Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My first trail race

I entered my first trail race and ran it and boy was that FUN!  I have to admit, I was a bit worried.  We have had snow for several weeks and then we hit a warm up and then a cool down.  We were told it might be a bit muddy so prepare for mud.  I was okay with mud for some odd reason, more so than ice.  My BRF had run this race last year and had fallen but it was very icy/snowy and I didn't think it would be that bad this year or I should say I hoped it wouldn't be that bad.  She declined to enter and I seriously thought about  not going but at the last minute, I felt like I needed to get a run in and this was an easy way to get it done.  I needed a tempo run with some 8:50 pace and while I got that and more, I learned a lot about trail racing, pacing and etiquette.

This was the only pic i could take.  It was the only time I didn't feel like I was going to fall on my face.

I was lucky that i did know a few people there but the usuals weren't there.  Not sure if that was due to the weather or the fact that it was a trail race.  The first part was straight up a hill and my legs were not fresh.  I had run 9 miles the day before, late in the day and was pretty  tired/sore from that.  I decided to get mid pack and be happy with just the experience and not worry about the results.  They had told us prior to start that there were patches of ice that they had taped off and it was advisable to walk these patches.  I would like to say there were maybe 6 or so total of these.  Only one was really scary, mainly because it was down a hill.  Now I know those who do trail runs are use to this, but I was not.  It was a single track trail so passing was not easy.  I had gotten behind a lady that I felt like was going a safe speed for me.  many people got irritated because they wanted to pass.  I tried to move over so they could but sometimes I just couldn't.  I felt like even though we were going a bit slow, i liked watching her feet and I liked walking when it got super rocky or slick or muddy.  We were told that there was a water station at mile 2.5.  It was on the road and we were told that if we got water, we had to drink it there and throw our cup away and not on the trail.  Well, the lady ahead of me grabbed a cup and told the people she would run with it.  The next section of the trail was straight up and I guess she was running thinking about drinking and not her feet because she fell and hit her head on a rock.  I stopped as did several people behind me.  There was a person who had been walking a bunch and this person decided to volunteer to take her back to the aid station, which luckily was maybe 2 tenths of a mile.  I went on and wow, I had been going way too slow.  I had previously been seeing 14s and 15s on my watch and now was seeing regularly low 13s and 12s.  I felt so strong, so free.  I had a girl behind me who was quite happy sticking behind me and said she made no intentions of passing.  I was glad because I had no clue which trail we were suppose to run and the trails sometimes weren't the best marked.  Case in point, about a mile away from the finish, the trail forked and there was nothing saying which way we should go.  Luckily there were several of us bunched together at that point and we all stopped and debated which way to go.  We figured if we all went the same way, at least we would all be wrong.  So we picked the right way and all finished strong.  It was such a great feeling to get through it and my legs suprisingly felt great.  I finished 4 out of 4 in my age group with a time of 1:08.  I think I probably could have gone quicker at the beginning but who cares.  There is always next year to try and better my time.  I do like the change up that trail running gives you.  I was alone some and it was peaceful and beautiful (when I could look around and didn't have to concentrate on my feet).  I saw the lady that fell cross the finish line as I was leaving and she looked okay so that made me feel better.  I am looking at some trail runs maybe this summer and maybe even some longer distances and some night races. I still prefer road races but wouldn't mind a change of pace.  The group that does the trail runs in KC is dog friendly so that is a super big bonus in my mind.  This trail was way too narrow for people with dogs so I understand their no dog rule for sure.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

a plog

Been gone too long.  Parenting, running and now back to agility training is taking all of my time.  I sat down after the debacle that was the USDAA show and wrote down several training plans and i just never finished them or published them.  I do feel like I am moving in the right direction with what we are doing.  I did get to my friend's barn last week and got some good practice in but this week I can't go unless I drag the rugrat along which makes for a long and usually unproductive night.  I did enter another USDAA show in Lincoln NE and I am going to enter another AKC show in april.  I am not giving up even though many think I am.  I did enter one day of a local trial last weekend.  Tony had a class that saturday or I would have entered both days.  Once again, same venue and even though the club made a very big effort to remedy the solution, the sand that was brought in was pretty deep and made running tricky.  Deuce had a horrible JWW for about the first four jumps, then we regrouped and we had a smoking run after that.  Because of the surface, I tried something new and I was unsure and I think he felt it and ran unsure.  The most important thing about the run was that he had 0 bars and that made me super happy AND he had a beautiful weave entry.  The standard run was more together but he ran past a jump.  Someone watching said he hit a deep spot on his take off and scraped jumping the jump and crashing it and chose to go around it and I am okay with that.  He finally is learning self preservation and I am good with that.  He got a very tough weave discrimination and his contacts were awesome!  He had two bars I think and of course wrong course but I will take that.  I walked away feeling better about entering shows and not wasting money.

Our snow is finally melting so I did get my 8 miles in after the show.  It was tough, the wind was pretty brisk and killed my pace and I am sure that the taco johns I had for lunch didn't help.  I just wanted to get my miles in anyway so I was glad to be done.  Stella was glad to be out too!  This week is suppose to be amazing till tonight so I will probably do back to back runs to get them in.  It is suppose to storm tonight and then snow tomorrow.  I am not going to believe it till i see it.  Right now it is sunny and warm and that is all that matters.  

Here comes trouble is right.  He is always on the move now.  Most of his pics are blurry.  We are getting excited to start the new preschool in a week and a half.  He is all about problem solving right now. He is also getting very hard to sleep with so we are working diligently to get his room done so we can try and transition him to a toddler bed in his own room.  
Here he is figuring out to use the step stool to get on the bed.  Every day is a day of learning new things and new words. We now say the words cheese and please and bath and all the dogs names on a regular basis.   We are also dealing with the typical toddler emotions and phases.  So far we have made it through the biting stage, the hitting stage and now we are in the throes of the throwing stage.  Like any toddler, he gets frustrated when things don't work for him or don't move quick enough for him.  We are learning patience but it won't come overnight and i am sure there are many other toddler phases waiting to pop up.  He is also going through a fear period and things that didn't use to bother him at all now do.  Like loud noises.  He also seems to be reacting to scary things on tv so we have been very diligent to not let him see anything lately on tv other than his disney cartoons and the olympics or sporting events.  I am learning so much as a new parent and look forward to learning more.  

An update on the stella situation as several people have asked me.  She was doing really, really good and then had a setback.  I had week where I had to run on the treadmill for pretty much all of my runs due to weather and we were all stuck inside more and she growled at him again.  I think that what we are doing is still moving us in the right direction but I do think her exercise level and mental stimulation are a big part of this and if her needs aren't met, she gets grumpy. My hubby delt with the situation and she seems to be better this week with more exercise and mental stimulation.  She even got a nice bath after our last mud run. She gets so fluffy post bath!

Sunday, February 9, 2014


This is a pic i took from my friend's FB page.  These are some of the clods we raked up in a pile.  I imagine a whole ring full of these strewn everywhere.

I almost didn't go to the dog show this weekend.  I had heard that the show site, one that we have used since I started showing and before I started showing, has really gone downhill with regards to surface.  I had heard that a december NADAC show had been held there and that the surface was so bad that people were falling and dogs were getting injured.  I didn't enter the january show there just because i was worried about the weather.  Of course it did nothing that weekend but the surface was pretty bad.  When I saw my trainer's post about the huge clods on thursday, I almost didn't go.  Deuce is still having a bar issue and poor surface doesn't help at all.  I had heard on team day that several people had fallen and one lady had hit her head pretty hard.  I really didn't want to loose 179 bucks and i really, really wanted to see my friends but I also didn't want to fall and I didn't want to injure deuce.  I went anyway and I am not sure how to feel about it.  The first three runs on saturday were horrible, not together at all and tons of bars.  I didn't want to hurt his confidence when it comes to jumping and I didn't want to pull  him for knocking bars due to surface, so i didn't.  He should be in some sort of shape because he runs with me at least once or twice a week.  He progressively got better and even had a nice clean steeplechase run that ended up not being a Q due to a very slow, creepy a-frame.  His contacts were HORRIBLE this weekend and it was the most evident when he took at least 3 if not more seconds to come down into 2 on 2 off in steeplechase causing me to not Q.  His teeters were great, he crept on every dog walk except the last one he did, and his a-frames were the worst i have ever seen.  He stopped above the yellow every time and I had to beg him to come down into position.  On his dog walks, he stopped about  5 inches before the bottom EVERY run.  I am at a loss as to what to do about this.  Agility fields are under a foot of snow right now with no thaw in site and when it does thaw, it will be muddy for a long time.  The indoor i have access to occasionally has a snow issue too as in snow all around it so no place to park near it.  SO i am pretty sure classes will be canceled for a while there as well.

Yesterday had lot more great parts, today there were pretty much none.  Bad contacts, missed weave poles and no collection.  He did get the gamble but the buzzer sounded as he was on the second to last jump of the gamble because he couldn't find the tunnel at the start of the gamble.  We have so many issues to work on that I really don't know where to start.  We still have the bar issue, we now have missing weave entries yet again, and now creepy contacts.  I am trying not to be too down because we haven't practiced at all since probably october.  I am pleased that we had anything good I guess.  I am entered one day next weekend and I doubt the dirt will be any better or I doubt I will get any practice.  I will probably go in hopes that joan can work her magic. It's really sad because this place is an hour away from home, I don't normally have to get a hotel room can drive back and forth, and it has been our home base for many, many years.  I hate to see it go as a venue as it is very convenient for me but I had already heard that several clubs have decided not to renew their contracts to use the place next year.  I guess if I have to really travel for more shows if not all and I have to get hotel rooms for every single show, I may just have to stop for a while and wait till andrew is older.  This was super expensive practice that just hurts me and him i think especially in the confidence department.

On a running front, I am probably not going to get my long run in this weekend.  I am home, it is snowing yet again and I am super sore from my massage the other day.  My body is telling me to  not push it this weekend after working every single master's class and running my dog in 6 runs a day so I think I will listen.  Got in all of my other runs this week so two speedwork sessions and one four miler.  This upcoming week will be challenging again due to the ice and snow that is still everywhere.  Tony has a class on saturday so I won't be able to run that day and I have the show on sunday.  I am hoping a miraculous warm up happens and at least the roads will be runnable.

Wow, the post is super negative.  I so need to get off, have a beer and chill.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How many days till spring?

Now the winter weather is affecting both of us since we are both running now.  Neither one of us like it, but we are learning to adapt.  We both have really good winter clothes so we are both nice and warm on our runs but it is more about learning how to run in this crap.

We still had several inches of snow on the ground from the last snow.  The roads had just cleared and we were just back to running like normal.  We had been warned about this latest snow but we kept hoping that they were wrong.  KSU actually shut down the day before it all hit.    KSU never shuts down.   It started snowing some time last night and it is still snowing at 2:37 pm as i type.  We measured over 5 inches when tony ran earlier today.  It isn't suppose to stop till sometime tomorrow morning.  This is madness!  
I have to do two speed work sessions this week and then 4 miles and an 8 miler and it is suppose to snow again saturday.  URGH.  I hate doing speed work on a treadmill but I just can't get speed up on slick, icy, slushy roads.  I also can't seem to go much faster than 6 mph on the treadmill.  

I found a really helpful chart on converting outside pacing to pacing on the treadmill that includes using increasing incline to increase pace.  I have not tried using incline in  a long time because of injuring myself a few years ago using incline.  My legs are a lot stronger now so I decided I would try again.  If I didn't feel comfortable, I would stop and head outside and do straight mileage.  I looked at the chart before getting on.  5.4 mph with a 3% incline to pace at 9:30.  30 minutes at that pace with a 5 minute warm up and cool down.  I thought I would go half way and then stop and take a break.  I had read in my runner's world mag to always have water and a fan because running inside in dry air is harder sometimes if you are use to running outside.  I had my tunes, my water bottle and my fan and it still sucked.  Every last second of it sucked.  Even with the best music and the fan and the water.  I did it but I counted every single minute till I could stop.  I even made little packs with myself, one more minute then you can stop and take a break or five more minutes.  I also found myself holding on to the front  of the treadmill a lot.  Not sure what that does to your running form but it helped me feel more stable on the 3% incline.   I can always tell when I am working hard because i get snot in my throat.  Well I had a ton so even though the mileage wasn't adding up with the pace I was suppose to be doing, I felt like i was at the right place.  Then I got done and looked at the chart again and I should have had the incline up one more percent.  Crap.  That blows.  Oh well, I guess I did faster than 10 minute miles which was my previous comfort zone.  Baby steps right?????
That's what andrew says.  Yes, other than running, we have all been in our pjs all day.

So interested to see how my legs feel tomorrow after running that incline.  I have a tempo run planned and I am going to probably have to try as well on the treadmill.  I am not sure if i will be able to make it in tomorrow to work either so will probably be stuck in the house again.  I have some work out videos downloaded on the computer that i may try if andrew allows it.  I am also getting pretty worried about this weekend.  The next storm is due to hit saturday.  I was planning on driving up saturday.  So I will have to make a decision, drive up friday night, spend money on two nights of a hotel or loose my money.  I HATE WINTER!!!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


Woke up to this.  Not happy.  Was doing a virtual run for the organization 60 feet.  Here is a link to their website www.sixtyfeet.org.   I had never heard of their organization but one of my most fav bloggers ever was doing 37 miles on her 37th birthday to raise 3700 bucks for their organization.  I was hooked once I heard they were letting people do virtual runs to help.  

 I kind of thought about doing just four and then heading back.  It was cold and the snow was deep.  Roads in town had been bladed and were slick.  Roads out on the gravel were deep but had tire ruts that were the safest option.

I just kept running.  I did four on the gravel and then just turned back and did four back.  Stella got to be loose the whole run and she had a great time.  I just couldn't risk her pulling me down.  In town I put her on leash and kept her close.  She had so much fun chasing birds.

It was peaceful and silent and I thought about alot of things and got some prayers done for some people who needed it.  My pace was pretty slow so it took me quite a while but i did it.  I was so glad to be done yet had so much fun plugging along in the snow.  Stella wore herself out doing zoomies in the snow. Let the long run hang over begin.