Thursday, March 24, 2005

Lola, left back; Cody, right back; Maggie, front center Posted by Hello

Puppy Love

Monday, March 21

Wasn’t feeling too spunky so I ran/walked Lola only a mile or so to save myself for swimming master’s at night. Missing swim workouts is the worst for me, I lose what little I have so quickly. Swimming went o.k. considering. There was only one guy in my lane and we were about the same speed so we switched off leading and it worked out pretty well. Around 2700 yards.

Tuesday, March 22

Two projects due at work today and I had to go in early so I skipped the morning workout and figured I’d go to spinning after work. Think again, workout was cancelled. Today turned into a rest day for me but not for Lola. I took advantage of the spare evening to stop at the agility field after work for a quick practice. Worked on her ‘go on’ cue and some more distance stuff. We’ll get those Elite Gamblers legs yet. One of my instructors was there working her Border Collie and they were just amazing to watch. She can send him to the dog walk and he’ll race to the bottom on the far side and stop waiting for his next cue while she just stands there at the start of the walk. For those who don’t do agility, believe me this is something. Lola has terrible dog walk problems lately and I’m so envious. I’d be happy if she’d just do the whole walk without stopping on the down ramp and barking her fool head off at me (or the judge) then leaping over the contact zone, causing yet another missed Q.

Wednesday, March 23

4 mile trail run in the a.m. with Lola. I felt o.k., not terrible, not great. It was a damp cloudy morning, unusual for Boulder so it was kind of nice. The tops of the hills were peeking out from the fog, very cool.

My husband’s mountain biking group was supposed to go riding tonight then come to our house afterwards for dinner but there was a little bit of rain so they wussed out and decided to sit on their asses watching movies, eating lasagna and drinking beer in our very cramped living room. These people rode in the dark after work all winter long through all kinds of hideous weather conditions and a little rain in March sends them to the couch. I guess even the most hardcore need to relax and blow off a ride every once in a while.

One of the women in the group brought her Australian Cattle Dog puppy Maggie, and Lola was instantly in love. After a few initial sniffs she went into an enthusiastic tail wagging play bow and it was Game On! They wrestled and played while Lola barked her head off, wreaking havoc in the already overcrowded living room. Meanwhile the guys were laughing their heads off at ‘Napolean Dynamite’. How they could hear the movie over the doggie bedlam was beyond me. Cody had to join into the fracas, playing the ‘Fun Police’ and barking at the two rabble rousers to quit their damn rough housing in the house. Cody has a pretty strong sense of decorum and doesn’t stand for shenanigans from other dogs (or people). Lola somehow outlasted the puppy and kept trying to get her to play long after she had pooped out. When it was time to go Maggie started following her owner out the door then turned around, tucked her tail between her legs and ran back inside, straight onto our couch much to her owner’s horror. I thought it was great that she’d had such a good time she didn’t want to leave her new doggie friends. Cody heaved a big old sigh of relief when the house finally returned to normal. Somehow this evening did not further my campaign of convincing my husband to get a third dog.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Georgie hard at work Posted by Hello

I Kid You Not

For reasons I'm still not entirely clear on, one of our clients decided to bring her baby goat Georgie into our office for a visit. My office allows us to bring our dogs to work and perhaps this somehow inspired her to bring her goat. I put it down to just another one of those 'Only in Boulder' moments. I've never really seen a goat up close & personal before, let alone a 3 week old baby goat. Apparently he's some special breed of miniature goat and was pretty tiny, just a bit larger than the office's resident Jack Russell Terrier. Ernie the JRT was terrified of the goat, literally shaking from fear. I was tempted to bring my Border Collie mix Cody out of my office to see if I could initiate an impromptu herding instinct test but I thought better of it in the end. Baby goats are actually quite soft and though this one was very cute and seemed remarkably clean for a barnyard animal he could have done with some deodorant or something. The bad news is after seeing the pictures my husband now wants a miniature goat to add to our menagerie. I wonder if they're any good at agility? I could use some more aggravation in my life.

4 mile trail run (Foothills Trail) with Lola

Rest day. Will someone please explain that to Lola? There is no word in Border Collie for' rest day'. I took her to the dog park so she could chase tennis balls. Walking back to the car I saw a fox hunting in the grass right off the trail. He jumped about 3-4 feet into the air and pounced on something. I had to take Lola down a different trail to avoid it and when it finally saw us it ran only a short distance away then sat and watched us. The foxes in Boulder are so used to people they let you get pretty close. When it realized we weren't interested it went back to its rodents. A rather uncomfortable metaphor for Congress at the moment.

3 mile run in the a.m. with Lola. Dragged my ass around the lake, I was really tired.

2700 yards swimming at master's in the p.m. Dragged my ass up and down the pool, still pretty tired.

2 mile walk with both dogs, just didn't feel up to running. The walk felt great though.

Rode the bike trainer in my office for about 40 minutes at lunch time. I couldn't go any longer because I had to get back to work but to be honest I didn't feel up to much else anyway.

Woke up feeling really dragged out tired. Resting heart rate was 45 bpm and I wondered if I was dead. Normally it's around 54. I skipped agility course run throughs in the morning hoping to save my energy for a bike ride but I just didn't feel like I could manage it. I laid down on the couch around 1:30 pm and was asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. Didn't get up until 3:00 pm when my husband came home from his ride and woke me up (or more accurately the overexcited dogs greeting him woke me up).

It felt like it could be the return of the borderline anemia I suffered in my teens and early 20's though of course it could be anything, the symptoms were so vague. I bought some iron pills for the first time in almost 20 years and had a nice spinach dish from an Indian restaurant for dinner. Took the dogs to the agility field on the way to the restaurant to run the course from this morning. The short bit of sprinting I had to do had me exhausted and dizzy. The dogs did great though, only fell for one off course.

Woke up feeling better, resting heart rate up to 50-51 and I felt like I might actually be able to do something today. Wanted to go for a bike ride but the weather was iffy so I decided on a trail run instead. Went along the Foothills Trail and took a little spur trail that doesn't seem to have a name. It's not super steep but it does have lots of little ups and downs, twists and turns. It's mostly smooth single track with a few rocky bits. The sun was shining and I was running in shorts and short sleeves for the first time in who know when. It felt like I was really flying on the downhills and I'd finally got some life back in me. Had some more spinach and iron pills today. Maybe Popeye really knew what he was talking about.

I barely had time to shower and shove a little food in after my run before it was time to leave for agility class. I took both dogs and switched off between them for each exercise. Today we were focusing on USDAA style Gamblers, one of my favorite events. Both dogs did great, getting the tricky gamble the first time. Of course we somehow messed it up on subsequent tries, probably due to timing issues on my part, but they eventually got it. Cody was doing especially well. Lola took off after some goats in an adjacent field at the start of class but I got her attention back on me pretty quickly. What is it about those goats? One of them actually looked like Georgie. Maybe he was flirting with Lola, trying to get me back for calling him stinky.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Back in the swim of things

Finally back in the pool. Missing a week usually means I’ll pay once I start back and it wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t too terrible either. I had to lead the majority of the workout which makes it harder for me since I can’t draft or pace off of anybody.

Warm up:

300 yards, mix of freestyle, non-free and kick with fins

Warm up set:

3x75 free on 1:30
3x50 non-free on 1:10
3x25 kick on :50

2x75 free on 1:25
2x50 non-free on 1:05
2x25 kick on :45

1x75 free on 1:20
1x50 non-free on 1:00
1x25 kick on :40

Main set :

All freestyle, first set of 150’s can be pull

3x150 on 2:45
2x50 on :55
3x150 on 2:50
2x50 on 1:00
3x150 on 2:55
2x50 on 1:00


6x25, kick or non-free, on :45

TOTAL: 3000 yards

I managed the first set of 150’s on 2:30-2:35 (pulling with paddles) so I had some decent rest. The set was meant to be a moderate effort with little rest. I cheated for the first 150 of the second set and pulled but the rest was swimming. I did the rest of the 150’s on 2:50-2:55 or so so I had little rest. I had a hard time keeping up a decent pace but wasn’t too tired when I got home. Hopefully by next week I’ll be back to normal in the pool.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Brave New World

This is my first new post in my new blogspot blog after FINALLY getting all my old posts moved over from the V-Boards. I'm going to try to separate my dog stuff from my triathlon training so those interested in one or the other can skip the stuff they're not interested in.

No swimming at all this week due to pool closures and my impending senility (forgot my suit at home one day). 4 days of running 3-4 miles, nothing fancy. I managed one lunch time bike ride, one spinnning class and a not too long ride on Saturday. I wasn't feeling up to much on Sat. but it was in the mid-60's and sunny so I forced myself up Poorman Hill, which is a dirt road that connects 2 of the main canyons in Boulder. I ride up one canyon, up & over Poorman Hill, then down the other canyon & home. Only 15-16 miles but it's a though climb. Saw a really bizarre sundog (rainbow like formation in the clouds). Probably almost crashed several times trying to watch it and pedal uphill at the same time. If a car doesn't get me one of these days my stupidity will. It was cool though, a rainbow pattern on the edges of a jagged cloud and big, multiple rainbow streaks through the middle of the cloud. I've seen sundogs in Telluride but never one like this.

I'll get back to posting weekly mileage at the end of this week (honest!). Still need to work out the details of my June 1/2 IM. It seems a bit of pressure right now, starting to think I should wait until fall.

Sunday I woke up to 7" of snow on my deck and headed over the North Boulder Park where they groom a cross country ski trail. The park was really busy but it was fun. I only managed 45 minutes then got bored doing laps. I've been needing a rest day so I took it pretty easy but I couldn't resist the opportunity to ski for free 5 minutes from my house.

Did some distance work with Lola during the week. Mostly worked on jumps at a distance-pinwheels, serpentines, layering jumps, etc. The hardest thing for her seems to be the 'go on' cue for more than 2 jumps and the 'get out' cue without a lot of body language from me. I worked on her contacts too. Got a perfect fast dogwalk with no creeping and called it quits.

I was the only one at course run throughs on Saturday morning because everyone was at an AKC trial. But someone had set up a novice/open level course so I took both dogs and we had the place to ourselves. Cody was absolutely flying, beautiful contacts, popped his weaves once but had them pretty solid after that. I'm still worried about his shoulder but I feel stupid dragging him an hour up to Loveland when he's showing no other signs of lameness. Lola flew around that easy course too, got all her contacts, even did a quick down on the table. Why can't these dogs do this at a trial???!!! Crazy mutts. I must be all kinds of stupid for taking on this sport.

Last Post on the V-Boards

I'm seriously thinking about a 1/2 Ironman at the end of June instead of Sept. which means my training started a few weeks ago. Oops. I've been keeping on top of everything though so it shouldn't be a problem and I'm tacking on a few extra weeks to account for some missed weekends due to agility trials, one of which was this weekend.

I think it's time to seriously reflect on certain aspects of your life when your weekend Girls Night Out turns too quickly to a discussion on dog poop (can I say 'poop' in this forum?) and you don't think anything of it until the next morning.

The dogs had a terrible start on Saturday morning. They were way too wound up when I took them in the ring and they just ran wild. Cody still managed a first place in Gamblers somehow but Lola was just Girl Gone Wild and provided lots of entertainment for the crowd. She improved a bit throughout the day but still didn't manage any clean runs. Cody was an emotional mess, wandering off and sniffing out of stress mid run. However he somehow managed to get his head together and WON the Grand Prix in his height class with a clean run/qualifying score. The Grand Prix is a special class that's used to determine which dogs qualify for the USDAA Nationals. Any dog can enter regardless of the level they normally compete at so even though he's an intermediate level dog he was up against masters level (the highest level) dogs. He only needs one more qualifying score in the Grand Prix and I can take him to Nationals in the fall. I doubt I'd go but still it's fun to think I could. And we got a bad ass, fancy blue ribbon too, way nicer than what they give away for the regular classes. I'm a bit worried though that Cody might have reinjured a shoulder he had surgery on. He doesn't show any sign of lameness but his mental flakiness could be a sign it's hurting him.

Sunday went a bit better, both dogs were much more focused though Cody popped out of the weave poles too soon (could also be a sign his shoulder is sore) and blew a qualifying score and tie for first in Snooker. He did manage a clean run and third place in jumpers. Lola finally got her head together and took first in Snooker & Jumpers with clean runs. One more clean run in those classes and she has to move to masters. Yikes! USDAA doesn't let you stay behind and sandbag, you have to move up, ready or not.

I'm going to move this blog to one of these days so I can say what I really want to. I'll put a link for it here when I get it set up. My internet access at home has gone kaput because my Internet Explorer keeps getting corrupted. I have no idea how to fix it so I may have to switch ISP's from Juno to someone that doesn't use Internet Explorer for a browser. If anyone out there has a suggestion I'm all ears. In the meantime it may take a while to get things going again blogwise since it's hard for me to do this after work.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Banned from the V-Boards-An Alabama Ass Whuppin'

Well, here it is. The non-controversial controversial snowshoe race report that stirred up one of the most assinine arguments I've ever had with another human being (or dog for that matter, and that's saying a lot). For those that missed the whole brouhaha, consider yourselves lucky.

I was lying on the couch after my first snowshoe race this morning listening to an album called ‘Alabama Ass Whuppin’’ by a band called Drive By Truckers. They describe an Alabama Ass Whuppin’ as a whuppin whereby the whupper yells at and derides the whuppee while the whuppin’ is taking place. Then while the victim is lying broken and bleeding on the ground the whupper asks him if he wants some more and the victim must beg and plead for it to stop. This is pretty much how my race went today.

The race took place at Eldora Ski resort which is about 45 minutes from my house in Boulder and at an elevation of just under 9000 ft. or so. Eldora is legendary for its windy conditions and though it’s a beautiful sunny morning in Boulder, the wind is gusting which is not a good sign. Sure enough as soon as I get out of the canyon and hit the mountain town of Nederland I’m greeted by big gusting swirls of wind and snow. Usually when this happens I decide there are much more hospitable places to be and plenty of other fun things to do and head straight back down the canyon. But I’ve already paid for the race so dammit I’m going. By the time I hit the road to Eldora the car is nearly being blown off the road. There are beautiful cloudless blue skies everywhere except for Eldora, which is shrouded in clouds. When I get out of the car it’s not really that cold and the front soon lifts bringing back the blue sunny skies but when the wind gusts, which is often, it’s strong and bone chilling.

I pile on tons of clothes to go wait in line for my number and by the time I get back to the car to wait for the start I’m freezing. It’s really easy to overdress for snowshoeing and I figure the course is pretty hilly and in the woods, sheltered from the wind so I probably don’t need so many clothes. I take them off and head for the start line but I just can’t do it. I don’t care how hot I’ll get, I’m freezing now so I put all the clothes back on figuring I can always take them off later if I really get that hot. This turns out to be a wise decision, I never get too hot and by the finish I’m thankful for every last piece of fleece.

The race starts up a huge hill and I have to walk most of it but I figure that’s o.k., I can walk the steep uphills and run the flats and the downhills just like for trail races. Except that the race is approximately 3 percent flat and the downhills are so steep that I’m sliding down them like I’m on skis more than I’m really running down them. The first big hill is really not so bad since it’s on a heavily used packed trail. However the course soon goes off onto unpacked single track through deeper than knee deep snow. The trail is packed down a bit from the racers in front of me but there are still several inches of loose snow to slide around in. And then there’s the traffic jam. I’m soon stuck behind an endless line of racers and I’m forced to walk. Sometimes the line comes to a complete stop when someone falls or has some problem and blocks the trail. Trying to pass people through the deep unpacked snow is out of the question, it’s too much work and the line of people is so long I can’t see the start of it. But the worst of it is that I’m having a terrible time keeping my balance. I manage to fall twice walking uphill right at the start of the singletrack. It doesn’t hurt but it takes up energy pulling myself up out of the snow. A few other people stumble and fall a bit too but I seem to be the only one constantly tripping over my feet and waving my arms in the air trying to keep my balance. Oh and did I mention my lungs feel like they’re going to explode the entire time? The whole course is either straight up or straight down and the downhills are so steep and scary that you can’t really recover very much. I’m still incredulous that I managed to get down all those hills without falling or getting intimate with a tree or another racer. I don’t think I’ve ever sworn so much during a race. After a half an hour I’d had enough. After 40 minutes if there was some way I could have gotten off that freakin’ mountain and DNF’d I would have done so GLADLY. Unfortunately the only way off was to keep going. At that point the trail widened a bit and people were able to pass each other. I was pretty well trashed but apparently so were a lot of people around me. Someone would manage to run for a little spurt then have to walk and fall behind again. It felt like everything was in slow motion, like those stupid dreams where something is chasing you and you feel like you’re running really hard but you’re barely moving.

Finally I could hear the loudspeaker for the race and see faint glimpses of the finish area through the trees so I started picking up the pace as best I could, mainly because I just wanted to be done. But the course took several more twists and turns through the woods so I ended up exhausting myself too early. Finally we got out of the woods onto the final stretch only to be greeted head on by the freezing, horrible wind. I had to stop and walk just 60 yards or so from the finish line. Two people passed me but I had a great big case of ‘I don’t give a damn’ and I let them go. I managed to run the last 20-30 yards or so but didn’t try to catch them. I don’t think it’s ever taken me so long to catch my breath after a race. My time is 55.10. I figure this can’t be very good and there were so many people in front of me I probably didn’t do all that well. I grab a double chocolate chip muffin (this race director always has great post race food) and head back to the warmth of Boulder without even thinking twice about hanging around for the awards or raffle.

Now I’m hardly a neophyte snowshoer and I’ve been to Eldora a zillion times to ski and I’ve seen those wicked steep looking snowshoe trails but I still can’t believe how crazy that course was. I’m so glad I didn’t sign up for the 10k! I think I can say with a fair degree of certainty that that was the beginning and end of my snowshoe race career. I’ll stick to nice recreational romps in the woods with my dogs and husband.

Driving back through town people are out in the sun in shorts riding their bikes and I decide to go out for a ride as soon as I get home. Except that once I hit the couch I can’t move. I manage to hobble for a 2 mile walk with Lola later on but that’s all I can manage. I’ve decided this is the end of winter racing for me.

I checked the race results this morning just out of curiosity and nearly choked on my breakfast when I saw that I got third place (out of 11) in my age group. It turns out they cancelled the awards ceremony and raffle because of high winds so they’ll send me my prize (whatever it is) in the mail. I’m a bit incredulous but pretty excited. Hardware in my first snowshoe race is just too cool even if I did have to suffer an Alabama Ass Whuppin’ for it.

Pictures of Ewe

Monday, January 24

Tonight at master’s I felt like I was turning into a pool nazi. A guy insisted on leading the lane but it was a really complicated workout and he couldn’t keep track of what we were supposed to do and he couldn’t get the intervals right. The woman behind me was losing her mind andI was pretty frustrated too. The coach had even written it down for us and he still couldn’t keep it straight! I had to keep telling him when to go and what to do. Finally the woman behind me and I agreed I should lead and we had to pressure him to step down. On the one hand I hate to take these workouts too seriously and be rude to people but on the other hand there’s n opoint in doing them if you don’t follow what the coach has laid out. I hate leading the lane, especially when it’s such a complicated workout but in the end I managed to keep it together somehow. 3100 frustrating yards.

Tuesday, January 25

Master’s again tonight. I don’t think I’ve ever gone twice in a row before but my regular Thurs.workout is cancelled and I really want to swim twice this week. I ended up having to lead the lane again and I felt fine for about 45 minutes then I was just dead in the water and had to drop behind. I think 2 days in a row is just too much for me. My hamstrings were still a little tight from the weekend’s long bike ride which wasn’t helping.

Wednesday, Jan. 26

Standard 3 mile trail run ‘round Wonderland Lake with Lola.

Thursday, Jan. 27

A repeat of Wednesday. Yes, I’m stuck in a rut.

Friday, Jan. 28


Saturday, January 29

Today is a big day for Lola. I’m taking her for a herding instinct test to see if she’s any good at sheep herding. This isn’t something you can really train, a dog either has the instinct or they don’t. Lola does all the classic Border Collie herding moves, ie crouching, stalking, giving ‘eye’, circling, etc. but she’s never had the chance to show off her moves on actual sheep. I’m a little nervous about this. I’m a city girl, I spent the first 6 yearsof my life in an apartment and I know nothing about sheep. Will she get kicked/stomped/trampled? Will I get kicked/stomped/trampled? How much can you provoke a sheep before they bite? Exactly how much sheep poop will I have to step in? And the herding people are weird to say the least. They yell and whistle and wave big sticks around. Will poor Lola freak out? I don’t have time for another dog sport but I’m curious about Lola’s possible herding talents and I feel like I’m denying her the one activity that she’s been programmed by breeding to do.

I take her for a 6 mile trail run in the morning to take a bit of the edge off her. I’m guessing her first reaction when she’s set loose on the sheep will be to rush at them straight on barking and snapping out of over excitement. This is NOT what you want but I’m thinking that once she gets it out of her system she’ll calm down and the herding thing will kick in. I figure if she’s had a good run she’ll calm down much easier.

The farm is about 50 minutes away and Lola naps most of the way. When we get there she seems remarkably calm even though there are lots of other keyed up dogs waiting their turn at the sheep as well as some dogs in a large field doing actual herding. An enormous Rottweiler is guiding a large flock around a big field while the instinct test is taking place next door in a small pen with just 3 sheep. It turns out these sheep have either their upper or lower teeth removed (can’t remember which) and for some reason they supposedly don’t kick. The woman conducting the test clearly knows what she’s doing too so by the time it’s our turn I’m feeling better about things. She tells me it will be easier if we start out with just her in the pen and me outside which is fine by me. Lola charges the sheep while barking & snapping as predicted and the woman keeps her from actual contact through body language. After a few charges Lola runs off sniffing around the pen, stops to pee, runs over to me-all classic signs of stress. Then she charges the sheep again, then runs off and repeats. It becomes clear that she’s actually scared of the sheep and the whole experience is just stressing her out. The woman agrees but tells me we’ll give her a chance to calm down and try again. I agree but I’m not optimistic. Lola came to me with some fear issues as an 8 week old puppy. I did a lot of work with her as a pup and she’s come a long way but it’s hard to fight genetics and I’m afraid her default response to new things will always be fear barking (and snapping if I let it get that far). Her second test goes much the same. The woman leashes Lola and tries to get her to just sit still near the sheep so she can see they’re not scary. She dutifully sits but doesn’t look thrilled and one of the sheep starts snorting and stamping its foot, defeating the purpose.

After the test the woman asks me what I think rather then telling me outright that my dog is crap at herding. Many people are sensitive about their dogs so she’s probably hoping I’ve realized the obvious and I’ll save her having to say negative things. I spare her the discomfort and tell her I don’t think Lola & sheep will work out. It’s clear to both of us that Lola is scared and though we could try working through this I don’t see the point and she agrees. Lola will have to stick to herding tennis balls and stalking squirrels & prairie dogs.

Sunday, January 30

I wake up this morning to several inches of snow on my deckand a report of 8 inches of new snow at Eldora, the nearest ski resort to Boulder just 45 minutes away. I’ve only been skiing once this winter and that was in North Boulder park going in circles on fairly flat terrain. My husband and I decide to pack up the skis and head up the canyon. There’s a fresh layer of snow on the trees and cliffs in the canyon, very beautiful, but miraculously the roads are clear. When we get to Eldora it’s snowing very lightly but the sun is out, there’s no wind, it’s ridiculously mild and there’s loads of fresh snow. Perfect conditions!

Eldora is a wintertime mecca for off season triathletes and cyclists in part because skate skiing uses many of the same muscles as cycling. Also the Nordic trails at Eldora are some of the toughest in the country due to the high altitude (pushing 9000 feet) and extremely hilly terrain. I spot a mountain biker I know as I approach the Nordic center to buy my trail pass and I have to avoid her by going the long way around and climbing up a snow bank. She’s the most boring person on the planet and she’s clearly done with her skiing so if she sees me she’ll start talking non-stop about nothing for 45 minutes (if I’m lucky) and I’ll never get away. I wish I had a cell phone to warn my husband but thankfully she’s yakking away to some other poor victim and he spots her first and avoids her as well. Phew!

Some of the skate skiers are really obnoxious, going really fast and taking up the whole trail with their big long poles and wide stride. There are a couple of the beginner loops where most of them go because they can do laps and get some speed going while also getting some good hill climbs in. They congregate at the trail junction and you can hear them going on about their training regimes while their heart rate monitors beep away. We avoid those trails and go for the quieter ones. My favorite trail has been closed for several years due to a dispute with a private landowner but this year they must have worked it out because the trail is open. There’s no skate skiing allowed on this trail as it’s too narrow and heavily wooded and it feels more like a back country experience than being at a ski resort or a winter triathlon training camp. You have to go down a really long steep hill called Deadman’s Gulch to get to it and this scares mostof the families and novice skiers away so it’s pretty quiet. There are a few stream crossings and my husband takes one of them too fast and nearly ends up in the drink.

Toward the end of the loop the snow starts coming down heavier and I pick up the pace because I don’t want to have to drive home down the canyon in a blizzard. I usually dread having to climb up Deadman’s Gulch but today it goes quickly. All that trail running has really been paying off. By the time we get to the parking lot the mountains have disappeared and we’re engulfed in a thick fog. I’m glad I wasn’t skiing on the regular ski mountain or on a chair lift when the front came in. We were out for about 2 1/4 hours and I’m hardly tired but I know I’ll be feeling it tomorrow. It was worth every sore muscle I’m likely to have.

Here Comes the Summer

Recap of race:

2 mile trail run (snow/ice): 20:34, ave. HR=151

T1: 49.61 secs.

3.5 mile bike (mtn. bike): 14:54, ave. HR=145 (14.1 mph)

T2: 57.36 secs.

2 mile trail run (snow/ice): 22:21, ave. HR=145

T3: 38.84 secs.

7.0 mile bike: 29:18, ave. HR=149

TOTAL: 1:30.13

Ave. HR was lower than the first race where it was around 154 and my pace was slower. I'm guessing it was down to the extreme cold and a heavy training week with no taper.

Totals for the week:

Swim: 2700 yards/1:15

Bike: 37.5 miles/2:34

Run: 16 miles/3:07

Walk: 3 miles/40 mins.

Weights: 20 minutes

TOTAL HRS.: 8:56

I’m working on a renovation of the Mattress King store in Denver and it happens to be on my way home from the race. I want to replace my 14 1/2 year old futon and this seems as good a place as any to get one plus I can take a quick look at the existing building. The renovations involve adding two 34 foot high turrets and changes to the fa├žade so it will look like a castle. I mention to the salesmen that I’m working on the renovations and it turns out they’re really excited about their new castle look. I think the whole thing is pretty hilarious but I love that kind of stuff. Some dog agility person keeps a really cool website of roadside architecture ( down and click on ‘roadside architecture’) and when the ‘castle’ gets built I’m going to send her a picture and see if it qualifies. This thing will be visible from both major highways that go through Denver which further adds to the absurdity and coolness of it. Anyway, they knock $40 off the price of the bed frame I want which I wasn’t really expecting. I mean why should they? I’m shocked they’re even willing to talk to me since I’m a stinky disheveled mess from the race. At first it seems I’ll have to wait 6 weeks for them to get the frame in from Canada but they call around and find one at another store. Whew! My back is screaming for a new bed.

Monday, Jan. 18

Today I’m tired and crabby so I take both dogs for a short 1 mile walk in the a.m. Usually they’re a handful to manage together but thankfully they’re well behaved today because I’m not in the mood for shenanigans.

Tonight is a master’s swim workout and I’m so tired I get out 15 minutes early. My ass is dragging anyway so there’s no point gutting it out. 1 hour, 2000 yards.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

REST. I’m tired & crabby again so decide I need a little more time to recover from the race.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

The sun is shining and I feel like a different person. The horrible cold seems a lifetime away. Temps. go up into the 60’s under a nice hot sun so I go for a bike ride on my lunch hour. 15 miles of pure bliss.

I have to go back to Mattress King today to meet with the architect and take some measurements. We end up in a warehouse/storage area above the salesroom floor and it’s like stepping back into another era. The area is huge and the floor to ceiling height is at least 2 stories. There are endless rows of shelves stacked floor to ceiling and a track running round the whole place for the forklift thingy. But the entire space is empty, nothing on the shelves, nada, zilch and I do mean literally nothing. It’s a testament to the golden age of manufacturing and retail in this country and a statement on the current state of affairs. Nobody keeps any stock on hand anymore and nothing’s made here anymore which is why I almost had to wait 6 weeks for a stupid bed frame to be imported from another country. This is no surprise to me of course but nonetheless a sobering experience to get a glimpse at the way things used to be.

Thursday, Jan. 20

I don’t normally do 3 workouts in one day but it’s so gorgeous out I can’t help adding another lunch time bike ride. Two mile run in the a.m. with Lola because she needs it, 15 mile bike ride at lunch in the gorgeous 60 degree weather and a master’s swim workout after work (3150 yards). A woman is there for her first time and it turns out she’s just a bit faster than me which is perfect. I get the best workout if there’s someone there just a bit faster so I can pace myself off them and try to push myself a bit to keep up. I hate leading the lane because I’m terrible at pacing though getting a bit better. I’m still off my game a bit in the pool, doing 100’s at 1:50 when I’ve been able to do them at 1:40 easily in the past. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be back up to speed. I need to go twice a week to keep up with it and there were just too many pool cancellations due to holidays and swim meets but I think there’s only one more.

Friday, Jan. 21

Rest. I don’t really need it but I’m too tired to run in the morning after last night’s workout and the rest of the day is too busy. I take Cody to agility practice after work and he’s just awesome. I wish he’d be so good at the competitions.

Saturday, Jan. 22

My bed & mattress are coming today so someone needs to be home between 1:00 and 3:00 so the day is kind of shot. I take shifts with my husband and take Lola for a 6 mile trail run on the Foothills trail. Another gorgeous day, temps. in the 40’s but it’s so sunny it feels much warmer. Unfortunately while I’m gone the mattress people come and my husband doesn’t check to make sure they assemble it right so we have to take it apart and put it together again. I saw a t.v. show about the brain once and apparently men’s brains aren’t designed to focus on details, they’re more ‘big picture’ sort of thinkers. I need to keep this in mind more often.

Sunday, Jan. 23

Yet another gorgeous sunny day in the 60’s. I talk to my grandmother in Chicago this morning and she tells me she has 3 feet of snow piled up on her lawn. This is an exaggeration but still. It makes me appreciate my bike ride today even more.

I can’t decide if I should tool around on the dirt trails out on the plains or go to one of the mountain biking trails in the foothills or just take a long hill climb up one of the canyons. In the end I decide to do a bit of all three. The Lefthand Trail goes through the North Boulder Valley and it’s a bit rolling but not difficult or technical. It goes through lots of prairie dog towns and they kick up a fuss when I pass through. I have to pass some people walking their llamas and I slow way down since I have no idea how these beasts will react. Two of them ignore me but one of them makes a weird sort of squeaky grunt as I go by, like he’s trying to decide if he’s pissed off or not. I don’t give him a chance to make up his mind.

I have to go on the road for a few miles to reach Left Hand Canyon which will take me up to the trailhead for Heil ranch. There’s a 2 mile stretch of dirt road that leads through land still owned and ranched by the Heil’s and it’s both beautiful and creepy. There’s a weird history of rape & incest in the Heil family and the ranch has some occupied buildings but also lots of old, crumbling ones as well as lots of rusted, abandoned farm equipment and vehicles including a sky blue school bus. I try to focus on the surrounding cliffs rather than what went on here lo the many years ago.

The trail is an 8 mile ride that I wrote about on my first entry. I’m a little braver today, riding through some rock gardens and making it through all the switchbacks, both up and down, without having to put a foot down or get off and walk.

After I finish with Heil I head up Left Hand Canyon to Olde Stage Rd. which will take me back to Boulder. This is a popular cycling route and in fact is the most challenging part of the Boulder Peak triathlon course in reverse. Left Hand isn’t too bad but Olde Stage is a bad ass climb, especially in the direction I’m doing it. It’s one of the few places I get knee pain on my bike so I make sure I’m in my granny gear for the worst of it. Going down I have to watch for deer. I know someone that was going 45 mph down this hill and hit a deer. Broken collar bone and 6 weeks in the hospital but he lived to tell the tale. I manage to make it back without splattering Bambi or myself. 30.4 miles, 3:44 hours.

Dist./Time for the week:

Swim: 5100 yards/2:15

Bike: Off Road: 20.0 miles/2:45

Road: 30.4/3:05

Run: 8 miles/1:26

Walk: 1 miles/20 mins.

TOTAL HRS.: 9:51

Chilly Cheeks My Ass

Sunday, Jan. 16
Today is race #2 in a 3 race duathlon series I've signed up for this winter. Race #1 was a lot of fun in unseasonably warm 50 degree weather. Unfortunately the conditions for race #2 swing in the opposite direction and it's 10 degrees & cloudy when I leave the house and the temp. during the race only goes up to 15 degrees. This race is a run-bike-run-bike-(run) format starting with a 2 mile loop on snow packed, icy trails in Cherry Creek State Park in Denver. Then a 3.5 mile bike loop followed by a repeat of the 2 mile run then a 7 mile bike (2x the same 3.5 mile loop) then after racking your bike, a 100 yard sprint on foot to the finish. The bike course is altered from the original plan so that the whole thing will be free of snow & ice which is no big deal to me since I'm on my mountain bike anyway. Last race I found out during the race that my new cleats didn't work in my old pedals (turns out I have the same problem with some of the spinning bikes, it's a Shimano thing not an Elayne is an idiot thing, theoretically they should have worked) so this time I'm determined to be a little more prepared. I spend a whole hour Saturday changing pedals and saddle, fixing a flat and experimenting with clothes that will keep me from freezing to death. I used to commute on my bike all through winter but days this cold are rare and I doubt I've ever been out riding for any length of time in this kind of cold. I decide against clipless pedals since there will be way too many shoe changes and I don't want my hands & feet exposed to the elements so many times. I settle on regular pedals with kevlar straps that work like toeclips but hold your foot tight against the pedal. It means I won't be as efficient on the bike as I would with clipless pedals but I don't care, warm hands & feet are more important.

The race starts in waves to spread things out so the bike course won't get too crowded and the first wave appears to be people who registered for the series since I recognize quite a few faces from the first race. Among those is a woman who annoyed me last time by trying to 'race' me and chatting away to me while I was gasping for breath. I don't understand people who want to chat with complete strangers during a short race like that (a marathon is something else), I'm barely able to breathe as it is. She seems nice but I try to avoid her anyway. My knees are not happy with the extreme cold and it takes me a while to get into a rhythm during the first run. The trail is snow packed and covered with regular and black ice in places so it's even slower going than normal for me. Eventually I catch up to Miss Yacky and I don't want to pass her until I know I can do it decisively because I don't want her to start racing me again (ie, passing me, then slowing down, then passing me, etc.) and I don't feel like chatting. Soon I have to do it though and sure enough she speeds up and tries to start a conversation after I pass her. I've got just enough air to grunt something at her in reply and get enough momentum to get away. I feel a little bad thinking like this but not bad enough to slow down and chat. She remains behind me for the rest of the race.

By the end of the run I'm so hot I have to take my gloves off. This will soon change once I get on the bike and have to deal with the wind chill created by riding. I drink as much water as I can get down since there are no aid stations and I have a feeling my water will freeze. I should have left an extra water bottle in the transition zone (doh). About a mile into the ride my left knee starts screaming and though I have chronic knee problems this pain is in a new and interesting place. In retrospect I think it was just the cold and the different leg position in my pedals (haven't worn pedals with clips in years) since I don't normally have screaming knee pain on my bike unless I'm grinding up a huge hill. Mercifully it stops after a bit but I'm worried. Is this really worth it? What kind of idiot goes out in these temperatures to recreate? My feet are freezing by the end of the short ride and I'm worried how they're going to last on the next longer ride.

The second run goes by quicker than the first though my time is actually around 2 minutes longer. I have my HR monitor on and I can see I'm not working as hard as I did in the first race but it's so cold I just can't bring myself to push any harder. Thankfully my feet and the rest of me warm up pretty quickly on the run and I'm roasting by the time I hit the bike again.

I get on my bike and realize my water is really starting to freeze. I guzzle as much as I can keep down and it freezes solid by the second 3.5 mile loop. Luckily it's not really a thirsty type day unless you're maybe a polar bear. The second bike leg goes by faster than I think it will and I'm finally feeling warmed up a bit and ready to put in some effort by the last 3.5 mile loop. In reality I think I was more like a barn sour horse, smelling the finish line and just wanting to be done & out of the cold.

The race finishes with you racking your bike and running the last 100 yards or so to make it easier on the timers at the finish line. I'm glad I don't have to clop through the ice strewn transition area in my bike cleats.

My final time is around 1:30. I realize after typing all this that my logbook with all the splits and geeky number details is at home and I'm not so I'll have to enter all that stuff later. There were only 2 people in my age group this time and I finished in second by about 4 minutes. Last race I was second to the same person by about 4 1/2 minutes. My overall finish was the same percentage wise.

Overall it wasn't one of my most fun ever races, the cold was bad and I was tired and not really recovered well from the weeks training. However these races are really just fun & training for me so I don't want to taper for them and have to take what I get. Hopefully it'll be warmer for the third one next month!

Life o' the Party

Thursday, Jan. 13
Runnin' in the cold with Lola this a.m., our typical 3 mile run 'round the lake.

Spinning class in the p.m. The woman I know from agility is there again. She's still trashed from the trial last weekend as am I. I'm glad it's not just me. Lots of hill climbing in this workout which is just what I need.

Friday, Jan. 14
Only 2 miles running with Lola this a.m. I'm so tired I could have skipped it altogether but Lola needs her run or I'll be peeling Border Collie off the ceiling of my office the rest of the day.

I've signed up for a weight training class for endurance athletes that starts tonight but it turns out only 4 people signed up so they have to cancel it. At first I agree to switch to the same teacher's ski conditioning class since it sounds like it might help me with the agility. He gives us a short class that night which I have to cut even shorter since I have to be in downtown Boulder for my company's holiday dinner. Yes, they traditionally do it after the holidays since so many people leave town & have other plans before the holidays. We're a bunch of backwards engineers, what can I say. It turns out the teacher and his exercises are pretty lame anyway so I'm not too heartbroken to leave after 20 min's. I decide I'll just get my money back and try to work something else out for strength training.

The company party is at the Med in Boulder which turns out to be Yuppie Hell Central. I do sort of know this which is why I've never been there but the true horror of the place needs to be experienced firsthand to be appreciated. The place is so snobby they won't seat us until we're all there even though we have reservations. So we have to stand in the packed aisleway creating a traffic jam for the wait staff. The place is so loud & obnoxious you have to yell just to be heard by someone standing right next to you. I'm ready to leave before I even sit down. I go to the bathroom and it's all I can do to keep from busting a gut at the drunk rich women primping at the mirror and bitching about problems most of the world wished they had.

One of my coworker's wives is one of those people who just has to keep a conversation going at all times so she starts grilling everybody about various things trying to find something good to latch onto. Unfortunately she settles in on my poor husband who moved here from Scotland 14 years ago to marry me. She insists on the whole complicated story as to how he ended up here, how we met, etc. This is not an easy tale to explain since we met through writing to each other & trading music. I figure this must sound so
childish & weird to most people, who has 'pen pals' in their 20's? But this was how punk rock/underground music got spread around back in the day. I probably had about 20 people throughout the U.S. & Europe I was actively swapping music with at one point. Many of them came to stay with me when they visited Chicago and I stayed with many of them in my travels. It's hard to explain this over the din of the restaurant and I'm sure it still sounds crazy anyway so I try to deflect her off the issue by mentioning that I was engaged to marry someone else at the time I met him. I figure everyone else in the office knows this story by now but I'm woefully mistaken. For some reason my coworkers find this more scandalous than Brad & Jen splitting up and I hear the story being repeated all the way down the long table and exclamations of disbelief directed my way for the next few tortuous minutes. Good thing I never got to the part about how I'd been living with my fiancee for three years when my current husband came to stay with us and how I really only knew him for about 5 weeks before we got married. Or the part about how my fiancee was drummer in a band called Impulse Manslaughter. As it was they were still giving me grief when I came into work on Monday. Geez, you'd think I was Courtney Love or something.

Saturday, Jan. 15
Rest day. I've got a race tomorrow, I'm tired and my legs are killing me after that stupid, lame 20 minute strength workout. Being old really sucks. Despite it being a rest day I still have to take the dogs out and we end up going 3 miles 'round the lake.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hurts So Good

Monday Jan. 10
Lola & I both wake up tired and bleary eyed this a.m. but I drag both our asses out for a pre-work 4 mile run on the Foothills Trail. Lucky for me the prairie dogs are still asleep. Lola eyes the park wistfully as we run by; she'd much rather be there chasing balls and there were some other dogs doing just that. She mopes her way up the last hill and when I turn us around she stars pulling like crazy to get back to the park only to be disappointed again. Life is rough for those with no opposable thumbs.

Normally I have swim practice Monday nights but tonight is my monthly chiropractic and massage appt. The doc. cracks my back then the massage therapist works her magic. While she kneads away I stare at the patterned carpet and try to drive out the opera music that's playing. The carpet is like a Rorshach test and images of happy bunnies and kitties come jumping out of the carpet at me. That is until she gets to my right calf. I've got some issues with it from last week's spinning class and as soon as she digs into it the happy little critters turn into horrible screeching monkeys. I have a terrible phobia of monkeys. My two rules of travel are I won't go anywhere where:
1. The bugs are bigger than my fist
2. I may be in danger of getting monkeys in my hair.
The therapist asks if the pressure is too much and I lie and say no. Up to this point she's been a bit too gentle. I must be some sort of sick masochist but somehow I figure it's not doing much good unless it hurts. By the time I get out of there I feel wonderful and figure I deserve a rest so no more workouts today.

Tuesday, Jan. 11
My standard 3 mile Wonderland Lake run in the am with Lola. It's dark and there's a heavy dense fog that freaks her out so much that at one point she sits down and refuses to go further. I try coaxing her with a treat but she's having none of it. Finally I manage to get her moving with a happy 'Let's Go!' tone to my voice. She's such a freak.

Tonight is Master's swim night since I missed last night. My regular coach Jane is back so it's a really good workout. I've only been going to the pool once a week or so for the past few weeks due to pool closures so I'm still struggling a bit. I need to go at least twice a week to keep up and improve. Today's workout is 2700 yds. total and I'm tired but not toast by the end of it. The pool is so mobbed that I end up in a lane that's a little too slow for me so I end up getting too much rest between intervals. I don't mind though since I'm still struggling a bit to get back into it.

Wednesday, Jan. 12
I wake up to a snowstorm and decide Lola deserves a romp in the park and I'm too tired for running after last night's workout. I walk her a mile in the snow to the park and she loses her freakin' mind running around like a lunatic. The park is the last bit of flattish land before the foothills start rising up so I get to enjoy the snow covered hills while Lola tears around the field.

Tonight's workout is meant to be an hour on the bike trainer with some 10 minute intervals with 2 mins. rest in between. After a 20 min. warm up the first interval goes o.k. but feels really hard, harder than it should for the heart rate I'm at. I take this as a sign that I'm still tired from last night's swim workout. I simply can't go very hard for the second interval despite all the rousing punk rock music I have blaring to motivate me. I finally decide that if the Clash can't get me going it's to give up and cool down. 50 mins. total, I'll put it down as 12 miles but that's just a guess.

Do It Clean

January 8
Up at 6:00 am on a Saturday??!! I must be crazy. Or a dog agility addict. This weekend's trial is in Golden, about 40 minutes from my house, pure luxury considering the 9 hour drive to Lawrence, Kansas last month and the 2 1/4 hour drive I'll have next month. There are several agility organizations in the U.S. that you can compete under and of them all USDAA (United States Dog Agility Association) has the toughest performance standards and highest jump heights. Also the courses are way more technical than the other venue I compete in so when I do well in USDAA I feel really good about it. There are 3 levels of competition and you have to work your way up from the bottom. I'm currently in the middle level (Advanced) with both dogs and it's Lola's first trial in Advanced so I'm not expecting too much from her. She's also still producing lentil rice soup so I'm a little worried about her but she seems energetic & full of herself so I decide to run her anyway and pull her if she seems at all off her game.

The object of agility is to get a 'clean' run (ie, no mistakes) as fast as you can. If you do it in the time alloted you get a 'Q' or qualifying score which counts toward your title. Once you get a title, you move up a level. Once you're in the highest level you work towards your Championship title. It sounds crazy, I know. When I first learned all this stuff I thought it was insane, there was no way I was going to get caught up in all this stupid title nonsense. It's just freakin' dogs running around an obstacle course, why complicate it? But once you do it for a while you can't help getting caught up in it. The nice thing about it is that you don't have to beat other people, a Q is a Q no matter what place you came in. I'm not really a competitive person so this system is great for me. I love getting first place but if I don't it doesn't matter all that much to me as long as I Q and I'd rather Q than get first place.

The first event is a regular old standard agility course. Both dogs have beautiful runs but Cody decides he'd like to add an extra jump to the judge's course and Lola hits the teeter with a little too much enthusiasm earning her some faults. Cody, a Border Collie mix breed from the pound, is very 'independent' minded and was a challenge to train. He was a high strung stressed out mess when we first started trialling and he'd run out of the ring, make up his own course and/or run off to sniff. Now 3 years and one shoulder surgery later he's doing great but still has his moments. One of the differences between running races & agility is that you have to rely on an unpredictable animal and not only on yourself. You can put in all the training but dogs are dogs and you just never know for sure what they're going to do.

Despite the faults Lola ends up with second place. Cody is not even in the money since his mistake earns more faults. I'm still pleased though since the dog's were running really well.

Next class is a game called Gamblers and it's one of the hardest classes as well as one of my favorites. You have 30 sec's. to earn as many points as you can then the whistle blows and you have to do the 'gamble' which is a sequence of 4 obstacles. The challenge though is that you must stay behind a line on the ground that's a fair distance away from the obstacles. There's lot's of strategy since you're making up your own course. You want to pick obstacles that will get you the most points but you also need to plan a course that will be exactly 30 sec's. long and flow right into the gamble. It's always a thrill for me when I plan it right and the whistle goes off just as I hit my last obstacle. Today's plan works perfectly and both dogs get the gamble and Q's. Cody ends up in 2nd place by 1 point and Lola ends up in 4th since she faulted some of her obstacles and didn't get all her points. Lola is much faster than Cody and almost always beats him so this is a bit of an upset. Neither dog really cares as long as they get their treats at the end of their run.

Snooker is the last event of the day, another game. It's too complicated to explain but basically you choose your opening course again trying to get as many points as possible then you do a closing sequence. There's a lot of strategy here too since you get whistled off the course as soon as you make a mistake. I usually play it conservative and choose a flowing course over points so that I won't get whistled off. You need a certain number of points to Q, after that it's only about placements. My strategy pays off and Lola ends up in first place, Cody in second. The only trouble is that they both make errors in the same place on the second to last obstacle and when I add up my points I figure I'm one point shy of Q'ing for both dogs. One stinkin' point!!! What a way to end the day.

I get home at 5:30 pm, fall asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm and aside from a zombie march to bed at some point I don't move until the alarm goes off at 6:45 the next morning. Time for round 2.

January 9
I'm not a morning person and I'm usually pretty toasted by day 2 of a trial. This is my excuse anyway. It's not that I'm going senile, nope, couldn't possibly be that. The standard run seems really fun and easy when I walk it beforehand but somehow when it's time to actully do it for real with the dogs I manage to leave out a section, with BOTH dogs. Doh! I don't even realize it until someone tells me afterwards. At least we had other faults elsewhere but I still feel stupid that I cheated myself out of some course time. No placements or Q's for those runs obviously.

However my mood soon improves when I go to check the Snooker scores from last night. It turns out I added my points wrong (maybe I am going senile) and the dogs did in fact have enough to Q. I'm not sure where my brain is this weekend but I sure hope it returns soon.

Last run of the day is Jumpers which is simply a course with only jumps and tunnels. This class is fast and furious for both dog and handler. I'm no sprinter and I'm so clumsy I've actually knocked jumps over myself trying to dash into place on the course and not watching where I'm going. Cody has a beautiful, fast run but knocks the bar on the second to last jump for no particular reason earning some faults. Lola attacks the course like someone set her ass on fire. She likes to bark while she runs and the more excited she is the louder the barking. She's so jeeped up and loud I can barely hear myself think. Somehow we make it through with no faults. She easily takes first and Q's. Cody's effort was good enough for third even with the fault.

I get home around 5:30 again and I'm truly exhausted. It doesn't sound like much but in addition to the competition I volunteer for other classes, setting jumps, running leashes from start line to finish line, etc. There's a lot of walking and time standing on my feet, thing's I don't do a lot of normally. It's mentally tiring too, all the waiting around (I spent about 19 hours total at the trial for about 15 minutes total in the ring) and worrying over the dogs. Nonetheless, I can't wait until the next trial! It truly is a sickness.

Exploding Pigeons and Lentil Soup

January 5

It was 2 degrees, cloudy & snowy when I got up this a.m. I'm not a weather wimp but it seemed stupid to venture out when the forecast for tomorrow is in the 40's. I can't remember the last time I had a rest day which is a pretty good sign it's time for one.

January 6

It's 10 degrees this a.m. but the sun is shining and I've used up my excuses so I bundle up & take Lola out for our usual 3 mile run. The snow is beautiful and the sun coming up turns the surrounding hills pink/red. Wonderland Lake looks frozen solid. After less than a mile I realize I have way too much clothes and I'm roasting by the time I get home.

Evening workout is a spinning class at a place that just opened across the hall from my office. It doesn't get more convenient than that. The teacher turns out to be good so I think I'll go back though I'm not sure these high intensity/anaerobic workouts are what I need just now. I'll keep them to once every week or two and keep an eye on my heart rate. There are only 6 people in the class which seems wierd, most spinning classes I've been to are packed, but that's all there's room for in the small studio space and it works out good for me because we end up getting lots of individual attention.

One of the woman in the class turns out to be a woman I practice agility with and she's going to the trial this weekend too. She's got 3 Border Collies so we understand each other's pain and chat a bit about those crazy BC's. When I get home at 8:00 p.m. my husband informs me that Lola broke into a cabinet and ate 2 bags of rice and who knows how much yellow split peas (which look like lentils). She was mad because he took our other dog Cody out for a walk and left her behind so she staged a protest, making a huge mess. I immediately start panicking and check her for bloat and wonder if I should induce vomiting. I remember stories about not throwing rice at weddings because pigeons eat it, it expands in their stomachs and then they explode. I try to remember if this is urban legend or it's just instant rice that's bad or what. I decide that for now she looks fine and I'm way too tired to deal with trying to get a dog to puke so I check her every 10 minutes and finally collapse in bed.

January 7

After cleaning up the unspeakable messes I've had to deal with today I can assure you all that I'm never EVER having split pea/lentil/rice soup again. Ever.

3 miles 'round Wonderland Lake with Lola this a.m. and that's all I feel like sharing.

First Post

One of my goals for this year is to improve my recordkeeping so maybe if I try to do it publicly it'll force me to keep up with it.

My big race for this year is going to be a half Ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), probably in September but I haven't chosen a race yet. I'm debating over whether I want to spend the time and money travelling to an out of town race (California) or go for the more boring but cheaper and convenient race here in town. I hate to travel so right now I'm leaning toward the local race.

Since it's my first 1/2 Ironman I probably shouldn't set a time goal but secretly I'd like to finish under 6 hours. I'll need a lot of work on the bike to be able to do that. I've done 4 marathons, lots of sprint tri's and a few Olympic tri's but never a race that lasts 6 hours or more so I'm not sure what to expect.

The tough part about the training will be making time for it all along with training my dogs and going to dog agility trials. These competitions take the whole weekend and I do them once a month or so so I'm going to add some extra weeks to the training program I'm setting up.

January 1

Three mile walk in the a.m. with the dogs around Wonderland Lake, which is the open space area nearest to me. I'm going to track my walking because I think it effects my training. I may need to cut back on it when the mileage starts to get heavy but it's hard to explain that to active Border Collies who don't get the concept of a rest day.

Mountain Biking at Heil Ranch. This used to be an easy trail but every year it gets more technical due to heavy use and erosion. I probably should be out putting in mileage on my road bike but I did that yesterday and I can't bear the thought of being out on the boring road again. I have to hit the trails when the weather permits or I'll lose my mind. The trail is a steady steep climb through a forest up to a loop with a beautiful view of the valley below/Hall Ranch (another popular mtn. biking area) and the Continental Divide off in the distance. It's not the most breathtaking view by Colorado standards but considering I drove only 12 minutes to the trailhead I'll take it. I manage to finish the ride with all limbs intact. Every year I lose a little more of my nerve and though I'm telling myself the trail's gotten rockier, deep down I'm sure it's actually my nerve that's eroding.

8 miles, approx. 1:20 hours

January 2

Dog agility practice in the morning with both dogs. There's a masters (most difficult level of competition) course set up and I get a good deal of sprinting in. I almost tweak my knees a couple of time trying to beat my dog out of a tunnel then turning sharply on my knees to cross in front of him and change his direction. I've seen a top competitor go down with a bad ACL tear trying to do this but it's a common manuever in agility so I need to practice it.

In the afternoon it's a trail run on the Wonderland/Foothills trail with my Border Collie Lola. My other dog Cody, a Border Collie mix, was supposed to be my original running partner but he hates it and makes my life a misery by stopping to pee on everything. He's a male so he can't help himself. I leave him home for most of my runs. The trail runs along where the plains slam into the foothills and it's one of my favorites. There are some steep and technical places but for the most part it just ambles along through prairie dog towns and yucca patches. The prairie dogs taunt Lola and it makes her crazy. Her prey drive is inherent and through the roof so I have to keep her leashed. She almost takes me down a few times trying to get at them.

6 miles, approx. 1:15 hours

YTD: Swim-0

Bike: 8 miles, 1:20 hrs.

Run: 6 miles, 1:15 hrs

Walking: 3 miles, 1 hour

Weights: 0