Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good News; Bad News

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.


  1. I don't think you are alone in feeling like you are running "fast & smooth" only to have video evidence show otherwise. It happens to me all the time. On course I feel like I'm running as fast as I can, but on video it looks like I'm trotting along. It's kind of sad, really.

    My border collie is very much an, "I'll run as fast as you do" dog. We're working on that, but meanwhile I just run as fast as I can and try for the most efficient turns possible. Not much else I can do at the moment!

  2. I've gotten so much good advice from your blog, I'm happy to be able to return the favor! I have a very bad back and knees and am unable to do very much running on land without hurting myself. Certainly not enough to improve my stamina and running form to the degree that I needed for agility. But, I've been able to drastically improve both by water jogging. I do some jogging in the shallow end with no equipment, and some jogging in the deep end wearing a flotation belt. It doesn't seem like I'm running very fast in the water, but then I surprise myself at how fast I'm able to run on land. My community has a therapy pool kept at 90 degrees, which makes the exercise very pleasant even in the middle of winter. Hope you can find a way to try it!

  3. Thanks, Diane. I wondered why some of the sprinting sites I visited mentioned water jogging. Now I know. Guess it's like training with hoops. If you can handle at the speed your dog runs using hoops for the course obstacles, handling when there are agility obstacles involved should be a piece of cake. I will have to see if I can locate an indoor pool within reasonable driving distance and try it out.

  4. I once read someone comparing water jogging to tai chi. Apparently the idea with tai chi is that you do the forms in super slow motion, but your body is learning everything it needs in order to do the same movements super fast when needed, as a martial art.

    If you don't have a community pool, check out physical therapists. Many PTs now have those small therapy pools that just fit one or two people. I bet your insurance would cover it as therapy for your ankle.