I love dogs. Well… I like them. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say I tolerate dogs in a very loving way.
My wife, on the other hand, is truly a dog lover. She has a special voice she uses to communicate with dogs and the ashes of her dead Irish wolf hound, Thor, reside on the nightstand next to our bed. She’s always had a dog in her life, except for the last few years, which coincidentally have been the years we’ve been together. She’s never shy about reminding me of that fact or of her desire to once again have a puppy. I have no doubt this creature would steal the bulk of her love and affection away from me.
I have accepted this fate. However, if some mutt is going to come along and steal my lady’s heart, it better at least have the decency to not upstage me when I’m running. While this may seem like an unlikely scenario it is exactly what happened at a race in Elkmont, Alabama recently. In case you haven’t already come across this story on one of your social network feeds, let me sum it up… a hound dog named Ludvine snuck away from her home and ended up in the starting area for a nearby half marathon. The dog crashed the race, running the entire 13.1 miles and finishing with an impressive (albeit unofficial) time of 1:32:56, which was good enough for 6th place (again, unofficially).
While I recognize the adorable nature of this tale and applaud Ludvine’s natural ability, I can’t say it warms my heart. Quite the opposite. It’s bad enough when dogs pass me during my own races – I’m looking at you little black doggy that passed me around the halfway point of my last half marathon – but at least I could fool myself into thinking the owners were really the facilitators of my embarrassment. Clearly, these runners were training their animals for weeks and preparing them for the rigors of long distance running. But this pooch in Alabama simply wandered on the course and bested my PR by more than twenty minutes.
If that weren’t enough, it turns out this bitch (a term that’s technically accurate here) was actually half-assing it. Reports from other race participants indicate that she frolicked with other dogs on the course and even “went into a field with some mules and cows” only to return and finish with a time that was much shorter than I could ever hope to achieve.
This may seem like the cantankerous ramblings of a cynical, bitter runner, but ask yourself, what has Ludvine done to deserve her impressive half marathon time and the accompanying fame and notoriety?
Did she train for three months to prepare for this race? No.
Did spend $120 on high-tech, fluorescent running shoes? No.
Did she get up at the crack of dawn for weeks and venture out into the cold, damp morning in order to adhere to her strict training plan? No.
I’m guessing Ludvine didn’t even carbo-load or apply the requisite pre-race nipple butter. And yet, here she is, stealing the hearts of the running community one Facebook post at a time.
Someday my wife and I will get a dog. And when we do, we will ask all the pertinent questions that accompany dog adoption: Where did this dog come from? Has he had any issues with biting? Is he good with kids?
But mostly, I’ll just be wondering one thing… What’s his fastest time in the 5K?