Friday Fun: Pup Photos

Every once in a while I get a couple of great photos from agility trials that I compete in with my dogs. At a trial in October, the photographers with Springfield Photography were great about capturing moments with me and my two furry teammates. I figured the best way to celebrate a Friday was by sharing some these photos with you! 🙂

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

High Five! LaMesa and I give each other a high five before every run. She absolutely loves to do agility, or just about anything with me, actually. This is one of my favorite photos of all times.

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Baby A&W has already been learning how to handle a dog on an agility course, as you can see here (yes, you can see my baby bump!).

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we've been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

Dally is my fluffy best friend (we’ve been through a lot together) and I love running her. Our start-line routine is: rev up, pick up, kiss, drop, and go! This caught us in our kiss.

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Measuring Success in Swedish

I have a second blog that I use to share my training and life adventures with my dogs, LaMesa and Dally, over at Agility on Stumps. And as part of that, I am a member of a group that likes to focus on different topics related to dog agility and share personal stories. This topic was on Success.

Ironically this came right before Dally and I are close to finishing her second agility championship (aka “PACH2”) this weekend (at least we hope). Dally has always been “Dependable Dally” but LaMesa has been a definite trial.

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So does the number of MACH/PACH or championships determine the amount of success you have as a dog handler, owner, trainer, competitor? Or is it the little things?

The competitive side of me would say it’s the championships/titles. Those are how you show your accomplishments–those numerous letters preceding and proceeding your dog’s name. In the horse show world, we judge the buckles you wear, the award chairs you sit in, etc.

Training LaMesa has totally opened my eyes, though. Dally was “easy” in comparison to starting and training LaMesa–Dally is consistent. After I dropped her down to Preferred, things came so much easier because she no longer struggled to make time nor be constantly injured trying to jump 8″. It took us a while, but we got that first QQ and then things just started rolling.

LaMesa is another story, though. I believe she has so much raw talent, and so much heart, that is can be a handicap. I know she can be so good, and that affects my mindset because I get competitive and know she’s fast. So I push her…and we fail…or I perceive it as a fail.

I’ve learned to take the little things as a success. LaMesa used to struggle so much with weaves at trials. If we can nail the weave poles from any entrance on a course, I’m excited. If we can run an entire course without her knocking bars, that’s a win. Have we QQd? Nope. Right now we average 1 Q out of 4 runs in a weekend. But that Q is always a big deal.

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I see so much potential in her that I want us to be successful, but I have learned not to push it. I’ve been identifying where we need to focus and I am learning how to run her versus Dally, which is a big success for me. I’ve learned “She is not Dally” and that’s OK. She’s fun to run (so is Dally, don’t get me wrong). She makes you think. You have to be solid in your game plan from the very beginning or she can catch you on your heels.

But all that makes me a better handler, which, in turn, will make her a better agility dog. This will also help me with future dogs, horses, and handling people. That, in itself, is success.

So my mindset has changed…a little. I’m still competitive, but I’ve been checking myself and my ego at the door when we walk in and I look for the positives in our runs, and not always just at the negatives. I just want LaMesa to continue to enjoy running with me and doing agility. The QQs will come.

THAT IS SUCCESS.

Your turn: How do you measure success in whatever you do?

 

Busy, Busy! Mid-Week Good Reads: Fun Game, Girl Power, CrossFit Power

Today I’m heading to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for the 2014 American Kennel Club National Championships with Dally, my Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I’m so excited–this is the third straight year we’ve qualified, second straight year our friends get to join us, and will probably be Dally’s final foray in the Nationals ring. I’m hoping for nice weather, but the 10-day outlook isn’t looking so bright. Whose bright idea was Pennsylvania at the end of March anyway??

  • I’ll be posting updates on my dog agility blog: Agility On Stumps
  • As well as doing some coverage for the Canine Chronicle, both on their website and in their print magazine.
  • Plus coverage for The Daily Corgi, as well as orchestrating #TeamDailyCorgi, a collection of five Corgis competing at Nationals who will share their experiences for the popular blog.
  • You can watch the free live streaming video, though Dally and I run early everyday (8 am).
Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Shew! So, like the title said, I’ll be busy, busy! But I wanted to share a couple of cool things with you:

First of all, my friend Nicole’s boyfriend just released a fun game app called Box Off. Remember playing that game as a kid? Now it’s “grown up” so you can play it on your IPhone. Check out Nicole’s blog, Fruit N Fitness for a fun giveaway she’s doing to help promote the game. And be sure to download the game!

Girl Power! Have you seen this video on YouTube yet?? It surprised me and really made me think. One guy answered a question about what would be wrong about having a female President with “Besides the PMSing…” Excuse me?? Wowwww… What do you think?

Because of that video, this post was written on WODTalk (thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this). Again, all I can say is “TRUTH!” I haven’t felt more powerful in a long time thanks to my time in the CrossFit gym. I still can’t do pull-ups like the guys, but when we finish a tough WOD, and I’m the only girl in our class, I’m beaming from the props I get from everyone. It has helped my confidence and helped me overcome my depression in so many ways.

Your turn: Share something you’ve enjoyed reading in the past week! 

Scenes from the Weekend

Hello and happy Monday! I hope you had a good weekend. I know I had a good weekend, so I thought I’d share some of it in photos.

Saturday kicked off with an early morning WOD at Man O’War CrossFit, followed by a chiropractor appointment for Dally (good news: her swollen disc has healed!), agility work session with LaMesa, volunteering at the Friends of the Dog Park Doggie Paddle, and then hitting the Kentucky State BBQ Festival for dinner with the hubs.

Sunday was much more relaxed, with me attempting a new pancake recipe (corn muffin pancakes with blueberries–rather dry, will have to see about improving them) and a trip to the gym to support the hubs (it was supposed to be my rest day, so I just did a light 15 minute session on the elliptical and then spent 30 minutes stretching out all the tight spots). We cheered the Indianapolis Colts to a victory (which makes up for my Notre Dame Irish and Texas Longhorns losing Saturday) and then relaxed the rest of the day.

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Friday & Saturday’s WODs: Rough! I’m getting better at my Toes to Bar, though–more like Knees to Armpits now. I finished Saturday’s WOD in around 10 minutes.

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I love training agility here–my friend Sandra built this barn with astroturf, Big Ass Fans, and brand new equipment a few years ago. So lucky.

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I went outside the box at the Kentucky BBQ Festival Saturday. Dinner was the “BBQ Sundae” at Fireside BBQ: Bourbon Baked Beans, Key Lime Cole Slaw, and Pulled Pork layered on top. Desert was salted caramel gelato (with caramel truffles) in a waffle cone shared with the hubby, and a couple of cupcakes (Elvis Preseley–banana cake w/peanut butter inside, chocolate icing on top & PB&J–yellow cake w/jelly inside, peanut butter icing on top w/jelly in the middle, split with the hubby)

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Even Dally was taking “relaxing Sunday mornings” seriously.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever tried anything that look gross, but turned out delicious? The BBQ sundae was that for me–doesn’t look pretty, but it was sooo good!

Why I do Dog Agility

**This is a cross-post from my dog agility training blog, Agility On Stumps, but I felt it important to share with everyone. If you’d like to learn more about my dog agility stuff, feel free to check out that blog as well!

Today two agility friends shared this video on Facebook (and more to come, I have a feeling), so I wanted to share it with you.

Those who are not dog people (or horse people, coming from my “old life”) don’t really understand how we can spend all our free time, “waste” our money, and exhaust ourselves just “running our dogs” through courses and being happy with it. This video shows exactly why–we do it because we love our dogs. We love the happiness it brings us to work together and have fun. We might not Q every time, or, if we do, we might only bring home ribbons that clutter our walls or our shelves, but that’s not why we do it.

I had a former boss who flat out said, “You know, you’d actually be able to travel and do more things like I do if you didn’t waste your money on dog agility.” (Oh, yes, she actually said that.) I was appalled by her saying that to me. My response? “I don’t waste my money doing dog agility. It’s my sport and it’s something I’ve grown to love. If I didn’t do agility with my dogs, I think we’d all be unhappy.”

After a particularly hard weekend of not Qing with LaMesa, I always need to be reminded about how much she still loves me. She doesn’t know we didn’t Q–she still got her treats and she got to play with mom, one-on-one. For Dally, I’ve always had to make it fun. Now I see how both girls run their little hearts out for me every time we get to the starting line.

We do agility because we love our dogs. We do it because they are our hearts and bring us joy. If a Q or a championship title come along the way, then that’s just the icing on the cake. Until then, we’ll continue to “waste” our money on those “cheap ribbons” and the “worthless” certificates that come in the mail every so often. We’ll sacrifice our comfort of nice hotels for the cheap ones so we can afford to participate in the sport we love. We’ll be alright with saying our dogs go to a chiropractor, yet I’ve yet to see one for myself. The happiness and joy we feel as we snuggle up to our dogs at the end of the day trumps all of that, and trumps that European vacation said former boss might get to enjoy every so often.

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Healthy Living Survey

I always find surveys to be fun ways to get to know people, plus it can be a change from the usual everyday posts. I found this one on a fellow HealthysELFer’s (and Sweat Pink sister) site…thanks, Lauren!
1. What did you eat for breakfast?
French Toast Scramble and a glass of cold skim milk
2. How much water do you drink a day?
At least 2-3 full 24 oz CamelBack bottles during work, then some more throughout the evening.
3. What is your current favorite workout?
Running and CrossFit. Since I can’t really run, I’ve been loving CrossFit more and more!
4. How many calories do you eat a day?
I really need to keep better track of those right now…
5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
Strawberries!! I could snack on those all the time! And almonds, too!
6. What do you usually eat for lunch?
Depends. For the most part a simple sandwich with Greek yogurt and Wheat Thins or pretzels. Or leftovers. It varies from day to day.
7. What is your favorite part of the body to strength train?
My legs–I feel like they are so strong.
8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?
My arms because I feel so weak. Though it’s my favorite to train because I feel weak and I want to improve that. Does that make sense?
9. What are your “bad” food cravings?
Kettle chips from Jimmy John’s, anything chocolate just about (horrible sweet tooth), fresh kettle corn (can’t go to an event in Lexington without some!)
10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?
No, but I know I should, especially some glucosamine and chondroitin for my joints with all the running I do. I do drink protein shakes–does that count?
11. How often do you eat out?
M and I have tried to curtail our eating out. Now we’ll go out to dinner most often only once a week. Most days I have lunch at home, but there are times that I just crave something different and pick something up for lunch.
12. Do you eat fast food?
Yes, but mostly it’s breakfast on the road on the way to dog agility trials, and then it’s usually an Egg McMuffin. Unless you count SubWay as fast food (and I do occasionally enjoy Jimmy John’s).

I was so happy to have my cheerleader to meet me at the finish line.

I was so happy to have my cheerleader to meet me at the finish line.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My parents have always been my biggest supporters in everything I’ve ever done. I’m very happy to have big support from M. I greatly appreciated seeing his face after I crossed the finish line of the Run The Bluegrass a couple of weeks ago.
14. Do you have a gym membership?
Yes. I use my membership for treadmill runs when the weather isn’t the best, plus I enjoy participating in the group fitness classes and spin classes now and then, not the mention the weights. I’d be lost without a gym membership! Though I just started CrossFit, so I’m thinking of canceling my membership to my regular gym and just do CF.
15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
I always feel like I didn’t get enough sleep. The amount of sleep a night varies from 5 to 7 hours a night. But even on days that I can sleep in, my body/mind doesn’t let me.
16. Do you have a “cheat” day?
I used to do cheat days with one program that I did–they were scheduled. Now it’s more like “cheat meals” if it’s something special. I’m trying to keep a balanced lifestyle, especially when it comes to eating and I feel like cheat days made me feel allowed to go crazy for 24 hours–not the most balanced lifestyle.
17. Do you drink alcohol?
Yes, but not as much as I used to. I enjoy a beer (or two) on the weekends while at agility trials, and maybe a glass of wine or bourbon and Sprite Zero to wind down after stressful days, but not that often.
18. Do you have a workout buddy?
I have running buddies for some days, and now I workout with people at CrossFit, but a lot of times it’s just me, myself, and I.
19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?
When I’m being active and healthy, it gives me a new confidence in myself. I realize the control I have over myself and my own life.
20. What was the last healthy thing you did?
Walked the dogs with my husband after eating lunch. I love my lunchtime dog walks because they’re a nice break in my day at the office.
Your turn!

Tulsa Time

I apologize for being quiet lately–I’m still in Tulsa, Okla., showing my Corgi at the American Kennel Club National Agility Championships. Today was the first official day and so far Dally is sitting in 10th place for her jump height! Go Corgi!

Meanwhile, here are a few more photos from our trip out here, including a stop at Fort Leonard Wood in St. Robert, Mo., and the “World’s Largest McDonald’s” in Vinita, Okla.

Dally and Porter salute the troops at Ft. Leonard Wood in St. Robert, Mo.

Dally and Porter salute the troops at Ft. Leonard Wood in St. Robert, Mo.

Dally loved the smell of French fries from the "World's Largest McDonald's"--it spans across Interstate-44 in Vinitt, Okla.

Dally loved the smell of French fries from the “World’s Largest McDonald’s”–it spans across Interstate-44 in Vinitt, Okla.

We're here!! It's been gorgeous weather for us so far!!

We’re here!! It’s been gorgeous weather for us so far!!

Looking Ahead to a Crazy March

I’m so happy it’s March because I have a lot of things happening this month that I’ve been looking forward to (and getting nervous for). It’s going to be a crazy busy month for me, but I’m looking forward to every minute.

March 9 – Rail Runner 10 Miler  This will be my first 10-mile race and I’m looking forward to it. It’s being run on the grounds of a local railroad company. They’re having a 5K and the 10 mile race, and they’re opening up the 5K course early for those of us who have longer distances scheduled. I’m going to do my best to try to get there early enough to get in a run on the 5K course for my 3.1 miles before the start of the 10 mile race, that way I have another 13.1 training run complete.

March 13-18 – American Kennel Club National Agility Championships   Dally, my friend Merinda and her Cardigan Corgi Porter, and I will be headed West to Tulsa, Okla, for the National Agility Championships. I’m so excited because almost all of my agility friends qualified this year, so we’ll have two stalls together for crating and will be cheering each other one and hanging out. Plus, we’ll be competing in the same arena I won a world championship with my horse nine years ago, so I have lots of memories here. My good friend from college, Cassie, is coming from Oklahoma City to watch me and hang out, so I’ll finally get to meet her little girl, Emily! So much excitement in too short of days!

Dally and I competing at the AKC National Agility Championships in Reno in 2012.

Dally and I competing at the AKC National Agility Championships in Reno in 2012.

March 23-24 – Agility Trial   Just four days after getting back from Nationals, we head to an agility trial where I’ll be able to show LaMesa as well as Dally at one of our favorite locations. It’s always nice to show there.

March 30 – Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon  It’s going to be here before I know it! 13.1 miles of hills over some of the best scenery you could ever ask for! I’m still nervous about what I’ve heard is possibly the worst hill of the entire course (mile 9, which I didn’t see in my training run over the course a month ago), but I’m telling myself it’ll be alright to walk at the top of the hill–just get your booty up and over!

I'm excited to have one of these medals hanging around my neck after conquering 13.1 miles of hills!

I’m excited to have one of these medals hanging around my neck after conquering 13.1 miles of hills!

March 31 – Easter  Easter means I get to have chocolate again, and since I’ll be celebrating my conquering of the RtB, I’m already planning to celebrate with lots of Easter candy! M and I usually make little Easter baskets for each other, so I plan to have fun with it. We probably won’t be able to celebrate the holiday with family (which is a total bummer), but I’ll try to do something special for the two of us.

I'm more excited about Easter candy that I have been in a long time!

I’m more excited about Easter candy that I have been in a long time!

Do you have anything exciting happening in March?

A Fun, Educational Weekend + New Year’s Clean Fest

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a dog agility training seminar in Southern Indiana. Agility seminars are usually pretty expensive to have a working spot in, but I was lucky that my parents paid for me to have a working spot on Friday and auditing spot on Saturday for my birthday present a couple months ago. So my friend, Merinda, and I packed up our pups and set out to learn so much. If you’re interested in learning more about dog agility, follow my training blog: Agility On Stumps.

This morning M and I went out to breakfast and then came home to tackle Christmas decorations and rearranging the living room. When we moved in together into the house we’re renting a few years ago, we basically combined all of our stuff–so we have two couches (which remarkably go well because mine’s blue and his is cream with blue accents), his old recliner and dining table set, my coffee table, etc. (We’d love to get some new furniture, but we want to wait until we buy a house of our own, which is now further from our sights with the job situation and uncertainty of where we’ll be settling now.)

The new living room layout will take some time to get used to, but it opens up the house so the dogs can play and just opens up the front part of the house. This setup should also allow plenty of space for me to do my yoga videos and hopefully M and I can get back to play with out Kinect and do the exercise games we got a while ago.

The new setup opens up the front of the house so much more.

The new setup opens up the front of the house so much more.

While we moved things around, M and I worked together to sweep, vacuum, dust, and mop (scrub) the living room. It was basically a New Year’s clean fest. It was nice to do some heavy duty cleaning together and it just makes things so much nicer around the house when everything’s clean. Next week we’re planning on tackling our spare bedroom, which became “wedding central” the months leading up to the wedding, and then has been a place for us to just put things to get them out of the way. I’ll be sure to take before and after photos of this project!

The afternoon was spent interviewing a source for a freelance article, cheering on the Colts  (who, unfortunately, lost to the Ravens in the Wildcard Game), and grocery shopping.

This will it’s back to the grind–working all five days! I was lucky to only work two days the past two weeks each, so to work five days will be hard! Haha But tomorrow night we’ll be cheering on the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish to a national championship against Alabama! Go irish!

Now I’m off to watch the premiere of The Biggest Loser–I love this show! What do you think of it?

Making A Comeback

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. I’m not sure if any of you missed me, but I sure missed blogging! Life has been crazy this summer–dog agility trials, volleyball, new job, wedding planning, etc. I’ll try to sum up the summer as well as I can…

Running
I’ve been keeping up with my running, however it hasn’t been the most consistent training–but hey, at least I’m running! I’m trying to get in runs 2-3 times a week right now. I haven’t had any races that I’m training for, so I guess the inconsistency is alright. I did run in the Extreme Rampage a couple of weeks ago. It was a little over four miles of running through mud, creeks, jumping over horse cross country jumps, climbing wooden walls and cargo nets, etc. It was a lot of fun and I’ve decided I really do enjoy the obstacle/mud races! While I haven’t been running for time, I’ve had a lot of fun running with my older co-worker, Tom. While he’s in the 65+ year-old category, he celebrates every moment of the runs, which is inspiring to me.

Unfortunately I don’t be able to run in my favorite race, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year (which was also my first 5K 3 years ago) because it’s the morning of my wedding day. I was really thinking about trying to squeeze it in, but I’m afraid that’s one more thing I will stress about, and I’ve been told I shouldn’t be stressing on my wedding day. So maybe I’ll wake up early and get in an easy 3 mile jog around my neighborhood for good measures that morning.

Wedding Planning
As I’m writing this, the countdown is now down to only two weeks–14 days!!! I can’t believe it’s coming so fast! And yet, everyone reminds me we’ve been engaged for almost two years now. Some times I feel like things are coming along smoothly, but then there are times that I am stressing because I forgot something (i.e., guest book!) or I’m unsure of something. We’ve met with our DJ one last time, I’ve already had my final dress fitting and brought my dress home, had a hair trial (but would like to fit in one more), we’ve gotten M’s wedding band, and already applied for our marriage license. I’ll update more on things in a later post this week…

New Job
I changed positions at my company earlier this spring. Since then, it’s been a lot of learning about new processes, testing processes, and just trying to keep up with everything happening at work. We’re about to launch something big middle of this month, but until that has been launched and we’re comfortable with it, I’m sure things will be pretty crazy and stressful in the office. While I never blogged while I was at work, I haven’t had the time to think about what my upcoming post could be about. Hopefully I’ll be able to be more creative in the next month or so…

Dog Agility
I’m trying to get back to blogging more, which also means updating my dog agility training blog. So, you can check that out for updates. But, I’d like to brag that Dally and I qualified for the AKC National Agility Championships once again–this time we’ll be heading to Tulsa, Okla., in March and I’m already stoked about it!

So there’s your quick wrap-up. I can’t guarantee how well I’ll do updating things as I get closer to my wedding day, but I’ll try my best to keep things moving along. I’ll definitely plan to share some pics if I have any and details about that day and our “temporary honeymoon” (that’s an update all on its own).