This winter has been horrible. First we had snow that stuck around. Then it sleeted and rained on top of the snow. Then it refroze into thick ice-crusted snow. It is impossible to hike or basically do anything at all on thick ice-crusted snow. As it melted and refroze, it was less ice-crusted, and more just crunchy, but still very hard on dogs' pads. So basically from late December till mid-February, my dogs got very little conditioning aside from some core work on the ball inside, and training once a week (which I did not do with Drifter because of his eye injury). Now, the snow is gone, and it rains every few days. So while we do not have crunchy paw-stinging footing, we do have sloppy slippery footing. This year I just can't win. I think i've been hiking twice since Christmas. Both times when the snow wasn't too bad.
Basically what I'm whining about is that my dogs, while in better shape than they were back in Febrary, are still not in the shape i'd like them to be in with a large event approaching. Today we are off to visit our physical therapist, and if they are all good to go (they should be), we will be working super extra hard over the next two weeks to build up what base muscle we can before it gets too close to AKC Nationals. Once it gets within about 10 days I will lessen up a bit and do maintenance work and skills only (short runs, short hikes, and short skill sessions on jumps). Then April will be beefing up time again for Drifter, with the WAO coming soon!
We did a local AKC trial Friday/Sat/Sun this past weekend. Drifter qualified all 3 days in JWW but only QQ on Sunday due to a couple stupid single-obstacle mistakes. Due at least partly to being rusty, and probably partly to not being in great shape. Kiba double NQ'ed on Friday, then QQ both Saturday and Sunday. Both Drifter and Kiba now have 3 QQ's towards 2011 Nationals already. Seri ended up 2/6 over the weekend, which sounds abysmal but really I was pleased with her on both Friday and Sunday, with Saturday ending up as sort of a training day in the middle. She got a Standard leg on Friday, and JWW on Sunday. So I think she now has 1 MX leg, and 3 MXJ legs. This is our last AKC trial till the end of April, and at that point it will be into Tryouts qualifying period, so I'm hoping some more conditioning and training will be able to bring our Q rate up a bit from 1/4 and 2/6, and more into the 3/4 and 4/6 realm. She is getting better, but it isn't easy for either of us!
I hear more and more rumors that AKC Nationals will be out west next year. This would mean I would not bring Kiba, since she is a horrible traveler and I refuse to fly her or drive her on long drives again. She arrives dehydrated, sore, and exhausted. So if it goes west (I'm hearing Nevada or the PNW), i will just fly Drifter and Seri, assuming Seri qualifies. If not, just Drifter - which would be the first time since 2005 that I would run only one dog at a National event of any venue. What would I do all day??
I used my SD card in my mother's camera to video some runs this weekend, but for some reason it only recorded 19 seconds of each run, so i didn't keep them. Sorry.