Fast and the Furry 5k - 1st place - 16:58

Finally finding the time to write about last Saturday's race. What a fun morning!

Stunt Puppy invited us to participate, and of course, Mesa and I couldn't turn down the opportunity!  We've done one other 5k race together and it was an absolute blast.

I specifically didn't run Mesa the day before so she'd be nice and "rested" and more apt to pull.  That may have been a mistake...

We arrived pretty early so I could get a 3 mile warmup before hanging out at the Stunt Puppy booth before hand.  I did the 3 miles alone, Nate and Mesa chilling in the car waiting (again, trying to "save" Mesa's energy). I then grabbed Mesa and headed to the booth.

Here's where I regretted not having worn her out a little bit. She was SO excited about all the other dogs, people (and policemen mounted on horses!) that she wouldn't just sit and be normal.  Mild embarrassment.  Oh, Mesa... :)

So instead of try to reign in her energy, I took her on another 1 mile warm-up.  She pulled the entire way (how does she KNOW we're at a race? She has never once pulled like this on a training run... I wonder if she can sense something in me? Or if it's just the venue?).  No big deal, that warm up mile was in 6:30. :)

We then lined up for the start.  I heard Mesa's name being called and looked to the sidelines.  Her previous owners came to watch!!  How cool is that? The entire family was there to cheer her on, including their two young boys.  It is really fun to still be connected to them - they're such a nice family.  Plus, it's nice that Mesa has an "extended family" of sorts that still really love her. 

The older of the two boys was asked if he had any memories of Mesa.  He said, "Yes...".  "What do you remember?" I asked.  "Mesa would run away and Daddy would have to find her".  HAHAHAHAHA.  Funniest thing I've heard in a while!  He's 5 now so would have been 3 when we adopted Mesa. For that to be one of his "memories" is pretty funny.

[Note: Now that she runs 50-60 miles a week with me, she is the best dog! She hasn't run away in... probably a year? So it was just exercise related - she probably escaped to go exercise herself!]

Mesa has her game face on.
The gun went off, and Mesa was more than ready.  She went out in front of me and pulled the entire way.  She knows the command "turn", so whenever there would be a turn in the course I'd just have to tell her and she would, without a jerk or even mis-step, turn where she needed to.  Pretty cool to have such a great training/racing K9 partner :).
And we're off!

Around mile 2.25, she wasn't pulling as much.  I looked at my watch and knew we were on pace for a sub-17 minute 5k if we could just keep the pace up.  I dug and inwardly willed Mesa to PULL LIKE SHE'S NEVER PULLED BEFORE!
Half mile to go!

We rounded the last turn and hit the 3 mile mark.  I had 40 short seconds to get to the finish!  Mesa must have sensed my urgency because she became really excited & pulled.  C'mon legs, I told myself!

Looking through the photos from the finish, Mesa is the only dog still pulling.  She also is the ONLY dog that had a smile on her face the ENTIRE 5k!  Can you tell how happy she is here?!?

And... we did it! 16:58!!  My first sub-17 minute 5k.  Definitely doggie assisted, but I'll take it!

Mesa after receiving her award.  Doesn't she look proud?

This was SUCH a fun event!  For anyone that trains with their dog, I'd definitely recommend finding a K9 friendly race. Everyone is so low-key and friendly.  It's also fun to see everyone with their dogs. And you don't need  a crazy fit Vizsla to do it with you - there are people with fluff-ball dogs, huge Great Dane's (who are practically walking next to their running human companion), overweight dogs, and everything in between.
Top dog
I have to end this with a huge thank you to Stunt Puppy for sponsoring Mesa.  She is such a happy dog now that she's running so much, and I absolutely love having her as a training partner.  I seriously can not imagine going out without her!  Here's to thousands more miles together, Mesa! XXOO

Mesa-love :)

Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!


  1. This makes me want to get a vizsla! One of the other blogs I read (Peanut Butter Fingers) also had a vizsla. Do you have to put a coat on her when you run in the winter with her?

    1. You'd love a Vizsla!! They hate the winter, though... so maybe not :). Mesa does appreciate a jacket and sometimes booties when we run in the winter. Never thought I'd own a dog that required either (or both!), but I guess, I'll relent. On the plus side, they don't shed much because they don't have an undercoat!

  2. Super congrats on the PR... dang that's speedy! What an awesome race! I love the collar tag I'm guessing Mesa won? You got a lot of great pictures captured too :) So I've been wondering... when you go to these local races, do the participants know they are among an elite? Like, are you a local celebrity? Oh and I'm loving the new page layout!

    1. You are so nice!!! Yep, we won overall, men and women (yeah, two women working together for the win!). The race did find out that we were racing and posted on their main page that participants could stop by to meet me before/after the race -- and during the awards ceremony they said a little bit about the two of us (after which 4 people came up to talk/with questions about training). So... to answer your question... guess I/we are a bit of celebrities? I'm careful with that response, though, since there are so many out there MUCH faster than me and MUCH more deserving of the term 'celebrity' :)!!

    2. That's awesome! And I love how humble you are :) You ARE a celebrity, wear that name tag with pride girl!

  3. This is so great! I love the photo of you gleefully smiling and Mesa with "let's do this" race face on. Congrats! That's flying!

    1. Yeah, isn't that great?!? She is SO set to race :). Hope you're doing well, Willie, and we'll see you at the next team race hopefully!!!

  4. Wow! That's incredible fast! I only recently just recently broke 20 minutes with a time of exactly 19 minutes. I'm sure even without the dog you could still crack that time! You look strong enough!

    1. Thanks, Tsephe! I hope at some point to crack the 17 minute barrier without dog assistance. Just have to work on the speed. Nice job on breaking the 20 min barrier. Now on to the 19 min barrier for you? :)