Friday, October 31, 2008

BCCA National - Day 7 (the end!)

Jeff arrived with Cujo this morning. We basically hadn't seen each other for more than a few minutes at a time for a week so it was nice to see him :)

The morning began with pouring rain. Just what you want when showing a heavily coated breed outdoors! Stanley was the youngest special in the ring by quite a bit, but he free-stacked on his own and moved beautifully. I was thrilled when he made the first cut! After that only older dogs (3-4+ yrs old) were selected but I was still happy with our outing. His sister Beatrix, who definitely looks more mature in terms of coat and size, won an Award of Merit!

I have GREAT photos and I can't get them uploaded - stoopid hotel wireless! I promise tomorrow when we get home!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

BCCA National Specialty - Days 5 and 6

*smack* Bad blogger, bad blogger. I didn't get an update done yesterday. It was just too insane.

Wednesday: Started at 4am with leaving to take dogs to be groomed. Got back to the show site by 11am just in time to see Winners Dog awarded. Showed both my boys in the Parade of Titleholders, where they tried to kill me by dragging me all over together. Playtime with dogs in my room. Dinner with the Mulcasters and the Smiths.

Thursday: First day I got to sleep in! Showed cousin Penelope in Altered Bitch and watched the bitch class judging. Stan was used as a demo dog in the judges education seminar and I learned a lot from that. He loved it, stacked himself over and over for everyone. We're finally back in the room to warm up for a bit. It's COLD!

Tomorrow Jeff and Cujo will arrive, Stanley will show in Best of Breed and we'll be DONE! Hopefully more photos soon.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BCCA National Specialty - Day 4,000

Or so it feels like.

I'm now on two nights of no sleep but I think I will crash hard right after this post. I need to, as I'll be getting up at 3:30 am.

The day started out with a realization that the chances of obedience starting on schedule at 7:00 am - in the dark - were low. I took my time - doing my workouts, walking the dogs, setting up my tent at the show area, and showering and dressing. The futurity and sweepstakes competitions had to be bumped back because obedience was running so long!

Stanley and I finally made it into the rally ring around noon. I knew going in that I had a distracted teenage boy on my hands and it was not looking good. We got halfway through the course when he realized someone was playing with their dogs ringside (very bad manners around the obedience ring!) and I lost his focus at that point. At the next station, he lifted his leg to pee, and we were outta there!

Sweepstakes,with breeder-judge Tom Dixon, finally began 2 hours late. An hour rolled by before our class - 16-20 month dogs - went in. I was not expecting much for Stan as this is a national specialty, with some of the nicest dogs from all over the country, and I knew we had some of the most serious competition in this class. My biggest hope was to place at all! I was thrilled when we made the cut to 4 dogs and the judge had us stacked in the 4th place position. Imagine my surprise when he then moved us up to 1st place and we won the class!!!

The fun continued...Stanley's sister Bea won her class, the 16-20 month bitches, and then it was time for all the class winners to go back in the ring. Well, long story short, because I have to go to bed now ----- Beatrix was Best in Sweeps and Stanley was Best Opposite!!!! Color me 100% completely stunned.

And now, bed because I have to take Stan and Nan back to San Jose for grooming at 4am. I was originally going to go home this afternoon but things ran so late...I went to dinner with everyone to celebrate instead.


Getting comfortable in the hotel room
From 2008_Oct28

Stan's sister Joy from Maude's recent litter
From 2008_Oct28

Rhonda with Penny in the obedience ring

From 2008_Oct28

Maude (left) and her kids (l to r) Stan, Nan, Mackenzie & Bea
From 2008_Oct28

At dinner - Beth, Yvonne and I

From 2008_Oct28

View down one side of the table at dinner

From 2008_Oct28

The king of the world is tired.
From 2008_Oct28

Monday, October 27, 2008

BCCA National - Day 3

Today was the big day - the agility trial that I was co-chairing and acting as trial secretary for. Lots of work, lots of paperwork, and lots of time spent making it run smoothly. My dogs and I were at the trial site by 5:45 am, and left somewhere around 6pm. I didn't get around to eating (a Powerbar) or drinking (a cup of juice) until late in the day. BUT. But! It ran smoothly and no one can possibly complain it.

Despite my attention being focused solely on the trial running, Max qualified in both standard and jumpers, including a 3rd place, for another double-Q! And Stanley! Stanley was brilliant in his first ever trial in one jumpers run - look out beardie world, he is gonna be FAST when he grows up. I'd better start more sprint training now, I'm going to need it. Both boys had a blast in the relay as well!

I've just finally checked into the hotel at 8 at night, bathed a dog and am getting something to eat and drink. Tomorrow I need to fit in a swim and run before we are in the ring for obedience and sweepstakes.

Some photos of the day....

Score table

From 2008_Oct27

Stanley's girlfriend Mary

From 2008_Oct27

Too bad the dogs are so stressed, eh?
From 2008_Oct27

Friends relaxing in between runs

From 2008_Oct27

The awards table

From 2008_Oct27

All the "Chucky Cheeseballs" i.e. Chauncey kids - l to r: Me with Max, Patti and Stix, Pam and Mary, Donna with Leia, Beth with Maude, and Tammy with Sparkee
From 2008_Oct27

Sunday, October 26, 2008

BCCA National - Day 2

This morning started just before dawn with a trail run in a new location. I was able to watch the sun come up over the hills and the valley, which mostly just made me remember that mountain lions hunt at dawn and are everywhere in the hills around here. Run faster!

And then the boys and I said goodbye to Jeff and Cujo and headed north - first to Dixon for another herding trial. Stan ran even nicer today - very enthusiastically - and got the other leg needed for his HT title. It's the very first herding title I've put on a dog! HUGE thanks go out to the owner of Stan's sister Mackenzie for getting video of our run for me.

After watching some of the herding instinct tests on friends' dogs, we escaped the heat and headed west to Sonoma County, where we checked into our temporary abode (just for tonight). We checked out the show hotel we'll be at tomorrow and I went to the Beardie Agility Diehards dinner. Walking around the hotel was a riot - I recognized every second or third person I passed from past nationals. After a bit of drama over setup space near the rings - and really, would it even be a dog event without drama? - I left my EZ-Up in a small open space and came back to the hotel room with the dogs. They've eaten, they've humped each other like crazy and now it is time for bed.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, the agility trial begins. Or maybe dark and foggy is a more apt description. Uh oh. Stan boy's big agility debut. I'm going to need a stiff drink afterwards.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bearded Collie Club of America National Specialty - Day 1

Today was the first of two days of herding trials to kick off the National Specialty. It was also, after 6+ years in beardies, my very first herding trial.

The boys and I loaded up and headed out early to drive the 100 miles to Dixon where we arrived around 9am. We gave everyone a good walk and then hung out, visiting with the new arrivals from all over the country and with local friends. Max's breeder made it down from Washington so it was great to catch up with her. We watched all the advanced trial classes compete - I don't know my way around the herding rules yet so it was fun to learn.

Finally around 3:00 it was time for the HT (Herding Test) class briefing. I was the only one who had never trialed in herding before! (The judge seemed concerned about if we'd had training or not LOL) But Beth was running Stan's mom Maude and sister Bea so she was as nervous as I was.

Our turn rolled around and I walked in the ring remembering everything Deb and Melinda had drilled into our heads about what to do. Stan approached the sheep very much under control at my side, sat nicely while I removed the leash and stayed while I walked to the sheep until I released him. The initial contact is always the part I bobble and Stan split the sheep. However, I remembered to just go to the two sheep and let him bring me the third back and then we began heading for the cones. I was so happy to see he was much more enthusiastic than he has been lately and I didn't have to call him back to work. It might have been good for him to have to wait all day to see his sheep. I did have to pause once while he pooped but he did great! Before I knew it, the judge was telling us we'd completed our required turns and I could stop him. Stan sat and recalled and we were done!

It felt like we were in the ring a long time, so imagine my surprise when our score sheet gave our time as 1:35. Stan now has one of the two HT legs needed for his first herding title! Maude and Bea also qualified!

Some random photos from the day....
Is it my turn yet? Is it? Is it?
From 2008_Oct25

From 2008_Oct25

From 2008_Oct25

From 2008_Oct25

From 2008_Oct25

Now I have a 75 minute bike ride to get done. I was dreading it on the drive home but now I think it will loosen up my achy legs. More tomorrow!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Clean Dogs. I Haz Them.

The beardie boys are home from Canine Concepts and ready to roll. The hard part comes now...keeping them clean! I love how Max is not-so-discreetly leaning to his right and giving me the eye, as he'd rather not be associated with his younger brother.
From 2008_Oct24

Taken 2 seconds after the first photo.
From 2008_Oct24

Lovely one hour run this morning with various speed intervals built in. Thanksgiving Day next month is 3 years since I started running and I'm finally begining to see speed! I've got a bike ride for tomorrow that will probably be done on the trainer in the garage in the dark before we head up to the herding trial. *fingers crossed* Let's hope Stanley remember what sheep are from last week!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I Am Happy My Dogs Are Not Problem-Solvers

My boys are bright in their own ways, driven smart dogs who will figure out the traning challenges I give them. I'm just happy they don't go looking for challenges after watching this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Midweek Report

An assortment of random items from the week in progress.

* For those who come here looking to see photos of fluffy dogs, I apologize at the lack of them lately. I have been supremely lazy about taking and/or uploading photos and the ones I have taken don't seem worthy of going online. However, I PROMISE you that will change in just a few days. Starting this Saturday, the beardie boys and I will be attending the Bearded Collie Club of America National Specialty and I hereby commit to blogging daily throughout the weeklong event, including photographic evidence that we attended. Hold me to it, please!

* Speaking of the National, I haven't even begun to pack and we leave in just a few days. I still need to organize my supplies and complete all my paperwork for the National agility trial on Monday. I have to cram my car with gear for the whole event (crates, tent, food, water, bowls, treats, etc), show (grooming table, grooming bag, suits and show clothes), herding (mostly a positive attitude!), agility (agility leashes, computer and printer and paperwork to run the trial), obedience (different leashes and collars), plus of course my own stuff for a week in a hotel, and a bike and running stuff and swim stuff... I have faith it will all come together...somehow.

* Tuesday marked the first day I was expected to swim without a nose clip at masters. I've always had a hard time with "nose control" when it comes to water. When we took the course for scuba certification years ago, the one test I had difficulty passing was the one where you take your mask off and breathe through your regulator - I could not, no matter how many times I tried, do this without holding my nose shut. So anyway, I was a bit nervous about taking the next step on Tuesday. The good news...slowly I got comfortable and was able to make progress swimming (or flailing depending on how you look at it) back and forth across the pool while exhaling through my nose. The bad news...that was the moment our coach chose to whip out the torture devices known as swim snorkels (where you are expected to keep your head underwater and inhale through the snorkel without sucking water up your nose). Let's just say that was a bit too advanced for my little brain at this point. Anyway, I continue to be optimistic that the comfort will come and this will all support the bottom line - my goal to improve my swimming.

* What happens when you combine a scientific type who loves numbers (better known at my college as a quants jock) with triathlon training? Nerd, party of one! These are the kinds of things I do with my training data. Doesn't it look so pretty?

The tracking spreadsheet came from here if anyone is interested.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why do the weekends blow by so quickly?

Hm, might it be because I'm so damn busy? Well, there goes another one. A quick recap:

Friday afternoon I caught up with my childhood best friend who was home visiting from her internal medicine residency in Boston. We see each other at very irregular intervals since we graduated high school as 17-year-olds and yet no matter how much time goes by, we can pick right back up where we left off. Don't you wish you had more friends like that?

Saturday started bright and early at 5:30 am. Let me just say - masters swim at 6am on Saturdays is WRONG, very very WRONG. But I had no other way to squeeze in my swim for the day and off I went. Since I apparently am going to be expected to swim without a nose clip on Tuesday, I gave it a small try and found that I could manage to swim across the pool that way (swimming being a very generous term for what felt more like floundering, but hey it's progress).

After a quick swim it was off to Pleasanton for Max and I to compete in our first agility trial since July. I was just looking for a practice round really, with the National coming up in a week. It's a good thing I'd entered something, and I now wish I'd entered a few more! Let's just say our standard run could have been successful with a new handler. Thankfully we redeemed ourselves with a lovely jumpers run where Max really smoked the course.

We were home from the trial by 11am and I was sluggish about starting my bike ride despite beautiful warm sunny weather. Eventually I got it done and then we were off to the Sharks-Flyers game. San Jose is still in progress of learning a new system via a new coach and several key players are injured. Despite being down by multiple goals, the Sharks battled it out and tied the game up, eventually winning in OT - yay! I always forget how much I miss hockey over the summer until fall comes again and we're back to attending every home game. I LOVE this sport.

Today I dropped Jeff off for a 50-mile ride to Crystal Springs with the guys and headed to Rancho San Antonio for a 2 hour run. Liz wanted me to do softer surface (trails?) and hills so there I was. This is a pretty popular wilderness preserve locally and I'd never been there. It was quite a nice run; though I'm still not a fan of running big hills and steep inclines, I did manage to do a ~6 mile loop twice without feeling like my legs were full of lead. I have been ready to sleep since 4pm though...we'll see how long I can stay awake!

lolcats funny cat pictures

This next week is an easier training week and it couldn't come at a better time, with all the prep for nationals.

My totals for this past week (very light on biking until my next race is done):
Swim Distance: 4250 yd
Bike Distance: 20.87 mi
Run Distance: 25.25 mi
It's a little weird for me to have biked less than I ran. I'm sure there will be many fun biking drills ahead after Vegas!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Herding

Still trying to get ready for the National. The herding trial starts in a week - yikes! Last day out to practice and Stan was looking better. Wish we had more time to polish it but he did alright other than some brief distractions.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Run

Random photo from my 10K race a few weeks ago.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Man - Iron and Not

Two completely different streams of thought today....


I can't believe I didn't mention Ironman in yesterday's comments. I watched online and tracked atheletes obsessively all day Saturday, even while at the Sharks game. I read blogs on it all week, I Facebooked about it relentlessly, I sent good luck emails and congratulations emails.

What an amazing day for so many people. The two pro champions ran fantastic races and looked so strong. I watched their finish videos yesterday and teared up seeing how emotional they were. Craig Alexander always seems like such a classy guy. And Chrissie Wellington - to lose 10 minutes fixing a flat on the bike and still beat the 2nd place finisher by 15 minutes? Unreal.

I read Liz's account of her husband's race and frighteningly it just made me want to do this even more. I did warn Jeff that he'd better take his sherpa responsibilities seriously next year though and sent this to him to read.

Speaking of Jeff....

My Other Iron Man

I wound up giggling hysterically today when talking with Jeff as he went to take a nap. Stanley and Max spend every afternoon anxiously waiting for Jeff to stand up from his desk and head to the front bedroom for a nap. Literally the instant he gets up, they bolt to the door. When he opens the door, they both rush ahead to beat him onto the bed.

I teased him about how far his life has fallen in six years...from living a nice quiet single existance to being married with a house full of wild canines.

He said, "Yes, I know. I used to be able to walk in this room anytime and take a nap in peace and quiet...without anyone growling at me [at which point Stan, curled up at his feet, lets out a deep growl in his sleep and changes positions] or licking their balls next to my head [at which point Max, curled up on his shoulder, lifts a leg up and sticks his nose in] or sitting on me [he looked at me here]." I should point out he also has to listen to Cujo snore at top volume.

Yup, I'm feeling really bad for him right now. Rough life and all. Too much love :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catching up...

Once again, the week runs away with me and I never get around to blogging. The highlights:

* 2nd day of masters swim on Thursday and I didn't drown. Though our coach certainly tried his hardest, with what Melissa calls "the drowning drill." Everyone keeps telling me this masters swim thing will make my swimming improve dramatically - I hope so!

I also had a strength training workout assigned for Thursday. Many lunges and planks. I spent most of Friday and Saturday limping around pitifully as a result.

* FINALLY the start of hockey season - Sharks home opener on Thursday night against Anaheim and they had a wonderful win!

* Stanley and I went herding on Friday morning. He's having a case of the adolescent moodies and it shows. He heard his mother Maude bark while he was working the sheep and instantly took off for the fence to look for her. He had to be called back to work and then did pretty well. Beth and I will have to coordinate at the National to ensure that Stan and Maude and Bea are not looking for each other when it's time to herd.

* Speaking of which - holy crap, the National is 2 weeks away! Are we ready for ANY of the venues we'll be competing in?!!

* On Saturday we went for a bike ride with Nigel, Eric, Val and George. George had his brand new fancy bike and kicked all of our butts as always. We rode up by Stevens Creek Reservoir and into downtown Saratoga - I broke off from the group at that point as I wasn't supposed to ride long, and they went back over the hill to the reservoir.

After the ride, Jeff and I met up with Nigel at their favorite drinking establishment to watch Jeff's Sun Devils get crushed by USC. Between the two of them, I believe they polished off 3 pitchers of Fat Tire. I drove them home to finish watching the game and so they could have a few more beers. I don't even know how to describe these two together when they are drinking - it's like two 6-year-old boys making fart noises and giggling hysterically except with a more adult tone and topic. I'd provide some specific examples of what they were saying but that is likely to embarass them far too much.

Eventually Jeff and I made our way to HP Pavilion for the Sharks-Kings game - another win, yay!

* Today I had a long run on tap. Despite a decent amount of sleep, I woke up with a headache and a sore neck - how fair is that? Jeff wakes up feeling great and the one who drank only water yesterday feels hungover? Anyway, it was a perfect fall Sunday long run - cool weather, bright sunshine and legs that felt great. I had to run relatively easy for the first hour and then do some speed repeats on tired legs. I love this kind of run, pushing myself hard at the end to see what my legs can do. I will say that I'm really pleased with how comfortable I'm feeling at faster speeds these days. 10 miles and then I headed home for an ice bath and chocolate milk. I had forgotten how dazed long runs leave me for a couple hours. After sitting for a second out back to talk to Jeff (and ending up lying down and not wanting to get up), I took a very long time to shower, check email and get dressed before tackling cleanup around the house and prepping for the workweek.

* The seven days ahead hold my hardest training week yet for Vegas and a reasonably busy time at work as well. I will have to make sure I go to bed early where possible to get enough sleep, especially with this new masters swim schedule. I'm going to try to squeeze in a day or two of agility with Max next weekend as well as a yoga class mid-week. Have a good week, everyone!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Erm. OK. So maybe masters wasn't that good, but I (mostly) kept up with the other people in my lane, the coach was as cute as advertised, and I didn't drown, so that's all success, right?

I dragged myself out of bed long before dawn, left three indignant dogs behind, and was in the pool parking lot by 5:40am. My friend Melissa met me there to shepherd me through the process and calm my nerves. I was assigned to the "newbie" lane and jumped on in to warm up.

The good: I totally outkicked a guy in my lane and with 450 yards of kicking? That meant I kept up with the group.
The bad: If I made the intervals on the opening 10x50s it was just barely but overall I fell a little behind.
The ugly: 2x500 pull was great but really hurt my shoulder by the end. The kind of hurt that tingles all the way down to the wrist? Not good.

And so I survived something that shouldn't really seem like a big deal to anyone who's done this before but was an intimidating experience for someone who only learned to swim in the last year.

After I got home from swim, I walked the 3 now pissed-off dogs, fed them and went for a run. Yay running! Something I can do properly. Today was an easy 35-minute run to rev my legs up for tomorrow's hard speed workout: 1 mile repeats at faster than race pace. Oh boy, this will hurt be fun!

Edited to add a rave - Melissa wrote this to me this morning: "Oh, and btw nice arm muscles. Your biceps pop right out!"

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rants and Raves: Monday edition

Rant: Jeff is on a brief business trip and I miss him. For two people who spend so much time together (we both work from home a lot) we really aren't sick of each other after 5+ years together.

Rave: He started a new job today!

Rant: I had a work meeting I was dreading today.

Rave: It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be and my procedure document may once again start making forward progress towards completion by its deadline.

Rant: I start masters swim tomorrow. I am petrified. All the fast kids will point and laugh at the new uncoordinated slow girl.

Rave: I have an awesome 2 weeks of runs ahead. I'm looking forward to everything on my training schedule.

Rant: My legs are achy today.

Rave: I figured out my race schedule for 2009 (see sidebar).

Rant: I have to do Wildflower again.

Rave: I also get to do some awesome 70.3 races in places I've never been - Idaho and Georgia!

Rant: Stan will probably not be ready for obedience at the National.

Rave: Stan will have a very good time in agility and herding at the National!

Rant: It will be totally insane and I won't get enough sleep.

Rave: My agility trial for the National is now closed, my entries are in, I've completed and submitted the show catalog, and I don't have to do anything till the week before the trial.

Rant: Facebook is sucking my free time away from other websurfing and work.

Rave: Monday is over, on with the rest of the week!

Friday, October 3, 2008


I still feel like I have nothing exciting to report. Entries closed for the agility trial of the bearded collie national this week and I've been going crazy trying to process them all, put together the catalog, contact people who owe money, etc etc etc. I will be very happy when this thing is over, in precisely....24 days.

Next week I start masters swim. Shit. Time to put my big girl panties on and face the humiliation. They tell me this will make me a better swimmer. I sure as hell can't get any worse!

Many of the women I admire in the blogosphere are headed to Kona soon to compete or spectate at the Ironman World Championships. I'm nowhere near the level of that kind of competition but I'm still jealous of everyone getting the opportunity to just BE there, close to the action, surrounded by so many people involved in this sport. And come on, it doesn't hurt that they'll get to ogle some incredibly fit triathletes as well.

Good luck to Melissa who is racing the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend! Melissa is going to be my roommate at All Women's Tri-Bloggers camp in Florida in February. Also good luck to Lisa at the Longhorn 70.3 tri in Austin! The #$%&*ing airline destroyed her bike on the way there but she's carrying on with a replacement bike and a positive attitude.

Stanley and I visited with his sister MacKenzie at an obedience/rally trial last weekend. She did great and got her first two Rally Novice legs! These two aren't related at all, are they? One thing to look forward to at the National...we'll have a bunch of Stan's littermates together and should get some wonderful photos of the goofballs!

We're cocooning in this weekend. Stan and I were supposed to go to an obedience trial ~150 miles away but with the first storm of fall rolling in have decided to bag on it. Instead we'll be hanging out at home and I'll be doing some swimming, biking and running (what a shock!).

Have a great weekend!