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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New trails and new places

Weekends are made to have fun right? I always try to plan something fun for me and dogs. This weekend it was all about discovering new trails.

Carberry Country Estate

One of the great Castle Mansion Houses of Scotland, Carberry Tower is a multi-award winning, luxury 4 star Castle hotel with an award-winning Bistro, situated just outside Edinburgh in beautiful East Lothian countryside. Standing regally in 35 acres of stunning, private Estate parkland and widely recognised as Edinburgh’s ‘Castle in the country,’ Carberry Tower is a place of intimate grandeur and to arrive here, is to weave your own story into a history that goes back to 1480 when our first foundation stone was laid.

The estate itself is surprisingly hilly, so my long run turned into a tough work. It is mainly arranged for mountain bikers but we had a lot of fun running around.

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History lessons!

There is a lot of history on this estate: “In the 13th century, the lands were owned by John de Crebarrie from whose name the estate probably derives its title. The lands were at one time Crown property and later passed to Dunfermline Abbey. In 1541 the Abbey authorities leased them to Hugh Rigg who built or enlarged the Tower.

By 1587 the church lands were annexed to the Crown and the superiors became the Maitlands of Lauderdale. The Rigg families continued to lease Carberry until 1659 when it was passed to Sir Adam Blair. In 1689 it passed to Sir Robert Dickson of Inveresk who sold it to John Fullerton whose niece Elizabeth married in 1774 the Hon Wm Elphinstone, third son of the 10th Baron, whose son succeeded to the title.

Image may contain: tree, sky, grass, plant, cloud, outdoor and natureThe Elphinstones held Carberry from 1801-1961. Alterations and additions were made to the old Tower from c.1830. The 15th Baron succeeded in 1861 and was involved in political and court life. The park layout was entirely redesigned during his time and the arboretum started. His son, Sydney Herbert, the 16th Baron Elphinstone, married Lady Mary Bowes Lyon in 1910 and they carried out further improvements to the Tower and particularly to the grounds. The formal gardens to the south of the tower were laid out in 1911 and they added to the specimen trees and shrubs in the parks.

The 16th Lord Elphinstone died in 1955 and Lady Elphinstone died in 1961 when the Tower and part of the estate were gifted by the family to the Church of Scotland.” The information was taken from the Historic Scotland page.

Redwood Meadows Dog Activity Park

I was looking for a fenced place where I can let Laferra off lead during her “heat”. A friend recommended me this place. Lovely and very friendly owner welcomed us and showed us around.

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Unfortunately it was raining when we were there, but dogs still had so much fun. The park has a lot of different things that the dogs can sniff, walk on and discover. Laferra as usual was doing her own thing, but Mr Rogerowski was loving everything about it and of course that I had treats to make him do things.

Such a great place and so muh fun for dogs and me😊😂🙊

Posted by Dogxplorescotland on Sunday, August 19, 2018

 

 

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.

Gateway to England

Last week I had lovely holiday down in England in Gloucester area.

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Forest of Dean

It is historical land in the West of Gloucestershire in England. The forest is located between the River Wye in the west and north, Severn in the south and the city of Gloucester in the east. The forest is massive as it covers of 100m square with mixed forest and it is the second biggest largest forest in England. We have been discovering different trails and the dogs loved it. A lot of car parks around to stop and discover different parts of the forest. Ohh and the boars are awesome.

Mallard’s Pike Lake

Lovely place for picnic or just walk with dogs. We did spend a lot of time there, trying to teach miss Lafie how to swim, walk around, eat lunches or run the trails around. Most ponds in the forest were made to supply water wheels that powered the mills and iron forges of the Forests industrial past but these were made by the Forestry Commission for the community’s pleasure. The larger, lower pond is used for water sports, the upper pond is left undisturbed for wildlife.

One of the interesting runs we did was Adidas running trails, which is apparently challenging for any runners of 3.4 miles.

Gloucester city

It is a city and district in Gloucestershire, England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest. I had a lovely walk around city centre with dogs and also found a lot of place were dog-friendly which was really extra bonus to nice walk around.

For the first time I had so much attention with those two, as a lot of people were stopping and asking about them. Surprisingly they both behaved, but maybe it was due to that we were already after our training camp.

Ross on Wye

I think this was my most favourite place that we visited during our holidays. Ross-on-Wye is a small market town in south eastern Herefordshire located on the River Wye, and northern edge of forest of Dean. The city promotes itself as a birthplace of British tourism. Lovely walk down the river allowed dogs to be off lead and had a paddle in a water. River Rye is the 5th longest river in the UK, stretching some 215km.

Absolutely awesome place to visit with your 4 legged friends. A lot of places to walk, run and hike.

Cannock Chase Fur Nations weekend

To finish our season we have went all the way down to England to Cannock Chase for Fur Nations races at the weekend. 5h drive on a nice motorway feels like nothing compering to my trip to Poland. Services on the way are super dog-friendly! I tried to stop on different ones and already have few my favourites as some of them are fenced and you can dogs let off lead for a proper stretch.

Weekend away

Have a look at our post how to prepare for your camping with dogs: http://dogxplorescotland.com/camping/. This was our first time to Cannock Chase. Cannock Chase Country Park is one of the largest country parks in England. It is a local government district in England and it covers a large part of Cannock Chase forest and the towns of Cannock, Rugeley and Hednesford.

Unlucky this time the weather wasn’t the best. It was raining a bit and during night there were thunderstorms which was a bit scary even for myself.

As always dogs had a blast.

Surrounding

Cannock Chase is located between Cannock, Lichfield, Rugeley and Stafford. It comprises a mixture of natural deciduous woodland, coniferous plantations, open heathland and the remains of early industry, such as coal mining. The landscape owes much to the underlying Triassic bunter formations. Cannock Chase was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on 16 September 1958 and is the smallest area so designated in mainland Britain, covering 68 km2 (26 sq mi). Much of the area is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Despite being relatively small in area, the chase provides a remarkable range of landscape and wildlife, including a herd of around 800 fallow deer and a number of rare and endangered birds, including migrant nightjars. A feeding station at the Marquis Drive Visitors’ Centre, sponsored by the West Midland Bird Club, attracts many species, including brambling, yellowhammer and bullfinch.

 

Efforts are underway to increase the amount of heathland on the chase, reintroducing shrubs such as heather in some areas where bracken and birch forest have crowded out most other plants. The local flora also includes several species of Vaccinium, including the eponymous Cannock Chase berry (Vaccinium ×intermedium Ruthe). In January 2009, an outbreak of the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum was discovered on the chase, at Brocton Coppice. Various restrictions were put in place in an attempt to prevent its spread.

Races

So once again we had two days of racing, great finish to Laferra’s first season. The trails were just under 5km but surprisingly very tough (elevation only 91m). My greek rescue girl was very strong all around and did well by overtaking more people this time than being overtaken. Lovely mix terrain full of grass and forest trails made her go even more. It is very challenging to start in mass and then meet a lot of people out on trails. At the end of the day she is still very young dog and took it all without any problem. 3 weeks after Glamis, I felt once again stronger and really worked hard. Looking forward to part 2 of my programme with Ben Robinson. Time for summer and work even harder for next season. Fur Nations races are joining the list of race must attend next season.

 

My 12 weeks adventure with running programme

Hopefully you had a look at my previous post including some insights into the programme I am doing with Ben Robinson. Why Ben’s programme? Well he is the best in the World, Europe and UK. I think that’s good enough answer. If it isnt enough well here you go more information about Ben:

– BTEC in Sport & Exercise Science.

– Degree in Sports Strength & Conditioning.

– Over 6 years working within the fitness Industry.

– Running at a high level for over 15 years (As well as Canicross since 2014).

– Multiple county titles on the Track, Road & Cross-Country during Junior & Senior years.

– Sub 02:00 800m, Sub 04:00 1500m, Sub 15:00 5km.

– Three-time British Champion of Canicross (2015, 2016, 2017).

– European Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Champion of Canicross (2017).

– World Record Holder (Canicross 5km) of 12:24 (2017).

– Self-coached Athlete who also coaches Matthew Robinson (Robbo Snr/Ben’s Dad) & Elaine Sherwin (A previous British & European Canicross Champion & current World Record Holder for the Women’s “assisted” parkrun).

The adventure begun

I have never known what to do to improve my running skills. I always stick to good healthy food, which probably somehow helps, but nothing really changed much in the performance. There was maybe slow progress but nothing major. The 12 weeks programme changed the game for me. At the beginning it was to understand the different wording used in “athletics world” and the pacing terminology. Surprisingly I really struggled with it. I literally needed to learn from start. Week by week and it was getting easier to know the paces and what to do.

Firstly I have learnt that recovery runs are very important, and rest days not as much. It is all about different running, not just same session all the time just faster. Variety is the key! I probably don’t make it easy for myself choosing the terrains that aren’t the easiest but I really want to work hard, and push myself!

What has changed?

As I am planning to stay on Ben’s programme for some time (approx 2 years 😀 haha- he cant get rid of me now), it wasn’t all about results. I needed to build strength and my head around all that running. I don’t know how that happened but I felt super excited about every single training session. Half way through the programme I had a break down, but got an amazing support from Ben which really help me to pass that tough time. Back on track and week 9 and 11 proved that hard work pays off. I improved my times, but what is more important I really enjoyed racing with my girl! I felt like running, not trotting anymore. I felt strong and love every step out on trails!

Week 12 just finished and I can’t believe how much it changed. My body is stronger, my head is loving and buzzing for all the running (even hills) but also legs just goes themselves (it feels I started running lighter-not so heavy anymore), my strava keeps saying trending faster. Yeah I just love the running! I even managed to skip my healthy diet, and slipped to have some bad habits for a bit! It didnt affect it all. Everyone deserve a small treat from time to time, right? No more skipping it tho 🙂 and I have added some additional restrictions.

New thinking

I also discover that if I follow the same patterns for pre-race and post-race my body prepares and recovers much better. I felt I was always good, but Ben really changed my thinking on small things, for example to leave my chilli behind if I know I have races coming. I love my chilli and never thought it can affect my running.

I used to be dreading for hills training and my legs would be very tired. Now I understand that the hard work and the tiredness after training is worth, and eventually it will pay back. I also unexpected gain few kgs, but I blame all the muscles, as I see my legs getting stronger. Despite the extra kgs, my legs are feeling lighter and faster, my body looks stronger and tighter during running.

Time to start part two- next 12 weeks programme

I am so looking forward to next programme. Now we are just training, no more races as season finished. My next stop is Trophee des Montagnes in August in France. This event is more about holidays: fun and meeting friends. My next major stop is Canicross Midlands and ICF in Poland. It will be challenging, but I hope to enjoy it and tick it off my bucket list than race it as fast as I can. Keep smiling, keep training and results will come!

 

 

Explorer pass- Historic Scotland- an amazing historic tour with dogs

Last week was a bit different than usual as I was on holidays and we had a visitor. We have decided on explorer pass which gets you to over 70 attractions and therefore fast track to Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. We have bought 3 days pass which needed to be used within a 5 day period. Most of the attractions are apparently dog-friendly, so we tried to see what it is like to go and visit Castles with dogs.

Tantallon Castle, North Berwick

Set on the edge of the cliffs, looking out to the Bass Rock, this formidable castle was a stronghold of the Douglas family. Ascend Tantallon’s towers for spectacular views of the Bass Rock and to watch gannets plunge into the North Sea. Then descend into the depths of a particularly grim pit prison. The castle was home to the powerful Red Douglas dynasty, which often clashed with the Crown. It was besieged by both James IV and James V but was ultimately destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in a siege of 1651. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Amazing thing about this castle is that you can bring your dog (leashed) and explore the castle. Massive massive respect for being dog-friendly. Love that there were a lot of grass around to walk. Not many tourists too and a lot of place to stop and have a break with stunning views.

Dirleton Castle, Dirleton

A romantic castle often in the forefront of Scottish history since it was built in the 12th century. The renowned gardens include an Arts and Crafts herbaceous border and Victorian garden. The herbaceous border has been authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest. The two gardens and grounds are accessible to those using wheelchairs. Two steps lead to the inner courtyard. The castle interior is restricted for visitors using wheelchairs as are the gazebo and dovecote. Surfaces on all garden paths and those leading to the grounds are suitable for wheelchairs. The main garden has a selection of scented flowers and plants. Tickets: 6 GBP.

I think this one was my favourite, it had lovely garden to walk around the castle but also dogs were allowed inside. It was very quiet with tourists so we could enjoy it just to ourselves. The staff offered us the water for dogs and welcome them too. We even stood in a shop and Roger was taking all the teddy bears! Oops.

We could walk around the castle, but also inside the building in the Great Hall and so on. Dogs loved all the livestock around, we saw goats, cows and horses while walking in the gardens. Dogs were really keen on sniffing around and we could also take an amazing photos out and in. Loved it! I was very impressed with my first castle tour!

Linlithgow Palace

Inside one of the most spectacular ruins in Scotland you cannot help but walk in the footsteps of royalty. This royal pleasure palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and an iconic filming location in hit TV show Outlander.

Visit the great hall where monarchs hosted banquets, tour James IV’s suite of chambers or say a prayer in the private oratory of James V. Outlander fans will recognise the Palace gates and corridors as being those used in the scenes when Jamie was imprisoned.  You can see the elaborate, restored fountain in action every Sunday in July and August – it reputedly flowed with wine when Bonnie Prince Charlie visited.The high towers look down over the palace’s grounds –the Peel – and Linlithgow Loch, an important refuge for wildlife. You can explore both on well-surfaced paths. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Maybe actually this one is my favourite one?! You can walk around the Palace which has a Loch (dogs ran into it for a cool down), but also an amazing palace’s ground full of ground for playing fetch. A lot of walking around inside the Palace once again brought a lot of interesting smells for my two mutts. Laferra was in love with birds inside the castle as they were really teasing her.

Cragiemillar Castle

The castle of Craigmillar is one of the most perfectly preserved castles in Scotland. Even today, the castle retains the character of a medieval stronghold. Building began in the early 15th century, and over the next 250 years the castle became a comfortable residence surrounded by fine gardens and pastureland. The castles history is not only closely involved with the city of Edinburgh, but plays an important part in the story of Mary Queen of Scots who fled to Craigmillar Castle following the murder of Rizzio. It was in the castle where the plot was hatched to murder Marys husband, Lord Darnley. Built round an L-plan tower house of the early 15th Century, Craigmillar was much expanded in the 15th and 16th Centuries. It is a handsome ruin, including a range of private rooms linked to the hall of the old tower. Tickets: 6 GBP.

Once again a very quiet place to visit with friendly staff and a “make it yourself” wheel trolley so we made ourselves crowns! So much laugh as we knew it was just for kids. A cat welcome us which probably would be funny if Roger would spot it. Apart from that a nice building to walk in and out and literally noone there apart from the staff.

Blackness Castle

One of Scotland’s most impressive strongholds, Blackness Castle was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland’s most powerful families, the Crichtons.

This Castle is close to the beach so dogs could have a deep in the sea, but also on the other side there is grass grounds for them to run around and play. [Note: I actually realised this was a part of our training grounds, but from other side]. Absolutely lovely and tiny castle. Dogs are not permitted in roofed buildings.

Absolutely amazing time exploring! I would defo recommend a dog-friendly tour around Scottish Castles.

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!

 

 

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.