Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Scared straight

Those straight tunnels, they're killing me.  So simple in concept yet so confounding in practice.  Damn you to hell straight tunnels.  My training partner feels my pain so we agreed on a straight tunnel exercise for last Friday's practice.  The courses are from Kathy Keats and you can see them here.

I didn't help that I was tired.  Masters swim practice was only a couple of hours before and by Friday I'd had nearly all of my weekly triathlon training behind me since I knew I'd be in a class all weekend and unable to get in any big workouts.

I hemmed and hawed about posting these videos.  They might not be all that fun to watch.  My brain is still chewing on the information from the seminar last month.  You can almost see the smoke coming off my head in the videos as I try to puzzle through how to put it all together.  Fluency will come at some point but for now it's not very pretty.  Plus the part about being tired and it was cold and damp so Strum was fast and not tiring out.  But it is what it is for now.

I'll start with Exercise #3.  We used 12 weave poles instead of the specified 6 for all exercises and this added to the challenge.

EXERCISE #3, 3-4-2011 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

Getting from #4 to the #5 weaves required some good snooker handling.  At first I didn't respect the challenge enough and got the tunnel.  Then I overhandled it and it worked but wasn't pretty.  Finally Goldilocks got is just right.  Or close enough for government work anyway.  Next was the #7 tunnel to #8 jump.  I didn't need to break out the calculus to figure out that there was no way I could beat Strum to the end of that tunnel let alone get ahead enough to cue that jump as a push with him on my left.  All calculations lead to knee surgery so I decided to do a front cross on the flat in front of the tunnel and pull to 8.  I was still behind and got a lot of head checking at 8-9.  Getting to 10 was again another challenge that I first underhandled then overhandled.  I keep forgetting that I can run forward but still turn my body to the side and keep eye contact.

Exercise #2

EXERCISE #2, 3-4-2011 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

4-6 was sort of a mirror image of the same issue from Exercise 3.  I struggled even more with getting that #6 jump without a lot of head checking because I was so far behind.  Even yelling 'Go Jump' while he was in the tunnel and again when he exited didn't seem to help.  This was even more challenging for my training partner's dog who is also super fast but smaller so his stride didn't carry him quite as far out of the tunnel and she had to work even harder for that jump.  Again, those 12 weave poles spread things out and we had a 20' tunnel so it was even more challenging than the course on the map.  Since both of us struggled we're going to continue to work on sends out of a tunnel in future practices.

Exercise #1

EXERCISE #1, 3-4-2011 from colliebrains on Vimeo.

The challenge for me here was the rear cross between 4 and 5.  Handling wise a better option might have been a front between 3 and 4 but I wanted to practice rear crosses.  I went over my video on the rear cross exercises from the seminar and I had done decent job there but struggled in the context of a course.  I kept trying to pull off a deceleration rear cross in part because I wanted to practice it but also because if I let him get too far ahead of me and then decelerated the cue was too late and he was already in extension when he committed to that #5 jump.  I don't know if that's good handling logic and the struggle was with the execution (well, I know the struggle was with the execution) but it took some tries to pull it off.  I think I edited out too much video for this exercise and exercise 2 as well.  Not sure what happened.

I have also some dogwalk footage from Thursday.

He was 3/6 (50%).  Sigh.  I rewarded the 2nd and 3rd reps. even though they were misses so 4/6 (67%) for me.  I knew #2 rep. was a miss the second I rewarded it.  I was too far behind and spoke too soon.  I didn't spot the #3 rep. as a miss until I saw the video.

I think the problem is that he needs to know where he's going.  In the past I've practiced turns by putting the treat gizmo off to the side like it is here, signaled the turn and rewarded with the gizmo so it looked like at first he thought that's the game we were playing and I was so far behind on that 2nd rep. that I was in effect cueing a turn. 

Today should be dogwalk practice day but there's a light dusting of snow and a coat of ice on everything so we may only get one day in this week.  Once again I'm unable to train over the weekend so my schedule is running a bit feral this week.


  1. Those sequences look difficult.

    Just something to think about. On the running dogwalks, it looks like when you are a little further behind, he jumps the contact. When you are ahead or right with him, he hits the contact. Im not sure what that means.

  2. What it means is that his dogwalk isn't independent. I was intentionally trying to vary being ahead and behind to work on that but clearly he's not ready for it. Something to keep working on for me though because there will be courses where I'll be behind.