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!