Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.

I have decided to write a quick post about my year 2017.

My 2017 turned around just before it really started. Laferra arrived in October 2016 and too be honest that has changed everything.

I went into 2017 with having my biggest dream (to have two dogs) already happened. Laferra was growing and was the easiest dog that I have ever dealt with, and soon I knew Roger loves her a lot. Roger and I were training for many races, we attended a lot of races. It was all great fun.

Races in 2017

For the first time, I have attended more competitive race which was British National Championship in Wales. It was literally my first time in Wales too. January was the time when I realized I want to become better in this canicross. We had so much fun with Roger running, and I have met a lot of new people later to call them friends and some of them were very helpful. It was a great experience and so much fun being away that far away. Scotland had it race too.Another exciting race was BSSF in England which was the third race to qualify for the IFSS World Championship in Poland. During those events, I have learned a lot and in April I was laughing that I really need to go to Poland compete. Later discovered that I qualified and got a place in Team GB.

Adventures

It wasn’t just about races, I started doing more fun with dogs and discovering Scotland a bit more. We went to a lot of places that without them I wouldn’t even know they exist.

I also started my adventure with MTB and it is fantastic, met so many new friends.

The MTB helped me to get more confident and try more and more bikejor and scooter with dogs. I started competing with Roger in bikejor competition, and oh boy he can run!

We welcomed few sponsors to our team: Odlo, Merrell, Greepers, Fitline and Scruff Muffins. Thank you all for the support.

Bring on 2018

It was really great year 2017. I am super chuffed what I have achieved and really looking forward to 2018 with some exciting news for you my dear readers 🙂 We will be competing more in Europe too. Keep reading our post.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. Dream big!

How to cope with fireworks!?

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Fireworks

The word fireworks give me goosebumps as I know how my dogs hate it and how anxious they are when they hear them. I tried a lot of things and unfortunately, every dog is different. Here are some ideas what I do to make them feel a bit better during the worst night of the year: New Year Eve.

  • during the day I make sure they get a good walk plus good run in harness (this year it will be 3 miles each on a scooter).
  • never let them off lead during 31st December, just in case there will be early fireworks.
  • planning night walk around odd time like 7.17pm or 8.24pm. As fireworks are usually at full o’clock.
  • make sure your dogs have nice quiet area in house that they feel comfy.
  • close curtains and windows so they can’t see or hear the fireworks.
  • play your TV louder than usual.
  • prepare their stuffed kongs or any other fun games that will make them occupied.

 

I tried to use the calm home diffuser or vests but they never worked for Roger, and Laferra just picks on his mood. Hopefully, we will manage to cop with fireworks without much stress this year.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.”

Christmas! Christmas and it is over now. So this year I wasn’t off work, which was a bit weird as I love to spend it at work. Anyways. There was no snow, so a bit disappointed, but the weather was good enough (or that what I believe in) to do things with dogs.

Parkrun at Vogrie Country Park

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, tree, outdoor and nature

First time ever I have decided to go and check out the parkrun at Vogrie Country Park which we know quiet well, as it is the place where our sled dog sports adventure started. It was busy, but they allowed us to start in front. You do 2 loops of same trails and it was amazing. The parkrun is so challenging and distracting for dogs, that was a great experience for Laferra, but she didn’t even look at sides twice. Super proud of her. She is doing so well. We also did well timewise, although I was hoping for sub 20, but we got tangled on a tree and it was a surprisingly hilly course.

Christmas Eve

On a Christmas Eve I took dogs for adventure to Cathkin Brae. Weather was awful but officialy I became a BAM. Follow the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/206832509725490/ if you want to learn more about it. I ran 13.7 miles with Lafie off lead and Roger canicrossing for last 4.5miles. Great fun and super tired two dogs.

After that run I thought I deserved all the ice cream and a wee donut, but I wasn’t so keen on it when I got home.

How do you manage during Christmas

I am lucky as I don’t have many temptations during holidays time for bad food. It must be hard to still go out train and eat healthy with all those Christmasy food around. Do you stick to the plan? Or just eat whatever and being lazy?

I rather stick to plan with maybe tiny expectation of some sweet, but continue with my training schedule or even work harder as I have more time. Jolly of being off work.

Do you spoil your furry babies?

It isn’t just temptation for you, but also for dogs. Do you spoil them with extra treats? I don’t as it might affect them same as us. My dogs get a chewy treat once a week anyways. This year they only got spoiled with toys which they love. A friend of mine showed me best entertaining toy which includes:

These three things make an amazing toy, just check the video below how much Roger and Laferra loved it.

Rest of the Christmas Holidays

We literally spend it as always! Traditional trip to the beach as every year on Christmas Day. I thought going to Portobello would be good as not many people would be out, and it was raining again so a quick run for 2 miles and back home.

We have also stick to the training schedule and work out dogs in harness, which was super excited. Now planning ahead what to do to make dogs chilled and relaxed during New Year fireworks. Watch out for our next post.

 

 

 

 

 

Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.

Christmas time

This is a time of the year that everyone is getting busy with organizing everything for Christmas and arrival of their families. I feel lucky and not lucky that for us it is peace and quiet time and this year I have decided to even take 3 days off work. Even if you are busy don’t forget to squeeze training with your pups, it will only take max an hour if you plan it well.

Motivation

Recently my motivation has been playing around. I am very motivated for doing the training, but not necessarily sticking to my usual healthy diet which is probably not helping in sleeping, recovering and training performance. I know it and that makes it worst. It is hard as it is my birthday month and we love to eat for Christmas.

I feel a bit lost and trying really hard to get back on with eating less sugar than I really need. Surprisingly day after my birthday I felt like I have massive hungover. Hah! I don’t drink alcohol so it was definitely sugar hungover. I felt really awful. Do you think I learn from that? Yes, I went shopping and bought zero sugar! Is that me back on track? We shall see. This time of the year is tempting all of us with nice tasty (not good for us) food. Stay strong, it will pay back.

Equipment for dogs

Changing the subject. Finally, I have managed to find a place to try jacket for Laferra and first time ever decided I will not buy it online.

Lafie is one happy dog ready for winter coming. I must say I am very surprised even tho I have seen it before, but Hurtta quality is just amazing. I wish I can have that good quality jacket. Bring on winter as I am looking forward to try and test this summit park with Laferra in different conditions. Say no to shivering pup. It is black with nice orangish adds to it and has high visibility reflectors. I think it really suits Laferra (I am not biased hehe). Review to follow.

On that note

 

Team LaRogata is wishing you all the best for Christmas and New Year when it comes. Keep positive and dream big! Our 2018 will be busy and some exciting news coming (hopefully!) 🙂

 

 

Meet this Monday with a smile.

Saturday fun

We had a great time this weekend, even tho weather has been very cold and it looked like all the trails were icy! The team has managed to squeeze some 3 miles run. Each dog ran well and learned a steady when we have approached ice.

Of course, Saturday was spent in our favorite Abercorn Church location, due to that that the parkruns around Edinburgh have been canceled.

Sunday fun

As I haven’t been running much last week due to traveling with work, I have decided to just go for a walk with dogs as my legs were pretty tired after Saturday runs.

I don’t like going to our local Portobello beach due to many dog walkers who aren’t big fans of Roger and many time people were saying nasty things about him, just because he looks like a staffie.

The weather wasn’t the best so I risked it, hoping there will be not many people there. I was right, so my two muppets could have a great run around and surprisingly the rain stopped and the sun came out just went we reached the beach! The amazing 40minutes walk made the dogs tired for the rest of Sunday.

Monday jolly

It is tough to go back to work on after weekends. I wish to be just with my dogs running them around woods, but someone needs to pay the bills. I always try to make exciting plans for evenings so I have something to look forward. Tonight we are going back to Cani-sports Edinburgh, where all this crazy hobby has started.

“When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.”

The IFSS World Championship 2017 in Poland- “Winning doesn’t always mean being first. Winning means you’re doing better than you’ve ever done before.”

The IFSS World Championship

We are back and I can’t get over it is over. Probably that why I can’t find the motivation to write about it too. I just refused that it has finished. However, so many people asked me how was it so I think it is time to share with you the truth.

The long trip

From Scotland to Poland is a long way, I can’t believe that my parents drove to Scotland twice, yeah they did it twice. From Edinburgh, I drove to meet my road trip buddy Kim in England. We left Roger with his arranged nannies for 10 days, and Laferra and I went away. I have decided to stop every 2 hours to let her stretch legs, make her drink water and have a walk together around. This was just perfect as it took us just over 6h to take to Kim, so 3 stops and I was buzzing.

I must admit services on the way to England are amazing, they have so many dog walking areas. Laferra was enjoying being the only dog too.

Kim and Mark were so nice, so we could stay at theirs until next day when Kim and I were finally leaving UK for Poland. What a great place is the Forest of Dean!

Laferra got to know her road trip buddy Dusan. I knew she will fall in love with him, such a handsome dog he is. And as I discovered later she looked like mini Dusan!

England-Eurotunnel-Poland

I was buzzing all the way, I have never felt tired or even tried to close my eyes.

Eurotunnel is just an amazing to cross with dogs, easy to find the ways, dog-friendly having a massive fenced place to let them run around.

We even had a takeaway dinner in the wooden shelter while dogs were running around. I was surprised they never checked dogs’ passport on the way to France.

Here we are in France, first time ever I am driving with a dog abroad. I am super excited and even buzzing more. The weather was awful as it was raining all the way, but we have managed and we were delighted to approach Poland just in time for breakfast on Tuesday.

Poland

We had plenty time to rest before even approaching the venue and think of racing. It was fice of us who stayed in the same accommodation. 5 humans and 5 dogs, which was just brilliant for Laferra’s confidence. We even decided to have a wee jaunt around the village so our bodies stretch and started to prepare for the races. I was honoured to run with Ben Robinson and Kim Mazzucca (current World Champs) and Ben’s dad. Oh amazing. This bunch is just great as I have learnt sooo much from all of them including Ben’s dad 😉

Day 1

We were planning chilling again, but there were some issues at stake-out so we went to see the venue, trails, stake-out and the rest of the Team GB. I was overwhelmed with everything and everyone and I haven’t expected it will be such a big event. I heard the numbers but I think seeing it there you just start to feel what you have signed for.

As a Team GB Leader, I have decided to delegate as many tasks as possible, which worked. All tasks for the day done, sorted and I have picked up my card for a vet check.

A great laugh at the accommodation in the evening by the dinner, I don’t feel stressed for racing yet. Susie Tawney joined us too. That’s a full house! Dinner cooked and served, great company, great dogs, what else could we ask for?

Day 2

A bit more issues and tasks from the team, but I am managing so far. Today was Thursday, the first official day of the event as today all the teams were having a vet check. I was a bit stressed but it went all smoothly for our team, the vet group was very nice and friendly. Oh wait! yes, I forgot that Laferra needs to be checked too. Thanks to Someone who reminded me that too. I was worried a bit but ran into a car, grabbed her and we walked to the vet group. They loved her and were so nice and gentle with her. I think she loved them too. Laferra was growing in confidence every day since we left home. I was very proud of her.

Today we could walk the trails too, I have decided not to take Laferra around, so she is a bit suprised whats there ahead of her. Not very technical course with many turns, so I knew she will do fine even tho not knowing directions well.

Thursday was also the day for the official ceremony, which was awesome. In a polish style, there were some traditional music and dancing on stage too. Once again I was honoured to represent Team GB and walk with a flag, but also pick up World Cup medals for Lucy and Colin. I took Laferra with me and she totally rocked the stage.

Tonight my parents also arrived and met the team and finally met my golden girl. It was great to see them, they also stayed until Saturday.

Today I also met finally my “facebook” friends (Kika, Ellie, Kale, Blanka and so on). Amazing to finally be able to talk to my friends.

Day 3

Today was the first official start of the first races. I tried to do my best and be there for team, check on athletes, dogs and sort out other stuff too. Crazy day, but amazing to watch so many big names at the start and finish. I spend all day running between stake-out, race office and start/finish lines. I made sure I saw all the starts for our juniors. Great to be on side and support them. Remember never shout 🙂 at the races!

I haven’t seen my girl all day as Kim offered me that she will look after her. I totally forgot about her during day as I didn’t have a chance to look at my phone. Laferra had a blast with Dusan and was very happy to see me in the late afternoon.

First day races finished, and I thought great this is easy and went smoothly until team GB told me times are missing and so on. Here we go, I thought I can relax but I needed to go back to being a Team GB Leader. Loved it! All issues sorted and yes glad to speak polish!

Day 4

I couldn’t sleep last night, even tho I came back late. I was stressing for my race. It was happening today at 14:22. Dual start, which I have never practiced with Laferra. I was worried as I know she likes to be best friends with everyone.

I was glad to hear that Ellie (Deputy Team Leader) offered me to help so I could focus on my girl and race. Few issues that TL was needed, stressing even more. The weather was awful, rain and a lot of mud around.

I forgot about everything else, starting to be angry due to high stress and nerves kicking in. On my way to start met Kika, a wonder woman who always appeared at the right time. She makes me calmer….

First international race

Time to go to control zone: my legs are like jelly, my head is spinning, I realized that even tho I spend the whole day at the start and finish line I don’t know how it looks like and what I should do there. Time is ticking, my girl doesn’t really know what is happening too, as she didn’t see start/finish line at all. I have doubts I didn’t take her for a walk around course, but it was too late now. We are moving closer to the start line. Every 30sec new pair is starting, I am trying to see if I can see how people hold their dogs, but I see nothing. My heart beats like hell… The girl who was paired to start with me started talking to me and it turns out that it is her first international race too. I felt a bit better.

Time to go!

Ok it is our turn, we move to start line, people talk to me in polish, then Kale shouts from behind too. I really don’t know what is happening around. Laferra picked up it is a race and she is super keen barking to go. 5,4,3,2,1 Go.. and there we go. I thought to let my pair go, but we left her behind and Laferra is going strong, not even bothering that there were so many people at the sides of the trails. It was pissing rain.. Awful. I didn’t realize how cold I was until the first corner, I feel my body starts to shiver and fight with cold weather. Rain starts to be heavier and worst.

Laferra shook off around 5 times but continues to run. I feel super proud of her. We are overtaking no problem. We are passing people and photographers on the side and Laferra doesn’t even look at them. I can see sign finish and feel that my eyes are getting wet, I can’t brief and just continue moving my legs. We got to finish line and I have no clue what, when and how. Nothing at all. My girl is exactly same. I praise her and cuddle with her. I still don’t know what I said or what we did when we got to finish line. Yes, vet checked her chip that’s all that I remember. We have finished 41st.

Day 4 late afternoon

I have no memories here in my head still remember me buzzing and stressing for the race. I missed on musher party as needed to deal with race office. Other than that I was delighted to finally reach my bed. I slept really well that night.

Day 5

My start time was in the morning (10:22am). I wasn’t as stressed as yesterday and I was way better prepared for everything. I slowly walked my girl to start area and had a lot of clothes in my gifted bucket (amazing gift as from Polish Organisers, this is the most handy thing ever, I still use it). We were both in many clothes keeping warm. Once again Kika appeared from nowhere and told me to get warmed up! She even told me what to do and how while she was holding Laferra.

I took all layers off and put a running harness on Lafie. We were heading towards control zone. I feel relaxed today, however, I see Laferra knows that this will be her second race, she is keen to go.

2nd race was staggered so it was just us in the start line box. I felt good about it, but I knew it is just seconds that we are behind from others and it is just seconds for those behind us. The game was on, I felt we can do better today. We trained hard for this and Laferra was loving the whole experience.

Second international run

We are in start line box, I am in the zone, Laferra is jumping out of her harness. I have a good feeling and all those hard trainings appear in my head. I believe we can do it. I feel IFSS judge hand on my shoulder. 5,4,3,2,1 Go and we are off again. I feel my body is warm and ready to push with every step. We managed to catch an athlete from Canada quicker than I thought. I kept my eyes on her and kept digging every step. We were getting closer and closer. I quickly calculated in my head that we just need to be behind her at the finish line to hopefully land on a higher place. Laferra is amazing and surprisingly choosing the easiest paths to run. Like she knew it is important to make it easy for both of us.

We overtake Canadian athlete and I try even harder as I know there is just one more turn and straight and that will be us at the finish line. Unfortunately, Laferra spotted kid behind the tree and started barking. I am worrying but keep going, she never slows down just barks. We continue. The last turn, we ran amazing, first time I feel we finally work as a team. I feel the Canadian is coming behind us, and Laferra is a bit shy that there is a big dog just near to us, and she goes to the side of the trails but we keep pushing together. Never give up! I found out later Canadian Athletes is called Flavie. She finishes just in front of us. However I feel like a champion with my girl, she got a lot of cuddles while vets are trying to find her chip. We walked away from the finish line and Laferra knows we did amazing.

Finish

I cuddled her and she cuddled back to me. We are both happy, I have tears in my eyes. All that hard training paid back. I glanced at results and I can see the 37th place and red signs. I panicked and asked what that means. They tell me to calm down and it is just an error on screen, but I am 37th. Omg, I can’t believe, we picked up places! We are Champions. Well Champions on 37th place! In zone again, super chuffed walking back to start line for our bucket!

Closing ceremony and last day

I realised it was last day of the event and I felt sad. It didn’t feel like just a few days around my new friends. It was just amazing experience being around the best athletes in the world. It motivated me to work hard as I had a moment to give up on Laferra’s canicross, but never did and we did it. We went out there and smashed every step of our run!

We met amazing dogs and people, hopefully, friends for life!

The closing ceremony was emotional as my two new friends Kim and Ben both won gold medals. I was super proud that I met them but also shared all my experience with them.

Time to go home

It was challenging 30h driving back home, but I was despearete to see my Rogerowski, who was struggling without us.

Eurotunnel on the way back was even better. Pet reception is just so dog friendly. We met Laferra’s rescurers too! Random! The whole trip was like a big dream! I can’t get over it.

Thank you

  • Thank you to my sponsors: Odlo, Merrell, Fitline and Scruff Muffin.
  • Thank you to Colin and Louise for all the training. Bring on more hard training.
  • Thank you to Sharon and Monika for support even tho the distance!
  • Thank you to Pani Ania, Beata and Jarek for all support and patient with Team GB.
  • Thank you to my new friends Kika and Ellie to being there for me!
  • Thank you to my amazing housemates: Kim, Susie, Matthew (Ben’s Dad) and Ben, and four legged housemates: Rivelin, Dusan, Blake, Zofie and Nova.
  • Thank you to IFSS for an amazing event.
  • Thank you to my Team GB for being so challenging so I could learn a lot! I really do love you guys 😉
  • Thank you to my dogs <3 for being awesome.