MTBing With Your Dog

Dizzy and I love to spend as much time outside as possible. It is really hard while in school because often I am at school for twelve hours a day, leaving little day light on either side. I also love to go mountain biking. I try to mesh Dizzy into my free time with what I like to do as much as possible. When I tried to take Dizzy biking a few weeks ago, I ended up tearing up her feet and she had trouble walking for the next few days. I felt terrible! I have been working on a way to take Dizzy biking again, safely.

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Here are some things I am looking into!

  1. Keeping Cool // One thing Dizzy and I have trouble overcoming is the heat. She has so much fur and such a thick coat causing her to overheat so quickly. I am not going to shave her, I just can’t bring myself to do it. I only pick trails where there is easy access to water so she can go swimming and stay cool. We also pick cooler days or go in the morning, before the days get hot.
  2. Booties //  Our last Australian Shepherd, Splash, loved to go biking, and he could really keep up. However, he and Dizzy have the same sensitive feet, making it difficult to take them! I have been looking into getting Dizzy a pair of boots to protect her feet. I found these Ruffwear Griptex Boots that have good reviews. I am just worried that they may slide off. I had taken Dizzy before and we had never had a problem, so I am on the fence of getting her a pair of boots or starting training slowly to build up her feet.
  3. Bells and Lights // Dizzy is a sweet dog and gets along with everyone, but I know dogs can be intimidating to people or other people’s dogs may not be super friendly. I like people to know she is there. Dizzy and I used to do search and rescue and she had a great vest with lights built it and bells attached. You can hear and see her coming, which is great! Here is a great high visibility harness to make sure your dog is visible!
  4. Building Strength // Dizzy has become quite the couch potato over the last few years because I have spent so much time in school. We go for long walks, but that is not the same as running six or eight miles hard. She definitely can’t keep up like she could a few years ago. This is where I am so jealous of Oakley, my brother’s dog. He can go for eighteen miles easily! My plan is to take her out for short rides, starting at just two or three miles and increase by about a mile a week. What I want more than anything is for Dizzy to have fun, not have her drag exhausted and be reluctant to ride!
  5. H20 and Snacks // Bringing plenty of water and snacks for us both is important. It is so easy to get stuck on the trails for longer than you planned (thanks to mechanicals). You also never know when you are going to have an off day and need the extra push. Just like how you need a snack or two for extra energy on a ride, you dog partner does too! I usually just bring granola bars along with me and share some with her.  You can also pack some dog specific treats in your pockets. Your pup may also need a little extra food for dinner that night after these long rides!

 

 

Big Frog 65

This weekend was my first NUE race. It was 65 miles of pure fun and mountain bike riding. I have been mountain biking for less than two years, and this race was a big change for me. My dad, Heath, and I started driving early Friday morning, 5:30 early, and picked up our friend, Ron, for the trip. The 9.5 hour drive loomed over us and we drove on. I recently bought a book of crosswords, which turns out I am really, really bad at, so they helped keep us entertained, or extremely frustrated.

Once we reached the park, we went out for a pre-ride of the course. We rode about 18 miles, covering the start and finish single track. The starting single track was awesome and oh so flowy. It was great to ride. The end was mostly downhill, great to know that at the end it was mostly downhill. There was also a couple sketchy parts on the last downhill, which I really made a mental note of for when all I wanted to do was get done and to the finish. Once we were done riding, we checked-in, made our drop bags, and ate some spaghetti dinner with a lot of breadsticks! We stayed in a hotel about twenty-five minutes from the start (instead of camping at the park). We all got our bikes ready for the next day and relaxed before going to bed early.

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The Cohutta 100 started at 7am and the Big Frog 65 started at 8am, leaving me alone to stew and get nervous by myself for an hour. I rode around to warm-up, riding up the start hill, just watching the time slowly creep by. I eventually went over to the start line to wait with the crowd. I get nervous about picking a starting position at races- I am slower on the single track than most other people, but I can climb hills well. I really don’t like messing up other riders, either slowing them down or just goofing up over a technical section. The more nervous I am the more likely I am to make a mistake. The nice and very hard thing about this start is that it had a road climb to help spread everyone out.

 

Moments before my race started, I realized that I had forgotten to put my spare tube, tire lever, and CO2 cartridges back on my bike. I only had my patch kick and plugs, which would only get me so far if I had a flat.  I prayed to the bike gods before starting and hoped I wouldn’t get a flat!

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Starting out on the climb was more brutal than I realized, my legs were tired and I was pushing hard. My adrenaline was pumping, making me nervous and jumpy during this first stretch. The turn into the single track was welcome and off we went riding quick. Here, I slowly started to relax and let me bike do it’s thing. Unfortunately, I tried to let someone pass and they knicked my handle bars. I went down and ended up with a few bumps, bruises, and scratches, but nothing too bad. It took me a while to relax again on the single track.

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I got in with a new group of riders and continued to ride through the fast and flowy single track. I loved just flying down the hills and around the turns. The views were beautiful. We eventually reached the gravel road, where the majority of the climbing started. Around mile 30, we just started climbing, and climbing and climbing. It felt like it was never going to end. The heat was starting to get to me and I was running low on water. Not a great feeling. I made it back to the aid station, refilled my water, grabbed a snack and started on my way. I began to feel a little nauseous and it wasn’t fun. At mile 47, another beyond steep five mile climb started. The best thing was knowing at the end of this hill, I would hit the single track to the finish.

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On the final single track, I had moments where I was so tired I didn’t think I could keep gong and others where I could pedal up over anything and power on. The one thing I kept reminding myself was to “have faith in my recovery,” something my cross country coach used to say. No matter how tired I was going up hill, my body always seemed to recover to fly down. It really made a difference to me! I was so happy to get finish the final descent and head to the finish line! I went and sat in the stream to cool off. I got to clean all the dirt and sweat off me. It felt amazing. I ended up finishing 6th overall, I was stoked. Heath ended up getting fourth, which was incredible against this competition.

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My dad and Ron also had hard races. The heat got to both of them, making the end of the races hard! I was definitely happy that I picked the 65 and not the 100 for this race! Ron had to quit early, something he never does- he felt terrible on Friday and he felt wore on Saturday. He ended up not eating until Sunday morning to recover!

I am so excited to see what will come next. I spent the car ride back brainstorming ways to get quicker, get better and climbing, and just relax while I am out there. My arms and back were so tense and sore the next day from just being so tense. I love my bike and I can’t wait to see where we will go next!!

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Pure Barre

I have always wanted to try Pure Barre. I never really understood what it was and spent a lot of time researching. When I was home on break, I asked my friend Caitlin if she wanted to go! She is always in for a work-out class and was a great person to go with. We had to not look at each other in the mirror because we would laugh, but it was so much fun to go with a friend!


Here is what I have learned after my first Pure Barre classes!

One // Before your first class, spend some time online learning the lingo and watching the video. Get there early! Your instructor will go over how the class works, how to set up, and go over the lingo and what it means. It was awkward while everyone watched, but so helpful.

Two // Definitely wear leggings and and a tank top. you feel comfortable in. They recommend sticky socks, and I would too! I didn’t have a pair for my first class and really regretted it. I spent a lot of time sliding my feet across the carpet during planks and not doing the workout.

Three // The warm up is not a warm up, it is hard work. I was expecting some nice stretches and light work. I was so wrong. I was sweating within seconds. I had no idea how I was going to make it through the whole class after my first warm-up.

Four //  You probably won’t be able to do everything and your instructor will correct you. There was parts of the work out that I couldn’t do. The planks are long and my arms and abs got so tired. I had to put my knees down, but it leaves rooms for progress. The movements are controlled and have slight position adjustments that matter. The angle of your hip makes a difference. I didn’t realize how the little movements really make a difference in what muscle or muscles you work.

Five // Have fun! The more fun you have the more you will get out of it. The room is small and tight when the room is packed. Having fun makes it more fun for everyone. Working out is a time to let out the stress and let loose, not get stressed about the work out.

The Weekly Update

This is a really weird week for me. It is my second to last week of school ever, and the senioritis has really started to set. I am on this rotation with one of my best friends from school, which makes it so much more fun. Plus, I really haven’t seen her much in the last weeks and I am enjoying spending time with her!

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I am also leaving today to head to Tennessee for my first marathon bike race. I have been training so hard these last weeks, but I am still so nervous for this race. I have put a ton of pressure on myself to do well because I really enjoy this sport. What if I didn’t train enough, or what if I bonk at mile 50 when the trail becomes a wall of steepness, or what if I get dehydrated or what if anything? My goal is to finish in less than 6 hours, ideally less than 5.5. You gotta dream big, right? I am competing against so many amazing riders at this race. I just really don’t want to finish last. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here are some things I have been loving this week!

These amazing travel mugs!

Everyone needs some fun pants in their life! These are perfect for spring and summer. They will definitely bring you a smile on a hard day.

Dizzy desperately needs a new collar. These are so great and I am excited to get one in a print! They are made with bike tires (perfect right?), and they have a built in bottle opener!

New sunglasses are the perfect thing for summer. Oakley makes my favorite sunglasses and I am looking into these. I love the bright colors!

New workout clothes are always necessary! This is such a cute top that is perfect for the warmer weather headed our way. Lululemon has so much to choose from right now!

These dresses are giving me inspiration for graduation and my brother’s engagement party.

Definitely on-board with this new trend for spring/summer! My shopping carts are full of shirts and dresses in this style.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful weekend!

Mother’s Day Gifts

Moms are the best. They are there for you through everything and anything. Moms are your biggest cheerleaders. I call my mom at least once day just to talk, tell her about my day and hear about hers. It gets hard when we are busy, but we always make time for it, even if its just for a few minutes.

For my mom, the thing she enjoys the most on Mother’s day is just spending time with us as a family. Whether it be enjoying time outside, a family bike ride, or just eating lunch together. We all get so busy in the spring, especially this year with some of us graduating and moving out, that making time for family is just the ticker.

When it comes to shopping for my mom, we try to think of great gifts she actually needs. She makes a huge effort to always keep a list of things we need/want over the months, even things we forgot we had asked for, so we try to do the same for her! It is not as easy as she makes it seem.

Here are some gift ideas to get your mom for Mother’s Day!

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cookie jar // oven mitt // baking set
key chain // tote // scarf // wallet
framed photo // moms know best bracelet // cooler
monogramed vase // lunch box // water bottle // sandals

 

 

 

 

 

Running Motivation

I have recently started running again. When I first started running in high school, I was always running with my teammates and rarely ran alone. Then, when I started running by myself, it became eerie and I had a hard time. I just seemed to lose the motivation and discipline I had once previously had. I love running for the fact that you can let things fly through your mind and de stress, but I hate running because it gives you so much time to think. That is when I started running with music to pass the time.

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My running playlist tends not to get changed or updated because I just forget. I remember when I am running and never remember when I get home. Now that I have been running more often, I needed to update it to keep me moving. I love songs that are upbeat and motivate me to keep going. The tempo of the song really affects my stride and pace, so the faster the better! I also enjoy listening to songs that mean something to me, that have a good memory attached. For some reason, it really helps me to keep going. My playlist also has to be way longer than whatever work out I am doing. I have a habit of skipping songs like crazy!

Here are the top songs from my current running playlist!

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Any recommendations? Throw them my way!

Traveling with Dogs

I really run most of my day around Dizzy. I feel bad if she doesn’t have a great day every day because she kinda has no control over that. She goes everywhere with me that she can. Whether we are going just up to the grocery store or whether we are going to Vermont, the car has to equipped with what she needs!

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The hardest thing about Dizzy is that she loves to be dirty, and she has a real knack for getting dirty even in the cleanest places. It plays a huge part in what I keep in my car to protect my car and prevent it from becoming brown. Dizzy always ride shot gun when it is just the two of us. Her seat is always protected by a seat cover. It is super easy to put on the seat and you can unclip the part around the headrest if someone else needs to sit there. They can be washed in the washing machine and dried outside!

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I keep a bag in my car with necessities for having her with me. I always keep water in the car with this collapsable water bowl (I got it from Amazon). You never know if the weather is going to change, your car is going to break down, or if you are going to make some extra stops along the way. I also keep dog food or treats around. I am very lucky to have a dog that doesn’t get into things if left in the car, no matter what it is, so I can leave it in a plastic bag. If your dog tends to get into things, I would recommend putting it in a tight sealed container!

I know it may seem weird that there is a tarp in the back of the car. I started this when we were on a search and rescue team because everything got so incredibly dirty. It helps protect the trunk, especially now when dirty bikes shoes and bike wheels go in the car after riding. There is also a stack of blankets and towels. These are great to clean up Dizzy or protect the back seats if needed.

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Dog leashes are an important part of traveling with dogs. In the past, I have forgotten leashes when traveling because I don’t use one to get from the house to the car. I now keep a spare leash or two in the trunk at all times. It is important to always keep a leash because you never know where you might end up or what might happen. I also Dizzy’s everyday leash in the door for easy access. You don’t want to be digging around in the car looking for a leash when you need it!

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I love traveling with Dizzy. I look forward to many road trips ahead, especially to do some great hiking and exploring!