How not to lose motivation?

Recently my training programme is very high volume, which makes me tired and sometimes frustrated. Yesterday during my sessions, I keep saying in my head I need to write about this. So a short note on how to keep motivated on my own experience. It has been almost 15 weeks that I am doing Ben’s training programme and I haven’t missed a single session.

What exactly keeps me motivated? Here are few points.

Identify your goal

Dream big right? So before you start your hard training sessions, have a think what exactly you want to achieve by doing them. Firstly make a short-term goal, but also think about long-term goal and have a wider perspective to see your goals. The results of these perspective could be such as: feeling more confident, better health, happiness and better fitness.

Monitor your progress

Ok, I use Strava, but I also keep my diary after each session. I like to write down how I felt and come back to it, as it shows me that I do progress in all my training. I have three different diaries, one is for canicross (and really dogs’ training), second for my core body exercises, third is for my dogless running and progress there.

Be flexible

Be flexible with your goals, do some changes and make it a bit more challenging specially the short-term one. Remember the small steps will really keep you going if you will see the progress.

Nothing happens without hard work

Some folks think, progress can happen without hard training. Well you are wrong, you really need to put effort to achieve your goals. So remember there are no miracles in this! You need to work hard.

Timeline

Identify your timeline, when do you want to achieve your small goals, but also big goals.

Be happy

You need to work hard but remember have fun during the session too, and if it was bad sessions, remember tomorrow is a new day and it will be better.

Find a partner

Sounds so romantic, but I dont mean it this way! I found that having my dogs off lead is the best thing ever, and I treat them as my running buddies who keep me going.

Stick to your plan and good luck.

 

Bark + Ride event

What can be better than a nice 15 degrees and a sunny day? This weekend I have decided to make the dogs just to be dogs. Last year I did a bit MTB with Laferra off lead and she loved it, so since the weather is spot on we were back.

Bark and ride Buddies at Carron Valley

My dear friend organizes events for humans and their dogs. She promotes MTB with trail dogs. Here’s description:

Come and join us for a fun morning at Carron Valley mountain bike trails! Whether your used to taking your dog with you out on the bike or whether you’ve never taken them before this is the ride for you! Reasonable level of fitness required. This is a fun event not a competition and our aim is to grow a community of #barkandridebuddies to share the fun of mountain biking and the love of dogs together! We will be doing a mini loop of the flatter trails around the forest to get the dogs used to running alongside the bikes. After that we will be doing to 9km loop of the red trails around Carron Valley with the option of doing the adrenaline rushing Orange run at the end with lots of fun berms, table tops and little jumps. Everything is rideable and you are in control of your own ride. Adventures are for sharing so take some pics and share your photos with us here on the page to be in with a chance of winning some goodies!!
Bring your helmet, a lead some water for you and your dog and what you would normally take with you when out with your dog. A towel is advisable if it’s wet.
See you there!

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Ride itself

I did MTB with Laferra before but never in the group, as I am always worried she can get loose from me and start to panic. I prepared myself and had my whistle with me and make sure I was keeping an eye on her. I put a bell on her so I could hear her too. Totally didn’t know what to expect from the ride.

We have arrived at the Carron Valley, I like this place, as it is usually very quiet and trails are just great for my abilities. I saw some dogs at the car park already, so I let Laferra just go and say hi if she wanted. At first she wasn’t really sure.

However, eventually she went out there said hi and came back with a happy face. I knew it will be a good day and she will love it.

Mini loop

We are off for a short loop of 4-5km. Laferra loves it and keeps checking in to make sure we both know where we are. I am super chuffed and even managed to have relaxed chats with other riders. It is great to hear why people want to do this. Laferra was really good in a group, very aware of the bikes which make riders life easy and not worry that they will ride over her 😀

We are back from the mini loop as this one was just warm up for us, but for younger dogs, it was a great introduction to trails and bikes.

Longer loop

We are off again, time for a bit harder uphills and faster downhill. Laferra is just brilliant, she waits for me on uphills and sticks in front or behind on downhills. I am super chuffed with her, she is having a blast. She went off to woods for a wee adventures during stops, but she kept most of the time with the rest of the dogs. What a fantastic way to spend time with your dog.

Few pointers

If you are planning to attend these great events, please bare that in mind:

  • your dog is good with recall
  • your dog is aware of the bike (it is group ride so your dog cant just run into others riders wheels)
  • your dog is fit enough
  • you cant show off your fast mtb skills 🙂
  • be aware of other dogs too
  • be aware of other riders on the trails not with the group

I loved it, Laferra had blast with other dogs and she really proved she is great trails dog. We had awesome fun and I would defo recommend this kind of meet up group for you and your dog.

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Why am I so motivated to start my day so early in the morning?

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As you may know, I am not a big fan of running and in past, I really used to hate it. However recently things changed and I am more into it, even train every day. A few folks asked me how do I do it that I am so motivated to wake up early and just go out there in the dark and do my training. So here are my thoughts on that:

Why early morning

I am an individual that likes to be on her own, a lot of people make me tired 🙂 Recently also a lot of people started asking me how I trained my dogs that they are so well behaved. During training I don’t have time for chatting, I like to go out there and smash my training in 30min! Early morning it is usually me and the dogs, which means I can totally focus on training and don’t need to shout after Laferra to not approach other dogs and of course no people keen for chat. Easy life for everyone: I can run, dogs can run!

Stunning morning

Usually, in the morning I can see the sunrise, which in Scotland is just stunning.

Food fuel

In the morning I can also feel I can go quickly do the training without worrying about food, I can just fuel my body straight after the run and during the day at work. I am always worried to get a stitch if I run after work due to that when I finish work I am hungry for light dinner already. The only minus of this is that if you work hard (most of the time for me) you will get a headache after a good training session and you feel like you can eat the whole fridge 😀

Consistent morning and increases discipline

I am always up early in the morning even at the weekends, so keeping the consistency in waking up makes it easy for the whole week. Also, it means training is done and nothing interrupted it as it the is always the same time. If I decided to do it in the afternoon, my workout time frequently ends up at the bottom of my to-do list and by day’s end, I might not even do it. So I rather hit the trails first thing in the morning and I am able to enjoy it and be fully focused on training. This also means I have a free evening and can spend it on catching up on tv shows or reading books.

Metabolism

I have noticed that morning start helps keep metabolism elevated for hours. Why not get your engines running as soon as possible- the earliest the better hehe?! In this way, my increased metabolism will be working — and burning more calories — while I am, instead of when my body is at rest. If you are like many people who sit at a desk all day, you know that this is reason enough to train in the morning.

Clears your mind

We all know that training really helps clear our head and put us in a healthy mindset. According to literature training before your day officially begins allows you to start each day with a fresh perspective as you destroy the stresses of the previous day with a run on the trails. It would help you to decrease the chance to become stressed or upset during the day. Of course, it also depends on individuals but it defo works for me.

Energy for the day

Early morning… yes it is hard to move from nice and cozy bed when it rains outside. The weather and accumulated fatigue can make you feel a bit lazy, however, if I go out and do the training first thing in the morning I am buzzing for the day. Doing so will release endorphins and other hormones to give you a much-appreciated boost that often lasts all day. In other words, it’ll give you the required energy to work all day and party all night if you desire.

 Sleep better and increase mental awareness

I have noticed that I feel more alert and ready to take on whatever challenge or curveball life throws my way after a good workout. I am ready for the day. As my body learns the pattern I started to sleep very well too. My sleeping patterns are consistent and I feel like I am resting/recovering much better and quicker.

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So stay focused and disciplined yourself! Get your “ass” out of bed early morning and enjoy the rest of the day. Happy training.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Love for sled dog sport? Planning new dog?

I presume most of you watch the Dog Power Movie? If not, please watch it. It is only 25 minutes and it is defo worth if you are looking for a dog for the sport.

My story

I have been reading a lot around and hearing a lot of questions from people regarding hounds or greyster which are great breeds and dogs for the sport. I have followed a lot of groups and forums to get to know the breed but let me tell you my story first.

As you may know I started my adventure with canicross in February 2016 with Roger. Great pullying dog. I thought this will be an additional fun hobby we can do together. How wrong I was?! I was so hooked after my first run that I went home and signed for my first race in April 2016. Despite I hated running. Roger loved it and he was very tired that afternoon. Our first race was with CSS in Plean Country Park. It was very challenging and hilly route, but I loved it even more. That time I discovered that it isn’t just canicross that’s there but there are more to this whole crazy thing. Yes, I was hooked and excited. Literally, I was buzzing after talking to so many folks and meet very good athletes. I started doing my research into the sport.

First proper season

I have decided to compete around UK with Roger and see how things look like and where we stand. I discover that a lot of folks have pointers in the sport, but also dogs specially breed for the sport called eurohound or greyster. I always dreamed about having two dogs so I started to think maybe I could get a pointer and be a bit more speedy than just 22 minutes per 5k with Roger.

I started looking for another dog, that I thought could make me faster. I have trained every day so hard to improve my running. In September 2016 I have enquired about pointer puppy in Greece. To make whole story short Laferra arrived to Scotland in October 2016. This was my first experience with a pointer breed. I read a lot about that they are energetic and full beans, but later on I learnt what that really means. As I am qualified behaviorist I was very confident that I will manage no problem. Laferra was only 4.5 months old and not really house-trained. Personally, it was my first puppy that I needed to teach what is the world.

Basic training started from day one, as I really wanted her to be spot on with everything to make my life easier, as Roger being an older rescue is very high demanding (separation anxiety, behavioral problems and reactive). I always knew staffies don’t understand your personal space, but later I have learnt that pointers are even worst. So house-training became and it was smooth, she was one clever girl. On the other hand, she was a nightmare to be left alone or in Roger’s companion. Laferra was loving to chew two things: socks and plastic things. Constantly something was chewed and I started to worry that something might happen to her. I don’t believe in crates and unfortunately, that wasn’t an option (Roger hates crate so he has access to the whole house, so I couldn’t just close Lafie).

Back to basics

I have started saying to myself she is only a puppy so I presume she will grew up from this stupid chewing. Later on I discover others pointers’ owners had the same issues, but dogs grew up from it. Ok she is only a baby. Laferra learnt quickly to do her “business” outside (very quick actually) and her recall was brilliant! I trusted her everywhere and she wasn’t even bothered when she met a horse on our walk one day. I thought fantastic I have a brilliant pet that I can trust being let off lead!

She was growing super fast and Roger loved her more and more. I could see that he liked to have her around. However, every day coming back home there was evidence that she found something and chewed. I gave up on “5min per month” rule and started really making her tired on walks but also playing games like I do with Roger. You can read a bit more here. It started to work, she finally stopped most of the time, but she was growing and being tall she could reach to the places she shouldn’t be even interested in. The kitchen counter got hoovered so many time and I knew Roger was delighted with her being able to reach there as she shared everything with him. I still kept saying to myself she is only a puppy.

However, being a puppy and being a pointer puppy was a bit different. For Laferra one day of me being lazy (meaning not playing a game or proper long-running off lead walk), she literally destroyed things mainly my clothes: lines, necks, zips and so on. She was bored where I was hoping she would sleep.

Old enough for more running

In 2017 I have discovered bikejor so I started training that with Roger, but to get skills I started riding bike on my own. I thought brilliant as Laferra is great off lead I can take her with me and she could get the activities that she needed. She was old enough to start doing it and be my trail dog.

I was learning myself and building up my fitness but Laferra had the best time ever and she could go for a long time. Our rides were minimum of 10 miles every time we went out. I was gutted that Roger couldn’t join us, but tough life if you have a zero recall. Anyways finally princess stopped all the chewing and she was tired sleeping when left alone. You probably want to ask how do I know this? I watched my dogs on camera while at work, just to make sure they are not stressed. The only problem was that I couldn’t ride a bike everyday I needed to do something with Roger too.

Running around

Laferra learnt canicross, being a bikejor dog and pull the scooter around. I always thought Roger was high demanding, but he was tired after 20 minutes training, where Laferra could go again and always tried to play with him at home. I thought she is young so she must have a lot of energy, but at 19 months old now she has even more energy.

My life changed a lot having her, I wake up 4.30-5am to make sure I go out there let them off lead and let them run around before I head to work. Usually, they have a dog walker during the day who takes them for an hour walk which is usually off lead walk and finally in the evening we drive outside Edinburgh to train: canicross, bikejor or scooter, or just me running with Laferra being off lead. Only Friday is my day that I don’t do anything with the dogs in the evenings (well we clean the house, which is great fun with two barking dogs). If one day I am being lazy and ruin the routine I come back to chewed things! And Laferra isn’t a puppy anymore.

Note: Laferra doesn’t understand personal space at all as per below photo ( you wake up to this).

Sled dog sport

I started my story to show you that a pointer changed so much my life as she has so much more energy than Roger or any other dog really. She also made me super busy with making sure she gets rid of this crazy energy.

Now being in the sport for 2 years, I started looking and learning about those “special breeds” for the sport. There are a lot of folks out there with those dogs, a lot of forums and groups on facebook that talks about them. However, I felt it was just talks and people opinions, I wanted to know the truth. As you know I had a brilliant opportunity and qualified to go to the IFSS World Championship in Poland (you can read here about it). I met with so many breeders but also athletes who own those dogs. This trip allowed me to watch the dogs at home (I stayed with few in the same accommodation) but also I could watch them during the big event racing or just sitting at the stake out.

IFSS World Championship gave me the chance to meet so many those pretty puppies but also see those adult dogs in action. They all were fantastic, strong and very keen to run, no matter if it was canicross or four dog team. Fantastic to watch but I thought there must be something more to it. I started talking around and surprisingly people were happy to share their experience. I discovered that those breeds can vary in mix of the breeds they have already and this mix was changing the way dogs behaved. All those breeds are full of energy, and I knew this kind of dog means more than Laferra herself.

On forums and groups you can read how much they destroy and how difficult they are to be left alone in crate. I know different dogs are different, but people told me it is a tough life to own one of those dogs, they really need attention. In case of the greyster they also need some attention as they love being around people. After few discussion I can easily say that those dogs cant be just pet, you need to train them every day. Canicross isn’t enough for them, and also they are that strong that running in a harness isn’t an option for every day training, so you need to do a lot bikejor and scooter- be brave enough as the speed you can go is crazy. Couple athletes in Poland told me that if I ever decided on that kind of dog I will need to make sure I am prepared for life to change (and there was me thinking, Laferra changed my life enough), otherwise this dog will ruin my house no matter if it is greyster or eurohound. A few of those dogs are only one person dogs, so not really a family dogs either. A lot to take on board before you decided about them.

I am not trying to put you off! I just want that people realize that those dogs are pretty and amazing runners, but there is more to just looking pretty athletes! In my case, how would my dog walker cop with having a greyster on a group walk pullying him?! This is just an example. Do your research, it took me a year to collect all the facts until now and I am still learning every day about them. I use the opportunity to go to different events to spend time with those dogs and their owners. I love to get to know them and see how really different they are.

One more thing before you get bored reading this. Those dogs breed for the sport and there are a lot of wonderful breeders with a long waiting list, but to have a confident and super athlete you need to put a lot of effort and train it correctly! What’s the recipe? Noone knows and you can only try and do as I tried with Laferra (I am still learning that recipe!).

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a better idea! I would defo recommend doing your own homework. Laferra is only pointer, no more crazy breeds in there and one day I was thinking Roger is high demanding right?! There are a lot of things to take into consideration when willing to buy a sled dog and bring it to your house.

For now I just focus on Laferra and Roger, They are both great for the sport and I feel it is great progress for me. Starting canicross at 30min with Roger and going down to 22min and with Laferra down to around 19:30min. I think I am on the right track, slow progress and improvment. I have learnt a lot about other breeds for the sport and still have plenty to learn.

 

 

The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.

This post will be all about training how when and why from my own experience and my own opinion what I would have done differently and why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning

Let’s say it loud there is no one right recipe for how to teach the dog  how to canicross. There are a lot of  knowledgeable folks there who are happy to share their experience, but there is no right or wrong way. You need to find the way that will work for your dog.

Roger and his start was the easiest job ever! He is a natural puller, harness on, bungee attached and he is off! He is smart cookie so knows the commands very well. Yes, 2 years old dog and he knew very quickly what to do. Roger was just getting better with every training. I knew I could trust him 100% when running.

On the other hand, Laferra was a puppy when she landed on my doorstep. I had no clue what to do and why. I have search internet, talk to folks and really couldn’t find the perfect recipe for training the dog from zero. It was a really good lesson for her. Let’s start from the beginning then.

Puppy training

You look around on youtube, Instagram and facebook and a lot of top athletes from sled dog sport are starting training their puppies at age of 7-8 months. They run them for 0.5-1mile canicross or even bikejor. I felt for Lafie it is too early and I wanted her to be a puppy for as long as possible. Usually, the start time for dogs according to race rules is they need to be 12 months old for canicross and 18months for bikejor and scooter. I have decided to just make her familiar with a harness so she was running off lead with harness on. I also focused my training on 100% recall of lead as I knew I would train her off lead on bike for her fitness and take her up the mountains when I was out with my MTB pals. We did well there, she has 100% recall! I know you think: not a chance. Well, I have tested it with having fox, horse and deer on the way!

Older puppy

I was super excited to finally start working with her, but I haven’t rushed to anything. At 10months old, we started doing power walk with canicross equipment. She was all over the place. Comparing to Roger she was just daft. We continue that even tho it was very frustrating at times as she wasn’t really good at focusing and listening what I tell her. She just wanted to say hi and be best friends with every single dog. I have never tried her with Roger either, and I know some did. It worked for them, pro-dog teaching new dog. In my case, I wanted to make her confident on her own as she is very shy and submissive dog. We just continue the training, she was more interested in birds and stops when she could cuddle with me. It was frustrating every single time. Now I only laugh at it as she is such a baby.

My teenage dog

She turned 12 months and we started doing more during the run, which was much easier than power walking due to that there was less time for her to get distracted. Finally, she started to understand what is this all about. Training was going really great until our first race! Our first race (first race report is here), Laferra thought we will do exactly what we did at training and we will stop for cuddles. Oh! Princess, we need to run to the finish line! Not successful but we finished our first race.

Racing

Although training was going well I discover that she didn’t understand the 5km distance and stop at the finish line (not when she felt like it). I realized all this few months I did it wrong. I didn’t build her for distance. Don’t take me wrong, she was fit to run it or even longer. It was just her head not ready for 22 minutes constant run or even other dogs on the trails. She was 15 months already so I really felt like I wasted time. It was time for changing the game, or at least I thought I did. Another race and unfortunately another fail (you can read here). We didn’t finish the race and I never give up. I was devastated and very upset that I really tried to prepare her.

I had two months to make sure she is ready as I already committed to going to IFSS World Championship (you can read about it here). After few days having a break from all the running, I sat and wrote a plan.

The new plan which changed the game

I knew that my dogs don’t care about winning or loosing, they just want to run with me. I just couldn’t disappoint them myself. Laferra and I started building up the speed and the distance at that speed. We ran 1 mile! Next week we did 2 miles and so on. I started doing more of 1-2miles with her on scooter or bike. She was loving it. Eventually after few years saying I will never go to parkrun, we went to parkrun and ran it. It was amazing to see how she cops with all the people, noise and distraction.

She was just amazing and I could see all these worked for her, which showed at the World Championship that it was all worth the patient. The time we spent together also build fantastic bonding between us. I have learnt one thing, if one training doesn’t work try something different. Dogs are different. She loves running and her harness.

Reward

Yes, I had an easy life with Roger, but the most rewarding with Laferra. I feel very emotional when we go out there and race. She just loves it. It isn’t always perfect, as you always learn something new right?! Sometimes we go back to basic or a small thing makes her distracted. However, at only 19months coming all the way from Greek streets, she really grew up to a fantastic “sled dog”. I am looking forward to our future and more competition. We both have fun and that what’s matter most.

What I would do different?

I think this time I would make sure Laferra is more familiar with wheels from early stages of her life. Even just putting it near her feeding place. She is brilliant MTB and with scooter, but she isn’t 100% sure about bike. Probably also would make her more familiar with hydration after training as she hates drinking water after training or race (no clue why). Finally, I would defo allow her runnning free when I did training with Roger on wheels or just canicross. She would have watched the wee pro doing it perfectly. Maybe this would help me to have less time being frustrated.

I probably wouldn’t attach her to bike or just run with both of them, but would defo want her to see more of Roger in action. Maybe two dog scooter one day! I presume she would love to have Roger with her during training now.

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Note: here are other posts which has some tips on training.

 

 

Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.

We have spent a lovely weekend in Wales. It was the first qualifier of BSSF National Champs for Sweden in November. My sat nav chose a historic route for me so I drove 200miles out of 400 miles on windy and twisty roads. it was great to see how beautiful are Wales and Scotland, but I defo changed to motorways on the way back.

Day 1 BSSF National Champs

Pembrey Country Park is a beautiful venue. I have walked the trails on Friday night and got really excited for all those turns and twisty paths. The distance of 3.8 miles scared me a bit as there were tiny hills on the way to finish too. All night I was thinking if we can do it.

The first day we had draw starting times, which meant a lot of overtaking by the speedies. When you are overtaken by one it gives you a boost to go faster, but by 4th person, you start to feel sad and a bit down. Do I really go that slow?

The trails had everything: grass, sand, hills, downhills, turns. narrow paths. It was an amazing test for Laferra to see how she is really with her directions. Surprisingly she did really well. She ran confident and didn’t look twice at dogs that overtook her. We have finish first day in good time of 24:25 min. Not bad for the distance that we don’t really train for.

We have finished our racing day with an amazing walk at the beach. Roger and Lafie could play with their new pals.

Day 2 BSSF National Champs

In the early morning, I have decided I need some time off from everything and everyone, I took Roger for a walk to the beach. Oh, that boy loves the beach. Roger really loves having me just to himself like old times.

I felt tired after Day 1, but we got to start line and I really felt my legs, however, I kept saying to myself I can do it. Unfortunately, we had few problems out there on trails, I really wish people read rules and all the emails that BSSF actually sends out. We lost on the 8th place by just 5 sec. Gutted is the word to describe how I feel about it. On the good note I try to think of positives: a few weeks ago Laferra would probably stop running in a similar situation. This time she kept going, maybe it wasn’t 100%, but she kept going. We got to the finish line but we lost one place by 5 sec. Lesson learnt and I will try to practise it as much as I can. At the moment I feel like I need a short break from running, but dogs will continue training on wheels. Here’s to bikejor and scooter training.

Sometimes things aren’t going according to plan. Laferra is young and she is still learning, but the most important thing is that she loves doing it. She is one happy dog.

Wales done!

That’s the first British National Champs done. We have met so many puppies out there! It was great to see my two actually being very gentle with all of them. Bring on hard training and England in over a month. Actually, bring on training! New training plan in!

Bring on 2018

Ok so we had a look what we did in 2017 it is time to look what we will do in 2018. So far it doesn’t look that busy yet.

January

We are away to Wales this weekend for our first qualification for IFSS ECh in Sweden which will happen 24-26th October in Nybro, Sweden. Apparently Pembery is lovely, so hopefully, it is worth the drive. Roger is suffering from an allergy so rest for him.

A week after that we are away to Muiravonside Country Park for another Scottish Championship race. I think Roger might run this one, but it all depends on his allergy.

February

I am planning to attend D&A time trial in Tentsmuir and check how we progress in 4 months with Laferra. Lovely place for walks too.

The middle of a month is taking us to England for BSSF National Championship, which is a second part of the qualification for Sweden. Another long trip for some great races. We loved it last year.

Laferra was still a pup, but during that trip, she proved she is an easy dog to take on travels. That was when I knew if we managed for Poland, she is going (and as you know she was a great companion).

I am tempted to fly to Italy for races on snow at the end of February. Of course not to compete but just go and watch it.

March

I might go and do one of SDAS races in Ford (all depends timing).

As per our tradition, we always did Plean race, as that was our first race ever with Roger. This year we will miss it as we are away for third and last BSSF National Championship somewhere in Scotland.

Our Easter weekend this year we will hopefully spend at one of the Midlands Canicross Series. Four days of racing in different classes.

April

We still be at Midlands races but also we are away to CSS Strathallan Castle races. As last year plan is to do canicross and bikejor.

May

We are away to France for the weekend. Yay super excited about this.

 

Oh yes there might be more to come for sure! But that’s all that I have defo planned and put in our calendars. Actually it looks busier than I thought. Happy racing yay.

 

 

Hello August.

Beach before the rain

I chose a right weekend to work, as it was heavy rain here. However, we have managed to have a good run at the beach just before it came.

There was no one else there, so I let Laferra off for a first time after some time being on the lead. You wouldn’t believe how much happiness that brought to her. She was crazy hunting seagulls. Such a happy pup!

The best Saturday morning, as Portobello beach isn’t that far away and not meeting anyone there is just a bonus. What do I mean by morning? Before 7 am.

MTB

Another day another beach walk before I could go and enjoy riding a bike.This time I was trying another 7 Stanes trail centre at Newcastleton. Surprisingly after Glentress and Innerleithen, those red routes were very easy and not challenging at all. A good fun day of 30km, which I definitely feel today. Dogs enjoyed the day walking near the river. I must say I liked it that there were no people. Nice trails if you are planning to have a trail dog, as nice and soft surface for their pads. Even tho it was a bit longer drive than normally, I have a good day out.

August

I really can’t believe it is already August and it seems very busy time ahead. Luckily Laferra’s “heat” almost finished so we can go back and enjoy our runs with the group. So it is a month to go until our first race of the season. I am really looking forward to the weekend away in Aviemore, although my car doesn’t seem to make that happen easier (stuck at the garage). Yes I said racing time, which means we need to push this month to make Lafie focus during 5km not just 2-3km like she does. So we have plenty classes booked and also Ruff Dugger, but I haven’t decided yet which dog will do it (probably Laferra, as to see how she is in a race environment, even it isn’t a race).

I know she looks great in a harness, but I wish she can run as good as she looks. Haha do I sound like a mean mum?! I am so looking forward to race season as that means most weekends away with the dogs to some great locations in the middle of nowhere!

Wee social run

For a change, we went to the social club for canicross to Almondell and Calderwood Country Park. It is located in West Lothian near river Almond. A lot of natural woodland with a home to a wealth of wildlife such as deer, foxes, herons and woodpecker.

 

 

 

 

Oh! What an evening. I lost Laferra, as she was a bit crazy running around. I actually didn’t stress and started running to the car while using a whistle. It was maybe around 10minutes and I could see happy Laferra running back to us from the car park. She got lost and ran to the car, which is fantastic (after all I must be a good mum for her). Rest of the evening she stayed with me the rest of the run. Another test for princess Laferra and another pass for her. She is seriously the easiest dog I could ever rescue.

Bike bike

At least my bike doesn’t break as much as my car! (touch wood). I was back with Dirt School for some MTB on a Friday night, as this is the best way to spend your Friday night right?! Another amazing dog free evening (well I missed them a lot). A wee 17km around Glentress on Friday night is the best way to start your weekend. I was lucky to be captured by Brodie Hood Photography.  

This is my first MTB photo and I must I am chuffed looking at it, as I look confident on a bike. Just after 3 months riding that’s not bad at all, but it is time for the new bike.

Beach is like a heaven

My dogs love the beach. Roger was taken out of the shelter for his first walk to the beach, Laferra was found as a puppy at the beach. You can see how much they love it, when they run free like crazy hounds.

First time ever we have travelled to Tentsmuir Forest. Just a 1.5h drive from Edinburgh, you are taken to a pine-scented forest and windswept sands. I really didn’t know it is such an amazing place with single trails for a canicross or a bikejor but also amazing pretty massive beach for dogs to be off lead. It also has fantastic facilities such as picnic tables so ideal for having BBQ and a massive car park. A fantastic day spent with our canicross friends on a social run.

Another day of the weekend and another beach. We were back to Yellowcraigs. I was gutted that I didn’t take my wetsuit as it was hot and no wind at all. It would be ideal for me to have a swim as I think I pulled my muscle so time for few days rests. I have decided we will be going swimming every day this week. Wish me luck as it isn’t fully light at 5 am.

I must say I am so happy it is August already! Just a month to go and we are back to our racing season! I would normally say let’s the hard training bein, but in my case let’s it heal quickly.

Have a good week People. 🙂

 

All about Roger

Roger

Next few days it is all about Roger in my household. I didn’t realise until a few days ago that 21st July is approaching very fast. This will be always my special date as 21st July 2015 Roger came to my life as my pet. You can read more about how he planned to be my dog in a post: stories about the team.

He is a rescue who changed my life and finally I feel I am on good path feeling happy. As a rescue, he had a lot of behaviour problems including worst ever separation anxiety (he wouldn’t stay for 30sec by himself). I felt really bad about all that and especially knowing that one day I need to go back to do my full-time job. Luckily, when I took him I didn’t work so we had plenty time to train. I started from day one. I was hoping to teach him to stay in the crate, he totally refused and as we know it just doesn’t work for some dogs.

So we gave up on a crate, but I kept it so he knew it is his space if ever we go on holidays together then it will travel with us. Eventually, we progressed from the 30 seconds staying alone to more time. I gradually increased the time for him to be left alone, but I kept training him all day long. He chewed and collected all my clothes or shoes. I felt bad but I wanted to make sure he is ready.

Happy dog

A month later he wasn’t but I needed to go back to work. Somehow we managed. Then we have moved to a lovely flat and this has totally changed the game. Roger relaxed more and was one chilled dog. I found dog walker so he could walk him during lunch time. Two years later I see all that was so worth it. Roger stays at home for max up 7h without chewing or destroying the house (usually he stays max 5h alone). I have also started watching him on camera, while I am at work and he just sleeps and barks at strangers at the corridor. Super proud of him. Ohhh I should have mentioned exercised dog= tired dog= no problem to stay alone.

Training

So we were back to Blairadam Forest for some social run with friends. As Laferra is “in heat” and it is all about Roger week, it was a perfect choice, as I mentioned before he just loves it. A nice wee 6km jaunt around was just a great fun.It was all about the start and stop and a lot of water stops due to very high temperature. I still think it was better than the day before when it was very humid.

Girls problem

All girls dogs’ owners have this problem. Once or twice a year bitches are in heat if not spayed. A personal decision: I am going to spey Laferra as when she is fully grown so still some time to wait for that. However, until then we need to deal with her hormones jumping up and down and make sure she is away from male dogs. This is the time that I started to think even more about canicross and how thankful I am to find it. This is the only way to exercise Laferra and get rid of her energy. Nothing like a big training, just small short 2km jaunt around the park. She is safe with me and has time to enjoy time running. A problem at home?! Yeah, girls can be messy, I spend 5 pounds on adjustable and washable female pet pantie (Amazon). I think that money was the best money I have ever spend.

You would think she looks awful. She doesn’t and actually it is great to keep the mess away from my carpets. Also, it comes in different colours and patterns and even better: she doesn’t try to take it off. I would definitely recommend those to any female dog owners.

Rest weekend

My rest weekend turned into MTB weekend and rest for dogs. Friday I have spent riding my bike around Glentress with Dirt School, which was awesome and a big boost for my MTB ego. I have been eaten by midgies and really suffering now, but sudocream does the magic.

The weekend brought an exciting trip to a new destination, where I took my bike only. It was Yair Forest.  I was gutted that Laferra couldn’t come as this place… Wow amazing and very quiet. but also not many sheep around. This forest is near Selkirk and has proper climbs for MTB. No shame in walking, right? Located just an hour away from Edinburgh, near Innerleithen and Glentress is a very nice treat for a new adventure.

It totally pushed me out of my comfort zone and those single tracks proved me that my hard work on MTB technique is worth. I didn’t manage to go off the bike at all. Nice day off and wee break away from dogs and my usual weekend’s routine. I am going back there for sure.

Time off- dog free evenings

I love my dogs a lot but sometimes I need a rest from them and focus just on me.

I started doing meditation and it helped me to clear head and be relaxed. This week our Yoga teacher decided to move the class outside. What an amazing idea that was.

It happened in Holyrood Park,  the temperature was high so a lot of people, but we managed to hear birds and it was just spot on what I need after a busy day at work. Also, remember Yin Yoga increases your flexibility and as I learnt and experienced it Yin Yoga reduces stress and anxiety. Try it yourself!

Big day coming

It might sound lame but I am really super excited about 21st July. I think Roger is delighted that it is all about him this week. Another agility classes and wow we have managed to have Roger off a lead. Yes, I said we had him off a lead and Yes, he doesn’t have any recall when surrounded by livestock. I have doubts if this will ever be possible to teach that boy a recall around sheep or horses. Yesterday he proved that when he has job to do, he will do anything to please! Even out agility mentor said he is much more focus on me. Does this mean he enjoys agility?

I also realised that going to school for dogs is worth too. Last year we attended to Paw Skills Edinburgh for tricks course. I thought tricks class will be ideal as his brain will work and he will learn funny things. Well how wrong I was, funny things maybe yes but how helpful they are on a daily basis and also very helpful at agility. If you have any doubts? Just do it, do one block it will change your dog and your life. The most importantly it will create amazing bonding between you two.

I know this post is all about Roger and I promise I didn’t have tears when I was writing it. He changed my life. Happy Gotcha Day Roger.

“A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things won’t be too bad.”- Robert Wagner.