Saturday, December 1, 2007

A fast training run today.

Although the Two Rivers Tune Up race scheduled for today was cancelled, I must have forgotten to tell my dogs They wanted to run fast, and the hardest part of the run for me was finding a speed that was fast enough to satisfy my leaders, but slow enough to accommodate Ol' Gump, who isn't accustomed to running faster on well packed trails. Here's the report from my log book:

12/1/07 – Saturday. Daisy is still off due to her injury, though she is running around acting like everything is just fine. That’s OK, I’m going to keep her off until Dr. O gives her the OK to run again.

8 miles – four wheeler - +14 degrees to start, colder in the flats, +10 at the finish. Hard, fast, icy trails. Max speed 14 mph, moving average 10.4 by GPS.

The team today was:

Dutchess / Grace (L)

Gump / Rose (S)

Ende (Lynn O's dog) / Nels (T)

Sheenjek / Seamus (W)

The highlight of the day was having 5 (yep, five) head on passes with other teams. The first two were teams running together as we left Lynn’s place heading down Pleasant Valley Rd. My dogs were fresh, their dogs were well under control, and it was as close to a perfect pass as one could ask for.

We did Swenson’s field, and Nels was crowding Ende (both seem to want to run on the right). I stopped to move Ende over to the left side of the gangline, got back to the machine and was just about ready to go again when Dutchess grew wearing of Grace being snippy, and those went at it for a bit. It wasn’t anything high level, but it was enough for them to get harnesses and neck line tangled, so I had to clear that. Once we got moving again everything pretty much got sorted out.

The leaders really wanted to go fast, and poor Gump can’t do that, so had a heck of a time finding a compromise. Even so, it was a full MPH faster than we usually do this run.

The second pass was while returning on Baseline, one team on a four wheeler. That team was very well trained and blew past us like a freight train. I honestly don’t think my dogs had time to think about “visiting” before they were already gone. Grace glanced back toward them a time or two, but kept running straight along. Next we encountered two teams, apparently running together but spaced well apart. The first was a team on a sled. I’ve encountered this team before, and they seem to be all over the trail until just before the pass, when they get it together. My guys tried to ball up, but the leaders kept them moving well enough to call it “good”. The team behind the sled team was on a four wheeler, and my team and wheel dogs got a notion to visit, but again the leaders pulled them through it okay, and there were no issues.

Gump gave his very best effort, and continues to get stronger with each run. He is a very laid back dog and I think he is having trouble figuring out that this team runs faster than his former team. Lynn says when he’s in lead with Kia he just sort of mosey’s along basically at a walk. He kept himself to a good lope for at least three miles, and then trotted along, sometimes slack lining, but always willing to get back into the game with in short order.

Rose was back to her old hard-working self today. She is still acting a bit shy and confused, but with her adolescent fear period coinciding with coming into season I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

Seamus didn’t dip snow early in the run nearly so much as he usually does. Maybe he’s figuring it out or maybe the pace was faster and kept him from getting bored so early on. Either way, it’s a good thing. He was back to it as we went along the high berms along Baseline, but I think the higher berm is just to good for him to pass up. Sheenjek, as always, was a blue-collar worker, hard in the tug the whole run.

Overall, it was a very good training run. Faster than I should have done it I think – as a couple of dogs had loose bowel movements afterward, but there were no serious issues on the trail, and most of the dogs were out and trotting about their circles less than two hours after I brought them home.

The weather is getting colder, though the most recent forecast isn’t for as deep a cold as they were predicting earlier. Nonetheless by mid-week it’s going to be downright frigid. On the up side, there is a chance we could see some new snow by next weekend.


When I got home I put some additional straw in all the dog's houses so they should have adequate bedding for the upcoming cold snap. If it gets truly bitter I'll bring three of them in at night. Rose, because she's in season and could attract horny wolves, little Dutchess because she just recently weaned puppies and still has a thin coat and skinny butt, and Gump because he is mellow and well behaved in the house, and will set a good example for young, rowdy Rose.

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