Friday, February 20, 2009

Fresh Snow – Training Report 19 Feb 09

We woke to just above freezing temps and snow falling from the sky. I loaded up the 16 dogs, just like the day before and off to the trails. The plan was to do 8 miles with the same two 8 dog teams.

The first team had Luna and Gabby at lead, Bogey and Zia at swing, Velma and Apollo at team and Timber and Thursby at wheel. This was Gabby’s first time in lead from start to finish. The temps were warm and the snow was heavy and wet. I expected our run to be a little slower than normal. The first team broke trail for the entire run.

It was a little cooler for the second team. I had Mae and Bear at lead, Amizette and Cyphers at swing, Alli and Tolby at team and Lasar and Hawkeye at wheel. This team flew. We were about 15 minutes quicker than the first team.

The shoulder was a little soar when after I got home and everyone off-loaded. It’s doing a little better a few hours later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't tell the Doctor or Physical Therpaist - 18 Feb 09

I got off work at 6:30 AM home at 7:15 AM and after a 5 hour nap, I loaded the truck, collared and watered the dogs. Loaded 16 dogs into the truck. The dog truck is configured for 20 dogs (5 boxes double stacked per side), with a possibility of 22.

Since I can’t lift anything over my head for fear of regressing my shoulder that cuts out the top boxes. Now I have to fit 16 dogs into 10 boxes. The first 2 boxes on both sides of the truck are doubles. I was able to load the 4 that normally go into those boxes and add a smaller female per box. Then the remaining 3 boxes on each side got a dog. Ok, that leaves 4 left. Those 4 rode in the cab of the truck. It’s a good thing it’s a crew cab and the trails are only 10 minutes from the house.

I was at the track at 3:15 PM and had the first team out a few minutes after 4 PM. I ran two teams of 8 dogs on the toboggan sled for 8 miles. The toboggan sled is older and a little heavier than my other sleds, which makes it a great training sled. The secret to steering the toboggan is to have some weight in the sled.

The first team I had Mae and Bear in lead, Amizette and Cyphers in swing, Alli and Tolby at Team 1 and Hawkeye and Lasar at wheel. I want to take advantage of the shorter runs to see what leader potential may have developed over the last few months.

Halfway through the run I moved Cyphers up and put Mae back at swing. Mae did great at lead. Cyphers was a little unsure at first as he remained a nose length behind Bear, but then he caught on and kept pace with Bear.

The second team consisted of Bogey and Luna at lead, Velma and Gabby at swing, Apollo and Zia at team 1 and Timber and Thursby at wheel.

I used the same approach and halfway through I moved Gabby at lead and Bogey to swing. I moved Zia up to swing and Velma back to team 1 with Apollo. Velma wasn’t focused at swing. Gabby did a great job. On tomorrow’s run, I am going to start Gabby at lead and see how that transpires.

Shoulder update: The shoulder is still a little soar. The physical therapist tech found a knot in the tendon during my deep tissue massage last Thursday. Monday morning (after a night shift), she went to work again. She couldn’t find the knot, but said the tendon felt “ropey”. The good news is she did find a knot.

Editor’s note: We won’t tell the doctor or physical therapist that I took the dogs out for a run. They might threaten to cut off my muscle relaxers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Back on the Runners - 15 Feb 09

Mary and I were able to load up the pups and head down to thetrails. It was around 37 degrees when we arrived at 2PM and keptgetting warmer. Mary hasn't been on the runners in about 2 years, so we decided we would each take a small team 6 miles and then shewould take the third team of five out by herself.

Mary's first team consisted of Bogey and Zia in lead, Gabby in Swing and Alli and Tolby in wheel. After 3 miles she wanted to give Gabby some lead time, so she made the swap.

I had Bear and Mae in lead, Amizette and Cyphers at swing and Hawkeyeand Apollo in wheel. We caught Mary after 2 miles and stayed behind her for another 2 miles. We made several stops to let the dogs divein the snow and cool down. Bear was ready to do some passing andtook the team on the right side of Mary and on past. Not a bad run.

The last team consisted of Luna and Lasar in lead, Velma in swing and Timber and Thursby in wheel. They came in very strong. She said they flew even when she tried to stop and let them cool down, they just wanted to keep running.

The dogs had lost a great deal of conditioning, but were happy to getout and stretch their legs.

As for my shoulder, it is doing a little better. I didn't do a great deal of lifting, so there was little stress on it.

Training Report - 29 Jan 09

Wed night we received a couple of inches of snow. I was off onThursday, so we decided to get the team out for a short run. My shoulder was feeling pretty good with some minor pain. Mary's help was appreciated and without her, this run would not have happened.

We ran 2 teams of 8 with the 4 wheeler for a 9 mile run. This permitted me to get the 3, which recovered from previous injuries,back in the team.

We were the first ones at the trails so there wasn't an opportunityfor the snow to get packed down on the ice.

Everyone was excited to get back in harness and they performedadmirably. I kept them at a trot so they wouldn't risk a shoulderinjury by sliding on the snow that hadn't stuck to the ice.

I chose the 4 wheeler, since the 2 inches of snow wouldn't createenough base on top of the ice to hold a hook. This would give memore control over the dogs if I had to stop and not jeapordizehurting my shoulder anymore.

We did lose some conditioning, but not as much as I thought. Once weget back on sleds, I will be in a better position to assess theirconditioning and re-evaluate the rest of the race year.