Running race 9:37  2.4 km (4:00 / km)
shoes: ASICS Gel-Kahana
Mush Larose trails
Larose Forest, Limoges ON
Because this was the first time for Team Ziggy at a dog-powered race event, we learned a lot. For example, don't ever sign up to start first. We were the only team racing both distances of canicross so it was suggested that I start first in the first race, providing the most rest time before starting the second race. Rest time refers to rest for the human part of Team Ziggy. Canicross dogs (even small Schnauzers) don't require rest as the dog's speed on course is seriously limited by the speed of the human partner. The dog doesn't need a rest.
Anyway, we're the first ones ready to go on the start line. There is nothing in front of Ziggy except a trail through a vast and empty forest. Behind Ziggy are dozens of dogs all barking and yelping, calling Ziggy to come play. By some miracle, Ziggy decided that he'd had enough of waiting and sitting around the park for three hours. Away we went.
Ziggy's natural running routine is not constant. It's more like a fartlek run with variations between full stop and full speed. I'm fine with that. It's what we're used to. I catch my breath when I can.
Nearing the 2km mark during one of Ziggy's normal slow-downs, he happened to notice that Goofy (who started 60 seconds behind us) was coming on well so Ziggy came to full stop, sat down in the pine needles and waited for Goofy.
Just having learned about some race etiquette, I gave Goofy about 20m and the we headed after Ziggy's new target. Watching Goofy glance back at us, I could tell he was considering slowing down to meet us; we backed off farther 'til Goofy was only concerned with forward movement.
Apparently such etiquette is thrown away during the last few hundred metres, so I let Ziggy give it all he had. Ziggy finished his first race. Great job!!!
Because only the final stretch was actually dog assisted - I ran most of the course with the bungee leash loose in my hand - I'm logging this as running (not canicross), allowing me to see the pace calculator. According to that calculator, if I ran with Ziggy I could qualify for the Boston Marathon. That adventure would take a lot of poop bags.
canicross race 22:03  3.9 km (5:39 / km)
shoes: ASICS Gel-Kahana
The start of the 5.1km canicross came up much sooner than I expected. I barely had time to change my bib and get Ziggy water and treats. The guy who started 60 seconds before me ended up winning the event in 17 minutes. I've never run anywhere near that speed - ever. Needless to say, the dog that started ahead of us was not a useful target for Ziggy.
Less than 100m in to the race, Ziggy decided he was bored and sat down and waited for Nikki - who started 60 seconds after us. After Nikki passed Ziggy, Nikki did a poop, allowing Team Ziggy to get real close and then the sick, broken, aged partner of Team Ziggy let down his canine athlete. I now know that Ziggy has the heart to stick with another dog (probably running full out) for a long distance. I could not.
The first part of the long course is the same as the short course. I caused Ziggy to lose sight of Nikki before we got to the road where we had previously turned right for the finish line. Of couse, Ziggy wanted to turn right. We had just done that in the other event. All those huskies were right there behind the finish line, calling Ziggy's name. What was the point of going left, away from the crowd? Even I could no longer see Nikki up the road to our left. Nevertheless, up the road we went. Stop, chat, walk, lunge, run, stop, chat, sprint, stop and so on.
I've noticed that some racers love to use Ziggy to practice passing. Thanks to Ziggy's slow human partner, all the long-course canicross dogs got to practice their head-on-passing skills. The volunteer marshal awaited at the entrance to a 1.2km loop which was to be run before heading down a very long straight forestry-road finish.
We were already the last racers on the last event of a very long day. I did not want the volunteers out there waiting on me. I was not keen on holding up the awards ceremonies. But the bottom line was this. If I turned back right now, Ziggy could enjoy running after the others. If I kept going, Ziggy had nothing for motivation. It was a no brainer.
Crossing the finish line, I made it clear to record me as no-time. While it will show as DNF, Ziggy ran two wonderful races.
canicross warm up/down 1:40  0.2 km (8:20 / km)
shoes: ASICS Gel-Kahana
In that second race, Nikki finished second. We weren't near winning awards but we stayed for the ceremonies and took home two pairs of socks and 8lbs of puppy food as draw prizes.
In the world of working dogs, most dogs don't get to have social times with each other. Apparently, if Ziggy becomes a buddy to another working dog, that dog will be less likely to pass on by Ziggy during a race. The other dog might want to stop and visit instead of racing. Therefore, though fascinated for hours with watching and listening to the non-stop hysteria of the working dogs, Ziggy had been prevented from any social encounters.
I decided to go straight from the forest to our local dog park. Ziggy had earned the social time. I could also check on his poop and check out his pads. All was in perfect order. Ziggy was completely rested by the time we got to the park. He played with old friends and new friends. Human friends asked about his race. Ziggy got too rough and excited over one new canine visitor (certainly not the first time for Ziggy) and that was a good time to leave the park and head home.
Today's races were the fastest I've run in years. I know that my back, hips and knee will be in a bad way tomorrow. Interestingly, the toughest thing on my bad knee today was the Jade/Ziggy full-on collision with my knee during social time (again, certainly not the first time). I'm snuffly, coughing and exhausted. Ziggy was asleep. Then the cat walked by.