ICF World Championship in Lubieszów, Poland

I think it is time to write about totally different experience I had than IFSS World Championship last year in Poland. ICF focuses only on mono-sports, so it was great to see so many athletes dong canicross, bikejor or scooter.

Road trip

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I was super excited as the races where near my hometown so I knew I can spend some time with my family. Unfortunately my two dogs got very unwell first few days in Poland, and Laferra even lost her usual colour, wasnt eating. It was stressful and decision needed to be made. No go, no racing for my two at this ICF. Luckily I got an offer from my coach to run his dog Nero that I know well.

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ICF preparation

I was gutted I couldn’t run Laferra, as we trained a lot for this… a year… I felt it was right decision to let her rest and see what the future brings for her. It was worrying that she didn’t want to eat and so on.

Few days before actual races we went to our “Athletes accomodation” and I could see that Laferra is picking up being happy around the dogs that she knows from races, training and the UK.

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ICF races itself

Well not sure where to start here…

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Weather wasn’t help as it was very hot so on second day the course was shorten. However let’s start from the beginning. Trails were amazing, up and down, deep sand, twisty and exciting, very well signed.

Day 1

Lucky draw so there were a lot of fast people behind us, I was expecting to be overtaken and so on. However I didn’t expect so many people standing on side out there. Yes start and finish had a lot of people spectating, but when we were out on trails there were photographers almost on every corner and also a lot of people spectating there too (shouting and clapping).

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Nero and I went very well the first 2km, and unfortunately by the time of split (half way through the course) Nero didnt like photographers sitting almost on trails and those beeping machines. So we got breaks on and tried to pass it all in a positive way. Uff we passed and continue… But the struggle began. As there were only 15sec break between runners we got caught by few and unfortunately (maybe due to weather) dogs were loosing focus in running, I hold Nero to my left side and left the whole right trails for overtaking teams… He got attacked… not once but twice. It was very stressful. It happens tho, I tried to continue running but he was just trotting near me. I just wanted to have positive experience for him. So we continued. It was ok until we got caught by a group of 5 runners…. Dogs lunged towards Nero. Sad. Very sad! We finished but I was upset and frustrated (literally in tears).

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Ok lets forget what happened on Day 1 and move on. I took it as an experience and the biggest lesson of my life.

Day 2

I was dreading for the mass start. What if the dog will think it is ok to lunge after Day 1 experience?! A lot of thoughts were going through my head. It is our turn, I am standing behind everyone to make it safe for Nero and myself.

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3,2,1…. goo Oh gosh Nero is smashing it! We pass one, second, third person… in 100 m almost getting into trees and trails! Oh wow we are first into trails. Nero wasnt bother at all and just kept running. Mass start wasnt that bad. However if you don’t like to run in a group it is not the best as the whole round we ran with 3-4 other canicrossers and dogs were a bit looking at each other. We kept going and finish on a positive way.

What an experience

How did I feel then? Frustrated and upset as the plan was to run Laferra. How do I feel now? I am actually glad that she got unwell, she wouldnt cop well with everything what happened on trails. It was hectic and insane, very busy out there. Personally never experience so much in one race. Congestions on trails but also a lot of people on side. We just couldn’t prepare for that as there aren’t any races as busy as that here. It was great experience and I will defo be back to ICF, however I really need to think through how to prepare my little princess for all this chaos.

Personally (and I know people might not agree with me here) I feel like the mass start encourages zigzaging and lunging from dogs towards others. The first 500m is the most crazy when you start as dogs are very wind up for the running. Secondly 15 sec between not seeded runners…. hmm that’s to me the problems all around for us slow runners! Yes I kept under control my dog, but others?! not necessary!.

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Future

I am looking forward to next event which is Sweden, I feel that IFSS is a bit safer for me as a slow runner with my shy rescue. ICF was another great experience, maybe not the successful one, but I take it as a lesson. I have been there, I ran for my country Poland, I finished and Nero had fun. I spend time with my friends and looking forward to see them all again.

My experience is my lesson, I will defo try to go to totally different events here in the UK so my dogs can experience different environments, different dogs running around them, different trails. Bring on Sweden next week.

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A new challenge to put myself to a new level- no processed food

I thought I will write a bit different post since my couple friends been asking me how am I doing and it has been over 80 days I am sticking to this crazy idea my coach challenged me on to see if my performance can be increased.

Definition

To make sure we are all on the same page here is a bit of definition what I am challenged on.

Food processing is the transformation of cooked ingredients, by physical or chemical means into food, or of food into other forms including:

Bread. savoury snacks, such as crisps, sausage rolls, pies and pasties. meat products, such asbacon, sausage, ham, salami and paté “convenience foods”, such as microwave meals or ready meals.

Food processing can be as basic as:

  • freezing
  • canning
  • baking
  • drying

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Challenge

I think the biggest challenge for me was how I will manage without bread and cheese. I agreed to accept this challenge with some expectation:

  • continue to have yogurts.
  • continue to eat cottage cheese.
  • eat polish sausage.
  • exchange bread for wholegrain crispbread.
  • not too often having honey.

Yes, I thought that is manageable now, just easy 126 days until the ICF World Championship so I can easily do it. I was wrong.

Day by day

A few friends said to me it will just get easy, first 3 weeks will be a struggle, but then it will be easy. That is not true and don’t listen to people who say that to you. My first three weeks were awesome and easy. I was super proud and needed to quickly learn what I can and what I can’t. My daily shopping routine usually lasted 5 minutes, now it is 20-30 minutes going through products and reading labels. I am in shock and disgust with some of the products on our shelves. I have quickly learn what to avoid and what was my favourite things.

The whole eating “smarter” wasn’t cheaper at all either. I am going through a lot of kgs of fruits and veggies during day. Love my dinners full of meat and nice fresh veggies. I discovered different recipes for using sweet potato. It really takes time to plan dinners now too.

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Half way through

I have learnt that my needs are fulfil with just passing by the bakery or just smell cakes. How many times I said I had enough and went to local Tesco, quickly bought donuts and just smelled them at home. I have managed to be strong and I am sure seagulls enjoyed them (oops). Finally I got to the stage that I discovered that there aren’t much variety for my meals so getting bored now and really counting days when I can finish this challenge.

Benefits

It isn’t easy, but the benefits are just amazing. Here are some:

  • Appreciation for fruit… Oh they smell so nice!
  • Feeling more sensitive to smells.
  • Discovering new world of eating- new recipes, new ingredients.
  • Losing weight (but I think it is more due to the fact my body bulking into muscles, so goodbye bad fat).
  • Flatter belly- no more bloated, feeling heavy on my stomach.
  • Easier to fall asleep- never had problem with that, but now I just put head on pillow and that’s me.
  • My skin is more elastic/ healthier.
  • Say goodbye to eye bag.
  • Stronger running, quicker to recover.
  • At the moment I can see that I am running lighter.
  • Feeling better, all around.

Try it for yourself even couple weeks

I never thought it will be so difficult and I have managed and will finish it soon. I can’t wait for having ice-creams, crisps, bread and massive chocolate or polish donuts. However I know it is just what I think at the moment, I know I will continue with my healthy choices, as I feel absolutely amazing. Make sure you enjoy life but make the right choices!

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Sport camp- canicross taken to another level

Coming from sport background, I was always used to pre-season sport camp, where our coaches made us do things to really make us stronger athletes. I remember very well early morning warm up short training very early morning, which I always hated. Usually it last week or two but you defo were coming back pretty tired. However body recovered quickly and we always were ready for September and our first volleyball games of the season. The older I get the more I miss team bonding and all the fun that was in connection with our sport camp (late night press up punishment for not sleeping! was one of them). Such a good memories. Anyway since I started training under “big eye” of Ben Robinson (current World, European and British Canicross Champion), I feel my canicross and whole running moved to new level. Due to some personal circumstances, I wasn’t able to go to France to compete at TDM, I thought I need to spend my holidays somehow different. With my crazy ideas Ben and I teamed up for a week of training camp.

Training plan

I like the idea that I don’t need to worry about what and where I need to do. Ben made sure me and dogs explored different trails, uphills, downhills and ran a lot of miles that week. Always remember when training with the Champ recovery run turns into massive elevation gain over pretty solid long distance.

Dogs training

It was all about training including dogs. It was great to make sure they run everyday. I also had an opportunity for really first time to canicross with beasts, in other word Champion’s dogs. Well Ben has nice variety of different dogs, but they are all superb with their heads for the running. I was really impressed with even his youngest dog that was super focused even when paired for the first time with my Laferra. If you ask me, yes I ran with Blakey boy- the Champion Dog and yes it was scary, but I felt my feet weren’t touching the ground!

For the first time I felt super strong dogs, but also my body wasn’t broke and I really enjoyed running at 3:21/km pace. Even the trees weren’t that annoying to hit my face 😀

The whole week I could try different dogs and try different thing with my girl. She ran as a single dog, she ran as a first time as a 2 dog team and finally she did a lot of free running while I was working hard. On the other hand Mr Rogerowski train a lot and work hard canicrossing with Ben (what a lucky dug right?). I am so happy he is back to harness as he loves it so much and really never gave up even when I ran big boy Nero and Ben’s Dad had Roger with Nova as 2 dog team 🙂

During the week I have learnt a lot about canicross resistance training for dogs, which is still new and I have never used it really.

Experience from pros

As I was staying with my close friends it was great to learn about their routine with dogs too. At the end of the day it isn’t just running, dogs like to be dogs. All that swimming, fetching and hiking is good for training too. Unfortunately my two still didn’t get the hint how to swim, but I can see Laferra is braver with going deeper to the water (oh and summer is gone LOL).

Athletic track

I know I used to say I will never go and run at the track, but Ben offered me to just experience it. No pressure at all right! First time ever I have been to that kind of place. So many people and I felt absolutely awful (so intimidating), but having my coach on the side explaining the rules and etiquette, I got a bit braver to run my first 400m on a track. I felt like a monkey in a zoo if I am honest. Also struggled when I could do my next time, as groups were running and running. On the other hand it was great to see some of those folks running. Oh they run soooo light! Maybe that gave me courage? I did it again and something broke inside me. Ah, I believed. I believed my dreams are possible to be reached. Maybe not tomorrow or within a month but they are closer to be reached than they were. Loved my experience on track and already looking for a local track availability.

Sport camp

Once again I felt like pro athlete who worked hard for the coming season. Every day training and excitement which dog I can run kept me going. My hard work was paid off in massive blisters and stiff calves, but at the end of the day the purpose of this camp was to experience and learn more. I learnt that a lot of hard work still needs to be done, but I am super excited for 2019.

 

My favourite running partner of my first canicross camp was Nero. We worked a lot together and we both felt same after 8 days of hard training. I am already looking forward to my next camp with these bunch of humans and dogs.

Glamis Castle Fur Nations weekend

Last weekend was very spontaneous, after few chats with friends, I have decided to sign for Fur Nations races at Glamis Castle as it wasn’t really far away from home. Oh boy! It was one of the best weekends.

Weekend away

We love the weekends away with dogs and even better with couple friends and their dogs too! Have a look at our post how to prepare for your camping with dogs: http://dogxplorescotland.com/camping/

Luckily for us the weather was just amazing! We now have much bigger tent, so there is a lot of space for everything really. Although dogs discovered how to escape from it!

Surroundings

Glamis Castle is a living, breathing monument to Scottish heritage, hospitality and enjoyment for all. The family home of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, Glamis Castle is the legendary setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess Margaret.

Glamis Castle has evolved over the years to create a stunning architectural treasure that is full of vitality to this day. Once inside, every room has its own story and the evolution of the castle and its legendary tales and secrets are brought to life by your own enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides.

Every painting, every piece of furniture, every little detail along the way is a sharp reminder that this is not a museum but an incredible family home that has witnessed everything from Royal births to being the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

The gardens surrounding Glamis Castle are beautiful all year round. Walks have been created to take in a mixture of habitats ranging from park land and policies in the immediate vicinity of the castle to the formal Italian Garden, mixed woodland and Pinetum to the North East.

Unfortunately I couldn’t take any photos of inside while we did our tour around the castle. However the staff was lovely saying hi to my dogs asking their stories.

Races

So we had two days of races, it was Laferra turn as Roger still building up for running in the harness. The trails were 5.2km and the start was at the small incline and then via water to then through the woods. Absolutely lovely soft and nice trails.

A lot of overtaking and being overtaken as the categories started in mass start and we were in 4th wave. Laferra loved the mass start and all the dogs around. We worked well together finishing 7th overall in our category (out of 42 runners). 9 weeks training with Ben Robinson proves it works, it made me stronger runner in head but also physically! Ben also supported me with preparation prior to the races (nutrition). We loved it so much I have decided we are going for English leg to Cannock chase in two weeks time!

I know Roger would have loved a run and he is very good with his commands, so he ran with our friend’s little girl (6) and loved it. I think she loved it too.

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Amazing time to be out with our dogs and friends. Chilling all days outside. Absolutely lovely atmosphere and zero politics. That what racing should be all about… fun with dogs 🙂 Looking forward to Cannock Chase!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Hiking with dogs

Summer approaches (well maybe not here in the UK). This is the time of the year that we all go more often hiking with our dogs. Here are some rules and information you should remember before planning your hiking.

Right trails

Make sure you look at nice trails that are suitable for your doggies such as soft and not with many cliffs around, so dogs can be off lead all the time. Depending on how fit you and your dogs are, check how steep and how many drops there are on the route. If it is nice sunny day check if there are any water stops for dogs to cool down.

You and your dog

Make sure if you choose the trails that are suitable for both of you! Check if your dog is fit to actually go for a long adventure. Your vet will be able to advise you. Also, don’t feed a massive meal before hiking too.

Check rules and regulations

Check your local rules and regulations, as for example in Scotland dogs must be always on a lead during lambing.

  • During the breeding season (usually April-July) keep your dog on a short lead or close at heel in areas such as moorland, forests, grasslands, loch shores and the sea shore to avoid disturbing birds that nest on or near the ground.

After hiking check your dog

  • Eyes – check for grass seeds.
  • Ears – check for mites and other foreign objects.
  • Paws – check for cuts on the pads, also grass seeds and ticks.
  • Tail – foreign objects caught in fur.
  • “Armpits” – check here for burrs and twigs getting caught as your dog will love to charge through the undergrowth. If these are left to bed in they will be incredibly uncomfortable and more difficult to spot later and could result in a costly trip to the vets to have them removed.
  • Mouth – check for abrasions around the mouth, and cuts on gums etc. Try not the play “fetch” with pieces of fallen branches as they can cause untold damage to the throat and/or mouth.
  • Body-  check overall for ticks.

Items to take along with you

So it is important you pack everything for your hiking adventure, I put a list together what I always have with me:

  • treats- high quality treats to reward and encourage good behavior.
  • favorite toy- we always find time to play and have some fun.
  • doggies first aid kit- cuts and strains could happen so be prepared.
  • spare collars and leads
  • poo bags- always clean waste
  • whistle- to call them back
  • animal-friendly wipes
  • water bottle and collapsible drinking bowl

 

Enjoy your adventures with dogs and stay safe.

 

Canine warm-up workshop- why bother with warming up our dogs.

No automatic alt text available.Another busy day for Laferra and I. This time we attended a canine warm-up workshop with Lisa Cleeton, who is known well in Edinburgh area as a Veterinary Physiotherapist. I was really looking forward to it, to learn a bit more for warm-up but also once again put Laferra in a new situation with other dogs and people around and make her only focus on me so I could focus on her muscles.

 

Muscles

When you think about warm-up for the dog, think about warm-up for yourself. It is an exactly same thing: your body needs to warm up too if you are planning to walk. In general it is good to start warm-up your dog with at least 10min walk on a lead. Depends what sport you are doing there are different things to do, but for us for canicross time to focus on every single muscle. Lisa talked us through every single muscle for running, and I didn’t even know that Laferra has so many muscles. Eventually, when we will become the pro it will take us around 5 minutes, to warm-up all the muscles. We started from the muscles on her head and neck, you would never think that dog uses his head a lot for running right? I was surprised as I rub my dogs muscles before runs, but never thought that the neck and head or even a spine muscles ones are important too. Interesteing point was about ribs muscles! Now I will be checking those muscles, as if they feel a bit harder, that means dog needs rest as it worked hard (for example: day after race or any competition).

Why do the warm- up?

Pretty much it helps to warm-up not just muscles but also ligaments, tendons and muscles.

  • Ligaments: if they lengthen- they are damaged!
  • Tendons are more prone to rupture if a muscle has a spasm in it.
  • Muscles in spasm are “trapped” in contraction.

Lisa talked us why we really should do warm-up, mainly to avoid:

  • muscle tears
  • tendon strains or ruptures
  • ligament sprains
  • lengthen stride length
  • improve performance

Sometime ago I started doing a walk before races around for dogs to be able to do the toilet and then just rub their muscles on front and back legs. Every time I did it, Laferra’s performed much better.

What’s the best warm-up

Better do something than nothing at all. Usually, at least 5-10 minutes walk on a lead, even if you are just planning to let your dog off lead in woods. As the dogs get mostly injured while on that silly walks, running around. In our case, after walk, it is good to rub their muscles. Lisa talked us through all the important muscles on the dogs, simple rub would take even just 5 min. Sometimes we just stand to wait for our start time around that time, it looks like perfect time, to start rub those muscles just before the start. Not just the legs ones, but also the one on the neck, spine or even ribs muscles. Lisa also showed us how to stretch the dogs, but I could probably do that during the training, just too much distraction and hyper dogs around during races. I would keep stretching after runs, as the muscles must be warm-up first for it.

What does warming up means?

  • It brings more blood into the muscles.
  • This preps them ready for action.
  • Ensures joints are ready to move throughout their full range.

Summary

Even a silly walk and running around could injury your dogs. I will definitely find at least 20 minutes before each training and race for making sure my dogs are ready to perform. It is the same idea as us humans getting warm-up for any activities, you need to make sure the blood is there!

If you wanna learn your dogs’ muscles, I would defo recommend go and see sports physio. Lisa showed a lot of muscles that I didn’t even think they are there! (that sausage muscles on front legs! :)) and it looks like Laferra has more muscles than I thought she had.

Overall another great experience for Lafie, to be around the dogs, and other people. She allowed Lisa to touch her and was a really good example of a dog. Once again I know she is great for going with me to any workshops to help me develop better knowledge. We will be back to Lisa in June for some checks before our big races at TDM in French Alps in August. For now, we are practising rubbing all the muscles! Both dogs love it.

Refrences: Lisa Cleeton.

 

Running training and motivation!

Last couple weeks I was on and off with my running. I feel a bit unfit at the moment. However, starting my training programme with Ben Robinson as my coach and mentor hopefully put me back on track again. I am really looking forward to it as I never know what to do with running, as this is totally new to me. Volleyball was way different.

Lost and found motivation

Due to my traveling recently I feel I lost my motivation for running with dogs. I was away I ran a lot myself, it gave me a chance to explore Zagreb as much as I want. With dogs I can’t run anywhere. Also Laferra is in a season so no running for her off lead.

Anyway, I think I find my motivation back, and even tho last week was really lazy! I found the strength to wake up early and go for a run with Rogerowski. I was planning the beach, but then I thought it would be unfair if Laferra would discover we went to the beach without her. We stayed locally in Leith Links.

Leith Links

The principal open space within Leith, the docks district of Edinburgh, Scotland. This public park extends to 18.5 hectares (46 acres). In its current form, it is divided into two main areas, a western section and an eastern section, by Links Gardens both being largely flat expanses of grass bordered by mature trees. I love it with Roger, we can run around and he sticks to me as he just runs happily with his ball. Best running partner ever. On the other hand Laferra is covering too much space so this place is too small for her and too dangerous with cars and roads.

 

Portobello

The training programme is busy so another morning spent with my dogs running around.

Oh wow it was just beautiful. Not sure what happened, but everything was purple. It was just us, no one else. As of who would have go out at 5.30am right? Tired legs, but recovery run was just spot on, so worth the early start to the day!

That kind of mornings highlights why I even bother to wake up and go out for run. I just want to do it again and again. My motivation definitely came back.

Just keep going, never stop, motivation will keep around.

 

The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle

Sometimes weather interrupts your training schedule, or at least it does mine at the minute with all that snow around. Walking dogs is a pain on those icy paths, so I am not even thinking of running.

Praying for weekend

Although it snows and it gets a bit icy, I am praying that for the weekend it all will melt. I love snow, don’t take me wrong, but it doesn’t really help us. Maybe I should consider buying a sledge?

Dogs are loving the free running, but it is time for some harness work. We haven’t done harness work since Sunday with Laferra. Roger still off harness due to his rubbed belly.

I miss running my wee buddy. Roger, soon you will be back in harness. I bet he will be super excited.

Anyway back to the topic, so due to weather I have plan A and plan B.

Plan A: working with dogs.

Plan B: parkrun on my own and dogs again running free.

Let’s hope for Plan A right?! Hah

BSSF round 2 (race 3 and 4)

Oh, how exciting I am about this. The entry is open and I decided to do two classes for a change. I will get warm-up on bikejor and than canicross later. Super excited!

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If you are looking for something different than just canicross event, this is a must. You can see big teams and mushers going out. I have learnt so much during those events that I really recommend it to everyone. The competition brings the best athletes in the UK to one venue to compete with each other.

Races schedule

Until February, we just train and have some fun with dogs. It looks like it is a bit quieter with races than it was last year. Probably my choice as I am more picky about the events too. However, already planning our trip to France in may. That’s us booked accommodation and hopefully soon looking at ferry prices. How exciting? We are going abroad again.

Exciting news

Hopefully next week I will be able to share fantastic news with you. Keep an eye on our blog and facebook page.

 

Passion first and everything will fall into place

That is the 1st season of Scottish Championship finished with Laferra. We didn’t get on the podium, but she is a champ for me. Overall results from the season aren’t out yet, but I think we have managed to get to 6th or 7th. Our category is very tough and the biggest (16-39). However results don’t matter, I realised different things this season.

New season new dog

When I started canicross 2 years ago, it was brilliant as Roger was natural in pulling and focus. It was easy and much easier to focus on my own improvement. With princess Laferra the whole canicross changed the game for me. As a very shy and submissive dog, I had a lot to work with her. She never pulled when walking on a lead and prefered to stay as close to me as possible. I was back to basics which I didn’t have a clue what to do. There was no recipe for the successful “sled dog”. I couldn’t find videos or books about how to train a puppy for canicross. I could only try and fail or win.

Back to basics

I asked around, I watched around and choose what could be good for me. She was very shy and I thought I am jumping into the deep water with her by taking her to the IFSS World Championship. We trained hard preparing her for different things. We did well, however, last weekend proved we still need to work on small things and every race or training are lessons for us. Laferra is very sensitive and mummy’s girl so any small thing can affect her. I love that about her and it is the massive challenge for me to make sure she loves canicross and has fun as much as I do (well sort of 😉 ).

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What did I learn this season?

I have learnt a lot as I wanted to make sure she is ready.

  • sometimes things don’t go according to plan.
  • train as much as you can in a different environment.
  • train as much as you can with different dogs around.
  • love them.
  • praise them.
  • have fun.
  • one step forward might mean two step backwards.
  • never give up.
  • learn from mistakes.
  • build strong bonding with your dog.
  • have a lot of passion and love for the sport and your dog at the same time.
  • have some break and some fun from trainings too.

Last race of Scottish Championship

Yesterday race at Muiravonside Country Park was tough: hilly, twisty, technical and very muddy. I knew what to expect as I did it last year with Roger in 26:49 min. It was very tough. I promised that if it will be to tough for Lafie, I won’t finish and wouldn’t take part in Championship as I want her to have fun. Oh wow! She was doing so well, listen to my command “steady” even tho I have never taught her that one. We worked on every step together and surprisingly Laferra had a blast even tho she doesn’t like mud. With her lightweight, she was quick through it and just looked at me with a wagging tail. On flat part, she was really keen to go. At one point I thought I got lost as we didn’t see anyone in front of us or behind us! Oh, well this was great and perfect for us just to be together and having fun sliding around. She really made me proud. Just 19months old and I still think sometimes she doesn’t have a clue what she should do, but she is an amazing dog and Roger’s best friend.

Looking forward to more adventures and races with her. She is a wee superstar and she did teach me a lot of new things.

Season hasn’t finished but I am looking forward to future races in Scotland and further away.