I'll start with the good news. Belle and I went 4 for 5 Friday and Saturday at the Scott County Kennel Club AKC trial under Judge Daniel Dege, including our very first Excellent B first place!!!! We were the second 20" team to run, and I thought our time was pretty good. However, I was unable to watch the rest of the 20" class run as I was busy waiting in line with Dusty for a chiropractic adjustment. When I checked the results, I was ecstatic to find we had placed first. Additionally, on Friday we were within a half second of the first place dog in T2B.
Now the bad news. On Friday, I spoke briefly with Dana Pike Chamberlain to find out if she thought she could help me shave three seconds off our JWW runs. She asked me a couple of questions, one of which was were did I think we were losing time? On the straightaways or on the turns? I didn't have an answer for her at the time, but it occurred to me later that I had analyzed some video of Belle and Dusty jumping and Belle was consistently putting in an extra stride of two between jumps--strides that she probably wouldn't have needed if she were running faster.
However, even without that bit of insight, Dana's suggestion was that if I wanted Belle to run faster, I would have to run faster. This is not a new concept. I had considered it before. However, I'm 60 pounds overweight (which is a choice as one friend put it) and 62 years old (which is not), and I already feel like I'm running as fast as I can possibly run.
When I've watched video of myself running with the dogs, I've always thought I looked like I was lumbering. Yet when I'm running I feel like I'm running fast and smooth. I mentioned this to my chiropractor, and he asked me to video this weekend's runs so he could see them. When I watched the video from Friday, for the first time ever, I noticed that I was bringing my feet to the mid-line of my body when I ran--I was single-tracking! (It is particularly noticeable in the closing of Friday's JWW run beginning at 36 seconds.) I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that when you run. I thought this might be due to the ankle break, but I looked at video from four years ago, and I was definitely doing it even then.
Saturday morning, I got some advice about how to sprint from my less-than-diplomatic friend and made a conscious effort to implement a couple of his suggestions when I ran. I also spent a lot of time watching handlers run. I'm hoping my chiropractor will have some helpful ideas for changing my running style without over-stressing any joints or muscles. I may not be able to run "faster," but I wouldn't be surprised if running more efficiently translated into greater ground speed.