Sunday, January 22, 2012

Another Adventure Begins...

Friday afternoon saw us saying goodbye to the California sun...

A couple of these on a layover set the tone for the trip.

And finally, almost 24 hours after we started, we ended up in a room with this view on Saturday afternoon.  It didn't suck.
From the other direction it looked like this.

This didn't suck either.

We spent Saturday evening catching up with old friends.

As well as doing the large amount of philosophizing that comes when 2x IM finishers gather.  Or we were just wondering how Alex grew that beard. :-)
Old San Juan (Puerto Rico) was beautiful to wander around in at night

And finally, 37 hours after I woke up in my own bed at 4:45 am for 5:30 Friday morning masters, we slept.

Today (Sunday) we pack up and leave on the next leg of our adventure, doing something that is very new for me!  Hopefully I'll have some internet access along the the meantime, remember - Protect the Planet!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another weekend, another agility trial..

Need I say more?  The goober dog is FUN.

 The Jumpers run (the 2nd one) landed him a 3rd place too!  Here he is with his cousin who got 1st.

There were quite a few outtakes to get that photo, as these two wanted to bark and one point we were chasing them around with their ribbons dragging behind when they took off running all at once.

Stan is off to a big show this weekend and he looked pretty nice when he left!  *fingers crossed*

Monday, January 16, 2012

Life With Puck

Puck has been in our house 3 months now, so I thought I'd give a little update on how life with Puck works.  After about a month he was fully potty trained and after about 2.5 months, he's been trustworthy to leave alone in the house for a few hours at a time.  So with that simple puppy stuff under our belts, life gets more interesting.

He is a very intense snuggler and if he had his way, would spend his nights sleeping on our heads.  Instead he starts out in his crate and sleeps there until Jeff lets him out around 4am, after which he gets in bed and spoons us.  He is perfectly content to sleep late too, no rushing us out of bed like the beardies do!  

He's a food maniac and SO obsessed with his meals that he refuses to go on morning walks because they only delay breakfast.  Evening walks are acceptable however.

As soon as breakfast is served, he races out to the yard to wrestle and run with Max, who teases him with toys and then takes off running and barking.  They want to do this as soon as they have eaten, even if it's...5am.  So they get locked in the house till more like 7am.  I hope my neighbors are awake by then!

He's incredibly people focused and always wants to greet new people.  He's quite frustrated when every person we pass on a walk doesn't want to pet him.

He has recently learned how to dig.

Puck thinks he's a beardie, which isn't surprising since he lives with 2 of them.  This past weekend he had the chance to join me at an agility trial (more on that in another post), followed by a playdate at Stanley's breeder's house.  He was delighted to engage in the reindeer games with all the other dogs and had no idea that he was not the 9th beardie there.

"What? I fit right in!"

We started conformation class last week, as his first dog show is coming up next month.  He had a very good time as he figured out there was pretty much nonstop food shoved in his mouth as long as he behaved!  He starts nose work class in a couple of weeks and I think he's going to LOVE hunting for food in boxes.

So pretty much Puck fits in perfectly around here!  He still seems so little to us - still weighs less than either of the beardies - so it will be funny to see more of his personality develop as he grows.  In honor of Puck turning 5 months old this weekend, here's a little retrospective of his beginnings!

3 weeks

5 weeks

7 weeks

8 weeks/2 months

3 months

4 months

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Training Fun!

With a brief burst of warm weather in the middle of January, I managed to ride outside for a "real" ride (as opposed to my post-IM easy spins) since IM AZ.  I had some hills to do on the schedule so Jeff and I rode down to do the Hicks-Shannon-Kennedy loop in Los Gatos.  It's relatively short but has some good steep stuff in there (12% at one point going up Kennedy).  Given that my bike is still geared for AZ, I was a little nervous about the climb but ended up doing it in my fastest time ever!

I got to play with the new Scatter graph option in beta testing for TrainingPeaks ambassadors.  Most of my workout was scheduled around a certain wattage and my cadence held mostly in my target spot for those watts.  The really low cadences matched up with the higher watts I put out when climbing the steep hill.  Kinda neat to see like this!

Look at that weather forecast...sadly it gets cold (hey it's cold for us!) starting tomorrow.  Another limited beta feature but it's pretty cool to compare in the same place with my current training plan!

 I'm happy that so far I've put together a really good training week - just one run to go!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Brussels Sprouts and other ramblings

Probably the most random title ever, right?  I ate like 3 cups of these things tonight, I think that constituted most of my dinner.  Let's just say there is a beach vacation in my future and I want my race-weight bikini body to go with me.  It turns out after never having brussels sprouts growing up and always thinking they were nasty based on what other people said...I found a way to cook them that I love them! (just roasting with olive oil, salt and pepper)

Training is coming along well.  Today was another double-swim day (a mostly-pull swim assigned by Coach earlier in the day and my weekly technique lesson in the evening) and so my arms and shoulders are feeling nicely toasted.  I'm starting to see the glimmerings of time improvements from all this form work I'm my first swim of the day (which was not done until lunch because our cold weather - don't laugh - is killing my morning swim motivation) I had to descend a set of 50s and not only did I nail the timing perfectly, I broke a time barrier in the last 50 that I can't remember hitting anytime in recent memory.  It will still take more work to hold that good form over longer distances but it's a start!  Then in tonight's session one of the things I had to do was descend a round of 50s again!  It was good to repeat the same thing with someone hovering over me and correcting my form in between each one.  Tim the swim guru has all sorts of new and evil tricks to help me - tonight I was tied to the blocks by a bungee cord and then had to swim against the resistance while held in place to help identify the weak point in my stroke.  I got further on the bungee with each repeat and got pulled backwards less each time!  So still a long way to go but it's nice to see progress from these weekly sessions.

My biking is still on the light side right now - mostly one legged drills and form work.  I'm starting to use Jeff's trainer instead of mine this year on Coach's suggestion and it gives tougher resistance, so I *really* feel slow on it.  It'll make me stronger though!

Running is on the light side as well but it feels great after taking the time off post-IM.  I know so many people that run so soon after IM but for my body I know a couple weeks off results in much happier running when I come back.  Plus I haven't ended up injured in all this time with Coach so we must be doing something right!

Not that I didn't think I was at one point this's the story: I did a bunch of run drills on the track on Thursday and watched the videos beforehand very carefully so I could really nail the drills.  I came back and wrote in TrainingPeaks that I was so happy with the high knees drill because it really clicked unlike in past years - I got the strong push-off from the ground.  About 36 hours later, my calves started to hurt.  Like, I couldn't even let Jeff touch them, they hurt to the touch, they hurt to walk.  Saturday morning, running was out of the question and even walking was difficult.  Thankfully they were better by Sunday for my run and our agility trial.  On Monday I saw my ART doctor - who said it meant I was doing the drills right and that if anything I should do them more to condition the muscles properly.  So that's good!  But he did spend some quality time working out the tight bands in my calves :)  He also worked on something Tim wanted him to address, which was my tight ankles.  You know how most of you try to point your toes and you can actually point them?  Well when Tim was watching me kick in the pool last week, he noted that my "pointed toes" were at nearly a 90 degree angle to my leg.  No wonder kicking seems to pull me backwards!  My doc noted the same thing, that I had a hard stop at a pretty pathetic ankle angle, and proceeded to loosen up my whole shin and ankle to give me some more flexibility there.  I'll be doing a lot of sitting on my feet and walking around on my toes (and seeing Dr Brink more often than he'd like, I'm sure) to keep working on the problem.

So that's pretty much life around here in a nutshell right now.  I've been on an emotional roller coaster all week with Melissa's death and appreciate all the kind comments you all left.  I'm grateful for good mutual friends who've helped commiserate and remember her fondly.

And because no blog post is complete without a photo, here's a little taste of Puck's daily suffering.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fun to Run

Due to triathlon taking over my life the past few years, I have not competed with Stanley as frequently and seriously as I did with Max.  We used to spend sometimes every weekend trialing all over the state.  Instead poor Stanley gets thrown in the ring for competition every once in a blue moon when his mom has a light training week or hopes she has a light training week.  Until New Years weekend, he hadn't trialed since July.  6 months is an awfully long time to go without and expect much from a dog.  With the anticipated lighter training schedule this month, I entered us in 3 consecutive weekends of trials and hoped his increased maturity would pay off.  It sure has!

Stan has gone from the "unknown factor" that made me so nervous to run (would he get this right? would he act like a nut job?) to Fun To Run.  We're not perfect, but we're a TEAM now in a way that we weren't before.  On New Years weekend, Stan qualified in Novice FAST both days to finish his NF title and took a 4th place and a 1st place doing it!  That title also gave him the last title he needed to accumulate for his Bearded Collie Club of America Versatility Excellent (VX) title, which basically says he's an all-around dog who has titled repeatedly in multiple areas (herding, obedience, agility, conformation).  My dog rocks.

This past weekend, we only went to the trial on Sunday because I had such bad calf pain (from run drills) that I couldn't walk.  I figured with freezing temps and an indoor venue that he was going to be crazy Stanley again but he proved me wrong.  We made one mistake (he missed the contact area on the dog walk) but he had a fast and awesome run!

Stanley is looking forward to post IM-Canada when we can go trial our butts off and kick some ass!

Monday, January 9, 2012

And a new year begins...

Going back to work after a holiday break and starting back at training on the same week is rough.  I made it through last week and got most of my workouts done, so I'll take that as a success.

Work has been a bit odd, as my boss's husband got his long-awaited heart transplant the night before we started work again, so she's been out dealing with that and I've been covering her meetings.  That makes for very long days not getting my real work done!  But I'm very happy for her family that things are going well!

My mom got a new camera for Christmas and that has meant lots of really nice photos of the dogs!

I officially didn't make the draw in the Alcatraz lottery so that one is coming off my race list for the year.  Maybe another time!  No worries though, as I have plenty to keep me occupied this year!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Farewell, My Friend

Today my good friend Melissa - swim partner extraordinaire, dog mom and all around wonderful person - lost her battle with ovarian cancer.  There's not much else that can be said except that I will miss her tremendously.