Thursday, June 30, 2011

Black Forest USDAA trial

Strum and I had a very fun day playing at USDAA in the woods of Black Forest Regional Park.  I had not one but two friends that came to watch.  One lived in the area and I had to meet with her anyway but it turned out she was excited to come see the dogs and stayed for a full 4 hours.  The other friend was in from out of town and also wanted to see the dogs.  He was a good sport about waking up at 4:45 a.m. and he helped me with hauling, setting up and tearing down all my crap.  I seriously need to get myself a Kennel Boy, what a huge luxury that was, especially at the end of a hot tired day. And he took photos.

Strummer's most entertaining run of the day, and his only Q, was Starters Snooker.  Because apparently we can't get around the World's Easiest Snooker Course without providing entertainment for the crowd.

This map is for Advanced but the only difference was that the #5 jump was more perpendicular (ie easier to jump in the closing) and we had to do any of the tunnels twice for 7 points.  Advanced had to do 2 tunnels and Masters had 3.  Only one dog did the 3 and got through the closing in Masters.

Easy peasy right?  I did the #2/7 tunnel twice for all three 7's and then boom the same tunnel again and you've started your closing.  The stupid part is that I did actually cue the poor dog to do what he did.  He takes me so literally.

It may look silly but it was good enough for 1st place.  Thanks to Greg for filming.  It was the only run I didn't bother to ask someone to film because I thought it would be so boring but he happened to catch us on his camera.

I chose a risky handling move in the opening of Advanced Jumpers and didn't quite pull it off.  Otherwise a nice run except for a dropped bar that sounded like it hurt at the end.

Video is of Standard, Jumpers and International Jumpers.  I couldn't be bothered separating them but they're short runs.   Unfortunately I can't find my International Jumpers map.

Missed dogwalk (sigh) and dropped bar (sigh) in Starters Standard.  There was a tunnel after the dogwalk and true to form he extended and missed the yellow.  We were finally seeing some improvement in practice but that was with jumps after the dogwalk.  More on that later.  Then the silly dog goes charging for the dogwalk at the end of the run.  The power of reinforcement I suppose.

International Jumpers was my favorite run.  Such a fun course, I wish I could find my map.  Nice challenges but totally do-able.  Strum missed his weave entry (sigh) and that threw me off a bit so I mishandled the subsequent serpentine (turned into him, ugh, will I never get out of that habit?) and got momentarily lost.  I did actually have a handling move planned after that serpentine but couldn't pull it off because I briefly forgot where I was going.  We also had a standard fault called but I didn't see any bars down so I'm wondering if he ticked the broad jump.  It's too hard to tell from the video.

Here's a video (also courtesy of Greg) of just International Jumpers.

Overall some little things keeping us out of the Q's but still some nice stuff from the Strum man.  Sadly all the things we've been focusing on in training are still the things we're struggling with at trials.  It feels like we're at a frustrating plateau with it all.  I'll have to put some thought into ways to charge up the training to hopefully get us through it.  He's such a great dog, if only we could fix these few things.

My friends were duly impressed both with Strummer and all the other dogs.  My local friend enjoyed it so much that she called me up the next day to tell me what a good time she had and let her know if I go to any more down in Colorado Springs.  She also offered me a place to stay so I may change my fall plans and go down to Fountain for USDAA in October.  Haven't been to that trial in several years.  Best of all though she liked how the dogs all seemed to be loving the game and playing with their humans.  I hear a lot of criticism about USDAA trials being too competitive and having a bad atmosphere but I've never felt that myself about the majority of our local trials and it was nice to have an outsider comment on what a nice atmosphere she felt there.

It was a small, low key trial that moved along quickly, at least on Sunday when I was there, and I had a great time.  The judge had some fabulous courses and was nice to work with.  It was hot, in the 90's, but so dry and with a breeze so it wasn't too bad.  There's lots of shade surrounding the rings and that helps a lot.  I love the venue, so nice to be in the woods and doing agility and there are nice hiking trails for warming up/cooling down the dogs or just having a moment of quiet.  I had been in two minds about going and in the end I'm very glad I did.

Trial Stats

Perf. Starters Snooker Q, 1st place

Perf. Starters Snooker Title

Dogwalks:  0/1 (0%)  (tunnel after dogwalk)

A-frames:  1/1 (100%)

Weave entries:  1/2 (50%)  At least he didn't pop out.

Knocked bars:  2

Teeters:  1/1 (100%) But it was sort of naughty, could have been better

Table was awesome

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week in Training

Kind of a disastrous training week.  I had some kind of stomach bug on Weds. and Thurs. and there was no way any training was going to happen.  I was sad to miss Thursday's Rez swim and I briefly considered giving it a go but in the end I decided that being in the middle of a lake in a wetsuit and having an attack of G.I. distress was not a good plan for anybody.  Then there was an agility trial on Sunday so I lost 3 days of training.  I suppose 6 hours isn't bad for 4 days but still.

Swimming is motoring along.  I wish I could figure out how to be faster in the open water.  I've been experimenting with breathing patterns, ie 4 breathes to my good side then 2 to my bad, etc.  My conclusion so far is that the alternate breathing feels faster but even with breathing several times to one side I'm still more out of breath but even worse is that breathing to my off side causes me to swim way off course because I'm still so uncoordinated on that side.  I'm going to keep practicing it though.  I'm determined to be able to learn to breathe on both sides.  But I'm not going to do it in races until I'm competent at it in practice.

Not much biking this week and I was still guarding the hamstring on the ride I did do.  Running continues to get better.  Hamstring still a little sore but continues to improve.

Swim:  6400 yards/2 hour, 45 mins.

Mountain bike:  10 miles/2 hours

Run:  5.0 miles/1 hour, 13 mins. (4 min. run/1 min. walk)

Total training time: 5 hours, 58 mins.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Kicking ass for the working class

Steve from Agility Nerd sent out a call for bloggers to write about Working/Volunteering at trials for a 'Blog Action Day'.  I think if you go to his blog he'll have a list of links for all the postings so you can see what others have to say as well.  I think this came out of a discussion over at Clean Run's Yahoo group.  I checked out a bit of the discussion but there were so many posts, I don't have that kind of time or interest, but I did glean a little bit and one poster in particular had some rather extraordinary/inflammatory things to say that I may refer to a bit in my discussion.

I always work at trials, usually 4-6 classes per day for a DOCNA trial and 2-4  per day for USDAA depending on the trials needs.  Sometimes I even go to work trials I'm not competing in.  Within the past 2 years I've joined the 2 agility clubs local to me but even before joining I always worked trials and I work trials for other clubs/organizations as well.  Whether it's my club or not doesn't effect how many classes I work.  I don't consider this volunteering so much as work that needs to be done in order for me to enjoy my hobby (true volunteer work involves donating time/energy to organizations that do work to make the world a better place).  It's a lot of work to put on a trial and all the work shouldn't fall on the backs of a few club members or individuals with training centers.  I can't speak for AKC but the clubs/people putting on  DOCNA and USDAA trials are not making huge amounts of money and in fact sometimes lose money.  I know the last few 2-ring USDAA trials for both the clubs I belong to lost money.  People hold these trials for a love of the sport not to make money  but I'm sure this is obvious to most of those reading this.  Most agility clubs are either technically non-profits or at least functioning like them for all intents and purposes.  Some 'clubs' are as small as one person or have maybe a dozen members.  Any money the club makes goes back into buying new equipment or covering trials that lose money.  The only perks for members around here are a reduced entry fee and first choice at workers spots for the yearly seminar plus a few other small things.  But they're hardly compensation for the hard work that club members put in nor are they meant to be.  I only bring this up because there was a woman at the Clean Run discussion group who claimed that because she paid an entry fee she shouldn't be expected to work because it was up to the club to figure out how to staff their rings and turn a profit without help from paying customers.  And I say just because an agility competitor joins a club doesn't mean they're selling themselves into slavery.  Again, the financial benefits of joining a club are very slim for the individual compared to the work involved.  Most people do it for a love of the sport and so that we can all have trials to go to not because they make money or particularly enjoy all the work or have nothing better to do as the commenter over at Clean Run discussion group proclaimed.

Now I know there are AKC breed clubs that hold agility trials for the sole purpose of making money and in that instance I can understand competitors not wanting to work for free because that is a 'for profit' situation and money earned there is not going to go back into the agility community.  I know some of those clubs hire workers and in fact one of them 'hired' the Border Collie rescue group I volunteer for to do the grunt work for one of their trials.  The rescue made over $1000 and the breed club who was made up mostly of non-agility folk didn't have to do the heavy lifting.  Not sure if they  made money but from what I heard both sides were happy with the working arrangement, a win for everybody.

I'm a numbers geek so I crunched a few numbers based on a one ring USDAA trial I attended over the weekend.  I counted 176 jobs for one day assuming 1 score keeper, 4 jump setters, no scribe assistant and 5 course builders per class (in addition to the other positions).  I figured there were roughly 56 handlers (maximum, there may have been less) based on the running order and taking into account multiple dogs so that works out to a minimum of 3.14 jobs/handler for the day if the work is divided evenly amongst competitors.  I've done the same in the past for DOCNA and it works out 4 jobs/handler or so since there are more classes in DOCNA.  This doesn't take into account people who can't work for legitimate reasons or who work a lot and maybe need to take a break off from working for a trial.  If we conservatively assume 10% of the field or 6 competitors have a good reason not to be working the USDAA figure jumps up to 3.52 jobs/handler.

I get the feeling that most USDAA, NADAC and DOCNA competitors in Colorado work at least a couple of classes.  I don't know for sure because I don't have the time, energy or interest in keeping track of who's not working but most people that I know work.  Some work more than others but I'm not keeping score.  According to the Clean Run discussion this is not the case in other areas (and I can't speak for AKC or UKC in my area).  One person spoke of an AKC trial taking 13 hours because a large number of competitors flat out refused to work and also had the nerve to get angry at the slow pace of the day but yet still refused to lift a finger.  I can't imagine attending such a hostile trial.  How hard is it to jump into a ring and set a few bars or sit on your butt and hit the timer?  Takes much less energy than sitting in your chair and stewing over the length of the day.  One of the more inflammatory statements from the commentator over at Clean Run  was something to the effect that she hates the agility culture and feels alienated by it because she refuses to work.  Well if someone is sitting on their ass all day or practicing obedience with their dogs (as this person says she was doing) or sitting in the corner reading Ayn Rand's 'Virtue of Selfishness' and spouting Libertarian nonsense about Reverse Darwinism (I kid you not) then it's hardly a shocker when people are less than welcoming.  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of and it's a bit passive aggressive to loudly reject the values of a community then cry 'boo hoo, everyone's so mean, nobody likes me, I hate this place'.  I know Monica from Clean Run and others as well say that expressing animosity towards these people and walking around with a lot of anger towards them isn't helping matters and I soundly agree.  I don't think it's healthy walking around with a lot of anger about anything.  But the reality of the situation is that people are going to be angry if they feel taken advantage of and some are going to express it and telling them they shouldn't be angry adds insult to injury and is only going to make them more angry.  It seems so much easier for the non-worker to just put down the Ayn Rand and go set a few bars or hit a few timers and be part of the community rather than rail against it and create a lot of animosity just to prove a point.  Plus the day will go so much faster if everybody helps.

The other problem with people not pitching in is that the people who do work all the time get burnt out.  If someone has to work 6-8 classes instead of 4 because someone else won't work then that person is going to be tired and more prone to mistakes both in doing their job and running their dog by the end of the day.

I'm not sure what the solution is to get people more involved in areas where this is a problem.  The club could make working 2 classes per day mandatory for entry but how would you enforce that?  If someone scratches their name off the workers' list and refuses to work their classes are you going to drag them kicking and screaming to the ring?  You could refuse them entry to your next trial I suppose but you still need someone to keep track of it all.  And I think people like the idea that they're volunteering so you could be alienating people who would work anyway and still not getting the slackers to do their part.

The club could hire workers and charge an extra fee that everyone has to pay.  One club member on the yahoogroup said it cost them over $1000/day to hire workers for the day and I'm not sure if that was for every position or just ring crew but that seems low.  At that rate each person would have to pay an extra $18/day or $36 for the weekend and I'm not sure if that covers scribe/timer/scorekeeper.  It doesn't seem fair to charge someone the full rate if they're only doing 2/5 runs for the day while another handler with 3 dogs is doing 15 runs so the multi-dog handler could end up paying significantly more.  The other problem with this is that you have to deal with inexperienced workers and this can slow down the day.  Enticing enough experienced non-competing handlers to give up a free weekend to work at a trial for a pittance could be problematic.  And if you do have jobs left that require workers like timer and scribe you're going to have a really hard time getting them after charging competitors a hefty 'worker's fee'.

One tactic that I've seen work well is to offer a really nice prize in a worker's raffle.  DOCNA Champs. last year had a good quality tunnel for a prize and man you couldn't buy a worker's spot.  People were waiting ringside clamoring for those spots before they even called for ring crew, I don't even think they had to post a worker's list.  There's a woman who puts on NADAC trials single handedly and she usually has one of her nice high quality hand made fleece dog beds as well as an array of tugs and toys for her workers' raffle and she never seems to suffer for workers.  It's amazing how well run and low stress her trials are considering she's only one person.  I personally like getting vouchers for the next trial.  Then there was the time I won a maggot ball which it turns out I've got a fair bit of use out of and never would have bought for myself.  I doubt any of these incentives will entice the truly stubborn but nice perks for workers do tend to bring people out of the woodwork.

Treating workers well, or at least not treating them poorly, is important too.  However it's important to remember that volunteer coordinators are volunteers themselves and of all the jobs it's got to one of the most daunting, stressful and thankless.  Probably the worst treatment I had as a volunteer was when the volunteer coordinator started yelling my name over the loudspeaker in an irritated, angry voice saying, 'C'mon Elayne, you volunteered for this position, where are you?' among other things.  Well where I was was in the other ring in the middle of my run.  Can you say distracting?  And I had told them I had a conflict and couldn't work but they told me no problem, they were holding the other ring.  Then they decided not to hold the other ring.  No the volunteer coordinator didn't have to resort to yelling at me over the loudspeaker and yes I did work for that trial under that volunteer coordinator again.  Because I'm not one to hold a grudge and nobody's perfect.  It's a long day and people's tempers fray, we need to cut each other some slack and not take everything so personally.  No I don't think this person is well suited to the job but no I don't want to do it myself thank you very much so I'm not going to gripe and go off in a huff and refuse to work.  I could give other minor instances of poor treatment, being bullied to work and poor organization of volunteers but it seems petty.  Again nobody is getting paid the big bucks to put on these trials and walking around angry and holding grudges isn't healthy.  Overall my experience is that the clubs around here treat workers pretty well (can't speak for AKC) as do the judges.  There are always exceptions and sometimes someone is going to be having a bad day but I like to look at the big picture and overall I'd say I'm treated pretty well as a worker.

Poor coordination of volunteers can make for a stressful day for all involved and I do think responsibility for that does fall squarely on the club.  It's important to have a loudspeaker or megaphone to be able to call for workers in the event that someone doesn't show up or not enough people sign up in advance.  Remarkably there were several people on the Clean Run yahoogroup complaining about having to listen to these announcements.  This is an easy fix.  If you don't want to listen to the announcements then sign up to work, problem solved.  Somebody has to man the rings and it could very well be that somebody finally got sick of working 6 classes and decided to see if someone else would step up.  If everybody points to their premium and says 'Hey, it doesn't say anywhere that I HAVE to work so I'm not going to' well it's going to be a long day of yelling over the loudspeaker.  If only someone would invent bars that reset themselves.  Or little helper elves that magically pop out of the tunnels.

I feel fortunate that the trials I attend in my area have competitors that aren't hostile towards working.  In any large group there are going to be people who give more than their fair share and those who sit back and let others do all the work but overall I get the sense that most people pitch in and by doing the work ourselves we get to keep our costs down, move the day along more quickly and generate a sense of community.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Widget Madness

Here's some advice for you if you're trying to set up your own website.  If someone tries to tell you Wordpress is easy you should slap them.  Hard.  Or maybe Wordpress is easy and all the other programs are even worse.  All I want to do is set the thing up so you click on the thingy at the top of the page that says, 'Home' or 'Services' or 'Contact Us' and it takes you to a page with the appropriate information.  It should not take me days and weeks and years to figure this out.  The trouble with this stuff is that there's specific words for everything and I don't know what they mean.  A post is different from a page and how you get the page to show up when you type in the website address instead of the post is beyond me.  Thankfully Jonny told me the name of the thingy you click that says 'Home' or 'Services' or 'Contact Us' is 'tab'.  I'm not sure how I was supposed to know that or how I was even supposed to ask Wordpress that or how Jonny knows it and I'm probably the only person on the face of the planet that doesn't.  Not that this information is useful.  It's only brought me to a different level of Hell.

"Tabs and Slides (in post/page) Plugin gives you the ability to easily add content tabs and/or content slides. The tabs emulate a multi-page structure, while the slides emulate an accordion-like structure, inside a single page!"

Accordion-like structure, inside a single page!  I'm glad someone is so excited about it.  Jonny is no help here.  And this is their idea of easy.

This section describes how to install the plugin and get it working.
  1. Upload folder wordpress-tabs-slides to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory.
  2. Activate the plugin through the 'Plugins' menu in WordPress.
  3. Test and enjoy!


{tab=Tab Title} Contents {/tabs}
{tab=Tab 1}
Contents Tab 1
{tab=Tab 2}
Contents Tab 2
Slide: {slide=Slide Title} Contents {/slide}
Accordion-like structure(1.8): {accordion=Accordion 1} Contents {/accordion} {accordion=Accordion 2} Contents {/accordion}

Easy as pie.  My ass.  Now I have to research where to find the wordpress-tabs-slider folder and also where to find the /wp-content/plugins/ directory to upload it to.  Then what do you do?  This goes on and on and on for everything.  Hours and hours to figure out how to insert a photo in a sidebar and then how to make the sidebar different for each different page.  I got the plug-in for that one but how I get it to work is probably another day's research.

And after all that?  Turns out all  I had to do was actually publish the page and it automatically created a tab on the menu.  The tab doesn't say what I want and it's not on the first page but at least we're getting somewhere though where we are getting I'm not so sure.  Easy as pie.  I had a stomach bug the past 2 days and didn't mess with the website while I was ill.  I'm sort of longing for the stomach virus to return.

I have a USDAA trial on Sunday only.  I'm thinking the International Jumpers course will be a piece of cake compared to all this.  I'm not even going to complain about how hot it is.

Agility is way more fun than computers.  Humans are so stupid.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Week in Training

Finally getting those numbers up a bit.  Was hoping for another 30-50 mins. on the bike which would have pushed total training time into the 9 hour range but Sunday's ride had us back at the car a bit too soon and I was afraid of the scary ride Jonny might cobble together to make things longer so I  said it was probably enough.  Was also having a frustrating time with my technical skills and didn't feel like dragging that out any more.

Running is what it is at the moment.  It is feeling better/faster with each workout so that's something.  I should be at 40 minute runs by the end of this week.  Hamstring feels a lot better, not 100% but getting there.  Piriformis isn't bothering me at all, weird.

Was blow drying my hair this morning while wearing a sleeveless shirt and got a bit of shock at the state of my arms while lifting the blow dryer above my head.  A fair bit of muscle has built up on them somehow without me noticing and it's not an altogether attractive look.  It's not a nice toned, lean muscle-y look, it's more a meaty man arm look.  Not too sure what to do about that.  I suppose I could start lifting weights or doing more toning type of exercises/yoga type stuff but OMG shoot me now.  It's summer and I'm not going to spend it inside a stuffy stinky weight room.  On the plus side if you need a spaghetti jar opened I'm your girl.  Somehow though I still can't lift a tunnel bag.

Swim:  6300 yards/2 hour, 46 mins.

Mountain bike:  23.5 miles/4 hours, 8 minutes

Run:  5.9 miles/1 hour, 32 mins. (4 min. run/1 min. walk)

Total training time: 8 hours, 26 mins.

119.0 lbs (+.8 lbs.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

West Mag-nificent

Finally made it up to the West Mag trails in Nederland for the first ride of the season.  Between the weather, the late spring snow and my schedule of weekend classes it seems a bit late to be going up there for the first time but better late than never I guess.

Shoshone meadows

Wildflowers are starting to bloom

Everything's so green right now

And yet there's still a good amount of snow up in the high country.

Indian Peaks

Ride ended up a bit short at only and hour and 40 minutes or so but it was probably for the best.  I was struggling a bit with the steep climbs, still a bit tentative to push the hamstring even though it's not really the hamstring doing the work.  Walked a bunch of stuff I'd normally ride and started to get a bit upset with myself about it then decided it was too nice of a day to worry about it and let it go.  I've got all summer to sharpen my technical skills.

If the van is a rockin'...
The trails and the area in general were about the most crowded I've ever seen them.  Still the trails were fairly quiet compared to the ones in town but the parking lot, ugh, we came back to the car to find a beat up old school RV parked right up close next to our car and I kid you not, it was violently rocking.  And the moans and cries of 'Oh baby' left little doubt as to what was going on inside.  Plus the horrible tacky country music they were blasting...  It was like something out of a bad movie.  And the parking lot was crowded too, it wasn't like they were off in a private little corner somewhere.  Thankfully the guy was quick about it though I don't suppose his partner was so pleased because he was apologizing profusely if not perhaps a bit insincerely to her.  Sheesh.

I got a longer ride in on Thursday up at Hall Ranch.  Only took one photo, I was focused on riding but couldn't resist stopping to snap a photo of this view.

Had the same issues with not wanting to push the hamstring on the steep uphills and having to walk things I'd normally ride but again I have plenty of time to sharpen up those skills and work on getting stronger.

Felt good to have a real weekend this weekend, no classes or trials.  I almost feel like a normal person.  Saw a bit of the live stream from the USDAA 4-Star trial in Utah this morning and the conditions looked pretty miserable.  54 degrees according to the announcer and a good steady rain coming down.  So bizarre for that part of Utah in June, extreme heat and sun are usually more the issues at this time of year.  I love cool cloudy weather for agility but not mixed with rain.  Such weird weather the Rocky Mountain region has been having this spring.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week in Training

Numbers are looking a bit better this week.  I was hoping to be up over 8 hours for total training time but didn't quite pull it off.  I was done with my class last weekend but signed up for a seminar so once again spent the weekend indoors on my butt.  I did get up in the 5 ish hour on Sat. morning and got a run in before I scooted off to class but it was only 25 minutes.  During my Friday bike ride I planned to go to the evening masters workout but I pushed it a bit on the bike and once I'd had that shower I didn't have it in me to get in the car and go get sweaty and full of chlorine again just 1 1/2 hours later.  I was tired too, probably wouldn't have been a productive workout anyway.  Aside from one day of an agility trial in 2 weeks I've got weekends free for a good bit so those numbers should work their way back up.

Finally broke 2 hours for my standard mountain bike route, previous best had been just under 2:09.  I've been working on higher cadence/lower resistance and this paid off right away in a faster time.

Started up with running this week, 4 minutes running/1 minute walking.  Started at 20 minutes total and finished the week at 25.  Chiro. told me I could shuffle and take tiny little steps, no overstriding.  This is more important for me than avoiding the heel striking.  It started out being incredibly frustrating but I'm adapting, getting a little quicker with it with each run.  Best part though is the hamstring and piriformis are doing great.  No pain doing ordinary things and only very slight hamstring pain when running.  Really barely even pain.

My training program from Training Peaks starts this week.  I'll have to modify the running workouts because of the hamstring strain/recovery and I want to swim in the Rez as much as I can so I don't know that I'll follow their swim workouts too closely but I'm going to follow the main structure of the workouts in terms of types of workouts and volume.  Already the cadence drill stuff that they gave me in a handout is proving useful.  There are lot of other drills to read through and try for swimming and biking.  But I don't think it's realistic for me to follow the workouts down to the last detail.

I did finally get a swim in at the Rez.  The water was a balmy 63 degrees on Tuesday and I managed the 1000 meter loop no problem.  I did some visualizing for my hands to be warm and have great circulation and this helped as well.  No white fingers this time.  Could have gone further but didn't want to push my luck for the first swim of the season.  Thursday was cold (50 degree air temp.), cloudy and drizzling and I decided to bag that idea.  Tomorrow should be nice though and hopefully the water will have gone up a few degrees.  There was a chick on Tuesday that went in with no wet suit, now that is hardcore.

Swim:  3700 yards/1 hour, 33 mins.

Mountain bike:  43.5 miles/4 hours, 5 minutes

Run:  5.74 miles/1 hour, 27 mins. (4 min. run/1 min. walk)

Total training time: 7 hours, 5 mins.

118.2 lbs (-.2 lbs.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Strummer for your Friday and evil friends

Um, I think you've got a little something between your teeth there.

Maybe you have an evil friend like I do.  The kind who's always telling you things like, 'Oh you can totally design your own website, it's easy, anyone can do it'.  Then he gives you a few vague instructions/suggestions and now that he's planted the evil seed of the idea in your head he quickly changes the topic to 'what kind of dog would be good to get to take kayaking?'.  And next thing you know you're up until 3 in the morning trying to determine if the following gibberish is actually in English.

What is phpMyAdmin?

An administrator's tool of sorts, phpMyAdmin is a PHP script meant for giving users the ability to interact with their MySQL databases. WordPress stores all of its information in the MySQL database and interacts with the database to generate information within your WordPress site. A  "raw" view of the data, tables and fields stored in the MySQL database is accessible through phpMyAdmin.

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing.  Say it again.

I did finally get my website set up and when you type in the address it takes you to the actual website and not some dark, dingy alley in cyberspace.  This used up a day and a half and every bad word I know.  If I ever stop crying long enough to type some actual content into it I'll post a link for it.  But for now I think I'm going to go for a well deserved bike ride.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Week in Training

No running allowed again this week but after Friday's ultrasound treatment I couldn't believe how good the hamstring felt.  Hardly any pain at all.  I get to start running next week.

Swimming was a disaster this week.  I tried to go to one of the outdoor pools for a masters workout on Tuesday but as I was changing a woman came out of the pool and into the locker room and she was so cold, listening to her shiver was making me cold.  She told me the pool was freezing and she'd had to get out after 1900 yards.  As she's a big tough triathlete, not whiny like me.  I don't like the 50 meter pool anyway, it never gets deeper than about 5' and it tapers to 3' on both ends so there's terrible drag for 50 delightful meters.  I got dressed and bugged out of there before the coach could spot me.  Then there was the ice bath on Thursday at the Rez.  I finally got a desperation indoor workout in on Friday.

Had a moment of insanity on Thursday and decided to dust off the road bike.  Why I thought a road ride would be a good idea, never mind in the baking mid-day heat and 23 mph wind, I don't know.  Picked out a 30 mile loop that took me out to an agility friend's store/cafe at the halfway point and stopped for a chat.  The ride out was almost fun, 50 minutes, 17 mph average speed.  The ride back home into the headwind and up all the zillions of hills not so much.  I was having serious words with whatever deranged part of my brain came up with this lark.  After the dust had cleared and I'd had a nice shower and washed away the unpleasantness of the noise and wind and hills and traffic I realized that one, I'd probably come up with the idea so that I could prove to myself how much I hate road riding so I wouldn't feel like I'm missing something this summer when I never pull the road bike out again and two, maybe a 45-60 minute road ride is fun and if I do have another funny turn and decide to hit the road I'll be sure to cut the loop by half.  The Xterra training program does have some road riding but it looks like most of the rides are an hour so and they include drills that will be good for me and would be hard to do on the mountain bike so I may yet pull the road bike out again this summer.  But for my longer endurance rides it's singletrack all the way baby.

Swim:  2600 yards/1 hour, 6 mins.

Mountain bike:  21.75 miles/2 hours, 13 minutes

Road bike:  30.87/2 hours, 16 minutes

Run:  None

Total training time: 5 hours, 35 mins.

118.4 lbs on Friday (-.6 lbs)

Thursday, June 02, 2011

6 minutes

was all I lasted in the Rez this morning and maybe only 3-4 minutes of that was actual swimming.  SO cold.  Turns out there is a limit to my crazy.  My wetsuit was toasty and I ponied up the cash for a pair of neoprene swimming socks so my feet were toasty as well.  But my face and neck, not so much.  Worst of all my hands were going numb almost right away.  I've got some circulation issue with my fingers, I forget what it's called, but they can lose circulation and turn white in certain circumstances.  I knew I'd be in trouble if I tried swimming for too long so I swam back and forth along the shoreline and got out sharpish.  Even the coach, who normally would be all 'where do you think you're going so soon?', supported my decision to get out.  In fact she was encouraging everybody to get out if they didn't feel right about it.  I've cut swims at the Rez short because of the cold but I've never gotten out without doing at least one lap (900-1000 yards).  I was disappointed but even in that short amount of time in the water all my fingers had turned white and it wasn't until I got home and hit the hot shower that they went back to normal.  I probably could have gutted it out but I don't have an open water race until August so there was little point in torturing myself.  Sometimes it's important to pick your battles.

The worst part about it all was that I'd struggled for half and hour to get my new wetsuit on which is a ridiculous amount of time.  I got hung up on the first sleeve, took about 15 minutes to get that sucker on.  There's foam in one side of the forearm and a mesh of plastic on the other making it a challenge to get the sleeve on.  I got the second sleeve on in no time with huge amounts of Body Glide and shoving my forearm in all at once.  What a stupid design but the rest of the suit fits perfectly and it was the only one I could find that fit and as it was they had to special order it for me.  On the plus side though with the 8-9 lbs I've lost it fits like a dream.  Maybe next Tuesday I'll finally be able to use it.

In other news I looked up the results for the new Moab Xterra that was held a couple of weeks ago.  I had really really wanted to do it but I had class that weekend and I think it was the universe's way of saving me because it sounds like it was a beast.  One race report said, 'Just to finish the bike alive was a feat' and another claimed it was 'arguably one of the toughest Xterras in the country'.  I looked up finishing times in my age group and the winner, who is one of the top women in the country in my age group, finished in over 4 hours.  A normal winning time would be around 2:00-3:00 hours depending on the course.  Second place came in over 5 hours.  Here's an overhead view of the bike course.  Part of me feels like I dodged a bullet and the other part wants to set my sights on it for next year if they hold it again.  Maybe I should go to Moab in the fall and check out the bike course first.  It sounds very technical and one guy was airlifted out with a head injury.  Could also be hard to have such a tough race in May, I'd have to use the wretched bike trainer.  There's usually a DOCNA trial that weekend, maybe that's sounding more like sanity.  Plenty of time to think about it anyway.

Strummer sez hello and please throw the ball.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Month in training

Despite the classes and scaling back due to hamstring/piriformis issues I managed 2 hours more of total training time this month over last.  Swim and bike numbers are close, run numbers are down and no power hiking so the increase in total time is probably due to taking on some more technical bike rides.  I'm still down 5 hours from last April though.  I think more than anything the weather was the biggest issue.  One of the rainiest Mays on record kept me inside a lot more than I would have liked but on the other hand I was forced to rest my injuries so maybe not the worst thing in the world.

Swim: 24,950 yards/10 hours, 5 mins.

Mountain Bike: 107 miles/13 hours, 16 mins.

Run: 16.5 miles/4 hours, 2 mins.

Total Training Hours: 27 hours, 23 mins.

The last weight number I had was at 119 lbs. a week ago which is -1.5 lbs for the month.  However I didn't have access to my regular scale at the Rec. Center this week and I suspect I'm down at least another lb but I don't care enough about it to make a special trip to the Rec. Center.  It's possible I won't make it back there until September so I may not have numbers until then.