Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flawed by Design

Or, 'The public wants what the public gets?'  The BBC aired a follow-up to the excellent 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' that was originally shown in 2008.

Edited to add:  They took down the original YouTube.  This one shows both programs.  The new one is about 52 minutes in.

Some of it is encouraging but ultimately it looks like the Kennel Club in Britain is up to business as usual to the detriment of dogs.  Part of the problem is that they're trying to slap a band-aid on a terminal cancer patient.  And the AKC here in the U.S.?  Chyeah right they would cave to public pressure even if anyone cared enough to apply it.

You would think the market would take care of the problem because who would purposely buy a dog with so many health and physical defects?  Who wants the huge hit to their wallet in vet bills as well as the emotional heartbreak never mind being complicit in the creation of these poor animals?  People buy purebred dogs from breeders so they can see the dog's breeding so surely they would reject outright a dog that was inbred?  For my own part if I were to get a dog from a breeder, a dog with a conformation championship title in the pedigree would be an automatic deal breaker never mind evidence of inbreeding.  But people get dogs for strange, emotional, irrational reasons and I'm not sure what to do about that short of strict regulations that I'll probably never see in my lifetime.  Breeders breed for everybody but the average pet owner because the average pet owner is perfectly o.k. with buying flawed dogs.  They get attached to whatever breed for whatever reason and logic and compassion go out the window.

I'm not sure where it leaves me or the average pet owner who truly wants a healthy active dog with a good temperament that isn't inbred and prone to genetic diseases.  If there is any breed of dog left like that I surely don't know what it is.  And if you get a mutt, well, you're at the mercy of the genetics of the parents.  Put two seriously inbred purebred dogs carrying genetic diseases together and even if they're different breeds you're still not likely to get a healthy dog.  I've been so lucky with all my dogs so far but I consider it pure dumb luck rather than any faith in the health or vitality of a certain breed or mix of breeds.  I think the future of the dog lies in the hands of the average pet owner but until they're willing to leave their emotions and whims and respect of the show ring behind and put the health and welfare of the dog first then I think it's all a downward spiral.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week in Training

Another good solid week, even got a nice long ride in.  Thought I'd be too sore for running on Sunday after Saturday's long ride but it turned out to be a great run, no knee problems or any residual soreness.  Would have liked to have one more short run but with the longer bike mileage maybe it's for the best.

I experimented with wearing fins and swimming in the fastest lane on Friday.  Lots of fast people were there and I had to struggle to keep up even with the fins.  I was able to keep up on the pull set and did the drills without fins so I did about 1150 yards of the 2850 yard set without fins.  It was fun and kind of interesting.  I felt like I was working hard to keep up but my arms weren't tired afterwards.  Don't think I want to do this every week but maybe every other week.  It is good to feel what it feels like to go fast.

Mr. No-limpian had another limp free week.  He's up to 2 miles of walking on leash.  This week I'll take him on some short runs and try to get in some off leash running towards the end of the week then try him on some jumps and weaves the following week.  The agility field is dry just now but I want to give him another week of healing just to be sure.  He's still got plenty of muscle mass despite the rest.  Aside from all the conditioning he gets I think he runs agility in his sleep.

Swim:  7450 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike (on dirt roads): 35 miles/3 hours, 20 mins.

Run:  10.1 miles/2 hours, 25 mins.

Total training time: 8 hours, 45 mins.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cowboy Up

Took a long bike ride out on the dirt roads yesterday to meet up with this guy.

Was glad to see he survived this week's Wind Fest.

I was hoping for a 3 hour ride which was already ambitious but it looked doable when I arrived at The Cowboy after 1 hour 25 minutes but with 10 miles to go on the way home the winds picked up, 30 mph with some 44 mph gusts.  I was getting blown all over the place, a little scary but I managed.  The final few miles were uphill, straight into the wind and I kept telling myself it was good training.  But in the end the ride took 3 hours, 20 minutes and I was sore.  Hoping to get in a long run today but we'll see.

Anyway it was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, I could taste spring in the air.  Even saw a Meadowlark.

Looks like my friend had a successful Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Monkey Dogs

I had a little bit of excitement in the kitchen this afternoon and while I was distracted with the flames, Strummer took the opportunity to steal half a banana off the counter.  He looked pretty hilarious eating the thing and jealousy guarding it from Lola but of course by the time I got the camera out he was done with it.

Enter the second opportunist, who decided banana skins are edible.

I've left bananas on the counter for years, guess I'll have to start hiding those as well.  Or stop setting fires in the kitchen.  I'd been doing so well too.  I need one of those signs, 'X' days accident free.

Mother Nature was pissed off the last few days.  90 mile an hour winds caused 4 broken power poles in my neighborhood, several semi's turned over on the roads, 2 wildfires and, I kid you not, a Chihuahua with a broken leg caused from flying 10 feet through the air and smacking into a tree.  Poor thing was on the news sporting her shiny new purple cast.  I lost power for about 2 hours then soon after I got power back the internet/cable went kaput for about 17 hours which I don't understand because aren't those cables buried?  Then when the winds finally died down during the night it started snowing of all things and I woke up to an inch or so in my yard.  But the sun is finally back today and it looks to be a nice weekend.  Hopefully Mother Nature got it all out of her system for a while and I can get out on my bike.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life in the Fast Lane

Through some weird wrinkle in the cosmos I ended up in the fastest lane at masters today for the first time ever in my long history of masters.  This was the drills workout which doesn't typically attract the out for blood crowd and there was only one really fast person in the fast lane today so it's not a huge thing to brag about but still it felt kinda weird to be the second fastest person in the pool.  I suppose everybody was up in the mountains skiing for President's Day or something.  Anyway, aside from the one fast guy the only other person in the lane was a woman who's about the same speed as me so I moved myself over because I'm having frustrations with the lane I'm in.  Felt so good finally to be able to swim as fast as I wanted without the other people in my lane being in my way and I did confirm my suspicions that I'm faster than them, by about 4 seconds per 100 yards.  Was also nice to not have people leaving 3 secs. after me and riding my heels.  Best part though was that my time for four 100 yards intervals was 1:31, 1:33, 1:34, 1:35 on a 2:00 minute interval and that was without drafting.  I was shocked to be in the low to mid 1:30's since normally I'm in the low to mid 1:40's. 

Last week the coach suggested moving up to that lane and wearing flippers to keep up since I'm waaay slower than everybody when all the fast people show up.  I'm curious to give it a try so we'll see how the lanes play out this week.  I wouldn't do it every workout but maybe every once in a while.  She claims it'll make me faster and so far she's been a huge help to my swimming so it's worth a shot.  Maybe I'll even break that 1:30 barrier for 100 yard intervals that has always seemed such an impossibility.

The other funny thing that happened today was the coach having me swim a freestyle demo for the group to demonstrate an aspect of a drill we were working on.  That's only ever happened once before and it was for breast stroke of all things and so embarrassing and inexplicable because breast stroke is my worst stroke.  But I did o.k. with the freestyle today, phew.

Strummy had his first short leash walk this morning and did great, Project No-limpics marches onward.  I'm toying with the idea of going to Regionals.  The trial secretary told me they're going to have barriers around the rings so it would be a great opportunity for Strum to get used to a big, noisy multiple ring trial before Nationals.  Plus he has a GP Q so we could try for a Semi-Final bye.  But it seems stupid to drive 7 hours to try to qualify for a trial that's 45 minutes away.  I have a hotel reserved but we'll see what the price of gas is like and how my pocketbook is feeling though I do have a free night at a La Quinta so that would help.  Could be fun or could be an expensive hassle.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week in Training

Finally a good solid week of training in the thick of winter weather conditions no less.  Highlight was today's 1 1/2 hour run then 38 minute bike ride on dirt roads out near the Rez.  Was hoping for an hour recovery ride on the bike but it was 37 degrees with cloudy conditions and a wind chill that made it feel like 34.  I was fine except for my hands, didn't bring my warm gloves because I was too hot with them on yesterday's bike ride.  Yesterday was also 37 degrees but sunny, blue skies so it felt a lot warmer.  Anyway, my hands warmed up but I was riding too fast in order to keep warm and on top of it my knee started talking to me so I cut it short.  The long run was the important part of the day anyway and it went well, nice consistent pace, tired for the last 10-15 minutes or so so I picked a good distance.  Felt good to be running on smooth ground after slogging it out on the snow/mud/ice the still plagues the trails by my house.  Also felt good to get up into the double digits for running mileage.  The run is by far my weakest event right now and it only makes sense to give it priority especially with the weather being cold for biking.  Knee is holding up though hamstring is starting to nag a bit.  May have to give the dry needling another thought.

Yesterday's bike ride was also a good workout, did it mostly in one gear since the shifters for my rear cog set weren't working.  Forgot to spray them w/ de-greaser and discovered the problem a mile or so into the ride.  Couldn't  be bothered to go home to fix it and the rear cog set was stuck in the granny so I figured I'd be fine.  Did some high cadence drills and single leg drills on the downhill to make up for the light gear and still had shifting in my front ring for the few steep bits.  Nothing like a technical problem to shake up your workout.  Usually I won't bike outside when the temps. go below the mid-40's but I couldn't bear the thought of the trainer so I bundled up like the Michelin man and dealt with it.  So much happier riding outside, saw lots of hawks and livestock, grooved out in the sun yesterday, totally worth it.

Operation No-limpics is going well I think.  No solid limping all week.  I thought he looked a little off when he got off the couch once Friday night but hard to say.  He's a little worried now with me staring at him all the time when he gets up from resting so maybe it was me freaking him out.  Tomorrow I'll start him on short leash walks and build him up throughout the week then the following week I'll start him back on short runs w/ me if all looks well.  Hopefully by two weeks from now the snow in my yard will be gone so I can test him out on some jumps and weaves the week before his trial.

Swim:  6400 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike: 7.35 miles/38 mins.

Road bike:  14.28/1 hour, 2 mins.

Run:  14.25 miles/3 hours, 22 mins.

Total training time: 8 hours, 2 mins.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week in Training

Not sure what happened this week but it was dismal for training.  You'd think with having to miss the DOCNA trial over the weekend that I'd have made up for it with training but the weather was not inspiring, high in the teens on Saturday, low 20's on Sunday and cloudy/overcast with that midwestern damp chill in the air.  I did pull out the fleece and the Yax Trax and HTFU on Sunday for short trail run but it was too little too late.

Was a good week for work/clients though, had some interesting sessions including the artist.  Unfortunately his exhibit won't be shown locally, only in New York and LA so I won't get to see the final product in person but hopefully some of it will be up on a website at some point.

Strum was going 2 days with no limp then I'd see a limp then 2 more days, then a limp so I broke down and had Jonny bring his crate back into the house.  I'm not crating him full time, just at night and when I'm not home, but Saturday morning was the  last time I saw a limp so I think he's on the mend.  I'm also doing what I can to limit his crazy running around the house and yard and I shut him off from the bedroom so he can't fly on and off the bed.  Surprisingly he's being a good sport about  it all.  I think he missed his crate, he likes going in there especially at night but it's so big and my bedroom is so small, I'm not happy to have it back.  The one plus side to all of this is that there's still so much snow on the ground we couldn't practice anyway even if we wanted to.  Still, I was sad to miss a DOCNA trial only 20 minutes from my house.

I found a worrying lump on Lola on Sunday night, different from the ones I normally find, and brought her into the vet yesterday but thankfully it seems to be harmless.  My regular vet only works part time so it's pretty much guaranteed that I can never get in to see her on short notice so I had to see her partner.  I figured it was pretty straight forward to stick a needle into a lump so I was o.k. with it but still I wish I could find a full time vet that I liked.  This guy was o.k. I guess and at least he didn't keep me waiting the typical 15-40 minutes that the regular vet does which is always super fun when you have dogs that don't like being at the vet.  But the exam he did on her wasn't very thorough, just felt her lymph nodes and listened to her heart.  Hardly seemed worth the $49 he charged on top of the fees for the needle aspirate and culture exam.  He was nice though and very good with her.

I discovered a new Xterra race in Colorado, Xterra Pueblo.  It's on Sept. 9 so the points would count for 2013, not this year's Nationals but still it might be fun.  On the other hand, could be HOT.  Like in the 90's hot.  That would be not so very fun.  Pueblo is about 2 1/4 hours to the south of Boulder and it can run up to 10 degrees hotter down there.  Also it's 2 weeks after Xterra Lory, 2 weeks before Nationals so could be a bit much for me both physically and financially.

After all the hemming and hawing I did sign up for the Xterra Mountain Champs. in Beaver Creek.  I'm glad I did, it's partly what motivated the intervals last week and will keep me motivated these last few weeks of winter.

Had my regular chiropractor do the adjustment on my knee that the dog chiropractor normally does.  I don't think he likes doing that particular adjustment but I pleaded with him since I didn't want to go to the expense of taking Lola to the dog chiropractor on top of all the other vet expenses right now.  He's a good guy and agreed to do it and did a few others as well so my knee is feeling much better and I'll get back to running more this week.  I think maybe I was avoiding running last week since my knee was bothering me after 2 1/2 days of agility.

Swim:  7200 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike:  none

Run:  5.37 miles/1 hours, 22 mins.

Total training time: 4 hours, 23 mins.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Drums Keep Pounding a Rhythm to the Brain

Been a long week for me and I needed a little Happy for my Friday.  Ah the innocence of the 70's, that is if you can put aside the grim reality behind the, 'In the Jackson 5 family everybody works' quote.  Still, Janet Jackson is a force to be reckoned with even at 8 years old.  Anyway this brought a smile to my face and hopefully will to yours as well (plus Carol Burnett looks a wee bit plastered which is always fun).

No limping from Strummer over the last 2 days then the fool dog went flying through the chest deep snow after a squirrel in the yard.  I thought the snow would be a sufficient speed bump for him but no such luck.  He seems fine but I think he'll need to go in the yard on leash which is super fun when you've got nearly 2' of snow in your yard.  Think I'll go watch Janet again and take some deep breaths.  Or perhaps have a little of whatever Carol's having.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

No News is Good News

I guess.  Took Strum up to Loveland today to see an orthopedic vet.  As of last night he was still limping for a few steps after getting up from resting.  I left Strum in the car and had the vet come out to see him get out of the car since I was sure he'd limp after lying in his crate for the 53 minute drive up there but of course no limp, just a waggy tail/butt for the vet and her tech.  And she couldn't find anything wrong with him which I hope means there really is nothing wrong and not just that she couldn't find what was wrong.  She was a nice woman and handled Strummer well considering he was so nervous he was shaking but it seemed an awfully short exam compared to others I remember with the other dogs so I hope it was thorough enough.  I've never had an orthopedic vet not find something wrong.  The only other orthopedic vets I can find are down in Colorado Springs and that's at least a 1 1/2 hour drive, probably longer depending where in the Springs and what the often horrible traffic is like.  The vet that did Cody's shoulder surgery lo the many years ago is down there and I'd see him again in a heartbeat but such a long drive.  There is an orthopedic vet in Longmont just 25 minutes away but don't even get me started on that guy.  No way I'd go back to him.

So for now we trust the diagnosis.  Treatment is simple, 2 weeks of rest then ease back to activities.  He should be fine for the March trial though I'm going to pull him out of all titling runs and only do the tournaments and only 2 days rather than the 3 that are offered.  If he's still limping by the start of next week I'll plan on pulling from the March trial and let my teammates know.  Should still be plenty of time for them to find a replacement but after today's diagnosis I'm feeling very confident that he'll be fine.

Now to figure out how to keep him from tearing around the house for 2 weeks short of crating him.

Lola had a good laugh at that notion.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Week in Training

Got in as much tri training as I could at the beginning of the week due to the dog agility seminar-o-rama and snowstorm that I knew were coming at the end of the week so not too bad for only 4 days of training.  Also I did some intervals on the bike then a short run right after for the first time since summer so that brought the time/mileage down for the bike this week.

I'll write more about the seminar later but for now I have more pressing real world things to deal with.  In short, it was great and we learned a lot.  I ended up doing 3 days instead of the planned 2 and at first I considered this lucky since I was able to get into my first choice session at the last minute but in the end it worked out for the worse since Strummer came up limping on his front leg on the afternoon of the last day.  I pulled him from the last half of the session as soon as I noticed him looking sore but later in the evening he was limping more obviously.  Today he seems fine, no limping at all, but I'll pull him from the DOCNA trial this weekend and get him in to see an orthopedist this week.  Normally these days I'd rest him for 4-5 days then gradually bring him back to activity but he's on a team for USDAA in mid-March and if the injury is serious I need to know right now so my team mates can make other plans.  He has 5 weeks to recover and build back up and I'd feel better if I had an expert opinion on whether or not that's feasible.  Ugh, I hate dog injury drama, didn't sleep so well last night.  Keeping this dog quiet is not going to be easy.  Jumping off furniture and charging around the house from room to room is his normal, he never calmly walks anywhere.

Boulder supposedly got 21" of snow but somehow it doesn't seem that much.  I'm going to try to get to North Boulder Park in the next couple of days for some cross country skiing before it melts too much.

Swim:  6700 yards/3 hours

Mountain bike:  6.6 miles/51 mins. (intervals up Linden on mountain bike, 4 x 5 mins. at 138-148
                           bpm/AT zone then 12 min. run afterwards at 119-129 bpm)

Run:  7.31 miles/1 hours, 48 mins.

Total training time: 5 hours, 39 mins.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Things We Do For Agility

I signed up for an agility seminar so of course it means we're having a huge snowstorm.  Like 1'-2' predicted snowfall type of snowstorm.  I think it's a bad sign when the uncertainty is a full foot of snow.  I also think it's a bad sign when they're calling the storm 'potentially historic'.  Anyway, it snowed last year too and I had a couple of scary drives back and forth from Boulder to Golden.  It's only about 28 miles/40-45 mins. when the roads are clear but the road that connects Boulder to Golden is a terrible road on a good day, steep hills, a little twisty in places and right at the base of the mountains so often it gets closed for high winds.  Plus people drive like maniacs on that road.  Last year the road was shut for one of my snowy drives home because there was a fatal accident.  I got lost trying to drive home in the middle of nowhere with no view of the mountains because of the snow storm to tell me which direction I was going.

So this year I decided to drive up tonight before the snow started and stay in a hotel.  But unfortunately I think I may have stranded myself here.  They were only talking about 6"-12" when I left but somehow they changed their tune and I guess we'll see if there's really going to be 2' of snow.  I'm only entered Friday and Sunday but looks like I may have to pony up for 3 nights in a hotel if I can't make it home on Saturday.  At least the seminar entry fee was inexpensive.

At least Strum is good in hotels.  He's crashed out right now, snuggled up next to me as I type.  Lots of fun for him tomorrow.  Hopefully the snow won't get too crazy.  Or historic.