Galveston Sand Crab 5K

To mark our fifth year running the Galveston Sand Crab, we added an element: Bo the New Dog.

We got kind of a late start on Saturday, which turned a three-hour drive into a five-hour frustration fest thanks to construction on two major highways in Houston, then a several-mile backup over the Galveston causeway. We've only had Bo for two weeks so we weren't sure of his road-trip skills, but he was great, just chilling in the back seat the whole way.

When we finally got onto the island, we headed for Olympia Grill, a dog-friendly restaurant on the harbor side. Our waiter even brought Bo a doggie water dish!

Unfortunately Run in Texas only held advance packet pickup on Friday afternoon, which meant we couldn't get our stuff until we arrived at the race. So we checked in to the hotel and goofed off for a few hours before heading out to East Beach waaaaay early, trying to score a parking space in the free lot before collecting our packets.

We used the time to introduce Bo to beach sand and the Gulf. He was kind of baffled by sand at first, trying to shake it off like water. But a couple of warmup/test runs showed he was ready to race.

He was the only dog participant (but the Galveston Humane Society is a race beneficiary so we figured he was allowed), and he got lots of attention. We developed a quick answer to "What kind of dog is he?" Since he looks like a dachshund mixed with a larger (but as yet unidentified) breed, we call him "Dachshund and Sneaky Neighbor Dog."

Have I mentioned that my knee/hamstring/calf has been bothering me again? Not like it hurt last winter, but enough to make me wonder how well it would handle a beach race. So I took some Aleve and crossed my fingers.

Finally at 8:30, after the kids' race completed, we were off.

The sand was in good condition this year–it must have rained recently because it was pretty well packed down, even away from the water. This was good news for my leg, and so far it was holding up.

The first half of the race ran into the wind, and I dodged the usual sand castle obstacles. My headlamp is just one of those that clips onto my visor–every year I say I need to get a better one, and every year I forget. The guys carried a flashlight, and Bo was wearing a couple of glow necklaces. That made them easy to spot when they passed me going the other direction–yellow glow necklaces a foot off the ground could really only belong to Bo.

On the way back, I let a family of three pace me. Dad wore a nuclear-glow headlamp, so I just tucked in behind him. My music was kind of loud but I could tell that the daughter was struggling. I couldn't hear her words, but I recognized her tone. Mom matter-of-factly urged her on. And to her credit, at least while I was behind them she kept running.

I could see the flashing lights of the turnoff to the finish probably .25 away, and I picked up my pace, leaving the family behind. But the semi-packed sand had been churned up a bit by earlier runners (and one dog) so it was a little more difficult. The beach makes for a slower pace than usual, but I ran my fastest pace at the end, and I finished pain-free, about fifteen seconds faster than last year.

This race still uses a foot pod timing chip, so I had to stop and let the guy repossess the chip. I wish he'd have given me 30 seconds to catch my breath and walk it off, but I can see why they want to grab people before they abscond with the chips.

The first two or three years we ran this race, our registration fee got us beer and a plate of BBQ. Last year they still gave away beer but you had to buy BBQ from a food truck. This year, only beer. And a Kona Ice stand. Sign of the times, I guess. Still, we had fun.

Last year B placed in his age group, but this year he was fifth. So without food, we didn't have much incentive to stick around. We packed up our dog and headed out.

Bo did really well on his first road trip with us–and his first 5K means an automatic PR. Not only that, he finished first in his age species group. Win-win!