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

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

Parkrun at Vogrie Country Park

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

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

Christmas Eve

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

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

How do you manage during Christmas

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

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

Do you spoil your furry babies?

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

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

Rest of the Christmas Holidays

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.

Christmas time

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

Motivation

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

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

Equipment for dogs

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

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

On that note

 

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

 

 

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

The IFSS World Championship

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

The long trip

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

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

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

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

England-Eurotunnel-Poland

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

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

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

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

Poland

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

Day 1

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

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

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

Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

Day 3

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

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

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

Day 4

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

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

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

First international race

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

Time to go!

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

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

Day 4 late afternoon

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

Day 5

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

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

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

Second international run

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

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

Finish

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

Closing ceremony and last day

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

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

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

Time to go home

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

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

Thank you

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

 

Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss.

It is time

It has been a stressful week, preparing to make sure I thought about everything for the dogs and myself. I have been traveling a lot abroad but never with a dog. Just stressing about everything. I will definitely share my traveling experience with you when we are back.

I wish Roger could go with us, I feel anxious leaving him behind, so he defo comes for adventure with us next year.

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He deserved a short holiday off from training as he worked really hard last 18 months.

Pack the bags

Oh! I hate packing, this is stressing me a lot. I have new jackets for Laferra, her favourite food. Time to pack her bag and my bag too. A list is long but I really don’t want to take too much.

Lucky me my parents are coming so they will bring me some additional stuff if needed.

Travelling

We are leaving tomorrow, long drive before we meet with BSSF for some last briefing chat for Team Leader role and reaching to a friend. On Monday we will be on the way to Eurotunnel and Polska. 1923km from home to the race HQ. Hoping to arrive on Tuesday if Kim and I will drive well. I can’t believe my parents did this route twice by a car.

Training

Today was our last Parkrun run and training for Poland. Princess will rest and get full energy for the races on Saturday and Sunday. I will probably do some wee jaunts around to make my legs going.

Keep an eye on our FB page for some updates how are we doing and how our adventure looks like. Full update when we are back.

 

History to be made

Here are some photos from the past and how we all started this crazy sport.

This was our first time ever…

 

Happy Saturday.

Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up

Motivation

Someone shared with me an interesting link recently. Its quote from “Rocky” is just spot on.

“it aint about how hard you are hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward…”

I always dream and always make sure I put 100% to make my dreams become true. <3

Dreams

Counting has begun. On the 19th of November, we will be on the way after dropping Roger for his holidays. I am nervous and super excited. This is all happening! I think I still can’t believe that I am going to the World Championship. My dream trip. I will finally meet my canicross friends from around the world.

Princess Laferra will make new dogs friends too. Together we will promote rescue dogs too.

Last few trainings

We have been working really hard in last few weeks that looking at my times and paces I am buzzing even more. Such a progress from both of us.

Our most favorite location for training is the Abercon which has nice soft trails with uphill and downhills and even open field. Love it there. A lot of water stops for the dogs.

9 days to go which means we have maybe 5 more trainings. We both had long journey in last 3 months. Time to start thinking about the packing for real now! I have not started yet.

I am buzzing and no one will take that away from me. My dream, my life! I will keep you posted how we are getting on our adventure. Watch this space.

 

The World Championship preparation

We have now less than couple weeks left and leaving for probably the biggest trip of my life. We are going to the World Championship in Poland.

Firstly I would like to thank you to those who donate to my crowdfunding, we are way over the target. Really appreciate that.

Secondly here’s to the post that will be full of panic and excitement ( I would advise closing the tab if you aren’t interested :D).

Pre-race preparation

Last 2 weeks is really all about pre-race preparation. We have a couple more “race environment” runs for Laferra to grow into even more confidence. She is coming along so well. I am super proud of her. At training, she can fluff around, but at the race, she really surprised me. She is keen to go, stay focused, overtake and continue with the run. She does exactly what we have been training last few weeks. I am very happy that she made training hard so hopefully, we won’t many mistakes at the actual races.

Pre-race packing

I have been panicking and thinking about this for weeks. What do I really need? I have never been abroad with my dog. I know funny right, as I was always planning to take Roger, but didn’t really manage.

So what do I need?

Of course my running gear and Laferra’s running gear. I am sure we need more than just that?! Hope we will cope with weather in Poland. At the end of November, it will be cold there. Ohh gosh so glad we have nice warm accommodation booked. Still panic is there.

We are going to a different country, different climate and totally the place I know well, or that what I thought. Yes, Poland is my country but I panic. I have managed to put this list together (please let me know if I missed something):

  • running gear: Lafie’s harness, my belt and bungee lead
  • spare my belt and bungee lead
  • my running gear: shoes, long socks, shorts and vests
  • water for Laferra (how much water do I really take for her for 10days?!)
  • food for Laferra
  • sardines for Laferra (hydration)
  • tapeworms tablets for coming back
  • Blanket for Lafie
  • Jackets for Laferra
  • Waterproof day to day shoes
  • Hoodies
  • Winter Jacket
  • Casual clothes
  • passports
  • insurance documents
  • first aid kit for dogs (thanks for reminding me about this)

Here my list finished. I have no clue. I think I will start packing a week earlier, so I am totally sure I have everything. I am glad my parents are coming to the event, so they can always pick up something for me if I totally forget about it.

Pre-trip checks

Although I am taking Laferra, I can’t forget that I am leaving Roger on his wee holidays here in Scotland. Need to make sure everything is arranged for him: dog walker, pick up at the weekend for the away weekend. Leave his food and toys, oh favorite blanket.

As I am driving first part of the trip myself, I need to make sure my car is checked: oil, bulbs, and tyres are pumped. Windscreen liquid filled. Yeah I know I am doing better here right?

Also enough money to pay for tolls on the way to Poland and back.

Pre-race training

Another weekend, training and learning. Spot on! Up and down and I am defo buzzing for Poland. It is all about the clear run with my wee girl! She is doing soooo well! Different runs, different locations. Few mistakes but we learned the lesson! Last 2 weeks before us heading.

Rest

It isn’t just all about training. We had an amazing fun at the beach with our pals too!

Happy Monday.

Equipment that will make you a “Pro” Canicrosser or Bikejorer!

I have decided to write a post about equipment as there are a lot of posts on facebook where people are asking for what is the best!

I am not an expert but I have learnt a lot in last few months being involved in the sport. So here’s my experience and only my opinion (you don’t need to agree).

Canicross

Let’s start with canicross. As of yourself, you will need something comfy for running:

It is an easy choice for people as there are a lot of different running companies that sell the right gear, but when it comes to dogs gear that’s another story. When I started my adventures with canicross, I couldn’t find much or I found information that now I know they were misleading. A lot of companies are trying to say their equipment is right for running with dogs, but I have learnt that a lot of them are purely business and money orientated and know nothing about canicross, and not talking here about faster pace sports like bikejor or scooter.

Dogs equipment

I struggled to understand and find something that will be good for Roger. He has an unusual shape. So I made him run in his walking harness (what a stupid idea that was, note on that my own gear wasn’t good either). I have decided to buy my first equipment back in Poland. DC Grizzly belt for myself, manmat bungee line and Roger had his walking harness. We were very slow but we enjoyed the runs (as per photo above).

Eventually, I have learnt that it is very important to have the right equipment:

  • A dog can get injured, if harness is incorrect for pulling.
  • Dogs should be able to use their shoulders without any restrictions.
  • The harness shouldn’t be too high on their throats.
  • Bungee line has a different length for different sports.

So my first equipment was a wrong choice. My belt hurt my lower back. Now I use this belt for hiking and it is just perfect. My bungee lead was too long (bikejor line) and it was harder to work together as a team. Also, Roger harness made restrictions on his running style and choked him.

Right choice

I still struggled to find the right equipment. I thought I went in the right directions and ordered a customised harness for Roger. Well, once again wrong decision. I was close to giving up when I decided to go and ask for recommendations from folks who do the sport for years. They know the sport and they know what is right for the sport and why.

My old equipment ended up in a bag. Roger got his brand new harness from Dragratten. How surprised I was on our next run, his pull was stronger. I noticed that more often when he saw his harness he got super excited. Note from me: his harness was tight, it wasn’t loose, it worked really well with his running style.

I have changed my belt for the lightweight and it was sitting on my hips too. Amazing, no more pain in my lower back. Bungee line was a bit shorter and the whole experience of canicross has changed. We started to progress with our times and I could see it helped as to become stronger.

My younger dog got her pro harness straight away. She will probably grow up from it soon, but it is defo worth the money as she learns in the right equipment from the start. She was 10 months when she got her first proper sled dog harness. 

Why use a collar?

I decided to keep Roger as he pulls a lot during a walk in a harness, but it is a different one than his running. Laferra walks on the collar, which helps before races that I can keep her on the collar when she is trying to be mental. Also during training, it is handy with her to have the collar to cool her down or walk her to start point. When I am nearly starting running I clip her on harness so she knows she needs to pull.

Bikejor and scooter equipment

Ok with caniross you can make mistakes and learn from it, but when it comes to faster speed sports you better with the right equipment. So what do you need here:

  • MTB bike or scooter.
  • Helmet and gloves.
  • Bikejor/Scooter bungee lead (longer than canicross).
  • Dog harness.
  • Arm antenna to keep the lead away from wheels.

People ask why do you have arm antenna on your bike. Ok on the photo above you can see lead is a bit slack as Roger slowed down due to big stones and hill. Arm kept the line away from wheels so I didn’t have an accident. I tried bikejor and scootering without the arm and instead of having fun I was thinking about line and brakes all the time.

Once again a lot of money if you think, but again it changed the way we train and how much we enjoy all this. I use same arm antenna for my scooter.

Equipment is very important

I have learnt: it is all worth the money! The dogs love it more and you can really push your team at training and races.

There are a lot of companies who say they are great for canicross, but think twice. In last couple months, I have managed to stay injury free and my dogs got excited when they see harnesses.

Think twice about your dog health! Use the right equipment, ask experienced folks for advises! It changed my experience and I hope you will find the right path to the right equipment yourself!

I am not an expert but been to may races in UK, I watched and observed, I have learnt out of my own mistakes!.Be happy, enjoy your running with furry friends.

 

Good shop with equipment: https://www.k9trailtime.com/shop/

 

 

 

Travelling and your training

You wonder how is it possible to train when you are away from home.

As you may know, I travel a lot for a business trip. It could be short one day trip but sometimes it could up to even 10 days trip. It doesn’t need to be the business trip, it could be a holiday.

It isn’t easy to be away. Everything changes your diet, climate, and routine. I  tried to stick to a routine but sometimes it isn’t possible. Let me tell you how I do with all this.

Business trip

I have an amazing job that allows me to travel a lot to different countries. This is great as I can see all the different places, but at the same time I am away from my dogs and my routine is ruined. However, this is what I always try to do!

  • Stick to my routine. Keep the times for going to bed, waking up.
  • Stick to the same amount of meals.
  • Don’t snack on things that you normally don’t eat.
  • Stay positive.
  • Enjoy surroundings.
  • Check what is nearby and what you can do from your training plan.
  • Try to stick to your training regime.
  • Best running training is to go explore the area.
  • Use hotel gym if needed.

 

Diet

It is very tempting to have something that you wouldn’t have at home. Tough life try to stick to similar diet.

  • Never be greedy and try something different or snack a lot, as you will regret it.
  • Don’t overdo with alcohol. It is ok to have some tho (come on you are away, so enjoy one or two beers).
  • Check sugar content if you can.
  • Be smart and plan ahead, as sometimes they just serve you full “glasses of sugar” in foods.
  • I try to skip breakfast in hotels, and just head to supermarkets and buy something that I would normally eat.
  • Of course I not always stick to my routine and I will have a cheeky cake there and there. Especially during my last trip in Austria (hot strudel is the best thing in the world).

What to pack

I always find space for my running gear:

  • couple tops.
  • shorts.
  • long socks.
  • the lightest shoes.

Away from home

Easy to say right. I always try to fit in a training that I would normally do at home. Of course, no dogs here so would need to be running or riding the bike on my own. Even tho the body is tired as of different diet and routine I never make excuses. Just keep going and do it. You will feel amazing afterwards and of course, you will see the benefit when you are back home.

If you know you are going out for dinner, do it in the morning. Wake up early and just go and do it. Seriously the morning run is amazing, and it does help me to prepare for a busy day working ahead.

At the same time when you away make sure you enjoy yourself as much as you can. It isn’t all about training or work! I found that most places where I do have city bike, that’s still an amazing way of doing training and it allows you to explore the city even more. Great and cheap way!

 

So happy travelling!

 

Sugar-free challenge

The challenge!

With help of my friend from Power Nutrition, I joined a sugar-free challenge. Monika was and is always supporting me with all my sporty life. She gives me advice on food and training. Best friend for sure, so I am always keen for her crazy ideas. 7 days sugar-free challenge was one of those crazy ideas.

However coming back to the Challenge: Sugar-free 7days.Everyone who knows me well knows how much I like my full-fat coke and a bit of chocolate.

So here is how it went:

First I needed to study what can be hidden sugar. All of below needed to be cut off:

  • raw sugar, cane sugar, fruit juice concentrate, white sugar, brown sugar, agave syrup, agave nectar, honey, raw honey, stevia, tapioca, Yacon syrup, monk fruit extract, xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol, fructose, glucose, erythritol, palm sugar, coconut sugar, blackstrap molasses, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, brown rice syrup, invert sugar, sucrose, beet sugar, acesulfame K, aspartame, saccharin, date sugar, corn syrup, caramel, galactose, barley malt, maltodextrin, sorghum syrup and many more.

Day 1

I failed straight away, as totally forgot I have signed for the challenge and there was me chewing my toast with jam. **** I forgot. I spoke with Monika and she said ok no problem, one small mistake continue and make sure it won’t happen again. Uff I am still in. Being curious woman I have checked labels and wow bread has added sugar (actually a lot of it).

Due to a busy weekend, I didn’t have time to make my lunch for Monday, so it was time for shopping lunch. I have checked every single label of the food that I normally eat for my lunch from Lidl. Oh gosh, literally everything has added sugar. Eventually, I found out a broccoli tart and some “fake bread”. As a dessert, I had a box of strawberries.

I was so disappointed with my graze box too. Out of 4 snacks, only 1 was without sugar. I am not going to continue with it. I really thought it is a healthy option.

How happy I was when I discovered that my cottage cheese from Lidl doesn’t have added sugar. However there was still a problem of sugar in bread, so I started looking online for alternative choice and it seems I can forget about bread for a week as even wraps have added sugar.

Day 2

I have checked last night and everything in my household has a sugar. So time for some shopping. I went to Tesco this time. Yyy walking around and checking labels. I found nothing without sugar and then I walked into the gluten-free area. Wow, almost everything has no added sugar, even energy coconut ball doesn’t have a sugar. Amazing! A gluten-free week sounds much better than a sugar-free week.

Lunch was easier this time, I had soup from Tesco and bag of veg crisps which was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. Not a big fan of very salty things.

Feeling like I am starving all the time, but this is probably lack of sugar. I have managed to drink a lot of water and try not to think that I can not eat anything. On the other hand, the plus is I am 1kg down on my scale! Not that I wanted but with all the traveling recently I feel 2kg down would be better.I also already feel less bloated and light, but also very grumpy.

I found a ready-make pizza for dinner and there is no sugar. I feel it is defo easier to fail this challenge than I actually thought. Bring on day 3.

Day 3

I am actually dying for something sweet and the world doesn’t help me either. I discovered another awful thing: puffed wheat, which I thought would be amazing as breakfast with milk. Just couldn’t go through the first bite.

The good side is that I had an amazing night sleep and still feel light in my stomach. The bad side is that I am even more hungry than yesterday. I stick to my 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and also 2 snacks time which usually is coke and some graze snack, but now it is only a fruit. Starving is the motto of my day. I also feel a bit grumpy and more frustrated with small things.

Today is even harder as someone has birthday cake at work, so me listing my hungry stomach is a big challenge. Literally, I can’t focus on things and feeling very frustrating.

Day 4

Day 4 was easier than I thought. Actually, I didn’t miss anymore my silly sugary things. But the reason is I was super busy with work travelling to Belgium all day. I wonder what and how I will manage away from home.

How surprised I was! Firstly chef in the lounge made me porridge as I said I can’t have sugar. There was no problem for them at all. Amazing! As I really thought it will be difficult. Maybe Jolly of having a pass to lounges… During day I wasn’t even thinking of snacking, as I was at the meeting all day.

Lunch time?! Easy soup and I asked if it was made with sugar, a chef once again promised no sugar and I had some fruits. Winner.

Back to the airport and another lounge. So this time I have recieved freshly made fruit juice. I discovered that “cheese biscuits” have no sugar at all. SO a winner to have a bit of snack.

Day 5

I knew it will be just easier and easier, however, I was going back to my homeland, where I normally eat everything not thinking about consequences. This time even harder as it was my parents anniversary so we were having amazing dinner.

On my 5th day, it was easy to say no to tempting things. Everyone was saying you can try this and this, but I kept strong! I have managed even without cake! Amazing. I can do this.

Day 6

I struggled on Wednesday a lot and that feeling never came back again. Maybe it was easier than I was away? I don’t know, but on my 6th day I started thinking how amazing I feel with no bloated belly and my humour is constant happy (no moody jumps). I have decided that I will try to eat less and less of sugar on a daily basis when the challenge will finish. I wanted to continue with this.

Day 7

Still back at my parents and I still find it easy to say no to sugary things, although grandma didn’t take it well that I said I don’t want her cake! Oh well. I have managed and I feel amazing.

Results

It was tough to start! But then I felt amazing, my body felt amazing. No problem with feeling sick (as I do often) or heavy. I felt constantly happy and I will continue for sure. I also discovered that after 3 day I started to sleep very deep and well. In the morning I felt properly rested and I didn’t remember my dreams. Nothing was able to wake me up. I also had less sweating running training. Just amazing! Defo no need for all that sugar in my life. I will keep up, however, will bring few things back like bread and cheese!

I am still in shock how much sugar there is everywhere in every single food I was consuming!

Wanna a challenge yourself and see how much truth it is? Do it. It is just 7 days! everyone wants to be happy, right? Good luck and let me know your results.

Highland Fling Canicross Race

I don’t really know where to start with this post. Probably because my head is still buzzing after the weekend and I am still shattered.

Aviemore

I always thought that Aviemore is further than it actually is. I have packed the car in the morning and then we went away. If you don’t know what to pack remember to read my post: Camping with dogs.

Anyways traveling up there was amazing. All those views with purple everywhere. I think it is the best time of the year to go up North. Sooo pretty. I was driving so I haven’t taken any photos. But thanks to my friend Catherine there is one photo how pretty it was. I love Scotland and hopefully one day I can live up north.

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The road up to Aviemore is nice even tho one line most of the time. I felt the traffic was busy, but it didn’t make me tired. We arrived at the Dalraddy Holiday Park after 2.5h driving. Dogs were way fast asleep. Women at the reception were very welcomed and gave us a map how to get to our pitch. Unfortunately, there were no more strawberries left, but they told me there will be more tomorrow (those strawberries are just the best).

Campsite

A lovely park set in 97 acres of mixed native pine & birch woodland with spectacular views of the Cairngorm Mountains range, which now forms part of the Cairngorm National Park. It is only 3 miles south of Aviemore, close to Loch Insh for a superb variety of all water sports activities. An excellent location for walking along the Badenoch Way, taking in the breathtaking scenery starting from holiday park, with some stunning sights along the 16km walk following a path through the lovely village of Kincraig, leading you to Ruthven Barracks in Kingussie.

So there we are driving to search for our pitch. We found out that it was between start and finish line so actually perfect spot. We have arrived and noticed our canicross friends around on other pitches, which was awesome. Dalraddy campsite is dog friendly (only 2 dogs allowed), but you need to keep your dog under control and on lead all the time. The pitches are separated by trees from each other, so my dogs couldn’t really see other dogs. Roger and Laferra really chilled and played tug game at our pitch, not bother with what’s happening around.

It was nice and sunny, so we managed to set up our camp very fast. The pop-up tent is amazing, a few minutes later that’s tent up. A wee walks around to say hi to everyone and few fixes to the bike. All sorted couple minutes later. Great to see everyone again after summer break.

Pre-race night sleep

I was worried that Laferra won’t settle in as this was her first time in a tent, although she camped before with Roger and me in a car. How surprised I was when I zipped tent and took their collars off to see them getting comfy in their bed. Not moving or barking during the night. A very warm and good night sleep for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Race day- morning

I felt a bit nervous even tho I did this racing thing for a year now. It was new to me to do two dogs and there wasn’t much time between classes. Dogs walked and hydrated back in the crate and there was me putting and planning ahead my comfy outfits for running and bikejoring. I did help at the registration and then off to prepare dogs for the race. Here is our schedule for preparation (always same routine):

7:30 am Last wee hydration for dog

7:40 am Clothes on, Greeprs fasten

7:50 am Quick walk for pees and poops

8 am Wee energy snack for race

8:05 am Quick run for me including toilet (stress pee) 🙂

8:15 am Another quick walk for dog

8:25 am Harness on

8:26 am Fitline drink for me

8:27 am Laferra’s warm-up

8:30 am Long course starting

8:35 am Standing near start line in a queue

8:46 am Off we go

During race

I think I was more stressed than Laferra as it was her first race. All the time that she was with me since a puppy around races probably helped her to get the right attitude and knowing what will happen. First “haw” and first “gee”: she is amazing on first two corners, which is unusual as she is a wee bugger when it comes to directions. First straight, car passing behind the fence and she doesn’t bother with it. Laferra keeps doing what she supposed to. Approaching the first marshal and I can see it is James, the person she likes a lot. I am calm and shouting: “on by” and she pass without even looking at James. He cheered us too, but she was just keen to continue the run.

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Half way through

I feel so good with her and keep encouraging her. She was fantastic until after single track around 3km, she was a bit confused with tarmac, but she found a nice soft path to run on. Next turn and she is back again on a single track: so focused, but she is terrified of a tape. I reassured her that we just need to pass it and let her go back to front, she is back on track. I didn’t need to encourage her to pull, she was on a mission. We have passed another marshal and once again she didn’t even look. Approaching chalets, difficult crossing, and a marshal, I shout “haw” and there is my girl keen to say hi to marshal (as she does all the time). Somehow we have managed to continue. Around 4.2km I needed to remind her to “get on” with it and start pulling again. Almost at the finish on a nice single track again she picks up the pace. Amazing finish for my girl although she was a bit confused with people standing before the finish line!

She knocked out 1.5min off the time I had last year with Roger. I am super proud and there is a lot of space for improvement. Quick back to the car, water out with some sardine’s oil in, harness off and a lot of praise. Time to get ready for Bikejor.

Race number 2

Same schedule as before. I always have the same routine so my body and my dogs know what we are doing. In the meantime, 20 minutes after canicross I gave Laferra Fastdog- recovery biscuit. 10 am approaching so time for another race.

Start line and as always Roger is super calm. Sniffing around and saying hi to marshals. Oh, I love this boy such a change from last year. The new bike was amazing, it felt so easy to pedal for this wee boy. So much fun riding and shouting in the woods with my favorite. He was as always running his socks off.

Oh how much I love him. We have managed to do our target time, so I am very pleased with him. Back to finish line and he is one happy dog. Got his sardines and water. Harness off and back to the crate. 20 minutes after the run he gets his recover biscuits while I walk Laferra.

Human recovery

Oh, I can feel having two dogs will be hard work, but at the same time, it will be so much fun this season. Right, so I needed to recover fast for my evening races. I felt tired actually very tired, after not doing much in last few weeks due to my business trips.

I have decided to check if the best strawberries are still in a wee shop at the campsite. How chuffed I was when I saw still few boxes left. Quickly ate one box (fine gave 4 to the dogs). I also had some soup and decided to have a nap in a tent. So put the dogs on leads and snooze a bit while they could have fun outside.

Dogs recovered super fast

How surprised I was when I saw them back full beans again just 2 hours after the races. It must have been the biscuits. I was hoping I have something like this for myself. Drunk a bit of my Fitline drink and went to snooze.

Around 4 pm I had a chicken pasta which really filled me and I was ready to go again (well that what I thought).

Evening race time- bikejor

Here we go again. Even tho I thought I feel fine, I felt tired but didn’t want disappoint my dogs, so I kept thinking I can do it. Roger was so excited to be first out in the evening. There we go again. As Rogerowski is cross Staffie and Border collie, he is a good thinker. Sometimes I wish he isn’t that smart. 2nd run: he is doing fine and I feel pain and heavy muscles. He pulls and keeps going, smart boy slowing down at bits with sharp bigger stones, but I am totally fine with it (we are here to have fun). Passing the marshal and stones and he is back pullying like a train. I am super proud and putting as much as I can on the bike. Last single track and he still pulls. There we are at the finish line and Roger is one happy pup rolling all over the grass. Quick hydration and change of clothes. Time for last race of the day.

Canicross in the evening

Last race, I feel really tired. I am hoping for nice and easy run as Laferra never canicross for that long. She does long distance off the lead with me on a bike (MTB), but never canicross.

Start line and there she is, again keen to go and can’t wait for her turn. First “haw” and I am thinking: oh gosh she is great again! First “gee”, I am thinking I am not going to skip training ever again, no excuses. Half way through I hear the noise and thinking: oh no train. Once again she didn’t bother with noise and continue her running. My girl did well. Two races in one day is a lot for such a young dog without experience, but she did it without looking that she struggled.

Wearing Merrells helped my legs for sure. Super light, super comfy was definitely what I needed for my tired feet.

The last corner to run to the single track through the trees, I feel my legs are saying no and I feel awful cramps. I think: Laferra must feel same! I can do it. She sees trees and picks up a strong pull. I cheer her as I really need her help. We did it. We did it again and I have an amazing dog.

From rescues to best pets

Lafie and Rogerowski had a tough start of their lives, they have ended up with me. Every day I am thankful how lucky I am to be able to rescue both. Such a different dogs, but both amazing. Roger is natural at canicross and bikejor. Laferra started from basic, but she has potential with all the hard work we put in she is amazing already. From being homeless and hopeless they become my pets and my life the best. They do everything you ask them for. They are Champions to me no matter what!

Weekend

This weekend was great, so much fun with dogs and friends. Time to rest before more hard training. Couple days off for the dogs, but not for me. Yin Yoga on Mondays is spot on for all those stiff muscles and today I am ready to go again. I will make sure next time I can do as much as those two without a pain in my legs. I am so ready for it. Let’s the fun begins.

I hope you had a great weekend too.

If you have any questions or comments messaged me.