I’ve run several races since moving to Tallahassee. But I hadn’t realized until well after I crossed the finish line of the FSU Family Weekend 5k that none of those had been in my new hometown. This course was a great one for me- somewhat familiar in that I passed through areas that I had seen before at work each day, but also still an adventure! Thanks to my atrocious sense of direction, I don’t always know where I am in relation to other things. So in running on a planned course, I got to see how close some buildings were to others, found a few new ways to get to buildings I’ve heard about, and generally got a better feel for my new place of work.

And the TIME! My previous fastest mile split was 8:53, thanks to the encouragement of/my intense competitive spirit with Ken Getty, and that was for a 5 mile race. Fueled by inspiration from my sometimes running buddy and best friend Jeff Parker, I went in with designs on beating that milestone. And, without being a braggart (because I had no idea this was going to happen, and CERTAINLY did not expect it), I crushed it.

25:07 (8:06/mi)? Are you kidding me?

This is the fastest 5k I’ve ever done, and fastest mile split of my life. It’s encouraging that I can still surprise myself. I don’t plan on making a habit of running races that fast, but it puts a smile on my face and some added strength in my heart to know that I can.

So why isn’t the picture for this post of me crossing the finish line? Because the little lady you see above stole my heart not too long after the race. After finishing the face and heading back to work at the registration tables, I saw one of our staff members walking around with her on an improvised leash made of two lanyards. Crafty! She had a collar on, but no tags. She was the sweetest dog, very happy but clearly without an owner. A few of the other staff members and I stayed with her for a bit until our union director said that she had to go. He wanted to call Animal Control or the Sheriff’s office to come get her, moves that would have undoubtedly resulted in her being put down. NO GOOD. So I volunteered to take her, and figure out what the safer option for her was.

As an avowed aspiring dog owner, you can only imagine how excited I was. I walked with her to the car, and drove in the direction of the animal hospital on my street. I knew they were open, and knew they’d help me decide what to do and would make sure she was safe. She never barked once, only whimpering a few times as she tried to get comfortable in the car. But she sat once she had sniffer out her surroundings, and even lay on my lap for a bit as I drove. Positively adorable.

I did the responsible thing and left her at the hospital so they could transport her to the shelter, but I’ve been checking in to see how she’s doing. Once they transport her to the shelter, I may even go visit if she’s not claimed right away. But it gave me some perspective. Do I still want a dog? Absolutely, maybe even more so now. But I’ve got some work to do to make sure I’m ready for one. Here’s hoping that’s something that can come into my life in the not too distant future.

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