Thursday, June 9, 2011

KCCC Night 3: Hot Dogs and Broken Dreams

   Tonight we had all of our women's runners in place, so it was another night off for me. Since the dogs were pretty much alone at home for 15 hours on Monday, and 17 last night, I decided I'd let them tag along. They trotted into the stadium with me, right down the stairs and into the bleachers with our track team. Now we have 2 adorable, unofficial mascots! (Aside from me, I mean.)
   When the men's 100m relays started, the dogs got really into it—especially Taylor. At first he just watched intently. Several heats blew past us. Taylor watched, head darting back and forth. He stood up on the bleachers and leaned forward. I had to grab his harness and hold it tightly behind his shoulders to keep him from launching himself toward the track. Before long this turned into a crescendo of excitement that culminated in a tremorous Taylor emanating a series of loud, high-pitched whines and squeals. Everyone seated around us shot me weird looks. Okay, time for a time out.
  We jogged up the stairs, down the ramp, around the parking lots, through the open grassy area, down the street, past the long jump fields, and back again. It was 95 degrees and I didn't want to over-do it. But he was so pumped up that he wanted to run and run. As if to say, "Put me in, Coach! I can beat these guys!"
   We passed several killdeer, feigning broken wings. The dogs fell for it and jerked forward. I looked around as we jogged and spotted a couple of babies. So, so cute. And it took me right back to my childhood. I grew up listening to their alert cries.
Photo from Cornell Lab, linked above
   When I thought he was sufficiently tired (I know Aki and I were!) we headed back to our seats to continue cheering for the guys. He was great for a while, then gradually got too amped up again. I took him out to run a total of three times to little avail.
   As the sun went down, Taylor slowly started to tire. He greeted many little kids who were delighted to pet him, and he & Aki were great breed ambassadors. I passed out a few cards for MSIR, so I hope some Shiba adoptions will result.
   I was able to watch most of the races, and many people on our team did very well, placing in the top 10, winning medals and earning points. On a darker note, one of the men started dashing at top speed at the sound of the gun, and suddenly his foot moved in a way we all knew was unnatural—his lower leg flopped forward, and he fell—hard. He got back up, took a step and went down again. He got back up (is this incredible sportsmanship or utter madness?), took a short step and went down for the last time. A few people yelled, "STAY DOWN!", worried for his safety.
   He had broken his lower leg They took him away in a stretcher, and I don't have an update—but I am sending good thoughts that he will mend quickly, and that KCCC will award a gold medal to him for his determination.
   Our relay team, in the second to last heat, did very well. We all stayed to watch the last heat to see how we'd fare in our division. It was a bit of a blowout: at least 4 of the 5 teams beat our time. Better luck next year!
   Our spots were full, everyone showed up and did their best, and we had a great time... with no broken bones on our crew. I'd call that a great day. Good job, everyone!