Sunday, November 28, 2010

some days are just harder than others...

and today is one of them. If I finish the day semi-intact without major psychic meltdown and/or an empty box of donuts in front of me, it's a win.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday cooking

with dogs...

And the aftermath

One of these things is not like the others...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Zig's rainwear

I usually don't believe in clothes for dogs (except skinny hounds and old timers) but the little frog has been getting cold at social outings due to our crappy Oregon weather. I think he looks pretty spry in his coat.

Train that puppy!

I realize I need a more structured plan for Zig's ongoing education.

1. Ongoing socialization: trips to Starbucks, pet store, friends' houses, Home Depot.
2. Scheduled interaction time at HGL and puppy romps at OHS.
3. Sit/down verbal cues.
4. Sit in heel position, step and sit back in heel.
5. LLW-non heel
6. recalls with increased distraction
7. leave it/drop it
8. wait
9. shaping-this is hard for him!
10. Hand targeting
11. nose targeting a target on the ground
12. paw targeting/shake
13. tug toy training
14. retrieving

I taught Griffin, now a huge ball dog, how to retrieve using Jean Donaldson's approach of food rewards for interest and shaping a full retrieve. Zig is not responsive to Patricia McConnell's method , if I move away from him he drops the ball rather than bringing it with him when he comes to me. I'm wondering though if I use treat reinforcement if he'll detach from the ball altogether and be too focused on the treats (he loves them). I've been using a toy with a tail attached and tugging with him for bringing it back, but he doesn't do this yet as a true retrieve, just as an opportunity to get his toy. He has a tendency to want to run away with toys/stolen items. I've been working on exchanges but he doesn't yet have that "see what I have mom, isn't it cool" attitude. Potential resource guarding!!! Must work on this more. I really want him to like retrieving, so I'm torn about how to procede.

Jump grids-wonder if I can make puppy bumps from PVC pipe. Can't afford the premade ones!

Wish I had a bigger back yard. Would love to work tunnels with him but mine is so big it doesn't fit in the tiny matchbox yard I have.

Greeting people has been going so well. He is actively soliciting attention from many strangers. Still would prefer they didn't pat him on the head.

We did a play session last week at HGL with adult dogs. He was a typical puppy-tried to herd a few dogs, but took correction well, was polite to adults, played tug with a little chi/iggy mix and had fun, but dropped when he was told. I think it's good for him to interact with more socially savvy dogs rather than pups who can't tell him he's being too much.

Sometimes I feel like I've got poor training skills! It's been so long since I've had a completely untrained dog, I forget all the things he doesn't know.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things I need

With the approach of the ever-dubious holiday season, I have been pondering lately what it is in life I actually need. I feel the overwhelming pressure of giving people good stuff, and being given stuff in return happens, but it is often easy to be caught up in the idea that external stuff is necessary.

So, with that in mind, I'm going to try and keep a list of things in life I really need...and allow the other stuff to hopefully recede into the background, or the would be nice category.

So, ahem:

1. Exercise. Being laid up with crappy knees has really reminded me that I am much happier (read: saner) when I am exercising regularly. So, I will attempt to come up with more cross-training ideas while my knees heal and start taking better care of them (stretching, icing, etc.), because I forget to do these things.

2. Dogs. I definitely cannot survive without my dogs. So, more training, more outings, more dog one-on-one time.

3. Meaningful work. While the job right now is not as satisfying as I'd hoped, the profession is where I want to be. I need to focus on getting the most out of being there, learning on my own as much as I can, and honing my skill set.

4. A healthy relationship. Too often, I think J and I still take each other for granted, because we are not used, after four years of vet school, to being around each other day in and day out. I need to plan more one-on-one outings for us. As simple as getting coffee and reading a book, just so we are in each other's presence without tv, video games, chores, or even my fav dogs as distractors.

Some things I don't need
1. tchatckes
2. chocolate
3. impulse purchases
4. donuts

Here's a bonus pic of the blue dogs, having a wrestle. I've decided not to tape/glue Zig's ears. Ear set is just not that important to me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

IT bands can suck it.

Apparently, a half marathon is too much mileage for me, because my IT bands are very, very angry. Did a short 3 miler on Saturday and my left knee refused to go any further...meh. How frustrating is that? After all that training. Stupid knees. I guess I should have paid more attention to stretching.

I need to find a decent apple crisp recipe for the t-giving dinners. Tried one on Saturday that turned out well, but the crispity topping wasn't quite cohesive enough. Need another one to try today...don't mind eating the results.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Half marathon recap

Half marathon success!

I didn't know whether the half would be possible. The week before, we did a 10 mile distance run and both of my knees decided to be assholes. I think I had both runner's knee and IT band pain. The week before the half I didn't run at all, just tried to rest my knees, ice them as much as possible, and hope that they'd cooperate.

The morning of, we woke to the pouring rain. Jen had been checking the "fitness index", which in Oregon basically tells you how sucky exercising outside will be that day. Our half marathon day had an index of one, which is as low as it goes! I had to forego the costume because I didn't want to wreck my awesome Queen of Hearts outfit, sad.

The race started, and about mile 3 I could feel my knees. They were the worst at mile 4-6, when the rain was also at its worst, and we were pretty much drenched. I thought the rest stop near my house was at mile 7, so friends were waiting there to greet us a little earlier than they should have been (the stop was actually at about mile 9). My dad ran the last five or so miles with me, which really helped perk me up for the end. I felt strong until the last mile, when the road began to feel very very long. But once I saw the finish line, I did a little sprint to the end. We ran the sucker in about 2 hours and 28 minutes, which is very good for me. And we ran the whole way without walking!

It was definitely a good time, and if my knees shape up I would do another. Not sure I could actually survive a whole marathon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ten -pupdate

Ziggy did well with social stuff so far this week. Better greeting of people including a cute little boy today. Zig seemed to like him! He is pretty dependent on me out and about right now, but I anticipate this changing a lot with age. He picked up hand targeting quickly today during our first session (did my hand smell too much like food tho?)

Concerns: toy drive. Tug drive is good, but he will get tired of toys long before food right now. I really wanted a pup who loved to play with me. He loves to play with the big dogs. I wonder if I need to restrict that right now? I feel like the argument for restricting interaction with other dogs are tenuous, but I am concerned if he thinks they are the only fun ones to play with.

Need to do more shaping exercises to help limber up and get him to try new behaviors.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

puppy raising diaries...

9 weeks:
Sit: verbal cue in house, automatic sit often
Down: hand signal
Come: solid in house and yard
Potty training: two accidents (after hard play, whoops)
Chew training: velociraptor!
Socialization: greeting people well, does not like hand over head. Greets other dogs well, polite to adults, polite to pups, will play with larger pups, interested in cats, wants to play with Squid. Fidget hates, will run from and pup wants to run after (bad)!
Toys: loves tugs, will sit for a chance to re-engage in play.
Crate: sleeps through the night quietly, rides quietly in the car, barks if placed in crate during day but will settle.

Zigs getting coffee today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Puppyface and agility class fail.


After hours of deliberation, this is the one I picked! He's the blue boy that I liked from week 3. It was a tough pick, in part because 5 of the pups were so close to what I wanted. I debated really hard about one of the blue girls and a black girl, and the other blue boy, but ultimately this little guy won. He's adapted well so far, he had to go with me to an agility trial all weekend and did great. Met lots of people, saw lots of things, met a dog or two, rode in the car, pottied in strange places...all pretty much without balking. He was a little overwhelmed by Saturday night, but Sunday did well and has been a trooper so far this week. I of course have paranoia that I am going to do something wrong, but hopefully experience and training will prevent that from happening. There will probably be lots of pictures of this little guy soon. I'm a bit concerned about some shyness that was not evident in his temperament tests or with his litter but have popped up over the last week...but he's a baby and has a lot of socializing ahead

Agility trial was good for Griff as well. He q'd in 6 of 7 runs, and was overall way more focused than I had any right to expect. We didn't q in our second standard run as I forgot to get the turn command out and caused him to back jump (off course), but it was totally my fault.

However...agility class on Tuesday was a nightmare. I could do nothing right as far as my instructor was concerned, and I ended up leaving class in tears. Griff was disconnecting because he saw how upset I was. I don't know why she decided to ream me...I know I was setting him up at jumps closer than I should, but most of the start lines were really near the other dogs and I didn't want him to get overly excited at the barky sheltie and leave me. However, the more I was berated, the worse I got, until I couldn't remember the courses at all. Finally, I just said I wasn't going to correct any mistakes and just let Griff have fun. I went out in the parking lot after class and cried like a five year old.

I know that trainers get to the point where they've seen mistakes people make a hundred times and it must be frustrating. However, training is as much about being compassionate to the people as it is the dogs. I am not trying to be unfair to my dog when I don't handle as well as I should. I'm just new at this. Berating me is a great way to make me shut down and make more mistakes....I wish I knew what to do about this.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

pick and choose puppy comes home Friday! I temperament tested the litter Sunday and out of 7 available had 5 I would have taken. I also found out I get to pick next! I was trying so hard not to get attached to one pup that I didn't narrow down a favorite, so luckily I get to see them all again before I choose.

Seriously, how do you choose between this...

and these?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

8, 8, I forget what 8 was for...

8 mile long run-check!

Totally better than 7 miler. Griff ran with me and was a total trooper. He was unflagging. I managed all the crazy hills, paced myself down the downhill so I wouldn't blow out my knees. Took a few short water breaks for me and Griff and then walked the last short monster hill to our house. Took me 1:34: 18. About 11:45 per mile, not bad. I think the actual distance was 8+ but I'll measure to make sure. It was a great run and a great confidence booster after my 7 mile disaster.

In other news, have some potentially big news coming up...but I'm not going to jinx it. Just hope hope hope for me.

Temperament testing on the litter tomorrow! 8 Aussie furballs to snuggle! Can't wait.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Trying to decide whether to a. run 4 1/2 miles, b. run 8 miles, or c. sit on my ass and watch Golden Girls.

May get started and see how I feel, and decide later how far to go. Although I'd much rather hide at home. Action before motivation sometimes, right?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I think I have the flu

Or else just feel like crap.

Agility class last night was a total mixed bag. I was very much to blame as I was really distracted.

What was nice: weaves (except for one really difficult entry), contacts, no knocked bars.

What was not: almost all my handling. He ran off when another student and his dog were too close to the obstacles, but came back when I called without making contact, so that was a mixed bag.

He's funny in agility. I have no problem taking him to the dog park or off leash hiking around other strange dogs, but I worry that his degree of arousal in agility makes him likely to have a snark fight with another dog. He's not serious, but there are a few dogs (one in my class, and the belgian in the next class) that really set him alert, and I'm not sure what he'd do if he got too close. Bah.

I think my trainer gets annoyed with my inconsistent handling, but sometimes I get lost in class! Before trial runs, I study the course map in detail over and over, but in class it's walk a few times then run.

Poor Griff. He tries so hard to cope with my shortcomings.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I was looking at a few pictures today that really made me feel a bit sad.

This is my graduation from Veterinary School in June. I am wearing the tassels that indicate I was in the top percentage in my graduating class (in my case, #1). I am surrounded by my parents, who look pretty proud. For all intents and purposes, it should have been one of the happiest days of my life. I finally get to call myself Doctor!

This was several years earlier. Leg one, of the Hood to Coast Relay. I was still working a lowly research job at the med school, was a few years from starting vet school, and was making a pittance. I didn't know that what I wanted to do with my life was possible.

I was pretty darn happy that day.

Sadly, although I should be closer to my goals today than those years ago, I was much happier when running the HtC, in fabulous shape physically, than I am now. Things have not gone according to plan, bitches. I don't know that a stupid half marathon can help this at all, but right now I am clinging to the hope that somehow those 13.1 miles can make a difference. What else can ya do?

New shoes

Time for a new pair, so I ordered the best running shoes ever. Asics Gel-Evolution. Maximum motion control for pronators like me, they keep me from getting flares of Achilles tendonitis.
Stop telling me they're endangered, Road Runners!

7, or wtf was I thinking

Yesterday was the seven mile long run. This was longer than I have ever run before at one time.

I went to my dad's as he agreed to run with me. He lives out in the country and had mapped out a 3.5 mile distance from the house which we would run out and back. I drove the route on my way and thought, this really doesn't look so bad.


There are no flat roads, in real life.

The first 3.75 felt so easy, I began to feel like a real distance runner and thought, wow, all this training must have been working. Then, I realized why the first half had felt so easy. The road back was a consistent upward slope. We'd been running slightly downhill for most of the way out, except for a hill or two. This is not good planning.

At about mile 5, I developed a stitch in my right side, which never resolved until the run was over. At about mile 5.5, I began to wonder what in the hell I was thinking, how was running fun in any way? At mile 6.5, I wondered if my legs would just give out, and whether any of my dad's country neighbors would stop if we were laying in heaps on the side of the road.

The whole thing took 80 minutes, or just under 11:30 minute miles. I didn't time each mile. This is not too shabby, considering how uphill the ending 4 miles were.

However, it did put the fear into me. All the long runs from here on out (8, 9, and 10 miles) will be farther than I've ever gone. The course includes a wretched hill at about mile 11 (near my house, I've run it before...mostly. It sucks).

Today I feel a bit sore in the legs, but not awful. Might do a very short run to loosen muscles as tomorrow will suck more. Also, better plan for eight miles on Saturday. I'll have to map out a doable course.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Time to go run seven miles now. I think I will run with my dad, at least for part of the mileage. I may update later, if I don't die.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rainy dog torture

One of these dogs is not like the other...

Griff says if balls are involved he could care less about rain. Guinn says old mendogs should not be subjected to the elements. Zoe is confused.

We are getting rained on intermittently at the Oregon Coast this weekend. Griff and I did my last two runs (40+ mins, maybe 3.6 or something miles each) on the beach. Yesterday's was face-full-o-rain run, and I could barely see while running downwind on the beach. Griff, luckily, is unphased and chased seabirds like the herding dog he is. It was pretty awesome. That, plus trips to the beach for ball-chasing and tomfoolery have yielded three pretty tired dogs.

It's a nice time to get out of Portland and do some reflecting and planning. And a quick trip to Rogue Brewery, which yielded a new hat, two large bottles of Chocolate Stout, and a case of the new McRogue XS Scotch Ale. Wanted to stop in the bar and try their new whiskey, which the Rogue guy told me is very much like a single malt Scotch. But drinking whiskey, alone, at 12...hmmm. Maybe next time.

Tomorrow is the seven mile long run, and I am freaked. I have never, ever run 7 miles at one time. 6.5 is the max, ever. I can't decide whether to suffer through treadmill monotony, run outside and risk overdoing hills, or combo it up. I don't want to run Griff that far, so I could only take a dog through part of the run. Zoe kind of hates running unless it's off leash at the park, and Sunday is usually really busy at the park we run at (off leash is sort of illegal there...but often done).

I really want to make soup today, but don't want to buy the spices and staples I have at home, so I bought a can of Amy's tomato and will make do with that. Maybe curried butternut squash carrot soup will be made next week, especially if I score another home grown squash at agility class.

Now gonna sit around, pondering whether a run today is a sabotage of the seven miler tomorrow, and watching Twilight on Showtime. Does anyone else watch movies they own when they come on TV? I will do it every time with the Shawshank Redemption, even if I come in the middle of the movie. Strange.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I have no pride

Now begins Operation Desperation: Job Hunt! This involves emailing anyone and everyone I know who might have a contact in the area who is hiring, then shamelessly whoring my resume around Oregon and Southwest Washington, while contacting every humane society and the Feral Cat Coalition to see if I can volunteer in a veterinary capacity while waiting for something good to show up. This is the hardest and most demoralizing period of my life in a lot of ways. I am trying to keep faith that four years of hard work and excelling in classes and clinics means that I can at least score a job in the next three-four months. I could use a kickstart of hope to keep me from despairing.

Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but maybe I should have taken one of those three jobs earlier this year...bah.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Car death, fleet feet trial day two.

Today started out with a massive car fail on the freeway on the way to agility trial. Spent 45 minutes waiting for triple A about 15 miles from home, had to call someone to pick up Griff and I, follow the tow truck to the dealer, come back home, and borrow John's car. Finally made it to the trial after Jackpot had been run but just in time to walk the level 4 standard course.

Today was frustrating, just because it was a lot of work with a low yield, and I felt like he had run so much better yesterday. Standard 4 I blew because I sent him inadvertently into the wrong end of the tunnel, and you can't have any off courses to Q. Wildcard was a messy, messy run but he qualified. Colors would have been a q but he ...KNOCKED ANOTHER BAR!!!!

I have many theories on what makes him knock bars. He does it when he's tired. He does it when he's focused on the obstacle ahead of the jump. He does it during tight handling courses if he's not 100% sure where I want him to go. So, with these problems in mind, my potential fixes are...1. build value in the jump ala success with one jump so that he is committed regardless of handling concerns...2. play jump grids to strengthen his ability to correctly stride and evaluate jump position, and 3. work on my tight handling and distance handling so I don't pull him off if I'm not excessively working the jump. I would like more advice from my trainer, because this is three runs at the last two trials where knocked bars have cost me Q's. Meh.

Yesterday he was a supastar, so I'm trying to be proud that A. he rocked it yesterday, including his first level 4 standard run and a snooker course which is my weakest event, B. that we came back after the trauma of the morning and he performed pretty well, and C. that I made myself go at all after dealing with tow trucks and car trauma. But it's hard...I'm sick of level 2 colors and jackpot!

I'd like to get a shot of him with all his ribbons from the last two trials, maybe tomorrow. Right now I need to run a 5K, take a shower, get some dinner, and plan my week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fleet Feet CPE trial September

Today's runs:

Fullhouse: Q and 2nd place with same points as first place dog, one second slower

Standard level 4/5/C: Q and 1st place!!! First level 4 run and he rocked. 

Snooker: Q and 1st! Snooker win!

Jumpers: Q I think, one knocked bar but I think that's just a fault and he can still Q. 

No pictures because the photographer wasn't there today, and my camera is misbehaving. But he was a very very good dog. 

Four runs tomorrow. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gloomy days call for puppy pictures

Today is not the best day.

Puppies are good, though.

Two babies at three weeks

Thursday, September 9, 2010

small vacation snippet

I was reminded that this blog has become somewhat image-poor...which is true, because mostly I write it for me and didn't really think anyone was visiting! But this is a good time to post a little photo journal of our visit to the Edward Gorey Museum in Yarmouthport last week. Mr. Gorey lived there for the last 13 years of his life after leaving NYC, and it has been turned into a lovely and quirky storehold of his works. No flashes were allowed, so I got the pictures I got...but it was really something to imagine what that amazing brain created in the house...

The front of the house, sign included. The foliage surrounding the house was much trimmed, our tour guide informed us, as it was a fire hazard for a museum to be that swaddled in branches, but I imagine the house was a regular Halloween haunted house when Gorey lived there.

One of Gorey's fur coats. Apparently, when he became enlightened by the anti animal cruelty movement, he stopped wearing the coats, and even allowed a family of raccoons to live in his attic.

A real human skull, complete with glasses. Not Gorey!

The living room, complete with Mystery! backdrop, Dracula sheets, and several of Gorey's stuffed bears. He had stuffed creatures all over the house. My favorite was Figbash, a four-appendaged creature that he could shape into all the letters of the alphabet. Unfortunately no flash meant a crappy Figbash picture.

Finally, the favorite...

The Gorey cat! An approximately 27 lb rescue. Named after one of Gorey's creations. The best greeter ever.

And outside...

A sculpture of the Doubtful Guest. Awesome. Note tennis shoes!
Oh, however nerdy it might be, Griffin is now Griffin McGuinness CL-1, CL2-R, CL3-R. I do get a kick out of titles for my dogs.

Post vacation bleh

Just back from a week in New England seeing old friends and frolicking on the Cape. Luckily the hurricane was pretty much a non-issue in Massachusetts.

This weekend is a CPE trial at my barn. First trial in level 4/5/C standard. I am sort of anticipating not q'ing at all in Standard. Hoping for a fullhouse, wildcard, colors, jackpot, and maybe even snooker?!? We'll see.

Most frustratingly I decided to check my weight loss progress over the past two and a half months. I had to replace my scales because the old one got lost in the moving, so I hadn't weighed in that time. I'd been checking my measurements which have steadily declined, so i thought i was probably on the right track. I was pretty horrified to find that I have only lost 2.5 pounds since July. WTF??? I'm running 3-4 times per week, I've cleaned the hell out of my diet and am eating less than I did during my entire senior year of vet school. The measurements are shrinking but the weight just isn't budging. It's really, really frustrating. I'm not sure what else I can do at this point. I can't run every day, especially when I'm increasing distance every week, or my knees and achilles don't have enough time to compensate. I can't eat less...I am not good with the starvation. It feels like a real setback.

Agility class this week, more weave trouble but seems to be improving. I need to find a place for my practice weaves in the minuscule backyard. We are still knocking bars but in class it seems to only be if I stutter in my handling and he's not sure what I want. Trying to front cross more!

Saw the baby pups at almost five weeks today! They are so cute! Starting to interact with each other and with humans more, which is great. I am trying not to get attached to any one, but there is one blue boy especially that I like a lot... a few more weeks. Temperament tests on the 26th, CERF exams on the 24th...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

note to self-do these exercises!!!

or you'll end up with all of these injuries at once.

Good stuff, bad stuff, sad stuff

Wow, I really planned to write about Griff's trial this weekend, but yesterday completely overshadows it right now...but I'll try to remember what I was excited about.

Saturday was bumpy, as it was my first day trialing in a long time. We were up early, at the venue early, and feeling like kids who had no idea where to sit in the lunch room on the first day of school. I did find someone I knew and set up the crate near her. We started with Jackpot, which was the first run of the day and often is a chaotic sort of warm up run. Griff actually did pretty well for a first run, had a bit of a bobble with the weaves (which became a theme of this trial, eek) but was responsive and took his cues well. He also, unfortunately, knocked a bar in the gamble (another theme) which I had left just enough time for (bad handler) so he didn't Q in that round.

I have to admit, although I don't have fancy agility aspirations, a first run like that was enough to make me consider bagging the whole thing. Insecurity+what-if thinking=crazypants. But I decided it wasn't fair to let it wreck his experience, after all, he'd been attentive and working hard, and one knocked bar was all that kept the run from being a success. So, we regrouped and prepared for Standard, which is always my favorite because 1. they give you the course and 2. few decoy obstacles. He rocked both standard runs except for weave bobbles (damn, where are they coming from?!?) and got a first place in the first run as well as two qs. He did very well in wildcard as well with a q and first, and only missed a q in colors due to a knocked bar.

(Theme: knocked bars, weave pole difficulty, repeat!)

I was pretty pleased about Saturday, after all, Griff had a one year break from trialing and with only a moderate increase in pre-start line reactivity had been fast, mostly accurate, and very responsive on day one.

Sunday was a great day, with four qs and two firsts, and our first ever Snooker q! He rocked that course with perfect execution even though I changed my plan from what I walked at the last minute. His only nq was my fault as I forgot where I was going in the first Standard run (shocker) and sent him the wrong way. Oops. However, weave poles were an issue all day, and we had one back jump in jumpers (the only time he does this, weird). But overall, seven qs, four firsts, one fourth, and three mostly solid runs even though they didn't q.

Unfortunately, there was no hanging on to the high from the trial. My rabbit Harvey died Monday morning, quite suddenly. I'm not going to write about the details because I still feel so sick about the whole event, but it was unexpected and terrible.

Losing him I'm sure won't be as hard as putting Monkey to sleep was. I had Monkey for years and had nursed him for several years through CRF before he just didn't have enough kidneys left anymore. I still miss the hell out of that cat and often think I see him out of the corner of my eye. I "heard" him all the time in the house before I moved back to Portland.

However, losing a pet suddenly is pretty awful, and being a vet who is supposedly trained to address situations  like that and not being able to save him was pretty shocking. I have felt much worse in some ways since it happened than when Monk died. That was a horrible sense of loss and sadness, but this right now is something really sickening and hard to describe. I know it won't last as long, but the feelings are somehow more icky. Sadness can actually be helpful in some ways, and this feeling (guilt, shock, whatever) doesn't feel cathartic at all.

So today I am trying to distract myself from the ever present ick. I ran four miles this morning which was the only time I didn't feel sick. I made myself eat lunch with lots of veggies and color. I made myself put on a sundress and meet my mom for coffee. I'll make myself go to agility class tonight and try to just enjoy running Griff (and working on the stinkin' weave poles). But I can't help the sneak attack badness that waxes and wanes. Guess I will have to ride it out.

This week is a maintenance running week (same distance as last week) so my long run is only five miles, but next week it's time for six. Since the most I've ever run at one time is 6.5, yeah, we're getting up there. Time to register for the half? Dunno....

Sunday, August 22, 2010


At the trial, day two. Blogging on an iPhone is not easy.

Yesterday was better than I had expected. Three q s, two good runs ruined by knocked bars. Looks like jump grids are in order. I think my follow through on the Jackpot course caused the first knocked bar. I think fatigue knocked the second, in colors which was last.

More later, but I wish I had a friend here today for moral support!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Performance Anxiety

Grr, trial anxiety sucks.

I really need to chill out. This isn't a job interview, a surgery, an exam. No one cares if we do well or suck it up the whole way. It needs to be about fun and working with my dog.

So WTF is up with the anxiety? I feel like crap.

Makes me wonder if getting an agility pup is such a great idea.

Five miles and almost trial time

Long run was five miles today, that's a lot of miles (alot of miles? hard to picture an alot made out of mileage). My right leg's joints and ligaments are deciding to rebel, so I had to watch my ankle, arch, and knee, in that order, during the run. Stuck to the treadmill since I was still sore from hills on Wednesday. I managed in 56 minutes and 24 seconds. Slow, but a realistic pace.

Got the roster for the trial this weekend, and got instant nervousness. It's been a bit since I've trialed, and I'm hoping 1. the dog stays in the ring, and 2. I don't fall down. Talk about lowering expectations. I'd love to get a Q or two...but let's not get greedy.

For some reason I'm all emotional today. Turned the tv on, cried over a Houston SPCA rescue of a chimpanzee, then over the end of Sleepless in Seattle. WTF.

Better make a list of needed trial accoutrement.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I really want to go ride my bike, but I'm scared, since it requires 1. new air in the tires, 2. a helmet that I don't have and 3. riding up and down hills, which may be beyond my flimsy fitness level right now.

I do loooove my bike tho....

Front crosses make me mad

Seems like the common feature of every agility class lately is me fucking up front crosses. I try to avoid them when they're warranted, I put them in when they're not, I walk the course with several and forget to do them, blah blah blah. I really hate them, and my instructor is not giving me any tips to make them easier. I need to practice the one jump front cross or maybe more floor work just so Griff understands them more, so maybe that will help make up for my inability to correctly time them...frustrating.

One thing Griff and I definitely need to work on is coming to the correct side. The arm is not enough when there is discrimination work to be done, and it requires me to work much harder through jumps when I really shouldn't have to. Susan Garrett would scoff. I guess again work sans obstacles is necessary. We really didn't focus much on handling maneuvers without obstacles in our early training and I guess it is now biting me in the ass. Meh.

However, we are trialing on Saturday and Sunday so I don't think we'll be training much before then. Maybe a few easy jump grids if I get the back lawn mowed. He ran with me today as well, but I don't think I'll take him along for the rest of the week, and definitely not for my five miler.

I ran outside today for the first time in a month and a half, and ouch. The first half mile was not pleasant, and both up and down hill were biting. I warmed up and did probably about 3.5 miles or so. I had to walk the big hill, it's just to freaking steep right now and by then I was worried about my knee. The first half of the run made me very afraid for half-marathon times. Running on a treadmill with no real incline is much much different than running up and down hills and other uneven terrain. I guess at least one or two outdoor runs are needed per week now that it's not 100+ outside. Still, maybe 13.1 is too far? We'll see if the achilles and knees hold out.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Agility and other stuff

This weekend is Griff's first agility trial for a year, at the Ridgefield fairgrounds. We are entered in 5 runs per day for Saturday and Sunday. I am nervous again, since I don't know if he'll remember how to behave in the ring, and if I'll remember how to handle. Hopefully, we can get an easy run to start so I can remember not to handle like a jackass. We'll see! Class tonight will hopefully be better than recent ones, and maybe I'll not be so paranoid that my dog will leave the ring in embarrassment due to my crappy handling!

Guinn is back in physical therapy. I can't really believe he's still kicking, not to mention back in the underwater treadmill. After a nasty sarcoma in the ECR muscle, a major surgery to remove the entire muscle belly, a skin flap, skin flap failure and infection, seven days in the hospital on IV antibiotics, a slough from SQ baytril admin on the other front leg, and a scary incident a few months later where he ostensibly threw a clot to that leg and went into shock, he's still survivin'. Bless his big ole heart.

In other news, puppies were born a week ago! There are eight, four males, four females. I am fourth on the wait list, plus the breeder will keep the pick (usually). I thought I wanted a blue merle female, but I will probably go based on temperment, play and food drive, and sociability rather than gender or color. Hope there's one for me!

In non-dog news, training for half marathon is on week 3. My long run this week is 5 miles, which seems daunting a bit, but mostly because it's the last "reasonable" distance for my long distance runs. From here on, they go from 6-10 miles. The most I've ever run, once, is 6.5 miles. We'll see if the achilles, knees, IT bands, hips, etc. hold out.

Trying to improve my diet as well. Went to New Seasons and bought, per the list:


Two heirloom tomatoes

Sweet cherry tomatoes

English cucumber

Champagne grapes



Dave's killer whole wheat bread

Balsamic vinegar

Natural peanut butter

Fresh mozarella (J wants caprese salad tomorrow)


My only list deviations were:

Dried non-sweetened, non-sulfated mango

broccoli (who can fault that?)

Sheep's milk cheese

llama sorbet bars (strawberry, 70 cals each, to combat the ice cream cravings lately)

Fresh and tasty produce is spendy! But much cheaper than eating out. I'll make J caprese salad and corn tomorrow, probably with some protein source yet to be determined.

I have run 28.5 miles so far this month, wOOt! More than I ran all of July. Still haven't unpacked the scales tho, hoping I don't want to kick myself once I find it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Class 8/10

Weaves-difficulty with entries a few times.
Front crosses-suck
knocked bars-moderate

agility again

After a six month hiatus from class and a twelve month hiatus from trialing, our first trial of the summer is in two weeks. Class has become an exercise in frustration. it's not Griff's fault. I take full responsibilty but the problem is I don't feel like I am getting the feedback I need to correct my mistakes. My instructor is constantly on my ass, which is embarrasing. I know he is a talented dog and that I am the weak link, but I'm all he's got, so i'd really like help improving my handling. i'm tempted to find another class since I'm not working and see if fresh eyes can give me a hand.

For example I am stymied by front crosses. He doesn't read them well , i don't time them well. It would be nice to be given some drills to improve my timing and his understanding of the front cross. But instead, I get vague advice about how I am late, etc. I know I'm late, I just can't seem to get the timing right. GRrr.

Plus, there are so many people in class right now, we get three run throughs at most in an hour. Hardly enough to improve. I imust admit, I feel a little written off.

We practiced on Sunday. Good weaves, a really nice line of six jumps as serpentines. He was executnig them brilliantly by the end. We'll see how tonght goes.

i've got success wth one jump and grid work to do at home; too bad my wonderful half acre is gone!

More later, regarding Guinness, jobs and puppies!