Another very enjoyable weekend racing, this time with the Siberian Husky Club, at the Wellsford Forest outside of Bendigo.
First event for the club's season and the first event for the new race coordinator, B and his amazing team. To the credit of the team, everything was very well organised, from campsite facilities, like signage to the campsite and toilets provided, to the trails, complete with a brilliant hand drawn map, markers, start and finish chutes and an excellent race marshall who helped train us newbies as well as looking after the races in general. It was held as a practice race, to ensure that all the bugs had been worked out, but it ran very smoothly. Well done, team!
J had been busy working on an application for calculating the times of the different racers, and was keen to spend time across the weekend to test it thoroughly. This took a little bit of effort to marry up the paperwork in use, with the input the app was designed for, as well as highlighting a couple of options that had been forgotten. It kept J busy for the weekend, which left me with a plethora of options for running races. Well, actually, a choice of two, but that was definitely exciting.
Having been concerned about Frankie limping after training during the week, I decided to give him a rest, and stole one of the "A" team, Czar. Czar has been training on two and four dog distances, and running a relatively short one dog trail was pretty easy for him. He took off beautifully, and ran quite hard for the first km, keeping a respectable pace the rest of the way around. With a large number of people racing for the first time, or the first time for the year, the one dog trail was a triangle that required only left hand turns and was largely flat. I was heartily relieved that it was only 1.7km, but that didn't stop me nearly coming off on the second, very sharp corner, twice!
J's app worked brilliantly (once a couple of changes got ironed out) and the early morning run on Sunday was added to Saturday night's times to get a total for the two heats quickly and easily. Pretty amazing (ok, I might be a bit biased, but it was still very impressive)!! Early presentations for the cute little pee wee mushers, and then it was time to pack up and head home for hot showers.
Apart from getting to race with Czar, my other highlight of the weekend was a night run with J. Just a quick trip around the one dog trail with him running Bolo and Czar and me running Frankie. It was a rare treat, because J kept the brakes on, and Frankie was easily able to keep pace with the others. We got to practice passing (I'm afraid to say Bolo was NOT a gentleman, but that's why he isn't allowed to run in one dog) and being passed, and it felt wonderful to rush around in the cool, moonlit night together.
Of course, poor Ishka was a bit sulky about it all, but with her bung knee, there was no way she was coming out for a run, no matter how short.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? So why did I name this blog entry so ominously? Well, I was thrilled to be asked by two different teams to help handle their dogs, but it didn't go so well. Firstly, I turned my back on the wrong dog and got a nip in a very undignified place - ouch! Then, because I'd been busy with other people's teams, Ishka decided to decorate the front of my shirt in a smelly way when I was a bit slow lifting her out of the top berth. And thirdly, a very excited pup bounced up into my face on the way to the start chute, leaving me with a small black eye... still sore!
These three were all minor misadventures, and I had laughed them off by the time we got home for a nap and a hot bath. A looooong hot bath, scrubbing the grime off, after a dusty doggy weekend with temperatures hovering below 5 degrees for most of Sunday morning. While I was lounging around in the tub, J headed out for an evening with his best man, leaving the dogs outside. I could hear lots of thunderous running around on the deck, so I got up to let the dogs in for a quieter evening. Once the water was getting chilly, of course!
When I opened the back door, the three boys pounded inside and investigated the kitchen, ever hopeful that the kibble bins had sprung leaks. Ishka came up the steep stairs from the back yard and yelped as she hit the top step. I was really dismayed when she came in hopping on three legs... it was her "good" back leg that she was holding in the air.
This afternoon, we were due to take her back to the vet for a checkup on how her medications have been helping with her damaged ACL on her right rear leg. Instead of the vet having to watch carefully for subtle signs of her limp, J had to carry her in to the consulting room, and she hobbled and hopped around, looking pretty dismayed... especially when the vet forgot to give her a liver treat!
The good news is that the ruptured left rear ACL is repairable. The bad news is that she will have to go in for surgery this week, followed by a sixteen week recovery period. Fortunately, Ishka is crate trained, and used to spending most of her time in the crate for a couple of days at a time at a race. I'm not sure she'll be so happy in a week, when she starts to hit four or five days of only being allowed out to go to the toilet. However, this is pretty essential to a good recovery, so J and I are determined to use some tough love and make sure we keep her off her leg as much as possible. Fingers crossed that this time next year, Ishka will be able to tackle the stairs out back without us worrying about her knees or other joints coping.