly ate, fed the animals, and tidied up a bit before we were out the door to make it to the 9:30am start.

Much to my chagrin, we arrived and I discovered the race didn’t start until 10:30am.

Ugh. I hate wasting time.

(Don’t tell Claire I said hate…)
So, Jack suggested we go get donuts, which we did. As far as I’m concerned, we were already winners at that point.
Starting on our second lap!

We got everyone out of the car a second time just in time for Claire and me to line up for the start with Raven on her leash. Gotta say, if I ever complain about Raven ever again, someone please smack me…after being around a hoard of other dogs, 99% of whom had zero training from their owners, I’m in love with that dog all over again. Not only does she not bark and lunge, bite, or growl at other dogs, she also sits on command, walks and runs on her leash without tugging me along, and gets along splendidly with all other creatures.


We started the course and within the first thirty seconds, TWO different dogs came out of nowhere and tried to start a brawl with Raven. Luckily their owners were able to yank them off fast enough and Claire, Raven, and I were able to outrun them.

This photo basically sums up our experience with other dogs at the race. 😉

Setting a good pace from the start, both Raven and Claire were able to keep a good tempo. We ran the first mile and a half without any trouble and separated ourselves from the pack. It was so fun to get to have some one-on-one time with Claire and to watch her squeal with delight as volunteers chucked colored powder at her. More than once I reminded her of the story of the tortoise and the hare, which didn’t seem to make much sense to her until the second lap. When she felt like she couldn’t take another step, we slowed to a walk. That lasted all of five seconds before she realized she was going to be passed by someone. She took a deep breath and sprinted ahead again.

Raven always puts in her best effort on a run.

We finished in really good time–so good that we started lapping people who were walking only half the distance that we were running. By the time we got to the finish line, volunteers were reminding us we needed to run our second lap, nearly in disbelief when they realized Claire had already made it around two times. So, we sprinted to the finish and enjoyed all the goodies they were handing out before jumping in the car and heading home.

Enjoying her donut as a post-race reward.
We survived!

Apparently, all the running Claire, Raven, and I did put Jack in a competitive mood, too. But since he hates running, he decided to tackle a burger and fry eating challenge a local diner offers when we went on a lunch date.

Oh, boy, was that a lot of food.
He started out strong…

…but in the end, the grease and enormous amount of food he’d have to eat was too great and he (wisely) called it quits.

Starting to feel it.
Better luck next time!
The walk of shame…having to box up the food you couldn’t finish in an eating challenge.

Sort of serendipitously on the way home, we came across a snapping turtle in the road, who was also trying to race his way somewhere. Though I’m not a huge fan of the ornery reptile, I’m a sucker for stopping for crossing animals.


However, he did not appreciate Jack’s help in getting him out of harm’s way. Though turtles have a reputation for being slow, snapping turtles snap faster than most people can blink. He got in three quick attempted bites before trying another tactic: peeing all over Jack’s raincoat. Luckily for the turtle, Jack is always willing to do a good deed, even if it goes unthanked.

Taking it far, far away from our pond.
So Saturday was full of races–some won, some lost–but all memorable!

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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