Roxy training diary month 46
March 2007


Mar 25.  Given Roxy's abysmal-but-still-qualifying performance in Rally this weekend, and her equally poopy performance in obedience, I decided today would be a good day to go work on some social skills.

So, I filled my pockets with treats and we walked the half-mile to the local strip shopping center, which is where the grocery store we usually go to is located. 

Roxy and I did some heeling practice on the way there, then we parked ourselves near the entrance to the store (not too close, as not everyone loves Roxy the way I do). 

It was a good experience for her overall.  There were three teenaged skateboarders practicing on the speedbumps in front of the store.  A helicopter flew over, making a run from the hospital behind the shopping center.  Myriad other distractions (shopping carts, people, wheelchairs, etc.) were there but it was fairly slow on a Sunday afternoon, and Roxy did well enough to get encouragement but not well enough that she didn't learn anything by being perfect.  She was not perfect.

If the weather continues to be pleasant, we'll have to do it again once or twice a week to get her used to training with distractions.  We'll try out a bunch of different places over the next six weeks as we prepare for her "fer real" obedience debut May 4.

No Parking

Roxy's sister Thorn has found a new home in Baker City, Oregon.  Thorn's new mom, Connie, sent along these photos.  Isn't it an amazing resemblance (even though Thorn is not posing under a 'No Parking' sign)?

Like Roxy, Thorn enjoys a good game of chase.  Now that the sisters are geographically closer, we might arrange some play dates for them.  Who knows how they would get along?

Thorn's New Home

Thorn Chases

Here is a picture of Roxy (underneath) and Thorn (on top) from the very first RoxyLog entry, June 8 2003.  I posted two pictures on that day, right after I got home with Roxy; this was one of them.

Roxy and Thorn: The Early Years


Mar 24.  We went back to Rally Advanced A and Wild Card Novice today in Farmington.  We'll be taking tomorrow off, which is good, because Roxy was not very good today.

When Roxy's Rally score was posted as a 92 (out of 100), I said to Rosemary, "this has got to be a mistake."  It wasn't a 92 performance by any means.  However, I went in for awards and picked up my second place ribbon and a qualifying ribbon, because that's what I was taught to do.  You never question a judge's decision, whether it goes for or against you.

I was perplexed for about 30 minutes, and in the meantime we went into Wild Card Novice and stank up the place.  She was even more distracted than in Rally, although her Stand for Exam and Recall were better than I've seen in a while.  She busted both of the group exercises, but at least she came to me instead of visiting the other dogs.  She made it about 2 minutes into the long down.

So as I was packing to leave, a ring steward came to me and said, "1254 Cattle Dog?"  I knew I was busted.  Sure enough, the score was added wrong and she really got a 77, which was about what she deserved.  It was enough to qualify, so I was relieved to keep the qualifying ribbon but I had to give back the second place. 

Our next time in Rally will be Thursday May 3.  We're going to give "real" Novice B obedience a try then, too.  We have some work to do over the next six weeks.

Then I went up to Red Rock Ranch to start my 15 mile training run.  I ran from two miles higher up the canyon than this course for a total of 15.  I was running a pretty good pace when I clocked myself at the halfway point: 68 minutes for 7½ miles, which is 9 minutes per mile.  However, I slowed down a lot on the last half and I'm pretty sure I hit the wall about a mile from the finish.  If that really was the wall at 14 miles, it's gonna be a real drag to run 26.2 miles.  We'll see when I do my next long run next Saturday.  I may need to adjust my diet to get more carbs the day before and see if that helps.

The good news is, I should be on track to get a PR of right at 2 hours for my next half-marathon Apr 7 over the same course.  Right now, my PR is 2:12 so that would be a significant improvement in just a year.


Dylan Has a Crush on Frosty Paws

Roxy Licks Frosty Paws

Roxy vs. Annie

Mar 22-23.  We're celebrating Annie's 14th birthday (March 22, 1993) and Roxy's 4th birthday (probably March 22, 2003 but officially March 23, 2003). The RoxyLog will be four years old in June.  Jim is also celebrating two years of Weight Watchers (his first weigh-in was March 21, 2005).  So this is a big remembrance time at our house.

Dylan has an (ahem) unique style of eating things that are smaller than his head.  Rather than lick at it, as Roxy and Annie do, he puts it in his mouth and crushes it.  Of course, when he does that to a Frosty Paws treat it makes a disgusting mess, as one can see at left.

Annie's 10th birthday was March 22, 2003.  On that date, we were celebrating at an agility trial in Kiln, Mississippi; we were as yet unaware that Roxy was going to be a part of our lives. 

For Annie's 14th birthday this year, a much lower-key celebration.  Rosemary bought her a weird toy and a round of Frosty Paws for the dogs. 

Dylan, whose rehab has progressed to the point where he's been returned to "tug status", is happy that he gets to play his favorite game again.  All the dogs celebrated with a round-robin Tug Tournament.

Friday, March 23, to celebrate Roxy's 4th birthday, I had her entered in Rally (Advanced A, her first time in the class) and in a non-regular obedience class (Wildcard Novice).

I taught my 8 am class and then Roxy and I zipped down to Farmington, about a half-hour south, where the trial was held.  I missed my Rally walk-through but the judge let me walk quickly before my run.  I messed up one station completely (minus 10) and almost tripped over another sign (minus 2) so there were 12 points of deductions on my side of the ledger and 5 points on Roxy's side.  We ended up with an 83 which was good for a qualifying leg and third place.  So now Roxy is Rally Novice (RN) and 1/3 Rally Advanced (RA).  Rally Advanced is all done off-lead, but her off-lead heeling is generally pretty good.  We'll go back in tomorrow (Saturday).

In the new Wild Card Novice class, you're allowed to declare one exercise you want to skip.  I needed to get to a meeting, so Roxy and I skipped the group exercise.  The rest of the exercises were not embarassing, but not great.  She was poopy on her heeling and wouldn't always sit reliably on halts, so we lost big points there.  She busted her recall for a zero on that exercise.  Still, we got 4th place, so it was not totally bad.  Her stand for exam was better than we've seen before.  Tomorrow I'll skip something else and try the long sit and down (the group exercises).

After that, I plan to go run the April 7 half-marathon course with a couple of extra miles for 15 miles on my weekend "long run". I feel much better this week after dialing back my midweek runs.  I was supposed to do 14 miles on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but instead did 4½ Wednesday only (see Mar 21 entry).   I feel much stronger than I have in a while.  I'm still trying to adjust my training calendar for a 48 year old novice marathon runner.

I used an online calculator to determine that my marathon time would be 4:30 if I ran it today.  I'd like to break 4 hours, but 4:30 would not be bad if that's what I get. 

Roxy and Dylan Return to Tug Status

Weird Toy

Annie Has the Weird Toy


Mar 21.  My plan to sit around and do nothing, which we'll generously call a response to overtraining, is working out beautifully.  I did walk three miles yesterday and run 4½ today, but no one's perfect.  I still plan to put in my 15 miles on Saturday.

Even though this webpage is four years old, I just found out about it today.  Colin Fahey sets out to make a perfect (low) score on the SAT.  Hilarious.  (He did it again on the New SAT, two years later.)

Dylan, as a Star Patient, has been asked to model for a new brochure for Dr. Pam's K-9 Rehab Clinic.  We took some pictures to send to her; one of them is at right.

Dylan Jumps for Rehab


Mar 17.  Today's long run was a "step-back", which means it was less than I've been running.  That was good in a way because I've had a really blah week, as recorded on my training calendar.

John at Striders had set up a training run, out and back, 10½ miles.  It was pretty hilly, and I walked some.  Afterwards, I bought a canteen belt and talked to him about how the week had gone.  He confirmed what I had already suspected — that I'm likely overtraining. 


Dylan's Restaurant

I'm going to cut back this week on the shorter runs, maybe just walk the 3 and 4 mile runs and do an abbreviated midweek run or maybe walk/run the 7 miles on Wednesday.  I'm hoping this will leave me charged up and ready for the 15 mile run next Saturday.  I'm planning to run the first 15 of the Ogden Marathon course, which is mostly downhill.

Mar 16.  A big day for Roxy.

We took the afternoon off to start Roxy off on sheep at a new herding facility nearby, Kelley Creek Farm in Huntsville, Utah.  Rosemary hopes to start teaching agility lessons there soon.

Our initial plan was to just take Roxy up, but the US Forest Service was doing a controlled burn on the mountain behind our house and Rosemary wasn't confident about leaving Dylan and Annie at home.  So, everyone got to come along.

As long as we had Dylan, we decided to stop by his restaurant and get something to eat.  While we were there, we took a photo of him in front of his sign.

Then it was up Ogden Canyon to the farm.

Shauna Gourley has a very nice, well-appointed place there, with agility, swimming, and herding facilities. 

Both Annie and Dylan have their ACDCA Herding Instinct Certificates, so we tell them often that their herding stincts.  Roxy has a deep pedigree of herding bloodlines: her sire, Tate, has an AKC Herding Excellent title, while her dam, Twist, has her Herding Intermediate title on cattle and is 2/3 of the way to her Herding Excellent title on cattle.  


So, as long as she inherited some herding brain cells from either her sire or dam, we figured she would do okay.

Shauna and Border Collie Hope set the sheep in the round pen for Roxy.  After she got her fill of sheep poop, we heard a "bink" as the light bulb came on and she started working the sheep. 

She even got in an air bite or two, but she refrained from wool-pulling or drawing blood, which was a relief to us, and no doubt to the sheep as well.

She seemed to prefer the "come by" direction (i.e. clockwise, viewed from above) but Shauna and I got her to change over to " 'way to me" (counter-clockwise) a few times.

We let her do her herding thing for a while, then when she was in a state of excitement, we decided to stop while she was still having fun and charged up about the whole experience.

It was a rare and beautiful March day, with temperatures in the mid-60s, so Roxy got to relax with a swim in the nearby creek and pond.  We got out the ball and let her go to it, and even though the water was cold (it was snowmelt, after all), she had a great time of it.

We hope to make time for weekly sessions in the future.  Maybe we can even have her ready for a Herding Tested, Pre-Trial or maybe even a Herding Started run at the ACDCA National Specialty in September, if we keep it up and if she continues to show some aptitude.  Most of all, she took direction well while in the pen, so it will probably be a question of training me in how to manage her.

Walk Up

'Way to Me

A Change of Direction


I've Got It

Come Here, Little Ball


The Dog in the Nylon Mask

Mar 13.  It would be difficult to describe the exact circumstances that led to the photograph at left, but let's just say Annie was not really pleased to be chosen as the model for this one.

The dogs usually get excited when we get UPS boxes from but not this time.

I ran three miles today, but my gastrocnemii are really really sore from Saturday's downhill sections.  I hope I'll recover enough for tomorrow's seven mile run.  Nothing that Vitamin I won't take care of, I suppose.

I have been selling a bunch of stuff on eBay this week.  I found out a 1977 TV Guide that I've had around forever is worth $25.  Whoopee!  Out it goes.  Go bid on stuff.  You know you want an obsolete VCR.  If it doesn't sell, it goes in the garbage.


Mar 12.  Nothing better for dogs to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon than...destroy a box.

The box in question came with a new rack for videotapes that we bought to free up some basement storage. 

Genuine chipboard with faux oak veneer!

These were taken last Sunday, March 4, but I just got around to downloading them now. 

Some of the basement junk is electronics that we will release to the wild through eBay.  The DVD player we gave away to our friends Dan and Alice, because they don't have one. 

Roxy's Satanic Thoughts


My Box.  Not Your Box.  My Box.

If I get ten bucks for this junk on eBay, I'll be ahead, and I will have practiced discardia, which is my new passion.

We, as typical Americans, have entirely too much stuff.

The dogs pitched in by preparing the box for the recycling bin.

Meanwhile, I have been using Spring Break as an opportunity to work my way through a pile of books I've meant to read. 

First up: The Origins of Satan by Elaine Pagels.  It's about how the conception and meaning of "Satan" has changed throughout Judeo-Christian history.  Neat stuff. 

Anyway, Rosemary caught Roxy napping and pondering the book while I was away tippy-tapping entries into the RoxyLog.


Mar 10.  Today was the 10 mile race that I've been preparing for.  I've been running parts of the course for weeks now, getting ready for the nasty hills.

Roxy and Rosemary came out to see me, but my time was a little bit better than I expected.  As we came down a short stretch between Big Damn Hill #1 and Big Damn Hill #2, just after mile 6, I saw them coming up the hill to greet me, and waved, but they didn't see me. 

They came back as I rounded the corner again near the end, about a quarter-mile from the finish line.  I got to pet Roxy.  She didn't recognize me at first and looked shocked.  Rosemary says she didn't like the clapping and cheering very much.

I was happy with my time: 1:34.04 over 10 miles, or 9.4 minutes/mile, which is considerably better than my usual 10 minute per mile pace.  Given the hills, I was especially pleased.  I was 14/17 in my gender/age group and would have been 13th except for stopping to see Roxy: I was only two seconds behind the 13th finisher.  That's 111/145 among all men in the race .   The next race is a half-marathon on April 7, and I am hoping to break 2 hours in that.  My PR in the half-marathon is 2:12.

Mar 9.  My boss brought to my attention the upcoming Roxy Chicken Jam.

Roxy says "chicken jam" sounds pretty good to her.  She's licking her flews.

If you decide to go, they promise a "super sick contest" with the addition of a Superpipe competition this year.  It's the last six-star contest of the year.  Really.

We need to get Roxy to sponsor a Duck Jam contest.  Then all the members of the Société de Canard de Chien de Troupeau can come out and watch.

Roxy Chicken Jam


Mar 7.  I've been continuing with my training plan.  On Saturday, I had my long run for the week, a 12 mile run.  I planned in lots of hills, which was probably a mistake.

For whatever reason — hills, weather, my physiology or mood — it just didn't go well. The first 8 or 9 miles were okay, then it deteriorated and by the last 3, I just hated myself and the world at large.

I had planned for 12.5 even though I owed my training calendar 12.  About a half mile from home, Rosemary showed up in the car with a bottle of water and I just took a ride home. It felt like failure, but I did it anyway.

Last week's total was only 24 miles. What am I going to do when I have to run 40 miles in a week, or 20 miles at a time? I also don't feel like I can break 2 hours in the half, or 4 hours in the marathon.

On Sunday, Rosemary and I went to the gym and she worked on her 5K training while I cross-trained on the elliptical.  Monday was a rest day.

The 10 mile race is Saturday.  Tuesday I ran the second leg of the course, over 4 miles, going up The Big Hill on 46th, and today I ran the first part, over 6 miles.  Now I have to put it together on Saturday.

I went to judge the Salt Lake City district science fair today.  Meanwhile, Rosemary and Roxy went to the Dee Events Center to see off the Women's Basketball team as they travel to Missoula, Montana for the Big Sky Tournament. 

They're seeded third.  They'll face some stiff competition; the host team and #1 seed, Montana, is nationally-ranked.  We beat them here in Ogden (one of only two losses for them this year), but lost in Missoula during the regular season.

Roxy wore her cheerleader costume and wished the women well as they boarded the bus.  Center Janie Rayback and Coach Carla Taylor were both happy to see Roxy, Rosemary said.

Tonight, the men's team plays for a chance to compete in the Big Dance: the NCAA tournament. 


Mar 1.  Cumulative results for the Striders Winter Racing Circuit are up.  In my age group, I'm 14/17 overall.

The weather has been cooperative — sort of.  Tuesday is a short (3 mile) run, and it was crummy outside, so I ran inside.  Wednesday was a longer (6 mile) run, the weather was nice, and I ran outside.  My boss said, "I saw a big purple grape run past my window."  (I was wearing a purple turtleneck.)  I told her I am trying to turn from a grape into a raisin.  Tonight (Thursday) is was nasty weather again, so we went back inside to run.  Rosemary continues to progress on her Couch-to-5K plan and I finished 3 miles in about 24 minutes, and felt pretty comfortable with my run.

We're finalizing plans to join the Skippers in a visit to Las Vegas.  I'm going to get to see the Hoover Dam for the first time in my life, which will be a thrill for me.  Also, since the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West will open March 28, and our trip is planned for Easter weekend (April 8), I've got tickets to walk the skywalk.  It should be an exhilarating experience.

The Skywalk


Previous RoxyLogs
2003 2004 2005   
The Pre-RoxyLog Days RoxyLog January 2005 (month 20)
RoxyLog February 2005 (month 21)
RoxyLog March 2005 (month 22)
RoxyLog April 2005 (month 23)
RoxyLog May 2005 (month 24)
RoxyLog June 2005 (month 25)
RoxyLog July 2005 (month 26)
RoxyLog August 2005 (month 27)
RoxyLog September 2005 (month 28)
RoxyLog October 2005 (month 29)
RoxyLog November 2005 (month 30)
RoxyLog December 2005 (month 31)
2006 2007 2008    
RoxyLog January 2006 (month 32) RoxyLog January 2007 (month 44) January    
RoxyLog February 2006 (month 33)
RoxyLog March 2006 (month 34)
RoxyLog April 2006 (month 35)
RoxyLog May 2006 (month 36)
RoxyLog June 2006 (month 37)
RoxyLog July 2006 (month 38)
RoxyLog August 2006 (month 39)
RoxyLog September 2006 (month 40)
RoxyLog October 2006 (month 41)
RoxyLog November 2006 (month 42)
RoxyLog December 2006 (month 43)