Looking back and moving forward

I’m really having trouble with the whole idea of 2015 being a real thing. I was born in 1955, mid-twentieth century, came of age when we didn’t trust anyone over 30, and next July I will be twice that. Of course, I know now how ridiculous the idea was–there must have been someone over 30 we could trust, even in the age of Nixon–but I’ve now come to the idea that one should hesitate to trust anyone of any age. (Especially politicians, but that’s not a topic for this blog.) Anyway, here it is, almost 2015, and the last New Year’s Eve I remember clearly is the panic of 1999-2000, when everyone was all worried about our software breaking down (Y2K and all that). Me, I was busy panicking about Jay being in the hospital that evening–he got his appendix out on the last day of 1999. (The hospital did have backup generators.) (And everything was fine, in the end. Just scary at the time.)

After that digression (I can hear Holden Caulfield’s classmates yelling “digression!” but I’m ignoring them), back to the matter at hand here. I’ve spent weeks thinking about my goals for 2015. I had huge goals for 2014–and I met most of them. I took Rush and Dancer to CPE Nationals in Minnesota (and Rush won his height class in FullHouse and Jumpers), Dancer got her C-ATCH in August and Rush got his C-ATCH in October, I beat my previous best time at 5K, and I lost a few pounds (not as much as I would have liked, but better than gaining). Jay and I did a long bike tour–Astoria, OR to Crescent City, CA–self-supported down the Oregon Coast. Four days (of the nine) were my longest bike rides ever. The longest day was 56 miles. And the last half-mile was uphill. My first bike tour. Not his first (nor his longest). I got asked to write an article about agility for someone else. (And they want more.)

Much of what I want to accomplish in 2015 is a continuation of 2014. I want to lose another twenty or so (or maybe a bit more) pounds, so I can focus that mental energy on maintaining instead of losing. I don’t think I’ll ever hit a point of not having to watch what I eat–or not being hungry–but there’s a huge amount of energy going into tracking weight loss and food right now, and I’d like to reduce that outflow a little. (Maybe I should write about losing weight instead of dog agility; it’s occupying nearly as much of my brain these days.) I read some research recently about visualization that suggests it’s important to visualize both the positive outcomes and the possible obstacles in the path. I know my obstacles; I need to think about how to climb over them. (I could imagine that I’m Rush, surmounting my difficulties in the same spectacular way he goes over the a-frame. There’s an image–clambering over a pile of body fat as it melts away….)

So continuing my weight loss is one goal. Last year I had pretty much the same goal… and didn’t lose the twenty-five or thirty pounds I wanted to lose…. but I didn’t gain. Sigh.

Next continuation is the dog agility goals: first, I want to work toward Rush’s CPE C-ATE title. It’s a time-consuming title, requires a lot of trials, and I want to do slightly fewer CPE trials this year, so there’s really no way he’ll get the title in 2015, as it’s not numerically possible. Rush will need twenty Qs in each class (and then some extras that can be in any class)–it already looks like Jumpers will be our biggest challenge. Second, I’m not going to try for Nationals in any of the venues. 2016, maybe, depending on where things are. Third, Jumpers. Jumpers needs work in any venue. It’s terribly challenging for me to keep up with him without the built-in pauses created by the contact obstacles. Finally, fourth is ISC. For the first time, I have a dog who can compete in the ISC classes, so I want to give them a try; I’m signed up for ISC at the January PAC trial, so we’ll see how that goes… (Last year, one goal I did not end up pursuing was trying to take Rush to Rose City to run the ISC classes there. I’m really not ready to run ISC in public. Maybe next year.)

The dog agility goals are all kind of nebulous and vague… Rush will turn four in May, and I’m pretty sure he’s amazing and brilliant (what did I do to deserve this dog?!), and Dancer is slowly retiring herself (no more AKC), and as she does that, I’m trying to figure out where I want to go next. A lot depends on achieving my running/sprinting goals (see below), which in turn are related to my weight-loss goals (as above). It sounds very intertwined, and of course it all is. I’m really glad to have a reason to get up every day and go out to run and play with my dogs. I’m contemplating (as I’ve contemplated in the past) doing some obedience or rally with Dancer. I did sign up for Denise Fenzi’s online precision heeling course. We’ll see. Dancer actually has a nice walk-with–it might be fun to work on a formal heel cue. She enjoys training and I enjoy working with her.

Running goals: speed and endurance. I want to go further, faster, more easily. I started last year with the Couch-to-5K program, barely able to run one minute (I started with walk-one-minute-run-one-minute and found the first few runs horrifyingly difficult). I’m starting this year able to run for most of an hour (as long as I walk about one minute out of ten)–albeit running very slowly–and I want to get faster and run more easily. Losing weight will help. Sprint work will help (and make a huge difference with keeping up with Rush in Jumpers, too). Hill work will help with strength. My knees are so much better than they were last year. I can sit down slowly without having to hold the arms of the chair and I can get up without holding the arms too–and without my knees hurting. That’s a flaming big deal. I bought a book on serious running training that I’m hoping will help. (This one: Daniels’ Running Formula-3rd Edition. I get a tiny commission if you buy through that link.) Since I like measurable goals–since you can measure whether or not you’ve met them (duh!)–the measurable goal here is a 11:30-pace 5K (a bit less than 36 minutes).

Jay and I are planning a weekend trip to bike Crater Lake. After that, I’ll contemplate doing a Century. Maybe 2015, maybe 2016. Eventually I’ll have to do one. Everyone else in the family has (although Stacia’s wasn’t a formal one) (which doesn’t matter, because Stacia wins this event anyway, since she biked from Portland (OR) to Williamsburg (VA) self-supported and mostly unaccompanied, which gives her the ability to one-up almost any cyclist).

So that covers dogs, cycling, running, and weight loss. All very boring. Finally… I want to write some more articles. Maybe even sell a few.