Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

SUMMARY: Bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds, sun sun sun!

After last night's rain, the air was so clear today that the sun streamed down with no interference whatsoever. All the plants look SO green, it looked SO springish--

The parking lot of the garden center was full.

Gotta love San Jose climate!

There are no standing puddles in the yard and not even goopy mud, just plain old regular wet soil. Today--first time in what seems like forever--set up jumps and tunnels in a huge loop around the yard and just ran ran ran with a few teeters, weaves, and dogwalks tossed in for good measure. YEEEha!

Boost knocks bars. Don't tell anyone.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Interesting Lesson On Running Fast

SUMMARY: What I learned today about keeping up with Boost.

A friend watched me do some long runs trying to get Boost to run ahead of me over a fairly straight line of jumps instead of waiting, turning back, or spinning. She told me that I keep slowing down when Boost gets ahead of me. Of course I don't mean to; what I *do* do is point with my arm to try to keep the pressure on and yell "go! go! Hup!"

This was a "Doh!" moment. Apparently I cannot run as fast with my arm pointing ahead of me, while yelling, as I can when I just pump my arms, shut up, and run like hell bent for leather (whatever that means). When I did that, Boost didn't get quite as far ahead of me, but furthermore, the important thing was that she kept going straight, over jumps. Not super-driven going confidently away from me, but not stopping or doing refusals, either.

OK. We're going to try that this weekend if the opportunity arises.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Preparing for the Nationals

SUMMARY: Mentally, physically, agilitally, are we ready?

Only a month until the USDAA Nationals. Am I ready? Are the dogs? So much to do, so little time. I'm going to try to make up for 12, ok, 14 (mumble april 1995 mumble mumble)... of rotten training regimens and bad attitudes in a mere 30 days!

So far:
  • I'm sporting a whole new attitude: I AM capable of making it to the finals! I CAN fix the problems I've been having! I WILL have the dogs in prime shape! And me, too!
  • That weight thang: I'm back down to where I was most of last summer and also the year before my knee injury/surgery. I'd like to go another 5 lbs. I can feel such a difference between (mumble) pounds in February and where I am now, in energy level and ability to move.
  • The dogs' weight thang: I'm working on getting the dogs' weights back to where they were for the longest time. Tika is down a pound from 4 weeks ago; 3 to go (so won't be there by nationals); Boost is up half a pound. I attribute it to 8 days of me being out of town and not enough exercise.

  • Boost's refusal/runout issues: We made such progress by making the extra time to go to the big field to practice. Plus focusing on very specific types of actions. Plus I borrowed the Susan Garrett "Success With One Jump" video and am working through it. Just have to make that time!
  • Bar knocking both dogs: More bar-knocking drills. Maybe go back to some Salo exercises.
  • Speed: Well, Boost is still very drivey through a course, if only I can harness that by being equally drivey myself and giving well-timed commands and body languages. I'm really focusing on watching exactly how some of the better handlers move, and when, and how, on courses that I'll be running. With Tika, not sure how to get that complete total drive back. I think maybe if she got those same things from me, it would help.
  • My running: It's not enough to just do lots of walking and hiking. I've been practicing not running like a floppy rag. I've been concentrating on standing up straight and not leading with my butt. I think I need t videotape myself in the yard and review in real-time to see whether I can identify certain behaviors.

So much to do, and then there's that, oh, job thing, too. Plus at least one agility trial between now and then.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007


SUMMARY: Agility blogging, agility training, agility entries, agility knee

Saw my orthopedic surgeon Tuesday for the last time; he said there's absolutely no fluid in the knee which is awesome considering where I'd been for months before the surgery, and gave me a 100%-go-for-it rating (no restrictions of any kind), just suggested that I keep on with my physical therapy to build those danged quads.

Went to class with Tika last night for the 2nd time since arthroscopy. Knee is still a bit stiff but the big problem is that I don't feel that I'm moving anywhere near full speed. I need to practice running, but of course running is the worst thing that one can do now that one has had confirmed that one's knee has begun arthritis. Just HAVE to get back to walking, at least, and maybe jog around the back yard a couple of times a day--I'm sure that 100 feet of jogging will be helpful--

Tika, however, did very well. She was even pretty close to trial-fast. (Where I can't normally get her revved to full excited speed in class, then she takes off like a rocket at trials. It's exhilarating at trials but wish I could practice our living-on-the-edge running a bit more often.) I had trouble with a couple of trick round-about-front-crosses-after-270s kinds of things that we were doing, but Tika had no trouble with some tough weave entrances that others were challenged by. So I guess we're all getting something out of the class.

Agility blogging, for me, was solely an attempt to keep my own diary of my dogs' lives and progress. It has turned into this social thing. People actually read it. And of course I'm intrigued by the thoughts and experiences that other agility people go through, especially in different parts of the country. In class and at trials we don't usually talk about our day-to-day experiences, our fears, our hopes, our deepest challenges (well, ok, I talk about my deepest challenges all the time to anyone who'll listen, usually right after I've screwed up another run). One of the blogs I've been reading for a while (Flirt the Squirt) just pointed me to yet another agility blog, this one Colorado based, and the writing is entertaining: Days of Speed and Slowtime Mondays: How Not to Train for Triathlon and Dog Agility. Just what I need, more blogs to follow. :-)

It's been 2 months since I was last in class with Boost, and today's the day (if we don't get some surprise rain or, they're predicting for san jose, snow flurries (!!). At the moment it's sunny and 30 degrees, quite cold for 9 a.m. She's been blasting around the equipment in the back yard, where I mostly send her rather than run with her, looking ever so much like her superstar mama. But our problems on courses were showing up to be my inability to judge when she had actually committed to an obstacle and pulling her off constantly, and not signalling soon enough on tight turns. I mean, Tika's fast, but-- well, I think Boost could beat Tika, and Tika's speed is right up there. Maybe Tika and I have just gotten used to each other, and Boost's still just a baby competitor. Although she'll be 2 in just 3 weeks! Can you believe it?

So anyway I said "yes" (with some arm twisting) to a classmate's suggestion that we try for a two-dog private lesson with Nancy on Sunday. I can use all the field time I can get with The Booster for now. Especially since I've started sending in those entries with the highest hopes, and wanting to get Qs instead of feeling like I'm wasting my entry fees.

And there's where the money comes in (aside from lessons, I mean). Bay Team's first trial is one day Masters, one day Starters/Advanced, and I had two $50 gift certificates, so I had to pay only about $20 for that weekend (plus I guess I'll need to stay in a hotel; no sleeping in my minivan in this weather). But I also sent in my entry for the following weekend for VAST. Five runs per dog Saturday, four-per Sunday, for a nondiscounted total of--gulp--$248. PLUS gas to get there and hotel in cold/wet weather. This is why I have no money. This is why there aren't very many younger competitors. I'm signing up for trial committee jobs that earn me free entries left and right, but that still covers only a small portion of my entry fees.

If it weren't so much danged FUN.

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