Sunday, July 29, 2007
On the plus side I got some good agility training in this week. Took Cody to course run throughs on Tuesday and had one trouble area to work on but otherwise a beautiful run. Then both dogs ran the same course perfectly on Saturday. I was hoping to work on drills and shorter exercises but there were other people there who were running the course so we went with the flow then worked on little things when they left. For Lola I set up a tunnel/A-frame discrimination since our biggest problem at the last trial was her sucking to the A-frame. As soon as I unleashed her she took a jump and went scrambling up the A-frame with glee with no word from me. No reward for her but I didn't scold either, she's such a soft little girl and I'm glad to see her happy and enthusiastic, esp. since it was hot. After that transgression she was perfect so I did just a few reps and called it a day. For Cody I practiced flips backward from A-frame to tunnel since we've been seeing a lot of this sort of thing in Gamblers. He missed one or two reps but had the rest perfect so we left while we were ahead.
Strummer got to play on Monday night and had some great focus going despite a loose dog wandering around the field (dog wasn't interfering with us but was still a good distraction). He's getting better with the tire though still runs under it or through the side every once in a while. Jumping was going o.k. but he's still knocking bars when he gets overexcited though it did take him longer than usual to get overexcited. I've been working very short sessions with each piece of equipment to keep him from getting bored or overxcited. We do a few reps of something then move on the something else and that seems to be helping with the obsessive/compulsiveness. Of course he lost his mind when someone merely sent their dog over the A-frame so we left and worked on sitting quietly in the parking lot. He's getting better but still has a long ways to go.
As far as upcoming trials go I've entered a USDAA trial in Laramie, WY but decided against the USDAA trial in Utah. In the end the judge was the dealbreaker. He's a nice judge and I've had him a couple of times before but he calls fault limits, no matter what. We had a very small trial that was going to be done pretty early and he still called fault limits despite the groaning and complaining of the competitors. I hate fault limits, getting whistled out of the ring after just a few obstacles is so demotivating to both me and the dogs. It's bad enough at a local trial but there's no way I was going to take time off work, drive 8 hours, spend a fortune on gas, hotels and entry fees to spend the weekend worrying about getting whistled off the course. I decided against the DOCNA trial too, mostly because I'm afraid it will be too hot. Also, it's the day after my tri next weekend and I'm worried that I might be too tired to give the dogs my full attention and energy. Oh and I sat down to fill out all the paperwork on the day the trial closed so I took that as a sign that deep down maybe I had too many reservations about it or I would have been more on top of the closing date. Well, actually it's that my memory sucks and I kept forgetting about it but for once my little brain probably saved me from myself. I'll make it to a DOCNA trial eventually when the timing's a little better.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I got home 2 hours later and had left my running shoes outside so I could do a brick without going inside and getting the dogs all wound up. I'm not always the brightest bulb in the pack and I'm not sure why I thought a 2 3/4 mile run in 98 degree heat with no shade was a good idea but I dutifully put on my shoes and headed out into the oven without thinking too much about it. I saw some clouds building over the hills and figured they would move in right away and provide some shade but that was delusional thinking probably brought on by the heat. The first mile took me a whopping 14 minutes. I didn't think it possible to run and still turn in a 14 minute mile but there ya go. Now it was all uphill and it was 98 degrees but still, I couldn't believe that even I could possibly be that slow. I finished about 35 minutes later and vowed that was the last workout of the summer in heat like that.
Today Jonny took me up to West Mag again for some mountain biking. We were on different trails from last week including part of the infamous Blair Witch trail which was ridiculously steep on the uphill but fun on the descent. There were big meadows full of wildflowers, steep ascents through the woods, twisty descents on a trail called 'The Hobbit' (I told Jonny that if he saw a Hobbit he should wrestle the little bastard to the ground to see if he had our credit card but they were suspiciously absent). I had to walk some of the stuff and 10-11 miles took a whopping 2 1/4 hours. I hope the triathlon course isn't as tough as these trails or it's going to be a long race for me. The higher elevation of around 8-9000 feet meant it was cooler than in town but it was still in the 80's and I'm hoping the heat was contributing to my slowness. It won't be that hot for my race.
Overall this past week felt slow slow slow. Not that I was ever all that speedy to begin with but I feel like Queen Slug at the moment and it feels like I'm never going to get back into shape.
Training for the week:
Monday-Rest Day and boy did I need it
Tuesday-1000 yard (approx)/24 mins. open water swim at the Boulder Rez in the a.m.
Wednesday-3 mile run in the am w/ Cody & Lola
Thursday-800 yard (approx.)/17 minute open water swim at the Boulder Rez in the am
Friday-2 3/4 mile run w/ Cody & Lola in the am
2300 yards/1 hour swimming at Masters (Spruce Pool, Jane coaching)
Saturday-24 miles/2 hours road biking
2 3/4 hours/35 minutes running
Sunday-10 1/2 miles/2 1/4 hours mountain biking
Totals for the week:
Swim: 4100 yards/1:40 hours
Bike: 24 miles/2 hours road
10 1/2 miles/2 1/4 hours mountain
Run: 8 1/2 miles/1:40 hours (approx.)
Total hours: 7 1/2
A little bit down on total hours because of the rest day and the wimpy swims on Tues. & Thurs. but I was tired and felt like I needed the rest and a little stepback.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
And BTW, you know you're getting old and out of touch when you have to consult Wikipedia to splain to you just what exactly it is that the kids are buying with your stolen credit card.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm taking the opportunity to plug the new album by The Methadones, the singer (Dan Schafer) of which is an old old acquaintance of mine from back in the stone age, about 20 years or so ago. Dan had a band back then called Sludgeworth that was one of the best bands to ever come out of Chicago but they remained fairly obscure and broke up after a few years. I had a lot of great times back then going to see Sludgeworth and to this day those shows remain some of my favorites. So I'll admit I'm a bit biased when it comes to The Methadones. Even though they aren't Sludgeworth, Dan's voice still brings all those great memories flooding back so it's impossible for me not to like them to some extent.
There are really only 2 things you need to know about The Methadones:
1. Catchy Ramones-y guitar riffs
2. Dan's got a great set of pipes
Put those two together and that pretty much sums it up.
I'll confess that on the first listening my first response to this album was 'meh'. Part of the reason is that the best songs (Starting Line, I Believe, Already Gone and Take Me To Japan) were buried at the end of the album. The other part is that it takes a few listens for the melodious toonz to work their way under your skin. But give it enough listens and they will, oh trust me they will. The production is superb and finally they've mixed an album that allows Dan's vocals to shine, so much so that you don't even need a lyric sheet. Previous albums tragically had his vocals muddled in the background but this time around they got it right. In fact one of the most powerful songs, 'I Believe', is just guitars and vocals, mixed to perfection.
I downloaded the album from emusic because in my old age I've become extremely impatient. I want it now dammit and in this technological age I can have it now. It's also available from Interpunk if you have more patience than me and can wait for the postman. Emusic will let you preview the songs and one of the best tracks, Take Me To Japan, is labeled a bonus track so I'm not sure if it's available on the CD.
Now if the airlines would only have a price war I'd go to Chicago on Aug. 10th to catch their record release party at the Beat Kitchen.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Monday: 2.5 mile run w/ Lola & Strummer at Wonderland Lake a.m.
1 hour walk through neighborhood w/ dogs p.m.
Tuesday: 20 mins./approx. 800 yards? open water swim at Rez in the a.m.
40 min. walk through neighborhood w/ dogs p.m.
Wednesday: 3 mile run w/ Cody & Lola on Foothills Trail/Wonderland Lake a.m.
Agility w/ Strummer in the p.m., worked on jumping and the table plus lunging
while other dogs working, he quickly got overstimulated w/ the jumping and
knocked a bar or two, had to go back to a single jump then quit, he kept running to
the table as well, must put that on a cue and not reward his tables unless I cue him.
Thursday: 22 mins./900 yards? open water swim at Rez in the a.m.
Agility w/ Lola in the p.m., standard course run through, worked on
not taking A-frame w/out permission, she did great all the way
around, fast and happy.
Friday: 3 mile run w/ Cody & Lola on Wonderland/Foothills trails a.m.
1800 yards swim, 1 hour, masters at Spruce pool, Jane coaching
Saturday: 2 1/4 hours, 30-35 miles? road biking-Nederland to Ward via Peak to
Peak Highway then Left Hand Canyon to Olde Stage to home.
Sunday: 2 1/2 hours, 9-10 miles mountain biking at West Mag trails
TOTALS: Swim-3500 yards, 1 hour 42 mins.
Bike-35 miles, 2 1/4 hours road
10 miles, 2 1/2 hours mountain
Run-8.5 miles, approx. 90 mins.
8 hours total tri training
I need to have one or two more days with double workouts and I need to get a brick in here or there. Was planning on it Saturday but I was so wiped when I got home that I took a nap instead. How's that for discipline?
Not much agility training, I'm giving the dogs a break because of the heat since we train outside.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
Glenwood Springs Triathlon, Sept. 9 (yay, I got in)
Can't make up my mind about the off road tri Aug. 4th. I'm still unsure about the bike but I'm leaning towards doing it. If I do then I can only do 1 day of the DOCNA trial that weekend. Or I can skip DOCNA and travel to UT on Aug. 11-12 for a USDAA trial. It's a 7:50 hour drive according to mapquest and it wouldn't help me qualify either dog for Speed Jumping at Natl's. because Speed Jumping is on Friday with all the team events and I'm not doing team and thus not taking a whole day off work for one class. But it's supposed to be a great trial site and a really fun trial. Several people from my training field go and they all rave about it. Also, I could try for that Grand Prix leg for Lola. But it's so far and what about global warming? But it sounds fun. But I really want to support the DOCNA trial. Boy my life is tough isn't it?
I added a couple of new blogs to my links, Diary of a Mad Triathlete which I like because the guy has 2 neurotic border collies (isn't that redundant?) and a sense of humor (can you have one without the other?). Plus he's got chickens & other small farm animals and lives in a small eccentric town in the northeast which is always good for amusing stories.
Also, Couch Potato to Ironman which is about what it sounds like it's about. Right now the guy is struggling to get through a sprint but he's pretty gutsy and determined so I'm sure he'll eventually reach his Ironman goal. Inspirational reading to say the least.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I learned to swim when I was 8 or so and grew up swimming and playing in Lake Michigan (and lived to tell the tale, just). I always felt pretty confident around water and in my swimming abilities. But I nearly drowned in Lake Michigan in about 2 feet of water. I was a teenager and some friends and I decided to go down to the beach on a day that it was closed for bad weather. It was stormy & windy and there were huge waves and whitecaps which was precisely the attraction. I loved going out from shore a bit then body surfing back in. The power and speed of the waves pulling me along was a big rush until inevitably a way too big wave came along and I couldn't get away in time. I was just a few feet from shore when it hit me and it pulled me under with such power that I couldn't get out. The wave receded and I was stuck in some weird undertow in about 2 feet of water and couldn't get up to the surface. I think I blacked out briefly, it's hard to remember. In the end my boyfriend pulled me out, just. My friends laughed, shrugged it off and probably forgot about it in the way that stupid teenagers do but I never forgot the incident and have had a great respect for the power of open water ever since then.
The other day I discovered an interesting swim safety device called Swim Safe. It's basically a belt that inflates when you pull a chord or you can inflate it yourself with just 4 breaths. It's expensive at $79 plus $7.50 shipping but seems like a clever idea to improve open water swimming safety. You wouldn't think such a device would be controversial but there was quite the debate over on the trinewbies site, not a place I often go to unless I'm looking for a specific bit of info. but I was snooping over there for some reason and became fascinated with the shouting match over this seemingly innocuous piece of equipment. Some people felt the device was a crutch and that it would somehow encourage more inexperienced swimmers into open water tri's. One woman went so far as to say she would keep well away of anyone she saw wearing the belt because obviously that person would have poor swim skills. Another said anyone who felt the need to wear such a belt had no business getting in the water at all (ditto for wetsuits). The person who brought the issue up who was in favor of the device wasn't helping matters by more or less saying that anybody who didn't at least consider wearing one of these was an idiot. The weirdest point of argument though was that of preparedness. A supposedly trained survivalist claimed that the more prepared you are mentally and physically the less equipment you need to survive (yes, that makes sense) thus the more equipment you require the less prepared you are (huh??!!). In his mind being physically and mentally prepared was somehow incompatible with using safety equipment. Analogies to the use of bike helmets seemed to fall on deaf ears. The whole discussion was both bizarre and disturbing leading me to wonder if perhaps the notion of drowning in open water is the big pink elephant in the room that no triathlete wants to talk about. No matter how mentally or physically prepared you are anything can happen out there in the water, esp. during a race with lots of other swimmers and chaos going on around you and perhaps some people aren't comfortable acknowledging that their safety is sometimes beyond their control.
I don't rely on lifeguards, kyaks, safety boats, etc. when I swim. I know I could go under in a second and they wouldn't even notice me gone. I look after my safety by training and not putting myself in situations that I feel are over my head. I went out to the Rez Tuesday morning for an open water masters practice and found the water too choppy for my liking so I swam out and back close to shore rather than doing the big loop out into the Rez that the majority of the group did. I felt 100% safe the whole workout and tomorrow I'll almost certainly swim the big loop with the group if conditions feel right.
However, though I don't rely on them I do take note of where the lifeguards are both during races and practice and I'm sure happy to have them out there. They can't save me in all scenarios but they sure can save me in some and it's an added level of safety I'm grateful to have. I ordered my Swimsafe yesterday and unless it turns out to be too heavy I'll probably use it during practice and races. It's not going to save me in all scenarios and I certainly wouldn't put myself in what I felt were unsafe situations because of it but it's an added level of protection that comes at a relatively small price. Yeah, I'll look like a dork but what else is new.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
And then I'd sit and think some more
I have the honor of being chosen by none other than the Bad Bhudda himself as being one of 5 blogs that makes him think. This seems a rather ill deserved honor when you consider that my recent posts have involved endlessly fascinating natterings about my dogs qualifying for agility nationals, an afternoon spent sitting around a lake in the mountains and my Adam Ant earworm. My next post was going to be about my exciting discovery of the 'reverse baton exchange' in the USDAA Team Pairs Relay event and my attempts at trying to make a chocolate milkshake but instead the mighty Bhudda has asked me to list 5 blogs that make me think.
Unfortunately I can't seem to do it. I've only got 10 blogs listed on my sidebar and to pick 5 of them would perhaps imply that the other 5 don't make me think and I don't want to hurt any feelings here. All of those blogs I have listed get me thinking to some extent or another in different sorts of ways and ranking them seems too difficult a task for this bear of little brain.
I will say this little exercise does have me thinking about my subject matter lately. Maybe I've had a little too much self indulgent rambling about the dogs' agility results though maybe that's just because I've been immersed in agility for the past 3 days. I keep thinking of a scene from the Simpsons where Homer is banging his fist on the top of the TV while yelling 'Be More Funny'. Maybe I should start banging my fist on the computer while yelling 'Be More Thought Provoking.'
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Went mountain biking in Winter Park (about 2 hours away up in the mountains) yesterday and oh what a gorgeous day. I had no problem on trails I was struggling with last year. Perhaps because I had agility on the brain I was thinking more about setting lines on the twisty turny stuff and felt a huge improvement over how I normally ride. Jonny was up ahead of me and I saw him doing it ever so naturally, I'll bet he doesn't even think about it. He's talking about joining a team and getting some sponsorship which he easily could do. I tried to encourage him years ago but he wasn't interested in competing. Now he rides with all these competitive people and sees all the nice swag they get from their sponsorships and it doesn't require all that much work so he's going to look into it.
I'm having a relaxing, non-structured day today, maybe a nice hike or something we'll see how it goes. Happy 4th to all.
Monday, July 02, 2007
The good news is that both dogs' teams qualified in the Team event, Cody got his first masters standard Q with a first place, and he got his first Speed Jumping Q taking 3rd place in the finals the following day. O.k., there were only 3 dogs but we still q'ed and got $7 and a pretty ribbon which is better than no $7 and no pretty ribbon. The heat was beating down during Speed Jumping and Cody was slower than normal but still working pretty well so I was happy. I didn't have enough time to walk the course because I was running in the other ring so I was confused for a moment a couple of places on course during the run and caused a wide turn or two. Both dogs picked up Snooker Q's but no Super Q's, we missed by one point which was stupid because I had a full 10 extra seconds for both dogs, I easily could have added an extra 4 points and picked up SQ's for both of them.
The other good news is that the dogs ran great despite the heat. They were slower than normal but that was fine with me, I didn't want them pushing in such extreme weather. Nobody shut down or had any stress issues, both dogs had beautiful tables (we've been working on that) which is a good sign that they're enjoying themselves and not stressed. No major meltdown runs either, all the E's were just little things. In particular Lola was sucking to the A-frame no matter what I did and this caused 3-4 E's so we'll need to work on that. Weaves were pretty good, Cody didn't pop out at all and Lola was more consistent as well. We had another quick practice before the trial, I suppose that helped.
Best spectator moment-a woman fell at #6 in her Snooker closing and her big floppy hat fell off her head. She got up to continue her run and her big black lab picked up the hat in his mouth and finished the course which included a tunnel, the weave poles and the teeter. Very cute.
I had a bit of drama Sat. night as Lola seemed to have gotten something in her eye. It started running mid-morning and she was squinting by the end of the day. Her Team Jumpers run was really off, she was ticking bars and missed the weave poles entirely, probably because she couldn't see me. So I took her to the Emergency Vet and they stained the eye and checked for corneal abrasions, used a Q-tip to clean out all around the eye and put some antibiotics into it but they couldn't find anything. Sun. morning she was still squinty and I almost left her home but decided to take her with to see if she would improve. As it turned out she was perfectly fine all day and the squinting disappeared. No problems at all today either so hopefully it was nothing.
I went to masters tonight even though I was still tired & woozy from this morning but I thought a nice cool swim would feel so good and it did. I got out after 45 minutes and started to get a row from the coach until I told her were I'd been for 3 days and even she understood and told me she wouldn't put me on the sinners list.
Now my big question is, do I go to Nationals? I said I probably would if both dogs qualified in Team but I think I wasn't thinking that was going to happen. Lola has no Grand Prix Q's because she missed so many trials because of her injury. There's only one more local trial, if I want to try to qualify I can go to Utah in August and/or Nebraska in Sept. but I'm not sure I want to do that. Cody is qualified in Grand Prix and has the one Speed Jumping Q. We'll try for that at the local trial. I'm not sure all that travelling is worth it to add only 2-3 events and we could travel and still not Q. Decisions, decisions.