What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll about with our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters.

Valentines’ Day is one of those days that I don’t really understand why people celebrate it and waste money. If you really love someone you can buy him/her flowers or chocolate any day, right? Anyways I decided for a change to explore Edinburgh a bit more.

Urban walk

When we finally will move out the city, I think I will miss that place for sure. Right in the middle of the city centre in Edinburgh, there is Arthur’s Seat and Holyrood Park. This park is based just near Holyroodhouse palace and it is known as royal park about 1 mile away from Edinburgh Castle. It literally has everything: an array of hills, lochs, glens, ridges, basalt cliffs and patches of gorse, really amazing landscape. Arthur’s Seat is the highest point in Edinburgh, is at the centre of the park with pretty cliffs to the west. I never knew that there are three lochs there (always thought there are only two). On the photo above you can see St Anthony’s Chapel ruins.

Arthur’s Seat

It was defo too windy yesterday to hike to the top, but we manage halfway through. Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills.The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 metres (823 ft) and it provides stunning views.

St Margaret’s loch

St Margaret’s Loch is a shallow man-made loch to the south. The loch was formed in 1856 and it is a home to ducks, geese and swans.

Great place for dogs in the middle of busy city

Between Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags there are nice grassy paths that really you can use to fetch ball, training or just walk around.

For the first time ever I let Roger off lead there, as I know there are a lot of rabbits and squirrels so he would be gone. However, as he improves recently, must be the recall training we do with him, I decided to let him off and just walk. Dogs had a blast, Laferra even ran into wee pond in the middle as she thought it is only a paddle.

Surprisingly a big field with hills around makes a nice and safe walk for dogs. Far away from any urban life (especially cars), I felt confident to let both muppets off. We met few other walkers and dogs had a good run all together. Roger was exploring around, even ran up the hill, but being called, he came back straight away. I really start to believe the recall training works with him. After walking on this part of the park we went closer to Holyroodhouse Palace and played fetch with dogs.

I was a bit more cautious here as it is close to busy road and a bit busier with other walkers. My two defo don’t need other dogs to have fun. They are happy with each other. Happy and tired dogs after an amazing one hour and a half walk around in the middle of the city. I love this place. Happy Valentine’s Day to Roger and Laferra.

 

Busy is a choice, stress is a choice, joy is a choice, choose well.

Weekends are meant to be full of fun and running, right? We were back to Callendar Country Park and Vogrie Country Park.

Saturday

I always look forward to the weekend, actually I live with the thought that soon there will be the weekend. I have always my weekends free so it means a lot of adventures. Saturday weather wasn’t nice, and my dogs aren’t a big fan of rain. Not the greatest choice of the country to live in.

Falkirk Parkrun is great and quite challenging with hills. People say only one heartbreak hill, but the whole route is up and down. Dog-friendly and when asking if we can start to the front they always allow us as they know it is for the best. I like that a lot, which means we can just fire away from everyone and then pace ourselves nicely with only a few overtaking us.

Laferra loves the starts, she is buzzing to go and really run clean. After not training much I thought this will be a massive challenge, but she ran really well, and not many could overtake us on the first mile. We have finished 12th overall, which means we are progressing and our time is more consistent now. It seems last few weeks we keep 5km easily under 21 min. Time to push a bit more now.

It is great to see photos after the event, as you can really see how much she enjoys it (me not so much!).

Cake and coffee time

Afterwards, we went for a nice walk with friends to Canada Woods, which I know quite well from MTB riding there. Canada Wood is a five-minute drive from the town centre situated in the rural countryside of Falkirk and boasts beautiful panoramic views towards the Ochil hills. Nice surroundings with woody paths, dogs just love it. You can do a short loop or longer loop. Therefore there are many paths to explore and you pass a lot of farmland, so if your dogs are like Roger The Chaser, I would keep them on leads. Luckily the sun came out so it was great to enjoy it. After a good walk, all the “humans” deserved the coffee right?! Canada Woods Kitchen serves anything you would want from nice breakfast up to great cakes and coffee. The great thing about this place is that it is dog-friendly so you can have furry baby with you inside. As it was sunny, we have decided to sit outside. Nice staff brought us our orders outside, which I like too as some places expect you to wait inside for taking your own order outside. I have checked the website and it doesn’t say it is dog-friendly, but it defo is. I think I had the best fruit scone ever.

Sunday fun

We were back to Vogrie Country Park. There are 11.5 miles of signed countryside paths through woodlands and the Tyne Valley.

After rainy and sunny Saturday, I didn’t expect a snow at all. We arrived there and there was at least an inch of snow. I had a great walk with Roger.

I think his feet were freezing as he was running around me on a lead. He is a funny boy!

Celebration

Two years ago I went to Vogrie Country Park and had a blast at my first canicross with Cani-Sports Edinburgh with Roger. I have decided to be back in February and celebrate my 2 years in the sport by running. Being a part of the Akobe TAM Marathon community, Laferra and I ran her first 6 miles, her longest run at only 19months old. Oh, Laferra pulled all the way around. We had a blast stopping talking to walkers, stopping for cuddles and talking to other runners. I had a blast on this sunny frozen Sunday! Great 1-2-1 with my girl to have just fun canicrossing, no pressure of racing (we did want she wanted and whenever she wanted)! We have collected our Titch medal  

Weekend

During one weekend we had any kind of weather, what a great fun! Love that kind of weekends, when we can do whatever we want. It is great to live in Edinburgh as within only 20-30min drive you get to very pretty places. After all that I had two very happy and tired dogs. In four days we are heading to Thetford Forest for 2nd round British National Championship. I am super excited.

 

 

 

Seeing a vet not only for the emergency. Why should you pop in to the clinic with your rascals?

Today post maybe will be a bit different than usual, but I always take visits to the vet as adventures for my dogs, as they are always flat out afterward. It is all about the postive experience.

Gotta love the weekend

I must admit I am always excited about the weekend, as I know we will be up to something cool. However, I am wondering why is it always nice and sunny during the week and very wet and damp at the weekend?!

The rain ruins my plan for Saturday, as Laferra and I supposed to run at Falkirk Parkrun. One of the best dog-friendly parkruns I have been. Oh, I should also mention it is very tough and takes a lot out of you, but so worth the 5km run.

Anyways we had a trip booked to meet with our new sponsor: Westport Veterinary Clinic. The dogs were booked in for the full health check.

Visit the clinic

I always make sure my dogs are having a great experience at the vets so they like to come there. I have never taken both at the same time, as they are just a bit too much to control indoor! However, as it was quiet, both in together. We were a bit earlier so Roger could settle in before seeing our Vet Stuart. I was literally dragged into the clinic! It looked like dogs really wanted to go in, we needed to wait for our turn.

I always try to make dogs focus on me:

  • sit.
  • wait.
  • leave (watch the treat).
  • or some others tricks they know.

It helps especially to Roger to settle in quicker while waiting for his turn.

Appointment

The clinic really promotes that the vets like to get to know you and your dogs.

We were called in, and Vet Stuart played and made dogs more chilled in a room (defo making the dogs having fun rather than making them tense). Even Laferra was happy to get cuddles and strokes.

It is important to have routine health check-ups.

This provides a thorough health as soon as your new pet arrives home and allows an opportunity to discuss feeding and how to help them settle in with their new family.

As prevention is always better than cure, we also offer advice regarding dental care, nutrition, behaviour and management through consultation with our vets and nurses.

The great thing about the clinic is that if your pet is registered with ‘Friends of Westport’ plan they receive a free of charge check every 6 months.

So our routine check-up included:

  • vaccinations.
  • a complete physical examination.

It is very important for me to make sure my two athletes are healthy and in good condition. I also think those check-ups only appointments bring positive experience as dogs have just fun time, being cuddled and stroked or getting familiar with the equipment in the clinic such as chip reader or stethoscope. Chip reader is very often used at the races and a lot of dogs don’t like it so this is great opportunity to make them familiar with it. Roger even sneaked out and ventured into Stuart’s office.

Education for humans

On the other hand, it is a lesson for my dogs, but it is also a lesson for me. This time I learnt about cleaning dogs teeth and why I should do it.

Your pet’s teeth should be checked as soon as possible if you observe any of the following;

  • Bad breath
  • Broken/ loose teeth
  • Extra teeth/retained baby teeth
  • Discoloured teeth or teeth covered in tartar
  • Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food
  • Reduced appetite/refusal to eat
  • Pain in/around mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling in areas surrounding the mouth

Here we come cleaning teeth twice a day at least three times a week. I presume those two rascals won’t be chuffed. Time to purchase toothbrush and toothpaste.

I am definitely looking forward to our next visit.

Here is a video of our attempt at brushing Laferra’s teeth.

Storm Challenge- Team AKobE Marathon Community- my wee story

I have no idea, what I have thought but I have signed for Storm Challenge that was organised by AKobe Tam Marathon boss David Parry.

About the challenge

Quote from Team AKobe Marathon community:

To earn yours then run or walk 5k a day for 7 consecutive days within 6 months of receipt of your medal. You can do this solo or by canicross. No bikes allowed for this challenge.

The only target is to complete the distance each day & to try your best to improve your time each day. There are no time targets just move forward raise your heart rate & sweat a bit & enjoy a wee bit o pain x

So I signed for this in September, so it took me some time to finally start it. Now I know why it took me so long. 5km every sounds like an easy idea?! It wasn’t that easy. Here are my 7 days challenges.

Day 1

Day 1 was very easy, training time with Laferra so we went to our local training area and did two loops in total of 22:25 minute. She was a star and very keen to go. It was very muddy and wet, so I am super chuffed with what we have done.

Day 2

Well Friday is usually my day off any activities, so we took the walking part on board and there I had a thought. Roger hasnt been canicrossing for some time due to harness rubbing his belly. I have decided to try and give Roger a chance to run with Laferra and I off lead (he has zero recall), so literally brilliant idea to exercise and do some training with cheeky monkey. I decided on power walk. 52:13min of total freedom for dogs. I didn’t have a “heart attack” as Roger stayed with us all the time. I like that Laferra always looks after him. It seems to be successful power walk and off lead training for Rogerowski. I was delighted and had hope.

 

Day 3

Our usual training on Saturday is attending a parkrun with Laferra and try our best. Recently my princess became more anxious and started looking behind her when canicrossing. We went to Vogrie Parkrun, as it is very dog-friendly and there is almost zero tarmac. I didn’t get 100% of Laferra, so I needed to push a bit myself on those hills. Even tho it wasn’t really bad time of 20:53. Not superb and I am still desperate for our first sub 20 on non-flat course, but I am glad we do mistakes during training, so I can adjust our training. I want to make sure she feels confident when racing. We will get there.

Day 4

It was very wet and rainy day, but nothing will stop me from having fun with my dogs. Early start and I am super excited to try Roger off lead again. Today decided we will all run. It was going well until going into woods and I see Roger running away and dropping his ball. I stand and wait what happens. Laferra follows Roger, but I use my whistle and she comes back straight away. No sign of Roger so I whistle again and there he is coming back super excited. Well is this Roger’s recall now? I decided we continue our running as I wanted to discover new trails for our training. Oh, wait! Dogs are gone again. I stand and starting to feel frustrating as we were going nowhere with that speed. I call Laferra and decide we go back to car to drop off naughty Roger. Oh, wait Laferra runs back super happy and I see she brings Roger back too. Is that her looking after him and telling him let’s go back?! Anyways I decided I had enough and it was girls time now. She is just amazing off lead, even if I don’t see her for a bit usually max a minute she always comes back. Oh how much fun we had and we discovered amazing trails for bikejor! Hopefully we will try them next week.

Day 5

Unfortunately I have no dog walk today so I decided I will try 5km walk on lead with the dogs, as Laferra doesn’t really know how to walk on a lead, she could easily walk on the street if she could (she has no clue that cars can hit her). Brilliant idea! We walked and walked and walked. OMG I have never thought walking 5km is such a long distance! Do I really run that far?!Oh and how far I need to go around my neighbourhood to really do the 5km! I feel shattered now and hopefully manage those two rascals to be tired too. It was great start to the day and I might continue in future (usual routine is: go to park, let them off lead and I just stand and watch-not much walking for me). I did let them off lead but I kept walking around. The conclusion of the day: Laferra is brilliant off lead, but wow she has no clue about differences between pavement and street.

Day 6

Today was time to discover new trails again. I love to make it excited for my dogs so we go to different locations. It was time for Dechmont Law in West Lothian. What a great run with princess, it supposed to be speed, recover and speed again. However if you train with Louise Mitchell it turns to speed, hills reps and speed run. Totally flat out at the end. We did just over 3 miles, and Laferra was superb. I discovered that when I am flat out she starts to keep looking, so maybe it isn’t really being nervous it is more the kind of look: come on mama let’s go faster?! Oh well who knows. She didn’t look as much so looking forward to see how she behaves at the parkrun on Saturday. Total of 26:24 minutes done.

Day 7

Time for last day of the challenge. It has been long 7 days and very challenging! However we did it! I was super busy all day with organising stuff for our team and maanged a half day off. I never thought it will be so hard to find an hour to actually do full 5km. We did it eventually and used it to check the trails for potential bikejor rides.

Amazing finish to the day and this challenge. I don’t think pups are so keen on the medal tho, but I am super excited one!

 

 

 

Well done Pups.