Roxy training diary month 48
May 2007


Before the Backhoe

May 31.  I really, really wanted to rent a backhoe just so I could use a large, destructive piece of machinery, but Rosemary convinced me that hiring someone to do the backhoe work was both more cost-effective and safer for all concerned.

Today, Mr. Backhoe came and ripped out five plants we've been hating since we moved here: three dwarf pines, one shaped like a soft-serve ice cream cone; one weeping Mugo pine; and a juniper.  Two of the pines and the juniper were in a bed in the front yard.  They're gone now. 

Now we need to set about replacing these with plants that we really like and want to have around.


May 29.  Roxy had a herding lesson tonight, and both Shauna and I can see progress being made.

The switch to a smaller pen and a larger flock of sheep has made it easier for Roxy to understand what we want from her.  She's changing direction better, and doing more flanking than charging into the herd. 

Shauna has four sheep that came from another farm, and they tend to stay away from the others.  Roxy was doing well at bringing them back to the main group when they would separate, so that was good practice for her.


May 28.  Today at the Memorial Day Classic, I was hoping to set a new PR.

In the event, I just missed out on that, by 45 seconds or so, but I did place 41st out of 78 men and 5/7 in my age group with a time of 25'49".  I'm hoping to break 25 minutes the next time out, in my run benefitting "Girls on the Run" in Denver this weekend.  If not that time, then I have a half-dozen or so other opportunities coming up soon, and I'm determined that I will break that barrier. 

I'm guessing that about 22-23 minutes is as fast I can ever hope to be in the 5K, but I would like to bump my time down a bit as I work towards a sub-4 hour marathon time.  For the marathon training I'm doing now, I will be doing "pace runs" so I'll be getting lots of practice at running faster outside of races as well. 

I've been really lucky to not be injured since last year, and I'm hoping that luck holds.  I try to be careful.

I'm Number One...or Forty-One


Thorn is Thinking

Dylan is Not Looking at Those Other Dogs


May 26 (evening).  Rosemary and Dylan returned with pictures from their trip.

On the way up there, they stopped in Baker City, Oregon to visit Roxy's littermate Thorn.  Thorn and Roxy look so much alike, it's incredible.  Scroll down a screen or so to the picture entitled "Head Study" and you can see the resemblance.  They both get this wistful, far-away look.  If it weren't for the differences in masking, it would sure be hard to tell them apart. 

Roxy and Thorn were the only two littermates remaining when I went to pick Roxy up, with pictures way back in the original RoxyLog.

Among the skills that Dylan acquired on his trip was the ability to be close to other, "stranger" dogs without challenging them.  The picture shows Dylan pointedly not looking at Monique's dogs crated next to him.  Obviously, he's using a lot of brain cells trying to be a good boy.  It will take practice, and Tincture of Time, but he will get better at dealing with other dogs.

May 26.  Rosemary and Dylan left Sooke this morning, and there were things to catch up on.  I loaded the girls in the van and we ventured forth to take care of some errands. 

First stop was to the cleaners, then we headed to Layton so I could pick up my bib at Striders for the Memorial Day race.  I had gone in earlier in the week to switch from the ½ marathon to the 5K. 

While I was there, I complimented Kristin Wojciechowski how well the Ogden Marathon was run, and that must have been a nice thing to do because when I picked up my bib this morning I had been given bib #1.

At the time, I didn't know that the organizers had been scrambling to fix problems with vandalism during the early morning hours.  I did notice that some Porta-Potties had been overturned into the ditch at Eden Park, but I figured it was some sort of accident that had put them there.  I noticed some pretty stupid driving while I was running, also.  I guess the residents of the Ogden Valley were not uniformly supportive of the run.  

I've never been bib #1 before.  It's a tremendous responsibility, and I will try hard to live up to it.  I will try to get Rosemary to come along and take pictures of me running in my special bib.

After leaving Striders, we were near the Layton Grounds for Coffee, which is a very dog-friendly environment.  In fact, it was one of the first places Annie and I explored back in her Pioneer Annie days (see the July 17, 2005 entry).  Annie showed Roxy how to run the place, and as a reward, they both got dog biscuits which the baristas keep around just for such occasions.

Our third stop was the Home Depot to pick up some sprinkler parts.  The sprinkler system has been a thorn in my side ever since I moved here.  I finally decided to bite the bullet, digging up and replacing all the sprinkler heads in the front yard at least.  The sprinkler department was swamped with fools just like me making a hash of their Memorial Day weekend. 

I planted an unused bed in front with Texas bluebonnets and columbines.  We'll see how they do.  I am amused that it's a mixture of the state flowers of my native state and my adopted home state.   I put African daisy and marigold seeds in the front corner bed where I had dug up a couple of ugly little dwarf pine trees earlier this month.  That corner will eventually be grass, but in the meantime, some annuals will fill the space so it's not bare dirt.

Of course, reworking the sprinkler system meant that at least one piece snapped off underground, so that was two more trips to the plumbing department, since the Lowe's (closer to the house) was depleted so I had to go back to the Home Depot again. 

Thank goodness for cell phones.  It was getting late, and I have less than 24 hours for all my indulgences while I'm in Bachelor Mode, so I phoned Pizza Runner and ordered a Vegan Dread Head for dinner.  There's no cheese on it, and it's mostly veggies and pesto, so it's not as icky as you might expect.  I picked that up and ate al fresco on the front porch while contemplating my plumbing situation. 

A few minutes of daylight remained, so one zone of sprinklers was fixed and ready for action.  There's plenty more to do.

I was still in Bachelor Mode after all that, so Rox and I walked down to Jake's to watch the sunset with ice cream.  Then I decided it was a good time to learn how to download pictures from my new enV camera/phone (since I had been using it at Grounds for Coffee).  The process was both surprisingly non-intuitive yet surprisingly easy.  You can see the results here.

Next weekend, I will be visiting family in Denver and I'll be able to participate in a 5K run benefitting Girls on the Run.  It looks like a fantastic organization.

Annie and Roxy Take Over GfC

Head Study

May 25.  Roxy had another herding lesson this afternoon.  She was not doing well at all, so on a hunch Shauna took her into the smaller pen.  She had a go at some ducks, and for a few moments it looked like we might be having one for dinner.  So we went back to sheep, and Roxy did a spectacular job at flanking them and moving them out of tight corners.  She only had one or two runs that split the herd.  Shauna was visibly pleased, and so was I. 

May 21.  Yesterday, Roxy and I walked to Grounds for Coffee and back, a total trip of 3½ miles.  That felt good, in a weird way.  We took it veeeeeery sloooooowly.

Pictures from the marathon are up.  I have no idea whether this is a complete set.  They seem to be in reverse chronological order, so the finish line photo is the first one.  I call it "Eye of the Severely Beaten, Barely Alive Tiger Suffering from Multiple Lacerations and Contusions."

May 20.  Rosemary and Dylan have gone off to Canada.  They're planning to work with our friend Monique Anstee on some of Dylan's issues.  We hope to be able to re-enter the agility ring in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I need to have a plan for Roxy's ring nerves.  Today, I think we'll just take a walk.

Gee, Dude, You Don't Look So Good

May 19.  I finished the Ogden Marathon today.  Rosemary ran her first 5K.  So, we both set Personal Records in our individual events.

The results have been posted.   My time was well off of what I had hoped to accomplished (more about that later): 4:38:49.  That's 74/94 in my age/gender group, 563/741 for men and 895/1292 overall.   Rosemary was fifth in her age/gender group.

Friday of last week, I began showing some cold symptoms.  I didn't worry about it too much, because I've had colds try to get a foothold and then be beaten away by my superior immune system.  I was well into the "taper" period of my training, so I didn't need to do much more running.  I took my last long run on Sunday (Mother's Day) and got to run the trails above Ogden on a gorgeous spring day.  I felt pretty good after that run.

That was as good as I was going to feel this week.  By Monday night and Tuesday night I was into a nasty chest cold, with chills and fever and a lot of congestion in my chest.  That started to break up later in the week, and I was able to clear my lungs out enough to feel like I could chance a run. 

I really, really didn't like the idea of four months' training down the drain.

I took it easy in the first half, because it was my first time and I didn't know how the new type I alveolar cells I had made would perform. 

The first half felt really, really good.  Deceptively good, in fact.  I wasn't making the time I wanted — at about 2:10 for the half, I was well off the pace I had intended — but I felt strong.

I had pretty much psyched myself into thinking that if I could make it up the hill at mile 14, that the rest of the run would be pretty easy.  I was wrong. 

By the time I got to mile 17.5, Pineview Dam, at the head of Ogden Canyon, I was feeling pretty bad.  That's a shame, because the run down Ogden Canyon is one of my all-time favorites. 

Bonking surprised me.  I thought it was going to be an all-at-once feeling, like, "whoops! I ran out of glycogen!"  Instead, it was a very gradual thing.  The rest stations were spaced out every mile, and at each one, I lost another gear.  First, coming up to the dam, I lost fifth gear.  Then, at the next stop, fourth gear went.  By the time I got down to the mouth of the canyon (mile 23), I barely could get it into first gear.

I didn't have any hallucinations or other hypoglycemic symptoms, which was a welcome departure from what I had been told might happen.  I did try to motivate myself, saying, "You've done harder things than this."  The same voice answered: "No, you haven't."

I rallied for a bit when Rosemary and Annie met me at the mouth of the canyon.  It was nice to see Greta Von Plant at the last aid station.  Those are the only two positive things I can say about the last eight miles of the race, though.

Pictures should be up in a while.  I'm bib 1677 if you want to look for me that way.

Since I got a slot in the St. George Marathon on October 6, I've already started to (mentally) plan for my next marathon.  Hopefully, I can get closer to 4 hours. 

May 18.  Roxy had another herding lesson today; we had been missing them for several weeks.  She showed some improvement, I think, but she's still not sure what the rules of the game are.  We will keep working on it.

A Little Too Much Enthusiasm

There, Dammit

The Blind Leading the Blind


May 12.  Rosemary and I took a break this afternoon and joined the "Harmonica Army" in an attempt to break the world record for number of persons in a harmonica band.

The first attempt at the record by Ogdenites, in October 2006, fell short by some 500 people: 1200 people showed, and the record is 1706.

We had high hopes for this year, but they were dashed.  Only about 1000 people came.  We had to do something to cheer ourselves up, so we played "When the Saints Come Marching In" for five minutes together.  We did get a nifty video out of the deal, however.

Better luck next year.


The Phantom of the Opera

Is There, Inside Your Monitor

May 11.  We made it into Chris Millard's blog!  As Rosemary says, "we must be real people now!"  Chris had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her forehead, above her eye, and she made the mistake of posting that she needed a Phantom of the Opera mask. 

So I obligingly ordered one. 

Since she is officially Annie's owner, we took her lunch and brought her Annie's combined Get Well/Mother's Day gift.  It goes perfectly with her surgery.

Later, we went to look at more flooring options for the kitchen (now, redoing the floor has expanded to the living room as well) and also went by the countertop place.  We're getting closer on both a floor and countertop selection.  The appliances are ordered. 

We're getting closer and closer to making the kitchen remodel a reality. 

While we were out running errands, we went by the nursery (for plants, not children) and picked up the plants to populate our vegetable garden for the summer.  Rosemary got some more Better Boy tomatoes, since they worked out so well, and a few cherry and Roma tomatoes also.  We planted some bell peppers, and just on a whim I picked up some watermelon and acorn squash plants to try as our experiment for 2007.  Rosemary got some herbs as well.

Using the van as my tractor, I tied up a rope to some smallish pine trees, about two feet tall, in the front yard and yanked them out.  I was happy that the rope broke (several times) before my bumper did.  Working back and forth between the shovel, and tying rope and yanking, I finally got them both out.  I lost the battle of tensile strength, but shear strength won out in the end.

Rowdy Roxy


We had been meaning to take out those pines for some time now.  In the bed where they were, there are marigold seeds, but in time we will let the grass take over that corner where the bed used to be.  There were concrete mowing strips bordering the bed that I dug up and set aside.

Another bed, to the left of the driveway, had gone to weeds and I dug that up and put marigold seeds there until we decide what to do with it. 

Finally, I used dirt I had left over to fill a hole (probably where a tree had been) in the front lawn, and planned out a new extension to the bed on the northeast corner of the house, using the mowing strips I dug up.  We have pretty much let the beds in front of the house go, and this year we've resolved to get a handle on it and beautify our front yard.  We'd like to reduce our carbon footprint by planting more trees, so we need to figure out how best to accomplish that with the spaces we have.

The back will be a separate project for another year.


It's Alive

Trapped on the Stairs

May 8.  I've been down in the basement in a second office space I set up for working on my class materials. 

Summer classes start May 14 and I'm teaching two face-to-face classes and two online classes over the 12-week summer term.  All these courses need their own web pages set up and managed.

Roxy came to me the other day, saying, "I have an idea!"  She had a Kong toy in her mouth, so I was pretty sure what she wanted.

Roxy and I have found that tossing the Kong against the basement stairs makes for a wild, fun time.  She is hampered somewhat by the Fun Police (Annie and/or Dylan) supervising her play, and sometimes interfering, but if we get some alone time to play, it's wonderful.  Roxy is happy.

A few days ago, the CD with my Salt Lake City (half) Marathon photos came, and I'm just now getting around to uploading and posting them.  They're in chronological order, so the last three are from the finish line chute. 

I won the lottery!  Okay, I didn't win the lottery, but I won a lottery.  I went in with an online friend from Atlanta, Babak Momeni, and put in a combined entry for the St. George Marathon on October 6.  Our lottery entry was one of those selected, so it looks like I'll be running my second marathon then.  I'm a bit disappointed, because Plan B was to run the Denver Marathon October 14 and I was looking forward to that option.  But St. George is a beautiful and fast marathon, and I have the summer to train for it, so maybe I can get closer to that Boston qualifying time.

I'm getting ahead of myself.  I have to finish my first marathon, which will be in just 11 days, on May 19.  I feel reasonably confident that I can do it.  At this point, it's more of a mental question than a physical one.

Near the Start

A Run in the Park

Last Push

The Finish Line Is in Sight

The Finish Line


May 5.  From bad to worse.

Today, both Roxy and Dylan (acting separately) put us in a position where we will need to hold off on agility trials for a while.  I'm hoping we can use this time to get Roxy's head together and get her confidence level back up so we can actually compete in dog sports.

Rosemary and I have been doing dog agility more-or-less continuously for over 12 years.  In large measure, we're burned out.  After discussing it extensively today, we've decided it will be a good thing to take a step back and re-assess our personal goals.


May 3.  Roxy was entered for the first time ever in AKC Novice B obedience today.

I also entered her in Advanced A Rally hoping to finish off her Rally Advanced title.  She already has two of the three qualifying scores she needs to get the title.  She earned those back on March 23 and 24.   Back in March, her first trip into the Rally Advanced ring was not-bad.  The second trip was abysmal but still qualifying. 

We have been doing obedience matches for some time, so I felt it was time to take the plunge and try a real obedience trial. 

Roxy's performance was better than I expected.  You can see the score sheet at right (points off are shown).  She lost a lot of points because she never once sat in the heel exercise when I stopped moving.  She knows better than that.  Her Stand for Examination, which has been a difficult exercise for her, was flawless.  She lost some points on the recall for being crooked and not moving into sit position on the finish.

On the group exercises (the long sit and long down), she came over to me almost immediately after we got to the other side of the ring, but at least she didn't go visiting.  I thought we had a (barely) qualifying score going into the groups, and that was what killed us, but in fact we had a 168 going into groups (where 170 is needed to pass).  So that was a dead letter anyhow.

Then there was Rally.  Even though Rally has a lot of opportunity to talk to, and encourage your dog, she was having none of it.  She acted like she was being punished and skulked through the whole thing.  It was awful, and it was non-qualifying, which is almost impossible in Rally.  Roxy has exceptional talents.

I am very frustrated.

Roxy's Report Card


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)