Monday, January 30, 2012

Week in Training

A good solid week of training, finally.  Too much swimming relative to biking and running but that always happens this time of year.  Would have liked to have a couple short runs in that mix, not sure what happened this week.  I think I was tired with the swimming.  Though it's only 7 hours of training I had another 4 hours of hiking (and more of dog walking).  I don't count it as training but it does count as something, especially since some of the trails were super steep.

Had an odd revelation today when I went to enter one of my planned Xterra triathlons, the Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, CO in July.  It's a longer race than normal and you get more points for your placements but it's also more competitive and one of the toughest Xterras.  There's an early bird discount fee, $75 compared to the regular $95 fee if I enter by tomorrow so I went to the registration page today.  And balked.  Hmmm.  Such a long, hard race and the logistics of it are a pain in the ass plus the huge amount of money to spend the night in Beaver Creek though I suppose I could sleep in the car somewhere nearby.  Somebody who's done it has told me about it and it doesn't sound appealing, especially the swim.  It's kind of an ordeal of a race all the way around and the only reason to enter it would be to qualify for Xterra Nationals and to have something to push myself for mid-season.  But there's pushing yourself and there's sucking the fun out of everything and this is kind of straddling the line.  The thought of bagging it makes me heave a huge sigh of relief but then leaves a hole.  I think for now I'll leave off entering and just suck it up and pay the higher price later.  But that feels like wimping out.  If I enter now, I'll start pushing myself now and be uber ready in July.  But while goals should be challenging they should also be fun and I'm not so sure this race sounds like fun.  Then there's the matter of I was doing these jumps in the shallow end of the pool today per the masters coach to practice pushing off the wall and even though I was jumping in water my knee was all, 'What the . . . ???!!!##%^$%#%#'  Seems way too early in the year to be stressing over races.  What is May going to be like?

This week and next will be disrupted again by an agility seminar and a trial but then it's back to business.

Swim:  8100 yards/3 hours, 17 minutes

Mountain bike:  17.94 miles/2 hours, 10 mins.

Run:  6.38 miles/1 hours, 38 mins.

Total training time: 7 hours, 5 mins.

Hiking:  9 miles/4 hours, approx.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hiking at Hall Ranch

Another attempt at photographing a sundog, or perhaps more accurately Iridescent Clouds, but I like sundog better even if it's maybe not precisely correct.

Some beautiful, strange things going on with the clouds today whatever you want to call it.  I only had my cheapo point and shoot though and the two of us struggle with the sky.

Was too windy for biking so Jonny and I decided to go for a hike at Hall Ranch.  Dogs aren't allowed there but not to worry, they had a nice long hike of their own in the morning on our neighborhood trails.

Classic Hall Ranch view before the skies turned weird

We went up the trail that allows bikes rather than the hiker only trail that we normally take because we figured it wouldn't be busy and it wasn't.  I haven't been riding on this trail in probably 15 years and here's why.

I don't have the biking skills for a 'trail' like this and several years ago they opened another trail that's far less technical so that's the one I always ride.  This trail has become way more eroded and technical than when I rode it lo the many years ago and back then it was already too hard for me.  It was fun to hike up though and fun to watch the people with skills ride it though plenty of folks still had to get off and walk.

The prairie dogs are fat and sassy this time of year.  This one had some words for me.

The views at Hall never disappoint.

Some of the residents enjoying their lazy Sunday.

There are actually 4 deer lounging but some were hidden behind bushes so I left them out of the shot.

Jonny was laughing at me for taking pictures of the deer since we see them all the time in our neighborhood, out our windows, etc. but sometimes it's nice to get a picture of them in their natural habitat rather than lounging in someone's front yard.

The hike was only 6 miles/2 hours, 42 minutes but I'd gone for a 6.4 mile trail run yesterday plus the 1 hour 20 minute hike in the morning with the dogs so my legs were tired before we even started.  It was worth it though, can't remember the last time I've been on a hike outside the hood.

Tomorrow I get to meet with an artist that's hiring me to help him with an art project.  It never occurred to me to market hypnosis to artists and I doubt there's a huge demand but this project will be interesting anyway.  Never a dull moment in the hypnotherapy world.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week In Training

Another low volume week but I got a couple of key workouts in nonetheless.  Clients cancelling and re-scheduling and cancelling again completely messed up my training schedule.  Finally went to a masters swim workout that wasn't drills and it was fun to just hammer out a bunch of 100's.  The main set was:

1x100 on 2:05
2x100 on 2:00
3x100 on 1:55
2x100 on 1:55
3x100 on 1:50
4x100 on 1:45

for a grand total of 15 x 100 yards.  I made all the intervals too and led for the first part of the set then begged off and drafted for the last half.  There was more stuff before and after but that was the meat of potatoes of the workout.

Had in interesting long run on Sunday where I got the idea stuck in my head that I wanted to run the Hogback Loop from home even though it was windy down in town.  This was not one of my brightest ideas.  Why didn't my husband talk me out of these shenanigans rather than egging me on?  It's about 6 miles from the Wonderland Trailhead plus .4 or so miles of walking to and from the trailhead.  Can't remember the last time I ran that far but I wanted to get some steep hills in and increase my mileage.  I had this plan of running loops of the Hogback all winter long to build up my climbing muscles and improve my pathetic run times but the trail's been covered in snow and ice up until a day or two ago.  Even yesterday there were a few snowy patches on the north side.

Anyway, it was 47 degrees and sunny but windy at my house and I felt under dressed when I started out because of the wind.  But I figured I'd get plenty warm once I got going and it was so sunny and warm when the wind stopped.  There was only the occasional gust but those gusts were icy cold.  This was also not one of my brightest ideas.  The wind got a little crazy heading up the steepest part of the Hogback trail on the approach to the ridge and by the time I got to the top of the ridge the wind was howling like freight train and so freezing cold.  I crouched down on the trail a few times because I was worried I'd get blown over.  I'm guessing the winds were at least 40 mph, maybe more.  I turned a corner and got hit by a blast so strong and cold it felt like I had the wind knocked out of me.  I stopped behind a tree for a minute or two to see if the winds would stop but I soon realized it was going to be windy the whole time up on the ridge so I decided to press on and get off the ridge lickety split.  Luckily you're not up there for very long, maybe 5-10 minutes but the trail is rocky so you have to be mindful.  Sure enough as soon as I got off the ridge the winds were back to occasional gusts of about 20 mph and periods of calm.  The last couple few miles didn't feel so good though, kind of crampy and wishing I was done.  Looks like I need to do more longs runs to build up endurance.  Good news is my knee was fine despite having problems with it while walking the dogs all week.

No biking due to messed up schedule, wind, fence repairs, etc.  Excuses, excuses.  No agility training either for much the same reasons.  I'll get back on both of those this week.

Swim:  7800 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike:  Nada

Run:  10.18 miles/2 hours, 43 mins.

Total training time: 5 hours, 43 mins.

Somebody posted this on my Facebook and it gave me a laugh this morning.  'These are my casual compression socks.'  Heh.  Melanie McQuaid is an accomplished pro triathlete, won XTERRA Nationals the past 4 years or something as well as many other accomplishments.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

FIrst USDAA Trial of 2012

Strummer and I had some big fun at the trial last weekend.  This was our first chance to start picking up Q's for Nationals and it was my first time ever running in the Championship division of Grand Prix since my other dogs were lifetime Performance dogs.  What a kick in the pants that was and Strummer had a beautiful run and a Q.  So many people in the stands cheering us and everybody else on, I'm not used to that though to be honest I didn't even notice the crowd until we were done.  Except for when he pulled off a really nice dogwalk, I did notice the crowd then though I promise that's not why we have a running dogwalk.  The Grand Prix course was fun and when I walked it I was confident we could do it, all the challenges were within our skill set and the dogwalk set-up was a good one for Strummer.

I watched a bunch of runs before mine and when I didn't see a single person with a fast dog do the same thing I had planned I started to wonder a little.  But I didn't like the options most people were doing for us so I stuck to my plan and it worked great.  Most people treated 3-4-5 like a serp with their dog on their right and did a rear cross on the flat between 4 and 5 but I ran to the take-off side of 4 and put in a front cross between 3 and 4.  This allowed me to be far enough ahead to get a front cross in between 7 and 8 while most people with fast dogs were stuck with their dog on their left at the A-frame.  Some people then had problems between 8 and 9 with some dogs even going into the #3 tunnel.  I had a bobble after the teeter when Strum ran his teeter causing me to bring him around to get a messy front cross in between 15 and 16 but I didn't trust a rear at that point since he was running a little crazy after the teeter and I wanted to get him back in control a bit.  This cost us time and dropped us down to 4th place but I didn't care, I was so happy for the nice run and the Q for Nat's. and anyway 4th place is not so bad in the big competitive 22" class.  I'm not a big placement person anyway.  The trial was huge for our area, lots of people who don't normally do USDAA were there to qualify for Nat's. and the hosting club had to switch from one ring to two.

After my run I did see one other person with a fast dog pull off that front cross between 3 and 4 and a couple of people with small dogs did it too.  I didn't watch every run so there may have been others.

Strummer Grand Prix

Steeplechase was the other Q I was hoping for and again the course looked fun and do-able for us.  The only part I was concerned about was 3 to 4 because earlier in the day Strum had missed a similar kind of weave entry but I called his name before he took off for 3 to collect him then easily picked him up and got him in the weaves no problem.  After that I figured it was just a matter of working all the jumps and keeping the turns efficient.  I did a rear cross between 9 and 10 as did most people but a few threw in a Ketscher turn at 10.  Strum had a tight enough turn with the rear but it worked nicely for some of the dogs that did it.  Then between 13 and 14 I'm not sure what went on in Strum's brain but he leaped off the A-frame, missing his contact and going over the #7 off course jump.  I hadn't even considered that when I walked it and not many dogs, if any, made that error.  Somebody who saw my run said I had cued him properly and I thought I had as well so I don't know.  That's the fun of competing with dogs, in the end they have a mind of their own.  Strum doesn't usually shoot off like that though, it was weird.  I called his name while he was descending the A-frame to warn him of the turn and maybe this stressed him a little, causing him to leap the contact and run away as a stress response.  Or who knows.  Other than that though it was such a lovely run and he was clean for the rest once I got him back.  Ah well, at least it's only January and we still have a few more chances to Q.

The rest of the trial was in the Starters ring and I was not so thrilled to be back in Starters but it turned out to be o.k.  The Starters class was full of really good dogs who are normally in Masters in AKC, was funny to see such a big, competitive class for Starters though maybe the true beginners didn't think so.  I was in the stands waiting for the class I was supposed to work to start and asked to see someone's Starters Snooker course map and next thing I knew a crowd had gathered around and I was holding a beginner Snooker clinic.  I have this inexplicable and disturbing love of explaining Snooker to people so I didn't mind. I guess it's the engineer in me.

Strum got his first ever Standard Q in USDAA as well as a Pairs Q which is my least favorite class so I was happy to be done with that.  Unfortunately he missed his dogwalk contact in his other Standard run, dropped his only bar of the weekend in an otherwise lovely Jumpers run, got called for his teeter in Gamblers and holy cats I don't know what happened to my brain in Snooker.  Deer in headlights syndrome and poor Strummy was trying so hard to figure out what I wanted.  A snowball effect of confusion finally led to the wrong side of the #4 tunnel in the closing.

There was one bad incident of the weekend when Strum noticed a fast BC that he knows in the other ring while Strum was on the table for his Standard run.  There was no space at all between the rings, just some snow fencing which I was sure would be fine for him but the dogwalk happened to be right up against the snow fencing and fast dogs on the contacts particularly get him overexcited.  To his credit he stayed in his down on the table while he watched the other dog screaming around the ring, got off and did the weave poles then the course looped back to face the other ring and as he ran over the A-frame he had a perfect view of the other dog racing across the dogwalk right in front of him.  He hit his A-frame contact then ran over to the ring gating to stare at the other dog.  He didn't bark or rush the gating, just stood there and stared.  I called him back and he came eventually, it seemed to take forever but he came back and finished the course, still about 11 seconds under course time for a Q and 3rd place.  I found the other person after her run and asked if Strum had screwed up her run.  Thankfully neither she nor her dog had even noticed him.  But I was not happy, not happy at all.  I was talking to the judge later that day and he said I'd handled the situation well and he was impressed Strum hadn't left the table but still.  I've been working on this issue with my training partner and he's been getting so much better but clearly there's a lot of work left to be done.  Not sure if Nat's. will even have fencing for the rings.  I know they didn't in Scottsdale.  If I'm not confident that he can control himself by Sept. then there will be no Nat's. for him.  But we have plenty of time to work on this so that's a big thing on our list.

I also had some drama of my own when Strummer suddenly lifted his right back leg while I was walking him around the grassy area behind the arena on Sunday before his first run.  At first it looked like he'd stepped on a sticker but I couldn't see anything in his paw.  He seemed fine right away but that leg has always had a hitch in it and I'm worried at some point he'll have an ACL tear or something.  I asked someone to watch his run and she said he looked fine.  Then I took him out of the car again later and again he lifted his rear leg then started limping on his front leg as well.  There were no stickers in his feet but I ran my hand over the dirt by the car and immediately felt tiny stickers in the dirt.  I'm used to the dogs getting big goat heads stuck in their paws and these stickers were so small and thin, not the sort of thing that sticks in paws but Strum's so sensitive about his feet that apparently just touching them was enough to make him limp.  At least I hope that's all it is.  Limping right after getting up is always a big red flag so I was still worried about him though he ran just fine the rest of the day and when I stopped walking him through the dirt with the stickers he was fine.  Still I've been keeping my eye on him, especially when he gets up after lying for a bit.  I hate that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think the dogs are sick or injured.  So far this week I haven't noticed a single funny step so I'm feeling good about the sticker theory.

Overall a fun trial despite the 2 rings and inherent conflicts and short tempers.  I was done by 4:00 on Saturday and 1:40 on Sunday and it felt so good to be done so early.   The trial site was less than 20 minutes from my house too which is always nice.  During the week I was hoping we'd be done early on Sunday so I could get a bike ride in since the weather was so nice but, yeah, that didn't happen.  In short I was tired and nursing some middle aged Crazy Dog Lady aches and pains and didn't feel like it.  Instead I attacked the ice flow on my driveway which was probably worse for me than going for a bike ride but at least now there's almost a clear path from house to street.  Poor Cody slipped on the driveway ice a few days ago so I've been doing my best to try to clear a path for him.

Trial Stats

Championship Grand Prix Q, 4th place

Starters Standard Q, 3rd place

Starters Pairs Q, don't know place

Dogwalks:  2/4 (50%) 

A-frames:  8/9 (89%)

Weave entries:  4/6 (67%)  Popped out of poles in Gamblers, completed all other poles.

Knocked bars:  1 in Jumpers

Teeters:  3/4 (75%)

Table: 2/2 (100%)  And he stayed on while watching a dog in the other ring, both tables were fast
                               into a down, one was right after the dogwalk

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Have a New Hero

And his name is Sergio.  He built us a new fence at a fraction of the price that the fence company wanted.  Which was a whopping $950.  Plus he did it today and only took 4 hours.  Most people in my neighborhood are only first getting their estimates of way too much money today from the fancy fence companies.  Lots of people walking by stopped to get Sergio's number.  In fact I worried someone would kidnap him for their blown down fence while we were at Home Dept buying the supplies but when we got back he was still there, digging holes and putting up lines of string to make sure everything was nice and straight.  It was quite the party in the fencing department at Home Depot this morning by the way.  Everybody and their granny and their granny's Chihuahua was in the fencing department at Home Depot this morning.  Lots of fences down in Boulder with that last windstorm.  Winds went over 100 mph in some parts of town, were up in the 90's in my part of town I think.

The dogs are very thankful to Sergio as well.  Though maybe not so thankful to me for making them pose.  Cody was also in the picture but had moved by the time I snapped the shot.  He doesn't hear so well any more so he didn't hear me say 'Stay'.  That's his story anyway.

Sergio did a really nice job too.  He put in really nice connection joints.  I didn't even ask him to do that.

The existing beam/post connections were simple toenail connections.

I know, this is probably something only a structural engineer can appreciate but I was weeping with joy at the sight of those lovely new connections.

Funny what a big impact a fence has on your life when you have 3 dogs.  We're all very thankful to our friend Joy for hooking us up with Sergio.  The dog ladies with fences down in my neighborhood were all comparing notes about their fence guys - 'I'll have my fence guy call you', they promise.  Well my fence is fixed and so far nobody else has called me so Hooray! again for Sergio.  I suppose that's one more facet to being a Crazy Dog Lady, I now have a fence guy.

Strummer is very happy to be back at his games.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Haiku Thursday

Winds they are howling
Seventy five miles per hour
Dogs must poop on leash

Poor fence.  At least it didn't land on any Wicked Witches.  Who needs that kind of liability?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Week In Training

A great week all the way around though light on triathlon training volume due to a trial over the weekend but still not too bad.  Highlight of the week had to do with work.  I had a couple with marital problems come into my office absolutely seething at each other.  You could practically see the waves of hostility emanating off their bodies and at some point early in the over an hour drive to my office they had stopped talking to each other.  Well, they left my office smiling, laughing, high five-ing each other,  I was so happy for them the rest of the day.  They've got kids as well so it was particularly satisfying to see them work things out.  I love my new job.

Also had a break through in my swimming this week.  I didn't have any workouts with timed intervals so I don't have hard numbers but I felt faster and was getting stuck behind people who are normally faster than me and sort of, kind of keeping up with the really fast people in my lane.  By Friday I couldn't wait for masters to start.  I've upped my consumption of 'super greens' (kale, spinach, chard) having them at least once a day, sometimes twice, in addition to regular salad greens and I definitely felt better and had more energy.  Popeye has nothing on me.

I found out my road bike cyclometer is messed up so I hadn't ridden at a 12 mph pace the other week.  Phew.  My pace for the same route this week was 14.4 mph which is still woefully slow but I hardly ever ride my road bike and there were a few good hills plus I'd gone for a run earlier in the day and had tired legs.  Plus I don't have the best attitude about riding my road bike but I wanted to get some biking in this week and it's better than the trainer.

Strummer got his first Grand Prix Q with a beautiful run.  I'll have a full post on the trial but I'm waiting for the video of his Grand Prix run since someone else filmed me on their camera.  It was my first time ever running in Championship Grand Prix and it was  kick in the pants with all the people yelling in the stands.  Very fun.

Swim:  7000 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike:  Nada

Road bike:  14.28 miles/59:23 mins.

Run:  9.22 miles/2 hours, 29 secs.

Total training time: 5 hours, 59:52 mins. (let's call it 6 hours)

Would love to rest on my laurels but another week awaits.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oh I've Got Some Words for your Wednesday

 Namely, 'One to two inches my ass!'.  That's what we were supposed to get.  And it wasn't supposed to happen until this evening so I was planning on squeezing in a practice this morning before our trial this weekend.  But by the time the practice field opened at 8:30 it was coming down good.  Heck by 6:00 a.m. I had a good idea practice wasn't going to happen.

Lola is a big fan of sticks.  Even stationary sticks.

Sadly Hermes lost his head last year in a wind storm so I know longer have a good snow gauge.  You'll just have to trust me that this stuff is never going to melt off the practice field by Friday.


I think the weather folks should have to come shovel my driveway.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Week in Training

I went to enter Sunday's long run into my online training log and realized I hadn't entered a single workout for the week.  Great way to start out the new year.  So I'm going to go back to posting a weekly training post.  Though lately I'm having (more) doubts about how useful time/distance metrics are.  Speed work brings the numbers down but is probably more beneficial or at least as important as long slow workouts.  I've been pondering a way to track the numbers so they're more useful but haven't come up with anything solid yet.

Highlight of the week was biking on trails in shorts on Thursday.  Was in the 60's and sunny, warm, fabulous.  Then back to snow on Saturday, just a light layer of less than an inch but enough to make the trails slippy for Sunday's 'long' trail run.  Knee was plaguing me for that one but got better after a while and I managed a whopping 5.2 miles including some short but steep hills.  I may need to take Lola into the chiropractor so he can adjust my knee.  My regular chiro. is awesome but that's the one adjustment he doesn't do.  He doesn't like it in general but it works a charm for me and dog chiro. guy doesn't even charge me when I come in with Lola.  Did I really just type all of that?  Life takes us down weird and unexpected paths.

Swim:  6700 yards/3 hour, 4 mins.

Mountain bike:  18.32 miles/1 hour, 48 minutes

Run:  11.25 miles/2 hours, 39 mins.

Total training time: 7 hours, 31 mins.

I keep forgetting to weigh myself at the Rec. Center, will have to remember for next week.  Got to a weight I was happy with and lost interest with the scale.

It looks like August 2 was the last time I posted a weekly training report and I was still on a walk/run schedule.  I can't even remember when I made to transition to running with no walking and I'd forgotten I'd even been doing it.  I was feeling a bit like my running was still so slow and going nowhere after Sunday's run but now I realize I've come quite far to be able to run 5 miles with no walking.  Barely even noticed my hamstring either.  By this summer's races I should be running like a runner again.

Got in 2 agility training sessions as well.  Strummer was 100% on the dogwalk for both of them.  First session I had quite a few reps., maybe as many as 8-10, and I had the stride regulator on for all of them.  Second session I only did 3-4 reps and took the stride regulator off for the last rep.  I set up a handling exercise for practicing weaves and he did awesome with the weave entries but my handling, wow, I'm out of practice.  Was much better by the second session though.  I've got a USDAA trial this weekend, better get a couple of more practices in so I feel sharp for those tournament classes.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Channeling the Tarahumara

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Running Injuries?

I finally got around to reading Born to Run, the book that more or less launched the barefoot/minimalist running revolution.  I'm not giving up my cushioned running shoes any time soon but there is some interesting info. about the relationship between running shoes and injuries.  I've been aware of the general ideas for years now but it was interesting to see the details behind the arguments in favor of minimalist shoes.  It's a very one-sided presentation though and I'm a bit skeptical.  One of the main ideas is that cushioned shoes prevent our feet from building up strength so if we run barefoot or in minimalist shoes our feet can flex and move and build up strength.  The problem with this argument is that the Tarahumara, or the sandal wearing distance running tribe in Mexico that the book is based on, live their lives on their feet so they have plenty of opportunity to build up the strength in their feet and even the proper gait for moving about in bare feet.  I consider myself a fairly active person, especially for an American, but still I spend a small amount of time on my feet compared to the Tarahumara.  Native tribal life is hardly comparable to the relatively sedentary life of even most active Americans.  Living your day to day life on your feet is not the same as an hour or even 2 or 3 hour training run and puttering about your house or office.

However the form they run with-small steps, high turnover, short strides, bent knees when the foot hits the ground, forefoot/mid-foot striking, straight back-is something my chiropractor has been encouraging me to do for the past year or so.  The minimalist shoes encourage this form but I don't see why you can't incorporate it even in padded shoes.  It's harder of course but I've been working on it over the past year and even more so after reading the book.  I'm definitely feeling better for it, especially my hamstrings, and even my gimpy knee seems to like it.  But I'm so slow and though it's starting to feel more 'normal' still feels a bit unnatural.  Over striding is my biggest issue and I've found that if I keep my back straight and pull my belly button in toward my spine/pelvis tilted forward it's harder to take big strides.  And I keep thinking to myself, 'itty bitty steps, pitty pat, pitty pat.'  Kind of silly when I write it out but it makes sense when I'm running.  It's too mentally draining to focus on form for a whole hour long run so instead I'll think about form for a few minutes then let my mind drift away and just run for a bit then a minute or two of focus, etc.

The more interesting part of the book to me though is the idea that the pure joy the Tarahumara have for running is the 'secret' of their success.  This seems so obvious to me but I know a fair number of people who have lost their love of their sport or hobby in the pursuit of unrealistic goals or goals that deep down they don't really want.  Who says you have to go to agility nationals or do an Ironman or be as good as the people in your training group, whatever you're training for?  I had a client come in the other week for help with her hobby which involves performing in front of other people.  She's been doing her hobby since childhood and loves it but joined a practice group where she felt her skills were inferior so she was taking lessons and practicing to try to measure up.  Unfortunately the pressure she was putting on herself was causing her problems that were manifesting physically and interfering with her ability to perform.  There's a lot of things you can do for this in hypnosis but mostly the idea is to bring back feelings of the initial love for the activity and after one session we got rid of the physical problem but she still wasn't able to perform as she wanted to.  A snow storm delayed her next session so she was able to listen to the CD I'd made of her last session a couple more times and when she finally came in she said she'd had the best performance in years over the weekend but more importantly had felt the joy and love of her hobby more so than she had in a long time.  And that's what it all should be about in the end, right?  Who cares about ribbons and titles and nationals and finisher's medals if the day to day training or the competition itself doesn't bring you joy?  A bad day or even week of training is normal but the good days should far outweigh the bad or something is wrong somewhere.

'Born to Run' is an interesting book even if you're not into running.  In addition to learning about the Tarahumara tribe of ultra distance runners there's studies/theories about human evolution and how our ancestors' ability to run shaped our evolution.  I've run into a lot of resistance from family members over my distance running.  Most of them think it's bad for me and they're not shy about telling me so.  I've been running since I was 12 and I wish I'd had this book back in the day as an argument for them that running is part of our evolutionary DNA, we are literally born to run.  Lately I've been running with an extra big grin on my face, channeling the joy of the Tarahumara even if I am wearing cushioned neon pink and yellow running shoes.

Shameless Plug

I have an article on using hypnosis for mental management in dog agility in the January issue of Clean Run.  You can still get this issue with a new electronic subscription, not sure about the print subscription, or you can get an individual electronic issue for $5 here.

Great 1 hour trail run and an agility handling/weave pole exercise for Strummer to start the new year out yesterday.  Beautiful sunset over the mountains after practice.  I think it's going to be a good year.