Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Cold Training Day with Ups and Downs

The thermometer at my house read - 6 degree (F) as I was leaving, but the thermometer mounted on the side of my dog truck read -18 degrees at Lynn Orbison's place, only five miles away. We had several mushers all running out of Lynn's yard today, so it was a great party.

For the most part, my team ran quite well and looked good doing it. Here's a photo of the good times:

I wanted to increase the mileage a bit today, so took the team from Lynn's place to the Baseline Trail, then turned down Pheasant Farm Road to a little 'lillipop loop' turnaround near the Jenny M Creek bridge to return via the same route. While on the way back toward Lynn's on the Baseline Trail we met with Edie and Lynn running a string of 12 dogs with a four-wheeler. All of my young dogs wanted to visit with their buddies. Fortunately no one made contact and we were able to get past each other without any major tangles, but it did afford an opportunity to catch a photo of when things don't go quite the way we would prefer.

The rest of the training run went along without incident, or so I thought. The thermometer on my truck read -24 degrees (F) while I was snacking and watering my team. About an hour after we'd finished the run I noticed that Daisy was moving very stiffly, and has a limp that appears to come from her left hip. I massaged her very well with Algyval tonight, but I am facing a tough decision. She'll have to take tomorrow off for sure, and maybe a few more days. I've already had to change my training goals to accommodate her earlier injury. At this point I think I probably should concentrate on training up the rest of the team to do the longer distances, and reserve Daisy for shorter runs in the neighborhood. It's looking like this 11 year old just can't handle the longer runs that I need from my team.

Here is today's entry in my training journal:

1-2-08 Wednesday: 11 miles. Max speed 13.6 mph, moving average 9.0 mph. Temperature -18 at start, - 24 at finish. Lynn Orbison’s to Pleasant Valley Rd. to Swenson’s Field to Baseline to bottom of Pheasant Farm Road and return with an extra loop in Swenson’s Field.

Daisy & Dutchess

Rose & Nels

Gump & Grace

Sheenjek & Seamus

The dogs tried to bolt when I popped the quick release, but I stopped them and made them wait until I was ready, then called them up. Had some trouble getting the GPS to start, probably due to the cold. Although the instrument reads a distance of 10.73 miles I’m pretty sure it took a quarter mile or more to get it to start properly.

At the corner of Swenson’s Field I let the leaders get most of the way around the right hand turn before calling for a haw. They took that cue to take me through the gate and up the middle lane of this three-way intersection, which is what I wanted. As soon as we hit the big trail I called for a gee, taking us down a side trail that more or less cuts lengthwise across the field. The leaders responded to all their cues well today.

It was VERY cold down in the bottom of Pheasant Farm Road, next to Munson’s Slough. On the return trip I checked my GPS and saw the mileage was falling a bit short of what I wanted, so did another lap around the field to add some distance.

We met Edie Forrest and Lynn Orbison, running a 12 dog string with the four-wheeler. All of my young dogs wanted to visit, which of course caused Edie’s dogs to hesitate. It wasn’t pretty, but at least we did get by each other.

After the run Daisy is very stiff and limping in the left rear – it looks like the limp is coming from her hip. I gave her a good massage with Algyval tonight, but it is looking like she won’t be able to train up for the Chena Hot Springs passenger race, and I can’t keep putting off increasing the mileage on the rest of the team while waiting for her to catch up.

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