Friday, July 22, 2016

Xterra Mountain Champs (Beaver Creek)

I don't know why I keep signing up for this.  I did a pre-ride of the course 2 weeks before and had registered the day before the pre-ride.  After the pre-ride I joked that it's a good thing I'd registered already.  The bike is hard and long and steep and hard and up at a high elevation (high point of 9184') and when you're done you get to do a super hard run that's also steep and up at a high elevation (high point of 8872').

I had a good swim this year, water was supposedly 66 degrees but felt warmer, didn't even need swim socks.  I managed the crowds o.k., found some feet to draft off of early on.  Pace was 1:51/100 yds. this year compared to 1:48/100 yds. which added up to a difference of 19 seconds.

Bike went well, better than the pre-ride which always seems to be the case.  The race was super competitive this year because Xterra cancelled 2 of the 4 Regionals in the U.S. that qualify you for Worlds so lots of super fast, super competitive people showed up to Mountain Champs this year.  Normally I end up riding with somebody but this year I was on my own from just past the first aid station.  It was a very strange feeling.  My bike time was approximately 2 mins. slower than last year.  Can't tell exactly because I'd had some issue with pushing the wrong buttons on the Garmin last year.

The run did not go well and that is an understatement.  It was much hotter this year - high 70's to low 80's, maybe hotter - and the heat combined with the elevation left me dizzy and nauseous right from the start.  The first climb is steep and long and to call what I was doing 'hiking' or even 'walking' would be an exaggeration.  I'm not sure what to call it.  But it was slow and hard and after a mile and a half or so I wondered if I should turn around and find my way back.  But that would be 3 miles total and the run was 6 and I'd already come so far so I figured I may as well gut it out.  And gut it out I did.  One hour and 44 minutes to complete 5.5 miles for a whopping pace of 18:53 min./mile which is probably the slowest I've ever run a race.  Last year was 1:27:31 or 16:16 min./mile and I know I was struggling then as well.  But as I recall the dizzy, nauseous, I'm maybe going to pass out feeling didn't come until the second climb.  It was cooler though, a storm front blew through and it was cloudy and cool and I think even a few raindrops came here and there for the first half of the run but then the sun came out for the second part and I think that's when I started feeling really bad.  My guess is that the heat and altitude combined with the length and difficulty of the race and my issues with low blood pressure don't make for a great race for me.  Not sure if I'll go next year.

I did have fun though for most of the race and for the first time I drove up on Friday and spent the night.  Some women invited me to share their condo and it was so fancy and a couple minutes walk to the start line.  They turned out to be really nice and it was fun to meet some new people, especially fellow Xterra women.  There aren't many of us out there, especially in the 45-49 and 50-54 age group.

And the trails were beautiful.  Still so lush and green up there though the trails were dry and dusty compared to when I did my pre-ride a couple of weeks previous.

Not many T2's are as beautiful as this.



And the finish line.



Next race is Xterra Winter Park in 2 weeks and I get to go up there tomorrow to pre-ride.  Let's hope I have enough legs left.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Gone

RIP Strummer, March 2005 - June 24, 2016


Had to say goodbye to my bestest buddy a week and a half ago.  Came up limping on 3 legs the Sunday morning after Xterra Lory, diagnosed with an inoperable tumor Monday night and gone on Friday.  There was a slim chance the tumor was an abscess so we'd been giving him antibiotics and pain killers since the vet assured us he was in pain though aside from not wanting to bear weight on the bad leg he seemed his perfectly normal self.  Tearing around the house and yard, barking, playing with his toys and the garden hose, full of himself, pure Strummer.  Then Thursday night his leg looked bigger and by Friday morning his leg started to explode in size, a big new lump around his hock, obviously not an abscess.  Still his crazy self though.  We'd been torturing ourselves all week over what to do.  He didn't seem in pain despite what the vet said but who can say with a dog like Strummer.  But after his leg blew up so quickly on Friday the decision was obvious.  Difficult, heart breaking but obvious.

Could not even bring myself to write about it until now.  Not that this is easy.

This photo came up as a memory to share on my Facebook the other day.


I hate Facebook.  Been avoiding it more than usual partly for this very reason.  Had to tell people about Strummer though, did not want to explain it over and over.  Not even really happy about writing about it now but I have to put something here.

What to say, what photos to post?  The task is overwhelming.  The whole story of his life with me is in this blog.  How to whittle it down to a single post?  Impossible.

The very last photo I took of him is in the post below, having his morning nap in the sun with Ruby on May 25, a crappy cell phone picture.  This photo below was taken 2 days prior with my point and shoot.  Not very interesting but I can't bring myself to pour through all the zillions of photos, not right now anyway.


He was such a force of nature, we were sure he'd live to 15, the only questions was whether he'd live to 16 or 17.  As such he'd been a bit neglected with Lola approaching 16 and having a noticeable decline in mobility and Ruby being a new dog and then having surgery, Strummer was being pushed to the background a bit and I'd been making efforts here and there to have time for him.  I'd been making plans for stuff to do with him this summer post agility career.  It turned out we never even had a final trip to the Rez for swimming, one of his favorite things aside from agility.  At least he was his crazy self right up until the end.  I suppose that's something.  But I'll never again name a dog after a punk rock icon who passed away suddenly, tragically and way too early while he was still putting out some of his best work.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fun With Taper Week - Pantyhose Experiments and Wasp Stings

I have Xterra Lory tomorrow and the weather forecast is for HOT.  High of 90, probably will be around 80 when I finish my race, mid to upper 70's when I start the run.  Doesn't sound terrible but the course has no shade and there are no water stations on the run for the 3 1/4 mile stretch that includes the steep, long hot climb and steep technical descent.  If the forecast is for hot I carry a water bottle to splash water on me and this is a huge help but also a pain to carry.  Last year I stuffed ice in my hat and sports bra in addition to the water bottle and that helped a lot, didn't feel like I needed the water bottle.  But this took some time in transition and the ice in my hat barely stayed in, was lumpy and awkward.  When I explain my concerns to my coach she has the brilliant answer of ice cubes in panty hose stuffed down your jersey.  This is what the cool kid pro cyclists do. 

Now if you have engineer brains there are a million ways to overthink this and I'll spare you all my initial misconceptions of his this is supposed to work.  In the end I did a trial run with rectangular shaped bags stuffed as tight as I could and jammed in the front and back of my tri-suit plus a smaller bag with smaller ice cubes stuffed in my hat.  I ran for 20 minutes in the heat of the day but also had about 15 minutes warm-up/cool down and the ice had barely melted.  In fact it took several hours with the ice sitting in the sun for the bags to melt completely.  And I felt cool enough plus I can take the bag out of my hat to wipe water on my face and neck whenever I want.  Though when I tried this on my test run I dropped the bag onto the dirt trail and ended up picking dirt out of my head for the rest of the night.  And it would have made a terrible mess if I tried to wipe it on my face.  So I know to be careful of that during the race.  Also I used way too much ice and the bags were lumpy and awkward.  I'll cut down on the amount for race day.

Next question was will the ice bags stay cool in my soft sided cooler until the run?  Or do I need the hard sided cooler which will be a pain to lug to transition and take up a bunch of room in a tight transition area (race is sold out)?  This called for more experiments.  I left bags in both coolers sitting in the hot midday sun and after 3 hours the bags didn't melt at all in the hard sided cooler and had melted a bit in the soft sided cooler but there was still plenty of ice left.  So the plan is to put a bit of extra ice in each bag and used the soft sided cooler.

I bought an ice cube tray that makes small cubes so the bags won't be so lumpy. 

Overstuffed a bit to allow for melt-age.



I'll do two more, one for my back during the bike and another for the run.  The stupid dumbass things we obsess over during taper week.

It seems there's always some weird, black swan type thing that happens during taper week.  You know something's coming but you have no idea what it will be.  For me it was stepping on a wasp in my house at 1:00 in the morning.  I got up for a glass of water and Lola insisted on going out which means Strummer insists on going out and while I was opening the screen door for the dogs to go out, I felt a sharp sting on my foot.  It was too painful for a simple goat head or other sticker thingy and when I looked down I could see the wasp still in my foot and I saw my race flash before my eyes.  How am I going to run with a swollen, sore foot?  I swatted it off and this whole display sent Strummer running to his crate.  Nope, didn't see that one coming.  Got the stinger out, washed the puncture site and put some ice on it because it was already starting to throb.  I've had a severe reaction to a wasp sting in the past but also mild reactions more recently so I wasn't sure what would happen.  I went back to sleep with the cold pack on my foot and hoped for the best.  Thankfully today there's no pain and only a very small, barely noticeable bit of swelling.  Normally I'm not a fan of icing injuries but in this case it seems to have worked.  Or maybe I never got that much venom.  I suspect the wasp was sleepy or maybe near dying if he was lying on the floor.  Jonny supposes the wasp was up near the top of the door and when I opened it for the dogs it fell to the ground.  Who knows.  Just glad it looks like tomorrow is a go.  Excited for the first real race of the season!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Sweet Mother of Rest Day



It's been a busy last couple of weeks filled with dog drama and lots of training.

First off the Thursday night before USDAA Regionals a couple weeks ago, Strummer looked off.  Went for a calm leash walk at 3:30 and he was fine then got up from lying down at 5:00 and looked like something was wrong with his rear right leg.  Definitely wasn't putting full weight on it.  I checked his foot but couldn't find anything save a small line in his pad, like maybe a small cut that was healing.  My best guess was that on Wednesday he'd had a panic attack from a fly or thunder when I wasn't home at lunch time.  He had jumped up on the bathroom sink and smashed a mug.  There was a smear of blood on the toilet seat next to the sink but I couldn't find a cut on him or any more blood anywhere either in the house or on him.  Maybe he'd slit his pad a little?

Friday morning Jonny thought he looked o.k. but I wasn't fully convinced.  Nonetheless I drove down to the trial site and walked him a bit on the grounds.  About 5-10 minutes into the walk he let out a yelp but still no change to his gait and nothing obvious in his feet.  I thought his gait looked off but I'd been looking at it for so long I couldn't tell anymore so I asked someone I trusted to have a look at him trotting and she could tell right away which leg was off even though I didn't tell her what I suspected was wrong.  So that was it, I pulled him from Regionals.  SO disappointed but there was no way I was going to risk running him.  And very glad I did because by the end of the day he was on 3 legs.  It's impossible to get him to rest without crating him and I couldn't imagine crating him.  Crazy dog charging around the house on 3 legs.  It's a small house but still.

My vet friend came on Monday to give Ruby her vaccinations, heart worm, etc. and while she was here I had her look at Strummer.  She had the very good news of he had not torn his ACL (most gigantic sigh of relief over that, I had been worried about that all weekend).  There was something going on with his knee but not a tear.  Also the muscles on his bad leg were way way more developed than on his good leg.  Weird.  But then she had the very bad news of Ruby's knees were bad.  Luxating patellas, the bane of the little dog world.  And they were about as bad as it gets, the kneecap not even sitting in any kind of groove.  Her joints felt o.k. but she would eventually have pain in her old age.  And watching poor Lola gimp around every day, well, I don't want to go through that again.  She's 4, if I'm going to fix her knees, now's the time to do it.  Ugh, unanticipated dog surgery.  Still, if I have to choose between ACL surgery on Strummer or a kneecap fix on Ruby I got off lucky.

So Tuesday of this week Ruby had surgery.  This was also my hardest week of triathlon training before Xterra Lory in a few weeks.  And a busy week at work.  Somehow it all got done.  Yesterday was a 1.2 mile swim race at Boyd Lake in Loveland which was more of an over 1.5 mile swim race because the course was long.  Then a 1.5 hour trail run that turned into 1 hour 53 minutes because I was unfamiliar with the trails up at Horsetooth Mountain Park and misjudged how long a route would take me.  Then a stop in Longmont on the way home to pick up some DVD's from somebody at a dog show.  Where the person I got Ruby from happened to be competing so I was able to give her an update.

Ruby came through the surgery no problem and is recovering well.  She's on a buncha drugs and I have to do some mobilization exercises with her joints 3 times a day, ice her knees twice a day and carry her out to the yard to do her business.  Which was proving the only difficulty because she was not pooping.  I gave her asstons of coconut oil, pumpkin, broth and eventually two stool softeners and finally this morning there was poop!  I don't think I've ever been so happy to see dog poop.  How can a dog go 5 1/2 days without pooping?  Poor little smunchkin.  But hopefully she's on the mend in that department.  She's bearing weight on her legs as well, walking around the yard a little bit. 


I decided to retire Strummer from agility so for the first time in 15 years or so I'm not going to be able to compete in agility.  Very very weird and sad but I have to do what's right for Strummer.  He seems to be fully recovered from whatever he did to himself but my vet friend agreed that it would be best to retire him.  I was planning for Regionals to be his last USDAA trial and maybe do some UKI over the summer then retire him anyway so we're not too far off what I was planning.  Still all of a sudden there's a UKI trial less than an hour from my house in a couple of weeks.  I'm happy to see UKI making headway in the area but wish it could have been sooner.  And the thing I'll miss most of all is training with my training partners.  That was the best part of agility for me.  Strummer will miss it too but oh well.  He turned 11 in March and it's time.  We'll find other stuff to do. 

My swim race went well, 1:50/100 yd pace, pretty standard for me but good for only my third time in open water this summer.  Never been to Boyd Lake before and it was nice.  Water temp. was reasonable, maybe 65-66 degrees, and a warm sunny morning.  Horsetooth Mountain Park was spectacular.  I'd been there once over 20 years ago so I didn't remember much of the trails and I'm sure it's changed a lot.  So steep.  I actually passed a group of 3 bikers and I was running so slowly.  It was crowded at the trail head, I was lucky to even get in because the gate to the parking lot was shut but as I was about to turn around, the ranger motioned me in and said a spot had just freed up.  The trails themselves were only busy for the first mile or so then I practically had the joint to myself.  So green and lush and the wildflowers!  The wild iris are spectacular right now on many of the Front Range Trails.  No photos of any of it.  Didn't bother at the swim race and didn't bring my camera or phone with me on my run.  Oh well, sometimes it's good to enjoy stuff and not worry about documenting every last thing.  I love photography and taking time for photos but not all the time.

Next week should be less hectic.  Ruby should be getting a bit more mobility and I'm not worrying as much anymore now that we have poop and she's walking a bit.  Less training load this week as well, 9 1/2 hours compared to 12 1/2 for this week.  Was only supposed to be 12 but I had a bike ride run long as well as that run yesterday.  Phew, maybe I'll finally have time to plant my tomato plants.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Ruby Soho

So this happened.


Don't ask me how.  Because TWO is my bestest number of dogs.

I went to agility practice with one dog and came home with two.  Still a little puzzled as to how that happened.  Apparently I have no impulse control.  One of my training partners brought her to practice and midway through brought her out to say 'hi' and that was it.  The dog belonged to her nephew's room mate and the room mate moved out leaving the nephew with the dog.  Then the nephew had to move and the new place doesn't allow dogs.  Because hello Front Range Housing Crunch.  Getting any kind of apartment is a challenge these days for regular folks.  Any kind of housing is a challenge for that matter.  Unless you're a rich Google Silicon Valley transplant.  Then the world is your oyster and everything is So Cheap Dahling.  But for the working stiffs and what's left of the middle class it's another story.  So yeah, three dogs.



Thankfully she fits right in, has perfect manners, a great temperament.  And such a happy wee soul.


Which is why I couldn't resist her.  Such an easy little girl.  I've long wanted a wee dog but the right one never came along.  And she's about as right as it gets.


She doesn't need much training.  Will have to teach her a recall and 'stay' and maybe some loose leash walking.  She's little but remarkably strong when she gets the scent of something.  Super high prey drive so she may never get to go off leash on the Open Space or hiking but we'll see how recall training goes.  Right now we're working on learning how to learn, using the clicker for some simple tricks.  She loves training so far though gets easily frustrated when she doesn't understand what I want so I'm re-learning how to break things down.  Been so long since I've done basic training and it's never been a strength for me so I'm determined this time around to be more patient and thoughtful about it.  And to make it fun for her.  So far she enjoys it.  Don't know what she'll think about agility but we'll give it a try.  If she doesn't like it, no big deal but I think she'll like it.  But for now it's all about the tricks.  And learning to play.  She has zero interest in toys.  Thankfully she goes crazy for food.

She's an energetic little thing but doesn't need a lot of exercise.  She's just as happy to curl up in my lap for a nap as she is to go for a 90 minute walk on the Open Space.  And she easily keeps up with Strummer and me going at my walking pace.  I think she'll be great to take running with me because she just breaks into a run at my running pace.  I want to build her up to that, not sure what kind of exercise she was getting before though she seems fit and active.

Her name is Suzy but we're going to re-name her Ruby Soho or Roo for short.  She has her own theme song.



It is the 20th anniversary of 'Out Come the Wolves'.  Don't even ask me how old that makes me feel.

It's not really like having 3 dogs, right?  More like 2 dogs and a cat.


Yeah, that's what I keep telling myself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Is There Anything Cuter Than Baby Goats?

Maybe a mini donkey.



Or a mini donkey with baby goats.



On a dogwalk.



I went to visit my friend's hobby farm over the weekend.  Because newborn baby goats.  This little one was born yesterday.  I got out of my car and my friend threw him into my arms and omg the adorableness was overwhelming.  Was so tempted to stuff him away in my Honda Element.  He totally would have fit in Strummy's car crate.



But I live in city limits with not enough land to pass muster with the city.  I can have chickens but baby goats, even mini ones, require an acre (or maybe 1/2) of land and I'm a bit short there.  But sheesh it was tempting.




So stinkin' cute.







It's a good thing I couldn't take any home because how would I choose?





I think it's a frighteningly short jump from Crazy Dog Lady to Crazy Goat Lady.



Plus I think I need a mini donkey too.  I'd be foolish not to.


Must get working on that Moving Plan.  I totally need my own farm.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day of Speed Weekend

Had a whirlwind weekend of mountain biking down in Castle Rock on Friday then a USDAA trial the opposite direction in Greeley.  Somehow my knees survived all of this.

Met an Xterra friend down in Castle Rock to ride the Ridgeline Rampage bike race course.  Thankfully she'd been on the trails a few times and knew most of the course.  We did have to do some navigating but in the end only missed one turn near the end of a 16 mile course that wasn't signed very well.

Since I was riding with someone else and I was lagging behind a bit I only took one picture.  She was already having to wait for me, didn't want to make her wait for photos.

A nice view of the Continental Divide.


What was I saying the other day about feeling Fit and Feisty on the bike?  Rusty and winded was maybe a better description for the day but I had a great time riding some new to me trails.  And it's nice to ride with someone.  I'm slower but we're not too far apart, not like when I ride with Jonny.

The trails were nice, not technical.  But at times bordering on Front Range Sprawl of McMansions.  Every time I go to Castle Rock I become ever more thankful for Boulder.  It's crowded here but not that crowded.

I'm hoping to be able to do the race in a week and a half.  All depends on the weather.  Right now it's not looking good, rain predicted for all of next week including the weekend.  Of course it can and probably will change by next week.  We'll see what develops.

A 2 1/2 hour mountain bike ride is not the best way to kick of an agility weekend of way more runs per day then I normally enter but oh well.  Saturday was 5 runs, Sunday a whopping 6 runs.  Oddly my knees felt the best they've felt in a long time, no pain to speak of.  I could feel some mild throbbing in my quads when I sat for a while but for the most part my legs felt great and I was moving well during my runs.

Some very challenging course, especially Grand Prix.  Only 2 Q's in all of Performance and I think 3 Q's or so in Championship.  All the 22" dogs were eliminated except one who had 10 faults.  In fact there were only maybe 4 dogs total in the whole class with faults and the rest E'd.  Can't recall ever seeing anything like it.  Lots of people disappointed as they were hoping for a Grand Prix Q to be able to compete at Regionals next month.  I was hoping for one too but no big deal.  I'm not going to Nat's. and I have plenty to enter.  I'll have one last try at the local GP at Regionals but it's no big deal, so expensive to enter anyway but I entered provisionally if we get it.

As for the Grand Prix course I think the biggest issue was that there were so many traps and challenges, one right after the other, if one didn't get you the other did.


Most people ate it at the dogwalk/tunnel discrimination.  The worst option was to wrap the dog to the right.  That set a line straight into the tunnel.  There may have been some who tried a front or blind between 11 and 12 after turning to the right and maybe that worked for a precious few, I can't remember.  I did a reverse spin at 11, got a tight turn and Strum went right up the dogwalk no problem.  I fell victim between Jumps 5 and 6.  I was behind because I had to babysit the teeter a bit so I couldn't cue the tight line between 5 and 6 and got a back jump at 6.  Lots of off courses at the #9 Tunnel as well.  I did front after Jump 8 and it wasted some time but I got the correct tunnel entrance no problem.  Lots of people kept their dog on their right and tried to pull and that mostly didn't work, especially for the fast dogs.  There were a couple few dogs who refused the tunnel at the end including Strummer.  Weird, I don't know what was up there.  The #15 tunnel to Jump #16 was also a challenge.  I ended up further behind than I was hoping there but we pulled it off sort of.  The judge was sympathetic and told us she wouldn't be super strict about the run out plane at 16.

Despite the low Q rate I was happy I entered and got to try the course.  There were many challenging courses this weekend, I'm guessing a very low Q rate in general and we had more E's than normal.  But I'm at a point in my agility career that I'm happy for the challenging courses, don't care that much about Q's, love to have a challenging puzzle to solve.

I'm also at a point where I wish I had my own practice field.  It's frustrating to drive out to the practice field and there are other people already there.  It's especially hard on Strummer because he knows where we're going and starts whining/wailing in anticipation.  It's heartbreaking to have to turn around and deny him.  Or nobody is there when I get there and I spend 20 minutes setting something up and then other people arrive.  I love practicing with my training partner at her place but she doesn't have enough room for a full course and likes to set up courses with small distances between the jumps.  It's just not the same as running a full, real course.  And she doesn't have a dogwalk.  I'm not complaining, so happy to have people to practice with and her yard is great.  But moving forward it will be frustrating for me to train a new dog without having regular access to equipment.  Will have to get going on that move to Cortez though I admit the thought of taking care of acreage is sounding more and more exhausting.

Anyway, I had a great weekend with the challenging courses.  And we did have some success - 1st place in Steeplechase Finals and Strum did both sets of weaves with no bobbles!  Over the moon about that.  I'm feeling ready for Regionals, excited about it too!  My training partner has decided to enter her older dog in Performance so I have a great low pressure teammate.  She's not going to Nat's. and doesn't do that much USDAA so doesn't need or care about a Q.  And there will be Steeplechase and Biathlon, my favorite classes.  Looking forward to it next month.

 Here's a video of Sunday's runs.



I only got Saturday's Steeplechase run somehow, had some technical difficulties that were probably due to an old, dying battery.  At least I hope that's all it is.  Camera kept turning off even though the battery reading had plenty of juice.

Saturday's Steeplechase Round 1



Strummy had a great time.


He loves to watch, though I don't let him get too overstimulated.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Back to Spring

And poof, just like that the snow is gone and we're back to spring.  A nice hike at Hall Ranch last Sunday.  I thought for sure we were having the Zombie Apocalypse because the trail was quiet despite being one of the few trails in Boulder County that didn't have snow/ice/mud going on.  And we had a late start due to agility practice beforehand with my training partner who couldn't get an earlier start.


We came across a deer carcass and decided to turn around.  Didn't want to run into any kitties.  Plus I was a bit tired and stiff from a week of training.  On the one hand it seems like I shouldn't be tired and stiff in April but on the other hand I don't feel like I've lost much strength/fitness during the off season.  Swimming especially is going well and I don't feel completely useless on the bike though I haven't been on any real trails yet.  Hopefully weather and schedules will hold out and I'll meet a woman I know through my coach and Xterra racing this week to pre-ride a trail for a mountain bike race I'm thinking of doing in Castle Rock.  Not looking forward to the drive but at least I can go during off peak traffic hours and it'll be nice to ride with someone my age and ability. 

My flexible schedule is the one thing that's keeping life in Too Many People Land tolerable.  At least I can hit up the trails during the week though there are some trails that are even a bit busy during the week these days.  Jonny's work has given him unlimited vacation so we're planning some good trips for the summer.  I've been spending my allotted computer time (limiting my screen time even more than usual these days - the real world is a good place) immersed in Colorado/Utah mountain bike and hiker blogs to get ideas for new to us, more remote places to go.  Neither of us are big on camping and there's the problem of the dogs so some of the multi-day hike/bike adventures in these blogs won't work for us but I think we'll be able to put together some good day trips.  And at least one visit to Cortez/Mancos/Durango to check things out in the heart of summer.

Agility trial this weekend!  Should be fun.  And good practice for the upcoming USDAA Regionals because it's on artificial turf.  Looks like it could be long days though.  We'll see if I make it to last class on Sunday.